Feeds

* Posts by Mike 16

138 posts • joined 17 Jun 2009

Page:

WTF is ... Virtual Customer Premises Equipment?

Mike 16

Re: STFU bitches, In the US, you don't get a firewall/router

You say that as if there is something wrong with having control of your own LAN. Comcast (my ISP) can't even keep their nameservers lit. Buying and configuring my own router is a minor hassle compared to those morons controlling the traffic between my computer and my printer. Of course I am the sort who used to build networking gear, and who would really rather own my own DOCSIS modem, if only Comcast would stop playing games to encourage perpetual rental.

0
0

Voteware source code review 'could lead to hacking'

Mike 16

Thus it ever was

i was a (minor) part of an attempt in the early 1970s to have the vote-counting software for the U.C. Berkeley Academic Senate audited by a third-party group of security professionals. We failed, of course. The reason given was essentially the same as this case. Why any sane person thinks these schemes are a good idea, or promote democracy is beyond me.

I suspect that any Athenian who wanted to check that the voting urns were empty before the vote were similarly derided.

1
0

ISPs 'blindsided' by UK.gov's 'emergency' data retention and investigation powers law

Mike 16

Liberal Democrats

I thought, as a long-time reader of El Reg (and the Economist) that I understood the difference in definition of "Liberal" between the UK and the US, but even the most "just to the left of Ayn Rand" definition would seem to disqualify them from that word. As for "Democrat", well the US Dems have already pretty much bleached that of all meaning. But did the LibDems ever live up to the dictionary meaning of their name, or are they more like the typical "People's Democratic Workers Paradise" that we should all hope never to find ourselves in?

2
0

Wireless-controlled contraception implant is coming, says MIT

Mike 16

Ball Valve

One word: RISUG (OK, one acronym)

I'm sure Reg Readers know how to decrypt that.

0
0

New research: Flash is DEAD. Yet resistance isn't futile - it's key

Mike 16

Holy Carp!

It's basically a nano-coherer. Well, several billion of them. On a chip.

1
0

US Marshals seek buyer for Silk Road's Bitcoin

Mike 16

Re: Why is it ironic?

"These are Silk Road coins. ". Exactly. They are equivalent to the briefcase full of cash seized in the near vicinity of two people and a similar briefcase full of drugs. The best possible outcome (still bad) if you are one of those people is to claim you have never seen either case before.

"The coins found in possession of Ross William Ulbricht will be dealt with after trial." Probably, but there are plenty of cases where a person has been acquitted of the alleged crime yet unable to "prove their innocence" sufficiently to get their property back. So the trial will be a mere formality.

0
0

Remember Control Data? The Living Computer Museum wants YOU

Mike 16

Dancing Lines

I would love to get a copy/scan of that printout, even one page. All my printouts from the CDC501 seem to have gone missing, and I'd love to have a comparison for when "kids these days" wonder what was such a big deal with the 1403, which only profs and grads with funded research were allowed to use. (email to the printer model mentioned above at nulli.us, please. It's a nonce account for this purpose)

1
0
Mike 16

Re: Too modern.

The 3800 came out a year after the 6600, and the same year(1965) as the IBM1130 and CDC6400. IIRC, both of the 6x00 (and more) were re-badged as "Cyber" a bit later. If we are going all Yorkshiremen, I've used two different computers with tubes/valves, not counting the bottles in the 6x00 console.. But I do recall the 6400 fondly.

0
0

Google to plonk tentacles on 'unwired' world with $1bn launch of 180-satellite fleet

Mike 16

Re: Flies Over the Great Wall

A series of unfortunate accidents will befall any location sporting a suitable antenna dish.

These are not, AFAICT, SatPhones like Iridium. More like the pirate TV dishes favored in some US-allied countries in the middle east. Even if the powers that be don't immediately destroy your dish, they will make a note who and where you are.

0
0

The hoarder's dilemma: 'Why can't I throw anything away?'

Mike 16

Why is it the junk that hangs on?

