* Posts by /dev/null

213 posts • joined 11 Jun 2009

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Kingston's aviation empire: From industry firsts to Airfix heroes

/dev/null

Re: A very poor legacy

Indeed there's not a lot of actual aircraft design/manufacture in the modern BAE Systems - only one division ("Military Intelligence & Air") really does much of that any more (although Regional Aircraft at Prestwick could possibly in theory design you a new aircraft). After various acquisitions, there are now many and varied lines of business including armoured vehicles, guns, ships, submarines, electronics, "intelligence services", etc etc. Hence why "BAE" doesn't stand for anything any more...

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/dev/null

Re: Hunter

Ummm, you mean Hunter, not Hawk?

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So long Lotus 1-2-3: IBM ceases support after over 30 years of code

/dev/null

"Prior to the personal computer, spreadsheets were the purview of mainframe systems"

Actually, the interactive, full-screen spreadsheet concept we understand today didn't exist before microcomputers, it was invented with VisiCalc on the Apple II.

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Brit Sci-Fi author Alastair Reynolds says MS Word 'drives me to distraction'

/dev/null

Wasn't that long ago when novels were written using a typewriter, or even (as CS Lewis recommended) with a pen. Didn't seem to stop plenty good stories being written and published. What's changed?

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Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display

/dev/null
Facepalm

Re: £999

You're a bit behind the times there... the big cats are old hat, it's Californian place names nowadays.

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Tor is '90 per cent of the net' claims City of London Police Commish – and he's dead wrong

/dev/null

The amazing .uk domain: Less .co and loads more whalesong

/dev/null

Re: .GB vs. .UK

No, yes (.je) and yes (.gg) respectively.

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/dev/null

Re: Finally catching up?

Because bl.uk started off many moons ago as the JANET NRS name UK.BL, back in the day when organisations that were considered to be neither commercial (UK.CO...) nor academic (UK.AC...) simply got NRS names of the form UK.<name>.

Of course this was before org.uk or gov.uk (or even their short-lived predecessors orgn.uk or govt.uk) were invented...

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Anatomy of OpenSSL's Heartbleed: Just four bytes trigger horror bug

/dev/null
WTF?

Payload???

What's the point of being able to attach a payload of 64k of arbitrary data to a heartbeat message anyway?

What's wrong with a simple sequence number?

Did they think the case where the other end was sufficiently functional to interpret and respond to a protocol message, but somehow incapable of copying a block of memory correctly was worth detecting?

Did this Request for Comments actually get any comments?

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Tony Benn, daddy of Brit IT biz ICL and pro-tech politician, dies at 88

/dev/null

Re: TSR2/Concorde

D Sandys didn't cancel TSR2, Denis Healey did. He was Secretary of State for Defence at the time. See CC(65)20 and CC(65)21, CAB/128/39, TNA.

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You’re NOT fired: The story of Amstrad’s amazing CPC 464

/dev/null

"a small doohickey comprising 32KB of battery-backed RAM to hold the firmware ..."

Odd, why didn't they just use good old-fashioned EPROMs (the UV-erasable kind) like everyone else?

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AMD tries to kickstart ARM-for-servers ecosystem

/dev/null
WTF?

Huh?

AMD have just announced a chip based on a completely new (to them) architecture, and they called it... Opteron???

I'll never understand marketing people...

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Sinclair’s 1984 big shot at business: The QL is 30 years old

/dev/null

Re: There is one big leguacy with the QL...

Actually, Linus was a Minix hacker for a few years in between his QL tinkering and starting Linux. Hence early Linux's obvious influences and dependencies on Minix.

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/dev/null

Great article, some interesting new stuff there, but a couple of minor errors: all QLs had the BS6312 (BT phone-plug) type sockets for the RS232 ports, except for the ones built by Samsung, which were only for export markets; and the ultimate CST Thor model was the Thor XVI which was a complete hardware redesign using an MC68000 (the Thor 20 had some kind of daughterboard on the QL motherboard for its MC68020 CPU).

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Tube be or not tube be: Apple’s CYLINDRICAL Mac Pro is out tomorrow

/dev/null

Nothing new under the sun...

Rick Dickinson (Clive Sinclair's equivalent of Jony Ive) came up with a design for a second-generation Sinclair QL in the mid-80s based around vertical air flow, complete with a "chimney" on top, that never saw the light of day. You can see a photo of a mock-up of it in this interview.

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US Navy blasts drones with ship-mounted LASER CANNON

/dev/null

Re: How about deploying one of these right now

...and the Russians: see the Strait of Juan de Fuca laser incident.

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The ten SEXIEST computers of ALL TIME

/dev/null
Boffin

But which?

PERQ-1 or PERQ-2? Or PERQ-3 for that matter? Not sure any of them were particularly sexy (unless you have a thing for chocolate-brown fascias...)

