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Comment Re:Pretty old news now but anyway.... (Score 1) 123

I agree but if the $40 helps keep the project producing the open source textbooks going and keeps the infrastructure providing the online assignments up and running I'm not nearly as pissed about it. The online assignments are far less obnoxious than paper and give instantaneous feedback and I at least get the book for free if I don't mind staring at a screen to read it.

Ideally I think the school should cover it but it probably isn't going to happen yet. I'm much happier spending $40 than $400. It's not uncommon for books to cost $700+ per semester and the publishers change 2 paragraphs and rearrange a couple things every few months and call it a new edition. Public school districts don't tolerate that BS, I've never understood why colleges/universities do.

Comment Pretty old news now but anyway.... (Score 5, Informative) 123

We use open source physics textbooks where I attend and it actually works out pretty well. The books are pretty well-written. The PDF versions are free, the dead-tree edition is like $100. The one-time key for the online assignments is like $40. At the end of the day, other than tuition I only had to spend $40. Pretty awesome idea if you ask me.... the rest of my classes require books ranging from $120 to $400.

The college book publishing racket has to end.

The additional amusement watching retarded millennial kids who never learned to use a real computer and are too cheap to buy a tablet trying to use the eBook version as well as complete assignments on their phones is priceless as well. I've seen people trying to write papers on phones recently. They'd rather fumble with a $600 phone than spend $100 on a used laptop. Boggles the mind.

Comment Re:COSMAC Super Elf (Score 1) 857

I'm actually working on building an 1802 based machine for giggles. Will have blinkenlights for address and data lines instead of hex displays along with LED's for various other things. 64K battery-backed static RAM (of which 32K may eventually get swapped with an EEPROM). It will have the standard Q/EF3 bit-bang serial port initially but will also have 2 16550 UARTs. Not sure if I'll go with CF or SD for mass storage.... bit-banging SPI for SD probably wouldn't be much fun.

Will also have a variable clock rate and single step functionality.

Comment Atari 400/800 (Score 1) 857

Parents bought an Atari 400 w/ 8K and 410 "program recorder" then quickly upgraded to an 800 w/ 48K and an 810 floppy drive. They bought me an early-model Atari 130XE w/ 128K RAM of my own when they upgraded to ST's. I started with the 1010 cassette drive and got me a 1050 5.25" "Happy Drive" pretty quickly after it ate tapes on me a couple times. Started with a black&white TV for a display.... then a green-phosphor Apple composite monitor.... then a nice NEC monitor. Also had a 1020 color plotter for it which was a lot of fun. Had a Koala pad for a while too. Was a neat machine. ANTIC&GTIA made for a pretty cool programmable video chipset.... could do 256 colors on screen at low rez with some dirty tricks. The 1.79MHz CPU was pretty zippy for a 6502-based machine.

This got replaced with an old Mac Plus around 1991ish which was replaced with an LC III a bit later.

Comment Re:WTF, Nintendo?! (Score 2) 104

Except that it isn't. It's an ARM-based emulator. Has nothing to do with the original hardware. If it was an NES implemented in a little FPGA or something it'd be kinda neat but it's just software emulation.

They still make the 6502 and the 65816... that plus a cheap CPLD or two and you could probably have something closer to the real deal.

Comment Re:No up to date firewall? (Score 1) 230

This gives away that you are out of your element. 100% security is impossible.

Of course it is with modern systems and humans playing any role. But if you can hack the 8-bit microcontroller in my 10 year old microwave remotely I'll personally hand you a solid gold trophy. Part of the problem is that people think that every single device on the planet needs to be connected to a network and run a clone of what was intended to be a multiuser timesharing system on a lightswitch.

You can get very near 100% with a lot of money and effort on simple systems however.

Comment Re:No up to date firewall? (Score 1) 230

So have those 2 salaried employees learn how to lock down the system better? It doesn't take a specialized security consultant to learn typical IT best practices for locking down a public-facing system to reduce the likelihood of it getting pwned by a script kiddie.

If it's radio-based and uses DTMF tones and we're partying like it's 1979 it may be a little more interesting but not impossible to tackle. You'd probably have to replace some control systems with ones that support some form of authentication. Maybe using some kind of OTP that gets updated every so often to avoid pad reuse.

Either way, locking it down 100% might be expensive but to do a MUCH BETTER JOB would be trivial.

Comment Re:No up to date firewall? (Score 2) 230

If it only costs them $800 to properly secure the civil defense alarms.... that won't buy your HS an arts program and they should lock it down. And when these alarms go off, we don't want people desensitized to them. It means get in your bomb shelter.

The last thing you want is to get nuked and have these alarms disabled beforehand. Few survivors beats no survivors.

Comment Re:I approve of this. (Score 1) 245

That's OK.... I have an Atari 400, 800, 600XL, 800XL, 130XE all with some sort of RAM upgrades.... a 1050 Happy drive.... 850 Parallel/4xserial interface with serial-to-ethernet adapter that emulates a modem.... IDE controller (with 2 CF cards hooked up).... SIO2SD SD-card interface.... a 1010 cassette drive.... an SIO2PC Atari SIO-to-USB (USB to TTL serial basically) interface....

So yeah, I hoard a bit. Only 2 of those machines are hooked up though but most of the peripherals are on the 800XL. The 400 lives in the living room with the SIO2SD so the kids can play old-ass games when they feel like it.

The only vintage test gear I have is because I'm broke and can't afford new shit.... a Tektronix 2235 scope, an old 70's lab power supply and a shitty function generator.

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