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Comment: Re:I see the master plan (Score 3, Informative) 121

by nukenerd (#49734683) Attached to: Jason Scott of 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).


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".

Comment: Re:Facebook is the new AOL (Score 1) 51

This is a pretty good analogy, because Facebook is a walled garden, like AOL was in its heyday.

Compuserve was another, and MSN I believe. That was the business model back then. I started with Compuserve, but, with many others, broke out after a while and Compuserve folded. Seems we are going full circle.

Comment: Re:Theft (Score 2) 171

no one thinks Gates and Microsoft invented the PC. no one thinks they invented the GUI

No-one here on / but plenty in the wider world. Just one example from a quick Google "We all know that Bill Gates created the personal computer"

.... but they did in fact make the PC affordable.

More bollocks. In the UK I bought my first personal computer, an Amstrad (with CP/M and a printer) for 400 GBP ($600) when an IBM PC with DOS (and no printer) cost around 1200 GBP ($1800). I, and other young techies at the time, regarded the IBM PC as a corporate machine that was unaffordable (and undesirable) for home. Even at work very few people were issued with one. The subsequent spectacular reduction in IBM compatible PC prices was due to falling hardware costs and owed nothing to Microsoft. It owed more to Alan Sugar and the manufacturers of hard drives and memory.

Today the price label on a desktop or laptop is typically a quarter of the 1980 price label, while Microsoft's operating system price label has trebled, having gone through a period in the 90's - the very period when PCs became "affordable" - when it was five times the 1980 price. The percentage of the cost of a PC that goes to MS for their pre-loaded operating system was 3% in 1980 but is typically 20% today.

I suggest you watch this interview with Sugar to hear what a dominant and frustrating part Microsoft's OS price was in setting the price of the PCs he made and sold.

Comment: Re:Theft (Score 1) 171

Is it really necessary to have this pent-up rage and hate over a company for so long? ..... No-one else cares anymore... except on Slashdot.

Two reasons spring to my mind straight off :-

(1)There are many people around who think that Gates and Microsoft invented the computer, or at least the personal computer, or at least invented the GUI, or at least made PCs affordable etc etc, when in fact Gates and Microsoft were copying others. As a result these people, some of whom have a lot of power over policy, mistakenly believe that Gates is a genius and that we should listen to everything he says on any subject and do what he says. I won't bother to link to examples, they are everywhere. It is therefore important to debunk Gates and to keep debunking him, and his company.

(2) Microsoft continue to cheat and to attempt to control the IT world right up to the present day. This is not just about history.

Comment: Re:Theft (Score 3, Informative) 171

As far i know, neither microsoft nor apple did actually stole code.

Microsoft stole VMS code to help make Windows NT. Perhaps more precisely, a VMS team headed by Dave Cutler stole the code from their employer, DEC, and took it with them to work for Microsoft where they developed NT.

DEC did not seem to mind very much though. By that time it seemed that their business model was to allow their staff to walk away with code and then settle for an out-of-court payment from the company it had gone to. That is what they did with Microsoft.

A DEC guy's account

Comment: Re:How this could be awesome. (Score 1) 72

by nukenerd (#49592369) Attached to: How an Open Standard API Could Revolutionize Banking

Imagine that instead of having your .... several shitty bank apps or websites, you had one unified app that .... presented a nice interface.

Why do you assume that the unified interface will be nice? I have accounts at several [UK] banks; the Nationwide interface is good but the FirstDirect interface is bad. For example, to view up-coming payments with FirstDirect is a job of work - I think they want you to over-draw so they can charge you for it. As another example the Nationwide show your statement in what I would call correct chronological order - oldest at the top. Most banks however have latest at the top; and some (only some) of those allow you to reverse it but do not remember your preference for next time.

Factors like these determine my choice of which bank I use routinely; the others I only use for spreading the risk and being able to use more ATMs around. I bet though that a unified interface would not be the one that I would choose.

warning you if you're about to go into the red with a hypothetical purchase in a week and your forecast income, ...

How TF can a bank know that you are going to make a "hypothetical purchase"?

Comment: Re:Read "Outliers" (Score 1) 385

by nukenerd (#49503843) Attached to: Can High Intelligence Be a Burden Rather Than a Boon?

If you ever came into contact with any of Gates' code, you would know he was a mediocre coder. .. ... he hired someone to copy Gary Kildall's CP/M and call it DOS

Microsoft bought DOS from Seattle Computer Products [SCP} and hired its author, Tim Paterson, to port it to the PC. No doubt they copied many ideas from CP/M but not code directly. SCP had written it for their own personal computer and called it QDOS as a joke - "Quick and Dirty Operating System". Microsoft dropped the "Q" and said the "D" stood for "Disk". Gates may have contributed some code. See here

Later MS did a similar trick with Windows NT (the basis XP and every Windows since). They hired a team from DEC who brought the source code of VMS with them and combined it with some bits of OS/2 to make NT. See here

Both SCP and DEC sucessfully got damages out of Microsoft later, although just drops in the ocean for Microsoft.

There is one way to find out if a man is honest -- ask him. If he says "Yes" you know he is crooked. -- Groucho Marx