Mature technology

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George William Herbert

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Jan 19, 2002, 6:57:54 PM1/19/02
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<how...@brazee.net> wrote:
>I was thinking about fighter jets - remembering how quickly we moved from
>propeller fighters to the SR-71 (slightly modified from a less known
>fighter) - then the development slowed down so much. We fly 30 year old
>jets which are almost as good as new jets. We no longer buy cars every
>year - they aren't that much better than the models we bought a year ago.
>
>Sure, current ships are better than 100 year old ships, but incrementally.
>Computers will soon follow this trend.
>
>And spaceships may have followed this trend as well.

The development goes sideways rather than into raw performance
numbers, more accurately.

Current ships are better than 100 year old ships in many ways.
One is in crew size; 20-30 people operate a large tanker or
container ship. Another is in reliability; modern ships can
run for years between functionally disabling failures.
Another is cost to manufacture; prefabrication, large welded
sections, automated plate cutting and welding, modular construction
mean that it takes a fraction of the man hours per ton to make
modern ships compared to those 100, 50, even 25 years ago.

And it takes a *tiny* fraction of the man hours per ton of
dry cargo to unload and load and transfer around; it used to
be people lifting every item out of the cargo hold onto
a crane platform, onto the dock, onto a truck, to a warehouse,
within the warehouse, onto a train or another truck, etc.
Nowadays, it's someone loads the container at the factory,
container onto truck, off truck onto ship, off ship onto
truck or train, to distribution center, and unload.

Commercial jets get more efficient, more reliable and less
likely to have mechanical failures preventing them from operating
economically, require less crew, etc.

Military jets also get more efficient, longer ranges,
more reliabile and more likely to be able to accomplish
missions without systems failures, more likely to be
available when called upon due to higher reliability, etc.
Also, lower man hours to manufacture for the engines and
structures, etc.

Same thing with cars. Even 10 years ago, car reliability
was a lot lower than it is now, safety was a lot lower than
it is now (pervasive airbags, better standards and understanding
of frame crashworthyness, etc). More features, too; A/C is
now pretty standard even in low cost cars; even low cost cars
with high gas mileage have good torque, if not top speeds;
etc etc.

Just because they cost about the same and don't drive any
faster doesn't mean there haven't been improvements.


-george william herbert
gher...@retro.com

Mike Williams

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Jan 20, 2002, 3:31:25 AM1/20/02
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Wasn't it howard who wrote:

>Take a current movie back in time to 1960 and pass it off as SF. People
>would have have said "dressing sloppy and piercing and tatooing is NOT SF".
> They would have seen cell phones and maybe computers. But movies that use
>computers as part of the plot tend to be boring - watching someone type is
>NOT interesting. Cars wouldn't have been nearly as interesting as they
>thought. Our choice of good guys and bad guys would have been interesting,
>as stereotypes change.
>
>Even with our future shock age, culture changes faster than technology.

One of the really big differences that the 1960 audience will notice is
the music in the soundtrack. Musical instrument technology has changed
beyond recognition since then. In 1960 there was virtually no electronic
music. Every note in a 1960's soundtrack would be recognisable as coming
from a specific instrument. I remember the musical impact that things
like "Bach Goes Moog" and the "Dr. Who Theme Tune" had by being played
with electronic sounds that were not imitating existing instruments. A
sudden jump to 2002 music would be mind blowing.

--
Mike Williams
Gentleman of Leisure

William Clifford

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Jan 20, 2002, 7:30:54 AM1/20/02
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In <8j3o3EAd...@econym.demon.co.uk>,
The KLF is going to rock you.

--
| William Clifford | wo...@yahoo.com | http://wobh.home.mindspring.com |
|"Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world why'd we |
| have to come to the Prancing Pony." --Frodo Boggins |

Karl M. Syring

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Jan 20, 2002, 9:05:35 AM1/20/02
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"George William Herbert" <gher...@gw.retro.com> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
news:a2d162$5rv$1...@gw.retro.com...

> <how...@brazee.net> wrote:
> >I was thinking about fighter jets - remembering how quickly we moved from
> >propeller fighters to the SR-71 (slightly modified from a less known
> >fighter) - then the development slowed down so much. We fly 30 year old
> >jets which are almost as good as new jets. We no longer buy cars every
> >year - they aren't that much better than the models we bought a year ago.
> >
> >Sure, current ships are better than 100 year old ships, but
incrementally.
> >Computers will soon follow this trend.
> >
> >And spaceships may have followed this trend as well.
>
> The development goes sideways rather than into raw performance
> numbers, more accurately.
>
> Current ships are better than 100 year old ships in many ways.
> One is in crew size; 20-30 people operate a large tanker or
> container ship. Another is in reliability; modern ships can
> run for years between functionally disabling failures.
> Another is cost to manufacture; prefabrication, large welded
> sections, automated plate cutting and welding, modular construction
> mean that it takes a fraction of the man hours per ton to make
> modern ships compared to those 100, 50, even 25 years ago.
<snipped for length>

> Just because they cost about the same and don't drive any
> faster doesn't mean there haven't been improvements.

But isn't this an indication of the Red Queen syndrome. At the moment, we
are struggling to keep our position but for the future we can already
predict a slow slide- back of technology.
I am really waiting for explanations from the marketing departments like
"people can't operate that sophisticated equipment anymore". Perhaps, there
even will be a new ideology that will label those innate cravings for new
gadgets as a kind of departure from the right way. Whoops, we had that
already ...

Karl M. Syring


Paul F. Dietz

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Jan 20, 2002, 9:18:43 AM1/20/02
to
"Karl M. Syring" wrote:

> But isn't this an indication of the Red Queen syndrome. At the moment, we
> are struggling to keep our position but for the future we can already
> predict a slow slide- back of technology.

We can predict that, but it would be an incorrect prediction.

Paul

Karl M. Syring

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Jan 20, 2002, 10:06:00 AM1/20/02
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"Paul F. Dietz" <di...@interaccess.com> schrieb

You can not know.
Do you see major breakthroughs like a working AI on the horizon? And do not
say that's impossible, as we have working (well, more or less) model
systems.

Karl M. Syring


Captain Button

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Jan 20, 2002, 10:06:35 AM1/20/02
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In rec.arts.sf.written William Clifford <wo...@helium.barsoom.invalid> wrote:
> In <8j3o3EAd...@econym.demon.co.uk>,
> Mike Williams <mi...@nospam.please> wrote:
>> Wasn't it howard who wrote:
>>
>>>Take a current movie back in time to 1960 and pass it off as SF. People
>>>would have have said "dressing sloppy and piercing and tatooing is NOT SF".
>>> They would have seen cell phones and maybe computers. But movies that use
>>>computers as part of the plot tend to be boring - watching someone type is
>>>NOT interesting. Cars wouldn't have been nearly as interesting as they
>>>thought. Our choice of good guys and bad guys would have been interesting,
>>>as stereotypes change.
>>>
>>>Even with our future shock age, culture changes faster than technology.
>>
>> One of the really big differences that the 1960 audience will notice is
>> the music in the soundtrack. Musical instrument technology has changed
>> beyond recognition since then. In 1960 there was virtually no electronic
>> music. Every note in a 1960's soundtrack would be recognisable as coming
>> from a specific instrument. I remember the musical impact that things
>> like "Bach Goes Moog" and the "Dr. Who Theme Tune" had by being played
>> with electronic sounds that were not imitating existing instruments. A
>> sudden jump to 2002 music would be mind blowing.
>
> The KLF is going to rock you.

ObSF: _October The First Is Too Late_ by Fred Hoyle

Earth has gotten reshuffled in time, with it being WW1 in Europe,
the 1960s in Britain, Ancient Greece in Greece etc.

There a brief description of how the European nations are persuaded
to stop fighting by Britain.

They take some generals from both sides into a room and play them
some recorded music on a 1915 record player (or whatever). They
play them the same music on a 1960s Hi-Fi stereo.

Then they ask them to imagine what their weapons technology must
be like if their musical reproduction technology has advanced that
far, and send them home.


:-)}

--
"We have to go forth and crush every world view that doesn't believe in
tolerance and free speech," - David Brin
Captain Button - but...@io.com

Maurizio Mugelli

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Jan 20, 2002, 10:27:14 AM1/20/02
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On Sun, 20 Jan 2002 08:31:25 +0000, Mike Williams <mi...@nospam.please>
wrote:

>
>One of the really big differences that the 1960 audience will notice is
>the music in the soundtrack. Musical instrument technology has changed
>beyond recognition since then. In 1960 there was virtually no electronic
>music.

yes, but in the last 15 years there's almost no new musical
technology, only refinement of the same and there is no prospect of
someting really new in the near future...

yes, today you can buy a high-level soudcard with a fraction of what
you buyed a Proteus synth ten years ago and is indheed better, but
there's no conceptual difference between the two.
--

(iao!!oai) (ICQ: 10860566)
//.aurizio

[WARNING!: togliete _nessuno_ per rispondere]

Time may change me
But I can't trace time

Christopher M. Jones

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Jan 20, 2002, 12:32:08 PM1/20/02
to
"George William Herbert" <gher...@gw.retro.com> wrote:
> Just because they cost about the same and don't drive any
> faster doesn't mean there haven't been improvements.

Minor quibble, cars have actually gotten cheaper in
recent years (compared to income, and that's impressive
since income hasn't risen much (or at all) in real terms
for a while).


--
When the hurlyburly's done,
When the battle's lost and won.


Karl M. Syring

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Jan 20, 2002, 12:36:13 PM1/20/02
to
"Captain Button" <but...@io.com> schrieb

> Earth has gotten reshuffled in time, with it being WW1 in Europe,
> the 1960s in Britain, Ancient Greece in Greece etc.
<snip>

We must be in in a time loop now. Even the silly Paint the Moon thing
(http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/2002/01/17/net-interest.htm) comes back
again.

Karl Martin Syring

Ray

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Jan 20, 2002, 1:22:52 PM1/20/02
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"Captain Button" <but...@io.com> wrote in message
news:%1B28.586506$C8.41...@bin4.nnrp.aus1.giganews.com...

1960s? Give 'em a ride in a B52 over their own country, then an F86 Sabre -
just for kicks :-)


Ray

Ray

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Jan 20, 2002, 1:37:14 PM1/20/02
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"Maurizio Mugelli" <_nessuno_...@freemail.it> wrote in message
news:36ol4us46n93gbria...@4ax.com...

> On Sun, 20 Jan 2002 08:31:25 +0000, Mike Williams <mi...@nospam.please>
> wrote:
> >
> >One of the really big differences that the 1960 audience will notice is
> >the music in the soundtrack. Musical instrument technology has changed
> >beyond recognition since then. In 1960 there was virtually no electronic
> >music.
>
> yes, but in the last 15 years there's almost no new musical
> technology, only refinement of the same and there is no prospect of
> someting really new in the near future...
>
> yes, today you can buy a high-level soudcard with a fraction of what
> you buyed a Proteus synth ten years ago and is indheed better, but
> there's no conceptual difference between the two.

The conceptual difference is that a modern computer with a sound card
generates sound by either playing back or generating digital "images" of the
sound and feeding it into a digital/analog converter.

The old Moog, Arp, and other synthesizers did not generate the sound
digitally. They used various oscillators and mixers to make the sound.

A modern sound card is a whole lot more versatile.


Ray

Johnny1A

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Jan 20, 2002, 2:07:09 PM1/20/02
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but...@io.com (Captain Button) wrote in message news:<%1B28.586506$C8.41...@bin4.nnrp.aus1.giganews.com>...

Off topic, but I have to ask: did he really say/write that, and if so
where? It certainly does _sound_ like the modern Brin, but it's _so_
descriptive and ironic...

Shermanlee

David Cowie

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Jan 20, 2002, 2:20:48 PM1/20/02
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On Sunday 20 January 2002 18:22, Ray wrote:

>
> 1960s? Give 'em a ride in a B52 over their own country, then an F86
> Sabre - just for kicks :-)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the B52 first flew in the 1950's, and the
USAF expect it to remain in service until the 2020's [1]. Now _that's_
what I call a mature technology - sufficiently Not Broken that it
doesn't need fixing for 70 years.

[1] Source: IRIS (I Read It Somewhere)

--
David Cowie
There is no _spam in my address.

"You had to do WHAT with your seat?"

George William Herbert

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Jan 20, 2002, 2:52:19 PM1/20/02
to
Karl M. Syring <syr...@email.com> wrote:
>But isn't this an indication of the Red Queen syndrome. At the moment, we
>are struggling to keep our position but for the future we can already
>predict a slow slide- back of technology.

Why would we predict a slow back-slide of technology?

Most modern toasters have more computing power than the
whole world did 55 years ago. So do many watches.
So do most cars, often in more than one computer,
tied together with a network...

We are seeing higher technology become pervasive as it
becomes more affordable. High school kids carrying pagers
and cellphones around; PDAs becoming ubiquitous; everyone
needs a DVD player; everyone has an Internet connection.
Average kids today grow up with more useful computer skills
than the average 1970 non-computer-science grad student had.

Mass media still report on neat new gadgets all the time,
and people still go "ooo" and "ahh".

It's sort of a pernicious failure of imagination where
sci-fi folks think that just because we haven't made
faster airplanes since the X-15 some 35+ years ago
and haven't gone beyond the moon that the pace of
high tech is slowing. Capabilities for great projects
always come from two core roots: technical capability,
and economic capability. High-tech becoming cheaper
and more pervasive affects that equation just as
much as developing new cutting edge stuff does,
perhaps moreso. Less money is wasted on inefficient
stuff so more can be spent on doing what people
want to do.


-george william herbert
gher...@retro.com

Karl M. Syring

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Jan 20, 2002, 3:01:03 PM1/20/02
to
"George William Herbert" <gher...@gw.retro.com> schrieb
> Karl M. Syring <syr...@email.com> wrote:
> >But isn't this an indication of the Red Queen syndrome. At the moment, we
> >are struggling to keep our position but for the future we can already
> >predict a slow slide- back of technology.
>
> Why would we predict a slow back-slide of technology?
>
> Most modern toasters have more computing power than the
> whole world did 55 years ago. So do many watches.
> So do most cars, often in more than one computer,
> tied together with a network...
>
> We are seeing higher technology become pervasive as it
> becomes more affordable. High school kids carrying pagers
> and cellphones around; PDAs becoming ubiquitous; everyone

Well, that shortens their attention span to zero. It is even a problem with
adults, only think of the beeping phone in meetings.
And speaking of PDA I get dizzy also the way. There is a certain brand that
should be called "Atari reborn". The 64k segments made me falling over.

> needs a DVD player; everyone has an Internet connection.
> Average kids today grow up with more useful computer skills
> than the average 1970 non-computer-science grad student had.

May he/she be needs a DVD player but probably has no time to watch a movie.

>
> Mass media still report on neat new gadgets all the time,
> and people still go "ooo" and "ahh".

May be kids do, I only produce a yawn.
Where is my flying car? Where is the the display with the size and
resolution of a printed book page?

>
> It's sort of a pernicious failure of imagination where
> sci-fi folks think that just because we haven't made
> faster airplanes since the X-15 some 35+ years ago
> and haven't gone beyond the moon that the pace of
> high tech is slowing. Capabilities for great projects
> always come from two core roots: technical capability,
> and economic capability. High-tech becoming cheaper
> and more pervasive affects that equation just as
> much as developing new cutting edge stuff does,
> perhaps moreso. Less money is wasted on inefficient
> stuff so more can be spent on doing what people
> want to do.

Hmm, industrial software technology seems to have effectively stalled
somewhere in the mid-seventies. If I look at the byzantine programming
languages that fashionable today, I think we must have taken the wrong time
line.

Karl M. Syring


Erik Max Francis

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Jan 20, 2002, 3:05:55 PM1/20/02
to
how...@brazee.net wrote:

> A social problem that will need to be solved is defining how
> accessible we
> are. People won't want to call your phone - they will want to call
> you.
> But you will tell your phone to make decisions about whether to be
> interrupted depending on changing circumstances - and who is calling
> you.

Hate to break it to you, but that already happens. Ever heard of call
screening? You let the caller talk to a machine while you listen for a
few moments and decide whether or not you want to pick up the phone.

--
Erik Max Francis / m...@alcyone.com / http://www.alcyone.com/max/
__ San Jose, CA, US / 37 20 N 121 53 W / ICQ16063900 / &tSftDotIotE
/ \ Laws are silent in time of war.
\__/ Cicero
Esperanto reference / http://www.alcyone.com/max/lang/esperanto/
An Esperanto reference for English speakers.

Eric the Read

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Jan 20, 2002, 4:12:19 PM1/20/02
to
"Ray" <Droui...@home.com> writes:
> The old Moog, Arp, and other synthesizers did not generate the sound
> digitally. They used various oscillators and mixers to make the sound.
>
> A modern sound card is a whole lot more versatile.

It can reproduce a wider variety of sounds, but it's a good deal less
versatile. Don't like that horn sound on your sound card? Tighten up
the ADSR envelope to give it a bit more "punch". Oh wait-- you
can't. Okay, never mind that, I want this really neat sweep sound on
my strings-- can you put a LFO on that filter for me? What? You
can't even put the filter on? Tsk, tsk.

You can do all that stuff with software, it's true, but that's using
raw CPU power (as a rule), not the average sound card's hardware.
Modern sound cards are not much more than ultra-spiffy player pianos.

-=Eric

Ray

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Jan 20, 2002, 4:16:57 PM1/20/02
to
> > Mass media still report on neat new gadgets all the time,
> > and people still go "ooo" and "ahh".
>
> May be kids do, I only produce a yawn.
> Where is my flying car?

http://www.moller.com/

> Where is the the display with the size and
> resolution of a printed book page?

http://www.media.mit.edu/micromedia/elecpaper.html
http://www.parc.xerox.com/dhl/projects/gyricon/
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1692000/1692141.stm

I think that we are considerablly closer to having e-paper than we are to
getting Mr. Moller's flying car in the air.

Anyhow, when I was in school, I had planned on taking my flying car to the
local spaceport and hopping a flight to Luna City for the Year 1000
celebration. Instead, I played Doom in by brother's basement on a bunch of
networked 486s, and kept my beeper turned on in case one of our clients had
problems with the programs we modified to make "Y2K complient." BTW, I had
the beeper just for that purpose. I hadn't had one before, and I haven't
had one since :-)


>
> >
> > It's sort of a pernicious failure of imagination where
> > sci-fi folks think that just because we haven't made
> > faster airplanes since the X-15 some 35+ years ago
> > and haven't gone beyond the moon that the pace of
> > high tech is slowing. Capabilities for great projects
> > always come from two core roots: technical capability,
> > and economic capability. High-tech becoming cheaper
> > and more pervasive affects that equation just as
> > much as developing new cutting edge stuff does,
> > perhaps moreso. Less money is wasted on inefficient
> > stuff so more can be spent on doing what people
> > want to do.
>
> Hmm, industrial software technology seems to have effectively stalled
> somewhere in the mid-seventies. If I look at the byzantine programming
> languages that fashionable today, I think we must have taken the wrong
time
> line.

What languages do you use?

Software technology is going so fast that it's very difficult to keep up.
Even reliable old Fortran has changed. C is quite a new departure.

While many programmers obfuscated their code as a form of job security,
"readable" code was always supposed to be "top down". After that, modular
code became the way to go. Nowadays, object-oriented programming (OOP) is
the standard.

