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Comment: Re:OS/2 better then windows at running windows app (Score 1) 376

by nukenerd (#49759649) Attached to: 25 Years Today - Windows 3.0

Microsoft - Dave Cutler's team - were working on the OS that was going to replace OS/2 (......Windows NT 3.1 and successors after the (surprising) Windows 3.0 success.

....Windows NT and OS/2 have no common ancestor. They are completely different OSes from bottom to top.

My understanding is that NT had quite a bit of OS/2 in it. It is true that Dave Cutler and his team members were recruited by MS from DEC, and came with with the the source code of a DEC OS called Mica (an evolution from VMS but later cancelled), and this (and Cutler's experience in DEC) was used in creating NT. DEC later got an out of court settlement from MS over this stolen code. Reference. Nevertheless, some elements of OS/2 were also used, like the printing sub-system I believe.

Seeing that MS had rights to OS/2 and wanted a new OS in a hurry following the breakdown of their partnership with IBM, it would be suprising if they had not used parts of OS/2.

Comment: Re:OS/2 better then windows at running windows app (Score 1) 376

by nukenerd (#49759591) Attached to: 25 Years Today - Windows 3.0

Win 3.0 was absolutely awful. It crashed and needed a reboot about twice an hour.

Rubbish.

I should know. In particular it crashed every time you printed something from WordPerfect for Windows, which we needed to do a lot (for memos - had no email then). Fortunately the print job did get through first. Maybe it was WordPerfect's fault, I don't know, don't care now. Windows 3.0 frequently crashed when WordPerfect was not running too.

It was soon replaced with the improved 3.1.

It was two years between Windows 3.0 and 3.1.

I am talking about where I worked. We did not get Windows 3.0 the moment it came out. We did get 3.1 the moment it came out though, having found 3.0 so awful we hoped 3.1 was better, and it was. They should have called 3.0 the beta.

Comment: Re:Meanwhile OS/2 and Xenix existed (Score 1) 376

by nukenerd (#49757975) Attached to: 25 Years Today - Windows 3.0

One of [OS/2's] biggest failings was claiming that it was "a better DOS than DOS and a better Windows than Windows"... which i... helps to remove the motivation to build much of anything specifically targeting for OS/2, rather than Windows... and being an 'also runs' OS doesn't get you much traction for adoption.

Even worse, they marketed the version of OS/2 (2.1 AFAIR) which had Windows 3.1 on board already in a virtual machine as "OS/2 for Windows"!

As if OS/2 was some kind of app. It was like the tail wagging the dog, with OS/2 being a grown-up OS and Win3.1 being a dog's breakfast.

Comment: Re:Meh. (Score 2) 376

by nukenerd (#49757959) Attached to: 25 Years Today - Windows 3.0

IBM forcing Microsoft to make it run on the 286 was a complete waste of time.

It was, but you need to understand the culture back then. The processor arms race had not begun and people thought that 286s and 386s would be around for ever - 386s for power users and 286s for the rest of us. SLR cameras are an analogy - Nikon have both entry level and professional grade SLRs, always have, and no-one expects today's professional camera to become next year's entry level camera. The two lines develop separately.

That was when I was buying my first PC, and I was going to get a 286 as "it was all I needed", despite 386s being around. Then suddenly the arms race took off and I got a 486. I remember the dismay and even indignation of other guys who had just bought a 286 or 386 and were suddenly left behind.

Comment: Re:Windows 3.0 (Score 1) 376

by nukenerd (#49757931) Attached to: 25 Years Today - Windows 3.0

Windows 3.0 was not unstable. Sure, any application could crash the OS, which is a technical deficiency, but I don't remember any kind of unstability in general.

My work Win3.0 machine crashed so often that it is a fine point as to whether the blame lay with Win3.0 or the app. True, there was often the message "UAE" [Unrecoverable Application Error] but I suspect that Windows would have said that anyway. If it was the apps, then Windows should not have allowed the app to bring the whole machine down.

Win3.1 was considerably better with the same apps, so it could be done.