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/dev/null
Boffin

Re: original cray was better

There were quite a few Cray machines that were visually quite striking, before they ended up in plain ornery 42U racks like everything else.

Check out the C916 or the T916 for instance.

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/dev/null
Boffin

Re: you forgot!

According to this page, the super-sexy Commodore CBM-II series cases weren't actually designed by Porsche Design, but by a chap by the name of Ira Velinski.

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Prime Ministerial exploding cheese expert to become 'entrepreneur'

/dev/null
Coat

Re: BONG!

Don't you mean ¡Bong!?

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Tech is the biggest problem facing archiving

/dev/null
Facepalm

Re: Won't somebody think of the history?

...and then lost all those photos because they only existed in the digital domain, and nobody really does backing up (never mind archiving) properly...

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The Lynx effect: The story of Camputers' mighty micro

/dev/null
Boffin

Re: Geography is a bit screwed

Incidentally, Sir Clive's last computer company, Cambridge Computer Ltd, had their HQ down the road at 10 Bridge Street.

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Infinite loop: the Sinclair ZX Microdrive story

/dev/null
Boffin

Re: Speed benefits when compared to tapes?

Well, it took 7 seconds for a Microdrive cartridge tape loop to complete one pass, so loading a game from Microdrive shouldn't take much longer than that (unless it was a dodgy cartridge and some sectors needed more than one attempt to read). A lot faster than cassette, and probably quite comparable to a floppy disk.

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/dev/null
Boffin

Re: Fascinating story

One of my most satisfying bits of hackery I did on my QL was reducing the number of cartridges required to load The Pawn from three (two "working copy" carts plus one original for copy protection) to one - I worked out I could squeeze the the contents of two cartridges onto one, which I formatted with the same magic ID code as the original cart using some Microdrive "utility" software. Playing the game was almost as much fun...

Must power up my QL again and see if the Microdrives still work - they did about 4 years ago...

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Happy birthday, LP: Can you believe it's only 65?

/dev/null
WTF?

"stereoscopic sound"?

I think you mean stereophonic sound, unless you're one of those rare people who say they can see sounds..

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Samsung laptops can be NUKED by ANY OS – even Windows: new claim

/dev/null
Boffin

Re: Poor Apple.

EFI was invented by Intel to be the standard boot firmware for Itanium systems. It was only afterwards that someone thought it porting it to x86 would make a good replacement for the old PC BIOS, something which was well overdue.

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/dev/null
Boffin

Re: Recovery...

I think notionally the MS-DOS BIOS was split between the ROM BIOS (which would be customised to the particular hardware configuration of the PC) and IO.SYS (or IBMBIO.COM if you had PC-DOS) which was intended to be generic. The term "BIOS" is now so closely associated with boot firmware that we forget it used to be an integral part of a PC's native OS....

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Remember that Xeon E7-Itanium convergence? FUHGEDDABOUDIT

/dev/null
FAIL

Re: Peter Gathercole BeFuddled

Actually, no, Compaq killed Alpha in favour of Itanic in 2001 - before they were bought by HP.

See here, for instance.

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/dev/null
WTF?

Re: Alpha....

The Alpha architecture was intended to have a lifespan of 25 years. Whether it was capable of that is moot, since it was canned after 12, but there were at least two more generations under development when that happened.

Oh and OpenVMS, Linux and Windows already ran on Alpha platforms, as did Tru64 UNIX. Not a bad "porting platform" (whatever that is exactly...).

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/dev/null
Terminator

Re: Peter Gathercole BeFuddled

Itanium certainly killed off Alpha and MIPS (notwithstanding the latter's continued presence in the embedded market).

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The Oric-1 is 30

/dev/null
Stop

Re: HH tiger?

GEM never ran on CP/M-80 (Z80). GEM only ever ran on CP/M-86 or the 68k DOS clone, GEMDOS, on the Atari ST, IIRC.

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Sheffield ISP: You don't need a whole IPv4 address to yourself, right?

/dev/null
WTF?

"odd versions are experimental"

Huh? There was no IPv1,2 or 3 - IPv4 was numbered to match the corresponding TCP protocol version (RFC793). TCP actually predated IP, (see RFC675) and hence was in its fourth version at the time.

And IPv5 didn't really exist either - version 5 was used to distinguish IEN-119 ST stream protocol packets from IP packets. ST was not intended as a replacement for IPv4.

I think someone might be getting mixed up with the old Linux kernel version numbering scheme...?

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Linux kernel dumps 386 chip support

/dev/null
Facepalm

Re: it was still supported?!

Actually, NetBSD dropped the 386 in 2007, though the first formal release without 386 support was 5.0 in 2009.

Ironically, the x86 port of NetBSD is still called "NetBSD/i386"...

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US Army demos first robot Black Hawk helicopter

/dev/null
Stop

Re: How can anyone cost justify F-35s on the basis of them being useful for 30 years now?

10 years?

Would you call a B-52 a combat aircraft? They're all about 50 years old now, and the USAF are planning to keep them in service until at least 2040...

Even the RAF's Tornado GR4s are around 30 years old now...

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The Lord of the Rings saga lies hidden deep in your Mac

/dev/null
FAIL

Re: Not just OS X

It's the source data to provide an "on this day in history"-type feature in the calendar(1) utility. Only "history" here includes Middle Earth "history"...

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/dev/null
Boffin

Re: Oldtimer alert!

IIRC, the "printer on fire?" message was associated with an undefined combination of status pin values on a Centronics port. Only that combination turned out to be more common than Linus anticipated...

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OS/2 a quarter century on: Why IBM lost out and how Microsoft won

/dev/null
FAIL

"Windows 3.0, the first version to do the Protected Mode trick"

Erm, didn't the Windows/286 and Windows/386 editions of Windows 2.10 do protected mode tricks?

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/dev/null
Boffin

Re: Our consolation prize..

Plus 1.4MB 3.5in floppies, 1024x768 resolution (IBM 8514), 72-pin SIMMs and power switches on the front of the box...

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Author of '80s classic The Hobbit didn't know game was a hit

/dev/null
Thumb Up

Re: Penetrator

One of the first games I played on my Speccy. Did anybody else keep trying to get through the narrow gap at the end of the last level to see what came next? :-)

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Liberator: the untold story of the first British laptop part 2

/dev/null
Boffin

A great story about a long-forgotten computer, but...

...somehow I doubt they managed to get 40 lines of text on a 128-pixel-high screen!

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Volkswagen Beetle car review

/dev/null
Boffin

Platforms

So the A4 (or PQ34 as VW Group call it now) platform was "dull and wretched", but the A5 (or PQ35) platform is "a country mile better". In terms of dynamics, the main difference between the two was the rear suspension - torsion beam on the former, multi-link on the latter. Interestingly, the New New Beetle only gets the PQ35 rear suspension on the 2.0 TSI model. What do the lesser variants have? You guessed it, torsion beam!

As for the "daft rear spoiler", I don't think that back end is going to generate much downforce by itself, so I think I'd rather have one, thanks. Anybody remember the hasty recall of the original, spoiler-less Audi TT?

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BBC in secret trial to see if you care about thing you plainly don't

/dev/null
Boffin

Re: Long Wave is Long!

About the submarines: "Journalist and historian Professor Peter Hennessy claimed in his book, Secret State: Whitehall and the cold war 1945 to 1970, that he had been reliably informed that the test a commander of a British nuclear-missile submarine was to use to determine whether the UK has been the target of a nuclear attack (in which case he had sealed orders which may authorise him to fire his nuclear missiles in retaliation), was to listen for the broadcast of Today on Radio 4's frequencies." (source)

I presume LW would be easier to pick up from a random spot in the Earth's oceans than VHF...

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Nobody knows what to call Microsoft's ex-Metro UI

/dev/null
WTF?

Re: Microsoft Window™

If you only have one window doesn't that make it a wall?

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Chinese e-cars to turn London cabs green

/dev/null
Boffin

"Manganese Bronze failed to innovate"

You can say that again - I believe the TX4's chassis (no monocoque construction here) owes much to the FX4's, which came from the Austin FX3, which dates back to 1948 or so...

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Oracle rolls up and rolls out Solaris 11.1 update

/dev/null
Thumb Up

Wow, a point release!

First point release of Solaris since 2.6 in 1997. Possibly the only good that's come of Oracle's acquisition is that they've finally dropped the "Solaris 10 9/11"-style maintentance release identification...?

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N00bs vs Windows 8: We lock six people in a room with new OS

/dev/null
WTF?

TIFKAM tiles and colours?

Never having used Windows Phone or Windows 8, am I correct in guessing there is no colour coding to the background colour of the tiles, and the colours are in fact chosen in a random-and-pleasing manner? Seems like another violation of fundamental user interface principles if so...

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Surface tablet's touch cover is ZX81 REBORN

/dev/null
Holmes

Ahem...

I believe I made this comparison about four months ago.

(IIRC the ZX80 keyboard was thinner than the ZX81's so probably a better match).

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Five go wild with the Administration Tools Pack

/dev/null
Coat

Surely...

The card suits should be ISA, MCA, EISA and VL-Bus?

What is this "PCI+" anyway?

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USAF declassifies ‘flying saucer’ design

/dev/null
WTF?

Recently declassified?

This report on the Avro Canada Y-2 (complete with lots of lovely drawings) was released in 1998.

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Codethink jumps into the ARM server fray with Baserock Slab

/dev/null
WTF?

Cross-compiling?

Compiling ARM code using native compilers under QEMU seems like a total bodge. Any package that can only be compiled using a native toolchain without massive effort is broken, frankly.

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