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* Posts by Dave 126

3885 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Fanbois, prepare to lose your sh*t as BRUSSELS KILLS IPHONE dock

Dave 126
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Re: Topping up the device's battery at the same time

Indeed. Nokia used to ship phones that had a miniUSB socket for data, couldn't be used for charging!

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Dave 126
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Re: Meh

>Meh - micro USB does the job, charges the phone. I don't need to spend five times as much for a stylish design that does the same job to make me feel smug.

Good for you. Now, spare a thought for anyone with poor eyesight and / or arthritis who finds microUSB a hassle.

I don't use Apple kit, but they've had two connectors in over ten years. This legislation is the result of the likes of Samsung never releasing two phones with the same connector. Apple were pre-emptive in this regard, the others had to be dragged kicking and screaming to accept not only a standard power connector, but even a standard 3.5mm headset jack - and even now they mess it up by using resistors of different values.

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COW a-BUNG HER, dude! 'Secret Santa' Bill Gates buys lass a HEIFER

Dave 126
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Re: Cows trump Rococo in my book.

And he isn't just giving his money away and crossing his fingers... The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation take business methods to their philanthropy to get the biggest 'bang for their buck', by looking at where their money can do the most good. Their resources are such that have looked at eradicating entire diseases and other large scale projects.

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Dave 126
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It's not only his own wealth

He's also teamed up with the like of Warren Buffet to persuade other multi-billionaires to give away large chunks of their personal fortunes... I think they use an argument along the lines of "What can you possibly spend it on anyway?"

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Macbook webcams CAN spy on you - and you simply CAN'T TELL

Dave 126
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Re: Yeah but it's a Mac

Some of them work in studios, so a scalpel, some tin foil and a wee touch of SprayMount will provide a very neat (though semi-permanent) solution.

Otherwise, this stuff http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/3-multi-purpose-magnetic-tape-19mm-x-5m-n77gb makes it very easy to make a opaque sliding mechanism.

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Feminist Software Foundation gets grumpy with GitHub … or does it?

Dave 126
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Re: Clarke was right

Maybe, but this is definitely a piss-take, and it has missed its target a bit. Basically, Arielle Schlesinger isn't the stereotype of a militant bra-burner, more the stereotype of someone neck deep in academia (though with some formal feminist vocabularly).

The problem is that she hasn't worded her idea very clearly, since she has used words and phrases that only make sense to someone with experience of both programming and social studies. It seems that her use of dense jargon stems from her trying to NOT pin down her (at this stage, rightly) fuzzy concept, because her post was merely a request for ideas and input - she has a whiff of a hunch, and has chosen to calmly smell the air instead of barking up the first tree she sees. Unfortunately, her attempt to not over-define her idea has largely served to narrow the range of people who understand her request.

She has since accepted this constructive criticism on her thread, and has promised to re-write her post soon for a broader audience.

That said, I'm not sure why she chose to use words like 'feminist' as a place-holder for the sort of yet-specified programming approaches she hopes to one-day demonstrate... its probably a result of her background and how she came to approach her idea, but to the uninitiated it can read as 'feminism = illogical'. I suspect that really she is trying to think about idea that human concepts and information are 'filtered' (by the act of programming) before computers will deal with them.

Nobody thought to instruct HAL "Don't kill any humans", since they didn't think it was necessary (though Susan Calvin* might). HAL only attempted to do what was 'asked' of 'him' to the best of 'his' abilities.

*Clarke gives her a mention in 3001: Final Odyssey, but in 2001 she was only 19 years old, so would have been unlikely to have contributed to that ill-fated mission to Jupiter.

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

Dave 126
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Re: I thought I'd seen it all...

>Also, Mac Pros aren't workstations, they don't have workstation level support from Apple outside the major centres in the USA. HP and Dell make real workstations with real certification and support.

That's not right. Workstation Certification is done by the software vendor; as an example, Solidworks Corp has certified specific machines from Boxx, Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo for use with their software under 64 bit Win 7.

It is almost a redundant phrase to speak of an Apple OSX machine as 'certified', since there aren't that many hardware combinations for the software vendors to test. The Mac Pro has ECC RAM, and in the event of it going tits up you just swap the machine out for a new one, copy an image across to it and then carry on chasing that deadline.

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Dave 126
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Re: Flash vs Utility

Well, if you asked a Formula One engineer to design an enclosure that has to cool some components as quietly as possible, they might look at the ionic discharge cooling we heard about some years ago: http://www.tessera.com/technologies/intellectualproperty/Pages/thermalmanagement.aspx But, after finding that this technology isn't suitable for their need at this time, they might then think to use convection to aid airflow.

Hot air rises. Putting things in its way reduces its flow. Big slow fans are quieter than than fast ones.

Performance is only a measure of how well something fulfils its role. Since the Mac Pro's role is to allow someone to work on AV production, power and quietness are central to its function.

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Dave 126
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Yeah, this convection design would be good for living room-based games console, - apart from the optical drive. of course.

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Dave 126
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Most of us are more familiar with bins, lozenges, cola cans, chimneys, or Bender from Futurama.

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Dave 126
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Re: I thought I'd seen it all...

>The music industry has been one of the last Stalwarts. This is in part because they are one of the last to have certain packages available ONLY to Apple, but also because well, how can I put this delicately? Musicians aren't in general best known for their IT literacy, and so as a rule of thumb, appreciate an OS that treats them like they don't know what they're doing.

- Firewire audio kit just works with Macs, with generic PCs you have to determine if you have a Via or TI Firewire chipset (one works, one doesn't)

- Macs are usually fairly quiet in use.

- OSX's CoreAudio behaves. Window's sound subsystem is a mess, and keeps trying to wrest control back from ASIO for no good reason.

- Wireless MIDI is baked into OSX and iOS out of the box.

True, you could build some special low-latency Linux box to do the same, but should it go tits-up good luck acquiring another one five minutes before you're due on stage.

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Dave 126
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Re: Rollaway

I think that is why they made it with a circular cross-section (as opposed to a triangle, rectangle or hexagon): It makes it clear that it is to be used only in the upright position.

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Dave 126
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Re: AMD FirePro

Apple wanted to get away from CUDA. Many of the 3rd party OSX applications that use acceleration have now implemented OpenCL support. This would appear to benefit the user in the long term, since both nVidia and AMD products work with OpenCL - they are not tied to nVidia. In the short term, Apple have used this as leverage to get these FirePro cards from AMD at a large discount.

The performance per watt depends on the task- in some scenarios AMD are better, in others nVidia has the lead.

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Dave 126
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Re: Ummm.... oookkaaayy

> but with that price tag there are going to be those that cannot afford the new shiny and the applecare

If you're spending that much on the machine, it will be because you are using it to make money- so you will either get Applecare or another contingency plan, since disappointing your clients will cost you dear.

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Dave 126
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Re: Ummm.... oookkaaayy

> but practical... I don't think so.

Well, the internal configuration would suggest a Tolberone shape, but then people might lay it on its side which would prevent cooling by convection. What shape would you prefer?

>So for an editor that has a few hard disks, possibly some sort of video input device you are looking at at least half a dozen wires up on the desk.

No you're not. One Thunderbolt cable to your displays, one to your storage and PCIe cards. The advantage is that you can take your $6000 RED card with your Macbook when you're working in the field, or swap it between workstations depending on workflow.

>But all they are doing is making a bespoke form factor that makes upgrading even more impossible then before

Ugh? It was very easy before- the old Mac Pro was renowned for it. Now it is just a case of swapping a cable.

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HALF of all Bitcoin-investing Winklevoss twins predict $400bn market for the currency

Dave 126
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Re: a crypto christmas

It is the volatility that is harming Bitcoin's adoption as a convenient method of payment. Would you spend bitcoins to buy a new laptop, if the value of the bitcoins might double tomorrow? And would a vendor want to accept bitcoins as payment for some goods, if there is a chance the value drops sharply the next day?

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Xiaomi taps the HYPEGEIST with 10 pence DIY Wi-Fi router

Dave 126
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Re: the closest thing to Apple one can find beyond Cupertino. ®

Have you seen their other offerings?

Their MIUI version of Android looks to be genuinely well thought through:

http://en.miui.com/features.php

But yeah, their stated business model is to sell hardware at close to cost, and make profit by selling services on top of it - a model that is closer Amazon's than Apple's.

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No anon pr0n for you: BT's network-level 'smut' filters will catch proxy servers too

Dave 126
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Re: Censorship is alive and well in Britian

How the hell can I watch The Daily Show now?

Re politics, this week's Have I Got News for You made a reference to Ed Balls throwing a hissy fit in the House of Commons, but they couldn't show it. British broadcasters are not allowed to show clips from the House of Commons for satire purposes... John Stewart on The Daily Show is.

If Channel 4 actually broadcast it, I could understand, but they don't and yet the UK residents can't watch it on-line without a proxy.

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Bluetooth Smart dev board hits US, UK for sub-$100

Dave 126
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Re: As opposed to an Arduino sheild at <£20

This kit includes CSR's xIDE development environment on a disc - it is this that requires Windows, not the actual hardware.

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Station to station: Ten DAB-Bluetooth combo radios

Dave 126
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Re: Question time

Because the circuitry has to do loads of things, things that have long names. From Wikipedia:

"the technologies used on DAB inhabit the following layers: the audio codec inhabits the presentation layer. Below that is the data link layer, in charge of packet mode statistical multiplexing and frame synchronization. Finally, the physical layer contains the error-correction coding, OFDM modulation, and dealing with the over-the-air transmission and reception of data. "

Basically, there is just much more going on than in an FM receiver.

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Dave 126
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Re: Seems a tad odd

Once you get up the first steep hill, it's (on average) a gentle downhill to London all the way. : D

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Dave 126
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Re: Who needs presets on a DAB radio?

I use them, albeit in a car where scrolling through a list of stations isn't a good idea - being able to switch between a few favourite stations without taking your eyes from the road is an essential feature.

A good number of televisions allow you to either edit the channel list, or to create a list of favourite channels - why would you want to scroll between all the QVC shopping-type channels just to get from the entertainment channels to the news channels? DAB is much the same - you may find yourself mostly listening to just a handful of the available channels, in accordance with the Pareto '80/20' principle.

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Dave 126
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Re: Seems a tad odd

I'm normally at the forefront of expressing disdain for DAB... or at rather championing the importance of a reliable, low tech, battery efficient and widely received standard such as FM. I still stand by that.

That said, I've been using a second hand Pure Highway (a neat DAB to FM transmitter, or in my case Aux-out to my car stereo) these last few weeks. It is nice when it works, but in too many places it just does't. A run down to London was fine, but the M4 and M5 near Bristol was a gurgly mess, let alone amongst the hills and valleys near me. Still, for £6 I don't mind, and I can fall back on a loaded SD card or stream from my phone.

I almost took it to France last weekend, but it won't receive DAB+ without a software upgrade, which requires a serial number that is strangely missing, and the use of an Australian proxy server (since otherwise Pure ask you to pay the license fees for the AAC codec)

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Dave 126
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Dock prices

Speaker docks have always seemed expensive compared to, for example, a Cambridge Audio amp and a pair of Wharfedale Diamond speakers. On an even smaller budget, good speakers from a charity shop (£5-£20) paired to a Tripath amp (£20-£40 new) will produce a very solid sound.

Some clever so-and-so has created a little rechargeable Class-D amp with Bluetooth, designed to give a new lease of life to older loudspeakers:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1238747394/the-vamp-bring-back-the-sound

Hopefully the MKII will bring stereo, but I don't know how easy that is to keep in phase over Bluetooth, if each channel is received by a different unit.

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Analogue radio will CONTINUE in Blighty as Minister of Fun dodges D-Day death sentence

Dave 126
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>DId someone turn the power down on all those FM transmitters?

Yeah, I sometimes get that feeling... the car tuner doesn't seem to pick up Radio 4 when scanning, though I can manually tune to it no problem. I now have it across a few presets, to cover its frequency where I live, and areas North and South of me.

