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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Anachronistic computational devices? 1

tgibson writes: For some time I have been thinking about designing and delivering a one- or two-credit course on the use of computational devices that are either no longer used or are given short shrift due to technological advances. Examples include the abacus, slide rule, and astrolabe. More exotic examples might include the Antikythera mechanism, the E6B flight computer or even archaeoastronomical sites. I would also like to have some of the simpler, unavailable tools 3D-printed for the students and incorporate them into activities.

Although I have been accumulating a list of such devices and other background material, I'm sure there are many "must-haves" I am unaware of. What anachronistic computational devices would be well-suited for such a course?

Comment Automate successful execution as well (Score 1) 265

Setting aside the wisdom (or lack thereof) of automating maintenance, you should also have some process external to the maintained machines that confirms that the maintenance worked. That confirmation could be something like testing that a Web server continues to serve the expected pages, some port provides expected information, etc. If this external process notes a discrepancy, it would page/text/call you.

Comment Unpersuasive argument (Score 1) 260

Similarly people will get into a car operated by a driver without sufficient insurance or any guarantee that the vehicle is operating correctly and safe, and if its cheaper they won't care either... at least... until there is an accident.

Which is how the regulations came into effect in the first place -- the public was tired of getting into cabs that weren't insured or maintained properly.

The public seems to have a very short memory.

If people tire of getting into uber/lyft cars that aren't insured or maintained properly, they can then...wait for it...take a taxi.

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Is it possible that software is not like anything else, that it is meant to be discarded: that the whole point is to always see it as a soap bubble?

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