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Comment Dartmouth Basic (Score 1) 328

Growing up near the college, they had free accounts. My High School had a teletype & modem.
Later, my school got Commodore CBM/PET systems.

We also had a SuperPet. It had APL, Interpreted Pascal which I tried. It had Fortran, Cobol and 6809 Basic which I didn't try.
I had an Apple ][+ and did lots of Basic, some assembly and Apple Pascal with the built in Bugger. Simply recompiling would sometimes clear up errors.

In college, I learned Fortran (MS and Vax) and dabbled with Turbo Pascal. After college, C, shell scripting, perl, Lex, DOS Batch.

Most recently, Python. As a sysadmin/devops, it's all shell and python nowadays.

Comment Teletype (Score 2) 856

My father had a TI Silent 700 teletype terminal. It had an acoustic coupler modem and used thermal paper. The paper was hard to find, before FAXes were common.

I lived near Dartmouth College and at school we had a teletype + modem to dial in. We also had accounts at Timeshare corp. I figured out how to use the Silent 700 to connect to Dartmouth's DCTS (or DTSS) and their chat room (conference).

Later, we got an Apple ][+ (never a modem though). In college I had a Z100 DOS system (not PC compatible), a Z248 80286 and after college I put Minix on it.
That lead to a Gateway DX486 with Linux SLS and 0.98pl5.

Comment Not an IT story, but... (Score 1) 300

I was working for a project that had a large device that cost millions, driven by software & electronics. After data was gathered by the device, it was transferred to a datacenter system for analytics which was also part of the project. It was severely parallelized. Without the analytics, the hardware was just a sensor.

The head of the project was a mechanical engineer. The project meetings were about 10 minutes on the analytics, 40 on the hardware (not electronics!) and 10 on the embedded software & electronics.

The two people doing the analytics found a bug and brought it up during the meeting. The head berated them for "creating a bug" in the same manner as yo'd berate someone for machining a hole in the hardware that's off the blueprint's spec by inches when it's supposed to be within hundredths.

Later, they moved their lab into another building and wanted to physically move the rack of computers from the data center across the parking lot to the lab. They were older (6+ years) and not on a support contract. They were servers and they never needed to even plug cables in. We told them things would probably not work after that and they'd probably lose drives. They forced my coworkers to move it anyways.

So it didn't work after rolling across the lot. The drives were fine, but cpu boards didn't work. Naturally, it was our fault and they wanted heads to roll. A support contract was purchased (by IT, not the project) that was probably more $$ than the original cost and it was fixed. The whole process took their systems (including development) down for 2 months.

I was happy when, during an all-hands meeting (300+ people), it was announced the head was removed to another project to be a staff engineer (vs principal). IMO he should have been fired like he tried to do to my coworkers.

Comment Re:Sharing Paper (Score 1) 153

You haven't priced ebooks lately. Most of them are considerably more expensive than having a physical copy shipped to you. Take for instance the classic 1984. A paperback copy can be bought brand new including shipping for $6.51. On Kindle, it is 50% more, at $9.99. I love my Kindle, but I refuse to pay the premium price that publishers are charging for the books. On books that are priced this way, I'll either borrow a copy from the library or pirate it.

And 1984 is out of copyright in many non-US countries. It's on Project Gutenberg.

Given that, and its subject matter, I was amused by Amazon's remote removal of it. That's the strongest case for DRM removal I can think of.

Comment Re:400 bucks for a 7 inch android tablet w/ keyboa (Score 1) 243

yeah no thanks. Can get a cheapo android tablet for less than 100 and a bluetooth keyboard for like 30.
Netbooks disappeared because the hardware simply wasn't good enough at the time; i should know i have an asus atom netbook gathering dust in a drawer. Once the hardware caught up, was powerful enough without killing the battery within 45 minutes, android tablets took over the market and there doesn't seem any point in going back.
If you want a mobile workstation then get a laptop/ultrabook.

I got a $50 7" Android 6 tablet + a $10 bluetooth universal 7" keyboard & stand. I added a bluetooth mouse. You can add USB OTG for plugging in storage, keyboard, mouse. I can ssh & tunnel to home from Wifi, do google docs, run chrome, ebooks, youtube.

If it had > 1GB RAM, it'd be enough for a remote access laptop. With only 1GB of RAM, it lags when running more than 1 app at a time. Any tablet with more RAM seems to cost as much as a chromebook which I could run Linux on and do more.

If only they had 7" chromebooks.