I still have all five Atari-800s (courtesy of Garage-cleaning friends), but have not seen my box of Magneto-restrictive delay lines (Surplus from RADAR MTI units) in years. Just went looking for a miniUSB cable, with which the house was once infested. None to be found. Worse is running across my "spare" BSA Goldstar transmission, about 15 years after selling the Goldstar. No, you can't have it. Gave it and a Panther engine to a fellow who actually wanted them, a year or so later.

BTW: Best use of AOL CDs? A friend made himself a plausible "Fish scale" suit of armor from them.

2
0

Still using e-mail? Marketers say you're part of DARK SOCIAL

Mike 16

Re: For added irony, on the story's page

I try to be a "kind reader" and leave the ads un-blocked, but any day now the new habit of auto-play video ads at full volume is going to push me over the edge. Worse, they don't just auto-play right when I load so I can turn them off. No, they spurt little bits of random audio so I'm not sure what's happening or what to silence. Even, I think, when I've shifted to another tab. FFX 29.0.1 MacBook Air, OS 10.8.5, if a Reg IT-boffin cares to check it out.

1
0

Four-pronged ARM-based Mac rumor channels Rasputin

Mike 16

Misc Musings

First off, the silliness. If you think an iPad is a fully capable replacement for a MacBook, you must not edit many Makefiles. Paying extra for a TAB key just enrages some folks.

Some history. A friend worked at Apple back in the day, and his group produced a IIGS followon that was ARM based. Ran all existing (6502-based) IIGS code. Snappier GUI than the then-current Macs, cheaper, oops! So it was "gassed".

If you-all think that "just re-compile" is so easy, and Apple so supremely competent at re-targetting their software to new platforms, perhaps you can explain why their special flavor of X was so badly broken by the transition to x86? This was software that had run either (and even "cross") endian for over a decade and they managed to introduce rookie endian-bugs. Not to mention that even when they went from 68000 to 68020 they managed to stumble over the "let's just stick some unrelated flags in the upper byte of these pointers" bug that had bedeviled the 360->370 transition, again, a decade before.

Not to say it won't happen. They may be able to hire someone less Laurel-and-Hardy to do software (for a change). And the move to their own ARM SOC would indeed be a master-stroke for "you will get all your software via iTunes/App-store, and will update when we punch the button, and will not whimper or your device will die", which is so clearly the path forward.

0
0

Watch: Kids slam Apple as 'BORING, the whole thing is BORING'

Mike 16

Expectations

@Michael Hawkes:

Are you expecting children to already know how to design processors, PCBs, etc., before they go to college?

Not many, but some. There were a few of us "designing" processors on paper and chalkboard back in the day (mid 1960s), with heated discussions over the economic benefits of dynamic logic versus the higher reliability of such things a dual-rank shift registers. Of course we didn't _build_ anything, what with transistors being a couple bucks apiece and even tubes being out of the question in the quantities required. Not saying we were "average" or even "normal", but we did exist, as do "kids today" who can field-strip an Arduino and do unanticipated things with it. Some have geek-parents (mine were a secretary/bookkeeper and an auto mechanic), some find their own way. I do concur that most schools exist to quench the spark, rather than the thirst.

3
0

Spanish village of 'Kill the Jews' votes for rebrand

Mike 16

May I have the Popcorn concession...

When someone actually proposes to revert the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance and the currency to remove the edits adding "Under God" and"In God We trust"? Or going back 2000 years or so to put back The Nativity to a more plausible date, rather that the Roman edit aligning it with the birth of the sun god?

How about a proposal to remove Mohamed from the decoration for SCOTUS? I can imagine the strange bedfellows. Some wanting no indication that a "Heathen" could have anything to do with laws, the other resenting the blasphemy of an image of the Prophet.

2
0

'I found the whole idea of an alien very exciting until it demanded all of my weed'

Mike 16

Heroine?

I like my strong female characters as much as the next man, but really don't think genuine ones can be purchased.

0
0

Robotics pioneer: Intelligent machines are 'scary for a lot of people'

Mike 16

Re: We're headed for Sirius Cybernetics, probably...

