Re: Hotel lighting
I don't think I've ever stayed at a hotel which had adequate lighting in the rooms. Why do they never seem to have overhead lights? They all seem to be lit by dim, pointless standard lamps.
399 posts • joined 4 Aug 2008
The github repository is a placeholder and I can't find much in the way of documentation --- anyone see a definitive list of which architectures it supports? I recently spent a tonne of time reverse engineering a piece of gnarly Z80 code, and would love some tool assistance for the next time this happens.
CAT (yes, that CAT) have you covered, mostly.
The battery's not removable, but it's got most of the other stuff you asked for, and it's also ruggedised, waterproof, has an air quality sensor and a thermal imaging camera, and contains a laser.
Sadly, the actual phone bit is apparently a bit naff, being a little underpowered, and it's also expensive. Review here: https://www.digitaltrends.com/cell-phone-reviews/cat-s61-review/
...did I mention the laser?
I did find this artist's impression of it landed on the moon.
(Hmm, now I feel inspired to have another go at finding the Dan Dare TV series on t'interwebs. It's surprisingly hard.)
There's the old legend from the university Unix days of the geologist asking the admins what happened to their thesis, which they'd saved in their home directory and was now missing. What had they called it? Well, they were studying the Earth's core, so it was just 'core'... and the automated core dump deletion cron job had nuked it.
How long does the battery last? When that goes flat does it fail on or off? What's the behaviour like when the battery is *nearly* flat (will they detect low voltage and refuse to operate, or will they just go nuts as the RAM starts dropping out)? How often do you get firmware updates? Are there any known exploits in the Bluetooth stack? Are settings retained when the power goes out? What's the clock drift like? What's the predicted lifetime of the electronics given the whole thing will be cycling in temperature between 5° and 70°? What's the water-resistance like (I've never seen a radiator valve which wasn't damp)? What's the resistance to battery leaks like (given the intended very long lifetime)?
And, do they do anything genuinely useful compared to an old fashioned mechanical thermostat?
Can I also plug Steve Jackson's Sorcery! series of games, which have absolutely kick-arse mobile phone ports? Complete with the ability to rewind time if you think you made the wrong choice, so effectively emulating sticking multiple fingers into the book as impromptu bookmarks!
There's an iThing port as well, somewhere. I believe it's also on Steam.
You've obviously never had to transfer large numbers of files on and off a phone! Removable storage is mainly useful because it's *removable* --- meaning, I can take the card out and stick it in a fast PC reader.
Yes, modern phones have adequate amounts of internal storage (although you can still quickly run out if you want to, e.g., load up with completely legitimate films for a long flight), but having removable storage adds so much more flexibility.
I just *bought* a ZIP drive --- three, actually, in order to be reasonably confident that I got a working one.
The parallel port interface plus the DOS driver at http://leute.server.de/peichl/palmzipe.htm (which I actually paid money for) allows me to use a ZIP drive as a pretty slow but completely functional hard drive for a *genuinely* interesting piece of hardware I have, a 13kg IBM PC Convertible laptop from 1986. It works pretty well, although I'd completely forgotten just how annoying old-school hard drive whine is.
A while back I decided I had too much useless stuff and had a big clear out. I regret it daily. So much irreplaceable, interesting old hardware, gone like leaves in the wind... Never again.
Regarding floppy drives: I am, for my sins, the Debian maintainer for ufiformat, the magic tool which you need to format disks in external floppy drives (no, fdformat doesn't work). And just to prove me real hardcore credentials, I have just built a floppy drive controller to allow me to read exotic disk formats, such as the weird-arse 256-bytes-per-sector GCR encoding used by Brother integrated word processors. Fun stuff.
...which has been tried for years, hasn't it? And has always fallen down due to error compounding in the integration process, where cumulative errors grow very quickly until after about forty-five seconds your guidance system thinks you're on Mars? (Disclaimer: if you are *actually* on Mars, it'll think you're on Earth.)
It sounds like the original press release used the word 'quantum' a lot. How would this help?
I know from bitter experience that never, ever, ever use any sound you actually like as a pager alert. You *will* learn to associate it with terror, panic, and being woken up at four in the morning. It doesn't matter how pleasant or innocuous it is; using it on a pager will ruin it for you --- even Rich Evans' laughter will lose its charm.
*No dooont... stooooppp... my sides are hurting...*
Psst! Don't tell anyone, but there's a Linux port of PowerShell! There's even a Debian repository:
Re Apple Macs and command lines: yes, that was precisely my experience. The first thing I looked for was the menu option to exit the GUI.
I'm particularly proud that after diligent searching, I *did* actually manage to find the CLI, by locating the interrupt key on the side of the machine; this dropped me into MacsBug, which was completely incomprehensible...
That DTP package would be Ami Pro, by Lotus. I used it a lot as a teenager; it was pretty good. Relatively nippy even on a ghastly old 286. GEM wasn't much more than a single-tasking shell and GUI toolkit, but it was clean and got out of the way and suited Ami Pro fine. (And was a huge step above the trainwreck which was native DOS GUI applications.)
