* Posts by PT

348 posts • joined 22 Jun 2007

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

PT
FAIL

Re: My first home computer...

Well, they were in a bit of a bind regarding PEEK and POKE, because the 9900 didn't use addresses as we know them. It was unique in microcomputer history in designating A0 as the MOST SIGNIFICANT address line (And D0 as the MSB on the data bus). This was presumably because it didn't have a least significant address (a real A0), having only a 15 bit address bus. Presumably there was a way to read or write a single byte, but I can't remember now. TI inexplicably started marking their EPROMs backward the same way - very confusing - and there must have been many bills of materials with a note saying "NO TI" whenever an EPROM was called out. I know it was on all my BOMs. It took them a couple of years to get the message.

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Trump's visa plan leaks: American techies first

PT

Why we have H1B Visas

In case there should be any doubt about the purpose of the H1B Visa program, allow me to quote from the memoirs of Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Fed from 1987 to 2006 and regarded as a living god by politicians of both parties -

"As awesomely productive as market capitalism has proved to be, its Achilles' heel is a growing perception that its rewards, increasingly skewed to the skilled, are not distributed justly. A dysfunctional US education system has failed to prevent a shortage of skilled workers and a surfeit of lesser skilled ones, expanding the pay gap between the two groups. Unless America's education system can raise skill levels as quickly as technology requires, skilled workers will continue to earn greater wage increases, leading to ever more disturbing extremes of income concentration. We need to address increasing income equality now. By opening our borders to large numbers of highly skilled immigrant workers, we would provide a new source of competition for higher earning employees, thus driving down their wages." (emphasis added)

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Tech moguls dominate Oxfam's rich people Hateful 8

PT

No, they are not the world's richest people. They have their wealth in financial instruments, which are currently doing quite nicely, but if they tried to liquidate it to cash they'd all be a lot poorer. The real world's richest people own things - they're rentiers, not workers. Some of them own entire countries.

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Dirty diesel backups will make Hinkley Point C look like a bargain

PT
Mushroom

Re: Heads in the cloud or so far up their...

"How many of them [the Greens] actually understand energy generation sufficiently to make an intelligent comment?"

How many of them are interested? The hard core of Greens want to destroy industrial civilization and restore a medieval agrarian subsistence economy. It seems to me they've made a good start in Britain, with the help of the EU and brain dead politicians. "Department for Energy and Climate Change" - no conflict of interest there, I'm sure.

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It's time for humanity to embrace SEX ROBOTS. For, uh, science, of course

PT

Re: Agenda?

I live in Nevada. We have legal brothels here, which run quite peacefully - they even occasionally place ads in the Situations Vacant section of the local paper for new ladies. The only place there is trouble with pimps and exploitation is Las Vegas, since prostitution is illegal in Clark County and it's 100 miles to the county line.

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Latest Intel, AMD chips will only run Windows 10 ... and Linux, BSD, OS X

PT

Re: Unless you are Really Big Biz this...

"Or trying to stop 'svchost.exe' from using all the RAM and CPU for no effing reason."

OMG - I thought I was the only one who had that problem! Yep, every week or so it takes 50% of my cycles for 16 or 20 hours at a time, even with the network unplugged. What the hell is it doing?

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PC pioneer Gary Kildall's unpublished memoir revealed

PT

Re: Back when BIOS was actually useful

I wrote a CP/M BIOS at least three times, and it always contained quite a lot of I/O code, including video unless it was just talking serial to a terminal. It had to do all the low level disk control. The example BIOS in the CP/M documentation was just a bare bones guide, capable of serial IO but not disk IO. That you had to do yourself.

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US military tests massive GPS jamming weapon over California

PT

Not a TOTAL surprise

The scale of this may be new, but they've been playing with it for years. I was out exploring back roads in the Panamints when suddenly my GPS told me I was 300 feet below sea level just east of the Bahamas. I was concerned for a while until I remembered that China Lake was just over the mountains to the west. At least they gave out a warning this time.

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Microsoft's done a terrible job with its Windows 10 nagware

PT

Re: I actually had trouble getting the Windows 10 nagware to show up

Are we supposed to be impressed?

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PT

Mexican Coke, yes! It's made with sugar, not high fructose corn syrup. Worth the price.

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Feds look left and right for support – and see everyone backing Apple

PT

Re: Anybody can crack an iPhone, if they have I.C.E. technology

Not so. There are security flags in all micros to disable memory read and verify, clearing which usually requires dissolving off the plastic and lasering a track on the IC. Without that you may be able to hook up an ICE - assuming you can somehow attach it to a BGA package with inaccessible pins - but you won't be able to dump the code. Modern micros with a JTAG interface have a non volatile flag that disables JTAG and can only be cleared by a bulk erase. Apple would be fucking incompetent if they didn't activate these hardware protections.

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Tandy 102 proto-laptop still alive and beeping after 30 years, complete with AA batteries

PT

Tandys all around

I've got a Tandy 102, in full working order. Lovely keyboard. I use it occasionally for taking notes on a trip, because the battery life is so much better than my laptop. I even hacked the hard coded '19' in the ROM so that it displays the year correctly.

More obscure, I have a "Radio Shack TRS-80 Pocket Computer", otherwise known as a Sharp CE-122, complete with printer docking station. It's also in working order, though the one-line LCD has started to go black along the top edge.

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Mozilla: Five... Four... Three... Two... One... Thunderbirds are – gone

PT
FAIL

I just wish I could have back the Firebird I had five years ago, without the calendar and eventware and all the other bloatware "features" I never use and can do without. About once a week I get an update in the morning that bricks it until another update arrives in the afternoon. Sometimes it locks up for five minutes or more and can neither be killed nor awakened. Seriously, give me a stripped down version and leave it the fuck alone. If it's losing its bug-inserters - sorry, development team - that can only be a good thing.

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Trident test-shot startles West Coast Americans

PT

Re: "was visible all the way from Northern California"

I live in Nevada (Las Vegas). I wasn't looking at the time this shot went off so I didn't see it, but launches from Vandenberg AFB, which is about 300 miles away, are easily visible here. The first time I saw one it was close to 11pm, but the smoke trail was lit up by the over-the-horizon sun. It went so high it could probably have been seen from Texas.

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IT contractors raise alarm over HMRC mulling 'one-month' nudge onto payrolls

PT

Re: Pick up your laptop and walk

In spite of some reverses lately, America is still a free country - though not as profitable for contractors as it formerly was, since the large influx of H1B Visa holders has had the intended effect of depressing salaries and contract rates.

I've never regretted leaving Britain, aside from the lack of Marmite and newspapers with actual news over here.

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PT

Re: Not about IT?

Not a chance! This is a Conservative government you're talking about. The idea that they'd do this to help the working poor is completely unbelievable. Besides, the article remarks that IR35 isn't working and the number of PSCs is increasing, so we know perfectly well that "helping" people is the very last thing on their mind. And by the way - since it's a CONSERVATIVE government doing it, it's pretty clear that the wealth floor has increased to the point that they now consider IT contractors to be the working poor.

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Shoe stores top US credit card EMV-ready leaderboard of fail

PT

What is this "shift of liabilities" of which you speak? When I used to accept credit card payments, if a customer complained of fraud (usually a lost card), the bank's first action was to yank the money back instantly out of my merchant account and tell me about it later. Even when I had paper to prove the customer was a lying sack of shit they never gave the money back, claiming that a few hundred dollars was "too small a transaction" to bother about.

On the other side of the coin, when someone on the other side of the world charged a plane ticket to one of my cards, the bank (hello, HSBC!) took 8 weeks to refund the transaction and then had the nerve to make me pay the merchant discount.

Bank liability? I don't even think they've heard of it.

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Microsoft nixes A-V updates for XP, exposes 180 MEEELLION luddites

PT

Re: Two points to make - Linux & W7

... given the specifications of what most vendors shipped ...

You do realize, I suppose, that those specifications were imposed by Microsoft as an anti-Linux action? They were a condition of manufacturers getting the loathsome crippleware "Windows 7 Starter Edition" practically free, and threatened with unfavorable terms for grown-up Windows if they didn't comply, they all caved.

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Florida cops cuff open-carry, balls-out pirate packing 'operational' flintlocks

PT
Pirate

Not a "firearm"

Under United States law, a black powder pistol is not a firearm. Directly from the ATF's web site - https://www.atf.gov/file/61721/download [pdf] -

... a muzzle loading weapon that meets the definition of an “antique firearm” is not a firearm ...See 18 U.S.C. § 845(a)(5)

The definition is cast pretty broadly. It doesn't have to be old, it just has to use black powder. The regulations also state that black powder and musket balls don't count as "ammunition". So disorderly conduct is about all they can get him on, since he can't be accused of discharging a firearm in public.

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This whopping 16-bit computer processor is being built by hand, transistor by transistor

PT
WTF?

Meh. My then-girlfriend's dad did something like this in 1967, though sensibly restricted it to 4 bits so that it only took up part of a room.

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4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch

PT
WTF?

Re: Train my eyes?

Is that like "train your ears" so you can hear the benefit of gold-plated speaker cables?

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India's outsourcers fume over new US immigration bill

PT
Stop

Re: Not making sense

Lest we forget the actual reason for the H1B program, as succinctly stated by former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan .....

"...by opening our borders to large numbers of highly skilled immigrant workers, we would provide a new source of competition for higher earning employees, thus driving down their wages."

How ironic that the destruction of well-paid American jobs has been so successful that the Government is now considering scaling back the program because it hits them in the pocket.

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Leaked docs: GCHQ spooks secretly haul in more data than NSA

PT
Big Brother

Re: TL;DR

The UK is in dire need of a revolution.

Can't disagree, but how would you organize one? Can't use the phone, can't use email. If you walk from house to house the cameras will identify you. If you use carrier pigeons the Government will probably invest in nets.

The irony is that if the Internet had existed in 1776, America would probably still be a British colony.

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NASA: Our ALIEN HUNTING star-scan 'scope is KNACKERED

PT
Unhappy

That's ok, we can just send up a shuttle with spare parts and fix it. Oh, wait a minute ...

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Rolls-Royce climbs aboard Bloodhound SUPERSONIC car

PT
Thumb Up

Re: Lucky

Well said, Brenda McViking. AC 6:53, Richard Noble has not been blessed by luck, but by tenacity. I was a team member for Thrust 2 and saw the incredible difficulties he went through to maintain funding for the project - all while under the pressure of risking his life on a daily basis behind the wheel. If you had been there - two years running - you would know the only "luck" Richard had was bad. He kept the funds flowing and the team morale high through sheer force of personality. I was in the Black Rock Desert for Thrust SSC also, and heard the sonic booms. He was not the driver and was free to exercise his formidable organizing ability, and the Thrust SSC operation ran like clockwork, while a few miles away on the same desert at the same time, former record holder Craig Breedlove was disorganized to the extent that he was scarcely able to get the engine started on his million-dollar project. Incidentally, if you had been there - on either occasion - you would not presume to lecture him about humility. But like everyone, he has a private and a public face, and when he's in "project mode" he is effectively on stage.

Ok, I'm biased, I like him. But Richard Noble is one of those people who doesn't know what can't be done. We need more like him.

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Judge orders redacted Aaron Swartz prosecution docs to be revealed

PT

Re: It's something.

While the assault in this particular case can probably be attributed to one person, unfortunately this kind of prosecutorial overreach is ubiquitous throughout the US "justice" system. Persons with such flawed judgement not only belong, but advance rapidly in their careers, by carrying out exactly this kind of ferocious assault - providing it results in the patsy taking the plea.

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Feds want to fine companies that refuse wiretap requests

PT

Re: Is that what it's really about?

those are illegal and if I were running a company I would refuse them too.

Indeed, and the world would applaud you for it. Then you would pay, like Joseph Nacchio, former CEO of Qwest.

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Notebook makers turn to Android in face of Windows woes

PT

Re: Even Windows 8 has drawn fire lately for failing to revive the flagging PC market.

LOL, exactly the point I was going to make.

New versions of Windows are only of benefit to Microsoft. Everyone else just gets a world of trouble and expense.

2
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Google shakes up US utility with green power tariff

PT

Re: Waste of Energy

What's really a waste of energy is a modern technology company thinking it can do anything to impress the Greens. Maybe if they powered the data centers with pedal driven generators, or replaced them with fields of organic vegetables, that might work.

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Maggie Thatcher: The Iron Lady who saved us from drab Post Office mobes

PT

@P_o

I still find it hard to understand why people hate Thatcher so much.

I can give you my reasons.

It was her utterly inexplicable and hubristic policy to hold a strong Pound at or above $2.40, by maintaining interest rates above 18%, and keeping it up for more than two years. If you ran a manufacturing business, as I did at the time, your domestic customers weren't going to invest in new plant at those rates, and you were priced right out of foreign markets. I believe it's this that did more damage than anything else to the UK manufacturing base.

Worse, the almost overnight transition from record low to record high interest rates devastated the housing market. My monthly mortgage payments more than doubled over three months, and a year later people were just walking away from their under-water properties.

Everyone remembers the miners and privatization, nobody seems to remember the depression.

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PT

In other words, they only started thinking about innovation when faced with the prospect of losing their cosy monopoly.

Isn't that true of all large corporations?

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PT

Re: is this the same

BT spent fortunes on research! System X for example predated its privatisation by many a year.

Interesting that you mention System X. I recall how many years and how many millions went into that piece of corporate welfare for the telecom suppliers cartel, when an equivalent system could have been bought for a fraction of the cost off the shelf from the US. Having said that, I will never forget my jaw-dropping astonishment when I made my first system X long distance call and instead of 15 seconds of clicks and whirrs, the phone at the other end started ringing as soon as I keyed the last number.

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Google: 'Austin is our next Fiber city.' AT&T: 'Us, too – maybe'

PT

Re: Prices

For cable TV it's probably defined in the local contract, but for data, monopoly arrangements probably depend on the thickness of brown envelopes handed to the local utilities commissioners by the incumbents.

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Wikileaker Manning peace gong petition backed by thousands

PT

@ObSolutions

Matt seldom has a point to make, that's why his posts always contain ad hominem attacks and insults. Matt's overall theme seldom changes - "The US Government can do no wrong, and its critics are the enemy".

8
2

You know how your energy bills are so much worse than they were?

PT
Joke

Re: Windpower is the answer

"..running my own generator.."

The idea has merit. At these prices, a generator rigged to run on gas instead of gasoline could actually work out cheaper than the grid, providing you don't use the power for heating. In a permanent installation you might be able to recover enough waste heat from the engine to keep warm.

If you could disguise it as renewable, with a fake windmill or some panes of black glass on the roof, it could even become a useful source of extra income.

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Six things a text editor must do - or it's a one-way trip to the trash

PT

Re: PFE?

I still use PFE occasionally, especially when I need keyboard macros. It's primitive, but fast. It could do the TADREP test with two easy find-and-replace in less time than it took to read about it.

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US insurer punts 'bestiality' to wide-eyed kiddies, gasp 'mums'

PT

Re: Double Standards!

Corkscrew action, fnarr fnarr. Plus 1.

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Red wine may be ELIXIR OF YOUTH

PT

Alternative vector

Resveratrol capsules, 100mg, $15 for 120 at my local grocery store. According to the writing on the bottle, 1 capsule equals 100 glasses of red wine. Not as much fun, but a considerably cheaper way of getting it if you believe in that sort of thing..

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Microsoft: Office 2013 license is for just one PC, FOREVER

PT

Re: Don't like it, DON'T BUY IT!

No, please not a Yucatan meteor. I only live 1500 miles from Redmond, and in any case they're too close to Yellowstone for comfort.. A Tunguska meteor will be quite sufficient.

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BBC: Monster cargo ship delivers '863 million tins of baked beans'

PT

Re: "Each will contain as much steel as eight Eiffel Towers"

Correct, sir - the Eiffel Tower is made of wrought iron. For what it's worth, it weighs 7,300 tons.

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E-taxes aren't really stuffing Uncle Sam's pockets enough

PT

Re: US Sales Tax - you think EU VAT is tricky?

Correct, it's ridiculous. When I was running a small internet sales operation a few years ago, I refused to accept orders from my own state to avoid the complexity of charging something like 17 different rates. I was still required to register for sales tax, deposit a large bond, and make monthly tax returns. All my returns were for $0.00, on which I incurred a penalty if they were a day late.

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Permafrost melt to boost atmospheric CO2 faster than thought

PT
Boffin

Research to boost grant eligibility faster than thought

The research actually shows that melting permafrost may release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere much faster than previously thought. That's science. Insertion of the words "climate-warming", however, diminishes the authority of the paper. That's religion.

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New Zealand court hands out second peppercorn downloading penalty

PT

Every computer user in New Zealand should install a Bit Torrent client, whether they intend to use it or not. Call it a gesture of solidarity.

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Ethernet at 40: Its daddy reveals its turbulent youth

PT

Re: twisted Pair...

"...a peer to peer Windows for Worksgroups network (remember that!)"

Yes - I'll never forget the blinding epiphany when I discovered I could add computers on the existing network without having to pay the Novell tax.

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The truth on the Navy carrier debacle? Industry got away with murder

PT

Re: Lewis misses the point

Dave Bell, you are right. The British were still using Lyddite (picric acid) at Jutland. It was too sensitive and the shells exploded on impact, not after penetration. The Germans were using TNT.

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Cameron's speech puts UK adoption of EU data directive in doubt

PT

Re: To our continental friends -

>Cameron is the UK's Bush!

If Cameron is the UK's Bush - and he seems out of touch enough - then Blair was the UK's Cheney. Cameron is ineffectual, but Blair was evil. Never forget the atrocities visited on the British way of life by the Blair government in the name of "security" (don't forget to hold your head up when you leave your house so the security cameras can get a good facial recognition). How anyone could consider voting for either of these parties is beyond me. By the way, who is this man "Clegg" I hear about every few months? Is he something to do with the government? If so, he must be Johnson's Hubert Humphrey.

Given the unattractive choices in the next election, Screaming Lord Sutch would have had his best chance ever. Too bad he checked out too early.

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Swartz suicide won't change computer crime policy, says prosecutor

PT

Re: WTF

Sooner or later, the last of these copyright maximalists will die, and then we can move on.

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Red supergiant Betelgeuse heads for SMACKDOWN with 'dust bar'

PT

Re: is Betelgeuse close enough that a supernova there would be an extinction event here

Bad Astronomy

Fixed it for you.

(open tag)a href="http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/06/01/is-betelgeuse-about-to-blow/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"(close tag)Bad Astronomy(open tag)/a(close tag)

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Global mercury ban to hit electronics, plastics, power prices

PT

Real rectum friers

I wonder how they'll dispose of these mercury arc rectifiers, which contain a pint or three each. Most of these are in the UK.

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PT

Re: but still fine to put it in our teeth yes?

"Mercury is also not exactly cheap"

The current price is $1850 per flask - a standard flask contains 76 pounds so that works out to $24 a pound (US dollars). A pound is about the volume of a golf ball and that will make a LOT of fillings. If you don't want to buy a whole flask, you can buy it by the pound from prospecting and mining suppliers in the US for not a lot more than $24. It costs at least ten times more from reagent chemical suppliers. I imagine that five years after the ban the black market price will be more costly than silver, so a flask today could be a good retirement investment.

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