This is just too good to pass up.

In fact exactly those two languages were involved in something that happened to one of my daughter's friends. He was taking a conversational Italian class in preparation for traveling to Italy. When he noticed that the ATMs in his neighborhood (a traditionally Italian one) offered Italian as a language choice, he selected it, and the card/system "remembered". Ah, but the I.T. angle is that it apparently did not remember the language chosen, but some sort of "index into the language table" A week or so later, across town, he was startled to have the ATM messages in Polish.

0
0

EFF blows Snapchat a raspberry in gov't surveillance report

Mike 16

Re: The internet Archive was ranked?

The requests might be about someone stupid enough to look at a lot of formerly presumed legal stuff, while logged in or from a unique, stable IP. Yeah, they _could_ get that from their taps, but still.

As for LinkedIn, "social networks" (in the pre-friendster sense) are always interesting to spooks. I once got email from a former co-worker looking for another former co-worker. The "target" was an ex-VP, not my social stratum, and I didn't have him in my contacts, and said so. A few days later he emails again: "found him, in prison. Aggravated assault." Imagine that today. Imagine being on the "known associates" list for someone "They" don't like.

0
0

Traffic light vulns leave doors wide open to Italian Job-style hacks

Mike 16

User-modified traffic controls

Back in th 1970s, my hometown paved an old rail right-of-way to provide extra lanes on the main road out of town. This was nearly pointless, as the next town over had already sold their portion for development, so a choke-point was created. Anyway, in addition to the widening came spiffy new traffic lights. After a few weeks of motorist frustration, the control box for the lights exploded. Many of us thought that this was the work of a Motorist Liberation Front, but it turned out to be that the construction crew had damaged a gas main, and the slow leak had followed the path of least resistance into the box, where a spark from the contactors had ignited it.

0
0

Mozilla asks FCC to unleash the nuclear option on net neutrality

Mike 16

Re: Bah!

All they will do is follow the lead of other "content companies", e.g. film studios and record companies. They will arrange to have razor-thin taxable profits in-country while for some unknown reason buying almost everything from "third-party" vendors at well over market rates. Of course, those vendors would be found to share quite a few shareholders with the ISP. Well, would be found if the IRS could actually get to the records in whatever tax haven they were incorporated.

0
1

Comcast and EA said to be planning streaming games service

Mike 16

Console maker control?

At least since the NES, console makers can, and do, use various methods to keep unauthorized games off their consoles. Usually pitched as "anti-piracy" or "think of the children" measures, they are essentially taxes on access to that console. They also (e.g. the aforementioned NES) often come with secret (i.e. "illegal under various anti-trust laws") agreements that strongly favor the console maker, and whose violation (in the sole opinion of the console maker) can result in "less than banning" punishment, like "unfortunately delayed shipments of already-paid-for goods, that sadly happen to miss the holiday shopping season",

OTOH, this amount of control and revenue is a powerful incentive for console makers to "play nice" with at least the juggernauts of game development, no matter how "evil". Much as, e.g. a Standard Oil tanker caught refueling a U-Boat, back in the day. Probably a "rogue employee" who just noticed the keys to the tanker hanging in the guard shack, not a corporate policy.

0
0

ARM tests: Intel flops on Android compatibility, Windows power

Mike 16

Re: It cannot be the point of x86 to run Android

"That means I can run an image of every OS ... work on a decade old computers or on computers in a decade."

Not unless you are deliberately omitting Windows, MacOS, and (most?) Linux distros from "Every OS".

Pretty much all of those have current versions that just won't run on older machines, even if you plump up the RAM. If you meant "Well, _some_ version of these OSes, e.g. the one that was current when the machine was made, will still run", well, yeah. And my PDP-11 will still run RT-11, too.

5
0

Sony nanotechnicians invent magnetic tape that stores 148 Gb per square inch

Mike 16

Re: How robust though?

I have had very good results recovering data from "very old" (30..40 years) tapes. Of course with such large "bits" one would expect that. The issue with any storage medium these days (OK, maybe not no-name spindles of CD/RW from the flea market) is not so much media lifetime, but "what do I do with those bits". Try reading a Word3 file with any Word that runs on any computer you can find? How about that film/music/ebook whose DRM server died with the shell-company that ran it? If you can even get the tapes out of your modern (for the 2000s) tape-safe with electronic lock.

0
0

US mobile firms cave on kill switch, agree to install anti-theft code

Mike 16

Opt in? (Re: What am I missing?)

What makes you think you are the one controlling the option?

More likely it will be like the "write protect" on SD cards (or 5.25-inch floppies for that matter), which merely suggests to the software that you would really rather not write, if the software feels like pleasing you rather than its owners today.

0
0
Mike 16

Re: What am I missing?

You are missing two things. One is that the thieves already have countermeasures, and have for years. The other is that by mandating a unified approach to phone-bricking, LEOs can now brick all phones in a certain area, much like they temporarily shut down cell service at the BART protests, and sent threatening text-messages to the Ukrainian protesters, only more durably. Thieves do not mind using things like Faraday bags because they are taking the phone as an object, whereas protesters actually need the phone to be in communication to send out pictures of trigger-happy "protectors" dealing with peaceful protesters.

Not that this has ever been a problem in the "Free World".

1
0

You can play Flappy Bird on a POINT OF SALE TERMINAL

Mike 16

Re: Like they care

"The business of the PIN being stored in the card has always puzzled me. In order to be completely trustworthy, it must be the case that you, and only you, know the PIN number."

I know very little about the mag-stripe cards, and less about chip-and-pin (other than that various vulnerabilities have been found over the years), but IIRC, the "PIN" stored on a mag-stripe card is actually an "offset", to be added to the number you type in, which is then hashed and transmitted to the central server. So it's more like salt than the password itself. OTOH, PINs are typically only used for ATM cards and the like, not "credit" cards or even the "yeah, you'll get your money back, eventually" debit cards.

0
0

Italy has a clumsy new pirate-choker law. But can anyone do better?

Mike 16

Protect you?

Try asking a few photographers or musicians who have had popular images or (original) songs claimed by the "Big Guys". Sure, eventually (in geologic time scales) it all gets sorted, but meanwhile...

Or I suppose in your world it is just fine for someone to drive off with your car, as long as you eventually get it back. No matter that you can't get to work meanwhile, so have no income, and no need to punish them in any way, right?

0
0

US Senator lobbies feds to BAN BITCOIN

Mike 16

Illegal Cash

IIRC, back around maybe the early 1980s, some U.S. Senator proposed a ban on $100 bills, since "their only use is for criminal activities". Of course, back then $100 was a fair bit of money, about 2.5% of the poverty threshold for a single under-65 person, as opposed to less than 1% today.

Anyway, I strongly suspect that Bitcoin is a bit easier to "trace" than cash. The advantage is that you don't actually have to carry a suitcase full of it into an abandoned factory at midnight.

0
0

DARPA wants help to counter counterfeits

Mike 16

The military is so careful...

That a friend once (a while ago) found U.S. Navy acceptance marks (anchor and date) on some surplus parts, indicating they had been received and inspected in 1942. From Siemens.

1
0

Apple Safari, Mail and more hit by SSL spying bug on OS X, fix 'soon'

Mike 16

Re: Test-Driven Development

My personal code standards (which I enforced dictatorially when "lead" of a massive three-person group at a Telecoms company), mandates braces on all ifs. But the Linux Kernel coding standards _forbid_ them for "single statements". They also mandate placing the statement, indented, on the line after the if(), thus almost guaranteeing the occasional "deception by indent".

Lest the Linux hordes pile on me as a MSFT shill, the particular bug would have been caught by a -Wunreachable or equivalent, but when I was (briefly) doing Windows development, I found that it was rarely possible to get a "clean" (no warning) compile from Visual C if I turned on many warnings, because the system-provided headers were full of dubious constructs.

The woodpeckers are winning.

0
0

US Senate bill would mandate 'kill switch' on all smartphones

Mike 16

Bricking is about more than temporary comm-blocking

Imagine a peaceful protest. Imagine disabling communications. OK, now imagine if even _one_ protester manages to record the ensuing police actions and get the physical evidence out of the area. _That_ is why the "proper authorities" need to totally disable the devices. Putting your phone in a Faraday pouch may protect it from being damaged, but then you can't record.

Of course Cameras are also frequently stolen, so they will need kill-switches too.

2
0

Break out the scatter cushions: Google rents out NASA blimp hangar

Mike 16

Just a nit-pick

I know, but Hanger 1 was not (just) for Blimps. It was used for actual rigid dirigibles.

0
0

Boffins build electronic tongue that can distinguish between BEERS

Mike 16

Re: But, how long before it can discriminate between:

If your refrigerator uses Phosgene, I think we have found the problem with your beer.

As for Utah beers, Polygamy Porter ("Why have just one?") is not bad, although I really just bought it for the bottle.

1
0

The Mac at 30: Hardware and software wars – again and again and ...

Mike 16

OS X on multiple platforms?

If they had really been compiling OS X on Intel for five years, why all the endian problems at the switch? And why is "programmer view" in the Calculator still broken on Intel? Ah, I see, they _compiled_ it for both platforms, but didn't actually run it.

2
7

Brit boffin tests LETTUCE as wire for future computers

Mike 16

Conductive properties of produce

A little research turns up:

Characterization of Organic Illumination Systems

http://www.hpl.hp.com/techreports/Compaq-DEC/WRL-TN-13.pdf

0
1

Eight EXCELLENT languages for the fondleslab-friendly Intranet of Thingies

Mike 16

No SOAP?

How will I get decent performance out of my IBM 650 code?

Laugh while you can, Monkey Boy. Worst-case latency to RAM these days is a lot worse (in CPU cycles) than back in the "My main memory is spinning rust" days of yore.

0
0

Worried OpenSSL uses NSA-tainted crypto? This BUG has got your back

Mike 16

Bug? Or Sleeper Cell?

I'm surprised to see this many comments and nobody yet mentioned what leapt out at me as soon as I read the article.

Say you have a high-value exploit, and want to have it easy to turn on when you really need it, but difficult to detect until then. What better way that to do the "injection" and the "activation" in separate steps. That way, there is less chance of some nosy kids and their dog sniffing peculiar behavior and blowing the whistle before you have even selected your first high-value target.

Then later, a simple "one line" bug fix turns on the spigot.

4
0

Drawers full of different chargers? The IEC has a one-plug-to-rule-them-all

Mike 16

Recycling?

Perhaps the pre-melted chargers and phones are slightly easier to extract metsl from?

The major advantage of standardized connectors seems to be the availability of inexpensive after-market chargers. With the minor disadvantage of electrocutions and pants-on-fire.

The market giveth and the market taketh away.

0
0

Bring it on, stream biz Aereo tells TV barons – see you in Supreme Court

Mike 16

Re: "...a tiny TV antenna each in a nearby data centre..."

"It's not like you need a very strong signal to get a very good picture."

I assume you are watching your DTV via a Cable-ish system. Even they have the usual (for DTV) problems of out-of-sync audio and "witness protection" video from time to time.

Over the air it is much worse unless you are a few miles and line-of sight. The DTV standard includes forward error correction, but apparently the level of such is an option, and by reducing the number of bits allocated to error correction, one can increase the number of channels to run infomercials, so...

A more cynical person might wonder if broadcasters are deliberately making it difficult to receive OTA TV, to force customers to go through the Cable companies, thus increasing the broadcaster's revenue. But of course, an entity whose license is predicated on serving a public benefit would never do that.

0
0

eBay chairman: 'Don't make payback a bitch for Anonymous hackers'

Mike 16

OT: New Coke

Need to tighten the straps on your Tinfoil Hat. There are many who believe, with some evidence, that the whole point of "New Coke" was to flush the supply of "Old Coke" so that when they "relented" and "brought back Classic Coke", nobody would notice that the sugar had been replaced by HFCS. This only makes sense in the U.S., where sugar incurs high tariffs and corresponding high local prices, while HFCS is subsidized.