Comment Re:piece of shit machines (Score 5, Informative) 243

specs?, piece of shit machines that were locked to having max 2 gb ram, who the fuck thought that was ever a good idea

Microsoft thought it was a good idea to limit netbooks.

The 1st netbooks ran Linux. People found out that they didn't need Windows. Just a browser mainly. Manufacturers found they could reduce a large % of the cost by not putting Windows on it.

MS had discontinued XP and netbooks couldn't run 7. So they brought XP back for netbooks. They created a spec it that limited the screen resolution, ram and cpu.

And that ultimately killed netbooks. It saved MS's Windows revenue for a number of years.

When the iPad and Android tablets came out, that trick wouldn't work anymore. Millions learned that they could do "internet" just fine without Windows. They could Google, Facebook, do google docs, listen to music, watch videos, take photos to put up on the web, chat, and surf the web.

Google Chromebooks are probably the closest we have to a Netbook now. For those of us that want to, Linux wll run on most of them too.

Comment Re:They're screwed (Score 1) 119

And what sucks is that if you're not doing that on the job, taking classes or learning on your own means nothing. You have to have on the job experience to get a job.

This is something that really pissed me off early in my career. It didn't matter how much I learned/tinkered/grew on my own. My knowledge and ability was basically irrelevant unless I could qualify it by related job experience. This was even more frustrating at the time, because I had a stable job I didn't want to leave, but which wasn't giving me that "qualified" experience necessary to get the job I actually wanted.

I've always learned at home as well as at work. The key is to be able to get noticed so you can sell your non-job experience to your future employer. You also need to apply to places that value new skills.

If you want to keep learning, why are you trying to work at a company that doesn't value that?

Comment Who wears a watch anymore? (Score 1) 232

When I started wearing one everyday, you had to wind it. Everyday. They had self winding ones.
Later, they had LED models you had to press a button to see.
I eventually had some kind of waterproof w/ alarm, stopwatch, countdown (casio or timex ironman).
I tried the Timex Datalink (beam your calendar from outlook to your watch) and followed all the reverse engineering to get it working with Linux. After the case started getting eaten away, I switched back.

Then my RSI started & my wrist would hurt so I took it off at work sometimes. The strap broke & I got another. That broke a week later.

By that time, I was carrying a phone on my hip. I no longer have something on my wrist. I use the pocket watch (phone) now.
I got a fit bit for Xmas. I don't think I care to put it on.

Comment Small scale also needed (Score 1) 278

Many Farmers do need scale. Some don't.

There are farmers making a living supplying farmers markets and local restaurants with vegetables. They don't need 100 acres. They might only need 5 acres and 2-4 people to work it. For that size farm, a 4 wheel tractor is stupid expensive and it can't maneuver.

As a consumer, I go to the farmer's market. I belong to a CSA. And I have a garden.

My garden is ~ 20' x 50' and I don't have much time for it. I have automated watering and mulch the heck out of it to keep weeds from getting going. I barely have time to harvest, let alone weed, fertilize and pick out pests. Much of the reason I garden is to minimize pesticides so I avoid that too,

If I was more knowledgeable and had more time, I could eliminate the CSA . The CSAs in our area probably run $500/summer up to $700. That could pay for a lot of robot!

Comment Generic $50 tablet w/ Android 6 already (Score 1) 41

BestBuy sells a Digiland tablet for $50. 7" screen, 1GB RAM, 8GB storage, quad core, SD slot, Vanilla Android 6, bluetooth, camera.

I have a Fire HD 7" 4th gen. I like the Digiland better. The *only* advantage the Fire has is to run Prime Video. The screen might be slightly higher resolution. It doesn't have Google Play so there are many apps I can't get on it.

I had an earlier tablet (ASUS transformer) with only 1GB. The only way B&N could entice me is more RAM. My phone has 2GB and seems to make a big difference to Android.

Comment VirtualBox (Score 1) 157

* Runs on Windows, Linux, Mac and Solaris
* Can run headless and detached from GUI
* can teleport VMs between hosts, even if they run different OSs
* free and easy to install/use.

I don't find that VMware workstation is any better in general. VMware can run virtualize ESXi easily and work as in interface to a full ESXi though.
KVM with Virt-Manager is comparable to VirtualBox IMO. It can be extended with oVirt and OpenStack. It's Linux only which hurts it for desktop, but not servers.

In general, if you need something quick on your desktop, VirtualBox is great. As you get into details, different hypervisors offer different advantages.

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