Re: HA - Found a CP/M-86 image and C compiler for VBox

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Andreas Kohlbach

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Sep 2, 2021, 2:51:12 PMSep 2
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On Thu, 2 Sep 2021 01:10:09 -0400, SixOverFive <hae274c.net> wrote:
>
> The IBM "portable" PC was the same idea - medium-suitcase sized,
> heavy as hell - very orange mini-screen - BUT you could put 640k
> and an 8087 in that one. Z80s, well, not so much .....

Didn't IBM came up with that after they saw the tremendous success of the
COMPAQ Portable (I think it was called "COMPAQ" when advertised). I seem
to remember the look came to be when two of the employees were on a lunch
break and put the design on a napkin.

> OK, OK ... at 300 baud those pictures might load up just
> a TAD slow ......

There was a Computer Chronicles episode about computer security in the
mid 80s, where a young hacker demonstrated how to break into a BBS. The
text appeared slow and the hacker mentioned something like "This 300 baud
is slow. I wished we had a 1200 baud modem - that would speed things up a
great deal". *g*

I F'up this into the folklore group. Cannot remember seen you there. You
might enjoy it.
--
Andreas

SixOverFive

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Sep 3, 2021, 3:20:01 AMSep 3
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On 9/2/21 2:51 PM, Andreas Kohlbach wrote:
> On Thu, 2 Sep 2021 01:10:09 -0400, SixOverFive <hae274c.net> wrote:
>>
>> The IBM "portable" PC was the same idea - medium-suitcase sized,
>> heavy as hell - very orange mini-screen - BUT you could put 640k
>> and an 8087 in that one. Z80s, well, not so much .....
>
> Didn't IBM came up with that after they saw the tremendous success of the
> COMPAQ Portable (I think it was called "COMPAQ" when advertised). I seem
> to remember the look came to be when two of the employees were on a lunch
> break and put the design on a napkin.

Yep, it was intended as a direct competitor to the
Compaq "portable" ... and, at the time, also Osbourne
and KayPro.

But, like them, it was basically a desktop PC shoved
into a suitcase-sized box with a handle.

I was using the IBM-PPC for agricultural-product
research at the time. Wanted to see how certain
dusts would disperse in the wind across the fields.
Kept track of wind direction/speed and there were
sticky-slides at certain intervals in the bushes.
Got lots of neato pretty-colored wind-drift
charts out of that. From that, "average" dispersal
data could be gleaned, useful for real-world
application charts.

>> OK, OK ... at 300 baud those pictures might load up just
>> a TAD slow ......
>
> There was a Computer Chronicles episode about computer security in the
> mid 80s, where a young hacker demonstrated how to break into a BBS. The
> text appeared slow and the hacker mentioned something like "This 300 baud
> is slow. I wished we had a 1200 baud modem - that would speed things up a
> great deal". *g*

Heh ... yea yea ... I *remember*. Had one of those
'acoustic modems' in the beginning - you literally
squished the phone handpiece into them. My first
1200 baud was Anchor Robotics. VASTLY better. At
300 baud you could actually read the text real-time
as it came in. Oh well, there WERE slower baud rates
before then .........

Somewhere I have a Radio Shack "laptop" ... last
thing Gates actually wrote some code for. This was
WAY before real 'laptops'. They were VERY popular
with the Press - you could fit the acoustic coupler
into any phone in the world and send in your story.
(also had a direct-connect phone line capability -
it could dial tone or pulse AND deal with common
foreign systems). Ran on actual dry/alk BATTERIES
you could buy at any store.

> I F'up this into the folklore group. Cannot remember seen you there. You
> might enjoy it.

Having LIVED a lot of this "folklore" it doesn't seem
like nostalgic "lore" to me .....

But I did mostly miss the mainframe/mini days ...
only had to use punchcards/paper-tape ONCE in a
college class (which I dropped out of because
the school already had serial terminals that'd
do all that PLUS). The class was years behind
the reality ......

Scott Lurndal

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Sep 3, 2021, 10:00:37 AMSep 3
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SixOverFive <hae274c.net> writes:
>On 9/2/21 2:51 PM, Andreas Kohlbach wrote:

>> There was a Computer Chronicles episode about computer security in the
>> mid 80s, where a young hacker demonstrated how to break into a BBS. The
>> text appeared slow and the hacker mentioned something like "This 300 baud
>> is slow. I wished we had a 1200 baud modem - that would speed things up a
>> great deal". *g*
>
> Heh ... yea yea ... I *remember*. Had one of those
> 'acoustic modems' in the beginning - you literally
> squished the phone handpiece into them. My first
> 1200 baud was Anchor Robotics. VASTLY better. At
> 300 baud you could actually read the text real-time
> as it came in. Oh well, there WERE slower baud rates
> before then .........

Try 110 baud with an ASR-33. Switching to 300 baud on
a LA-120 was blazing fast...

Ahem A Rivet's Shot

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Sep 3, 2021, 1:00:03 PMSep 3
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On Fri, 03 Sep 2021 14:00:34 GMT
sc...@slp53.sl.home (Scott Lurndal) wrote:

> Try 110 baud with an ASR-33.

We found it very useful in 1974, turn on punch both ends and run
tapes through the readers at each end to get two way data transfer with
hard copy.

--
Steve O'Hara-Smith | Directable Mirror Arrays
C:\>WIN | A better way to focus the sun
The computer obeys and wins. | licences available see
You lose and Bill collects. | http://www.sohara.org/

J. Clarke

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Sep 3, 2021, 2:11:47 PMSep 3
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Some professors are like that. I remember helping an undergrad find
the keypunch (I was a computer science grad student and I didn't even
know the school _had_ a keypunch or card reader until that came up).
Seems he was taking a programming course from somebody in the
chemistry department and that idiot insisted that his students use
cards because that's what they'd be working with in the real world. I
ended up having to go dig up an operator.

Ahem A Rivet's Shot

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Sep 3, 2021, 3:00:02 PMSep 3
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On Fri, 03 Sep 2021 14:11:42 -0400
J. Clarke <jclarke...@gmail.com> wrote:

> and that idiot insisted that his students use
> cards because that's what they'd be working with in the real world.

