Were an excellent compromise.
Close enough to the normal alphabet for the learning curve to be shallow, but distinct enough for the character recognition to be virtually flawless.
It has been a quiet week. Apart from the nuclear warning siren, of course. The distinctive and impressively noisy wail advising me of my imminent vaporisation sounded at 12:15pm on Wednesday. It may have sent those of a nervous disposition into a fluster but not me. I am made of sterner stuff. I knew exactly what to do. I …
Still got my palm pilot in a draw upstairs. Got it free in 1998/9 during a government initiative to coax software businesses to get involved in fixing millennium bugs. It was fun writing on it using the stylus in that glyph alphabet. Nice bit of kit, never had the heart to throw it away.
I had one Palm that was already color, very lovely. Its wake-up sign could be customized to the military trumpet style, it was lovely. The colors were washed out, but it could display all 16 of them on its backlit display. Too bad its battery died long ago, and all of its functionality got into phones anyway. I learned the glyphs at an exceptional rate, given how efficient it was.
Another topic, the calendar allowed customized alarms even back then, very handy.
Speaking of alarms, I worked withing range of a Nuclear Power Plant by those days, and guess what, they use the air raid siren as well.
Maybe you are within range of a NPP in France, and not aware of it. They tested the bloody thing every fortnight, at exactly 10AM.
Palm Glyphs are just a variation of Drafting Vertical Gothic. Took me an hour to be decent and a day to be proficient since I spent four years in drafting in High School and College.
I wish my "Smart Phone" or any of my tablets was half as proficient at stylus input (including the LG Stylo I specifically bought for the task) as the Palm III.
(Roaring Laughter)... I shared this forum with my housemate and after a few moments, handed me a Palm III from his box o' silicon and plastic things that he also can't get rid of.
That made my week.
We're both having a good laugh so beers all about.
I miss my Palm TX.
My ExGirlfriend of twenty years ago called me a few months ago:
Soooooo...I went through the old storage untit and I have some TShirts of yours that I'm not giving back and a Palm III with dock and manuals. You want me to send that to you?
[Queue Dabs a few weeks ago...]
Me. I literally cannot give that hardware away. RS232 Serial ports aren't a thing anymore. Trash it.
She: But the computer museaum in Boulder Creek (Santa Cruz-ish) might like it.
Me: It's literally not worth the fuel to drive it up the hill.
Oddly enough my first PDA-type thing was a Handspring Treo, which ran PalmOS but had no scrawling area (other than the touch screen). Instead it had the best physical keyboard of any handheld I've encountered. The O/S was the most intuitive of any smartphone I've tried too. The worst? Android, by miles. Haven't sampled iOS.
I worked at 3Com when they bought USR and discovered they'd also bought Palm.
My small claim to fame was a little app I modified (the original writer was in Santa Clara and had built the framework as a demo), which let you select a conference room name from a pull down list, and popped up the building, floor and a map showing the location on that floor, of the selected room. Had to figure out the toolchain and get an open source gcc IDE set up because the official Palm development system was (a) costly and (b) cumbersome. It was a fun project for an EE.
This was necessary because the CRs were all beautifully named using an incredibly complex naming algorithm that no one but the inventors could ever remember. "Oh, Glacier Falls? That's in Building three, fourth floor, because building three is the Pacific Northwest, and floor three is water features...or it it the other way round?" And every 3Com campus had a different scheme...mountains, cities, you name it.
I had a nice little (non-remunerative) side business going, digitising and building custom maps (240x 320) for other 3Com locations and locations of Sales conferences, things like that. Still have some of the tchotchkes they sent me as thanks. One of the directors caught on and put me up for an "award" of something like $500 (before taxes, of course) as a thank you.
I loved the Palm, but it doesn't hold a candle to the iPhone (even with Apple's walled garden). Too early for wifi modules by many years. And count me as a friend of the glyphs. I found them easy to use and never had a problem with them. All my Palms have been recycled long ago...
There's a good book called "Piloting Palm"
I loved my Palm Pilots, especially the last one, the TX. I still believe that if the Treo had just added a capacitive screen to the TX form factor it could have been the seminal phone rather than the iPhone.
I've also used Windows handwriting recognition since Windows XP Tablet Edition and by Win10 it is so limited I no longer have any use for it.
I bought a m100 when I started uni, as a gimmick. I can even see my copy of the palm os programming bible from where I'm sitting right now, even if today, I'd be much more disappointed with it.
I still think it was an awesome product line that deserved a much better fate. (And I still wonder if there's a wedge in the market to be had for an eInk Palm, either as an ebook reader with added lightweight apps, or as a PDA that frankly would run for months on a soldered-in AAA.)
