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Comment: Re:...What? (Score 1) 161

I have watched the video. The computer was used for CAD. There are no ICs in a computer of that era. The one shown quite possibly used vacuum tubes. My Mum worked on similar machines in the 1960's with vacuum tubes.

The drills, mills and lathes were controlled by tape, but there was not a single IC in their control systems. I have seen machine tools of this era with the motion controlled by relays and vacuum tubes. Certainly not ICs.

It is obvious you were not there at the time. [lawn, etc]

Comment: Re:...What? (Score 1) 161

You might want to look up Edwin de Castro, and Ken Olsen.

I personally, look up to both of them.

Space (specifically the Apollo program) was responsible for a purchasing program that drove logic ICs down to consumer level pricing - without which PCs would not have reached the volume that drove the prices far lower.

Analog ICs would not have got far without the logic ones, because production tolerances were so loose that the concept of "it works or it does not" was critical to volume production of ICs in the early days. (Yield was under 3% for the 7400 family (first TTL logic ICs)).

Comment: Re:More like to his own parents (Score 4, Interesting) 161

You were obviously not there at the time. Bill Gates got rich because IBM signed the daftest contract in computer history from their point of view.

Yes: IBM - the company known for hiring the very best in legal expertise signed away their arms and legs

Why? - I would like to know that!

What I do know is that Bill Gates was a completely unknown school kid until he was brought to IBM's attention by his mother, who was a high-up at IBM. Digital Research was well known. When Garry Kidall did not believe IBM had sent people to see him, somehow Mrs Gates must have been on hand to say to the right person "Check out my son - he is a genius and has written and OS" probably having no idea of the difference between and OS and an interpreter. (Would your mum know the difference? Would she have in 1980?) (mine would, and I have some idea how rare that was). QDOS was known to Bill Gates, who had, indeed, written some software (and a few others) and he spotted an opportunity when it hit him right between the eyes!

Whether Bill Gates or his Dad (who was a very well known lawyer) wrote the contact with IBM, I don't know. Why IBM signed the contract without their lawyers reading it properly, I don't know. In my view the whole thing stinks. (Though I recognise that IBM's decision making was coloured by buffoons who thought they would be lucky to sell 10,000 PCs.

Here in the UK, most people involved in software at the time (like me) did almost nothing for the year that elapsed between rumours that IBM might make a PC, and the first one being delivered, because their employers wanted them to be instantly available to port the company's existing products to the PC - the entire industry knew it would be a game changer. Read the magazines from the time: It was like "Apple is going to make a phone that will run 3rd party apps" x 1,000!

Incidentally, Intel had a perfectly good OS at the time called ISIS but refused to sell it to anyone!

I also don't know why you need a GE225 to write BASIC, surely the most machine independent interpreter ever.

Disclaimer: I wrote an ISIS/CPM clone, but my employers refused to sell it because they said "No one would buy software written in the UK!" - and they were a UK software company"

Comment: Re:Lesson Here (Score 1) 235

by Anne Thwacks (#49600955) Attached to: Long Uptime Makes Boeing 787 Lose Electrical Power
The correct answer is: During pre-flight ground checks, detect all counters at imminent risk of overflowing*, and flag requirement for corrective action at next maintenance. Probably should be checked at all routine services as well.

* "imminent risk of overflowing" probably means less than four routine maintenance intervals remaining, but consult the requirements document for more detail.

This is aerospace, not gaming.

Comment: Re:Yes, but.. (Score 1) 317

by Anne Thwacks (#49595519) Attached to: Mozilla Begins To Move Towards HTTPS-Only Web
The ability to snap off encryption to analyze things at the wire is a lifesaver.

I think you will find that actually debugging code is sooo twentieth century. Get with it - these days, the game is to add a couple of new bugs every week, and claim its an upgrade.

And no! I can't even see your lawn from here.

Comment: Re:Someone is going to get a surprise (Score 2) 100

by Anne Thwacks (#49567557) Attached to: A Cheap, Ubiquitous Earthquake Warning System
A system that monitors 100,000 sensors and is capable of sending messages to almost 40 million people is not going to be done for free.

Depends on the level of mnitoring a day. One ping a day, and inbound alerts on "quake detected"? A PIII on ADSL would probably handle that!

Or, of course, you could give the contract to EDS, and pay $38B.

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer