P,S, and also the cost of memory when you wanted another 128 K. (Or was it 64K.)
I think you could get a whole PC a few years later for what doubling my RAM in the first one would have cost.
40 posts • joined 3 Feb 2018
Well the 0.0001% of the time things can go sort of right.
I worked in mainframe testing in the early 80's. Some of the guys were into model rockets. We had a few Friday lunchtime launches.
The real memorable one was when the one guy improvised a 2 stage rocket out of a simple 1 stage rocket. He simply put the 1st stage rocket motor on back of the rocket.
Apparently, the fins on a model rocket need to be right on the end of the rocket. Or there was a fault in the first stage motor. Whatever the problem was, the first stage only sent the rocket up about 10-20 feet, although the rocket traveled a considerable distance doing very tight and fast loops.
We all had time to duck behind cars. But that wasn't needed as the second stage miraculously was pointed up when it engaged and the rocket flew out of sight. So at least that part went right.
"Servers on the tongs" was enough for this Yank to figure it out. Even though I had to guess that "tong" was the forks on a forklift.
I never drove a Fenwick. We only had Hyster's, White's and a Clark at the lumber yard that paid for most of my University degree while working minimum wage.
The one I remember is that he is an introvert who would prefer to read over doing most anything else. So after coming out to find a destroyed world is happy that nothing will get in the way of his reading. So promptly goes to what is left of the library to pick up new reading material. Then when coming out of the library, somehow breaks his glasses. End of happiness.
Maybe restart could be changed to be clear RAM and reload OS. Although the clear part may only be needed for security.
But there would probably also need to be some sort of method in the BIOS and motherboard to do a forced clear of RAM and reload OS for those times when the OS goes TITSUP. The present holding the power button down would probably work with a few BIOS tweaks.
According to www.spaceweather.com the nearest known asteroid today is 2020 AO. At about 49 meters it is no world killer but more than big enough you wouldn't want it hitting too near where you are. But it went by at 9.3 LD (Lunar Distances = 384,000 km or 239,000 miles) so it wasn't even close on this pass.
At least for something like a 10 Amp range. Lower currents sometimes use the same sockets.
But then you can get a shinny new meter if you forget. ;-)
I've been tempted to get a new meter with Bluetooth, recording or voice output. Was having trouble with my camper last summer and I couldn't see the meter connected on the outside from the momentary button I needed to push on the inside. Six foot extension leads would have worked to, but they're not as fun.
I also had a cat shut down a consumer grade small UPS at home it was under the computer desk. My Rev 1 button cover was plastic pill bottle bottom taped down solid but with a finger access slot on one side.
Another time I had a mouse shut off the power strip that was connected after the UPS. No not a 4 legged mouse. A USB mouse fell off the back of the keyboard/mouse drawer on the desk and hit the power strip power button dead center bellow it. I tie-wrapped the power cords together to form an "umbrella" over the switch.
Doppler shift, which these guys used, is using a spectrometer to look for a periodic shifting of spectral lines of the star from the planet pulling the star to and away from earth as the planet orbits it's star. Planets are really small compared to a star. So these shifts are small for even big planets. One of the not fun problems with doing this is earth's orbit adds it's own shift into that spectrometer data.
The monitoring a star’s brightness levels over time is different. Its problems are that planets are really small compared to a star, so the brightness change is small to very small. And also you have to make sure you're not counting sun/star spots as planet transits.
Touchy electronics reminded me of my first big home computer. An Ohio Scientific 8P-DF(?). Big as in it had dual 8" floppies. This was pre IBM PCs by a few years.
Anyway the touchy part is occasionally it would quit working. The -9V supply for the RAM would go to 0V. Probing the LM723 pins with a 10 Meg-ohm scope probe would make it start working for several weeks/months. After this happened a few times I replaced the LM723 and a few other parts but never got it to keep working long term.
There is not an emergency right now. But I'd rather some people do some planning now so there are options that are reasonably well thought out so they know the various advantages and disadvantages of the different plans.
Better to do that now while everyone is thinking clearly then waiting till everyone's every other thought is "we are all going to die" if they don't get it right. Less likely anyone picks a knee jerk dumb plan that makes it all worse.
Not first hand knowledge. But I think the local SA's found that out with a Novel server. You must test your backups at least once in a while. Otherwise you may not have any backups.
I don't remember if it was a big problem as I was doing mainframe work at the time.
But I also found it out myself in backing up my Amiga to tape. I had a weird cross linked file or some such. I decide that extra backups where a good idea as the previous tape had problems and of course I discovered it while backing up to the "new" tape. So 2 bad tapes and I think I was rotating through 3 tapes at a time.
Not surprised. I started in production mainframe testing a very long time ago. So we all had our own toolboxes with a padlock. It was a new production site so all the toolboxes and padlock were bought at the same time. Turned out most people could unlock most other peoples padlocks. There were a lucky few that had padlocks that were safe from most of the other people.
Oh and then there are US built RVs (campers). Turns out 60% of the outside storage compartment locks are keyed to "CH751" so all the keys and locks are the same. One of my locks just failed so I will probably switch them all. None are storage compartments but still, it's the principle.
I was just out of University (1979 or 1980) when I bought my Ohio Scientific C8P DF with a color monitor. It came with Microsoft Basic. Actually it came with 2 different Basics and I seem to remember that only one was from Microsoft.
Oh, the "DF" stood for Dual Floppies, I didn't trust the newfangled dual sided 5 1/4" floppies and I wanted lots of storage so I got the 8" drives. I think they could hold 270K bytes each. ;-)
If I had an extra $10K I could have gotten a hard drive. Held 70 or 80 MB and was maybe 14" or so as I remember.
I never had the hard drive. I assume the Microsoft Basic couldn't have worked on it as it was over 32 MB.
"Tried that once and the pins came out but the door still wouldn't open because the hinges (without pins) still wouldn't clear each other."
I haven't tried taking out the pins. But as I was installing a new exterior steel door I noticed the hinges had small tabs sticking up on one side of them. I probably should look better, but eventually I thought they were to prevent the pop the pins out trick. The tabs would only engage the other side of the hinge when the door was closed. Safes often have something like that, but much more substantial.
But you still have to store them in a good environment.
I had a job of recovering data off of some Mac 3.5" disks. The person wanted to restart a writing project that was backed up on the Mac disks. The Mac hard drive had been converted to a PC D: drive so was unusable.
So I found software to read Apple floppies on a Linux box I had, I then had to find a old drive to install in it. Floppies haven't been standard equipment for some time.
So then I could read the disks. Well I should have been able to. Turned out they had been in a box in his garage for years and we have hot and humid summers here.
I ended up having to wash mold or something off of the disk surfaces before they were readable.
>I guess I need to get rid of my old IDE drives, now that I don't own any computers that have the appropriate sockets,
Silly me. Was helping a lady from Church dispose of her old PC's after her husband passed away. Used Darik's Boot N Nuke on most of them. But his oldest PC could only read 5.25" floppies and I didn't have one with me and I'm not sure I could have made one at home even then.
But not wanting to throw out a 20 Meg 5" hard drive (I never had a 5" hard drive) I took it out before taking the PCs to be recycled. Only later when I thought about wiping the hard drive did I realize that I needed the controller card as it was a preIDE drive.
"Coincidentally , the page has just revealed to me that Deckards apartment is modelled on a real house in LA that was also used as the abandoned mansion where Angel, Spike, and Drusilla hang out in Buffy the Vampire Slayer "
If I remember right, in the Star Trek Arena episode, the Cestus outpost was also used in a Wild Wild West episode. Don't remember WWW good enough, but I remember being surprised to recognize the outpost that Jim West was trying to break into or out of on a rerun a few months back.
"I have also had a Unix server where the power button and CD Drive eject were very close together, that one got a card flap over the power button."
Yup, had to make a flap for the UPS on the home PC. It was a low flat box with the power switch on top and it was almost on the floor. A real problem with cats who walk anywhere they want to.
But mice are a problem too. I had a mouse fall off the keyboard tray and it hit the power strip power button. For that one it worked to rout the power cords over the switch and velcro them together.
"Military stuff always comes at eye-watering mark-ups ". Well if it's like other US government stuff. Part of the price is stockpiling enough spare parts for 10 or more years or so you can fix it without redesigning the item or requalifying a new part.
At least that was Univac's response when justifying the high cost of spare parts. Yes, diodes don't cost $$$ normally but we have to warehouse 100's of them and all the other parts (as per the contract the government wrote) so they can be fixed for umpteen years.
"certain atmospheric conditions (like calm and cold nights) could cause the air to stratify into layers that would diffract the microwave, effectively "bending" the signal"
You can see that some times to. We could see a long way from our old house. Pilot Knob was about 9 miles away and we could see much of the land in between.
One day I noticed that things near the horizon were stretched vertically. It was really surprising as I'd never seen anything like it before.
I did that once. I fixed a mainframe's printer in Florida over the phone from Iowa.
OK, "fix" is probably stretching it a bit.
The operators had called me to fix a daily batch job that didn't print out overnight. I had just fixed it a few days earlier because it had crashed due to more data coming in than usual. So it's not to surprising that they called me up again because it "failed" again.
I dialed in and checked the print queue first and saw the file and several more waiting to print. So I called the operators back and asked if the printer was on? They checked and it was on but it had been offline. Seems a tech had worked on it the day before and had left it offline. No one had noticed till they went to get the overnight printouts to distribute to the bosses.
Had someone who wanted to restart writing his book. He had stopped working on it several years before and left the Mac and a few floppies with backups in the garage. His kid had long ago reformatted the Mac hard drive to use on his computer. So the floppies were all that was left.
This being Iowa the temperature and humidity vary all over. I couldn't read the floppies reliably at first. This after I put a floppy drive in a Linux PC with the correct Linux drivers/software to read Mac formatted disks. Slid the cover over and saw that all the disks had spots of mildew on them. Spent a hour or so washing them all through the little slot with a bunch of Q-tips. Then I could read them pretty good.
" whoever did it had somehow managed to fail to put a DVI plug in correctly, not noticed the force they presumably needed to apply to get it to that state"
Reminded me of the ancient times when I worked in mainframe testing. Had just helped some new hires track down a bent pin shorting out two signals. So I stated to the group that if they ever have extra trouble putting cards in that they may bend some pins if they force it. So a light bulb goes on for one of them and he grabs the card puller and pops another card out. We shine a light in and see he got the right card as there is a bent pin behind that one to.
I almost had to do that.
I remember setting up my kids new Element TV a few years ago. Had to call into support for a special code to unlock the tuner to scan digital (or was it analog?) stations. Gave some BS reason about making it "simpler" to setup.
Yup, it was SO much simpler. Had make a phone call during business hours to enable scanning both kinds of channels. Of course it was Saturday afternoon and the kid had cable with both analog and digital channels. Couldn't get it all set up until Monday.
I was surprised to see in an ad that they still sell Element TVs. In fairness, Googling at the time showed that at least one other TV maker made a TVs with that "feature".
That will replace my slow fiber that gets 5Mbps/0.8Mbps for the base/cheapest version now. I think I could pay for faster now, but the telco web page only shows what the new fiber speeds are and no prices listed. The upgrade started in 2017 and will be done in 2019. Being out of town has it's disadvantages. :-(
Oh, I'm on an acreage like 2.5 miles out of town in rural Iowa. As far as I know, our local town telco has wired fiber to all the farms around here (they sell cable TV running on the fiber to to make $). And now they are redoing it with the max 1 Gbps/500Mbps fiber. And this is a tiny local telephone company serving about 8,000 people in two small towns plus the surrounding farms. On the map in the story, we are east of the "Y" at the end of the blurry Sioux City, Iowa.
So if my little phone company can do 1 Gbps fiber. I think most US towns and surrounding area's could do better than they are now. Certainly all of Rochester, MN should have good service from at least one provider. Now if you're in the middle of Montana 100 miles form any town. That would be different.
* To save money I'll probably stick to the low cost plans of 25 Mbps /10 Mbps or 50 Mbps /25 Mbps when the new fiber gets here. I don't have a 4K TV to feed so Netflix does fine with what I have now.
"you will not get a 50V pots line with fibre, instead at the premises you get an Optical Network Termination unit with a Battery Backup Unit which contains rechargeable cells. These will locally generate the 50V required to operate legacy POTS termination equipment. "
Which is what our local fiber optic connection is. Apparently we've had that long enough now that the last phone bill included a piece about how we might need a new battery soon. I looked and my unit still had a green light.
I hope that it lasts till they upgrade us to gigabit fiber optics which might not happen till 2019. :-(
"Farmers are using cracked diagnostic software from Ukraine so they can fix their John Deeres."
I don't know if they do that or not. But I remember the complaints were the new John Deeres and other high tech farm equipment would pop a need service notice and only the local brand dealer would be able to check that it was just an air filter or some such easy for farmer to replace item that he could have spares of to keep his operation moving. And when bad weather is due in a few hours a farmer gets cranky for any down time that might delay finishing planting or harvesting for a week or more.
You are right about that. It says if I lived across the street I could get Mediacom. Most of the area across the street from me is usually planted with corn or beans. And some of it is marsh/swamp. But there are a few houses that may be able to get Mediacom on either end of that area so might not be totally wrong.
Oh my, the local phone company provides 1000 Mbps fiber to the lake. Not sure how you put fiber into a lake. No house boats around here. The lake freezes pretty solid each winter. Trucks can drive on it now, well not to all places. So far 3 vehicles have fallen through that I know of.
Which sounds good but unfortunately is not foolproof.
A local town, Fort Dodge Iowa, had similar a speed radar that they setup in different locations around town. Made it a civil fine to discourage getting the courts involved.
But one time their were lots of complaints from people getting fines for doing +50 MPH in a downtown 25 MPH zone. Of course the radar company claimed the radars were "always right". But when tested on that street, the radar just happened to double the speed of some larger vehicles like delivery trucks and school buses. Excuse was, "must not have been correctly calibrated".
It was good they did the testing because the school bus driver was going to loose their job if the ticket/fine stayed.
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