Is It Just Me Or...

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Posted by Convicted One on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 10:58 PM

BaltACD
would a Radio Shack TRS80 be a upgrade?

I once overclocked my old Timex Sinclair using a twist-tie off a bread sack and a Bic lighter.  Clown

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, March 26, 2020 6:51 AM

My atari still works for simple word processing.

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Posted by tree68 on Thursday, March 26, 2020 9:57 AM

BaltACD
Would a Radio Shack TRS80 be a upgrade?

I've worked on the "Trash 80's" at college, but never owned one.

Also still in the attic is the TI-99-4A.  I'd bet it still works, but finding a TV with a twin-lead antenna connection might be a problem.

The Tandy 1000SX in the attic probably still works, too.  I upgraded that with a 40 Mb hard drive (you read that right).  It was nice not to have to boot from the floppies...

LarryWhistling
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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, March 26, 2020 12:13 PM

tree68
 
BaltACD
Would a Radio Shack TRS80 be a upgrade? 

I've worked on the "Trash 80's" at college, but never owned one.

Also still in the attic is the TI-99-4A.  I'd bet it still works, but finding a TV with a twin-lead antenna connection might be a problem.

The Tandy 1000SX in the attic probably still works, too.  I upgraded that with a 40 Mb hard drive (you read that right).  It was nice not to have to boot from the floppies...

When I first got involved with 'mini' computers at the Chessie TSC's.  The 'mini' was the size of a refrigerator - just the processor.  The 10 MB - that is right Megabite disk drive was a 12 inch platter that operated in an electronics filled cabinet the size of a two drawer file cabinet.  The operating system for the 'mini' computer was loaded into it on punched paper tape.

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Posted by tree68 on Thursday, March 26, 2020 12:49 PM

BaltACD
When I first got involved...

Indeed.  When I was at Vandenberg AFB, providing weather support for missile launches. the operators (I was maintenance) would punch the results of upper air (balloon) soundings on paper tape, which was then sent all the way to Cape Kennedy for processing, then the results were sent back (also via teletype).  A number of parameters were computed on the mainframe computer at Kennedy.

At one point we got a small computer that was supposed to do that in-house.  I don't think it ever did - all we ever did was it was play tic-tac-toe.  It wasn't the size of a file cabinet - more like an oversized typewriter - keyboard and monitor all in one case.

The tic-tac-toe aspect was interesting.  The machine would learn from it's "mistakes."  You could use a series of moves maybe twice, then the computer would block you.  Until you turned the series 90 degrees.  Thus one series of moves could garner you eight wins.  

The TI99-4A only had 16K of RAM, but would handle two cassette recorders for storing data and programs.  

Nowadays one's phone has more processing power than that mainframe at Cape Kennedy, and my micro computer has a terrabyte hard drive in it...

 

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

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Posted by MikeF90 on Thursday, March 26, 2020 2:50 PM

tree68
At one point we got a small computer that was supposed to do that in-house. I don't think it ever did - all we ever did was it was play tic-tac-toe. It wasn't the size of a file cabinet - more like an oversized typewriter - keyboard and monitor all in one case.

As long as we're trading 'old geezer' computer stories, I'll relate mine. In the late 1970s as a defense contractor field engineer I assisted with some Army operational tests. Our equipment was used by the field artillery to estimate target location. Back at their fire direction center where calculations were made, they were using a large refrigerator sized computer in an oversize trailer. Their computer tech showed me the insides - all discrete components on large plug in cards.

That monster was definitely on the way out as their 'backup' computer (usually preferred) was a HP or TI hand calculator with a stored program strip. Not sure what they use today, but for quite a while now the size of a typical military use 'computer' is ruled by interface circuitry and connectors for related sensors.

Links to my Google Maps ---> Sunset Route overview, SoCal metro, Yuma sub, Gila sub, SR east of Tucson, BNSF Northern Transcon and Southern Transcon

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Thursday, March 26, 2020 4:14 PM

My old computer story is back in '65, the utility where I worked built a new Generating station with PDP process computers that used black paper tape for its data transfer. (shades the player piano days) but when it was being punched it filled boxes with little paper dots. So come Easter time, little boxes arrived in the interoffice mail to many of the other Engineers and Technicians in the office. When people opened them, they found a colorful plastic Easter Egg which naturally whetted their curiosity. So they opened them covering their desk and laps with thousands of little paper dots. Magnetic tape is much cleaner though it had its issues. 

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Posted by tree68 on Thursday, March 26, 2020 4:52 PM

Electroliner 1935
...little paper dots...

Ah, chads.

The chads from punched cards are retangular, and of heavier stock.

Teletype "five level" tape was punched either with chads (clean holes) or chadless (little flaps).

The little buggers aren't too popular at weddings either...

They weren't very popular in Florida a few years ago, either...

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, March 26, 2020 5:02 PM

tree68
 
Electroliner 1935
...little paper dots... 

Ah, chads.

The chads from punched cards are retangular, and of heavier stock.

Teletype "five level" tape was punched either with chads (clean holes) or chadless (little flaps).

The little buggers aren't too popular at weddings either...

They weren't very popular in Florida a few years ago, either...

Who wants a chad hanging?

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Posted by GERALD L MCFARLANE JR on Thursday, March 26, 2020 5:16 PM

No serious person surfs the web without using an ad blocker, of which there are many.  I've always had them on my machines, whether that was for Firefox or Chrome, and I have a standing rule that any site that asks me to disable the ad blocker or white list them automatically gets scratched off my list of sites to visit, the same as with sites that insist I subscribe to read content(mostly news sites like the WJS, NYT Forbes, etc.,.  If your news stories are that good then give my 5 free views per month, because if it's not local news it's not something I'm going to be reading daily.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, March 26, 2020 5:35 PM

GERALD L MCFARLANE JR

No serious person surfs the web without using an ad blocker, of which there are many.  I've always had them on my machines, whether that was for Firefox or Chrome, and I have a standing rule that any site that asks me to disable the ad blocker or white list them automatically gets scratched off my list of sites to visit, the same as with sites that insist I subscribe to read content(mostly news sites like the WJS, NYT Forbes, etc.,.  If your news stories are that good then give my 5 free views per month, because if it's not local news it's not something I'm going to be reading daily.

 

Happy to not be a serious web surfer.......

They have now deleted two threads about this ads on the Model Railroader side, as this one reaches 70 posts........

Sheldon

    

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Posted by zugmann on Thursday, March 26, 2020 6:20 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
They have now deleted two threads about this ads on the Model Railroader side, as this one reaches 70 posts........

Your point?

 The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, March 26, 2020 6:45 PM

zugmann

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
They have now deleted two threads about this ads on the Model Railroader side, as this one reaches 70 posts........

 

Your point?

 

The rules are clearly different over here, but in any case the ads are still in place.

And I am already reading less........and posting less.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by zugmann on Thursday, March 26, 2020 6:51 PM

Ok.  That's nice, I guess. 

 The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by Convicted One on Thursday, March 26, 2020 6:55 PM

Here's a little tip for "paywall" news sites: Many of them give you 2 or three "free" articles you can read per month, and then once you go beyond that amount, they hit you up to buy a subscription if you want to continue.  (cookies, basically)

You can totally thwart their strategy if you use a "live" distribution of Linux that boots from optical media....such as knoppix.  Such sites will still set their cookies, but it will be set in memory only since they are unable to write to your CD or DVD. So, a simple reboot and you are able to resume reading without getting hooked by their scheme.

I've got three browsers installed on my knoppix disc, Chromium, Firefox, and Konqueror so I can run each one up to their limit individually before having to reboot.  And then there is "Tor" for a 4th one, that I really haven't used much.

Incidently, as it pertains to the  "slow loading" problem that is often lamented here,  I've been using knoppix here going on two months without  ever experiencing the "slow load" that I had cyclically experienced here with windows requiring me to periodically nuke the cookies to restore responsiveness. So this further supports my suspicion that  the slow loading is in some way caused by  obsolete cookies.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Thursday, March 26, 2020 9:52 PM

BaltACD
I still have a XP desktop that keeps chugging along at 17.

In 2014, Microsoft announced that they would no longer support XP, so I traded it in on a new laptop with IIRC Windows 9.  (MS automatically upgraded it to W10).  Best Buy was giving a discount for XP trade-ins.  Later Microsoft backed down and continued to support XP, but I am happy with my new faster laptop.

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, March 26, 2020 10:15 PM

MidlandMike
 
BaltACD
I still have a XP desktop that keeps chugging along at 17. 

In 2014, Microsoft announced that they would no longer support XP, so I traded it in on a new laptop with IIRC Windows 9.  (MS automatically upgraded it to W10).  Best Buy was giving a discount for XP trade-ins.  Later Microsoft backed down and continued to support XP, but I am happy with my new faster laptop.

When Microsoft came out with their Sunset date for XP I bought a W8.1 replacement for it - I later upgraded the W8.1 machine to W10.  The W10 Desktop is my primary machine, the XP machine is a node on my local network in addition to a W10 laptop and a Vista laptop.  The 'data' I maintain is backed up on each of the machines.