But they probably recouped the cost of the "New Coke Fiasco" in a few months of higher margin on Classic.

And yet the story lives on, like the "Chevy Nova" one, or the notion that patents are for the benefit of small inventors, because, well, that one guy eventually got a payout for intermittent wipers.

As for Omidyar "playing to his new crowd", well, what do you expect? He's in business. You may as well be shocked that politicians lie or water runs downhill.

1
2

D-Link FINALLY slams shut 'Joel's backdoor'

Mike 16

Updates?

Putting on my mu-metal hat (tinfoil is not effective against the latest NSA/GCHQ measures), I have to wonder if the whole thing is just "motivation" getting users to "update" to a version more friendly to "lawful intercept".

Yes, I leave Remote Admin turned off. No, I don't believe that makes my totally safe, as there's an ocean of Javascript-embuggered websites out there that could connect from the _inside_ (LAN) if anybody in the house clicked the wrong link.

Fact is, if "They" (NSA, GCHQ, RBN) want to do something nasty to you, they will, unless you go all Unabomber and live totally off the grid in some unheated (can't forget the IR-scanners in those drones) but

well-insulated cabin in the woods.

0
1

El Reg Contraption Confessional No.1: The Dragon 32 micro

Mike 16

Cassette data storage

Sigh. I've been reviving a KIM-1, and yep, the one bit that isn't working yet is the cassette data storage. Yes, the (approximately proper era) cassette recorder has line-out. Even has a "remote switch" so in theory I could do cool things with a PIO pin and a transistor or so.

Already hacked the "sorta 20mA loop" TTY lines to be "sorta RS-232". Then found how much serial IO drivers have rotted since people who actually used TTY 33s were common. This was not helped by KIM being hard-wired half-duplex...

0
0

Mystery traffic redirection attack pulls net traffic through Belarus, Iceland

Mike 16

Noticeable Latency Increase?

As a Comcast subscriber, that would be "Hmm, it's been about 15 minutes now..."

1
0

Cryptolocker infects cop PC: Massachusetts plod fork out Bitcoin ransom

Mike 16

Opening attachments

So, I have the choice of not opening emails of unverifiable provenance, consisting of only attachments, in which case my bank, my doctor, and my boss (back when I was employed) get angry with me, and get even...

... or ...

opening such attachments and having my computer owned by criminals.

Nice choice there.

0
0

TOQ of the TOWN: A second screen for the second screen. Third screen?

Mike 16

Re: Put the screen in a phone

I think you missed the point. He said he wanted the e-ink display in a small "mostly dumb" phone, with a WiFi hotspot for the "screen intensive" stuff could by outsourced to a tablet or the like. I agree _that_ would be desireable, so I may be mis-reading as well, but I doubt it. Phone for connection. Tablet for webgrazing and Angry-birds. Or, in my case laptop for "research" (webgrazing) and a pile of xterms running ssh.

1
0

A steam punk VDU ?

Mike 16

Re: You need to be thinking *phototypesetter,* not Linotype if you want to go that way.

> how are you going to produce the multiple copies of a letter?

The letters are exactly analogous to the matrices of a Linotype. If you need 1920 As, then sop be it. Makes the type-magazine pretty large, but it is in the class of problems which can be solved by throwing money at them.

As opposed to the class of "We have no idea how to do this, even if we had billions at our disposal.

You just know that this thing is going to be so expensive that it will be installed in the managing director's office, where he will use it to train his philodendron, rather than actually having to work very often.

> While I'd like to have seen more use of a photographic approach the challenge is tough enough (I think) that no solution should be ruled out unless it's very cumbersome.

Well, quite a few photographic solutions, especially of the Victorian era are "ruled out" by modern health and safety laws. A friend has been trying to create less toxic (i.e. legal for normal people to use) equivalents to older photographic processes, and had some tales to tell. OTOH, I spent enough time playing bare-handed with mercury as a child that I should be mad as a hatter by now. Oh, wait...

