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Comment Multiple formats (Score 1) 251

It almost doesn't matter as long as it's more than one medium, stored in more than one place. I keep copies of everything on HDDs (and sometimes tape) here at home, but also copy the most vital stuff onto 3.5" magneto-optical disks (Fuji DynaMO -- they never caught on but they've been super reliable) and keep that in a safe deposit box at the bank. $25/year is pretty good for getting my life's work back if my house burns down. If you do choose a removable medium, make sure you keep a spare drive too. It'd be a shame to have pristine media you can't read.

Comment Public domain? (Score 1) 39

I seriously don't get how this is possible. Weren't we all told that works by the federal government automatically fall into the public domain (except classified works) since the federal government *can't* hold copyrights? How is having a university create the work with federal money any different from the feds doing it themselves? (It would be a "work for hire" if it *were* copyrightable.) And the whole concept of copyleft licenses depends on copyrights, ironically, so you can't release something under GPL etc. if you don't hold the copyright.

So this all sounds as if we're supposed to be happy about the government actually doing much less than it was supposed to do, or overreaching and doing what it can't do, depending on how you look at it. Every single line of code they've ever written is ours ours ours, no strings attached, unless it's classified.

OK rip me to pieces.

Comment Re:Great feature - File versions (Score 1) 238

If you mean TSS/8, it didn't have file versions, and neither did RSTS/E (and actually I don't remember it on T10 either but I barely used that). But yeah T20 definitely had versions and was the inspiration for the later systems (RSX/VMS quietly accept T20 filename syntax too -- <dir>file.ext.ver instead of [dir]file.ext;ver). Very very useful feature -- saved my ass plenty of times.

Comment Re:Old News (Score 2, Insightful) 317

Just reacting to what seems to be hinted at here: I grew up in Boston in the 70s and 80s and Boston has an even larger NON-Irish community which was definitely not backing the IRA. Plus I wouldn't think the IRA was automatically universally popular in the Irish-American community either. So any implication that Boston deserves payback for crap the IRA did is way off.

Comment Re:Saw a Chipmunk Up In the Mountains (Score 1) 387

I'm wondering the same thing about moths. In the last few years I've really started noticing that when I'm driving my car at night on a quiet road with no traffic, moths that are fluttering over the lane will suddenly drop to the pavement as my headlights hit them.

Sort of like a fainting goat, only more useful -- moths who have mini-seizures when they see headlights must have a higher survival rate because now all they have to worry about (besides being bashed up a bit by the fall) is my tires, which are a lot less likely to cream them than the windshield/grill.

Comment Actually pretty decent (Score 1) 263

These seemed to be marketed to people who wanted to make mini-disc mix tapes, which seemed weirdly specific and obviously didn't catch on. But they were really good for recording live music and sucking it into a computer. Flash is obviously much better, but MD was around for eons before flash got cheap...

Comment Depends on how much of your life they buy (Score 4, Insightful) 291

Your employer absolutely should be entitled to any IP you produce ... *if* they're paying you for 168/hours a week. If it's only 40 hours/week then there has to be room for you to do your thing on the time that belongs to you. I hate it (and refuse to sign -- cost me a great job once) when they try to just stick a catchall into your employee contract. Contracts are supposed to be quid pro quo deals, not quid pro nothing.

Comment Re:MAME / Arcade ROMs - legally obtaining them (Score 1) 272

For about two seconds a few years ago, starroms.com had a bunch of classic ROM images for sale, all nice and legal-like, and reasonably priced too. But then Atari/etc. sat on it for some reason (they didn't like getting royalties from zero additional effort?). It was a real shame -- that's *exactly* what should happen to abandonware...

Comment Smaller world (Score 1) 823

This has always baffled me too, especially among programmers, because programming involves endless iterations of writing code and then having the computer laugh in your face. How can you think you're such a genius when a zillion times a day, a machine tells you you're not?

With college students it makes sense though. Because they don't really notice things which haven't happened to catch their interest, they live in a tiny subset of the real world, and they've largely mastered that subset, so as far as they know they ARE geniuses. It takes them an annoyingly long time to realize that the 95% of the universe that they don't care about matters too.

Comment What was Linus's own? (Score 1) 867

It didn't have a name -- kernel 0.13 plus a wad of basic utils, around 1991. Booting from floppy only (LILO came later) and you had to patch the boot disk with DEBUG.COM to set the root. No networking (Taylor UUCP came soon, TCP/IP later). I was actually pretty offended when distributions came along and started charging $$$ for balling up stuff they got for free from Linus and GNU, but it quickly became the most reasonable way to get Linux as it became enormous. I forget whether I tried SLS briefly before switching to Slackware which is what I've used up until now. Even when it was N floppies you didn't really use N floppies -- for most of them you could rewrite the disk with the next image as soon as the installer spat it out since it wouldn't ask for it back. Very long evening, each time.

Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.

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