Oh, and yes, I still fill out crossword puzzles in Graffiti strokes, twenty years later.
Here in the vicinity to Devonport we have the nuclear all clear every week.
And it has been pointed out that if the tragic shootings in Plymouth had happened in Torpoint, no one would have noticed because we have firing practice most days of the week including weekends. And it is usual if you are are on the road in the small hours to see several dark shapes emerging from the hedgerows with pointy things in their hands.
C'est la vie.
When Bradwell nuclear power station was still online the siren would go off from time to time, you could hear it in our village on the opposite side of the Blackwater Estuary. When it coincided with the army practising at Fingeringhoe Ranges, you could image that war had started.
I used to live a few miles from a military base used by special forces, and it was common to see them out running in pairs (as in one jogging whilst carrying the other)!
We had a gravel drive and a dog that would bark at the first crunch. The milkman (yes, when milk was routinely delivered to the door) would stand outside and tease her as she tried to claw her way through it; she eventually wore a hole through the inner panel - a border collie, so plenty of muscle. I'm sure it was a test for the forces to manage to get up our drive at night without getting a bark! I would sometimes find new bootprints in our garden - guessing when they were creeping through at night.
No sirens, though...
Oh man, I thought my dog had been the world's worst sentry ever. Postman approaches & she barks her head off. Newspaper delivery boy rides up, she barks her head off. Cat stands on the top crossbeam of the fence & meows, dog barks her head off. But march an entire squad of military cadets in full ROTC battle load & she just sits there panting, drooling, & wagging her tail as each one that passes takes a moment to pet her on the head. The postman tries to pet her & she goes insane, the newspaper boy tries & she tries to bite off his hand, but a line of strange kids in pseudo-camo wearing rucksacks & stinking of sweat? "Hey! Let's give them a free pass to rob the house blind & never so much as yip a happy yap!"
Even as stupid as she had been, I miss that old dog. If for no other reason than to see what insanity she might get up to next. "Hey look! BIRDS! Yapyapyapyapyapyapyap!" =-jp
Here in NL, first Monday of the month at 12:00 sharp! never had a misfire AFAIK...
In that case you are not old enough, I still remember the occasional silence on the first Monday of the month (disregarding holydays like Easter and Pentacost) and also hearing them at other days/times without cause.
More likely it means that you’re not buying the freehold, but merely a leasehold… but with such a long remaining term on the lease (982 years) that the difference is moot (the value of a leasehold property diminishes as the lease clock ticks downwards, especially once you get under 80 years or so). And for those unfamiliar with British property terminology, “chain free” simply means that there’s no onward chain, ie the buyer doesn’t have to wait for the seller to complete their own onward move or hope that it doesn’t fall through, collapsing the whole “chain” of “I can buy your property but only if the buyer of MY property successfully sells their own property and the buyer of that one doesn’t have problems with the sale of THEIR property, etc etc..”. Basically it can be turtles all the way down.
The lease granted presumably started off at 999 years. The reference to chain free means it has a more modern WC*.
Just clicked on the Zoopla link: Gosh I know the place, it's a stone's throw from Sadlers Wells, and used to be the Water Board's HQ. I wonder if there's any connection with the Water Board and the well which presumably was owned by someone called Sadler? The fountain at the front certainly alludes to an abundance of the stuff, which could be worrying for the prospective purchaser if there's a flood rendering the bunker useless.
*Sigh. I had better say that it doesn't as I'm sure I will be downvoted if I don't.
Mr Dabbs> When I am at work on the first Wednesday of any month, I book out 12 noon to 12:30 pm on my agenda as "unavailable." Besides, it's bloody lunchtime, n’est-ce pas?
Blocking lunchtime in Outlook worked for about 3 month. Until the, "Mutter, mutter, bloody French long lunches, mutter mutter" attitude took over and people started ignoring them.
Oh how I miss the palm pilot and a separate mobile phone... might have to have a snoop on eBay now. There was nothing like it for taking notes quickly.
On the topic of the siren though - I frequently take calls from people in a nuclear plant, and they have the opposite - a sounder that goes "beep, boop" continuously. If it stops, you have the opportunity of finding out one of two interesting facts:
1) What's gone wrong with the sounder to stop it working.
2) If you can outrun a nuclear apocalypse.
My vote is always for number 1. An englishman should only ever run if he's being chased by a wild animal or last orders at the bar has been called.
I've worked at the odd nuclear plant (being odd goes with the territory).
They had official "evacuation" routes marked for your convenience should the Loud Noise go off should you be walking by. Parking there was a Serious Offence.
You tune out the incessant beeping.
Also worked at a place involving explosives. They only tested the Armageddon Siren once a year, during the annual maintenance shutdown. Presumably, being of WW2 vintage, it is more reliable than the ones in France which need to be tested more often. Announcements were made in the press and on radio beforehand.
I found a map showing the expected radius of property affected should something go seriously wrong. We poor blighters on site were in the central circle of the three marked.
I've done time in that sort of place
One of the comedians who worked there stuck up a chart of how far to drive to escape the blast of any incoming russian nuke, along with how long it would take.
So to drive until you were clear would take an estimated 15 mins (assuming the roads were clear...hah) said russian nuke would arrive in 4-6 mins.
However there was a minor problem in this.... is that after 15 mins and you had managed to get clear of the target before the nuke arrived , you found that you'd arrived inside the blast zone of another target.........
I went up the attic in my parents' house to grab some old books, when my attention was grabbed by oddly familiar beeping.
There it was, in one of the boxes, my trusty old Sharp credit card sized data bank reminding me of an appointment I used to have ages ago.
Can't remember ever replacing a battery in that bad boy.
I have come to the conclusion that some cheap low-power electronics are magical. Sure, they will refuse to run if there aren't some batteries in the slot, but the device doesn't actually use them once you put them in because they will run for years. I want to meet the people who designed such things and ask how they managed to get so much efficiency in their electricity use, presumably requiring quite a bit of engineering time, while also building the thing out of really flimsy plastic. Unfortunately, once I've realized that it's functioned correctly for eight years on a pair of AAA batteries, they're nowhere to be found.
Indeed, I have an old electronic thermometer which has now been running on the same set of two AA/LR6 batteries for what must be 10 years (or more). It's not the thermometer, as it has been hanging there for about 20 years, in exactly the same spot, and I clearly remember in the past I had to change batteries yearly (or at least every couple years). It's clearly the batteries I put in one day. (No, I didn't buy them in a strange cluttered shop which wasn't there anymore the next day.)
Then again there are several strange space-time oddities in my apartment, like that old incandescent light bulb which has been reliably working for over 30 years. It just won't quit.
Of course now I've mentioned them, I guess both will die...
I have Casio fx-3600Pv. Made in 1984 and still has original batteries.
The 3600Pv is solar powered, isn't it? That hardly counts.
I have a 3600P (not solar powered) from about 1982 and I don't recall ever having changed the batteries. I hardly ever use it, now, but I've just hauled it out of its resting place at the back of my desk drawer and it still has power!
It takes a single CR2025 3V lithium cell, and claims to use 0.00043W, according to the label on the back.
In Sweden, siren tests are done at 3 pm on the first Monday of the last month of every quarter* (which incidentally means this coming Monday if my calculations are correct).
I have a recurring 30-minute appointment with a five-minutes-before alert in my calendar to clean out old gunk from my mailbox; large attachments, pointless automated mass-mailings, the ever-accruing Deleted Items and SecureCRT log files older than a given date, etc. General housekeeping duties, stuff that's enough to do every three months. But really, it's to remind me not to freak out when the sirens go off in five minutes.
*) Wouldn't you have loved to be on the committee meeting when this schedule was decided?
There was a siren network in the UK until 1992 (end of cold war), then most got decommissioned as maintaining them costs money. Some were kept in flood areas, however it seems residents don't find out they don't work until it's too late as maintaining them costs money.
Maybe El Reg could send an intrepid reporter to do a Geeks Guide to Britain article on the Avoncroft Museum?
"The museum also contains the UK's National telephone kiosk Collection. This is the largest collection of telephone kiosks in the country and is part of the Connected Earth heritage project. There are also three fully working analogue telephone exchanges (one of them a mobile TXE2), a manual switchboard and early automatic systems. The collection shows the complete history of telephone kiosks in the UK from 1912 to the 1990s together with demonstrations of how telephone calls were routed and connected before the advent of digital technology. "
ISTR our school had one on the roof, and it got tested from time to time. In the days of yore, schools and churches tended to be the tallest buildings around, at least outside the town centre. Given that the school building was of Restoration vintage, the historic dissonance rivaled the dissonance of the siren itself.
I remember studying in Brest years ago. Despite its being a naval base I never remember hearing any kind of siren. However, the Internet sez there are tons of sirens there. Perhaps in addition to blocking out the miserable post-WW2 architecture I blocked out memory of the sirens as well. The handsome naval officers, on the other hand, I do remember quite well!
"I remember studying in Brest years ago. Despite its being a naval base I never remember hearing any kind of siren. "
Like everything in France, ..., it depends.
