* Posts by Herby

2931 posts • joined 14 Dec 2007

User jams up PC. Literally. No, we don't know which flavour

Herby Silver badge

On where power buttons are...

On the nice Mac All-in-one (really nice by the way) the power button is nicely hidden on the BACK of the one piece display/CPU/etc. When I first started, I had to ask where it was as it is not even visible from the front of the machine. Luckily I did that before the person showing me the office had walked out the door. Said button is nicely disguised and hard to see unless you are looking directly at the back of the machine, which is difficult when it is close to a wall.

Oh, well...

Do you use .home and .mail on your network? ICANN mulls .corp, .mail, .home dot-word domains

Herby Silver badge

Things like 'lan' for names...

In a company I worked for (was a two letter company, but is now three letters), some of the examples were specified as "private.lan.com" which is all nice until you realize that the state airline of Chile is (wait for it) LAN airlines, and they own "lan.com". I attempted to point this out, but to no avail.

Oh, well!

In the end, I suspect that ANY suitable name, or letter combination will be used somewhere. I long for the days when ".org" was non-profits, ".net" wasn't a Microsoft thing but someone who ran a big interconnecting network, and ".com" were ACTUAL commercial businesses (and registration was "free"). Days long gone by (*SIGH*).

This is where UK's Navy will park its 65,000-tonne aircraft carriers

Herby Silver badge

50Hz vs. 60 Hz

Maybe this is a precursor to the whole island going 60Hz. You know Brexit and all that.

I've often wondered how difficult it would be, the generators needing to go 20% faster and all that. Not much is totally dependent on 50Hz, other than some clocks.

Pennsylvania sues IBM for fraud over $170m IT upgrade shambles

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Changing requirements...

Probably contributed to the problem. Most likely on both ends of the contract. The original specifiers had no knowledge of the scope of the project, and as careers go, people came and went. High priced consultants (on both sides) came up with the "right way" of doing things, and it went downhill after that.

Sounds like there were a LOT of cooks making this broth, and spoiled it as they went. Everyone trying to protect their little fiefdom created over many years.

Typical government...

Get it while it's hot: NASA's Space Poo contest winners wipe up $30k

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Toilets in space...

I am reminded of a talk given by Pete Conrad (3rd man on the moon) about adventures in Skylab (he was on the first crew). He had all sorts of hints on how to handle the toilet in space. One comment was to put some motion on before anything "detached" so it wouldn't float away, but rather enter the receptacle. It was a hint passed to others who later went to Skylab. For some reason the vacuum wasn't enough.

I don't know what the current state of the art is now.

Herby Silver badge

Where is Howard in all of this?

Experimenting with analogs made from his mother's meatloaf.

Hopefully it doesn't get stuck to the ceiling!

User lubed PC with butter, because pressing a button didn't work

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Re: I'm an Excel abuser

"...sudoku-solving spreadsheet..."

This I want to see. It ought to be VERY interesting. I wonder if it works in LibreOffice Calc as well.

Silicon Valley bites back via Europe’s copyright reform

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Just the BEST legislation...

money can buy.

Enough said.

I am reminded that legislation is like sausage, you may like the final product, but you don't want to know what goes into it.

Oh my God, 911 is down. Quick, call… aaargh!

Herby Silver badge

Re: 911?

Yup... 9.7% tax. Just about right. Sorry no tip included.

Police raid India call centre, detain 500 in fraud probe

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I've always wondered...

What happens if you call the IRS scammers and ask for "Technical support for Windows computers"?

That might be an interesting call. Of course the opposite (Calling the tech support bozos and asking for the IRS) might be just as funny.

I'll await the you-tube recording.

Windows Server ported to Qualcomm's ARM server chip. Repeat, Windows Server ported to ARM server chip

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Genetic Diversity...

Is always welcome.

It might be interesting if an ARM CPU chip just plugged into a motherboard to change it. I suspect it could be difficult, but it could be done. Just have a way of switching the BIOS from one ISA to another (which half of the chip would you like today?).

Now if they would make a 68000 speedy chip that would do the same...... (*SIGH*).

Watt the f... Dim smart meters caught simply making up readings

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On meters for electricity...

Having been in the business of just that (just before "smart" meters appeared on the scene), There are lots of things some people might not understand. Those rotating dial meters that frequented homes for the last century are pretty accurate. While it HAS taken a while, over time they have become better at their job. The first "smart" meters (I had one) that had separate registers for various times of day, were simple detectors of the rotation of the disc that was driven by voltage on one side, and current on the other. So, if the mechanical meter was "wrong" (or "right") it would continue to be, it just was counted a bit differently.

The typical meter on the side of a house (here in the USA) was a "Class 200" one that was good up to 200 amps at 240 volts (we commonly use a center tap to get to 120 volts). The relevant standard of accuracy (ANSI C-12, if you want to look it up) was to have 1% accuracy at 1% of full scale, so you needed ti be accurate at about 20ma of current, which isn't that much.

What made things more fun was that if you want higher currents in your house (are you powering a VAX??) you could ask for more and bigger conductors and a higher class meter were put in place. These higher class meters typically used current transformers to take the max (say 320 amps) down to something more reasonable (like 3.2 amps) in a 100:1 ratio coil. The fun begins when said current transformer gets a DC current impressed upon it and saturates. A simple way of doing this is to have a nice fat diode in series with a space heater, and you turn it on, and watch the meter come to a screeching halt. I suspect that the metering method that needs to integrate to get the current signal will have the same problem, but can be fooled wither way. A large spike in the wrong direction for a brief instant (very easily done with a spark or three) will really foul things up.

Metering electricity is pretty tricky, and can be subject to all sorts of ailments. One old trick was to squirt sugar water near the meter and wait for ants to get into the inside of the meter and foul up the spinning wheel (it doesn't take much!). This was solved when insecticide was put inside the breathing hold cloth spacer to thwart such things. So, people can become VERY inventive when it comes to absconding with power, and sometimes to just doesn't work out. You need to test for LOTS of possibilities. Any metering company that hasn't is asking for trouble!

User rats out IT team for playing games at work, gets them all fired

Herby Silver badge

I'm surprised...

That nobody has mentioned BOFH in any of the comments. I'm not sure what Simon would have done, but together with PFY the team would have said "boss" down an elevator shaft or out a window somewhere...

On the other hand, is reading ElReg "time wasting". I guess it depends on how much you really do of it. Then again, I didn't get the silver badge for being lax in that department...

Uber loses court fight over London drivers' English language tests

Herby Silver badge

Se Habla...


I'm in California, and this happens quite frequently. Good thing I did take Español in high school, but that was a few (God I'm getting old) years ago. You should see the languages the driving test is given in here, it would surprise you. At least they don't give it in Klingon (yet).

Google's troll-destroying AI can't cope with typos

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I'm just happy that...

El Reg doesn't have such filters on stories or comments.

I suspect that there are subjects that get 80%-90% ratings in either comments or the stories.

Of course :-) I would never get such a score.........

Trolls?? Nah, wouldn't happen here :-).

Passport and binary tree code, please: CompSci quizzes at US border just business as usual

Herby Silver badge

Pretty simple, actually...

$man qsort

Pretty simple if you ask me. If you want more, pass through the hand coin of the realm.

$310m AWS S3-izure: Why everyone put their eggs in one region

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The pricing of various amounts of storage being different for differing regions is a bit silly. It is similar to stock exchanges that quote different prices for the same stock (make $$$ fast).

The price of $.025/Gb/Month turns into profit quite quickly compared to available disks these days. I can easily purchase a 3Tb drive for around $90 locally (off the shelf), and if I price it on a per Gb basis it turns out to be about $0.03/Gb. I can't believe that it costs that much to keep it spinning, so there is a BUNCH of profit in the pricing.

It all comes down to: If you want to have people keep their eggs in different baskets, you better price the baskets the same, or you will overload one of the baskets. Simple logic.

Then again, maybe Amazon wants a single point of failure, who knows.

Amazon S3-izure cause: Half the web vanished because an AWS bod fat-fingered a command

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To err is human...

...to really foul things up requires a computer.

To guarantee a mess put a human in charge of said computer. Enough said.

Fat fingers win every time as in "I only changed one card line"...

I'm showing my age...

Two-thirds of TV Licensing prosecutions at one London court targeted women

Herby Silver badge

fees and the like...

Well, here in the good 'ol USA somethings have fees. In my case I have a nice XM (satellite) radio, and I pay a nice fee on a quarterly basis. I gave them my receiver number (a 32 bit hex encoded thingy), and they let my receiver work. If they didn't receive the $$$ (I turned off the credit card, or some such), I suspect that my nice radio (I listen to a '60s radio channel) would go silent.

It is a wonder that the beeb didn't have this for TVs and license fees. It would have eliminated all sorts of problems, and enforcement stuff.

Yes, some most american TV is a wasteland. In one hour we only get 45 minutes of actual TV worth viewing, but it does pay the bills. My wife likes her TiVo so she can skip the nasty stuff at high speed. Then again, every once in a while (it is rare!) an advert is amusing, or (shudder) informative. Life goes on.

Prisoners' 'innovative' anti-IMSI catcher defence was ... er, tinfoil

Herby Silver badge

A solution??

Give the inmates Galaxy 7's and let nature take its course. Sounds like a plan to me!

I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned this yet!

No, jammers aren't the solution. Just put a nice loud cell site in the prison and let it do location finding on the cell phones. Shunt the ones INSIDE to a nasty recording. Seems very doable to me.

One IP address, multiple SSL sites? Beating the great IPv4 squeeze

Herby Silver badge

chmod 0755 or similar...

It really should be chmod a+x and none of this octal crud. Get with the program!

Jesse Jackson to Apple CEO Cook: Hire black

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Thumb Up

Re: Kook Jesse Jackson

It is too bad I can't do more than one upvote!

Germany, France lobby hard for terror-busting encryption backdoors – Europe seems to agree

Herby Silver badge

Godwins law, revised (as it relates to part of this discussion)


Seems proper given the current political climate.

I await thumbs up. :-)

81's 99 in 17: Still a lotta love for the TI‑99/4A – TI's forgotten classic

Herby Silver badge

Tried to compete with...

The Radio Shack Color Computer ("CoCo") and really didn't do a reasonable job.

The CoCo had a reasonable version of Basic when powered on, and could be purchased with a reasonable amount of memory (16k was available) off the shelf. It had a bunch of cartridges thad actually DID things you wanted to do (you could even get a spreadsheet one), and the whole thing was priced pretty reasonably. The CoCo even went through a couple of upgrades along the way. If you were really adventurous you could get OS-9 (cut down Unix "-ish") to work with floppy disks.

Me? I bought a 4k model that lasted at 4k for about 1 hour after I opened up the box. I upgraded it to 32k before the day was done. Somewhere I still have the box buried somewhere, and it is at 64k bytes. The 6809 processor was a pretty good 8 bit CPU (probably the best overall!).

Fun times.

Different judge, different verdict? Diageo's £54m SAP legal slap could have gone another way

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Shakespeare was right...

In other news, one should only agree to contracts that exist on fewer than (I'm guessing here) 5 pages. If it is any more than that, give up and ask for a re-write.

I'm sure that the contract mentioned was WAY more than 5 pages, and equally confusing.

In addition, my understand of contract law (here in the USA) is that ambiguities favor the one who DIDN'T write the contract. I'm sure that Sheldon's roommate agreement is equally as complicated as a SAP contract, and equally confusing to all involved.

Ah, the Raspberry Pi 3. So much love. So much power ... So turn it into a Windows thin client

Herby Silver badge

Re: Why?

Look at the founder: He previously founded E-machines.

Good luck with that!

Get this: Tech industry thinks journos are too mean. TOO MEAN?!

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Thumb Up

Keep up the good work!

Have a beer for turning a profit, and making us all a little bit more attentive.

May PHBs get scared!! Go (BOFH) Simon!

Oh happy day! Linus Torvalds has given the world Linux 4.10

Herby Silver badge

With new releases...

I wish that they would put up on a site (kernel.org?) a nice 3 page treatise that explains the "highlights" of the release, in somewhat general terms. Sure there is lots of detail in the commit logs, but a digest would be nice.

Then we could all get our heads around why release 4.xxx is the one to have (or not).

I know, wishful thinking (*SIGH*).

A webcam is not so much a leering eye as the barrel of a gun

Herby Silver badge


A nice physical switch should be right next to all web cams as a matter of course. Of course some vendor will just make the switch a digital input that tells the computer to disable the camera, but at least it would be a switch.

Ideally it would make the light next to the camera go green. When the camera is "activated" the tally light would go red, of course. Maybe a manufacturer is listening, but I have doubts.

'We need a new Geneva Convention to protect all citizens from snoops'

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Wikileaks of its day...

Look the _New York Times_ still is!

Roses are red, you're feeling blue, 'cos no one wants to watch VR telly with you

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It's all blurry to me...

Look I've got presbyopia, and things that close just DON'T FOCUS. So unless they get a re-focusing program that pre-distorts the image, it just won't work for me.

So, enjoy it while you can. Of course it has been observed that those who spend a good chunk of their life doing "up close" things don't focus on distant things as well as those who take a while and enjoy the scenery, so I can recommend it for those either.

Good luck!

Bruce Schneier: The US government is coming for YOUR code, techies

Herby Silver badge

Colossus, the Forbin project...

Enough said...

My opinion: The movie was terrible, they destroyed lots of perfectly good 1620 front panels!

The Register's guide to protecting your data when visiting the US

Herby Silver badge

Absolute power...

Corrupts Absolutely.

The problem is that the CBP agents aren't given enough training and are "just following the manual" when they visit upon you their terrible wrath. You see, in order to be "fair" they need to treat everyone "alike" and the manual makes no leeway for anything. I have been wanting to build up a nice wooden mock-up of an iPhone with a proper picture on it, just to see what they think of it. You can easily put it in one of the non-skid sleeves (I have one on my phone now) and it would be very convincing to show. They would have a terrible time trying to get it it open up. I would love to see their faces when they try to make a forensic copy.

Of course I am an American citizen and haven't had much a problem entering the USA even when I came back in December of 2001. That was a nice flight, as there weren't too many people on it at the time. Life goes on, and I do hope that CBP gets some common sense and understands the minutia of digital devices. If you really want to smuggle things in, a 64Gbyte micro SD card is pretty easy to conceal these days. You could put it under a postage stamp quite easily, and not be detected.

Of course, does CBP look at posts to ElReg to find out if I should be "inspected"? Time will tell.

Roses are red, violets are blue, fake-news-detecting AI is fake news, too

Herby Silver badge

Artificial intelligence isn't.

Enough said.

As for news stories being fake/real (or whatever category they want to be put into), I'll vote for "fake" until proven otherwise. So, take everything with a grain of salt.

Oh, the things Vim could teach Silicon Valley's code slingers

Herby Silver badge


Now that you young whippersnappers are off the lawn, I can go back and remember when "text editing" was an 029 keypunch and a deck of cards. You could even do a "cut and paste" if you wanted to.

Than again I'm an old geezer in some regards.

In those days lower case was for wimps. I also remember the commercials on TV about "working with your hands and not getting your fingernails dirty". That was someone who never replaced a keypunch ribbon.

We've come a long way. I prefer something like 'EDT' (I used it on a pdp-11 running RSX), and one of these days EMACS will get a text editor, I'm told.

Guilty! Four blokes conned banks in £160m fibre broadband scam

Herby Silver badge

Two words...

Equity Funding.

As the saying goes: "To err is human, to really foul things up requires a computer."

Conviction by computer is go, confirms UK Ministry of Justice

Herby Silver badge

What could possibly go wrong.....

Kumputers is Perfekt.

That slamming noise is of the jail door being shut behind you.

NASA's Curiosity puts cat among the climate pigeons: Lack of CO2 sinks water theory

Herby Silver badge

All this means...

That climate "science" is NOT easy. To simplify it to small arguments and attempt to fit models to your way of thinking just doesn't work. A couple of months ago, I watched a video that purported to have THE solution to making $$$ in the stock market. It was "back tested" and that insured it worked. The problem is that it is very difficult to "forward test" models since they are changed to accommodate the changes observed. Wild predictions of any type based on the past just don't work, they have error bands. You can see it in the way hurricane tracks are shown. The band of prediction becomes wider for each passing day. When was the last time weather predictions were 100% accurate. They come close, but will they tell me that at 3:25pm the rain will start? I have doubts.

Like "rocket science" predictions of climate are difficult, and anyone who says different is just fooling everyone. Take some with a grain of salt, and look at predictions of 5 years ago, and see how they came out.


Intel's Atom C2000 chips are bricking products – and it's not just Cisco hit

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So when do I short CSCO/INTC stock??

Given that this seems to happen after 18 months, one might want to calculate the time of first failure, and watch the stock go down. It could get interesting.

Of course, one wonders WHY the failure manifests itself after 18 months. Is there some flash component that gets used to determine elapsed time? We know the symptoms of the failure, but not the actual root cause (other than a bad chip design (DUH!).

In any event, not an easy re-work. BGAs are almost impossible, Surface mounts can probably be done in the field, but I wouldn't. Time will tell how this is handled (good, bad, terrible).

Me? No, I don't own any INTC/CSCO stock.

Vizio coughs up $2.2m after its smart TVs spied on millions of families

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Where does the fine go??

To the government, of course. Do any owners of Visio TVs get a penny? Nope!

Typical government. They get the $$$ and the "injured" get zilch! Maybe I should copyright my personal information, so I can charge a fee!

Trump's immigration clampdown has Silicon Valley techies fearing for their house prices

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What? Me Worry??

Not a bit. Having lived in silly con valley all my life (excepting a 9 month tour of a school in Concord NH), I find it amazing. Housing prices have gone all over the map.

The most recent escapade is the house I bought in 1984 for about $180k, is now appraised at $1.1M (I just finished a re-fi!). I just wonder how the rest of the country gets along with prices like that. For the cost of the house here on a small lot (about 1/10 acre or so), you can get a BIG SPREAD elsewhere in the country, even more if it isn't on a coastal state.

Thankfully I haven't moved out of the area, because if I had, I wouldn't be able to move back!

Life goes on (*SIGH*)

BOFH: Password HELL. For you, mate, not for me

Herby Silver badge

Fun with phone calls...

Mine was wonderful. A friend of mine died a couple of years ago, and I took over his cell phone number because we had some contacts in common (I used Magic Jack). He had LOTS of debt (including to me), and I wanted to be in the loop. A couple of weeks ago, I got a call from a debt collector (surprise!) and I played along, he asked me what I was going to do about the debt of some minor amount (in relation to mine which was a few orders of magnitude larger). I told the guy I wasn't going to do anything. He then started out with all sorts of legal jumble and giving me a bad time. I really didn't care, he was much farther back in the (debt) line than I was. He ended up quite flustered, and it felt good for me. It was truly a BOFH phone call.

Another time a collection agency tried to collect on an older debt (over 5 years old) and when I asked for the date of the debt, he said the older date, and I replied "Good luck with that!". He hung up pretty quickly.

Every BOFH in training should take it upon themselves to waste AS MUCH TIME as possible for the guy on the other end. This makes their "profit" per man hour go down, and thwarts their business model.

Satire? I don't think so!

Careless Licking gets a nasty infection: County stiffed by ransomware

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Maybe they will get serious...

About the malware and its perpetrators and actually go after them. Last I heard extortion was illegal.

Maybe it needs to infect a government agency, say the FBI or some such.

Happy birthday: Jimbo Wales' sweet 16 Wikipedia fails

Herby Silver badge


Maybe Wikipedia is a hoax for all this time. You never know!

Broadband internet in New York is so garbage, the state's suing Charter

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Reason for lawsuit??

Perhaps the data rate in Trump Tower was a bit off. You never know....

GitLab.com melts down after wrong directory deleted, backups fail

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Option for 'ls'??

Maybe if invoked as root (maybe any user?) and arguments are '-rf' it should count the number of files it might delete, and say:

Wow over 1000 files, are you sure?

Me? Typically I do it without the 'f' option and see how it progresses, then abort and re-do with the added '-f' option as needed. I get very careful with recursive descents (with good reason!).

Herby Silver badge

Re: Hindsight is a wonderful thing

Yes, it is, but sometimes you need to understand the risks of doing too much.

Sometimes you need to just rely on your design, and after proving you have made it as good as possible, let it go. One example of this is the ascent stage of the lunar lander. This rocket was only fired ONCE for the takeoff from the moon. It was NEVER tested since the act of testing it with the fuels/oxidizers involved degrades/destroys the engine itself. They built it to be as bullet proof as it could be and over engineered it a bit more. It used a hypergolic fuel mixture and simplified fuel flows (I believe they used gas pressure to empty the tanks, and it had only one speed (ON!). Guess what, it worked EVERY time. As for my vehicle that I use every day:

1) Do you presently have a spare can of fuel in your car?

No, but I do watch my gas gauge, and if I forget, I have a AAA (us, AA - UK) card that will get me some.

2) Do you have a spare can of water in your car?

No, but on the time the cooling system failed (it was a couple of months ago), I could pull over and park, waiting for a tow.

3) Do you have a torch (flashlight) in your car?

Yes, it is only common sense. This is a small device that takes up little space, and has other benefits.

4) Do you carry warm clothes and/or blankets (in case you get stuck in a traffic jam etc. overnight)?

No, but in the cases where this might be a problem, I was traveling to a ski area overnight, and DID have some warm clothes I was actually wearing.

5) How regularly do you check the air pressure in your spare tyre?

While not on my vehicle, automatic pressure telemetry is now required on new vehicles. I do get my tires rotated on a regular basis (5,000 miles) and it is checked there.

6) When did you last check that your brake lights were working OK?

Thankfully the vehicles electronics DOES check this (modern cars!). As for older vehicles, no brake lights will usually get you rude warnings (horn honks) from people behind you. Good practice to check every so often, when servicing.

So while you do bring up valid points, overthinking things like this can get too extreme. Thankfully the faults described to not cause my vehicle to spontaneously destroy itself, whereas lack of a proper computer backup, can be catastrophic (to say the least).

Well-rested women in danger of bouncing their men into early grave

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I might as well....

Die with a smile on my face. The alternative seems to be terrible. It is kinda like the tombstone that says:

"And I ate all that kale for nothing!"

Me? I like a nice juicy steak, baked potato (with sour cream, chives, AND bacon!). Of course if genetics has anything to do with it, I'll live into my 90's like my mom (still living at 98) and dad (lived to 94!). So, damn the studies full speed ahead.

Revealed: Soros Group behind mystery unit that gobbled Violin Memory

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I guess...

Violin memory is moving on...

We don't want to alarm you, but PostScript makes your printer an attack vector

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Makes me long for...

The nice chain printer of old. Those 1403's could really put out the pages, all 132 columns of it, and writing notes on blue bar (I never did like green bar) was the way to go.

Try hacking a printer like that!

Yes, I do own a nice line printer, a 300 LPM band printer. Upper AND lower case!

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