Reminds me of the A level computer science course I wished I hadn't
taken - the year before it had been all about machine architecture,
assembly language programming, data structures and algorithms, fun stuff.
But I wasn't allowed to take it that year (because I was taking my O
levels) I had to wait and take it the following year and so the course I
got to take was COBOL, systems analysis and data validation and not what I
had been looking forward to at all. But it was "what we'd be working with
in the real world" or so I was told when I moaned about the change.

Questor

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Sep 3, 2021, 3:34:13 PMSep 3
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On Fri, 3 Sep 2021 03:19:54 -0400, SixOverFive <hae274c.net> wrote:
>But I did mostly miss the mainframe/mini days ...
>only had to use punchcards/paper-tape ONCE in a
>college class (which I dropped out of because
>the school already had serial terminals that'd
>do all that PLUS). The class was years behind
>the reality

I'm glad I had the opportunity to have some first-hand experience with the
"submit a deck of punched cards" model of computing in college. I'm even
gladder that timewharing was an option and I didn't have to use punched
cards very long.

I also used paper tape as one of the boot loaders for a DEC KI-10.

I'm thankful I got to use those things and get my feet wet, so to speak, in that
part of computing history. It's even better that those experiences were
peripheral, not central, to my computing activities.

Mike Spencer

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Sep 3, 2021, 4:47:27 PMSep 3
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sc...@slp53.sl.home (Scott Lurndal) writes:

> SixOverFive <hae274c.net> writes:
>
>> Heh ... yea yea ... I *remember*. Had one of those
>> 'acoustic modems' in the beginning - you literally
>> squished the phone handpiece into them. My first
>> 1200 baud was Anchor Robotics. VASTLY better. At
>> 300 baud you could actually read the text real-time
>> as it came in. Oh well, there WERE slower baud rates
>> before then .........
>
> Try 110 baud with an ASR-33. Switching to 300 baud on
> a LA-120 was blazing fast...

Would that be the same as the DEC-Writer II? Somebody gave me one of
those w/ an acoustic coupler circa 1990 that I lugged home and
connected just for entertainment value. IIRC, it had a 110/300
selector switch on the keyboard. I used it a few times to connect to
a dialup BBS that wasn't very fast anyhow. The optical whatsit with
the slotted wheel finally gave up so its only operational mode was
"slam the printer head against the left stop and hold it there."

I still have the cute slotted wheel somewhere and the base now
supports my computer desk.

--
Mike Spencer Nova Scotia, Canada

Scott Lurndal

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Sep 3, 2021, 4:51:36 PMSep 3
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Mike Spencer <m...@bogus.nodomain.nowhere> writes:
>
>sc...@slp53.sl.home (Scott Lurndal) writes:
>
>> SixOverFive <hae274c.net> writes:
>>
>>> Heh ... yea yea ... I *remember*. Had one of those
>>> 'acoustic modems' in the beginning - you literally
>>> squished the phone handpiece into them. My first
>>> 1200 baud was Anchor Robotics. VASTLY better. At
>>> 300 baud you could actually read the text real-time
>>> as it came in. Oh well, there WERE slower baud rates
>>> before then .........
>>
>> Try 110 baud with an ASR-33. Switching to 300 baud on
>> a LA-120 was blazing fast...
>
>Would that be the same as the DEC-Writer II?

LA-120 was the DECwriter III.


Peter Flass

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Sep 3, 2021, 4:59:29 PMSep 3
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Ahem A Rivet's Shot <ste...@eircom.net> wrote:
> On Fri, 03 Sep 2021 14:11:42 -0400
> J. Clarke <jclarke...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> and that idiot insisted that his students use
>> cards because that's what they'd be working with in the real world.
>
> Reminds me of the A level computer science course I wished I hadn't
> taken - the year before it had been all about machine architecture,
> assembly language programming, data structures and algorithms, fun stuff.
> But I wasn't allowed to take it that year (because I was taking my O
> levels) I had to wait and take it the following year and so the course I
> got to take was COBOL, systems analysis and data validation and not what I
> had been looking forward to at all. But it was "what we'd be working with
> in the real world" or so I was told when I moaned about the change.
>

COBOL programmers are still in demand, apparently.

--
Pete

Andreas Kohlbach

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Sep 3, 2021, 7:57:38 PMSep 3
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On Fri, 3 Sep 2021 03:19:54 -0400, SixOverFive <hae274c.net> wrote:
>
We're talking nostalgia/folklore, but not (or just as side note) about
Linux in recent articles... So I set the F'up.
--
Andreas

J. Clarke

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Sep 3, 2021, 8:18:07 PMSep 3
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On Fri, 3 Sep 2021 13:59:26 -0700, Peter Flass <peter...@yahoo.com>
wrote:
They are. Unfortunately these days to get a job you have to move to
India and be willing to work for an Indian wage. It's a _good_ Indian
wage mind you, I understand you can live comfortably on it, but it's
below US minimum.

gareth evans

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Sep 4, 2021, 10:46:57 AMSep 4
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The DecWriter was delivered on a pallet that had solid sheets
of plywood rather than slats. As the result of that, when we first
married 47 years ago, our first bookcase, which we still have and use,
was made from those sheets of plywood!

After the clanking Teletypes, how we praised the DecWriter for its
quietness, but perhaps nowadays we'd think it to be a noisy thing!

Kurt Weiske

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Sep 4, 2021, 12:58:21 PMSep 4
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To: SixOverFive
-=> SixOverFive wrote to alt.folklore.computers,comp.os.linux.misc <=-

Si> But I did mostly miss the mainframe/mini days ...
Si> only had to use punchcards/paper-tape ONCE in a
Si> college class (which I dropped out of because
Si> the school already had serial terminals that'd
Si> do all that PLUS). The class was years behind
Si> the reality ......

I had a high school teacher insist we spend a day writing punch card decks
on an old system he'd brought in. He said "trust me, one day this will make
sense..."

