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Comment: Re:Big Iron (Score 1) 138

by jabberw0k (#46821699) Attached to: Google's Project Ara Could Bring PC-Like Hardware Ecosystem To Phones
Except those were rack upon rack of glowing hot vacuum tubes all connected by point-to-point wiring with cabinets of core and drum memory alongside. Very much individual components, with the vacuum tubes having to be replaced at least one a day. These were then replaced with racks of transistor logic, and then IC logic, all on little replaceable cards. All designed for easy maintenance and in the hope that customers would upgrade their systems.

Comment: The Night of the Living Mainframe (Score 3, Insightful) 169

by jabberw0k (#46682675) Attached to: Fifty Years Ago IBM 'Bet the Company' On the 360 Series Mainframe
Sure, all those so-called "telephones" running on 99-cent "apps" are plentiful, like cockroaches, but if you're running one the million- or billion-dollar companies that let those awkward thumbpaint-smudge-laden gadgets actually do anything, you're talking mainframes one way or another (call them a "cloud" if you must).

Comment: File, Edit, View.... gone! (Score 5, Informative) 134

by jabberw0k (#46588597) Attached to: GNOME 3.12 Released
Wonderful, the unusable interface of 'evince' (Print is hidden under a sun icon or a gear, or something -- with no known way to open the menu from the keyboard) now comes to gedit. Now editing a file becomes impossible too! Please, folks, follow CUA , the Common User Access protocols, with named menus we can access with Alt+keystroke or F10. Arrrrrgh! Stupid! Make it stop! Give us back our File, Edit, View menus and all the rest!

Comment: Curiosities (Score 1) 224

by jabberw0k (#46577433) Attached to: Microsoft Posts Source Code For MS-DOS and Word For Windows

The routine for directory listing is called CATALOG (shades of Apple DOS, and Heath's HDOS); for deleting, the routine is ERASE (shades of CP/M).

Early, abandoned steps toward UNIX: MS-DOS 2.2 supported the SWITCHAR variable in config.sys; if set to anything but "/", the directory separator would be slash -- just like Xenix and UNIX; if set to "-" you would type "DIR -W C:/foo/bar" for a wide listing of what generally would be called C:\FOO\BAR

Comment: Re:Complexity (Score 2) 306

by jabberw0k (#46514463) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can an Old Programmer Learn New Tricks?
Furthermore, if you're trying to solve a complex problem with complex tools, you probably need to go back and think about how to reduce or compartmentalize that complexity. That's the UNIX philosophy: building blocks. There's no reason you can't use Perl (possibly with Moose or Mojolicious if you need them) for a modern project. No reason you can't use PHP or C++ or whatever you know, with the addition of a few new libraries. Leverage what you know, don't replace it.

Comment: Clueless people (Score 1) 712

What happens to all the people who live and work in mining towns? Murder the coal mines and what have you done to all the families and small businesses that, directly and indirectly, depend on them? This is a headline straight out of Atlas Shrugged... has the whole world gone bonkers?

Comment: Boxcars / Gigabyte (Score 4, Funny) 983

by jabberw0k (#46463509) Attached to: How Do You Backup 20TB of Data?
If IBM punch cards were used, 1 GB equals approximately 47 cubic yards (assuming 80 bytes per 187x86x0.18mm per card) and about 70,000 lbs (at 2.42 g per card), so one standard railroad boxcar (limited by both cubic capacity and weight) could hold about 3 GB. 20 TB would need over 6000 boxcars of punch cards; at 60 feet per boxcar, that's a freight train about 70 miles long.

Comment: Javelin solved most of these, in 1984 (Score 1) 116

by jabberw0k (#46065461) Attached to: High School Students Develop Linux Imaging and Help Desk Software In Javelin, you defined a variable (like Electric Usage or Product X Sales) as having a period (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly...), you had a screen for entering values into a variable at any time period, and you could use those variables in functions that automatically split or combined values appropriately. Then you'd lay out a worksheet (not a spreadsheet!) for whatever combination of variables and time periods you liked. Charts and graphs existed independently, and would automatically adjust to data and dates. Javelin won over the (then) new Excel as Infoworld's best Software Product of the Year 1985. It is a great mystery why no-one in the last 30 years has replicated this functionality. Instead all we get are Lotus 1-2-3 clones like Multiplan, err, Excel.

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun