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Comment Re:Still the best, compare This Island Earth (Score 1) 1222

I saw Forbidden Planet in its original run in a movie theater. I must've been about 10 or 11 at the time. It was the last movie to give me nightmares. I recognized immediately the voice of Robbie the Robot as belonging to the same guy who played Michael Anthony on a TV show of the time called The Millionaire. Even at that age I recognized the cheesy Hollywood style 'romance' that seemed to be mandatory. But I also appreciated that there were some serious, intellectual, aspects to the movie.

A year or two earlier I had seen This Island Earth which was maybe a tad over my head at the time. Not sure now how much I remember from that first viewing and how much from later on. I really liked how the aliens used the scientist-hero's own curiosity to lure him into their clutches. It was more deliberately action-adventure than Forbidden Planet but it did have some intellectual aspects. The aliens were more complex and morally ambiguous than the usual fare, and it had high production values for the special effects. Also, the obligatory romance was better done than in Forbidden Planet.

Comment An Ohio-Scientific Superboard II (Score 2) 857

It had a 6502 processor (same as used in the Apple II), and used a TV set for video display. My brother helped set up a cassette player to store data in Kansas City Standard. I wrote a Life program in assembler for it.
I thought it was cool that the first page of memory could be used for indexed-indirect or indirect-indexed membory and used that feature in my Life program.

Comment Re:That's always how Microsoft worked (Score 1) 150

I heard a similar story about Gates copying at least some of his basic interpreter from somewhere else. Don't remember where for sure, but I think it was supposed to be Heathkit. Anyway, the anonymous coward is right to point out that it's not proven. One would probably have to look at the source code of various sources to do that, and who is going to bother with that now. I would like to know because if he did, it would reveal a lot of hypocrisy on Gates' part since he fumed so much over any sort of piracy of Microsoft's code. I do think Gates had an authentic fascination with computers that was very 'nerdlike'. He appeared in an episode of Computer Chronicles hosted by Stewart Cheifet which was modeled on a game show. Various Big Names in the home computer industry formed 2 teams, East Coast (which were all dressed up in coats and ties) and West Coast (who had taken off their coats and ties.) It was a computer trivia contest and Bill Gates did very well for the West Coast team.

Comment Re:That's always how Microsoft worked (Score 1) 150

The difference with Microsoft is the monopolistic power they got because IBM adopted their OS for the IBM PC.

It is a complicated story, and there are a lot of questionable anecdotes about it, such as how Gary Kilmer, who wrote CP/M was out flying when IBM execs came around to see him, and the execs were miffed enough to go with Microsoft. Or the story that Bill Gates' Mom was on some charitable committee and heard from an IBM exec on the same committee that IBM was looking for an OS.

The IBM PC was an overpriced, slipshod piece of hardware even by the standards of the time. Maybe IBM just wanted something to connect to their mainframes as they were focussed on that end of the Computer business. However, because it had the letters IBM on it, laymen who didn't know any better bought it, and it had MS-DOS on it. (Which wasn't particularly good.) When the clone makers came out, IBM didn't stop them, and they were allowed to use MS-DOS. This became the standard. When people came out with Apps like WordPerfect that weren't MS, MS was able to 'enhance' MS-DOS to make the competitive apps not work anymore.

The result was to hurt the nascent industry in my opinion. (I know, shakeouts and oligopolies were inevitable, but I think MS got too powerful too soon with too little effort.) Microsoft was going to capture the server market too, at least for small networks, but fortunately, there were enough knowledgeable technies working in the back offices of those small business to subvert their PHBs and put linux and/or FreeBSD in and escape being monopolized by Microsoft.

I shudder to think where we'd be now if MS had captured the server market.

Comment It worked for them with Netscape didn't it? (Score 1) 150

As I recall, (and somebody can correct me if I'm misremembering), when Netscape came out with their browser, Microsoft pooh-poohed the whole thing publicly while scrambling to put together Internet Explorer. Employees at Netscape were really worried about Microsoft with good reason. Then Microsoft bundled IE with their OS so naturally users of MS automatically started using it, and that was the end of Netscape, the innovator.

Comment One thing I miss is the ads from the old magazines (Score 2) 467

There were all these companies out there before the big shakeout. Trying to think of names I come up with "Smoke Signal Broadcasting" which I think sold a Motorola 6800 based system. Somebody sold a system based on the Cosmac Elf. There was the Kim 1 with 256 bytes of memory (yes bytes) and a 6502. Most systems were Intel 8080 or Zilog Z80 based. North Star and Cromemco are 2 names I remember. Somebody sold a system based on the Signetics 2650 CPU (very short lived.) Heathkit had an LSI 11 based system. Radioshack a 6809 system, the Coco or color computer.

There were also disc drives, keyboards, simple display setups, gadgets to operate IBM selectric typewriters as printers. I'm trying to remember now, but it's fuzzy, and I can't remember prices (which changed rapidly anyway.) One Byte or Creative Computing or Dr Dobbs from that time would bring clarity just from reading the ads.

Comment Re:Misleading (Mod OP UP views not subscriptions) (Score 1) 143

Recording of broadcast TV is not that demanding actually. Mostly it's just copy data from the device without trying to decode it. A one hour, full resolution TV broadcast, when recorded on my system might be 8 gig. So you're copying 8 gig of data in an hour when you record. (I have had 1 hour programs that were as much as 12 gig, but that's unusual.)

Playback is a different matter. If you've got a full resolution high definition recording, you need some CPU horsepower to get a smooth playback. Nevertheless, on my not so very new or powerful main computer I can watch a program from the file while it's being recorded. (My cheap little notebook computer is a different matter.)

Comment Re:Misleading (Mod OP UP views not subscriptions) (Score 1) 143

What I watch is plain old Over the Air Broadcast TV with a TV tuner card (I think you can get them for about $50 nowadays, depending on features, most of them are USB sticks.) I use it to record digital broadcast programs on my computer. (There's a very elaborate TV recording setup called MythTV but I find that me-tv suits me, though I can only get it to work with Linux Mint, and there must be similar things for Windows and OS X.)

Comment Re:Misleading (Mod OP UP views not subscriptions) (Score 1) 143

If I had points I'd have modded the anonymous coward up. I'm also wondering, are you forced to watch commercials with cable or paid for streaming services? If so, that would make the need for actual viewers more acute, assuming advertisers are actually paying attention.

Comment No one understands the forces at work (Score 1) 147

I can think of at least 2 major forces at work, and not just in China:
1. Birthrates are down
2. Automation is changing the nature of work.

These aren't new, particularly increasing automation isn't new, but that doesn't mean their impact on the future is well understood or predictable.

Millenials may be conscious of the uncertainty of work and reluctant to invest in learning skills and spending time in a job that disappears in 10 years. I suspect also that they haven't suffered the hardships of their parents and may have a more casual attitude about it all.

Comment Re:Learn C for advanced security, not for basics (Score 1) 374

I learned C after I learned assembly language. As a matter of fact, when I was reading the C programming language book, I would write sample programs, compile them (what was it, the -S option? Been so long) and look at the assembly language output to figure out what was going on. (The architecture I was doing this on was the Motorola 68000.)

Now, using a lot of C, people will probably get familiar with how pointers work, gain experience with malloc and free, and a bit of longjump would help also, even if they don't know assembler. But I think they'd catch on to the concepts a lot sooner if they had a dash of assembler to go with it. Particularly with experience writing a few interrupt service routines thrown in for good measure.

Also, they wouldn't go around showing off their ignorance by saying C is an 'advanced' or 'universal' assembly language.

Comment They are very different things, BUT... (Score 2) 328

I studied foreign languages, Latin in High School, German in college. I also was stationed in Japan in the Navy and tried to learn Japanese (with much more success than I ever had with Latin or German.)

I also learned how to program a computer. My first experience of that, Fortran on a PDP 8 in 1966, was pretty bad. But, after the Navy, I tried again and got pretty good at it. (Mostly programming in assembly and C.)

What the two disciplines have in common is a basic sort of new kind of mental activity that probably is good exercise for the brain in the way that physical exercise is good for the muscles.

The big advantage that teaching programming might have in my opinion, is that you can tell whether you're really learning it or not. A lot of language teaching is woefully incompetent, and nobody seems to care. (Maybe they care, but they say 'What can we do?' with a shrug.) With computers though, the program you write either works or it doesn't. And there's no ambiguous subjective interpretation of whether it works or not. That's a good educational experience for anybody who can handle the initial frustration. So yeah, it's probably not so bad to teach programming instead of foreign languages. Especially if they start out with assembly, so the student can actually see where the rubber meets the road. (But how many people can teach assembly language?)

Comment Re:Don't deuterostomes form the anus first? MOD UP (Score 4, Interesting) 136

So far, jfdavis668 is the only person to make a sensible comment. (As opposed to some lame, obvious, snarky, schoolboy type joke.)

I was thinking about that deuterostome angle myself. I wondered if this critter was supposed to be before the deuterostome/protostome split. But they explicitly say in the article that it is a deuterostome. Well, the article didn't say there was no anus, just that they hadn't found one (yet).

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