So, I get to say I started out on punch cards. :)

My first job in college was an homage to the old mainframe days. The
bookstore had a computer room with a raised floor, a Microdata midrange
system running a variant of PICK OS, 48 serial terminals, a line printer and
a 9-track tape drive for nightly backups. Spent the first years of my career
feeding 11x17 greenbar paper and tapes into the beast.



... Retrace your steps
--- MultiMail/DOS v0.52
--- Synchronet 3.19a-Win32 NewsLink 1.113
* realitycheckBBS - Aptos, CA - telnet://realitycheckbbs.org

J. Clarke

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Sep 4, 2021, 3:09:41 PMSep 4
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On Fri, 3 Sep 2021 08:00:00 -0700, "Kurt Weiske"
<kurt....@realitycheckbbs.org.remove-x4i-this> wrote:

> To: SixOverFive
>-=> SixOverFive wrote to alt.folklore.computers,comp.os.linux.misc <=-
>
> Si> But I did mostly miss the mainframe/mini days ...
> Si> only had to use punchcards/paper-tape ONCE in a
> Si> college class (which I dropped out of because
> Si> the school already had serial terminals that'd
> Si> do all that PLUS). The class was years behind
> Si> the reality ......
>
>I had a high school teacher insist we spend a day writing punch card decks
>on an old system he'd brought in. He said "trust me, one day this will make
>sense..."
>
>So, I get to say I started out on punch cards. :)
>
>My first job in college was an homage to the old mainframe days. The
>bookstore had a computer room with a raised floor, a Microdata midrange
>system running a variant of PICK OS, 48 serial terminals, a line printer and
>a 9-track tape drive for nightly backups. Spent the first years of my career
>feeding 11x17 greenbar paper and tapes into the beast.

Where was that? I thought OSU was a big school, but I don't recall
their bookstore having anything near that elaborate.

Quadibloc

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Sep 5, 2021, 12:29:31 AMSep 5
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And the DECwriter II was the LA-36.

John Savard

SixOverFive

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Sep 5, 2021, 1:40:13 AMSep 5
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PART of the problem is that the computer world was
evolving SO fast back then. What was State Of The
Art one year was Obsolete Crap the next.

So, the prof wasn't necessarily stupid - but perhaps
just a SINGLE year behind the curve.

Some of the bigger data centers DID hang on to cards
and tape for quite awhile after they were officially
obsolete. They'd invested big $$$ in that equipment
and were gonna USE it (and had blown their new
equipment budgets on it). So, the punch-card experience
wasn't necessarily useless, depending on where the
student was going to wind up.

Oh, go shopping ... they DO still sell cartridge-tape
backup units still - they're up to three or four TB
now and cost lots of $$$. Clearly there's a market
for that 60s/70s/80s style tech, certain niches.

Microprocessors were a New Frontier back then, and a
certain democratization for invention that hadn't been
seen since the latter 1800s with Edison/Tesla/Marconi/
Deforest. You didn't need a 200 IQ and a big development
team to come up with and make use of really neat
innovations. Lots that came out of that period is
STILL in play now. Often, laziness was the Mother
Of All Invention - "This SUCKS ... how can I make
it easier/better ?".



SixOverFive

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Sep 5, 2021, 2:14:35 AMSep 5
to
Know a guy who got a job fairly recently at a govt
op ... one requirement was that he learn COBOL because
they'd heavily invested in *perfect* COBOL apps way
back in the day and would not, could not afford to,
have them re-written in anything else. Important
customized stuff like payrolls, scheduling ...

COBOL was a wonder-language back in the day, perfect for
all kinds of biz apps and (sort of) self-documenting
because of the quasi-natural-language code. Its "PIC"
statement was great, could do everything printf() can
do, help you out with format conversions and forms.
It was assumed you were using TTY terminals and serial
ASCII printers. There ARE a couple of COBOL development
tools for Linux ... one, I think, will even set up
tinted columns for the older, more anal, COBOL versions
where you had to put certain codes in EXACTLY the
right columns. DID make the compilers simpler ...

And for the science types, FORTRAN. That's ALSO still
used. There are HUGE libraries of heavy-duty sci-related
code that NOBODY dares throw away and don't have the
time/budget to recreate. I remember having to translate
a FORTRAN stats collection into IBMPC BASICA ... long
"poke" lines for working the 8087 .... yuk !

Despite the similar-looking chip number, the 8087 was
NOT like the 8088 (or most any other microprocessor).
A very different paradigm. A couple years later the
compiler-makers all added '87 math libraries and that
made it all disappear, but BEFORE .... let's say I
was *thrilled* that Turbo Pascal included an '87
code switch - right when I had to write something that
did a lot of graphic transforms.

I'd suggest "Foley & Van-Dam Fundamentals Of Interactive
Computer Graphics" ... STILL worth looking at. That's how
it really gets done "under the hood".

Mike Spencer

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Sep 5, 2021, 3:23:28 AMSep 5
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Right. Thanks. I still have the user manual here somewhere but I
can't find it.

The Natural Philosopher

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Sep 5, 2021, 4:38:57 AMSep 5
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On 05/09/2021 06:40, SixOverFive wrote:
> Often, laziness was the Mother
>   Of All Invention - "This SUCKS ... how can I make
>   it easier/better ?".

Which was pretty much Linus' attitude, and the rest, is history


--
“when things get difficult you just have to lie”

― Jean Claud Jüncker

The Natural Philosopher

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Sep 5, 2021, 4:47:53 AMSep 5
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COBOL was and is a damned good language for commercial programming: It
enforces a discipline on coding and can be used on machines with
extremely low RAM. It is extremely *efficient* in execution (though
massively wordy in source code) What it didn't have back them was a
database language to run under it. I particularly liked an idea which I
believe it originated - and that is a formal way of specifying the data
structures - tables and fields - in advance. When building SQL style
applications this is massively useful even in a small project coded by
a single person



> And for the science types, FORTRAN. That's ALSO still
> used. There are HUGE libraries of heavy-duty sci-related
> code that NOBODY dares throw away and don't have the
> time/budget to recreate. I remember having to translate
> a FORTRAN stats collection into IBMPC BASICA ... long
> "poke" lines for working the 8087 .... yuk !
>
> Despite the similar-looking chip number, the 8087 was
> NOT like the 8088 (or most any other microprocessor).
> A very different paradigm. A couple years later the
> compiler-makers all added '87 math libraries and that
> made it all disappear, but BEFORE .... let's say I
> was *thrilled* that Turbo Pascal included an '87
> code switch - right when I had to write something that
> did a lot of graphic transforms.
>
> I'd suggest "Foley & Van-Dam Fundamentals Of Interactive
> Computer Graphics" ... STILL worth looking at. That's how
> it really gets done "under the hood".