Methodology has changed, too. Managing a large software project is very
difficult. We have learned a lot about how to do that effectively. Still,
the programming process defies management. Actually, programmers tend to
defy management ;-)


Ray Drouillard


>
> Karl M. Syring
>
>


Ray

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Jan 20, 2002, 4:40:46 PM1/20/02
to

"Eric the Read" <emsc...@pcisys.net> wrote in message
news:87y9isi...@pcisys.net...

> "Ray" <Droui...@home.com> writes:
> > The old Moog, Arp, and other synthesizers did not generate the sound
> > digitally. They used various oscillators and mixers to make the sound.
> >
> > A modern sound card is a whole lot more versatile.
>
> It can reproduce a wider variety of sounds, but it's a good deal less
> versatile. Don't like that horn sound on your sound card? Tighten up
> the ADSR envelope to give it a bit more "punch". Oh wait-- you
> can't.

Actually, you just change the sound table a bit. I'm sure there are
programs that will allow you to do that.

Anyhow, with computer control, you can do whatever you want with the ADSR
envelope. You don't have to go with the standard attack, decay, sustain,
release pattern if you don't want - though most "natural" instruments do
follow that pattern (which is why the old synthesizers were made that way in
the first place).


> Okay, never mind that, I want this really neat sweep sound on
> my strings-- can you put a LFO on that filter for me? What? You
> can't even put the filter on? Tsk, tsk.

I want this locomotive to go faster! Throw some more coal in the box! You
can't? Tsk, tsk.

The methodologies are different, but you can simulate the old analog
controls if you want. It's just a matter of writing a program to do it. If
it's desirable to do it, someone will do it (or has done it).

Again, you can get the computer to make whatever you want. It can be done
easier than messing with patch panels and the like.


>
> You can do all that stuff with software, it's true, but that's using
> raw CPU power (as a rule), not the average sound card's hardware.

What's wrong with that? You can buy a 1 GHz computer for about five hundred
bucks, then spend another eight hundred or so on some really spiffy sound
card (or set of cards) from Acustic Labs or something like that.

> Modern sound cards are not much more than ultra-spiffy player pianos.

The "player piano" part would be the MIDI sequencer. You can make up your
own sounds, or record them and put them into a sound table. You can even
record the sound of all 88 keys on a piano, and play the appropriate sound
when desired (rather than recording one key and changing the pitch).

The real heart of a sound card is the digital/analog converter. All that
other stuff (sound table and the like) just takes some load off of the
processer.

Anyhow, I can understand that you might miss the look and feel of an old
Moog. There is something "organic" about the way you start with the various
waveforms, filter it, run it through the ADSR modulator, and end up with a
sound of your own creation.

It's similar with photographic darkroom work. I used to put the negative in
the carrier, carefully focus it on the easel, make my best guess at exposure
and color, then make a test strip. I would then adjust the color and
exposure based on the test strip. I could go with a little less contrast by
using 74RC paper, or with more contrast by going with 78RC. Goofing with
the development times could have some effect, too. I even did some dodging
and burning.

Now, I put my negatives into my film scanner and end up with images that are
about 2500 by 3750 pixels at 36 bits per pixel. All of the information is
extracted. I even resolve the grain. I can also bull details out of the
highlights and shadows that I could never get with an enlarger (at least not
both at the same time). I can clean up imperfections, and even move things
around. Finally, I can print them on a printer that displays the shadow
details better than any chemical-based print paper.

Sure, I can buy an enlarger. Why would I want to, though?


Ray Drouillard


>
> -=Eric


Maurizio Mugelli

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Jan 20, 2002, 2:02:24 PM1/20/02
to
On Sun, 20 Jan 2002 18:37:14 GMT, "Ray" <Droui...@home.com> wrote:

>
>The conceptual difference is that a modern computer with a sound card
>generates sound by either playing back or generating digital "images" of the
>sound and feeding it into a digital/analog converter.
>
>The old Moog, Arp, and other synthesizers did not generate the sound
>digitally. They used various oscillators and mixers to make the sound.

the proteus chip was used in the best of first '90 synth - later
Creative buyed the entire firm and today audiology are only an
evolution of those chipset..

George William Herbert

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Jan 20, 2002, 5:12:50 PM1/20/02
to
Karl M. Syring <syr...@email.com> wrote:
>"George William Herbert" <gher...@gw.retro.com> schrieb
> [...]

>> Mass media still report on neat new gadgets all the time,
>> and people still go "ooo" and "ahh".
>
>May be kids do, I only produce a yawn.

Have you carefully considered how your disposable
income has grown over your lifetime, and how much
of that is likely due to improved tech?

>Where is my flying car?

www.moller.com

This has been possible for some years, the trick has been
making it reliable and controllable enough for mass
public consumption. Which are functions, oddly enough,
of improved technology.

>Where is the the display with the size and
>resolution of a printed book page?

That would be possible right now if someone
demanded it, but the market doesn't. People are
acceptably happy with the 70-100 dpi LCD screens
available now.

Just because you want something doesn't mean
that it makes sense for someone in the world
to make it for you. No matter how neat an
idea it is.

>> It's sort of a pernicious failure of imagination where
>> sci-fi folks think that just because we haven't made
>> faster airplanes since the X-15 some 35+ years ago
>> and haven't gone beyond the moon that the pace of
>> high tech is slowing. Capabilities for great projects
>> always come from two core roots: technical capability,
>> and economic capability. High-tech becoming cheaper
>> and more pervasive affects that equation just as
>> much as developing new cutting edge stuff does,
>> perhaps moreso. Less money is wasted on inefficient
>> stuff so more can be spent on doing what people
>> want to do.
>
>Hmm, industrial software technology seems to have effectively stalled
>somewhere in the mid-seventies. If I look at the byzantine programming
>languages that fashionable today, I think we must have taken the wrong time
>line.

Industrial software technology has been increasing the effective
output per coder steadily since ENIAC. The programming languages
and environments available today are somewhat less efficient in
some senses than some of the past environments, but when the
average new PC has much more power than a supercomputer of that
era the rules are different. We generally need to optimize output
rather than raw performance, and you do that with industrial
software like what's seen today.


-george william herbert
gher...@retro.com

Mitch Wagner

unread,
Jan 20, 2002, 4:43:18 PM1/20/02
to
In article <Cdn28.464$jd7....@bin6.nnrp.aus1.giganews.com>,
how...@brazee.net says...

> Take a current movie back in time to 1960 and pass it off as SF. People
> would have have said "dressing sloppy and piercing and tatooing is NOT SF".
> They would have seen cell phones and maybe computers. But movies that use
> computers as part of the plot tend to be boring - watching someone type is
> NOT interesting. Cars wouldn't have been nearly as interesting as they
> thought. Our choice of good guys and bad guys would have been interesting,
> as stereotypes change.