Comment: Re:For me it's Windows NT 3.1 (Score 1) 376

by nukenerd (#49757905) Attached to: 25 Years Today - Windows 3.0

Windows 95 was still sitting on DOS to a large extent .... if you typed the MS-DOS "mode" command with an option like 40-column you unmasked the hidden DOS prompt

The fact that you could get a DOS prompt does not mean it ran on DOS. I am running Mepis Linux right now, and can call up a DOS prompt in a virtual machine. I can also dual boot into DOS, which is effectively what Win9x could do if you needed it, especially for games then.

Comment: Re:For me it's Windows NT 3.1 (Score 1) 376

by nukenerd (#49757877) Attached to: 25 Years Today - Windows 3.0

The big change for me was with Win95. All earlier versions of Windows were bolted on top of MS-DOS

Windows NT came out in 1993, predated Win95, and had nothing to do with DOS apart from the capability to run DOS in a virtual machine. Its own command line interface was not DOS, even though many of the commands had the same syntax

although many people had it started by AUTOEXEC.BAT so they never needed to notice that DOS was still there. Starting with Win95, however, the default was for the computer to boot directly into Windows ..... And of course, the ability to have it autorun CDs when they were inserted was another great convenience.

Having an auto-starting app, even a GUI shell, is hardly a quantum leap in computer history, nor is auto-running CDs.

Comment: Re:OS/2 better then windows at running windows app (Score 4, Interesting) 376

by nukenerd (#49757453) Attached to: 25 Years Today - Windows 3.0

When OS/2 was launched it was a joint Microsoft/IBM product, and it was touted (by both) as being the replacement for Windows.

Exactly. I worked for a big corporate at the time and we all had PCDos on IBM ATs running stuff like IBM DisplayWrite and, most importantly, a mainframe terminal emulator because the (IBM) mainframe was where our serious stuff was. When Win 3.0 came out we were all handed boxed copies (I recently sold mine) - although Windows was MS, it seemed (to our management at least) the way to go, and was assumed to have IBM endorsement (a corporate essential) because it would run on IBM PCs. Management were unaware of the MS-IBM bust-up.

Win 3.0 was absolutely awful. It crashed and needed a reboot about twice an hour. It was soon replaced with the improved 3.1. It was not networked of course, but we would share printers in groups of four of us using a switchbox.

At about same time, one guy in our branch, our IT "co-ordinator" (who knew nothing about IT) was given OS/2 as a pilot. We all understood that would be the way to go fo all of us, but the whole thing stagnated (I guess because of the IBM/MS split). OS/2's price (its own, and that of the memory needed to run it) remained too high. I bought OS/2 for home but there were bugs (could have be sorted by IBM if they had their heart in it) and lack of apps. It seemed there was an anti-OS/2 camp within IBM itself.

But people, like our middle-aged management, who had never previously used computers (I had started on a PDP 11) or seen a GUI before, thought Windows and MS were absolutely wonderful. Us younger guys all had home computers by then, and knew better. Ironically, the generation after us also thought Windows and MS were wonderful because they never saw anything but Windows. It led to all the myths that we must now endure about Gates being a genius, inventing the PC, making computing affordable, and such like crap.

But Windows 3 (if we include its 3.1 bug-fix) was a milestone in that it popularised the graphical interface.

Comment: Re:I see the master plan (Score 3, Informative) 123

by nukenerd (#49734683) Attached to: Jason Scott of Textfiles.com Wants Your AOL & Shovelware CDs

Afraid not, a friend of my and myself actually tried contacting some of the old shareware companies .... we found was 1.- etc etc

You should have ignored them. Anyone has the right to distribute shareware. You do know how shareware works don't you? If so, I don't understand why you even contacted them and I expect they didn't either. Here is the first Google definition I've found :- "Shareware is software that is distributed free on a trial basis with the understanding that the user may need or want to pay for it later."

Perhaps there was a misunderstanding here. Shareware can be upgraded to fully paid versions by, well, paying. I guess that these companies were assuming, by your contacting them at all, that you wanted to pay for the upgrade to the full version. So it is hardly suprising if they were taken aback by such a request, and that they no longer had the full version of this ancient DOS stuff by their right elbow.