Again, FORTRAN is a fully functional efficient compiled procedural
language. There is no need to 'improve' it.

The IT world gota lot worse when computer scientists started writing
languages. They just couldn't keep it simple. They had to show off.

Hence 'object oriented' rubbish and 'operator overloading' - sheesh the
worst idea EVER. Making a expresssion symbol dependent on the context in
which its being used.

Ahem A Rivet's Shot

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Sep 5, 2021, 6:00:02 AMSep 5
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On Sun, 5 Sep 2021 09:38:56 +0100
The Natural Philosopher <t...@invalid.invalid> wrote:

> On 05/09/2021 06:40, SixOverFive wrote:
> > Often, laziness was the Mother
> >   Of All Invention - "This SUCKS ... how can I make
> >   it easier/better ?".
>
> Which was pretty much Linus' attitude, and the rest, is history

More like Stallman's and before that a certain group at Berkeley
and before that a handful of people at Bell and before that ...

It's giant's shoulders all the way down, all stacked up like a
circus pyramid.

Stéphane CARPENTIER

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Sep 5, 2021, 6:13:35 AMSep 5
to
Le 05-09-2021, The Natural Philosopher <t...@invalid.invalid> a écrit :
> On 05/09/2021 06:40, SixOverFive wrote:
>> Often, laziness was the Mother
>>   Of All Invention - "This SUCKS ... how can I make
>>   it easier/better ?".
>
> Which was pretty much Linus' attitude, and the rest, is history

No, Linus' attitude was more "I want to have fun, do you want to have
fun too?"

--
Si vous avez du temps à perdre :
https://scarpet42.gitlab.io

The Natural Philosopher

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Sep 5, 2021, 6:22:01 AMSep 5
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On 05/09/2021 10:49, Ahem A Rivet's Shot wrote:
> On Sun, 5 Sep 2021 09:38:56 +0100
> The Natural Philosopher <t...@invalid.invalid> wrote:
>
>> On 05/09/2021 06:40, SixOverFive wrote:
>>> Often, laziness was the Mother
>>>   Of All Invention - "This SUCKS ... how can I make
>>>   it easier/better ?".
>>
>> Which was pretty much Linus' attitude, and the rest, is history
>
> More like Stallman's and before that a certain group at Berkeley
> and before that a handful of people at Bell and before that ...
>
> It's giant's shoulders all the way down, all stacked up like a
> circus pyramid.
>
And then you get Computer Scientists, and their attitude is 'this is too
easy/simple, how can we make it more complicated?'

--
There’s a mighty big difference between good, sound reasons and reasons
that sound good.

Burton Hillis (William Vaughn, American columnist)

gareth evans

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Sep 5, 2021, 6:31:30 AMSep 5
to
On 05/09/2021 11:22, The Natural Philosopher wrote:
> On 05/09/2021 10:49, Ahem A Rivet's Shot wrote:
>> On Sun, 5 Sep 2021 09:38:56 +0100
>> The Natural Philosopher <t...@invalid.invalid> wrote:
>>
>>> On 05/09/2021 06:40, SixOverFive wrote:
>>>> Often, laziness was the Mother
>>>> Of All Invention - "This SUCKS ... how can I make
>>>> it easier/better ?".
>>>
>>> Which was pretty much Linus' attitude, and the rest, is history
>>
>> More like Stallman's and before that a certain group at Berkeley
>> and before that a handful of people at Bell and before that ...
>>
>> It's giant's shoulders all the way down, all stacked up like a
>> circus pyramid.
>>
> And then you get Computer Scientists, and their attitude is 'this is too
> easy/simple, how can we make it more complicated?'
>

AIUI, you failed your Computer Science PhD assessment if you used,
"very" instead of, "highly".

gareth evans

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Sep 5, 2021, 6:38:49 AMSep 5
to
On 05/09/2021 11:31, gareth evans wrote:
>
> AIUI, you failed your Computer Science PhD assessment if you used,
> "very" instead of, "highly".

Sorry, an afterthought ... I thought that to get a PhD you had to
either invent something or else discover something previously
unfathomable but the plague of PhDs awarded these days do not
seem to be accompanied by widespread increases of knowledge
or developments in technology.


maus

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Sep 5, 2021, 6:44:02 AMSep 5
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1) Indian accents are a real turnoff for British users, even if the
Indian is living in the UK (or Ireland). Poor answering soured the
idea.
2) In India (according to a friend who worked there), you are expected
to have servants if you earn a good salary.
3) Unfortunatly, the universal trend to lower earning will lower US
salaries in time.



The Natural Philosopher

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Sep 5, 2021, 7:15:25 AMSep 5
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No, you just have to write some impenetrable gobbledygook and get a chum
to peer review it.


"The influence of Patriarchal Modality on the development of unconscious
homophobia in the Victorian institution' etc etc


Clever people strive to make difficult stuff easy to understand.
Not so clever people strive to make simple stuff more complicated so
only they can understand it, and thus preserve their status and their
careers

As a wonderful example of prime communist blatherskite Eric Hobsbawn is
the go-to idiot

“The test of a progressive policy is not private but public, not just
rising income and consumption for individuals, but widening the
opportunities and what Amartya Sen calls the 'capabilities' of all
through collective action. But that means, it must mean, public
non-profit initiative, even if only in redistributing private
accumulation. Public decisions aimed at collective social improvement
from which all human lives should gain. That is the basis of progressive
policy—not maximising economic growth and personal incomes. Nowhere will
this be more important than in tackling the greatest problem facing us
this century, the environmental crisis. Whatever ideological logo we
choose for it, it will mean a major shift away from the free market and
towards public action, a bigger shift than the British government has
yet envisaged. And, given the acuteness of the economic crisis, probably
a fairly rapid shift. Time is not on our side.”


