off topic: new car advice for senior

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On 10/01/2015 10:49 AM, Don Y wrote:

This goes back a few decades but I mostly associated Macs with desktop publishing and other artsy endeavors. One quirk I remember as a C programmer is the Apple II needed some sort of keyboard tweak to handle C. There was some character it didn't have natively, possibly curly and square brackets. I don't think it had ~ or ^ but those aren't real showstoppers.
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On 10/1/2015 7:43 PM, rbowman wrote:

Dunno. I only played with 68K Macs as servers of various types (WWW/FTP/DNS/TFTP/etc.). As such, usually running headless and "talking " to them over a telnet connection.

Trigraphs would handle that. But, from a telnet session, not an issue.
MacOS got *one* thing right, though -- putting the "menubar" for the "active window" at the top of the screen... instead of wasting all that screen real-estate drawing menu bars in EVERY application window (even those without the focus!)
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On 10/01/2015 08:59 PM, Don Y wrote:

Trigraphs remind me of the Escape Meta Alt Control Shift thing that plays Go, tells your fortune, feeds the cat, and is customizable if you're fluent in Martian.
Funny, that came up in a conversation yesterday when I told another programmer about APL. That required digraphs on most keyboards and I mentioned trigraphs. He asked what you'd use those for and when I said emacs, he shuddered.
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On 10/2/2015 7:00 AM, rbowman wrote:
<snip>

One CS professor at my university called APL TPL (THE programming language). He also hosted weekly gatherings at the campus pub, which were dubbed APL (alcoholic programmers league). It was interesting to read comments on his obituary page regarding APL <http://www.legacy.com/guestbooks/gainesville/ralph-selfridge-condolences/116883072 .
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On 10/02/2015 08:57 AM, sms wrote:

Nah, PL/I is TPL. IBM was always humble naming their languages.
Then there is the TIL, FORTH. Charlie Moore isn't too modest either. I had people pay me real money to use that one at least.
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On 10/2/2015 7:00 AM, rbowman wrote:

I had a Trendata 1200 (aka "Selectric I/O") with an APL typeball. Not the sort of thing folks were comfortable "reading over your shoulder" (why does that key generate that weird upside down triangle??")
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On Wed, 30 Sep 2015 05:48:01 -0400, "Robert Green"

the first PCs to be sold with a 3 year warranty. They were really good machines, at a very competetive price, until a beancounter took over the company with the help of a socalled "Harvard MBA" - between the 2 they killed the quality and bled the company into backrupsy within about 3 years. (I was gone in about 1 1/2)
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<stuff snipped>

Those same bean counters ran through my old employer's company destroying value while alleging to make us more efficient. I think they're soon to collapse with the coming changes in government contracting.
Compatibility-wise, I think the clones (good ones, anyway) really helped move the PC revolution along. My first *real* IBM PC cost over $5,000 (this is when full height diskette drives were also about $600). The clones helped force prices of all peripherals out of the IBM stratosphere and into the real world. Eventually I was buying the surplus IBM half-height diskette drives (from the botched PC JR) for $40 - quite a drop from $600.
Some of the clones offered options that even IBM didn't. One board I bought had 8 sockets for BIOS chips. That really fascinated my friend who liked to program in assembler.
Another AT clone had a CPU that wasn't artificially prevented from running at 8MHz like the IBM AT was for a while.
IIRC, the ultimate test of a PC's compatibility was:
"Can it run flight simulator?"
--
Bobby G.



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Robert Green wrote:

Did not play with Z80 cpu? At very early stage we could assemble Apple II clone. Apples big thing was using GUI(point and click) on thier OS pretty early.
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On 10/1/2015 11:23 AM, Tony Hwang wrote:

My first products were i4004 and i8080/8085 based. I spent a *lot* of time with the Z80 -- I suspect I could still "hand assemble" machine code (i.e., 16r01xxxx, 16r11xxxx, 16r21xxxx are the "LXI" opcodes (LD BC/DE/HL), 16r76 is HLT, etc.)
Zilog's most coloosal blunder was in not leveraging their Z80 successes (Z280, Z8000, Z80000, Z380, etc.) effectively. They had to rely on Hitachi to breathe continued life into the family with the '180 devices...
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Don Y wrote:

I always miss Z80 vs. i8080. Got tired of wire wrapping and bought a battery powered wrap gun. At times I found Gardener Denver's mis-wiring trouble-shooting back panels later on. Tracing wiring was not that difficult, all the wiring complex was available in micro fiche. I was one man crew, so having a boss was just that. My rank was higher than his on company pay grade. Any way I never put him in any kinda jam on technical issues causing customer irritation.
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On 10/1/2015 12:05 PM, Tony Hwang wrote:

A friend bought me an electric GD gun as a bday gift. I also had a "cut and strip" bit (feed kynar wire through hole in bottom of bit, pull out through an opening in the outer sleeve, pull trigger and wire is cut to length, stripped and wrapped in one shot)

A small crochet hook was indispensible for fishing wires out of the "rats nest". I worked on large 2 ft x 6 ft panels (military work) where you were dealing with *thousands* of components on a single panel (power supplied by 3/4" square -- cross sectional -- copper "buss bars" running the length of the panels).

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Don Y wrote:

to program machine code instead toggling buttons of swwitches on control panel. Good old days. Biggest PSU was +5V Ault unit which puts out 150A. Some big system needed more than few.
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On 10/1/2015 5:43 PM, Tony Hwang wrote:

I worked on a discrete ECL processor ("ALU", no memory) that drew 100A @ -5.2VDC. 600 (six hundred) bit data words. 7ns cycle time. (not bad for 30+ years ago!)
You took off all "jewelry" (belt buckles, rings, watches, metal framed eyeglasses) when you worked on it as a "slip" would quickly bring the item to cherry red *without* blowing the power supply fuse/protector!
We had a dedicated 440V service installed just to power the instrument (used to test the *core* memory in certain aircraft)
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On 10/01/2015 01:19 PM, Don Y wrote:

Square D, the industrial controls manufacturer, entered the solid state fray with NORPAK. They were modules a little smaller than a VHS cartridge that you mounted on a backplane and interconnected with taper pine jumpers. Each module had a number of discrete gates. As the name suggests, most of them were NORs with a few NANDs and NOTs for good measure.
Theoretically you can do anything given enough NORs. You can also run up a hell of a bar tab trying to restore your brain to normal operation after doing so.
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On 10/1/2015 8:19 PM, rbowman wrote:

There was a logic family (for sea of gates implementations) called STL. Basically, single transistors (inverters!) that you would wire together (on the die) to form gates. Tying collectors together ("wired-or"), inverting inputs/outputs, etc.
It was grossly inefficient -- but very versatile.
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On 10/01/2015 09:53 PM, Don Y wrote:

Well when you get down to the nitty gritty a FPGA isn't much more than that.
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<stuff snipped>

There's nothing more important than keeping the customer satisfied. Even if you've got a jerk of a boss that doesn't understand how important customer satisfaction is, you can't lose sight of it. I had a boss who inherited me (didn't hire me and came along long after I was hired) and really worked hard to get me to leave.
Fortunately one of my clients knew his direct supervisor and told him how happy they were with my work. I had converted a system of nearly 100 complex Lotus spreadsheets to dBaseIII database that didn't mix data with formulas.
In huge spreadsheets people were always inserting rows and columns and deleting or seriously compromising formulas linked to those cells. I don't think a single sheet came with any sort of comments or documentation. It took quite some time to figure out what was happening. It had evolved over 5 years and the original "designers" were nowhere to be found.
Converting spreadsheet "systems" to databases was a lucrative business for a long time because so many small companies started out using spreadsheets when they should have set up databases. They all reached a point where the puny PCs of the time just ran out of memory. That spurred a lot of people to change over from Lotus 123 to dBaseIII.
Then dBaseIV came out, got killed by FoxPro which was eventually chopped up, folded into Access and killed. *Despite* MS's frequent promises to FoxPro user groups not to kill it. I still have quite a few FoxPro installations still running smoothly.
--
Bobby G.



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On Thu, 01 Oct 2015 11:49:45 -0700, Don Y

I "cut my teeth" on Motorola 6809 code.
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On 10/1/2015 12:56 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

6809 was considerably more capable than the 8080 and 4004. The 6800 was more on a par with the 8080. The i4004 would almost be physically painful coding for -- esp today.
Back then, we counted ram in "dozens of bytes" -- I can recall 256 bytes being A LOT!!!
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