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Comment: Re:WTF AM I DOING HERE! (Score 2) 109

by lord_mike (#49311429) Attached to: New Alzheimer's Treatment Fully Restores Memory Function For Mice

Yes, having had a similar experience, it really is like time travel in many ways. Alzheimers patients really travel back through time. It's not just that they remember it, in their minds they are actually living in that time in the past as their present... and that time point goes further and further back as the disease progresses. It's very discomforting to witness.

Comment: I think this article says it all.... (Score 1) 242

by lord_mike (#48966219) Attached to: RadioShack Near Deal To Sell Half of Its Stores, Close the Rest

"Then in the back, nestled in a corner are the Arduinos, Maker Kits and littleBits DIY items of fun. They’re next to the wires, transistors and soldering guns.
The items that could have made RadioShack the darling of the Maker movement are shoved in the back and ignored. A layer of dust settles on the boxes."


Comment: I've been preparing myself for this day... (Score 1) 242

by lord_mike (#48966141) Attached to: RadioShack Near Deal To Sell Half of Its Stores, Close the Rest

...since I knew it was coming for years, but it still will be hard. The first computer I ever programmed was a TRS-80. I used to book programming time at the local library on their Model III. I worked there in the summers in college after the store manager overheard me giving advice to a fellow customer and offered me a job on the spot. When the manager wasn't looking, I'd read the ham radio and electronic books by Forrest Mims and write down important scanner frequencies from their police scanner books.. The original handwritten "Getting Started with Electronics" sits proudly on my shelf, and I have an electronics project kit I still haven't finished. I still use some of their best items, like their stereo speakers, a duophone speakerphone that is still the best item they ever made, the mini amplifier which may be the second best, CB radio and scanner antennas, and countless parts, adapters, soldering irons, solder, etc. I even still use their 1980's era pocket computer! People say that digikey is good enough for the pieces parts, but that web site is extremely difficult to use and confusing. I feel like I'm losing an old friend. I will miss Radio Shack very much, especially at Christmas time where I'd buy their electronic and RC toys and kits as gifts. You can't find that stuff anywhere else.... not the same stuff at least.

It's not surprising, of course. It's more of a surprise that Radio Shack lasted this long, because they always ignored their core customer... us. Maybe not ignored, but treated us like second class citizens, even though we were keeping them afloat with their 400% market up pieces parts (and yes, I could see on the computer when I worked there what the actual cost was on each part, and the markup was as bad as everyone suspects). They admitted to that the pieces parts kept them in business, but you could tell that they only accepted that reality very grudgingly. If they could have become Best Buy, they would have in a heartbeat. They kept trying, and now that even Best Buy is hurting, too, their little sister Radio Shack had no chance of trudging along anymore.

Radio Shack brought the first microcomputer (PC's for you young'ns) to nationwide retail, beating out Apple and Commodore by a few months.. and now they are gone. :-(

Comment: Re:Microsoft is so dead. (Score 0) 307

by lord_mike (#48959815) Attached to: Microsoft Announces Windows For Raspberry Pi 2

That's the weird thing about it. I've never seen a company that has so little mindshare make so much money. It would be like Blackberry making 10's of billions of profit every year, even though everyone's practically forgotten who they are. I know that for Microsoft it's all about legacy installations in business and not the consumer, bur still, considering how they were always part of the conversation not too long ago, it's amazing how far they've fallen and yet still make so much money.

Comment: Re:Obligatory Joke (Score 4, Informative) 60

by lord_mike (#48876531) Attached to: The Untold Story of the Invention of the Game Cartridge

Yes, actually...

"In 1986, the new BASICODE 3 standard was developed. The most important additions were routines for simple monochrome graphics, reading and writing data from within programs and sound output. BASICODE 3 made BASICODE popular in the computer scene of the GDR, and from 1989 onward BASICODE programs were transmitted via radio throughout the GDR. Also, a book was published which included a vinyl record with Bascoders for all computers common in the GDR. The last revision of BASICODE, which featured color graphics, was released as BASICODE 3C in 1991."


In the UK during the early 1980's, pop star Chris Sievey released a 7" single record where side B was the program code in audio format for the Sinclair ZX81 microcomputer. You plugged in your turntable's output into the ZX-81 "loaded" the record into memory, flipped over the record, played the music on Side A while running the program which gave you a "music video" while the song played. It was very innovative at the time:


Comment: Yes, absolutely!!! (Score 1) 392

by lord_mike (#47919251) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

The best programmers and other IT professionals that I've ever worked with had liberal arts backgrounds. In fact, a programmer named Paul Laughton who wrote the original Apple II DOS and the current RFO Basic app for Android has publicly stated that in his decades of experience, the best programmers he's worked with have almost always been musicians. Music notation is definitely a code, and the structure of music performance is very much like code writing--quite logical with leaps of creativity when necessary. In general, the ability of liberal arts grads to research, find creative solutions to problems, and communicate them to others is an exceptionally valuable skill in any profession. With modern applications being so graphically intensive, any artistic and graphic design skills are a value added complement to coding skills. The skill learned from studying the liberal arts allow IT professionals give a significant leg up on their peers who do not have that kind of experience. Of course, the liberal arts skill set is only a compliment, not a replacement, to traditional coding and other STEM skills. IT professionals who have both skills enjoy a significant competitive advantage. The study of liberal arts should be strongly encouraged for all STEM students as a stepping stone to future success.

Comment: Re:I'd love to be in his class (Score 1) 179

by lord_mike (#47720281) Attached to: Professor Steve Ballmer Will Teach At Two Universities This Year

My reference to Exchange/Office was meant to include other "back office" products as well, since once a business is a "Microsoft shop", they tend to use Microsoft products for most of their other needs as well. While this is a highly profitable arrangement for Microsoft, it makes them even more vulnerable to a competitor coming in and offering an cheaper better solution by breaking up the "microsoft shop" mini-monopolies at businesses. Microsoft doesn't tend to fare well with open competition once their barriers to access have been broken. Blackberry was very successful and made a lot of money, too, but were also extremely vulnerable and collapsed with frightening speed. I would be somewhat nervous if I was a Microsoft shareholder... only somewhat nervous since they have a lot of cash to burn before they crash, but their future looks kind of shaky at the moment.

It is your destiny. - Darth Vader