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Slashback: Invitation, MIR, History 81

This is Slashback. You don't have to read it if you don't want to. But if you want to, read below some interesting bits on: the first digital computers (who sez?!); neural nets with the ability to whip your behind; your chance to bring your ideal OS to life, under adult supervision; and Yes, a note on Mir, which has so far failed to hit my new loft.

(This item ceremonially closer to orbit) pcidevel writes: "According to this page at there is no plans to down Mir and in fact a launch has been approved to make sure Mir has a long stay in orbit." I'm sure everyone with plans to visit (James Cameron on down / up) will be cheered to the cockles. I think I'll wait till the .1 release;)

To hell with anyone who won't help out ;) jonathan_atkinson writes: "The V2_OS ( that you featured twice a while back is currently undergoing a kernel rewrite. Having taken on some of the criticisms that Slashdot readers threw at us at the time (it hurt back then... but this is our baby :P), the kernel is being rewritten from scratch, using a fully modular architecture. An interesting project to be involved with ... So, any Slashdot readers who have wanted to get involved with a cool project like this, contact one of the project leaders in #v2os on EFnet or visit the website. Plenty of you had criticisms and ideas the last time this story was posted, lets see if anyone wants to put them into practise!"

"I was here first! No I was here first! Mom!" afrop writes: "Like Tesla vs Marconi in the field of radio, history seems to have already sealed the fate of ENIAC vs ABC. The Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC) is almost always overlooked when people say 'first digital computer', despite the 1973 court decision invalidating the ENIAC patents, and declaring Atanasoff the inventor of the first digital computer. History may have forgotten the ABC, but we shouldn't."

Similarly, An unnamed correspondent writes: "You've posted several things recently about the computing history, and you always claim the ENIAC or whatever was first. You really should post this link to the first electronic digital computer, from which the creators of ENIAC got some of their ideas."

Interesting links, both. Of course, there are a lot of interesting devices which predate both of these, including the mysterious bronze computing device found aboard an Agean wreck.

And if you feel like turning over the rocks of history to find those little bugs that curl into balls, and wondering what the ancients would have called them, wonder, if not no more, at least a bit less -- GE Bickford writes: "While there is certainly a distinction between various individuals who hack, I have found a very early usage of "hacker" that demonstrates that the artificial semantic distinction between "cracker" and "hacker" is a vain conceit. This citation proves that the term "hacker" from the very beginning involved an implicit violation of 'territory' (trespassing) and threat to system integrity (vandalism). It also shows that hackers were considered at least a potential threat from the earliest days of the internet (then ARPANET). I note that the term 'cracker' didn't come into use until at least the late 1980s if not 1990s:
"We feel that this change will be sufficient to discourage "hackers", although it is obviously insufficient to protect a node against a determined and malicious attack." - RCF521."

Bring me the head of Michelle Pong! You may have thought it was cool that a neural net could be taught to recognize the spoken word "one," but how about one that does useful work instead? Specifically, LinuxBand writes: " this thing is pretty cool, teach it by hitting the ball for awhile and then try playing against it and watch it kick yer arse."

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Slashback: Invitation,

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  • by Icebox ( 153775 )
    I like the: You don't have to read it if you don't want to.

    Its too bad when the stories have to put up that disclaimer.

  • that mir situation just gets sillier by the day. i must say the fungus is simply the best. a foot worth of spacemoss coating the outer portion? i would hate to think what was really going on with that russian sub - somebody needs to remind that country that sometimes even world powers need to rest and recuperate.

    1. I LOVE YOU []
  • When did /. (yep its a slash and a dot) start with small presentation post? I thought the idea was to post single post under each heading so we could sort it the way we wanted. Nothing wrong in trying to make a site a bit more userfriendly (no pun intended) but pls. don't go any further. I am getting fed up of sites that are so userfriendly that you don't get more info above the technical treshold of "right-clicking" and "left-clicking" (first option said in a whisper with the air of computerwiz magic surrounding it) Ranglefant
  • Why does it seem so difficult for these people to decide which digital computer came first? All they have to do is look at the freaking date at which they were manufactured. Maybe then this big pissing contest can end.
  • by KeyShark ( 195825 )
    Can't most computers kick your ass before they start learning in ping pong.
    Actually this is pretty impressive.
  • by AFCArchvile ( 221494 ) on Thursday October 05, 2000 @03:11PM (#727779)
    This was a song made up by The Capitol Steps [] Sing this to the tune of that rain in the plains of Spain song from "My Fair Lady." (text in Times is Boris Yeltsin, cosmonauts sing in a different font)

    To steer a Mir, you clearly need a beer!

    Comrades have got it?
    Comrades have got it!
    To steer a Mir, you clearly need a beer!

    How will we get from there to here?

    We will steer, we will steer!
    Yeah, and what is crystal clear?
    Our beer! Our beer!

    To Steer a Mir, you clearly need a beer!

    Houston, we have a drinking problem!
    Objects in Mir are nearer than they appear!!!

  • by cronio ( 13526 )
    Well, what they're showing here is "real" AI. It is insanely easy to make a pong game that is literally impossible to beat.
    So yes, it is pretty impressive.

  • by Gruuk ( 18480 ) on Thursday October 05, 2000 @03:17PM (#727781)
    You know, with all the problems Mir had, it's now evident that it was the perfect place to test out what might happen on very long space travel. We've seen the effects of people staying on much longer than expected, the effect of colliding with another craft and surviving it, fires, equipement failures, infiltration by hostile lifeforms (moss); we've also seen that with little ressources and a lot of ingenuity, it's possible to make extensive repairs even when it seems like a hopeless cause.

    After witnessing all these things and learning a lot from them, we really are better prepared for say something like a jaunt to the red planet.
  • why was this modded down? i know it was no leap of logic, but considering that the topic was a two-liner about mir staying in orbit - and no elaboration - why not drop a funny one about mir? you mod asses - take this one down too - you guys ecchh this place up.

    1. I LOVE YOU []
  • by nehril ( 115874 ) on Thursday October 05, 2000 @03:20PM (#727783)
    "Consider this: The process of preserving foods in tin cans was invented in 1810, but it wasn't until 1854, more that 40 years later, that someone invented the can opener. Go figure."

    Can you imagine the dismay of the person who first canned something?

    Scene from the First Cannery:

    Minion: "Hey boss, so like, how do you get it back out?"

    Boss: "Doh!"

  • More interesting is what these test told us.... (secondhand will be popular in space aswell?)
  • by MrP- ( 45616 )
    wtf are you talking about?

    explain further
  • Well this isnt really a single post is it? Its a collection of many postings. Not that I didnt like it. Just never seen a post with several issues before here.
  • They started doing this long ago. They even had a special icon. They called 'em quickies.

    Slashback is a corrections/followup piece for stories that have already been subjected to the "single post under each heading" treatment.

    It started on April 29, 2000
  • by hitzroth ( 60178 ) on Thursday October 05, 2000 @03:28PM (#727788)
    Ya know, I always thought that fingers were the original digital computer...
  • aha, thx for the clearification. I just havent seen one of these before. "quickies".....hmm another example of the differences in social culture and life between the computer geeks and those with a social life. ( a real one). hmm well as close as you can get I suppose :)
  • Here's a good one from those same guys who did the "To Steer a Mir" song. This one features a parody of Al Gore, singing "Put Ten Grand in the Hand." (don't know if that's a parody of a classic, but funny nonetheless). 3 []

    This MP3 is perfectly legal; it was referenced from their website.

