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Comment Re:It all comes down to payroll (Score 4, Informative) 271

As a former H1-B visa holder, current lawful permanent resident, and eligible for U.S. citizenship, you should know that the LAW requirs H1-Bs to be paid at least 90% of the prevailing wage, the employer to handle their INS legal expenses, AND bear the cost of sending them and their family home when they are layed off or their visa expires. H1-Bs generally cost MORE than locals, with all the extra hassles.

Now, where I would likely agree with you is that many companies BREAK those laws to bring in cheap labor, something which I would opose as well.

Comment Disorderly Conduct (Score 1) 894

Yes, it's called "Disorderly Conduct", and is a misdemeanor most places.

HOWEVER, which that might explain a violent response, it does not excuse it: if you assault or kill someone because of what they say to you, even though their actions are criminal, so is your violent response. The proper response is a harassment charge.

Furthermore, that covers speech directed at you, not indirect speech intended for anyone who cares to listen: If I call a black man a nigger, I can certainly expect a punch (or worse). But, at least in the U.S., with it's First Amendment, I can write all the books and cartoons about niggers I want, without breaking any laws. Your recourse, if I offend you is simply to shun me.

Comment Re:I was born at the right time... (Score 1) 153

Conversely, I didn't dabble much with cassettes. The business for which I coded, very briefly used a cassette deck to load BASIC into the Altair, but switched to 8" hard-sectored floppy drives (being a business, it had "infinite financial resources" compared to my meager means, for some value of "infinite") very quickly: fiddling with the level settings and waiting eight minutes to load BASIC (after enterring the cassette bootloader by hand from the front panel) was not practical.

I DID once write a loader for that same Altair 8800 that used a TI Silent 700 with dual digital cassette heads that recorded at 5120 bps (IIRC) on digital cassettes (or high quality cassettes with a hole punched at the right spot in the leader :-) ).

I guess the punched card thing was more of a mainframe/mini-computer thing. When I started my undergraduate degree in 1979 most programming at the university was still done on punched cards and run "batch". We did have a row of ten DecWriters, and an express CRT terminal, but there were more punch card machines available. When accounts were issued, they were in the form of orange "control" punched card (80 column) "ACCOUNT command" cards. More mainframe CRT terminals were added over time, and were covetted because they were 1) faster than the DecWriters at 1200 bps over current-loop interfaces, and 2) didn't suffer the inconvenience of having to constantly go get scrap paper (and ensure that someone didn't comandeer your DecWriter!). The downside was that they displayed 24 rows of 80 colums text. So, having got a clean compile, one of the first things one would do was request a printout from the mainframe printers.

What I would do was code on the terminals, and at the end of the term, or when I was running out of my very small disk space allotment, get special permission to have my programs punched on cards for posterity. I got "mag tape" privileges about 1980/81 but realize that the recording density was 1600 bpi (later 6250) and the longest tape real was 2400 feet, so about five megabytes on a long tape (later 22.5 MB, but the 6250 bpi tapes were "finicky"). Only recently did I get rid of about 100 pounds of punched cards.

Comment Re:I was born at the right time... (Score 1) 153

HP2000 timesharing computer system with remote access via teletype at 110bps and an accoustic model. I can still remember the smell of teletype ribbons and paper in the high school computer room.

Why? To be able to get the computer to compute stuff for me. Initial programs were to print trig/log tables so i wouldn't have to buy them. I was already a science geek, computing orbital parameters for fun, and adding logs was easier than multiplication.

I was 13 years old. It was 1974.

The next year the high school got a 300 bps DecWriter. OMG! That was "fast". We got a card reader and optical scan 40 column cards, so we could "program" outside of the computer room. At some point we got a 1200 bps portable thermal paper TI terminal.

By 1975 or 76, I was hacking on an Altair at a local business, writing accounting software for them in Basic.

My first computer that I actually owned was a 6809-based system running Flex around 1984. A PC clone came shortly after that. By this time I was well on my way toward an Honours Computer Science degree.

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