Comment: Re: Humans (Score 1) 150

I'd love to see the private sector version of this. ... I really haven't noticed private sector behavior being any better.

The result would be about the same. People are people. There is far more variation in culture between different organisations (including between different government offices) than there is any public/private divide in this. I've seen it all, including working in the UK Admiralty at one time where the security was fanatical.

As for TFA (I've followed the links) I find the 2/3 figure hard to believe and the article is light on facts and the form of the questions. Perhaps the 2/3 would not report in a case where they knew it was their own fault. I'm guessing, as I see no reason not to report any other breach that came to light. The resulting flap it would make an interesting diversion to the usual dull routine.

Comment: Re:Indian Point == Ticking Timb Bomb (Score 5, Informative) 213

by nukenerd (#49657179) Attached to: Transformer Explosion Closes Nuclear Plant Unit North of NYC

One unfortunate problem with nuke plants is that IIRC you have to have a continuous connection to the grid. If that connection fails, the plant has to scram to avoid damage to the generators (overspeed).

BS

Power stations (even non-nuclear) always have back-up generators that kick in on loss of grid to allow control of the plant to be maintained and for cooling pumps to take the heat out of the system in a controlled way. Generators will not overspeed if cut off the grid - their speeds are controlled by sophisticated control systems, and if they even fail then an old-fashioned back-up mechanical governor will cause the main steam supply valve to slam shut.

The plant would not be "scrammed" on loss of grid. Scramming means hitting a big red panic button. The plant would be kept spinning at first, obviously with the reactor power reduced to near zero, with residual heat being dumped through purposed heat exchangers and possibly releasing steam to atmosphere (unless it is a BWR - Indian Point is not), while the cause of the loss-of-grid was investigated - like getting the grid company on the phone. Many losses-of-grid are quite brief, but if it looked like it was going to be a while then the plant would be shut down in a controlled way, not by a scram button.

Comment: Re:Indian Point == Ticking Timb Bomb (Score 5, Informative) 213

by nukenerd (#49657135) Attached to: Transformer Explosion Closes Nuclear Plant Unit North of NYC

A transformer blew, they do do that.

It is not uncommon for a large transformer to blow. I am a power station engineer and know of two events over 10 years at UK nuclear power stations. It is not a big safety deal apart from the possiblility of injuring people within say 50 yards, and I have been within sight of one (yet someone was worried about NYC 40 miles away!). These transformers tend to be in bays shielded from each other by thick masonery walls.

Comment: Re:Indian Point == Ticking Timb Bomb (Score 5, Informative) 213

by nukenerd (#49657125) Attached to: Transformer Explosion Closes Nuclear Plant Unit North of NYC

A nuclear power power plant may have a dozen or more [back-up generators] in their generator building. Even replacing just one is not some sort of couple day task.

Quite right. But the reason there are so many is to provide redundancy - they are not all needed at once - and by having a "dozen or more" they are not all going to fail at the same time because of a transformer explosion. The power stations I am familiar with (I am a nuclear engineer in the UK) do not put them all in the same generator building either. Nor are they sited in locations prone to tsunamis and it does not look like Indian Point is either.

generators which are only rarely tested

On the power stations I deal with they are tested frequently. It is hard to judge the size of the generators in your linked picture because it is obviously taken with a very wide-angle lens. The ones I deal with are the same type as used in railway locomotives, and there are mobile trailers available with such generators.

Comment: Re:12/7 (Score 2) 254

who can tell me what 6/4/1942 and 6/6/1944 represent without looking them up?

Yes, to the latter. No to the former because it is in US notation, putting the month before the day before the year. Although in the UK, I would possible say "June the fourth", I am more likely to day "The fourth of June" [see note below], I find it particularly illogical when in numeric notation to have an inconsistent order of the magnitudes - your month/day/year.

Note : For example, another famous sea battle in 1794, the first in the Napoleonic Wars, is known by the British (but surely not by the French) as "The Glorious First of June".

There's no such thing as a free lunch. -- Milton Friendman

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