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Comment Re:Yes, and maybe (Score 1) 225

even at 1200 baud

I remember, in 1995, a new employee telling me I was crazy for having gotten a 1200-baud modem for my Commodore 64, his reason being that nobody can type faster than a 300-baud modem can handle. Ahh, BBSs and QuantumLink, my memory of the former being of dialing an obsolete number and having the guy on the other end cursing about getting all these crank calls (I could hear him because the Commodore modems had a speaker), and my memory of the latter being that it was nerve-wrackingly slow (perhaps because of its semi-graphical UI)!

Comment Re:DOS, or rather OS/2, lives on (Score 1) 211

Unrelated to DOS, but back in the mid-1980s, we used iRMX-86 on 80286 single-board computers in 8086 real mode. Our computers were going out to lunch when returning from an interrupt service routine. Our local Intel representative had never heard any similar complaints and we even got an official Intel 80286 hardware emulator in-house to try and debug the problem. We finally had a conference call with some Intel engineers and they told us, oh yeah, there's a bug in the return-from-interrupt instruction (all interrupts were briefly enabled before the prior interrupt mask was restored from the stack) and they gave us an RTI macro to get around the problem. Then, a couple months later, Jerry Pournelle mentioned the bug in his BYTE column! Aarrgghh! A lot of wasted time and effort--and Pournelle knows all about it!

Comment COBOL better than other languages? (Score 1) 217

Back in the 1990s, on the comp.lang.c or comp.os.unix USENET news group, there was a knowledgeable poster who also was a COBOL evangelist. He once posted a 4-line, portable COBOL program that sorted a file. (All those divisions people make fun of are optional in COBOL..) Let me repeat: 4 lines to sort a file and portable to any system that has a COBOL compiler. You can't do that in C; remember that system("sort ...") (or even "sort" from a command line) is not portable. Of course, COBOL has a standard, internal SORT function. As with any language, COBOL is useful in the appropriate circumstances.

Comment Re:Pay up ! (Score 1) 218

Robert Kuttner on government regulation (The Washington Post op-ed page, December 12, 1995):

[In medical care, for example,] the consumer may have no practical alternative. Caveat emptor is pretty thin armor. An elderly patient in a nursing home with a feeding tube is not exactly a sovereign consumer.

And Amy E. Schwartz on Dr. Paul Ellwood, "who is credited with laying the intellectual basis for managed care" and who began "admitting children with learning disabilities for diagnostic stays that would be paid for by insurance." Schwartz quotes Ellwood from a December 8, 1996 New York Times Magazine article, "But What About Quality?, (by Lisa Belkin): "I had done this not because it was best for the kids, but because of the perverse incentives in that system." (The Washington Post op-ed page, March 17, 1997)

Perverse incentives? As opposed to, say a perverse response to existing options? [Regardless of your views, one can't help but] be spooked by this image of a man who could decide - for whatever financial "incentive" - to fill his clinic ward with children he knows don't need to be there. If the right amount of money will induce a person to hospitalize kids who should be home, how much money is the right amount to keep him from doing so?

Comment Re:wtf kind of post is this? (Score 3, Informative) 205

And we are already doing it that way - makers of the military hardware and supplies are all private (and competing with each other).

And NASA doesn't already do this? Since I went to work for General Electric's Space Division in 1982, the NASA projects I worked on were bid on by and awarded to private contractors. For the most part, NASA provided contract oversight, not hardware or software expertise. (In the case of GE, 3 or 4 years after I started, the defense side of the Space Division was caught doing "creative" bookkeeping. The Space Division was prohibited from bidding on government contracts and our NASA branch finished up a commercial system and closed up shop. A similar case happened in the 1980s when Rockwell or someone went overbudget on their defense contracts and started charging the overages to their Shuttle contracts. Oh, those wonderful private defense contractors ... let's privatize everything!)

Furthermore, NASA makes their technology available to private companies at no or little cost. In the case of the GE commercial system I worked on, we reused the entire image processing ground system software we had developed for NASA. (It was a very large system with an incredible amount of intellectual property in the image processing software alone--and NASA gave it away.) At a later company I worked for, we built our company's flagship product (used both on military and commerical projects) on satellite control center software we had previously developed for NASA. (And other companies made use of the original software as well. It's funny how companies aren't strict ideologues about "We Built That!" when it comes to getting something for free.) Do private military contractors offer such a return on investment to the private sector?

