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Comment Re:The arrogance of little boys (Score 1) 234

Broad based "home" computing came about in the late 70s with the Apple II, but computers in general became part of my childhood when I was 13, and I was born in 1959.

Starting in 1973, I was learning programming (HP2000 Time-Shared BASIC) and "data processing" (keypunch, plug-board accounting machines, unit-record punch-card information retrieval / sorting and batch data processing) in public school in central Virginia in 7th grade.

Anyone who had taken or was taking Algebra 1 could take data processing and computer programming. Typing 1 was a prerequisite for data processing, but the class was overbooked and I had an affinity so they let me in anyway. After about 5 years I realized I was typing without looking at the keyboard.

The programming classes continued through my high-school graduation in 1977. I taught the class for my last two years after I drove my instructors crazy by correcting them when they misinstructed, so the math dept head said "let him teach the class". I drove one teacher completely out of teaching... she sucked at it and I let her know.

In 1974 one of the spoiled rich kids' dads bought him a Teletype Model ASR 33 so that he could access the school's computer from home. This was not easy - AT&T and your local Bell Telephone company only leased Teletypes, but daddykins knew someone at the C&P Telephone Company, so his dad plunked down $7,000 and junior got the only home computer (terminal) in Virginia.

The same guy got a Camaro when he turned 15 and 8 months (legal learner's permit age, with licensed driver in the car). He made friends with the oldest guy in 10th grade who had his driver's license (16 with driver's ed), so that he could drive his Camaro with his friend in the front passenger seat (the other guy never got to drive - never).

When he turned 16, he got his license. He promptly kicked out his passenger. They got in a fight over a girl later on, and were mortal enemies forever after. . .

High school was really really stupid, in my opinion, but I loved learning computer programming. A lot of kids began IT careers from high school exposure to computers in the 70s.

Comment Re:Congress, our representatives? (Score 3, Insightful) 302

I'm politically liberal, but I'm hoping the Republican candidates keep flaming out one by one until Ron Paul is the last man standing.

I have enough faith in democracy that our checks and balances would allow him to make some of the changes I was expecting from Obama without damaging the republic.

Paul is the only candidate who will do what he is telling us he's going to do.

The rest will either waffle, line their pockets, or both.

Comment Re:Congress, our representatives? (Score 2) 302

"Yes Minister" is both hilarious and insightful, but the 1% are doing their best to hollow out the executive levels of the civil service.

How can an ex-Monsanto executive evenhandedly administer food regulations at the Agriculture Department or FDA?

How can former oil and chemical industry executives honestly administer environmental regulations at the EPA?

How can former wood and paper product executives judiciously administer US Forestry Service lands?

They CAN'T. Like a Austrian actor once said, "Killian Is Lying To You".

I've worked for decades with low and mid-level government employees and you know what? The majority are scrupulously honest and hard working. You know what else? They always know when their bosses are corrupt.

It enrages me no end when TParties and FNews bloviators talk about "lazy government employees".

Go live your limited government life in Somalia, it's a deregulated paradise. You can carry your RPG in Starbucks there, no problem.

Except Starbucks doesn't exist in Somalia - it's John Galt's paradise taken to the extreme and very unpleasant for honest business.

Honest regulation is the linchpin of a truly free market. What we have is an plutarchy - and this SOPA ropa-dope is just further proof of same.

Comment Re:Hey. Guys. It's a flat Android phone. (Score 1) 208

I liked the digital Motorola StarTac. Good sound quality, great battery life, small size. I think that was the epitome of simple cellphone design.

The only existing GSM StarTac models don't work on US GSM standards, or I would buy one and use it on AT&T.

Of course, the Motorola MicroTac was the only one that could do this...

Comment you're right (Score 0) 324

I work in web software development management and it is obvious that MS is going to bet the ranch on Windows / Phone / 8 / Metro, and throw their legacy development partners / users under the bus.

I hope it pays off for them. It's been a long time coming, maybe they've finally seen the light. Problem is, when you make such a radical change, your legacy folks will be forced to seriously consider other options from other vendors.

The interesting part is that if they do succeed, it'll be MS and not Apple or Google driving the bleeding edge - MS will be freer to take take risks on new tech than other established platforms with legacy baggage to drag along. The cool kids might be attracted to the new shiny MS dev tools rather than the staid J2EE etc alternatives...

Comment Re:Is this something the market forces are demandi (Score 2) 148

And like always, today's mainframe will be on your desktop in 20 years.

Well, yesterday's mainframe is on my laptop today. I just installed MVS 3.8j running under Hercules emulation on a MBP this weekend. Seeing the MVS console running in 3270 emulation (via TCP) again on my laptop screen after all these years was really something. Not useful, mind you, but damn cool.

My favorite job of all times was being a mainframe computer operator in the 80s. Once the suits went home, we'd lock the computer room doors, go pass around a fat one in the decollating room, queue up all of the evening's batch jobs and then watch the tapes spin and feel the floor shake from 40 washing-machine sized hard drives hammering away at the work.

We had a laser printer the size of a small truck that could empty a box of 4400 pages of paper in about six minutes or less.

Oh, and we restarted the system about twice a year - it was so reliable, the sysadmins could halt the processor, apply system patches directly in RAM and pick up exactly where they left off.

The company I worked for leased the whole setup for about $85,000 a month (including an on-site IBM engineer who was there from 8-5 M-F and could arrive on premises within 30 minutes during off hours).

Now I'm running it on a Mac for free, and it's about a thousand times more powerful than that room full of equipment.


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