> Regarding a character code well Baudot, used for teletype/telex systems would be more authentic.

Baudot was a Johnny come lately in telegraphy (not to mention that what we know as Baudot is actually Murray's later version), pre-dated by at least Morse and Cooke/Wheatstone multi-needle codes. I'm mentally trying to come up with something buildable in Babbage's lifetime, thus from bits and pieces that existed then. Morse makes the cut. Baudot not.

I'm beginning to think that a "practical" machine would benefit from your notion of phototypesetter, where only one master copy of each glyph is present, but with a pin-screen to store the image.

Of course, one of my favorite notions would stuff clear or opaque marbles (small as possible) into the bottom of a frame with translucent front and back, and perhaps an optically dense fluid. As each row of these "pixels" is "rendered", it is shoved up in the frame, with older lines emerging from the top. If the opaque "marble" were iron, the two types could be sorted magnetically. for reuse Of course, even a 24x80 screen of 5x7 (in a 6x8 cell) characters would need 92160 of each (actually fewer of the clear ones, unless we do inverse video) .

Still about the same as the 1920x48 "type matrices" for my Linotype-style machine, but cheaper in bulk, and you could do graphics. can one render a convincing LOL-Cat in 480x192?

0
0
Mike 16

Re: Linotype

Actually about the Morse keyboard sender.

----------------

The "drum with pins" calls to mind a controller for complex chemical synthesis I saw in an old Sci Am for the "Merrifield Technique." Essentially an uncommitted cam timer where you set the speed of the drum rotation and programmed it by inserting or removing "plugs" at each location on each control channel, each segment along the drum being a channel.

-------------

Sort of the extension into three dimensions of certain light-timers. You place "on" and "off" pegs wherever you want on a disk which is truned by a clock motor. Maybe I should say "4 dimensions", as your device allowed variable speed.

--------------

But doing it mechanically? If the input is Morse it could be using a solenoid to pull or push the pins in or out of the drum. How much store? If the storage is substantial a spiral pattern round the drum would make more sense.

-------------

No solenoids. No electricity at all, far as I could tell, other than that switched by the output contacts. I don't think it had an electric motor either. Appeared to be clockwork, although I suppose a large office could be run off a line-shaft with belts. :-)

As far as I could tell, the keyboard pushed a code into a row of bistable pins, then advanced the drum to the next row. Meanwhile, a "reader" of some sort walked around the drum, reading and clearing rows. From the (dim and dimly remmbered at this point) photo, there appeared to be maybe 50 rows of 7-10 (a guess, see below) pins, or maybe invertable springs, or wire-memory like used by Zuse used in Z-1 and Z-2.

---------------

You say a keyboard, do you mean the keyboard writes to the drum in a code like ASCII (or more appropriately Baudot)?

-------------

More likely a native representation of Morse. I know of three possibilities. the first is like some tape machines used, punching "on" and "off" holes and advancing a variable number of spaces depending on character length. This makes the reader/sender easy, but complicates the keyboard/punch. Another is to use 10 bits per character. The send-head close the keyer for each "mark" pin, then clears the pin. It stops when it has no more mark pins. The last (which I tend to use in Morse-sending code) is to send a dit for a zero and a dah for a one, except for the last bit, which is ignored, but allows 1000 (read right to left) to be ... (S) and 1111 to be --- (O), etc. There is a little more complexity in the read/send head, but you can store all common characters and digraphs to fit in 7 or 8 bits (pins), for more flexibility and fewer fiddly pins.

How's that for a digression? To further digress, in the same time-frame as that article, were usually advertisements foe Frederick Electronics, touting their Morse<->Baudot gateways. Electronic, but fascinating.

0
0
Mike 16

Re: You need to be thinking *phototypesetter,* not Linotype if you want to go that way.

> Linotype machines are not desk sized.

You clearly have never seen some of the desks on Mahogany Row. Besides, a good bit of the bulk is the melting pot and casting operation. Not to mention the expanding spaces. I think we can do without full justification.

