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Toys

Journal: Nostalgia 2

Journal by Raiford
I was reading an "Ask Slashdot" post where a guy was trying to find an old kaleidoscope for a gift. This got me to thinking about the toys that I had as a kid. I have done this several times over the past year primarily because when I buy toys for my daughter I often go to this toy store that carries nostalgic toys. A few months ago I searched eBay for some of the things that I used to have and sure enough most of the items where there for auction. I didn't bid though. It's best to not try to replace the items (they won't be a good as the memory). I may be dating myself but here is a partial list:

Creepy Crawler set

The first Hot Wheels to hit the market (1968)

Rockum Sockum Robots

Twister Game (stupid because I was an only)

about 5 chemistry sets

Red Radio Flyer wagon

8-track tape player

The list goes on but you get the idea. If you could have any toy from your childhood that was long gone what would it be ? I wish I still had a few of the Hot Wheels (they were better back then of course).

Slashdot.org

Journal: You gotta love it ...

Journal by Raiford
Perception is everything

Here is the moderation history of my last comment on the front page

Moderation Totals: Troll=1, Insightful=3, Funny=1, Overrated=1, Total=6.

User Journal

Journal: I knew Linus's OS before he was a Superstar

Journal by Raiford
It was late 1993 and I wanted my 486/66 Mhz box at home to have some resemblance to the mighty Silicon Graphics Iris Indigo (MIPS R4000) I had sitting on my desk at work. I had heard rumor of something called "Linux" that was a unix-like OS that would run X and allow you to compile quite a number of unix apps. So I downloaded version 0.99 pl14 from what was then Sunsite. I was transformed and so was my 486. Soon a network grew in my bedroom on Munn Rd in Cleveland. The 486 first had the company of a Packard Bell Pentium my second Linux box (although it never had the same spot in my heart as the 486). The next addition was a remanufactured Sparc II running SunOS. A power Mac and an NT box soon followed. By this time the wife at the time moved into the guest bedroom and eventually to Albuquerque.

The following link is an archive of my early Linux odyssey. I really had to smile when I read some of these after almost 10 years.

Usenet Archives

User Journal

Journal: The mystery of my sig

Journal by Raiford
"Player 4 hit player 1 with 0 stroms"

The origin of my sig goes back quite some time in the history of computer gaming. Set the way back meter to 1979 and the time-sharing system at the Georgia Institute of Technology, which at that time was a CDC Cyber 70/74. A twin machine existed at the computer center at the University of Georgia at the same time. There was a game on the Georgia Tech Cyber (and on the UGA Cyber for a while) called "Multrek". As the name cryptically implies it was an early incarnation of a multi-user Star Trek game. You logged in using one of the ultra-modern CRT terminals with an acoustically coupled modem at 300 bps or if you were a little less privileged with a clunky TTY terminal with the big wide paper feed. Now this was real immersion. You had a maximum of five players and a choice of two weapons: phasors or photon torpedoes. The map looked something like this:

. . . . . . . . . .
. . . 1 . . . . . .
. . . . . . . 4 . .
. . . . . . . . . .
5 . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . .
. . . 3 . . . . . .

Player 4 hit player 1 with 100 stroms
Player 4 hit player 1 with 100 stroms
Player 4 hit player 1 with 100 stroms
You have been destroyed

Before you scoff too much remember the era. There was just as much passionate involvement in this gaming activity as in an all night Quake fragfest. The source was written in Fortran 77 with assembler subroutines (Compass was the assembly language for the Cyber) which made the multi-user part possible.

For the Cyber 70/74, file access was accomplished in one of two ways: direct access or indirect access. In direct access your application was directly locked to the file containing the game data and modifications were made directly from a file buffer to the file. Indirect access of a file constituted an application working with a copy of a file and if any modifications were made a translation step performed by the OS would update the original file. The University of Georgia suspended direct access privileges to student accounts making the game unusable on that system and the death of "multrek" came to UGA and the other colleges within the university system that used that grand old machine.

I obtained a copy of the source for sentimental reasons and to appreciate the gaming technology of the time. I carried it around for a while as if it were a Bible or at least a copy of the key to a calculus midterm. One day while pouring over the source I was struck with one of those "too good to be correct" ideas and off to a terminal I ran. After about an hour I compiled and linked my first major hack and had multrek revived on the UGA Cyber using indirect access files for updating the state of the player environment. Then came that feeling; I WAS A GOD. I posted word of my triumph on a popular bulletin board on the system and within 30 minutes glorious battles were once again being waged in cyberspace on the UGA Cyber 70/74.

The fruit of my accomplishment lasted for about a week and the university computer administration prevailed and removed "multrek" again once and for all claiming that the game was causing excessive drive wear to the child of Seymour Cray: The CDC Cyber.

I have been programming ever since ...

User Journal

Journal: First Entry

Journal by Raiford
OK, since we have this wonderful journal feature I thought it about time to take advantage and record my random thoughts for whatever poor soul that might stumble upon it. I do journal in other places when the occasional inspirational thought scampers through the landscape of this thing I call a mind or when I hear something worth writing down that I can use on occasion to sound like a witty spiritual giant.

I will end this entry with one that I used the other day while I was teaching my Circuit Analysis class ...

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to be a rocket scientist

This translates to ... "learn the fundamentals well (calculus and physics) and you will be a good engineer..."

Weekends were made for programming. - Karl Lehenbauer

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