The tuner will automatically tune to music stations no problem.

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Dave 126
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Re: Yes, make Radio 1 DAB

>Radio 2 you can leave alone please

You could change its jingle to something less nauseating, and axe Jeremy Vine - we don't need three hour listener polls about, for example, whether it's okay to hog the middle lane of the motorway (it isn't, don't do it, it's not up for discussion).

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Apple iWatch due in October 2014, to wirelessly charge from one metre away – report

Dave 126
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Re: Magnetic fields just sound questionable

>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antimagnetic_watch

That said, I do wonder ho many Rolex Milgaus are sold to people who just want to look like they are a physicist, in the same way Rolex Submariners are sold to people who just want to look like they are divers, Heuer Monacos to people who want to look like racing car drivers, Omega Speedmasters to would-be astronauts etc.

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Dave 126
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Re: Efficiency?

Even if were only 50 or even 25% efficient, it would still be a piffling amount of energy compared to running a PC or television, let alone lighting and heating.

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Dave 126
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Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

>Now if I could have a Thunderbirds video watch (remember them?

Vaguely... though I suspect I saw it on the Peter Cook and Dudley Moore Thunderbirds spoof in 'Not Only But Also...' It looked a bit like the Holly Wristwatch from Red Dwarf, IIRC (now that was a smartwatch - it had an IQ of 6000!)

Searching Google for Thunderbirds Watch just returns pictures of Rolexes customised in celebration of a USAF outfit.

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Dave 126
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Re: Not convinced

The credit card would have to resonate with the coil... a bit like how an opera singer can shatter a wine glass, but not a beer bottle or spectacle lenses.

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Dave 126
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Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

>Right, so I cannot believe Apple are going that route, I mean, Samsung have made idiots out of themselves with their sCrapWatch, why would Apple follow [?]

There were mobile phones before the iPhone, and MP3 players before the iPod.

The iPhone is an interesting case, since it is telling what Apple left out - 3G. If they had included 3G, the battery wouldn't have lasted long enough to be practical, and bad press would have followed. This was mitigated by having an app to fetch, for example, train times, which more data-efficient than having the user hunt down the same information on a browser.

Samsung's smartwatch has taken the 'throw everything in it' approach - it can even run normal Android apps -but it doesn't really know what it is for. Apple are likely to focus in on a few core applications - simple alerts and media remote control, perhaps - and then expand the capabilities over time as improved chips and batteries allow it.

Oh, and a geek watch doesn't have to look like a geek watch. Tissot make a model with thermometer, compass and barometer which is indistinguishable from a a normal 3-hand wristwatch; touching the face at 12, 3, 6,or 9 causes the hands to display that information instead of the time.

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Dave 126
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Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

>Who in their right mind wears watches^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hchronographs these days ?

People who don't want to fumble in their pockets every time they wish to know the time.

People who wish to turn their phones off, from time to time.

People at work who need to time an operation, but don't want a manager to think they're texting their friends - or reading The Reg.

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Dave 126
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Re: One meter charging is a bit more useful

>If your keyboard could act as a charger

The Reg reported on an Apple patent about a year ago for magnetic charging, including daisy chaining and a way of switching between which device to charge first (i.e prioritise a phone over a mouse or keyboard).

The Reg has also reported on Apple patents for a micro-deflection control surface that looks like aluminium, but can be used as a display thanks to tiny perforations.

Add to that their investment in sapphire manufacturing, and the ingredients for a smart watch are coming into focus.

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Dave 126
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Re: When I were a lad ...

You can still buy wristwatches with tritium markers, but the tritium is usually contained in tiny glass vials on the hands and hour markers. The half-life of tritium is such that your grandfather could read the watch in the dark, but you probably can't. In addition, the radiation degrades the phosphorescent material into dust, which isn't good for the watch mechanism, or for anyone who services it without a fume cabinet.