If I were an academic studying pop culture, I think I'd like to do a
monograph on the use of the cell phone in TV and movies, especially
thrillers.

If your character needs some information, but you don't want to clutter
off the story with a lot of business on how he gets the information: have
someone call him on his cell phone, with the information.

Need two characters to talk to each other without maneuvering them into
physical proximity: have them talk on the phone. This is especially handy
when it's the hero and the villain calling to exchange taunts and
torment.

One entire movie, a romantic comedy starring George Clooney and Michelle
Pfeiffer, was built on the premise of a single man and single woman
accidently swapping their nearly identical cell phones.

--
Mitch Wagner weblog http://drive.thru.org

Mitch Wagner

unread,
Jan 20, 2002, 4:47:31 PM1/20/02
to
In article <a2d162$5rv$1...@gw.retro.com>, gher...@gw.retro.com says...

> Current ships are better than 100 year old ships in many ways.

...

> And it takes a *tiny* fraction of the man hours per ton of
> dry cargo to unload and load and transfer around; it used to
> be people lifting every item out of the cargo hold onto
> a crane platform, onto the dock, onto a truck, to a warehouse,
> within the warehouse, onto a train or another truck, etc.
> Nowadays, it's someone loads the container at the factory,
> container onto truck, off truck onto ship, off ship onto
> truck or train, to distribution center, and unload.

http://www.cockeyed.com/inside/container/container.html

Hooray for the 40' shipping container! "I first became
fascinated with shipping containers when I spotted them
mentioned in Civilization 2 as a technological
achievement. This confused me at first, but I now
understand that before these things became the norm,
people spent weeks loading and unloading ships with
carefully packed clay urns and cargo nets full of
pumpkins. It was a mess. Malcolm McLean is credited as
the inventor of the simple but revolutionary idea of a
standard-sized shipping container that could be loaded
onto ships, railcars and trucks. Invented in 1956, they
changed cargo shipping from a labor-intensive
enterprise to a equipment-intensive enterprise."

...

"The 40-foot containers are usually stowed on deck.
Refrigerated containers are stacked in special areas
with electrical outlets. Light or empty containers
usually travel on deck at the top of container stacks,
so those containers you saw tumbling off the ship in A
Perfect Storm were probably empty or filled with
stuffed animals."

Of course, as with many technological advances, the standardized shipping
containers put a lot of people out of work: longshoremen and stevedores.

George William Herbert

unread,
Jan 20, 2002, 5:31:38 PM1/20/02
to
<how...@brazee.net> wrote:

>gher...@gw.retro.com (George William Herbert) wrote:
>> Most modern toasters have more computing power than the
>> whole world did 55 years ago. So do many watches.
>> So do most cars, often in more than one computer,
>> tied together with a network...
>
>But toasters, watches, and cars still do pretty much what they did 50 years
>ago. Sure they work better - but not in a way to noticeably change society.

Toasters are a somewhat silly example.

Watches are not a technology which is fundamentally more enabling
as it has evolved; they're cheaper and more accurate now, don't need
winding anymore, and have nifty functions like being able to clock
laps around the track or tell you how far underwater you are.

Cars, on the other hand, are fundamentally different than what
they were 50 years ago. They're fundamentally more pervasive
for one; their longevity and reliability and cost have combined
to mean that in some states in the US, there are more operating
registered cars on the road than there are people (California,
where I live, is one). Everyone can buy one, because their
availability and cost and reliability are improved.

That *has* made a huge fundamental change in people's lives.


-george william herbert
gher...@retro.com

Karl M. Syring

unread,
Jan 20, 2002, 5:22:40 PM1/20/02
to
"Ray" <Droui...@home.com> schrieb

> > > Mass media still report on neat new gadgets all the time,
> > > and people still go "ooo" and "ahh".
> >
> > May be kids do, I only produce a yawn.
> > Where is my flying car?
>
> http://www.moller.com/
>
> > Where is the the display with the size and
> > resolution of a printed book page?
>
> http://www.media.mit.edu/micromedia/elecpaper.html
> http://www.parc.xerox.com/dhl/projects/gyricon/
> http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1692000/1692141.stm
>
> I think that we are considerablly closer to having e-paper than we are to
> getting Mr. Moller's flying car in the air.

I know that of course. But like the fusion reactor, we may never get it
before plate tectonics stalls.

>
> Anyhow, when I was in school, I had planned on taking my flying car to the
> local spaceport and hopping a flight to Luna City for the Year 1000
> celebration. Instead, I played Doom in by brother's basement on a bunch
of
> networked 486s, and kept my beeper turned on in case one of our clients
had
> problems with the programs we modified to make "Y2K complient." BTW, I
had
> the beeper just for that purpose. I hadn't had one before, and I haven't
> had one since :-)

Yes, you have got the spirit. Sitting in dark basements instead of flying to
the moon.
(I really got bitten by the Y2K bug, because my customer had and old 16bit
Windows program around. He was on holidays and I was the proud holder of the
mobile 2nd level support phone. Never forget that: born in 2072)

> > > It's sort of a pernicious failure of imagination where
> > > sci-fi folks think that just because we haven't made
> > > faster airplanes since the X-15 some 35+ years ago
> > > and haven't gone beyond the moon that the pace of
> > > high tech is slowing. Capabilities for great projects
> > > always come from two core roots: technical capability,
> > > and economic capability. High-tech becoming cheaper
> > > and more pervasive affects that equation just as
> > > much as developing new cutting edge stuff does,
> > > perhaps moreso. Less money is wasted on inefficient
> > > stuff so more can be spent on doing what people
> > > want to do.
> >
> > Hmm, industrial software technology seems to have effectively stalled
> > somewhere in the mid-seventies. If I look at the byzantine programming
> > languages that fashionable today, I think we must have taken the wrong
> time
> > line.
>
> What languages do you use?

Well, I really started out with Fortran...

>
> Software technology is going so fast that it's very difficult to keep up.
> Even reliable old Fortran has changed. C is quite a new departure.

I think, C was born in 1971 or so.

>
> While many programmers obfuscated their code as a form of job security,
> "readable" code was always supposed to be "top down". After that, modular
> code became the way to go. Nowadays, object-oriented programming (OOP) is
> the standard.

This is one of the funny fashions, essentially resurrected 60ies technology.
There seems never to have been any study that shows it does any good as
general programming model.
I have become somewhat convinced that functional programming is the only way
to go. Especially when it comes to things like formal proofs of program
correctness, there is little you can do in imperative languages.