  • All you needed was a manual Try this one []
  • by morris57 ( 23356 ) on Thursday October 05, 2000 @03:35PM (#727792) Homepage Journal
    The first person to invent the radio was not Marconi (or Tesla) but a Russian named Popov. Popov was aware of Marconi's work in EM waves, and he was the first to build a device that carried information via radio waves. The device was used to relay messages from Russia's mainland to an outpost on an island in the Gulf of Finland.
    It is actually a fascinating story, if you are interested in the history of science and technology.
    Thank you for pointing out that the ABC computer came first. This thing was developed in the early part of the 20th century...well before ENIAC. If Atanasoff had patented that puppy, Silicon Valley would have been in Iowa and I don't care what CmdrTaco thinks about patents!
  • I usually don't reply to such postings... but I just wanted to tell you that you can relax now. elementary school students is not as dangerous as you make em sound. (just wait until you get older and you will not only see that I tell the truth but you might even develop a language)
  • by CaptainCarrot ( 84625 ) on Thursday October 05, 2000 @03:36PM (#727794)
    Before he left the bar, [Atanasoff] had also worked out a way of using the positive and negative charges in capacitors to represent the 0's and 1's that make up the binary system. This line of thinking led to what was to be his most significant achievement: the development of an electronic switch known as a logic circuit.

    Now don't you think that achievement should put an end to the weenie arguments against drinking?

    That's it! I've got me a bottle of single malt scotch, and I'm goin' to invent me the warp drive tonight! That means from now on every starship engineer's gonna have a Scots accent!


  • (and some of you might have to go below your current treshold to see tha last post I replied to.... way below)
  • by timothy ( 36799 ) on Thursday October 05, 2000 @03:38PM (#727796) Journal
    a) secrecy / obscurity -- which is why the colossus project was quiet when others were getting credit for a while. How many people have even heard of Konrad Zuse? Even with more modern computers, there are sometimes disputes about provenance / heritage (I was reminded as I re-read a little bit of The Soul of New Machine this evening).

    b) definitions ... what exactly constitutes "a computer" / "a digital computer" / etc.? A turing machine? Babbage's engine is pretty cool. What about projects which may have been there theorectically but never really reached fruition.

    But yeah, the truth will out at some point. It's one of those things that some people like to argue the fine points of because they're interested in / fascinated by those fine points. Earliest flight, earliest automobile, earliest steam engine, earliest language all raise the same kind of questions, eh?

  • Malda probably thought it was "über-pimp!" Seriously, isn't the nose ring a little too much?
  • You might be too late. That Magnet ic Bubble Drive [] mentioned earlier today looks very much like the warp drive.

    Perhaps use a bit more antimatter.

  • Umm... I wrote a pong game for my C class that had a 4 line AI that was completely unbeatable. Learning? Impressive. Beating? Not.
  • This will probably get modded down, but what the hell.

    Since the V2OS people took the advice of Slashdotters before, I'll just say that they could do without the gratuitous splash screen on their site.


  • by iamblades ( 238964 ) on Thursday October 05, 2000 @04:06PM (#727802) Homepage
    an OS written in pure assembler.. hehehe, that OS sounds like a speed demon, I'm going to be looking into it from now on.

    Alas, I have no floppy drive, so I will have to wait a bit... The little gumby looking mascot is a little odd, my favorite OS mascot is always the BSD devil. Tux is fat, someone tell him to lose some weight...
  • thats not ANSI, thats ASCII... damnit, trolls are bad enough, but dumb trolls... ANSI is a standards group that creates standards for things like C++ (which, of course, no compiler actually follows...)... anyway, this is offtopic, but i could not allow the idiocy to exist..

    I cant wait to see what the gui for v2os is going to be like. Maybe I'll join up, and help out a little...
  • I guess Mir, after all, isn't going to that big space station home in the sky- er- ground.
  • call it a fit of pique. I was maybe experiencing a pre-emptive headache, as people often complain that slashback doesn't do their dishes, bring them to orgasm, etc. or that I'm an awful guy for assembling it ;)

  • Thanks, v2os, for placing a bunch of 'hidden' keywords at the top of your page. These "hidden" keywords sure look great (and hide themselves really well) in my text-based browser.

    Seriously, that's what the keyword meta tag is for. Please don't stuff your page full of words like that. If your project is good, people will find you.

  • true enough -- good point. And certain questions are semantic enough it doesn't matter, eh? ;) The reconstructed (well, newly constructed) Babbage engines rock, too.


  • by alcohollins ( 64804 ) on Thursday October 05, 2000 @04:37PM (#727808)
    Slightly off topic, but... If the Russian government wanted to pocket some quick cash, they should sell the Mir space-fungus on eBay. It's probably worth more than the space station it's devouring..

  • A friend of mine recounted that a friend of his hired a nanny from a Caribean island. She was a fine nanny, the kids were happy, the house was clean, but every now and then, this guy, who was pretty much a prototypical yuppie, and kind of anal about his stuff, would find that one of his $100 kitchen knives had the point broken off.

    he asked the nanny if she did anything unusual with the knives. No, she said. Were the knives unfamiliar to her? No, they were familar - perfectly ordinary - and worked quite well, she said. Since the nanny was unable to explain how it happened, he watched the nanny prepare a meal every now and then, just to see if he could discern whether she was flinging the knives into the sink, or doing something dangerous with them that might cause the points to break off. On the contrary: she handled then with great care, washing them immediately after use, drying them, and putting them straight back into the knife block. He was utterly puzzled.

    One day, the nanny made tuna salad sandwiches for the kids, and this guy happened to stop in at home at lunchtime that day. To his horror, he observed the nanny take a beatiful German stainless steel chef's knife and plunge it into the tuna can, proceeding to sort of saw the lid off.

    So there are still places where can openers are considered unneccessary.

  • there certainly are some "update" stories that are important enough by themselves that you'll (I hope) not see them in Slashback, but there are a lot of issues which sort of simmer. Or things where it takes two or three related bits to be meaningful / relevant (or sometimes funny) ...

    The truth is, there are a lot of submissions to Slashdot that we'd like to run, but looking at the reality of the day some of them would be nearly redundant or just out of place on the main page, so I like to toss in some of those as well -- like orphan stew! :)

    I hope you enjoy it -- my job (which is fun anyhow) is more fun because I get to read / collate this stuff into a readable form. :)


  • by Smack ( 977 ) on Thursday October 05, 2000 @05:10PM (#727811) Homepage
    On December 24, 1906, at 9 P.M. eastern standard time, Reginald Fessenden transmitted human voices from Brant Rock near Boston, Massachusetts to several ships at sea owned by the United Fruit Company. Fessenden concluded the broadcast by extending Christmas greetings to his listeners - as well as asking them to write and report to him on the broadcast wherever they were. The mail response confirmed that Fessenden had successfully invented radio as we know it. Technically, he had invented radio telephony or what radio listeners would call "real" radio as opposed to Marconi's Morse code broadcasting. Fessenden could truly lay claim to be the inventor of radio and he fully expected the world to beat a path to his door. Instead, he never received his due recognition, lost control of his patents and the ensuing revenue which made other inventors and companies immensely wealthy. Even today the Encyclopedia Canadiana does not give him a separate listing. Mention of him is only included under the listing for his mother Clementina. ium /radio/radio_unsung.html []
  • by bbay ( 192854 ) on Thursday October 05, 2000 @05:25PM (#727812)
    "We feel that this change will be sufficient to discourage "hackers", although it is obviously insufficient to protect a node against a determined and malicious attack."

    This citation proves that the term "hacker" from the very beginning involved an implicit violation of 'territory' (trespassing) and threat to system integrity (vandalism).

    This interpretation is dubious in my opinion. It would seem that this text is intentionally making a distinction between a "hacker" who might be merely poking around and who will be sufficiently discouraged, and a "determined and malicious" attacker who will not be stopped by "this change".

    This seems to demonstrate a clear separation between the concepts of the curious 'hacker' and the malicious 'cracker', contrary to what Mr. Bickford claims.

  • "Sure... we'll thaw you out... when we figure out how

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Its the invention that gets built and NOTICED that gets the credit. An example, the airplane: numerous designs and models were built, but only the wright built a model that consistently worked and that got attention, yes other people had designed planes (leonardo da vinci for one, couple of hundred years before to boot) and a french inventor had a semi-working plane, but it crashed. To illustrate my 2nd point, milo t farnsworth invented the analog tv, he did not get wide spread recognition for it. To toss fire onto the wood, an example a french inventor created a life sized mechanical doll at a desk (technically its programmed by setting gears), it would sign any name programmed into it. Now, technically it's a robot , but it probably has been given credit since its mechanical not eletronic or electrical. (note , some historicals records stated that the greek inventor hero, had invented 'mechanical' servants run by steam [hero was noted for steam powered toys) And you thought the issue was confusing before :) Profx
  • To Steer on Mir, possibly. That's what I always though it was.

    Heh, whatever. Funny bunch, those capitol steps.
  • Put in networking and TCP/IP and maybe it'd be useful for something...

    Until then? Uh...
  • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Thursday October 05, 2000 @05:49PM (#727817) Homepage Journal

    A designer in the UK makes reproductions of orreries and other devices, as well as this working replica of the Antikythera Device. []

    An orrery is a model of the solar system, and his prices range from affordable to... dare I say it... astronomical. Beautiful pieces.

    A photo of the original lumps of sea-bed rock, with the bronze Antikythera device embedded, available through a link or two.

  • Tux is fat, someone tell him to lose some weight...

    Well, yes, but can you imagine a skinny penguin? Penguins are sort of inherently chubby... something to do with blubber or something like hat... keeps 'em warm.

    Wow, waaaay OT, and I don't even particularly like Tux. Past my bedtime..
  • w00t! April 29th is my birthday.

    Bet you're thrilled.

  • ...are called pill bugs. The rainbow butterfly has a nice picture here []. It seems that they are isopods, and they are also known as woodlice. It's rather confusing; I still ahven't figured it out. In any event, there's an extensive site all about woodlice, in various forms, here []. A sample: "They have no waterproof waxy cuticle on their exoskeleton and are therefore more likely to suffer from desiccation compared with other arthropods such as insects which have a well developed waxy layer." (credit to the author) Now i'm all self-conscious about my waxy cuticle...

    But I am confused. Are these "woodlice," which seem to be New Zealand beasts, the same as the pill bugs in my garden? Am I anywhere close to being on-topic?
  • Didn't you guys also invent air conditioning & the Internet?

  • by Da_Monk ( 88392 ) on Thursday October 05, 2000 @06:15PM (#727822)
    Something interesting:

    even if you leave the app in PTRAIN for a long time, have it play against itself (use RECALL) and the only time it will lose is when the ball is in the uppermost left corner. i tried this on about 12 attempts with varying lengths of training time, ball speed, size, etc... i find it hard to believe that this situation never comes up in training going by the assumption that the training is simply how to respond to the ball being at each point on the y axis of the court....

  • Why troll?

    Clearly, the person was making reference to the fact that the link looks quite similar to the goatsex domain. That was the first thing I thought of, too. Too much /.
  • The above post is not offtopic. Discussing the posts is what you are supposed to do. Just because this post is critical of slashdot does not mean that it is offtopic.

    Discussing moderation of posts especially in a string that is incorrectly moderated is not offtopic. (but if your a moderator that disagrees go ahead and moderate me down instead of doing your job and moderating up the really good/interesting posts, I have the Karma to spare.)
  • The can opener is just a modern convenience when it comes to opening cans. Originally, they were opened with chisels, or sometime bayonettes.

    Why would anybody invent a specialised can-opening device before there were cans to open?

  • There was also the ANSI terminal standard, sort of like VT-100, better in some ways (and not in others).. back in the good old days, we had animated ANSI movies! heh.
  • I don't suppose you realize, PC weenie as you no doubt are, that it's nearly impossible for hand-written assembler to perform nearly as well as the code from a sensible compiler on modern architectures? The 8086 is gone, let it rest in peace.
  • Once again, the hacker vs. cracker debate is brought back to pointless bickering about semantics. As easily as you argue that hacker activities weren't considered malicious attacks, one could argue that the author was making a distinction between a hacker's random script-kiddie attack and a more serious one. For him, a "malicious hacker attack" might have been redundant.

    The simple fact is that it cannot be determined through the quote alone whether or not the author thought of the word hacker the same way the so-called hacker community thinks of it. However, it is evident that he thought whatever these "hackers" were doing was something negative that should be prevented, even if that was "merely poking around."

  • We all know that Mir is falling apart, and has some nasty fungus that could probably challenge human survival. How can we put to use such a deserted and dangerous setting? Survivor 3! Instead of eating rice you get MOLD! Instead of holding your breath underwater you hold your breath in space! And for the final immunity challenge (sort of a double meaining there with the mold and all) you have to survive re-entry. PS I'm aware that you can't survive in outerspace due to pressure concerns, but we have this thing called humor. Learn to like it, its great.
  • I would be all in favor of a separate word for malicions vs. non malicious hackers, but "cracker" is already too overloaded.

    A cracker is something you eat. A cracker is the theme for a Christmas ballet. A cracker is used to refine petroleum. A cracker is derogitory slang used by people of color to refer to whites.

    Whenever I hear people call hackers crackers, I always think of the first overloaded definition--Shades of Ich bin ein Berliner. Yes, we can tell the difference based on context, just as the Berliners could, but there is no city named Crack. It just doesn't sound right.

    Actually, the phrase "black hat" is widely used, and not terribly overloaded. Yes, the bad guys in westerns wore black hats, but they were not *called* black hats. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, the phrase "black hat" is not used this way in any other context.

  • Penguins are sort of inherently chubby... something to do with blubber or something like hat

    Was "has" an intentional typo, referring to a somewhat popular distro? <grin&gt

  • yes, true, but it was meant to be a joke... i don't see how my comment was flamebait, but oh well. I also think a skinny penguin would look kinda funny... anyway... i need sleep, and my karma never will get past 2, so bye...
  • They aren't that funny. Maybe you have to be a part of the Eastern Establishment to get it, or something. Anyway, this article pretty much sums it up [].

    As few at Gino's could avoid knowing, the man has been a fan of The Capitol Steps ever since he heard a friend's copy of the group's 1994 Clinton-skewering album Lord Of The Fries.

    "That was a good album," the man noted, "with some really funny stuff like 'Middle-Aged Lady Named Janet Reno.'"

    "Instead of 'Little Old Lady From Pasadena,' he clarified."

  • by Tim ( 686 )
    Yeah, sure...a scam perpetuated by the television documentary Empire of the Air (written by the same guy who did The Civil War). Not to mention more than a few books on radio history.

    Damn, that's some scam...
  • Ill buy some. I've always wanted to start a career as a bad guy in a James Bond movie.
  • Look at the projects page... tcp/ip stack is being worked on.
  • That's a parody of the gospel tune "Put Your Hand in the Hand".
  • No, no, that wasn't flamebait, just a sleep-deprivation-induced observation. ;)
    Bye bye.
  • The use in RFC521 was not unique.
    From RFC691:

    "430 430 Foo, you are a password hacker!"
  • Yes, but could she cut a tomato with the knife afterward?
  • Yeah, it is annoying. Go to this page [] instead.
  • More fodder for my argument that we were not as dumb as the western tradition would like us to believe we are. Humans built pyramids, built fantastic cities, great works of art and engineering. Sure, they didn't have palm pilots that us clever, obviously more advanced homo sapiens have, but that doesn't mean they were *dumb*. It seems like every year some archeologist finds some *amazing* thing that we would *never* believe was possible to ancient humans (how about that frozen medicine man from Italy, eh?). It's a sort of arrogance. As if all of our great advancements are the natural outcome of the superior "western" civilized mind.
  • Maybe if I can find it, I could salvage a 64Kbps MP3 from it. Too bad the NPR station in my area isn't allowed to boost power during the Capitol Steps show (or did they? Hmmmm.)
  • But assembler is k-r4d!

  • anybody remember thedraw?

  • When I was "hacking" on ARPANET-connected systems back in the 1970's, "hacker" definitely had many positive connotations.

