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Comment: Old Shite (Score 1) 535

by fyngyrz (#47791649) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

I really, *really* liked my late 1970's-era 6809 system. 64k of RAM, custom graphics and sound cards of my design, timers, serial port, multiple floppies. I thought it was getting old in the tooth (it wasn't, it still works, should have had more faith I suppose), so I wrote an emulator for it -- the entire system, hardware, software, a front panel (which the original didn't even have) everything. Still works great, but due to the increase in CPU power over the years, the emulator is one heck of a lot faster than the original hardware. You can use it too, if you're so inclined and you're running some version of Windows, XP or later (might still work under Windows 95 and/or 98 for that matter.) Includes various compilers (Dugger's c compiler, for instance), forth, assembler, cross-assemblers, linkers, basics, some arcade video games that used the graphics hardware, and probably the vast majority of the commands that were available for the DOS, which was FLEX09. Percom PSYMON monitor. If you ever wanted to play in a nice, safe assembler sandbox, it doesn't get any better than the 6809. It just gets faster and wider.

For linux, the answer is Midnight Commander. Between the very nice editor and the dual-pane do-lots-of-things text mode interface, it's still my go-to under linux, I even use it on the Mac. Thankfully, they've kept it reasonably up to date, although making a native mac version without inflicting a much broader *nix ports package on the system is a real pain in the butt.

For the Mac, I use both of the above, MC natively and my emulator under a VM running a network-isolated XP, and I still run a PPC version of my HP-48G, which, I'm afraid, has made any other calculator use not only pointless, but nearly impossible. I also have two of these calculators in hardware, both of which still work fine. Because Apple dropped PPC support at OSX 10.7, my daily driver machine still runs OSX 10.6 and is likely to continue to do so unless I can find a native version of the HP emulator for Mavericks. When I decided to move past OSX 10.6 (Mavericks is actually quite nice, finally), I bought a new machine and plopped it down in my ham shack.

Ham radio: Easy. My Palomar loop antenna. This tiny (about a cubic foot) antenna system has pluggable loops for 150-500 khz, 500-1700 khz, 1700-4000 khz, and 4000-15000 khz. I like to drag it out into the unimproved areas a few tens of miles from here where there are zero power lines, telephone cables carrying data, neon and other signage, plasma TVs, buildings and so on, and enjoy amazingly good, noise-free SW and amateur radio reception on the radio in my truck without having to set up a physically large and cumbersome antenna. I also have a Panasonic RF-2200 portable analog radio that I take on trips. Both of these are pretty old, tech-wise, but both remain in regular use and have stood the test of time very well indeed.

Music: A Marantz 2325 stereo receiver and a pair of Marantz HD-880 speakers. Not only does this setup sound nothing less than awesome, it eliminates the tedious menu surfing that more modern gear forces upon us. Everything's on a front panel knob. Everything. I have (very) modern gear in the home theater, but in my office, the old Marantz blue face remains king.

Lastly, I still have, and continue to play, a 1950's Fender Stratocaster guitar. I have a fair collection of more modern guitars, but the strat's neck is still the best of all of them. Luckily, for most of my life I've been a casual enough musician, and have spent enough time on other guitars, that I've not had to have the thing re-fretted. I don't look forward to that. I can't imagine it'll be the same. Of all the old stuff I have, this is the thing that has not only kept its value, but appreciated far beyond any dollar figure I could ever have anticipated. Not selling it, though. Ever. :)

User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Forty Six

Journal by mcgrew

Awake
I woke up about quarter after seven, and Destiny was already up and had coffee started. "Hungry?" She asked.
"Yeah, I am. Did we even eat dinner last night? Did you tell the robots to start breakfast?"
"No, I wanted to try something new for breakfast and wanted to see what you wanted to eat first. You know I'm a history buff, well, I found a really old recipe in the computer called a

Comment: Re:Please... (Score 1) 82

by hairyfeet (#47789251) Attached to: Mozilla To Support Public Key Pinning In Firefox 32
Try Pale Moon friend. Its based on FF so you can keep your plugins, has a native 64bit build, oh and the best part NO STUPID NEW UI, in fact the devs have stated they will NOT be going to the new UI PERIOD. its fast, stable, works so well in fact I've started using it as my default browser even over my beloved Comodo Dragon because its even snappier, just a really great browser all around.

Comment: Re:Simple (Score 3, Interesting) 535

by hairyfeet (#47789099) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

DVDs. The reasons why is they are cheap, easy to transport, and can hold a lot of data. With DVDs I can hand somebody 4GB+ of data for 15c including the sleeve, and when you can't predict how well or reliable their net is? That comes in REAL handy.

So the pundits can talk cloud this and cloud that but as long as I can get 'em I'm gonna be using DVDs. Hell if I had my way I'd still be using Lightscribe, but now that HP has pulled the plug its getting harder and harder to find new burners with LS. Sucks as it worked quite nicely.

Comment: Image processing (Score 3, Interesting) 153

by fyngyrz (#47787737) Attached to: Intel's Haswell-E Desktop CPU Debuts With Eight Cores, DDR4 Memory

I use -- and write -- image processing software. Correct use of multiple cores results in *significant* increases in performance, far more than single digits. I have a dual 4-core, 3 GHz mac pro, and I can control the threading of my algorithms on a per-core basis, and every core adds more speed when the algorithms are designed such that a region stays with one core and so remains in-cache for the duration of the hard work.

The key there is to keep main memory from becoming the bottleneck, which it immediately will do if you just sweep along through your data top to bottom (presuming your data is bigger than the cache, which is typoically the case with DSLRs today.) Now, if they ever get main memory to us that runs as fast as the actual CPU, that'll be a different matter, but we're not even close at this point in time.

So it really depends on what you're doing, and how *well* you're doing it. Understanding the limitations of memory and cache is critical to effective use of multicore resources. You're not going to find a lot of code that does that sort of thing outside of very large data processing, and many individuals don't do that kind of data processing at all, or only do it so rarely that speed is not the key issue, only results matter. But there are certainly common use cases where keeping a machine for ten years would use up valuable time in an unacceptable manner. As a user, I am constantly editing my own images with global effects, and so multiple fast cores make a real difference for me. A single core machine is crippled by comparison.

Comment: Sources of water (Score 1) 511

by fyngyrz (#47787677) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

The moisture source for lakes and rivers is -- inevitably -- precipitation over lands upstream. Either as direct runoff, or as recurring eruptions from underground aquifers. If the prevailing winds don't bring the more humid air over the cooler, higher landscape, sure, you'll see drought. But you'd see it anyway, more heat or not. When the prevailing winds are bringing more moisture over those same types of terrain, you're going to see more precipitation, not less.

The historical record bears this out. When the earth is warmer, we get (a lot) more plant growth. That's simply not going to happen if the precipitation is reduced for any reason. And, at least as far as I am aware at this time, there is no mechanism that would cause reduction in precipitation. Warmer air holds more moisture, yes, and that effect is in full view in the tropics -- with deluge level rainfall when that moist air hits colder atmosphere and the moisture inevitably precipitates as rain. 400 inches / year as opposed to about 100 inches / year in otherwise similar temperate regions.

I would certainly agree that if the wind patterns change, then the rainfall will too. In both directions. But it seems a little farfetched to say that such changes will result in a consistent decrease in winds traveling onshore. What would such a claim be based upon?

Comment: Re: Impacts (Score 1) 511

by fyngyrz (#47787631) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

Is this year actually a warmer year? Didn't I just read that we're in a 20-year hiatus in the warming trend?

Yes, warmer air holds more moisture -- anyone who has worked the steam tables to convert between relative and absolute humidity knows that (and I have done so for my auroral photo opportunity prediction freeware), but it's also susceptible to precipitating more moisture when convection brings that moist air up into the colder altitudes. That's why tropical rainfall tends to be in deluges as compared to, for instance, the typical rain shower in Pennsylvania. We know for a fact that the tropics are warmer and wetter in terms of rainfall amounts per year -- and that since they are warmer, their air can hold more moisture. But that's not stopped them from having much more rainfall than anywhere else. While there certainly may be outlier statistics, the general case seems clearly to be: warmer = wetter = more rainfall.

Temperate rainforests get as much 100 inches / year. Tropical rainforests get up to 400 inches / year. If it's not the heat that's doing it, what do you propose is the mechanism?

If it *is* the heat that's doing it, then what is the mechanism where more heat, heat that corresponds with previous tropical climates in the earth's past, won't repeat the same effect here? Looking at the past CO2 level graphs as correlated with plant growth and temperature, there's a very strong correlation with CO2 and plant growth, and with temperature. Plants love CO2, but they still need moisture to survive, and where there's more plant growth, it's pretty much a certainty that there's a significant water supply.

So far, anyway, the idea of warming in the tropics -- or anywhere there's basically unlimited water and related prevailing winds -- leading to drought seems to be a non-starter.

It's not that I can't accept it, it's just that to accept it, I need a sound scientific reason to do so. Just saying that one expects drought in the tropics seems like hand-waving at this point. There are plenty of legitimate concerns - a slight, very, very slow rise in sea level, movement of crop-appropriate bands in cultivated areas, that sort of thing, but tropical drought doesn't appear to be one of them.

Also, recent news shows increased plant growth worldwide... something to think about in a situation where CO2 is known to be increasing at an accelerated rate.

Comment: Re: Switched double speed half capacity, realistic (Score 1) 314

by hairyfeet (#47777659) Attached to: Seagate Ships First 8 Terabyte Hard Drive

Sorry but I've dealt with more failed drives at the shop than you've had hot meals and if they fail "without" warning?

Then YOU sir are not paying attention! Before a HDD fails you will see several rather blatant warning signs, warning about delayed write fails being the most obvious but there is also temp spikes on the drive (as the motor heats up trying and failing seeks) and SMART changes (not talking SMART fail, which is usually at the end, we are talking large changes in the SMART values which can be read by one of several free programs such as HWMon or HDTune) not to mention most modern drives get REALLY noisy when they are getting ready to croak.

Compare this to the "dirty little secret" of the SSD world which is the majority of SSD fails are NOT the flash chips themselves but the SSD controller chip. When that fails? NO warning, NO chance to back up your data, just flip the switch and...poof. this is why I tell my customers they should use a religiously adhered to backup system along with cloud computing to insure no data loss.

Comment: Re:central storage or n^x security guard costs / s (Score 1) 169

by Scottingham (#47775571) Attached to: New NRC Rule Supports Indefinite Storage of Nuclear Waste
Un-mined Uranium ore is still pretty toxic...but it's underground...This Uranium (not to mention all the other nasty shiz in coal ash) is put into the air and water table. I would consider that nuclear waste, yes. Considering the insane levels of regulation for even the tiniest levels of radiation surrounding nuclear plants, the fact that coal-ash gets a free pass to just store whatever in unlined pools next to lakes and rivers is pretty ludicrous.

Comment: Re:Ahh...so this strikes again huh? (Score 1) 75

by hairyfeet (#47773447) Attached to: Fake NVIDIA Graphics Cards Show Up In Germany

I had to tell a ton of folks back in the day they got scammed out of hundreds thanks to fly by night sellers when it came to the first gen Socket A AMD chips for this reason, the scumbags figured out a drop of solder in the right spot would unlock the multipler and with a little hacking they could get even the lowest Duron to report itself as the high end Athlon so they would OC the shit out of it and sell the systems as the much more expensive top line Athlons. It got to the point that when somebody brought in an Athlon the first thing I did was head into the BIOS because the problems with the systems nearly always came back to insanely OCed low end chips being sold as top shelf. Some of them were 60%+ over on the clock and the voltage because all that mattered was getting it to run long enough to make a sale.

But anybody who has worked shop for any length of time has run into these fakes, most are coming from Laos and Vietnam where they must have a pretty large counterfeiting industry going to whip off this many fakes.

"It's like deja vu all over again." -- Yogi Berra

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