I don't trust Clouds.  Clouds can rain data in locations it is not authorized to.

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Posted by MikeF90 on Friday, March 27, 2020 3:12 PM

Beside using a live Linux distro, a well designed cookie manager is very helpful.

I use the Firefox extension 'Cookie Quick Manager'. On news sites that only allow a few views, you can delete current site cookies and local storage, refresh the page and you should be good for a few more views. Not sure if this particular extension is available on other browsers but there should be something similar.

Links to my Google Maps ---> Sunset Route overview, SoCal metro, Yuma sub, Gila sub, SR east of Tucson, BNSF Northern Transcon and Southern Transcon

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Posted by MidlandMike on Friday, March 27, 2020 9:11 PM

BaltACD
When Microsoft came out with their Sunset date for XP I bought a W8.1 replacement for it - I later upgraded the W8.1 machine to W10.

My Dell XP laptop was a hand-me-down from my wife when I retired.  It was mainly for browsing the web and was not very powerful, and was getting cranky.  The Geek Squad told me that to upgrade to Windows 8 would take up most of the RAM, so I was ready to trade it in for something more up to date.

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Posted by samfp1943 on Sunday, March 29, 2020 11:45 PM

MikeF90
tree68
At one point we got a small computer that was supposed to do that in-house. I don't think it ever did - all we ever did was it was play tic-tac-toe. It wasn't the size of a file cabinet - more like an oversized typewriter - keyboard and monitor all in one case.

 As long as we're trading 'old geezer' computer stories, I'll relate mine. In the late 1970s as a defense contractor field engineer I assisted with some Army operational tests. Our equipment was used by the field artillery to estimate target location. Back at their fire direction center where calculations were made, they were using a large refrigerator sized computer in an oversize trailer. Their computer tech showed me the insides - all discrete components on large plug in cards.

That monster was definitely on the way out as their 'backup' computer (usually preferred) was a HP or TI hand calculator with a stored program strip. Not sure what they use today, but for quite a while now the size of a typical military use 'computer' is ruled by interface circuitry and connectors for related sensors.

 

             I am amazed by these tales of old computers and their sizes...Whistling  In 1963 I worked for an engineering consultancy firm ( I was a go-fer/ engineering tech Geeked  ) At that time many commercial IBM machines were just punch card sorting devices...We had all the data that covered an engineering traffic and transportation study for s dizeable metropolitan area.... It had been colated and was represented by box after box of computer cards ( It took the capacity of a 1/2 ton Chevy van to load and haul.)   To get processed results was estimated to take weeks, or a couple of months(?)...  The partner-in-charge had located a facility that could process that card inventory in several hours; rather than the longer time extinated.  Cost was estimated to be $10K per hour !  
I took said load of cards, and myself to Athens, Ga. @ UGA.. They had an IBM 7094 to do the job.... It was in a house off campus (4 floors, and a basement, abt 5,000sq sq ft.)   They loaded, and ran that load of cards in about 4 hours.  That computer filled that house!   Tape decks, and all the other computer hardware was on evey floor; the control station filled one room.... It was amazing in 1963, just to see that; and now we can probably, have that same level of power, and capacity in a home desk top ...

 

 


 

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Posted by blhanel on Monday, March 30, 2020 8:21 AM

Heck, with the right app your smart phone can handle it.

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Posted by York1 on Monday, March 30, 2020 8:36 AM

samfp1943
Our equipment was used by the field artillery to estimate target location. Back at their fire direction center where calculations were made, they were using a large refrigerator sized computer in an oversize trailer.

 

In WWII, my father was in charge of a 155 mm howitzer crew.  He used a piece of wood about 12" x 18" with a laminated chart on it.  There were quite a few variables listed.  It used wind speed, distance, etc., to calculate the shot.  He claimed that by using the chart, they could hit any target by the third shot.

John  --  Saints Fan  

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Posted by Semper Vaporo on Monday, March 30, 2020 9:51 AM

blhanel
Heck, with the right app your smart phone can handle it.

But only if your are smarter than your phone.

Semper Vaporo

Pkgs.

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Posted by tree68 on Monday, March 30, 2020 12:21 PM

blhanel

Heck, with the right app your smart phone can handle it.

I was curious about the details of that and found an article which pointed out that your smart phone is literally a million times more powerful than the guidance computer used in the early Apollo flights.

The AGC (Apollo Guidance Computer) had 64K of memory and ran with at clock speed of 43KHz.  According to the article, a USB-C charger is "smarter" than the AGC.

Pretty amazing stuff, and nowadays we take it for granted.

https://www.zmescience.com/science/news-science/smartphone-power-compared-to-apollo-432/

 

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

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