>
> Methodology has changed, too. Managing a large software project is very
> difficult. We have learned a lot about how to do that effectively.
Still,
> the programming process defies management. Actually, programmers tend to
> defy management ;-)

The PHB syndrome :-). The figure of 85% failure rate in major software
projects seems to be correct.

Karl M. Syring


Captain Button

unread,
Jan 20, 2002, 5:24:21 PM1/20/02
to

On a panel at the World Science Fiction convention in 1998:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/daily/sciencefiction.htm


--

George William Herbert

unread,
Jan 20, 2002, 5:44:41 PM1/20/02
to

I came across one of the earliest containers in a maritime
museum in Sturgeon's Bay, Wisconsin, about 18 months ago.
Fascinating how far things have come, and how obvious an
idea it is in retrospect. The basic technology could have
been invented back in the late 1800s, some 75 years before
they actually were, in terms of being able to manufacture
them and transport and load them. But it took until 1956
for MacLean (I think that's the correct spelling) to try
them out...

>Of course, as with many technological advances, the standardized shipping
>containers put a lot of people out of work: longshoremen and stevedores.

Which was somewhat offset by the growth in total traffic
volume, but not entirely; there has been a noticable decline
in total employment in the sector. And a huge change in
the skills required, towards the higher trained and away
from simple manual laborers. That's been a generic feature
of automation in the workforce worldwide, though.


-george william herbert
gher...@retro.com

Ray

unread,
Jan 20, 2002, 6:18:57 PM1/20/02
to
> > And it takes a *tiny* fraction of the man hours per ton of
> > dry cargo to unload and load and transfer around; it used to
> > be people lifting every item out of the cargo hold onto
> > a crane platform, onto the dock, onto a truck, to a warehouse,
> > within the warehouse, onto a train or another truck, etc.
> > Nowadays, it's someone loads the container at the factory,
> > container onto truck, off truck onto ship, off ship onto
> > truck or train, to distribution center, and unload.
>
> http://www.cockeyed.com/inside/container/container.html
>
> Hooray for the 40' shipping container! "I first became
> fascinated with shipping containers when I spotted them
> mentioned in Civilization 2 as a technological
> achievement. This confused me at first, but I now
> understand that before these things became the norm,
> people spent weeks loading and unloading ships with
> carefully packed clay urns and cargo nets full of
> pumpkins. It was a mess. Malcolm McLean is credited as
> the inventor of the simple but revolutionary idea of a
> standard-sized shipping container that could be loaded
> onto ships, railcars and trucks. Invented in 1956, they
> changed cargo shipping from a labor-intensive
> enterprise to a equipment-intensive enterprise."

..... and

If you put some food, a porta-potty, and some other modern amenities into a
shipping container, it's a dandy device for getting yourself into a foreign
country that is interested in keeping you out.

Ray

Chad Irby

unread,
Jan 20, 2002, 6:41:33 PM1/20/02
to
"Ray" <Droui...@home.com> wrote:

> ..... and
>
> If you put some food, a porta-potty, and some other modern amenities
> into a shipping container, it's a dandy device for getting yourself
> into a foreign country that is interested in keeping you out.

But minor advances in technology lets that country have a really good
shot at finding out that you're in that container, and two minutes worth
of work with a drill and a cylinder of poison gas ("just fumigating,
honest!") is a dandy way of keeping you out of their hair permanently.

--
ci...@cfl.rr.com

Remember: Objects in rearview mirror may be hallucinations.
Slam on brakes accordingly.

George William Herbert

unread,
Jan 20, 2002, 8:42:51 PM1/20/02
to
<how...@brazee.net> wrote:
>Until containers became cheaper than labor, they weren't really a good idea.

If you look at the cost structure of shipping in the 1800s and
early 1900s, it was similar to the cost structure of shipping in
1956 when Containers were invented: much of the cost was in the
various labor areas of transshipping it and warehousing it.
The capital cost of shipping and operational cost of shipping
were large too, but were perhaps half of the total typically.

Today, it costs around $225 to ship a twenty ton container
across the pacific ocean, half a cent a pound.


-george william herbert
gher...@retro.com

Ray

unread,
Jan 20, 2002, 8:49:39 PM1/20/02
to

<how...@brazee.net> wrote in message
news:a2fmgi$r6b$1...@peabody.colorado.edu...

>
> On 20-Jan-2002, "Karl M. Syring" <syr...@email.com> wrote:
>
> > I think, C was born in 1971 or so.
>
> I started using the language that I still use as my primary paycheck
earner
> in 1968. While I can get OO CoBOL, I haven't yet seen it used on
> mainframes.
>
> I have seen CoBOL compared to a shark - mature long before the dinosaurs
and
> doing their job very well - and lasting after the dinosaurs are gone -
still
> fitting well in their niche. Under evolutionary theory it is the
languages
> that are changing that don't fit - and which will be replaced.


I recall people wearing buttons that read "Yes, we CAN eradicate CoBOL in
our lifetime!", or something to that effect.

I have to agree with the part about earning money. I still see companies
seeking CoBOL programmers. Now, if I could find someone who is looking for
ForTran programmers, I would enjoy "going retro" for a while. It's still
about the best thing out there for raw number crunching.


Ray Drouillard

Ray

unread,
Jan 20, 2002, 8:53:36 PM1/20/02
to

<how...@brazee.net> wrote in message
news:a2fmp9$r6j$1...@peabody.colorado.edu...

>
> On 20-Jan-2002, "Ray" <Droui...@home.com> wrote:
>
> > If you put some food, a porta-potty, and some other modern amenities
into
> > a
> > shipping container, it's a dandy device for getting yourself into a
> > foreign
> > country that is interested in keeping you out.
>
> Interesting. Or if you want to move a nuclear weapon to near an enemy
> port. I don't know if we can afford for them to be black boxes anymore.

That leads to a really interesting question. Is a nuclear bomb likely to be
shielded well enough to slip past a radiation detector mounted on the
whatchamacallit at the end of the cable on the crane that picks up each
container and removes it from the ship?


Ray


Joe "Nuke Me Xemu" Foster

unread,
Jan 20, 2002, 8:59:11 PM1/20/02
to
"Johnny1A" <sherm...@hotmail.com> wrote in message <news:b3030854.02012...@posting.google.com>...

Sounds like something from one of the essays in _Otherness_. It's also
online here, near the bottom: URL:http://kithrup.com/brin/newmemewar.html

--
Joe Foster <mailto:jlfoster%40znet.com> Sign the Check! <http://www.xenu.net/>
WARNING: I cannot be held responsible for the above They're coming to
because my cats have apparently learned to type. take me away, ha ha!