― Eric Hobsbawm

Contrast Scruton


“When, in the works of Lacan, Deleuze and Althusser, the nonsense
machine began to crank out its impenetrable sentences, of which nothing
could be understood except that they all had “capitalism” as their
target, it looked as though Nothing had at last found its voice.”
― Roger Scruton, Thinkers Of The New Left

“The greatest task on the right, therefore, is to rescue the language of
politics: to put within our grasp what has been forcibly removed from it
by jargon.”
― Roger Scruton, Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left


--
WOKE is an acronym... Without Originality, Knowledge or Education.

J. Clarke

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Sep 5, 2021, 9:44:34 AMSep 5
to
I don't know what it is about Asia in general, but the accents just do
not sound good and are sometimes difficult to understand. Noticing
that will get one harshly criticized in some circles though. Our
Indians don't talk to customers though.

And the real problem is that the people in India are taking their good
wage and buying stuff in India, not in the US, and they can't afford
US made so they are buying local or Chinese.

And management doesn't see what's wrong with this.

J. Clarke

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Sep 5, 2021, 9:50:08 AMSep 5
to
On Sun, 5 Sep 2021 09:38:56 +0100, The Natural Philosopher
<t...@invalid.invalid> wrote:

>On 05/09/2021 06:40, SixOverFive wrote:
>> Often, laziness was the Mother
>>   Of All Invention - "This SUCKS ... how can I make
>>   it easier/better ?".
>
>Which was pretty much Linus' attitude, and the rest, is history

Works for me. The two that go with it are that "it is easier to gain
forgiveness than permission" and "initiative is when you did something
you weren't supposed to do and it turned out good".

Much of my work is boring and annoying. When I get annoyed I automate
whatever is annoying me.

Scott Lurndal

unread,
Sep 5, 2021, 10:11:09 AMSep 5
to
This was true in the USA up through the 1950's.

Dennis Boone

unread,
Sep 5, 2021, 11:00:52 AMSep 5
to
> COBOL was and is a damned good language for commercial programming: It
> enforces a discipline on coding

Hah. You can write bad code in any language, and CObOL gives you
plenty of rope. ALTER clause anyone?

De

Andreas Kohlbach

unread,
Sep 5, 2021, 12:22:11 PMSep 5
to
On Sun, 5 Sep 2021 01:40:06 -0400, SixOverFive <hae274c.net> wrote:
>
> On 9/3/21 2:11 PM, J. Clarke wrote:
>
>> Some professors are like that. I remember helping an undergrad find
>> the keypunch (I was a computer science grad student and I didn't even
>> know the school _had_ a keypunch or card reader until that came up).
>> Seems he was taking a programming course from somebody in the
>> chemistry department and that idiot insisted that his students use
>> cards because that's what they'd be working with in the real world. I
>> ended up having to go dig up an operator.
>
>
> PART of the problem is that the computer world was
> evolving SO fast back then. What was State Of The
> Art one year was Obsolete Crap the next.

I think that is only true until the mid 80s. From 1971 to around 1984 the
address/data bus size of a (microprocessor based) CPU doubled several
times to 32-Bit. Since around 2000 mainstream hardware is stuck at
64-bit.

Today it's more RAM, faster CPU, more RAM, faster CPU... - how
boring. That should only change once Quantum-Computing becomes
mainstream.
--
Andreas

The Natural Philosopher

unread,
Sep 5, 2021, 12:26:55 PMSep 5
to
Its not even that - its more cache, more cores, and SSD - RAM and CPU
clock speed are stuck.


--
Karl Marx said religion is the opium of the people.
But Marxism is the crack cocaine.

David W. Hodgins

unread,
Sep 5, 2021, 12:36:49 PMSep 5
to
On Sun, 05 Sep 2021 04:47:51 -0400, The Natural Philosopher <t...@invalid.invalid> wrote:
> COBOL was and is a damned good language for commercial programming: It
> enforces a discipline on coding and can be used on machines with
> extremely low RAM. It is extremely *efficient* in execution (though
> massively wordy in source code) What it didn't have back them was a
> database language to run under it. I particularly liked an idea which I
> believe it originated - and that is a formal way of specifying the data
> structures - tables and fields - in advance. When building SQL style
> applications this is massively useful even in a small project coded by
> a single person

> Again, FORTRAN is a fully functional efficient compiled procedural
> language. There is no need to 'improve' it.

Then there was PL/1, which was basically a combination of Fortran and Cobol.

Regards, Dave Hodgins

--
Change dwho...@nomail.afraid.org to davidw...@teksavvy.com for
email replies.

J. Clarke

unread,
Sep 5, 2021, 5:29:35 PMSep 5
to
And the end result is that for single-threaded code, a ten year old
machine is pretty much as good as a new one. Sad part is that the "IT
Professionals" don't know that and think that replacing a 3 year old
machine with a new one is still going to bring about a big performance
improvement.

Mike Spencer

unread,
Sep 5, 2021, 5:35:18 PMSep 5
to
I was there in the 1950s. I didn't then know any really wealthy
people but many of my friends were from families with "good salary" --
professionals, CEOs, small biz owners. None had servants although at
least one lived in a large house with (then disused) servants'
quaarters. My family's landlady in 1954, over 90 and widow of a
locally prestigious clergyman, owned a house with elegant woodwork and
serants' quarters on the 3rd floor, albeit with less than superb
kitchen, bemoaned the impossibility of having servants.

OTOH, all of the senior academics I met during a decade-long,
itermittent excursion from my own rustication into up-scale academia
in the 80s & 90s, were married to other professionals of one sort or
another and they all had daily or live-in house keepers.

Re India: My son had an Indian math teacher whose accent he found
impenetrable. When he said so, the teacher was greatly offended;
after all, he was highly educated (in India) and English was his first
language.

John Levine

unread,
Sep 5, 2021, 6:16:55 PMSep 5
to
According to Dennis Boone <d...@ihatespam.msu.edu>:
No worse than the Fortran assigned GOTO. Sensible programmers stopped using them
as soon as there were other ways to write subroutines, like about 1962.

Academincs sneered at COBOL because it was so wordy and looked like pseudo-English
but it had a lot of good ideas that modern programmers have no idea originated there.

C structures and C++ class data structures are COBOL data (via PL/I
which got them from COBOL and uses essentially the COBOL syntax.) The
COBOL report writer was one of the first uses of coroutines but
unfortunately few COBOL programmers understood it well enough to use
it effectively.

--
Regards,
John Levine, jo...@taugh.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. https://jl.ly

John Levine

unread,
Sep 5, 2021, 6:20:45 PMSep 5
to
According to David W. Hodgins <dwho...@nomail.afraid.org>:
>> Again, FORTRAN is a fully functional efficient compiled procedural
>> language. There is no need to 'improve' it.
>
>Then there was PL/1, which was basically a combination of Fortran and Cobol.

It also had a fair amount of Algol mixed in to give it block structure and recursion.

Considering that PL/I was invented by a committee at IBM under intense time pressure
to ship and all-purpose language to use on their all-purpose S/360 mainframes, it's
a remarkably good language. Sixty years later we can see some of the mistakes like
the wild abandon with which you can mix datatypes, but they got a lot of it right.

J. Clarke

unread,
Sep 5, 2021, 7:45:56 PMSep 5
to
On 05 Sep 2021 18:31:33 -0300, Mike Spencer
I find "say again" and "sorry, could you say that more slowly, I'm old
and my hearing isn't so good" is efficacious without giving offense.
It's really bad if it's a woman in the upper vocal range--my highs are
long gone.

SixOverFive

unread,
Sep 5, 2021, 8:18:20 PMSep 5
to
On 9/5/21 9:50 AM, J. Clarke wrote:
> On Sun, 5 Sep 2021 09:38:56 +0100, The Natural Philosopher
> <t...@invalid.invalid> wrote:
>
>> On 05/09/2021 06:40, SixOverFive wrote:
>>> Often, laziness was the Mother
>>>   Of All Invention - "This SUCKS ... how can I make
>>>   it easier/better ?".
>>
>> Which was pretty much Linus' attitude, and the rest, is history.

I think Linus was also too broke to buy UNIX :-)

So, BUILD YOUR OWN.

>
> Works for me. The two that go with it are that "it is easier to gain
> forgiveness than permission" and "initiative is when you did something
> you weren't supposed to do and it turned out good".
>
> Much of my work is boring and annoying. When I get annoyed I automate
> whatever is annoying me.

The only way to stay sane. Often the automation work
is MUCH more interesting than whatever project you're
automating :-)

Robin Vowels

unread,
Sep 5, 2021, 9:05:25 PMSep 5
to
On Monday, September 6, 2021 at 2:36:49 AM UTC+10, David W. Hodgins wrote:
> On Sun, 05 Sep 2021 04:47:51 -0400, The Natural Philosopher <t...@invalid.invalid> wrote:
> > COBOL was and is a damned good language for commercial programming: It
> > enforces a discipline on coding and can be used on machines with
> > extremely low RAM. It is extremely *efficient* in execution (though
> > massively wordy in source code) What it didn't have back them was a
> > database language to run under it. I particularly liked an idea which I
> > believe it originated - and that is a formal way of specifying the data
> > structures - tables and fields - in advance. When building SQL style
> > applications this is massively useful even in a small project coded by
> > a single person
> > Again, FORTRAN is a fully functional efficient compiled procedural
> > language. There is no need to 'improve' it.
> Then there was PL/1, which was basically a combination of Fortran and Cobol.
.
without the verbosity of COBOL and without the achronistic codes of FORTRAN.
.
PL/I also took some ideas from ALGOL -- block structure and free format source.
.
Real improvements came with generic functions and whole array operations.

J. Clarke

unread,
Sep 5, 2021, 10:39:00 PMSep 5
to
On Sun, 5 Sep 2021 20:18:08 -0400, SixOverFive <hae274c.net> wrote:

>On 9/5/21 9:50 AM, J. Clarke wrote:
>> On Sun, 5 Sep 2021 09:38:56 +0100, The Natural Philosopher
>> <t...@invalid.invalid> wrote:
>>
>>> On 05/09/2021 06:40, SixOverFive wrote:
>>>> Often, laziness was the Mother
>>>>   Of All Invention - "This SUCKS ... how can I make
>>>>   it easier/better ?".
>>>
>>> Which was pretty much Linus' attitude, and the rest, is history.
>
> I think Linus was also too broke to buy UNIX :-)
>
> So, BUILD YOUR OWN.

I understand it started out making some improvements on Minix, and he
improved right into a full blown Unix workalike.

SixOverFive

unread,
Sep 5, 2021, 11:00:09 PMSep 5
to
Found an DR-PL/I compiler image that'll run in
a DosBox or VirtualBox DOS environment. No MANUAL
though. There was no such thing as a "standard
implementation" back then (and hardly NOW) so
you need an DR-PL/I manual to effectively use
DR-PL/I.

PL/I always seemed to be a bit of a "kitchen sink"
language - you could spot bits of several, even BASIC,
in there. There were several viable approaches to
every task ... which ain't terrible.

Anyway, except for the wordiness and a few annoying quirks,
COBOL really is a perfectly viable language for commercial
programming. It does what you need to be done. Certainly
not "visual" though, however I really don't like Object
Oriented (still always write basically K&R 'C') so I don't
miss THAT in COBOL.

FORTRAN likewise is a perfectly good "sci/math oriented"
language. STILL widely used, often because SO many great
and powerful code snippets were writ back in the 60s and
nobody wants to take the time to RE-write them in anything
else.

SixOverFive

unread,
Sep 5, 2021, 11:14:39 PMSep 5
to
IF ... lots of promises but Real World units are few,
weak and VERY quirky. PRICE is gawdawful too. QM
may wind up being a flash in the pan due to all the
little issues. The Spooks will probably keep a few
units for codebreaking, but that'll be about it.

Anyway, depending on the era, I'll absolve the Prof.
It was literally punch-cards/tape one month in the
high holy Computer Room and a bunch of serial terminals
in the library building the next. Minor issue - NOBODY
knew how to USE them. No instructions, no manuals. We
kinda hacked around and got some BASIC programs going,
but that was about it. This was, I think, 1979.



J. Clarke

unread,
Sep 6, 2021, 12:01:30 AMSep 6
to
The school had had 3270s as long as any current students could
remember. And the VAX had had CRTs long enough for there to be asong
about them on campus sufficiently well known that a sophomore
journalism major knew it.
>
>

Dave Garland

unread,
Sep 6, 2021, 12:35:34 AMSep 6
to
Sad? I guess on a global scale. But it has provided me with "good
enough" hardware for many years (what clients were throwing away
always worked fine for me, so I'd offer to recycle it for them). My
current desktop (I hate laptop usability) was $40 at a thrift store
(move the old display/keyboard/mouse over), likely a lease return. And
I could do video editing on its predecessor.

The Natural Philosopher

unread,
Sep 6, 2021, 3:51:01 AMSep 6
to
On 05/09/2021 17:05, David W. Hodgins wrote:
> On Sun, 05 Sep 2021 04:47:51 -0400, The Natural Philosopher
> <t...@invalid.invalid> wrote:
>> COBOL was and is a damned good language for commercial programming: It
>> enforces a discipline on coding and can be used on machines with
>> extremely low RAM. It is extremely *efficient* in execution (though
>> massively wordy in source code) What it didn't have back them was  a
>> database language to run under it. I particularly liked an idea which I
>> believe it originated - and that is a formal way of specifying the data
>> structures - tables and fields - in advance. When building SQL style
>> applications this is massively useful even in a small project coded  by
>> a single person
>
>> Again, FORTRAN is a fully functional efficient compiled procedural
>> language. There is no need to 'improve' it.
>
> Then there was PL/1, which was basically a combination of Fortran and
> Cobol.
>
which turned out to be less handy.

ALGOL was also there, and IIRC that morphed into B, BCPL and then C..

> Regards, Dave Hodgins
>


--
I would rather have questions that cannot be answered...
...than to have answers that cannot be questioned

Richard Feynman


Ahem A Rivet's Shot

unread,
Sep 6, 2021, 4:00:02 AMSep 6
to
On Sun, 05 Sep 2021 22:38:57 -0400
J. Clarke <jclarke...@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Sun, 5 Sep 2021 20:18:08 -0400, SixOverFive <hae274c.net> wrote:
>
> >On 9/5/21 9:50 AM, J. Clarke wrote:
> >> On Sun, 5 Sep 2021 09:38:56 +0100, The Natural Philosopher
> >> <t...@invalid.invalid> wrote:
> >>
> >>> On 05/09/2021 06:40, SixOverFive wrote:
> >>>> Often, laziness was the Mother
> >>>>   Of All Invention - "This SUCKS ... how can I make
> >>>>   it easier/better ?".
> >>>
> >>> Which was pretty much Linus' attitude, and the rest, is history.
> >
> > I think Linus was also too broke to buy UNIX :-)
> >
> > So, BUILD YOUR OWN.
>
> I understand it started out making some improvements on Minix, and he
> improved right into a full blown Unix workalike.

The earliest story of the origin I read (sometime before 1.0) was
that he started with a clever idea for a more efficient context switch,
developed it under Minix and built out from there picking up fellow
travellers along the way to help round it out into enough of a unix kernel
clone to run GNU tools. The first working code was said to be two
processes one printing As the other Bs.

--
Steve O'Hara-Smith | Directable Mirror Arrays
C:\>WIN | A better way to focus the sun
The computer obeys and wins. | licences available see
You lose and Bill collects. | http://www.sohara.org/

Ahem A Rivet's Shot

unread,
Sep 6, 2021, 4:30:02 AMSep 6
to
On Sun, 05 Sep 2021 17:29:32 -0400
J. Clarke <jclarke...@gmail.com> wrote:

> And the end result is that for single-threaded code, a ten year old
> machine is pretty much as good as a new one. Sad part is that the "IT
> Professionals" don't know that and think that replacing a 3 year old
> machine with a new one is still going to bring about a big performance
> improvement.

Works fine when the application is a kubernetes administered
swarm of docker images running on virtual machines connected by virtual
networks and using data on big SANs running NVMe over fabric with only
hypervisors running directly on the hardware.

That kind of architecture just loves running on lots and lots and
lots of cores that don't need to be too fruity as long as the concurrency is
good.

David W. Hodgins

unread,
Sep 6, 2021, 11:17:09 AMSep 6
to
On Mon, 06 Sep 2021 03:50:59 -0400, The Natural Philosopher <t...@invalid.invalid> wrote:

> On 05/09/2021 17:05, David W. Hodgins wrote:
>> On Sun, 05 Sep 2021 04:47:51 -0400, The Natural Philosopher
>> <t...@invalid.invalid> wrote:
>>> COBOL was and is a damned good language for commercial programming: It
>>> enforces a discipline on coding and can be used on machines with
>>> extremely low RAM. It is extremely *efficient* in execution (though
>>> massively wordy in source code) What it didn't have back them was a
>>> database language to run under it. I particularly liked an idea which I
>>> believe it originated - and that is a formal way of specifying the data
>>> structures - tables and fields - in advance. When building SQL style
>>> applications this is massively useful even in a small project coded by
>>> a single person
>>
>>> Again, FORTRAN is a fully functional efficient compiled procedural
>>> language. There is no need to 'improve' it.
>>
>> Then there was PL/1, which was basically a combination of Fortran and
>> Cobol.
>>
> which turned out to be less handy.

Depends on the task. PL/1 supported 15 dimensional arrays. I don't remember if
Fortran did, but even if it did, PL/1 allowing better variable names to be
used allowing it to still be understandable. If a variable name exceeded 30
characters it took the first and last 15 characters. As long as that was unique,
it worked. COBOL was a max of 3 dimensions and a max of 30 character variable
names.

> ALGOL was also there, and IIRC that morphed into B, BCPL and then C..

I never used ALGOL, B, or BCPL, and only did a tiny bit of work in C.

maus

unread,
Sep 6, 2021, 1:27:40 PMSep 6
to
On 2021-09-05, Andreas Kohlbach <a...@spamfence.net> wrote:
> On 5 Sep 2021 10:44:00 GMT, maus wrote:
>>
>> 1) Indian accents are a real turnoff for British users, even if the
>> Indian is living in the UK (or Ireland). Poor answering soured the
>> idea.
>
> When I call a service hot line and have Apu (from the Simpsons) on the
> line I hang up. I don't really understand them (not being a native English
> speaker?), they don't understand me. Because in the past I ended up
> "signing up" for an additional service I didn't ask for, while the
> initial problem wasn't solved. Went through a lot of trouble because of this.
>
>
>

There are almost twice as many English Speakers in India than the UK.
Many non-Hindu speakers find English a more likable common tongue that
Hindi
I should stress that I find most Indians easy to deal with and
competant.

maus

unread,
Sep 6, 2021, 1:30:49 PMSep 6
to
On 2021-09-05, The Natural Philosopher <t...@invalid.invalid> wrote:
> On 05/09/2021 11:38, gareth evans wrote:
>> On 05/09/2021 11:31, gareth evans wrote:
>>>
>>> AIUI, you failed your Computer Science PhD assessment if you used,
>>> "very" instead of, "highly".
>>
>> Sorry, an afterthought ... I thought that to get a PhD you had to
>> either invent something or else discover something previously
>> unfathomable but the plague of PhDs awarded these days do not
>> seem to be accompanied by widespread increases of knowledge
>> or developments in technology.
>>
>>
> No, you just have to write some impenetrable gobbledygook and get a chum
> to peer review it.
>
>
> "The influence of Patriarchal Modality on the development of unconscious
> homophobia in the Victorian institution' etc etc
>
>
> Clever people strive to make difficult stuff easy to understand.
> Not so clever people strive to make simple stuff more complicated so
> only they can understand it, and thus preserve their status and their
> careers
>
> As a wonderful example of prime communist blatherskite Eric Hobsbawn is
> the go-to idiot
>
As one who left school early, I sorta educated my self via Hogsbawm
>:
>

maus

unread,
Sep 6, 2021, 1:37:13 PMSep 6
to
I agree thoroughly with the above. The problem is now that more people
are discovering it aw well, and old laptops with good keyboards are
getting expensive.

A friend who visited me in hospital was praising his chromebook, so
I got one after getting home. They are far less usable than even
Windows.
>
>

J. Clarke

unread,
Sep 6, 2021, 1:46:10 PMSep 6
to
It seems like the software industry is trying to move the world into
the chromebook model, why I don't really understand.

You are not constrained to use the keyboard attached to the laptop you
know. I haven't touched the keyboard on the one my employer issued me
in well over a year. You also aren't constrained to use the built-in
display.

Peter Flass

unread,
Sep 6, 2021, 1:58:08 PMSep 6
to
Security is a big reason.

>
> You are not constrained to use the keyboard attached to the laptop you
> know. I haven't touched the keyboard on the one my employer issued me
> in well over a year. You also aren't constrained to use the built-in
> display.
>
>



--
Pete

J. Clarke

unread,
Sep 6, 2021, 2:02:02 PMSep 6
to
On Mon, 6 Sep 2021 10:58:06 -0700, Peter Flass <peter...@yahoo.com>
wrote:
How is having having every keystroke I type sent across the Internet
more secure than having it go across a wire on my desk?

How is _anything_ that relies on the Web for everything more secure
than something that can be air-gapped and locked in a drawer when not
in use?

Rich Alderson

unread,
Sep 6, 2021, 3:04:14 PMSep 6
to
The Natural Philosopher <t...@invalid.invalid> writes:

> ALGOL was also there, and IIRC that morphed into B, BCPL and then C..

Order of invention was CPL, BCPL, B, and C.

There were jokes in the 1980s nad 1990s about the proper name for the next
language in the sequence: D, or P?

(Note that at least one object-oriented C successor named D was created.)

--
Rich Alderson ne...@alderson.users.panix.com
Audendum est, et veritas investiganda; quam etiamsi non assequamur,
omnino tamen proprius, quam nunc sumus, ad eam perveniemus.
--Galen

Ahem A Rivet's Shot

unread,
Sep 6, 2021, 3:30:02 PMSep 6
to
On Mon, 6 Sep 2021 10:58:06 -0700
Peter Flass <peter...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> J. Clarke <jclarke...@gmail.com> wrote:

> > It seems like the software industry is trying to move the world into
> > the chromebook model, why I don't really understand.
>
> Security is a big reason.

More like a good excuse, the industry (for that read Wall Street)
much prefers an income model based on subscriptions rather than sales
because it is predictable which gives investors warm fuzzy feelings.

Andreas Kohlbach

unread,
Sep 6, 2021, 4:08:59 PMSep 6
to
On Sun, 5 Sep 2021 23:14:32 -0400, SixOverFive <hae274c.net> wrote:
>
>> Today it's more RAM, faster CPU, more RAM, faster CPU... - how
>> boring. That should only change once Quantum-Computing becomes
>> mainstream.
>
>
> IF ... lots of promises but Real World units are few,
> weak and VERY quirky. PRICE is gawdawful too. QM
> may wind up being a flash in the pan due to all the
> little issues. The Spooks will probably keep a few
> units for codebreaking, but that'll be about it.

Is you real name Thomas J. Watson by chance? ;-)

He worked as CEO at IBM and said 1943 "I think there is a world market
for maybe five computers". ;-)

Today some tech companies have them to let customers using them in the
cloud. Again back to the late 70s and before, when people used cloud
computing *ahem* time sharing, because no ordinary user was able to
purchase a mainframe. In a decade or two the phone in your pocket (or may be
transplanted in brains by then) runs on a Quantum-Computer.
--
Andreas

maus

unread,
Sep 6, 2021, 5:09:26 PMSep 6
to
I believe the head of the bank of england oce remarked, `Why Phones?..
We have lots of messangers'.

Peter Flass

unread,
Sep 6, 2021, 8:42:07 PMSep 6