T Swiss Made T

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Twitterers rally round #CensoredUK - to demand MORE PORN

Dave 126
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>There is enough of that available, the market is pretty limited though as no one wants to watch it

I know it is available, but teenage kiddies don't watch it *because* of the easy availability of the more extreme stuff - it's all jumbled together on the same sites. If you are going to put a barrier -which teenagers can always get around if they put their minds to it - between the teenager and the extreme stuff, they are less likely to do so if nicer stuff is easy to watch. A teenage boy doesn't need much visual stimulation to get himself off- the extreme pr0n is just overkill.

An analogous concept would be the idea allowing children to drink wine with meals and supervision from 12 years, allow them to buy beer at 16, but not allow them to buy spirits until they are 18.

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Dave 126
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>How are kids going to find out about sex? I learned nothing in school and had to go to the internet to 'learn' >about it. #CensoredUK — Laim McKenzie (@LaimMcKenzie) December 12, 2013

He has a point, of sorts...why not make nicer pr0n, that is shows both parties with respect, more easily accessible to adolescents than the more extreme stuff? It would be the bait to which could be attached positive messages about social interaction and sex education.

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El Reg's contraptions confessional no.3: the Apple G4 Cube

Dave 126
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Re: Not just beautiful, quiet too

Well, the silent machine I was referring to above used a CPU cooler made from 1kg of copper, housed in a roomy full-sized tower with mesh sides and top. We used an i7 3770S (rated 65W) as opposed to the more overclockable 3770 K (95W) variant. Silent it is, compact it isn't!

However, these days a lot of tasks (video playback, web browsing etc) can be done with much cooler chips - either with different architectures such as ARM, or with smaller silicon processes.

My laptop has been up to 101ºC, and after that I decided that balancing the thing on books with a 12" desk fan aimed at its underside was too much effort just to play a game or two!

The other solution of course is to house a hot, noisy and fast computer in a different room and use it remotely.

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Dave 126
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Agreed, HDMI is handy, and the issue of having a snakes' nest between the computer and the desk has been mitigated by different means theses day - i.e all-in-one PCs, ganged cables and wireless mice and keyboards.

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Dave 126
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Re: The *other* G4 Cube feature

>Vendor lock-in may be a feature but it still isn't one to encourage.

True, but then I didn't see any standards organisations, or consortia of companies, even trying to create something similar. And hey, I made a point of praising the concept, not the implementation.

I am looking at a wired remote control unit for a Sharp Minidisc player, circa 1999. It has a 3.5 mm tip ring ring sleeve jack, flanked on either side by two more contacts. The unit mirrored the complete player display, and most of its controls, via three toggle switches (the equivalent of nine buttons) plus a lock button. AIWA and Sony had their own way of doing the same at the time. Almost a decade and half later, three is still no standard for a wired remote control headset.

The closest that you can get (other than Bluetooth solutions which come with the faff of charging up yet another device), available from a wide range of manufactures (from B&W to Sennheiser) and from any highstreet or supermarket, is Apple's - be it a headset or a speaker dock. You might have have thought that the Open Handset Alliance, or even Google, might have taken a lead on this, but no. Hell, they quite happily never used twice the same power connector until the EU kicked them. There are even Android handset vendors such as Sony and Samsung making speaker docks for iPhones, but not for their own handsets.

The issue is that there isn't the monetary incentive for consortia to design really nice solutions (there is no competitive advantage if your rivals are using the same), so they tend to settle on 'good enough'.

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Dave 126
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Re: Rounded corners

>Is that where they first produced something with rounded corners?

No, it wasn't.

1984's Mac desktop featured rounded corners.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Apple_Macintosh_Desktop.png

In fact, anything that is moulded tends not to have sharp 90º corners- it's hard to get the molten material to flow into the corners.

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Dave 126
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The *other* G4 Cube feature

The Cube also had a cable between itself and the monitor, carrying power, video, and USB.

It's a wonderfully simple concept (Even a PHB might cry "Who will rid me of this effing snakes' nest behind my desk?!"), but the limitations of the implementation (its 100W wasn't enough for CRTs or bigger LCD monitors at the time, including the 30" Apple Cinema Display) meant Apple had to abandon it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Display_Connector

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Dave 126
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Re: Not just beautiful, quiet too

It is! Actually, it's a bit disconcerting at first, turning on a computer without the usual whirs, clicks and whooshes. There are totally silent passive CPU coolers available these days, good for up to 95W TDP chips. Combined with SSDs and fanless power supplies, a silent machine is achievable.

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Dave 126
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Re: Time they bought it back

>Apple should have solved the problems they had with it, and refined it,

The question is simple: How do you stop a PHB from placing papers and coffee cups on top of it?

I consider the new Mac Pro to be that refinement of the original Cube concept.

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Snowden latest: NSA stalks the human race using Google, ad cookies

Dave 126
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Re: Fuck Off!

>Running a Live Linux boot CD/DVD is slow and painful.

Well, there is no reason you can't install Linux on a HDD, make an image of it in it's clean state, and then restore that image prior to each session (shouldn't take long on SSDs, and you could use a USB-booted environment to automate the process at each boot. After each session, make a few random writes to the HDD. I don't know too much about Linux, but I was under the impression that you can put its swap files where you want - onto volatile storage, for example.

This is just a top-of-head idea. I'm sure more thought-through ideas exist.

You could look into http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tin_Hat_Linux as well.

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Dave 126
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Re: At this point, Snowden could reveal that the NSA is run by alien lizards..

There is precedent: The philosopher and drug dealer Howard Marks was asked, after the publication of his autobiography,how a man who smoked so much dope was able to remember the dates and general chronology of his life. He said that since the US authorities had been watching him for years, he simply made a Freedom of Information request, and received back the skeleton of his life story.

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Ballmer: 'We made more money than almost anybody on the PLANET'

Dave 126
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Re: BALLMER: 'WE MADE MORE MONEY THAN ALMOST ANYBODY ON THE PLANET'

>MS have a history of releasing unfinished products which the masses have rushed in sheep like droves to buy.

Like sheep? Er, People and businesses bought new computers, and those computers came with Windows. That the software they used, office suites, accountancy packages, DTP, CAD and games ran on Windows, was important too. Those are real people you choose to patronise, using computers for tasks related to their job or business, or for entertainment. That doesn't make them sheep.

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Ghosts of Christmas Past: Ten tech treats from yesteryear

Dave 126
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And had you got the Atari, you might now be a music studio engineer... : D

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Dave 126
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Re: Handspring Visor Deluxe

> but this whole iMac design was one of the worst things to face the face of earth

Before the iMac was the Newton-based Apple eMate, which was a dark green translucent plastic. Around the same time, mid nineties, I had the limited edition Gravis joystick (transparent plastic instead of the usual black).

I don't mind the look of the original iMac myself (especially when generic PCs often had sculpted curvey beige plastic fascias for no good reason), but I couldn't stand the raft of cheap tat that blindly copied its blue translucent styling (but never got the colour correct). Another influence was that in the late nineties, CAD was mature enough to make curvey products much easier to design and engineer. The resulting design fashion was known as 'blobtech' at the time.

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Dave 126
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Re: Which reminds me of the various early 80s scanned argos catalogues...

Yep, I did the same with Argos catalogues as a kid, the toy section, the computer section and the Casio watch section especially. I don't have any kicking around, but I do have a 1983 Hamleys catalogue on my shelf... Sord M5 Computer, an MSX clone, Parker video games, Vectrex, Spectrum, a few others too. Notably, all the computers in the catalogue are cheaper than the dedicated Chess board computers.

Someone, not me, has kindly scanned it. Start at the first image and click 'next' a few times: (Facebook link)

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=286058214747254&set=a.286052674747808.73189.273368722682870&type=3&theater

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Dave 126
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Re: Never mind Big Trak

I saw a Computacar in a charity shop a few weeks back, took a picture of the box and then promptly forgot about it until now!

The punched card is a old technology of course, my friend has a pianola with some Fats Waller rolls. A fascinating use of punched paper was in torpedos... two rolls, one in the torpedo, one in the controlling station, were used to switch the frequency controlling torpedo so that the enemy couldn't take control of it after it was deployed.

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