As a french, I've been in towns where this indeed happens, like the one from my youth.
Others, it doesn't, probably the thing was forgotten as dead in the water.
It's been decades I haven't heard a siren test ...
Ech, last year at my home we had gale force winds that blew the barn roof off onto my car, and then 12 hours later, wildfires that caused us to evacuate (house, not bowels, though the latter was close). Then ice-storms that cut power for a week and brought down half my trees. Nary a siren for any of those. To be forewarned would presumably be Un-American and contrary to the rugged pioneer spirit.
Only 30 minutes for a lunch? You didn't fully adapt to your new location then. And you have to add to this the time requested for the mandatory nap!
When you hear the sirens and it isn't the first Wednesday of the month, then check the news. Long ago it meant listening to the radio, the public radio station. Now it means probably googling. If you have no connection it could be a clue something serious is happening.
The last time I heard those outside of the test moment was in 2001. A chemical factory just exploded killing 30, the recommendation was to stay inside to avoid potential toxic smokes travelling over the whole city and its neighbourhood. Hearing those sirens is never a good thing.
I remember that one. I did my college programming placement at TRRL (Transport and road research laboratories) which were within earshot. If you also heard any loud bangs it would be when they (TRRL) were testing crashing cars and lorries into a massive concrete block outside the building. Something of a distraction when you were mid line in coding and BANG, windows rattling!
My speciality is kicking open the nearest fire exit as soon as the fire alarm goes off in an office, supermarket or venue.
Most people don't realise how quickly fire and smoke can spread and I have no intention of being killed in the crush when they do find out. I'm not going to make any apologies for my survival instinct.
What's best, when it is an unannounced alarm test, that crashing through a fire exit often sets the alarms off for real and, if there are 'break this' security protections, they have to be replaced. Causing inconvenience for them is an equitable price for the inconvenience they caused me in not warning it was just a test.
And it's hard to beat the enjoyment of a row with some management wanker or security knob insisting the fire exit shouldn't have been used and threatening to call the police over 'criminal damage' when it does happen.
Quite right too.
I remember seeing a programme on the BBC in which an expert said to do what you said - get yourself out of the building, burning plane, exploding tram etc, and damn the slow to a painful death.
I was the only person in the pub to dash out when the fire alarm went off that evening and I didn't even feel foolish. I'd taken my pint and it wasn't raining so not the worst evening I've had.
"And it's hard to beat the enjoyment of a row with some management wanker or security knob insisting the fire exit shouldn't have been used"
I worked for a while in a glass-walled building that was subject to bomb threats (it also held the service desk for a large business and ne'er-do-wells liked to call threats into the widely advertised phone number). I had an argument with the facilities manager who insisted that for an escape route we proceed round the all-glass end of the all-glass building that might have a bomb in it to congregate in an open area on the opposite side of the the building to our exit. I made clear that even through the chance of a call being genuine was slight I would proceed in as straight a line as possible as perpendicular to the building as possible until I got to a safe distance.
The place I first worked was above a paint warehouse. When the alarm went there you Got Out. Once we checked the Fire Exit (not the obvious or shortest route) and found it locked. There were ructions.
Another time, knowing that no non-restartable jobs were running on the mainframe, we tested the Big Red Switch.
The fire alarm in offices where I worked was so loud, I am sure it was a danger to health:
WEEWEEWEE (Where's the exit?) WEEWEEWEE (What?) WEEWEEWEE (Pardon?) WEEWEEWEE (Over here) WEEWEEWEE (What?) WEEWEEWEE (Bugger it) WEEWEEWEE WEEWEEWEE (We're all going to die in here) WEEWEEWEE (What?)
I used to wait until the Shuttle was about to land, then take the dog for a walk. We'd be a mile from home when BOOMBOOM and 150lbs of Black Lab would levitate 3 feet and then try for its own sonic boom on the way home.
Mean of me, but after about 3 times, the dog caught on, and would just give me an evil look.
I know it's 9 months since the video of Toyah was featured...
but my mind keeps going back to it...
The video of Alistair at the microphone with the guitars in the background and him looking to his left at 0:21 reminded me of Robert Fripp in that Video - Admittedly, Alistair does have more hair than Mr Fripp, but I next expected Mme Dabbs to come in to the frame, impersonating Toyah...
... wags on the helpdesk would creep up from behind and murmur over my shoulder "Edit Select-All Delete Yes" into my headset mic.
That's the trouble ... what we call voice recognition is actually voice interpretation. A proper voice recognition system would say "Hey, I know you, you're the guy from three cubicles along and you are NOT authorised to make changes on this PC!"