Ray

unread,
Jan 20, 2002, 10:04:32 PM1/20/02
to

<how...@brazee.net> wrote in message
news:a2ft9b$19o$1...@peabody.colorado.edu...

>
> On 20-Jan-2002, "Ray" <Droui...@home.com> wrote:
>
> > I recall people wearing buttons that read "Yes, we CAN eradicate CoBOL
in
> > our lifetime!", or something to that effect.
> >
> > I have to agree with the part about earning money. I still see
companies
> > seeking CoBOL programmers. Now, if I could find someone who is looking
> > for ForTran programmers, I would enjoy "going retro" for a while. It's
> > still
> > about the best thing out there for raw number crunching.
>
> The companies that use CoBOL are interested in mundane tasks such as
> accounting, finance, and profits. Simplicity is valued.
>
> Number crunchers are more likely to be seduced by new toys - and they also
> don't have programs running for 30 years as they often only need to
> calculate one answer once.

Don't I know it. <sigh>

A few years ago, we (I, mostly) wrote a system for a credit union. They
were ditching their old mainframe provider. We were in a big meeting with
the mainframe folks (they were somehow coerced to cooperate).

After we took care of most of the business, I asked the programmers, "What
is your system written, CoBol?" One of them said "yes", while another
muttered "Is there any other language?" under his breath.

I was a bit younger and a bit cockier back then, but I didn't say anything.
I was really kind of bummed that I forgot to bring that old piece of core
memory that I had bought for a couple of bucks at a swap & shop, though ;-)

Anyhow, my favorite language (Visual FoxPro) is becoming less popular - even
though nobody has managed to achieve the performance of that language. Ah,
well... I can do web development, too.

Actually, I need to sell a book or two :-/


Ray


John Andrew Fairhurst

unread,
Jan 21, 2002, 12:29:12 AM1/21/02
to
In article <a2d162$5rv$1...@gw.retro.com>, gher...@gw.retro.com says...
> And it takes a *tiny* fraction of the man hours per ton of
> dry cargo to unload and load and transfer around; it used to
> be people lifting every item out of the cargo hold onto
> a crane platform, onto the dock, onto a truck, to a warehouse,
> within the warehouse, onto a train or another truck, etc.
> Nowadays, it's someone loads the container at the factory,
> container onto truck, off truck onto ship, off ship onto
> truck or train, to distribution center, and unload.
>

And it's quite amazing just how quickly that caught on. There are films
in the sixties/seventies, where they show ships being unloaded with
netting for stuff that couldn't be crated.

> Commercial jets get more efficient, more reliable and less
> likely to have mechanical failures preventing them from operating
> economically, require less crew, etc.
>

But from the outside, at least, a 747 built now looks like it's
prototype.

> Military jets also get more efficient, longer ranges,
> more reliabile and more likely to be able to accomplish
> missions without systems failures, more likely to be
> available when called upon due to higher reliability, etc.
> Also, lower man hours to manufacture for the engines and
> structures, etc.
>

There is a degree of designing a generation or two behind with military
hardware for two main reasons; that the lead time in project
specification is so great that future advances are virtually guaranteed
in a number of fields involved in the project; and a greater deal of
reliability is required from the hardware.

The same is true of the deep space probes as well.

--
John Fairhurst
In Association with Amazon worldwide:
http://www.johnsbooks.co.uk/Books/Masterworks
The Gollancz Masterworks Collections

Mike Williams

unread,
Jan 21, 2002, 12:24:15 AM1/21/02
to
Wasn't it Maurizio Mugelli who wrote:

>yes, but in the last 15 years there's almost no new musical
>technology, only refinement of the same and there is no prospect of
>someting really new in the near future...

I've been waiting for a system that can listen to an audio piece of
music and convert it into musical notation for me, and, equivalently,
create a MIDI file from it so that I can then get it to play with a
different set of instruments. I know that there's several teams working
on it.

The end result won't sound any different to what can be achieved today,
but it would revolutionise the way I perform my music, and make high
technology music much more accessible.

--
Mike Williams
Gentleman of Leisure

Mike Williams

unread,
Jan 21, 2002, 12:32:00 AM1/21/02
to
Wasn't it Erik Max Francis who wrote:
>how...@brazee.net wrote:
>
>> A social problem that will need to be solved is defining how
>> accessible we
>> are. People won't want to call your phone - they will want to call
>> you.
>> But you will tell your phone to make decisions about whether to be
>> interrupted depending on changing circumstances - and who is calling
>> you.
>
>Hate to break it to you, but that already happens. Ever heard of call
>screening? You let the caller talk to a machine while you listen for a
>few moments and decide whether or not you want to pick up the phone.

There used to be computerised systems for sale that read the caller ID
from your phone, looked it up in a database, and decided whether you
were likely to appreciate being interrupted at this time of day by that
person, or whether they should go straight to answerphone.

I've not seen them advertised for quite a while now. Perhaps they didn't
prove to be very popular.

Chad Irby

unread,
Jan 21, 2002, 2:14:03 AM1/21/02
to
John Andrew Fairhurst <Jo...@johnsbooks.co.uk> wrote:

> gher...@gw.retro.com says...

>
> > Commercial jets get more efficient, more reliable and less likely
> > to have mechanical failures preventing them from operating
> > economically, require less crew, etc.
>
> But from the outside, at least, a 747 built now looks like it's
> prototype.

Currently, anyway.

Aircraft designers are running into the inherent limits of "old"
airplane design, and the only way to beat a lot of those limits is to
get away from the "wing halfway down a tube" standard. The problem is
that when you do try something else, you have to figure out ways to make
it fit modern airports, which demand certain things (entrances and exits
a certain distance off of the ground, and limits on how big the whole
plane can be).

The new Airbus monster jet that's supposed to be in the works will
almost certainly need special terminal setups in order to make loading
and unloading feasible in less than geologic time frames... Multiple
jetways, better luggage loading and unloading, and expedited servicing
are some of the problems with Really Huge Planes.

And if someone built a commercial flying wing, they'd have to start from
scratch on terminal design (or go back to the "walk the passengers out
and run them up a set of stairs" days).

"Modern" planes aren't particularly "mature," they're just habitual.

Helgi Briem

unread,
Jan 21, 2002, 4:30:33 AM1/21/02
to
On Sun, 20 Jan 2002 23:18:57 GMT, "Ray"
<Droui...@home.com> wrote:

>If you put some food, a porta-potty, and some other modern
> amenities into a shipping container, it's a dandy device
>for getting yourself into a foreign country that is interested
>in keeping you out.

In some poorer countries, people also steal them ( or even
buy them used) , because if you cut a door and a couple of
windows in the sides, they make a great little house to live

in.

I also worked for a government research facility once that
bought some and used them to set up fish breeding tanks.

And a private company that used some for long term
storage (in the parking lot)þ

Useful things, containers.

Ex-longshoreman.
--
Regards, Helgi Briem
helgi AT decode DOT is

Robert Carnegie

unread,
Jan 21, 2002, 9:59:36 AM1/21/02
to
Mike Williams <mi...@nospam.please> wrote in message news:<rRPN7CA$X6S8...@econym.demon.co.uk>...

> Wasn't it Maurizio Mugelli who wrote:
>
> >yes, but in the last 15 years there's almost no new musical
> >technology, only refinement of the same and there is no prospect of
> >someting really new in the near future...

MP3, buddy. And then digital rights management, the anti-MP3.
Watermarking. Video tracks and Internet links on the CD...
we may be working with different definitions of "musical technology"
here ;-)

Okay, how about the sensor-equipped stage that tracks a dancer
and plays musical notes accordingly, or the jacket with an electronic
drum-kit built in so that as you dance from the waist up you're your
own rhythm section. These exist as prototypes and I can't imagine
why they haven't caught on :-)

> I've been waiting for a system that can listen to an audio piece of
> music and convert it into musical notation for me, and, equivalently,
> create a MIDI file from it so that I can then get it to play with a
> different set of instruments. I know that there's several teams working
> on it.
>
> The end result won't sound any different to what can be achieved today,
> but it would revolutionise the way I perform my music, and make high
> technology music much more accessible.

You'll be aware that with a flute or a recorder it's easy,
been available for years, in a box (MidiMic, plus software that
accepts MIDI cable input into musical notation). If you're playing
piano with both hands, or if your whole band is jamming, the
computer (I presume it's a computer) probably does have an obvious
challenge separating out the violin from the drum kit, just by
sound, let alone distinguishing the individual violin strings
and the fingering. Of course each instrument could be heavily
wired up to track what you're doing to it; essentially put a
separate MidiMic onto each string. But applying such
modifications to your Stradivarius may reduce its actual sound
quality and value ;-)

I presume that the different instruments that you want to play
on are all electronic, too.

Was I just trolled, here?

Charlie Stross

unread,
Jan 21, 2002, 9:52:19 AM1/21/02
to
Stoned koala bears drooled eucalyptus spittle in awe
as <how...@brazee.net> declared:

> On 20-Jan-2002, gher...@gw.retro.com (George William Herbert) wrote:
>
>> I came across one of the earliest containers in a maritime
>> museum in Sturgeon's Bay, Wisconsin, about 18 months ago.
>

> Until containers became cheaper than labor, they weren't really a good idea.

One historical point where they'd have been incredibly useful --
during WW2, for lend-lease convoys to the UK and USSR from the USA.

(One less longshoreman is one more solider, and the UK was critically
short on manpower by late 1944 -- it got to the point where Montgomery
wasn't able to follow through on one front because he had no reserves,
and there weren't any more coming from home: every warm body the British
army could supply was already in combat.)

IIRC, the great shipping breakthrough of the war period was the standard
sized shipping pallet that could be loaded by fork-lift truck. And the
jeep.


-- Charlie

Lee DeRaud

unread,
Jan 21, 2002, 9:53:41 AM1/21/02
to
On Sat, 19 Jan 2002 23:23:14 GMT, how...@brazee.net wrote:
>I was thinking about fighter jets - remembering how quickly we moved from
>propeller fighters to the SR-71 (slightly modified from a less known
>fighter)

Ok, I'll bite: exactly what "less known fighter" is it that you
believe the SR71 was "slightly modified from"?

>- then the development slowed down so much. We fly 30 year old
>jets which are almost as good as new jets.

For some rather small value of "almost". Compare the F15 with the F22
and see what's missing on the older bird: stealth, super-cruise,
thrust-vectoring. And that ignores the advances in radar, display, and
battle management avionics. (Yes, some of that has been back-fitted
into the later F15s, but if you want a *real* example of 'new wine in
old bottles', look at the current B52s.)

>We no longer buy cars every year -

The overwhelming majority of car buyers *never did*. The tiny fraction
that did probably still do, for the same reasons now as then: status
and vanity, not because of any functional change in the vehicles.

>they aren't that much better than the models we bought a year ago.

In most cases they're barely *different* from the models we bought a
year ago...but aside from trivial cosmetic changes, that's *always*
been true. OTOH, *functionally* the cars of today are much better in
very many ways than the cars of even two decades ago.

Both cars and fighter planes are mature technologies at a rather gross
structural level, but in both cases, there is a *lot* of improvement
going on at the subsystem level that isn't necessarily visible on the
showroom floor.

Lee

Lee DeRaud

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Jan 21, 2002, 10:07:33 AM1/21/02
to
On Sun, 20 Jan 2002 19:20:48 +0000, David Cowie
<david_co...@lineone.net> wrote:

>Correct me if I'm wrong, but the B52 first flew in the 1950's, and the
>USAF expect it to remain in service until the 2020's [1]. Now _that's_
>what I call a mature technology - sufficiently Not Broken that it
>doesn't need fixing for 70 years.

More or less...rather *large* chunks of that particular example of
technology have been replaced over the years: engines, sensors, nav,
avionics, weapons management etc.

Lee

Charlie Stross

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Jan 21, 2002, 10:03:57 AM1/21/02
to
Stoned koala bears drooled eucalyptus spittle in awe
as <Droui...@home.com> declared:

>> ObSF: _October The First Is Too Late_ by Fred Hoyle
>>
>> Earth has gotten reshuffled in time, with it being WW1 in Europe,
>> the 1960s in Britain, Ancient Greece in Greece etc.
>>
>> There a brief description of how the European nations are persuaded
>> to stop fighting by Britain.
>>
>> They take some generals from both sides into a room and play them
>> some recorded music on a 1915 record player (or whatever). They
>> play them the same music on a 1960s Hi-Fi stereo.
>>
>> Then they ask them to imagine what their weapons technology must
>> be like if their musical reproduction technology has advanced that
>> far, and send them home.
>
> 1960s? Give 'em a ride in a B52 over their own country, then an F86 Sabre -
> just for kicks :-)

British author, British novel. What B52's?

(On the other hand, ISTR that Hoyle softened up the generals by having
their armies leaflet-bombed by Vulcans, then flying them straight into
London Airport by airliner.)

-- Charlie

Charlie Stross

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Jan 21, 2002, 10:01:32 AM1/21/02