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Comment Re: Memories... (Score 1) 123

I don't think that's quite right, but my memory is very hazy now.

5 1/4" started at 160KB (on PCs), then went to 180KB by fitting an extra sector in each track.
Then they doubled to 360KB, but I don't remember if it was because of DS (double-sided) or DD (double-density). Were DSDD 720KB?
When the PC/AT came out, they had 1.2MB drives that purportedly could read and write the above formats too, but they often didn't. These were called HD, I seem to recall (I know that contradicts what I said above).
3 1/2" drives did indeed come out (on PC's) at 720KB, and later almost universally went to 1.44MB. Am I right in remembering a brief period of 2.88MB support before they died completely?

Surely there's a Wikipedia table for this...

Comment Re: Explain your vote? (Score 1) 221

Ok, well thank you for the clarification, as far as it goes.

What I am really looking for is a sort of score card, showing which major bits came from Apple, Microsoft, or someone else entirely (such as, per your explanation, USB and PCI). Globaljustin mentions Apple leading design innovation, which as far as I'm concerned goes without saying, but is somewhat beside the point. My interest is more in technology -- for example, after all the TRS-80s, PETs, DesqView, Windows on DOS, and OS/2, I remember being delighted with NT 3.1 when it first came out, as it was the first desktop OS that felt like I was using a real computer (i.e. nice, smooth multitasking). But Microsoft didn't invent decent multitasking, there was Unix of course, and IBM had it in MVS for years (I never used Multics, wasn't it the first decent one?).

In summary, who really out-innovated who?

Comment Re: Explain your vote? (Score 2) 221

Microsoft has never innovated, they owe their success to government contracts, and have copied their rival Apple's designs repeated. But let's focus on M$'s origin, they were the OS that IBM put on all the desktop PC's the government ordered...

Actually, has anyone ever seen an exhaustive list of how many technology standards went from Apple to Microsoft vs. vice-versa? My memory is foggy on the subject, but I seem to recall that both USB and PCI technologies were on PCs long before Macs. And certainly x86 / x64 processors were.

The basic architecture of Windows' windows originates in IBM's 1987 Common User Architecture (SAA/CUA) specs, but I don't know how much of that originated from Apple products.

What am I missing? Which ones went from Apple to Microsoft?

Submission + - SPAM: NSA's best are 'leaving in big numbers,' insiders say

schwit1 writes: Low morale at the National Security Agency is causing some of the agency's most talented people to leave in favor of private sector jobs, former NSA Director Keith Alexander told a room full of journalism students, professors and cybersecurity executives Tuesday. The retired general and other insiders say a combination of economic and social factors — including negative press coverage — have played a part.

"I do hear that people are increasingly leaving in large numbers and it is a combination of things that start with [morale] and there's now much more money on the outside," Alexander said. "I am honestly surprised that some of these people in cyber companies make up to seven figures. That's five times what the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff makes. Right? And these are people that are 32 years old."

"Do the math. [The NSA] has great competition," he said.

The rate at which these cyber-tacticians are exiting public service has increased over the last several years and has gotten considerably worse over the last 12 months, multiple former NSA officials and D.C. area-based cybersecurity employers have told CyberScoop in recent weeks.

"Morale has always been an issue at NSA, with roughly 20 percent of the workforce doing 80 percent of the actual work," a former official told CyberScoop on the condition of anonymity. "NSA is a place where people retire in place. At some point watching this behavior even for motivated people becomes highly demotivating."

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Hitchbot Irreparably Damaged in Philadelphia

evenmoreconfused writes: The hitchhiking robot Hitchbot created by a team of Canadian researchers has apparently been vandalized so badly that it's abandoned its trip from Boston to San Francisco. Hitchbot had previously completed a cross-country trip of Canada, explored Germany and the Netherlands, and even watched a game at Fenway Park. But now it's over:

hitchBOT’s trip came to an end last night in Philadelphia after having spent a little over two weeks hitchhiking and visiting sites in Boston, Salem, Gloucester, Marblehead, and New York City. Unfortunately, hitchBOT was vandalized overnight in Philadelphia; sometimes bad things happen to good robots.

Comment Re: Knowing when not to (Score 3, Interesting) 345

Even though I believe I'm quite a good coder, when I read code from 5 years ago, I'm always surprised to realize that I can do better and simpler.

Whatever the state of your code is today, it will be a mess in a few years.

Yes. I find this to be the case too (I was a programmer in the seventies and eighties, and have been in programming management ever since).

So it begs the question "can one write code that one won't think is sub-optimal five years from now?". I've begun to suspect that one can't -- so just learn to accept it and move on.

What I try to get programmers to do is write code that is A) clear and simple and B) balanced in terms of development vs. maintenance time. I don't want programmers wasting time perfecting code that's not going even be looked at for years to come, nor do I want code that takes days to get into when attempting small fixes.

It's like building a house: if you follow the building standards, it's quick, safe, and any plumber or other trade can walk in later and quickly fix or modify things. If you do a bodge job it all has to be torn out and redone properly, or, if you create custom installations, it gets very expensive to create and especially to maintain.

Submission + - Microsoft's Skype Drops Modern App In Favour Of Old Fashioned Win32 App (i-programmer.info)

mikejuk writes: Microsoft, after putting a lot of effort into persuading us that Universal Apps are the way of the future pulls the plug on Skype modern app to leave just the desktop version. The split in Windows apps created by the launch of Windows 8 still persists today and Microsoft is currently trying to fix this huge blunder by creating a true Windows 10 Universal App that can run on desktop, phone and mobile.Microsoft's argument is that any WinRT apps that you have or old style Windows 8 Universal apps can easily be converted to a Windows 10 Universal app with a single code base for all platforms.
Skype is one of Microsoft's flagship products and it has been available as a desktop Win32 app and as a Modern/Metro/WinRT app for some time. You would think that Skype would support Universal Apps, there are few enough of them — but no. According to the Skype blog:
"Starting on July 7, we’re updating PC users of the Windows modern application to the Windows desktop application, and retiring the modern application."
Microsoft is pushing Windows 10 Universal Apps as the development platform for now and the future but its Skype team have just disagreed big time. What ever this is not a good example of dog fooding and puts in doubt any decision programmer might have made about being an early adopter of Windows 10 Universal Apps — if Microsoft can't get behind the plan why should developers?

Submission + - SourceForge Analysis of nmap project and data (sourceforge.net)

An anonymous reader writes: A few days ago, the maintainer of nmap (an open source network mapping tool) complained that SourceForge had taken over the nmap project page. SourceForge has now responded with a technical analysis of the nmap project history. "We’ve confirmed conclusively that no changes were made to the project or data, and that all past download delivery by nmap on SourceForge was through our web hosting service where content is project-administered."

They detail the history of services used by the nmap project, and use screenshots from archive.org to show how long the project was empty. SourceForge: "The last update date in 2013 relates to the migration of the nmap project (along with all other projects on the site) from SourceForge’s sfx code base to the new Apache Allura-based code base. This migration was an automated operation conducted for all projects, and this platform change did not augment data in the Project Web service or File Release System. We therefore conclude that no content has been removed from the nmap project page. Look and feel of this page has changed over time, but the underlying data remains has remained unchanged by staff." They also confirm that nmap downloads were never bundled with ads: "Infosec professionals do not generally wish to install secondary offers."

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Ya'll hear about the geometer who went to the beach to catch some rays and became a tangent ?