Comment Re:Microkernel (Score 1) 354

I don't see how it is constraining. The URL format can systematically mean what you want it to mean. There is no presumption of "running on an IP-like network before the first character". In the original specification of a URL by Tim Berners-Lee, RFC 1738, the initial component of the URL is called a "scheme", not a "transfer protocol". In the RFC, there is a list of proposed schemes including, for example, "cid" (which is elaborated upon in RFC 2111). A "cid:" URL references the content ID of a MIME body part within the message in which the URL is found; the "transfer protocol" would, I guess, be some sort of in-memory search. (The example given in RFC 2111 is an HTML email message containing an img tag whose src field is a "cid:" URL pointing to the image data MIME part in the message.)

A URL can access anything that filesystems, device drivers, and pseudo-filesystems can access. And in a more cleanly manner than having to resort to ioctl()s as you sometimes have to do. Perhaps a "gpio:" scheme for accessing the I/O pins on a Raspberry Pi, and so on ...

Comment Re:Might actually make some sense now (Score 1) 349

You do realize Ivy-League "intellectuals" were also among those doing the research, however misguided, on SDI?

And Reagan was going to give the Star Wars technology to the USSR, presumably to prevent the "early use" problem? Is Cruz also going to give away this technology to North Korea et al?

Reagan, the man who brought battleships out of mothballs to shell Lebanon and then put them back in mothballs.

Lastly, if SDI had been completed under Reagan and had the Soviet Union launched an attack, the timing of our response probably would have been governed by Nancy's astrologer. A cheap shot? Yeah. Mocking? Yeah. True? Who knows. Go read Colin Powell's autobiography published in the 1990s. When he worked for Reagan, he noticed the strange timing of events; his colleagues clued him in to the reason why. Wow, a Hollywood astrologer had a significant influence on the most powerful nation on earth ... well, at least she probably wasn't a Hollywood liberal--they're the worst.

Comment Re:I practically guarantee you... (Score 1) 170

No. In your scenario, whether the 64-bit time is positive or negative, the called function will attempt to write the full 64 bits back into the 32-bit variable, thus overwriting the following 4 bytes. CPUs don't think to themselves, "Hmm, this is a positive 64-bit value that could fit into 32 bits, so I'll only store 32 bits."

In reply to one of your replyers (!), there are CPUs (most CPUs?) that detect and signal both floating-point and integer errors in hardware. Unix has broadened the meaning of SIGFPE to include any type of arithmetic error, but do any current OSes actually raise exceptions for integer errors? (A quick check on an x86_64 Linux showed integer overflow not being reported, but integer divide-by-zero causing a SIGFPE.)

Comment Re:Opera 10.10 Here; Does this post? (Score 1) 120

I remained on 11.64 for years, but too many of my favorite sites stopped rendering correctly, so I had to try out other browsers, finally settling on PaleMoon. Your (and my) using IE11 on certain sites reminded me of the early Opera days, when I had to keep a copy of Netscape(!) around for sites that didn't work on Opera way back then. And, like you point out, Opera had a lightweight, speedy feel about it, not the ponderous feel of current browsers.

Comment Re:Noooooooooo (Score 1) 120

Exactly, too! I began using Opera back in the version 3 days (3.12?)--paid for both the Windows version and, when it later came out, the Linux version. (Version 3 supported server-push, so I could monitor our system using a homebrew embedded web server that pushed out updated indicators.) Hung on to version 11.64 as long as I could (version 12 had some problem or another for me), but finally switched to PaleMoon a year or two ago.

In the latter years, what I really liked about Opera were, aside from its speed, (1) the bookmarking system and (2) middle-clicking on a link to open up and transfer focus to a new tab. I've tried Vivaldi and Otter, but neither one was close to the classic Opera experience. No other browser I've tried has matched the ease of use of classic Opera's bookmarking system. PaleMoon (and, I guess, Firefox) is not bad in this regard, but still a little clunky.

Sour grapes warning (!): Regarding middle-clicking on a link, apparently I'm in a minority; Chrome made a conscious choice to open up tabs in the background because users preferred reading an article all the way through, clicking on the links as they go, and then looking at the linked sites. (I know there is a Chrome add-on that adds this functionality, but there are other reasons Chrome is an awkward browser for me.) PaleMoon largely gets this right for me except in the case when I right-click to Google the highlighted text and the Google results tab is in the background.

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