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Comment Re:DR-DOS 8.0 (Score 1) 599

Minicomputer emulation (PDP-11) ... which no one cares about, but anyway it's all bits and bytes and condition flags and needs maximum speed, so assembly is a natural fit (but that's just an excuse -- assembly is awesome!). Yes it does just fine on modern hardware -- I always say, for whatever reason, hardware guys are *much* better than software guys at backward compatibility. Stuff written for 10-year-old OS versions often has problems on the latest flavor, but 1980s x86 code that touches the 83-key keyboard controller and CGA directly works just fine today with an enhanced USB keyboard and PCIe graphics card. Even the self-booting version of my stuff still works (although I'm sure UEFI will become unavoidable very soon -- but thumb drives and CDs still boot the old way). Newer WLINKs can write ELF executables, which is nice (although it'd be even nicer if imports worked).

DOS is the best place to *run* this kind of code too, since it needs to be tied pretty closely to some of the hardware (especially bus adapters for antique peripherals that must be preserved). Linux changes its driver model every 15 minutes so it's a struggle every time someone wants to install my drivers there, but the ones on DOS are inside the application and just talk to the PCI BIOS at startup and then reach out and grope the hardware directly, which has worked great for years and years. The interrupt response time is fantastic, obviously.

Comment At the bank (Score 1) 229

A small safe deposit box is only $25/year and the odds that the bank will burn in the same fire my house does are pretty low. So I swap out various media whenever I'm there (2.5" USB drive with everything, and flash / Fuji DynaMO disks with the most important source code). And also copy to separate HDDs at home pretty often, and to a backup partition on my main machine all the time (that's the least safe but it's still way better than nothing, and has saved me from my own stupidity many times). I don't trust the Internet with my source code, ever.

Comment Multiple formats (Score 1) 251

It almost doesn't matter as long as it's more than one medium, stored in more than one place. I keep copies of everything on HDDs (and sometimes tape) here at home, but also copy the most vital stuff onto 3.5" magneto-optical disks (Fuji DynaMO -- they never caught on but they've been super reliable) and keep that in a safe deposit box at the bank. $25/year is pretty good for getting my life's work back if my house burns down. If you do choose a removable medium, make sure you keep a spare drive too. It'd be a shame to have pristine media you can't read.

Comment It's just plastic (Score 1) 175

I want to be more excited about this ... but I just don't have a steady need for chintzy plastic crap, even if it's custom-made to my design.

Comment Public domain? (Score 1) 39

I seriously don't get how this is possible. Weren't we all told that works by the federal government automatically fall into the public domain (except classified works) since the federal government *can't* hold copyrights? How is having a university create the work with federal money any different from the feds doing it themselves? (It would be a "work for hire" if it *were* copyrightable.) And the whole concept of copyleft licenses depends on copyrights, ironically, so you can't release something under GPL etc. if you don't hold the copyright.

So this all sounds as if we're supposed to be happy about the government actually doing much less than it was supposed to do, or overreaching and doing what it can't do, depending on how you look at it. Every single line of code they've ever written is ours ours ours, no strings attached, unless it's classified.

OK rip me to pieces.

Comment Re:Great feature - File versions (Score 1) 238

If you mean TSS/8, it didn't have file versions, and neither did RSTS/E (and actually I don't remember it on T10 either but I barely used that). But yeah T20 definitely had versions and was the inspiration for the later systems (RSX/VMS quietly accept T20 filename syntax too -- <dir>file.ext.ver instead of [dir]file.ext;ver). Very very useful feature -- saved my ass plenty of times.

Comment Re:Old News (Score 2, Insightful) 317

Just reacting to what seems to be hinted at here: I grew up in Boston in the 70s and 80s and Boston has an even larger NON-Irish community which was definitely not backing the IRA. Plus I wouldn't think the IRA was automatically universally popular in the Irish-American community either. So any implication that Boston deserves payback for crap the IRA did is way off.

Comment Re:Saw a Chipmunk Up In the Mountains (Score 1) 387

I'm wondering the same thing about moths. In the last few years I've really started noticing that when I'm driving my car at night on a quiet road with no traffic, moths that are fluttering over the lane will suddenly drop to the pavement as my headlights hit them.

Sort of like a fainting goat, only more useful -- moths who have mini-seizures when they see headlights must have a higher survival rate because now all they have to worry about (besides being bashed up a bit by the fall) is my tires, which are a lot less likely to cream them than the windshield/grill.

Comment What training? (Score 3, Informative) 214

From the abstract, it sounds as if they made no attempt at all to train the cows -- they were just seeing what would stimulate a cow to poop with no training at all. Or, they were seeing what's the least that counts as a master's thesis! A much more interesting question.

Comment Actually pretty decent (Score 1) 263

These seemed to be marketed to people who wanted to make mini-disc mix tapes, which seemed weirdly specific and obviously didn't catch on. But they were really good for recording live music and sucking it into a computer. Flash is obviously much better, but MD was around for eons before flash got cheap...

Comment 3.5" Magneto-optical (Score 1) 212

I *love* these things! Mundane unimportant crap gets backed up on second hard drives, but the huge many-year projects go on MO disks that I periodically swap out for the ones in a safe-deposit box at the bank. $25/year is a really sweet deal to have it not matter if my house burns down.

Comment Depends on how much of your life they buy (Score 4, Insightful) 291

Your employer absolutely should be entitled to any IP you produce ... *if* they're paying you for 168/hours a week. If it's only 40 hours/week then there has to be room for you to do your thing on the time that belongs to you. I hate it (and refuse to sign -- cost me a great job once) when they try to just stick a catchall into your employee contract. Contracts are supposed to be quid pro quo deals, not quid pro nothing.

Comment Re:MAME / Arcade ROMs - legally obtaining them (Score 1) 272

For about two seconds a few years ago, starroms.com had a bunch of classic ROM images for sale, all nice and legal-like, and reasonably priced too. But then Atari/etc. sat on it for some reason (they didn't like getting royalties from zero additional effort?). It was a real shame -- that's *exactly* what should happen to abandonware...

Comment Smaller world (Score 1) 823

This has always baffled me too, especially among programmers, because programming involves endless iterations of writing code and then having the computer laugh in your face. How can you think you're such a genius when a zillion times a day, a machine tells you you're not?

With college students it makes sense though. Because they don't really notice things which haven't happened to catch their interest, they live in a tiny subset of the real world, and they've largely mastered that subset, so as far as they know they ARE geniuses. It takes them an annoyingly long time to realize that the 95% of the universe that they don't care about matters too.

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