    But I'm pretty sure there were plenty of management types -- "suits" -- in charge of projects dependent on, or even part of, the ARPANET's infrastructure, who were aware of the term "hacker" and, just like today, had little awareness of the positive aspects that made up "normal" life of a hacker, yet great awareness of the damage hackers could do while exploring their curiousity.

    My experience doesn't really go back farther than that on a national scale, but since around 1971 or so it's been my experience that a hacker's innate curiosity about how things work, how well they stand up to various sorts of stresses, etc., all of which is normal for people -- especially young teen males -- to explore, is just the sort of thing those who are just trying to "get work done" tend to view in a mostly, sometimes entirely, negative light.

    Anyway, my recollection is that the term "hacker" got its public "spike" from a popular cartoon (not Dilbert, certainly not Peanuts, but I'd probably recognize the name if given a list to choose from) that used the term to describe activities we now associate primarily with "crackers".

    Further, my impression was that the word "cracker" was willfully employed by the hacker community to respond to the public's sudden assumption that "hacker" (which many of us called ourselves at various times) meant "does nothing useful other than try to break into computer systems".

    I think this particular cartoon debuted in the mid-1980s, but I really can't recall just where I was working when someone first showed it to me.

  • Okay, I've had it with the Da Vinci thing. Da Vinci's sketches of "inventions" all have one thing in common -- they don't work if you build them. They don't even come close to working. To credit Da Vinci for those "inventions" is like crediting me for inventing a perpetual motion machine -- after all, I designed one that didn't work in the third grade.

    And that has to be the standard. Ideas are a dime a dozen, but you haven't invented something until it works. (Well, let's go slightly broader. Babbage invented the first general-purpose mechanical computer, since his design works if built exactly as he designed it.)

    Steven E. Ehrbar
  • I don't really care about any moderators views on my postings. If I reply I do so 'cs I have a question or think I can contribute. But thx for the support.
  • you're an ass
  • I noticed that on the main page, the nose ring is in the chip's right nostril, and once you get into the site, it's on his left nostril. I don't know why I always get bogged down in the little details...
  • If I were to write, " We feel that this change will be sufficient to discourage murderers, although it is obviously insufficient to protect people against a determined and malicious attack," would you conclude that I was talking about two different kinds of attackers: murderers and 'people who kill in a determined and malicious way, but who aren't murderers'?

    The sense of the comment is clearly that hackers are people who make illicit entry into systems. Modern-day computer hobbyists may redefine the term hacker if they want, but the reference cited above makes it apparent that the word's original use was synonymous with 'cracker.'

  • If I were to write, "We feel that this change will be sufficient to discourage people, although it is obviously insufficient to protect people against a determined and malicious attack." this sentence makes a lot more sense than your sentance with "murderers" instead of "people" thereby prooving the point that hacker is a good thing (except in the eyes of suits (like you?))
  • Interesting... There are some people that automatically think "Cool! Someone wrote a really tiny OS, I've got to play with it!" whereas others think "Ok, yet another immature OS - of course it's tiny and fast, but that's because it lacks functionality. What's the big deal? I can't run [insert name of favorite app here], so what good is it?"

    The really interesting thing is that "[insert name of app]" slot. A few years ago, it might have been "spreadsheet" or "word processor"; several years earlier, it might have been "calculator"; these days it's "TCP/IP and a browser" (and eventually someone will clamour for an MP3 player and a Napster clone, I'll warrant).

    Well, I believe in the Sun motto "The Network is the Computer"

    Really... the entire function for a computer is to process information of some sort. There must be a way for information to get in, and for it to get out for it to be useful. I believe that networking is one of the best ways to accomplish this on a general basis, and TCP/IP a logical choice to accomplish that task.

  • I am aware. I'm also aware that a lot of the roots of "western" civilization are in turn rooted in arabic civilizations, art and science, and various other sources. Hell, Christianity was a Middle East export (despite the pale white "pure" Jesus we have come to know). But nevertheless we are still surprised and amazed when we stumble upon something we would never before have believed could be made by such primitive people. Because, after all, new is better, and old is stupid.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire