* Posts by William K Kelley

7 posts • joined 31 Dec 2007

Multics resurrected: Proto-Unix now runs on Raspberry Pi or x86

William K Kelley

Re: Anything we should steal ? - Definitely

The much under appreciated IBM TSS/360 operating system also had memory-mapped files, decades before the FS-inspired System/38 (iSeries these days). Basic problem with TSS was that it was well before its time, and the S/360 model 67 hardware was never adequate to run it. While it was possible to get a 32-bit addressing version of the model 67, no S/370 models offered it, so customers such as General Motors who had built their early automobile CAD system on TSS were unable to migrate TSS to S/370 and had to rewrite/restructure their CAD software to run on the 24-bit virtual of S/370, and also lost the ability to have memory-mapped files.

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Crafty Fokker: Norfolk surgeon builds Red Baron triplane replica

William K Kelley

Not so easy to fly...

Some years ago, a US Navy "Top Gun" pilot convinced Cole Palin to let him fly one of Palin's DR-1 replicas. Which he crashed shortly after take-off. He survived without injury, but the plane was a total loss. You can still see the pile of wreckage, preserved in one of the museum buildings at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome.

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'Clearance sale' shows Apple's iPad is over. It's done

William K Kelley

In certain niches, they're still revolutionary

For pilots, tablets -- and in particular iPads -- have been nothing less than revolutionary. Airline pilots have been able to dispense with tens of pounds of charts and manuals that they used have to carry with them, and private pilots (at least in the US) now have situational awareness that they couldn't have dreamed of (or afforded) ten years ago. For less than a thousand dollars, I can fasten an iPad mini to the yoke of the Cessna I fly, wi-fi attach it to a Stratus GPS and ADS-B in source, and running the Foreflight app have a moving map display of my position, with near real-time weather, and other nearby traffic. The combination really puts to shame the Cessna's built-in Garmin GPS (yes, I know the Garmin is TSO'd and the Stratus/iPad isn't). Rather than focus on what tablets don't do as well as laptops or workstations, maybe the point is that there are things they are capable of doing where laptops and others need not apply.

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NASA swerves serious cash cuts – but Earth climate probes, asteroid snatcher face axe

William K Kelley

Aeronautics?

Somehow everybody forgets that NASA is also about aeronautics, so it'll be interesting to see whether any of their proposed X-plane projects survive.

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Intel fabs to churn out 10nm ARM chips for LG smartphones next year

William K Kelley

Its all about fab utilization

Intel is being forced to fab non-x86 stuff for the same reason that IBM had to fab game processor chips for Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo -- if your fab utilization falls below that required to cover your fixed costs you start losing money big time. In the case of IBM, it bought them a few years, but once Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo went elsewhere IBM getting out of the business (by selling to Global Foundries) was inevitable since they did not have enough volume of their own to cover the escalating expense. Intel is facing the same prospect. You've got to make a lot of chips to justify a $10B investment in a new fab. This was a pragmatic decision, nothing more.

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Remembering the Cray-1

William K Kelley

Another Seymore Cray story

Apparently the French atomic energy agency had a brand new CDC 6600 that refused to operate correctly and the service guys from CDC had been unable to locate the problem. The French government was threatening to throw the machine out, so CDC sent Seymore over to rescue the machine. After looking at all of the tests that had been performed by the techs, he closed himself in a room (not with the computer, and with no schematics), emerging a few hours later to tell them that the problem was a particular transistor on a particular board in a particular part of the machine -- and he was right. When asked how he had arrived at the solution, he said it was the only possible answer given the test results and the structure of the machine. His understanding of the machines he created was legendary...

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Sony renounces rear-projection TVs

William K Kelley

Bummer

From what little information has been posted, its not clear what Sony is killing. Are they killing just the LCD rear-projection units or the SXRD rear-projection units too? Very different tech and the SXRD tech is also used in their front projectors. Are they gonna kill the front projectors too? And where are the large (60-70") LCD panels to replace the 60-70" rear-projection units? The whole point of the rear-projection stuff was to provide affordable large screens. The largest LCD I've seen at Crutchfield's is just 57" and is double the price of a 60" rear-projection unit. And then there is the question of picture quality -- the SXRD tech results in no discernable gaps between pixels whereas LCD (and plasma too) have a decided "screen door" appearance. But I guess too many people are buying their LCD panels because they are panels and look "cool" rather than for their picture quality. OLED looks great, but its going to be awhile before we see 60-70" panels. Hope my SXRD rear-projection system holds up until then...

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