Strangely I can barely find a mention of the GEM version on the interwebs. There are plenty of mentions of the forgettable Windows version which came out later, but nothing about the GEM version. I wonder if I can find a copy? I bet it'd run really well on a modern PC...
10 minutes? Pah! I just wrote a compiler which takes *17* minutes to compile a one-line 'Hello, World!' program, and I have the video to prove it:
Admittedly, it is running on a BBC Micro. (See http://cowlark.com/cowgol/ for the main project page.)
I played with it a while back, while I was trying to evaluate compiles-to-machine-code languages which weren't Go. Nim's interesting; it's got a number of nice features, like having compile-time functions which have access to the AST, allowing really easy code generation (and hygienic macros).
But I couldn't make myself like it. I find the combination of Python-style significant whitespace _and_ C++ style bugsplatter punctuation nearly unbearable; and there are some mad, mad, mad design decisions --- the identifiers FOO_BAR and fooBar are equivalent...
This has been well known for years --- go look up 'quantum bododynamics' in the Hacker's Dictionary...
Brief summary: bogons are particles which cause technology to fail. Some people emit bogons, thus causing technological failure when they're nearby. Others absorb them, damping the level of ambient bogon radiation.
This is why the printer always works fine when the sysadmin is nearby; the sysadmin has been working in tech for so long that they've become a highly effective bogon sink.
I always wanted one of those, but was never able to find one. Eventually I got a second hand Razer gaming keyboard and wrote some chording keyboard software:
Turns out that writing the software was much, *much* easier than learning how to actually type on the bloody thing.
Ian Bell had an officially unofficial rewrite of the trading engine in C:
...so if you feel like trying to write scripts for ultra-efficient trading routes in order to achieve galactic financial domination, this is for you.
You can also find the full text of the Elite novella, by noted fantasy author Robert Holdstock: http://www.elitehomepage.org/dkwheel.htm
And you can also find the as-yet-unpublished Elite musical: http://www.iancgbell.clara.net/elite/musical/index.htm
You want a CAT S60.
It's rather long in the tooth now, but it literally ticks all your checkboxes (except the modular charging port, but it is ruggedised and lives under a cover so it should last), plus it has a two-day battery, it's waterproof, you can run it over in your car, it looks completely bonkers and it has a built-in thermal imaging camera.
I saw someone with one the other day. Holy crap it looks good (mainly due to not being just another glass fondleslab).
CAT make newer phones (some of them quite reasonably priced, I should look into replacing my dying Nexus 5X), but they're boring by comparison.
Turns out the CAT S61 has everything the S60 does, except the cool angular corners, but it also comes with a air quality sensor and a laser. https://www.digitaltrends.com/cell-phone-reviews/cat-s61-review/
YOU CAN GET A PHONE WITH A LASER IN IT.
That is all.
Dune2's been ported to Android, by the way, cutscenes and all. Sadly it's not on Google Play because... the dev seems to be a jerk... but it's still available as a sideload if you dare.
What was that old 'hologram' beat-em-up arcade game that did pretty much that?
It wasn't true 3D, of course; it used Pepper's Ghost, with the two players standing each side of a glass table looking down, to project the screen inside so that they saw their characters apparently standing on the surface of the table. The virtual screen always faced the player, so it looked weird as you walked around the table. (Both players saw the same screen.) And the screen was 2D, so your characters were flat.
But it was supposed to be incredibly convincing, nevertheless.
**Edit:** maybe Sega's Time Traveller? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fooFhfVUEI4 It's obviously similar technology, but I'm sure it's not the one I've seen.
Man, I miss those. I found myself wanting to look one up the other day and spent ages with the Reg's, um, great search engine...
Was there / will there ever be an edited collection of them, possibly with full colour photos and scratch-n-sniff previews, on paper? Because I might actually buy one.
As a very small geek I visited Dover sometime pre 1985, and I have photographic evidence to prove it:
I can't imagine anyone would have trusted me with a camera back then so the blurriness of the photo probably isn't my fault, but it still makes it impossible to make out the name or the registration in the front. It looks like the pictures of one of the SRN4 on WIkipedia.
What particular strikes me looking at the picture today is the way it's driving along the concrete apron with people randomly wandering about taking photos. Basic safety: we've heard of it...
I believe Banks was once accused (by a snobbish critic) of writing potboiler SF in order to fund his real literature.
He said, hell no. His 'real literature' sold vastly better than the SF. He said that one of the reasons he wrote in two distinct genres was that that let the 'real literature' subsidise the SF, which is what he really enjoyed doing...
It did start out with 800kg of fuel, mind, so right now the tank's at about 1.5%. They *are* running on the dregs (probably why they did the burn with the attitude thrusters rather than the main engine).
...it started out with a fully loaded mass of 1337 kg. Yes, this may be humanity's first spacecraft to rate Elite status.
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