> What you've missed about Linotype m/cs is they cope with unlimited copies by casting lead copies of the raw font forms.

Didn't actually miss that. Met my first Linotype in 1958 or so. Picked up a fresh slug. Anyway, my point ws that the basic ideas behind coded slugs and automated sorting would provide a way of storing the characters in a way that could be read back. Useful for operations like "delete character". I'm not sure how you propose to implement sceen-edit with a phototypsetter. Not to mention how you plan to develop each frame (Although there was a Vctorian-era camera with built-in developer. Sort of like a proto-Polaroid).

> Consider the proverbial 24 * 80 display.

My first non-printing display was more like 12x72, or even 8x40, but agreed, the matrix (or character) magazines would need to be large. OTOH:

> That's 1920 copies of any character to cover all the possibilities.

Well, a screen ful of AAAAAA would be a bit boring. and I suspect that the 48 characters typical of early (pre 1960 or so) Data Processing equipment would do for a character set. BTW: I've seen older books which substituted characters, possibly when the supply of, e.g. 'Q' ran out while setting a page. Not to mention the common use of lower-case l for numeral one, and occasionally upper-case O for numeral zero.Humans are adaptable.

0
0
Mike 16

Re: Linotype

"The tiles would have unique notches or teeth on the back, allowing the machine to read the text, and also sort the tiles back into the correct trays when they were deleted from the display."

Linotype matrices already have coded notches (albeit on the top) for precisely the purpose of sorting the them back into the magazine. 19th century tech FTW.

I agree that combining display with storage is a big win. As our host has mentioned, the hard part is the RAM. On that note, if anyone can help me find info on a keyboard driven Morse Keyer with FIFO buffer (to smooth out sending speed), purely mechanical, I'd appreciate it.

Please, no pointers to the punched-tape systems or machines implemented with PICs or PCs, or even the rash of surplus-electronics versions in the 1960s. This thing was briefly mentioned in QST in the 1960s or so, and seemed to have implemented the FIFO in some sort of drum, probably like a re-writeable pin-drum (ala music box). Very 1890s, or 1920s at the latest.

1
0
Mike 16

Re: Laserscan HRD-1

Interesting. Sounds similar to, but different in many details from, the Greyhawk Soft Plotter.

http://books.google.com/books?id=p68XfA0MHpoC&pg=PA226&lpg=PA226&dq=greyhawk+soft+plotter&source=bl&ots=yp4g-CtkOR&sig=wFSVM8DLD5HzeEJ3k8NY2lXzvKo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=r9ZtUvm4CcrkyAHGhIGwBA&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=greyhawk%20soft%20plotter&f=false

Sorry for the long URL that might get mangled in the forum, but its the first "natural" result for the three words I used (Greyhawk Soft Plotter). For those disinclined to wade through it, this used lasers and mirror galvanometers like the Laserscan, but "wrote" on an LCD which was then projected. For the "absolutely no electricty" crowd, well, yes, this use electricity for biasing the LCD. I think collimated limelight would sub for the lasers, though. Oh, and Mirror galvanometerss were IIRC, invented by Lord Kelvin back before he was Lord Kelvin, for use on the Transatlantic telegraph. Yeah, the one that was used to send a message from Queen Victorian to Franklin Pierce. To me, "Steampunk" at its best is, pretty much. "Victorian Tech". The whole "no electricity" thing smacks of the various hacks used to _technically_ avoid forbidden activities on the Sabbath. Or the air-driven routers used by Amish woodworkers (for carving wood, not hooking their air-driven tablets to air-driven internet)

0
0
Mike 16

Re: Note printers and punch cards were viable by the 1850s

"fluidic computers"

My father worked with some fluidic computers, albeit typically analog ones. He was an auto mechanic specializing in automatic transmissions.

You'd really want to run any steam-punk fluidics with oil or air, rather than actual steam. I shudder at the thought of designing a multi-layer logic block to account for pressure drop along the way due to condensation.

1
0

Page: