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Comment: Re:BASIC vs. Z80 assembly language (Score 1) 165

by MillionthMonkey (#48021341) Attached to: Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled
I dimly recall that method too but IIRC the array couldn't be saved to tape- you needed POKE statements underneath the DIM. There was also another method involving adjusting the SP register to lower the top of the stack and claiming a few kilobytes of RAM for whatever purpose- but that approach had the same problem with not getting saved to tape.

Comment: Re:BASIC vs. Z80 assembly language (Score 1) 165

by MillionthMonkey (#48015327) Attached to: Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled
I remember I had a yellow book that was for kids learning assembler, and it had a cartoon CPU with registers for hands and feet. I can't remember the title- I just pulled the ZX81 out of the closet to look for it, but it isn't in the box anymore. I still have the 16K pack and the awful little ZX Printer that sparked onto rolls of aluminum thermal paper.

Comment: Re:BASIC vs. Z80 assembly language (Score 1) 165

by MillionthMonkey (#48011227) Attached to: Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled
Yes, it was obviously a very shitty system, since they were selling them thirty years ago for about $99. It was like a 1980s version of a Raspberry Pi. But it did have a Z80 in there and that's how I learned assembly when I was a kid; I just dug to it through all the crap it was soldered to.

Comment: Car dealerships are a blight on society (Score 0) 334

by MillionthMonkey (#48011131) Attached to: State of Iowa Tells Tesla To Cancel Its Scheduled Test Drives
Car dealerships have outlasted their usefulness- they're a 20th century solution for selling 20th century cars. If a Tesla can self-drive itself to my house, or if an Amazon quadcopter can drop it off here, car dealerships have no reason to be involved except for an old law that allows them to stifle competition and that will now be cemented into place.

Comment: Re:Fracking (Score 1) 52

The methane itself is relatively harmless- but usually indicates the 999 other chemicals in fracking fluid are there too, and when the methane catches fire it creates even more toxins. If the kit can detect 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol without igniting it, it's a better option.

Comment: BASIC vs. Z80 assembly language (Score 4, Interesting) 165

by MillionthMonkey (#48010473) Attached to: Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled

Back in 1980 my parents got me a British ZX81 kit to assemble, with 1024 bytes of RAM. (I still have it buried in the closet along with my other antiques- AFAIK it still works.) It ran BASIC so slowly that you could actually read the code about as fast as it executed, so I was "forced" to learn assembly language. I was amazed by how fast it was- it ran a million operations in just a few seconds! (wow.) You had to start by writing a BASIC program:

20 PRINT USR(16514)

Then you had to POKE each assembly instruction into the comment, starting at 16514 for the first "A". The comment line would slowly turn into "10 REM x&$bL;,$_)[vU7z#AAAAAAAA". The next line was 20 PRINT USR(16514) (printing out the return value from the BC register).

Saving any ZX81 program onto a cassette tape was excruciating- they recorded as several minutes of loud high-pitched screeching. Usually you needed to save them twice because it failed half the time. Then to load the program you had to cue the tape you had to find exactly where the start of the screeching was, rewind several seconds, play the tape, and only then could you hit enter on LOAD. (Otherwise LOAD got confused by the *click* noise when you pushed the play button on the tape player.)

You young people don't realize what an easy life you have.

Comment: Give Bill Gates some credit (as if it matters) (Score 3, Informative) 363

by MillionthMonkey (#47996025) Attached to: Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

I'll leave aside the fact that most of these "charities" are tax-avoidance scams, and would probably do the world a favor by not existing.

Bill Gates gives about 40 times as much money to charities as do the Koch brothers, who together have about the same amount of money as Gates. The Koch brothers, in turn, are about 25X as generous as all the Walmart heirs combined- 85% of whose donations come from Christy and 15% from Alice. Jim and Rob also each have their $35 billion and together they donate approx. $30,000 to charity each year- i.e. 4 ppm of their total income. If I make six figures and I toss a dollar at a homeless person, I've just donated 10 ppm.

In comparison, the LDS church for example receives approx. ten billion dollars in "donations" (i.e. tithes) per year- ostensibly for charitable purposes- but spends only fifty million for charity, an overhead of approx. 99.5%. The Gates Foundation has an "overhead" of 90% (meaning 90% of his wealth is stuffed in his mattress). Charities would benefit 20X more if Mormons sent their tithe payments directly to scum-of-the-earth Bill Gates!!!!

Comment: Re:How about the "bio-fuels" ? (Score 3, Interesting) 308

by cduffy (#47989255) Attached to: Irish Girls Win Google Science Fair With Astonishing Crop Yield Breakthrough

Corn ethanol is ridiculously inefficient. Sugar-based biofuels, by contrast, can have a quite good return and are actively used by developing countries in South America that don't have money to waste on things that don't make economic sense (but aren't used in the US because we have relatively little land able to grow sugarcane).

In short, it's more complex than either "all bio-fuels are good" or "all bio-fuels are evil". This shouldn't be a surprise -- few things are so simple.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford