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Comment: Re:Huh? (Score 1) 230

by Arnold Reinhold (#46891689) Attached to: One-a-Day-Compiles: Good Enough For Government Work In 1983
From the IBM History FAQ, page 26: "Q. Did Thomas Watson say in the 1950s that he foresaw a market potential for only five electronic computers? A. We believe the statement that you attribute to Thomas Watson is a misunderstanding of remarks made at IBM’s annual stockholders meeting on April 28, 1953. In referring specifically and only to the IBM 701 Electronic Data Processing Machine -- which had been introduced the year before as the company’s first production computer designed for scientific calculations -- Thomas Watson, Jr., told stockholders that “IBM had developed a paper plan for such a machine and took this paper plan across the country to some 20 concerns that we thought could use such a machine. I would like to tell you that the machine rents for between $12,000 and $18,000 a month, so it was not the type of thing that could be sold from place to place. But, as a result of our trip, on which we expected to get orders for five machines, we came home with orders for 18.”

Comment: Re:In the late 70s (Score 5, Insightful) 230

by Arnold Reinhold (#46881183) Attached to: One-a-Day-Compiles: Good Enough For Government Work In 1983
The punched card era ended for me in 1975, when I started working on Data General Nova minicomputers at Computervision. But I spend more than a decade before that with cards and keypunch machines. I never let anyone else punch in my programs, as I usually found some errors when I typed them in myself. Card decks weren't dropped often and it wasn't that big a deal. Dropping a deck is not an effective way to shuffle it. I'm more nervous about my online source files being munged by accident. The overnight or 24 hour turnaround was common, but possible to work around. I spend many nights after mid-night at the MIT computer center in the late 1960s, when hour or even half hour turnarounds were possible. One spent the time waiting socializing or helping others find their bugs. During summer jobs at NASA MSC, I found a Honeywell 316 that wasn't being used much and could get time on it all to myself when needed. In the early 1970s my employer had an IBM 1130 and we took turns using it, so turnaround was not an issue there, though it could be when software was to be installed at a client. Finding ways to get around obstacles in your path was a valuable skill then as now.

Comment: Their data is too weak to support their conclusion (Score 1) 198

by Arnold Reinhold (#43765533) Attached to: Data Center Managers Weary of Whittling Cooling Costs
One could also interpret the data as saying that since 2011, 8% of data center operators have looked into improving their energy efficiency and have done as much as they think feasible. That 50% consider energy efficiency very important in the latest survey suggests that it is still is. Data centers use about 2% of the electricity consumed in the United States.

Comment: None (Score 0) 423

by Arnold Reinhold (#41282745) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Computer For a 7-Year Old?
The longer you keep you kid off computers the better. Computers are highly addictive and you won't have the will power to limit it's use in any effective way. You've got important stuff to do, kid is being a pest, it's just too easy to bring up a game and put him in front of it. Let the kid learn about the real world, enjoy physical activity and interact with people fact to face.

Comment: Apple has a strategic decision to make (Score 1) 404

by Arnold Reinhold (#41139047) Attached to: Google Distances Android From Samsung Patent Verdict
It seems to me Apple has a strategic choice: it can license its patents on basic technology, like pinch zoom and edge bounce, to Samsung and others, or keep suing. Licensing keeps Google Android as its main rival, while Apple gets a tidy tax on every smartphone sold. Not licensing puts Microsoft and Nokia, two hungry giants, back in the game and brings Apple nothing. Sometimes it's best to quit while you're ahead.

Comment: Accident statistics don't support cell phone risk (Score 2) 358

by Arnold Reinhold (#39252931) Attached to: Smartphones More Dangerous Than Alcohol, When Driving

Accident statistics in the U.S. do not seem to support the supposed danger of driving while talking on cell phones. During the period when cell phones became wildly popular here, the automobile accident rate has dropped sharply. According to the Centers for Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/Motorvehiclesafety/mmwr_achievements.html/ "From 2000 to 2009, while the number of vehicle miles traveled on the nation's roads increased by 8.5%, the death rate related to that travel declined from 14.9 per 100,000 population to 11.0 and the injury rate declined from 1,130 to 722." Yes, there were other factors, like seat belt laws, but if cell phones were such a major danger, it's hard to believe deaths could have fallen that much at the exact same time they became ubiquitous.

Comment: Showmanship (Score 2) 1613

by Arnold Reinhold (#37624800) Attached to: Steve Jobs Dead At 56
I attended the World Wide Developers' conference when the Mac II was introduced. Rumors insisted it was to be the first color Macintosh. When the exhibit hall doors opened, there was a Mac II with its big (for the time) monitor, but the image was the original Mac's crisp black and white. It was only when I got closer that I noticed the Apple logo in the upper left corner of the screen--it alone displayed in bright rainbow color. That was Job's showmanship.
Transportation

+ - 125th Anniversary of the Great Gauge Change May 31->

Submitted by
Arnold Reinhold
Arnold Reinhold writes "This month ends with the 125th anniversary of one of the most remarkable achievements in technology history. Over two days beginning Monday, May 31, 1886, the railroad network in the southern United States was converted from a five foot gauge to one compatible with the slightly narrower gauge used in the U.S. North, now know as standard gauge. The shift was meticulously planned and executed. It required one side of every track to be moved three inches closer to the other. All wheel sets had to be adjusted as well. Some minor track and rolling stock was sensibly deferred until later, but by Wednesday the South's 11,500 mile rail network was back in business and able to exchange rail cars with the North. The Days They Changed the Gauge Other countries are still struggling with incompatible rail gauges. Australia still has three. Most of Europe runs on standard gauge, but Russia uses essentially the same five foot gauge as the old South and Spain and Portugal use an even broader gauge. India has a multi-year Project Unigauge aimed at converting its narrow gauge lines to the subcontinent's five foot six inch standard.

The US South's two day conversion was accomplished in difficult times, only 21 years after the end of the bloody American Civil War, and required cooperation among bitter competitors. Could it serve as a model for the Internet's long-delayed transition from IPv4 to IPv6? Are we less able to work together toward an important goal than our great-great-grandparents?"

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Impressive feat of engineering / IBM ? (Score 2) 534

by Arnold Reinhold (#34710576) Attached to: Playstation 3 Code Signing Cracked For Good

...

everyone seems to see it as a fail on behalf of Sony . Isn't this IBM's Cell at fault ?

The Epic Fail, exposing Sony's private key, had nothing to do with the IBM Cell processor. In fact the flaw was not in any of the PS3 software. It was a mistake in the program used to sign software approved to run on the PS3. That program presumably runs only on some highly guarded server in the bowels of Sony. It could have been fixed by adding one line of code, a call to random number generator to generate a new random value for each signature. Even a crappy random number generator would probably have resisted attack. All that was needed was keeping attackers from finding two different signatures that used the same "random" number. You have to go back to the Venona NSA exploit in the Cold War to find an example of a large organization screwing up what should have been an unbreakable cipher system.

Comment: Wiretap Reports say encryption not a real problem (Score 2, Informative) 646

by Arnold Reinhold (#33712340) Attached to: Obama Wants Broader Internet Wiretap Authority
By law, the US government publishes a report each year on all lawful wiretaps, Federal and state. Here is an excerpt from the latest report: "Public Law 106-197 amended 18 U.S.C. 2519(2)(b) to require that reporting should refect the number of wiretap applications granted for which encryption was encountered and whether such encryption prevented law enforcement officials from obtaining the plain text of communications intercepted pursuant to the court orders. In 2009, one instance was reported of encryption encountered during a state wiretap; however, this did not prevent officials from obtaining the plain text of the communications." In other words, there was just one lawful wiretap last year where communications were encrypted and even that did not stymie law enforcement. The proposed law is not about aiding law enforcement, it's about perfecting the surveillance society, where all communications are filtered for suspicious content.

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