Monday Links from the Virtual Workbench Vol. XXXX Monday Links from the Virtual Workbench Vol. XXXX
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  1. #1

    My post count is Majestic

    NickFitz has reached the peak. Play again?

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    Default Monday Links from the Virtual Workbench Vol. XXXX

    Whoops, a bit late today - I'm up to my elbows in parsers at the moment:

    • Comma quirk irks Rogers - One for the grammar Nazis: "A grammatical blunder may force Rogers Communications Inc. to pay an extra $2.13-million to use utility poles in the Maritimes after the placement of a comma in a contract permitted the deal's cancellation."

    • Master-Keyed Lock Vulnerability - "In a recent research paper, we describe weaknesses in most master-keyed lock systems, such as those used by offices, schools, and businesses as well as by some residential facilities (particularly apartment complexes, dormitories, and condominiums). These weaknesses allow anyone with access to the key to a single lock to create easily the "master" key that opens every lock in the entire system. Creating such a key requires little skill, leaves behind no evidence, and does not entail engaging in recognizably suspicious behavior." This page is just the summary - the PDF paper it links to gives you all the details you need.

    • How facts backfire - "Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger." I thought of General when I read this article.

    • Infinite Space: An Argument for Single-Sharded Architecture in MMOs - Kjartan Emilsson goes into exhaustive detail about the architecture of the game universe EVE Online. "The single-sharded nature of the game enables the formation of a single coherent society and makes it much more likely that the elected players will form a representative cross-section of the interests of the electorate. Because everyone is sharing a single server, and thus a single social context, the community has a common baseline for discussion and debate, and famous figures are more likely to be known to the entire player base rather than just fragments thereof."

    • Vintage Technology: Calculators - "1970s Vintage desktop and pocket calculators listed by company (129 identified brands, 585 calculators)." Zeity probably has most of these.

    • Never-Seen: Hells Angels, 1965 - "In early 1965, LIFE photographer Bill Ray and writer Joe Bride spent several weeks with a gang that, to this day, serves as a living, brawling embodiment of our schizoid relationship with the rebel: the Hells Angels. Here, in a gallery of never-published photographs, Ray and Bride recall their days and nights with Buzzard, Hambone, Big D, and other Angels (and their "old ladies") at a time when the roar of Harleys and the sight of long-haired bikers was still new, alien, and for the average, law-abiding citizen, simply terrifying."

    • A user’s guide to websites, part 1: If it wasn’t broken why fix it? - Dan Catt, formerly of flickr and now at The Grauniad, discusses the problems of scaling a web application as the number of users increases.

    • Hellhole - "The United States holds tens of thousands of inmates in long-term solitary confinement. Is this torture? Atul Gawande talked to several people who had spent prolonged periods in solitary confinement, including convicts and Beirut hostages, for this in-depth article.

    • Space exploration: The computers that power man's conquest of the stars - "To this day, Nasa still uses elements of technology that powered the moon landings of the 1960s and 1970s, while the International Space Station (ISS) - the manned station circling the Earth 250 miles above our heads - relies on processors dating back more than two decades." Don't throw that 286 motherboard out just yet, they might need it.

    • Beautiful Origami Art Made Of Dollars by Won Park - These are brilliant:

    Happy invoicing!

  2. #2


    Cliphead has more data than eek

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    My first calculator circa 1975

  3. #3

    System Manager

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    Quote Originally Posted by zeitghost View Post
    Got this one (£80): Commodore SR4148R

    and this one(2 years later: £40): Commodore SR4190R

    Those are uninflated 1975 & 1977 £, by the way.

    Multiply by 8 to get the current equivalent.

    From what I recall, the first one was 2 or 3 weeks wages, and the 2nd about a week and a half.

    Where's the fainting smilie?
    A fellow student spent 35 quid on a simple job like Cliphead's in early 1974. That was about 2 weeks take home pay for a student holiday job. To put that into another perspective, in one of the cheaper student bars a pint of orange squash cost 4p.

    They let him use it in exams too, prompting the rest of us to complain.

  4. #4

    More fingers than teeth

    darmstadt is a fount of knowledge

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    Space exploration: The computers that power man's conquest of the stars - "To this day, Nasa still uses elements of technology that powered the moon landings of the 1960s and 1970s, while the International Space Station (ISS) - the manned station circling the Earth 250 miles above our heads - relies on processors dating back more than two decades."
    I know a couple of the guys in the ESOC picture. When I worked there the MOCC (Mission Operation Control Computers) RTCC (Real Time Control Computer) and all the others used for control of the satellites, telemetry and other high tech stuff I worked on were Siemens 300R30 mini computers which were donkeys years old when I was there. And yes, the programming language was Fortran. The front-end to that which used to process all the data were 2 IBM mainframes which leads me onto the Space Shuttle...

    A lot of the data used was in DB2 format but it wasn't possible for them to have a mainframe on the shuttle so a laptop was developed based around the P-370 card from IBM and built into a laptop which was in a hardened box and thus allowed them to process the data directly in the shuttle. I know of at least one in the south of the UK (keep trying to get hold of it myself!) There is at least one major military force which is still using a version of this but running DPPX/370 in various military machines (did a POC for that)
    Brexit is having a wee in the middle of the room at a house party because nobody is talking to you, and then complaining about the smell.

  5. #5

    Fingers like lightning

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    My first calculator

    Still got it and have never had to change the batteries.

  6. #6

    More fingers than teeth

    TimberWolf is too good to be a permie

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    My main calculator is still my old fx-570c and it still has the original battery:

    I'm also mighty impressed with the battery in my Nokia phone. Admittedly I've hardly used the phone, but the battery always shows full when I check it every year. Quite unlike what I experience with laptop batteries, which unfailingly have ceased to hold enough charge to light an usherettes' torch a year or two after purchase.

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