* Posts by Blue Pumpkin

90 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Oct 2007


Apple releases Lisa source code on landmark machine's 40th birthday

Blue Pumpkin

Re: ICL / Three Rivers PERQ

Ha ! I remember those - I was an undergrad there at the time.

They turned up from the Science Research Council (before Engineering crept in) and were followed by a couple Sun-1 workstations and a Sirius PC.

I think they were originally billed as Smalltalk machines though I am not sure how they ended up after ICL got to them. Though it could be that the Computer Science department wanted them for other stuff than other users …

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Architecture and Morality.....anyone?

The 68000 is just a more-or-less revamped PDP-11, though this is not to belittle it, as the PDP-11 is one of the greatest (if not the greatest) CPU designs ever IMHO.

The 68000 hit the streets in 1981/2 which was already behind Intel’s 8086/8 which had started coming on stream at the end of the 70’s and were therefore more widespread.

It’s a shame, as the Intel legacy has been, and continues to be, such a millstone that nobody can get rid of. Intel tried twice, once with iAXP32 and the again with Itanium. Both failed miserably having cost huge amounts.

Worse still the i86 family didn’t get any better until the 386. The 186 was the all in one system on a chip that should have been the obvious choice for building PCs, but it was as flawed as the 286 which IBM did use in its PC-AT. It’s virtual memory model was broken and only fixed to become usable in the 386 - the days of memory extenders were finally over.

But by that time the software investment was too great to switch - only the non MS world could take advantage of better processors or build their own - Apple, Apollo, Sun, Stratus, Tandem, Perq to name but a few, now all fallen by the wayside.

Although the 68000 did have a proper virtual memory co-chip its arrival was too late to stem the wave of the IBM PC and its clones.

The path to hell is paved with good intentions …

You can hook your MIDI keyboard up to a website with Firefox 108

Blue Pumpkin


It's like Keith Emerson just turned up .... the things you forget ....

More and more CS students are interested in AI – and there aren't enough lecturers

Blue Pumpkin

Re: more CS students are interested in AI

Proper computer science is just a specialised branch of maths :-)

The Donald showed us that.

Do students still study things like Taylor series and numerical and operational analysis, or have we consigned them to ‘just include this library’ ?

However, maths is not enough if you actually want to build a computer as engineering ≠ maths.

The wild world of non-C operating systems

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Jupiter ACE

A fully fledged FORTH implementation does everything including its own disk I/O.

I wrote a FORTH interpreter/compiler whatever you call it for the 8086 in assembler and it came in at under 8KB - which at the time was a big plus when memory was more expensive than programmers.

FORTH - quirky definitely, elegant yes in lots of places, but maintainable, usable .... not so sure :)

An open-source COBOL contender emerges

Blue Pumpkin

Re: "COBOL-2002, which introduced object oriented programming"

You don't need object oriented FORTRAN, or ever will .... as we knew in 1982


You should read Section 8 of the Unix User's Manual

Blue Pumpkin

Re: I'm always pleased when BSD get a mention

Your loss.

As they say learning another language - whatever it happens to be - gives you another viewpoint from which to appreciate the world (though I admit I may not be deal with CICS !)

Faster Python: Mark Shannon, author of newly endorsed plan, speaks to The Register

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Or...

"The market for this was big enough that several companies were making dedicated versions of this chip with the Basic interpreter masked into ROM on the chip itself...."

Hey that was me - for one of them at least !

Cramming a Tiny BASIC interpreter coded into 4K of ROM on an 8051 in 1982. Took me a week to reorganise my assembly code to get down from 4099 bytes to 4095 in the end.... those were the days

The Epic vs Apple trial is wrapping up, but the battle has just begun

Blue Pumpkin

Re: The lawyers have more paydays coming

Except, if I understand correctly, the purchase price is zero. So Apple hosts and distributes effectively for nothing.

Thus it is not unreasonable to take a cut of in-app purchases.

'Biggest data grab' in NHS history stuffs GP records in a central store for 'research' – and the time to opt out is now

Blue Pumpkin

Re: gp records centrally

Ha ! ID

This is the UK. We've heard about that, it's a thing foreigners do.

We have gas bills.

Texan's alleged Amazon bombing effort fizzles: Militia man wanted to take out 'about 70 per cent of the internet'

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Coat... needed... when the temperature drops----->>>>

A trip to Newcastle should set you right.

And also discover the right to bare legs ...

The JavaScript ecosystem is 'hopelessly fragmented'... so here is another runtime: Deno is now a company

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Curses

Hey Forth again stay to back is

Though not on anybody’s list.

Just think how much more effective those node / deno / done / edon could be if they had documentation.

Old school I know ... a bit like design documents....

React team observes that running everything on the client can be costly, aims to fix it with Server Components

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Client / server architectures

And if you stay long enough you'll meet them several times round.

Each time with a "brand new, totally innovative, never before seen" sticker on them ....

EU's top court says tracking cookies require actual consent before scarfing down user data

Blue Pumpkin

Re: What have the Germans ever done for us?

Sauerkraut and Rhineland wines are wonderful .. sounds like you just haven’t experienced good ones.

As for aristocracy the choices are limited - Hapsburgs, Bourbons, Glukcksbergs who are all related anyway, so hardly specifically German or a choice.

And then there are Messrs Hilbert, Reinmann, Gödel, Gauss, Krebs and Koch, to name but a few...

Time to Ryzen shine, Intel: AMD has started shipping 7nm desktop CPUs like it's no big deal

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Intel spokesperson quote

Indeed, they were there with the 2901 when I was just about out of short trousers :-)

OK I exaggerate a bit but in the 80's it was a thing ... Apollo anyone ?

Could an AI android live forever? What, like your other IT devices?

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Bill Nelson's mind-bending rarity Map of Dreams

Life in the air-age, it’s grim enough to make a robot cry ....

Vulture gets claws on Lego's latest Apollo nostalgia-fest

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Next!

And the lunar lander !!

WikiLeaks boss Assange acted as a foreign spy, Uncle Sam exclaims in fresh rap sheet

Blue Pumpkin

Re: I was fine with the first indictment

FFS read some history and at least get the basic facts correct

The Conservative Prime Minister, Edward Heath, took the UK into the EEC in January 1973.

The referendum of 1975, under Wislon's government, who backed leave, was whether or not to continue to stay in Europe.

The electorate expressed significant support for EC membership, with 67% in favour on a national turnout of 64%.

The referendum result was not legally binding - because referenda / ums are not, they are public opinion polls to assist parliament - however, it was widely accepted that the vote would be politically binding on future Westminster Parliaments.

Turn on, tune in, cash out: Hipster chat plat Slack whacks beardie millennials with features

Blue Pumpkin

I liked it better when it was IRC ...

Microsoft liberates ancient MS-DOS source from the museum and sticks it in GitHub

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Another shot of Code

PL/M was provided by Intel as part of their MDS - Microprocessor Development Systems - that provided compilation and debug tools for the processors.

A sort of Pascal Algolly thing - I preferred assembler :-)

30-up: You know what? Those really weren't the days

Blue Pumpkin

Umm ...

Like the week I spent trying to optimise 4101 bytes of 8051 assembler code so that it would fit into the 4096 bytes of ROM ... maybe not

Do I hear two million dollars? Apple-1 fossil goes on the block, cassettes included

Blue Pumpkin
Thumb Up

Re: What's actually more interresting is how those early text modes worked

Oh yes ... the Cheap Video Cookbook served me well and is still hanging about somewhere, probably next to the FORTH book ...

Programming with a soldering iron, those were days ...

Time to ditch the front door key? Nest's new wireless smart lock is surprisingly convenient

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Why's it mounted on the door?

Or embed terminals in the deadlock to make contact with those in the box mounted on the frame / wall.

FYI: Processor bugs are everywhere – just ask Intel and AMD

Blue Pumpkin

Re: "...Microsoft senior engineer Dan Luu..."

These are not the Minecrafts you are looking for. They already have the technology and that technology is Powerpoint :


The accompanying paper is also a good read.

Oracle caves, promises to crack open Java EE as v8 crawls ever closer

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Half dead

Yes but as half-lives are exponential it will still be around for a while.

A bit like all those other 'dead' languages we hear about ... FORTRAN, C, COBOL, BASIC, VB, Python 2, ADA, PL/1, smalltalk, et al.

Oh snap! UK Prime Minister Theresa May calls June election

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Breaking news:

Shirley May 9th - why waste so much energy ?

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Of course they won't listen

FFS do a bit of research - Thatcher did not take the UK into Europe. You will find that there are about 10 years between these events.

As for extortion, you will also find that every EU member has their own form of 'special deal' - the UK is not the first nor the last. Read the details of the Common Agricultural Policy - it would be hilarious if it were not so tragic and wasteful.

But you're right about the pound of flesh - the UK has unfortunately shown that not only has the EU project lost its way, it also shows little intention of reforming and engaging with the population to find it again.

You must be prepared for the consequences if you call somebody's bluff and they actually do what they said they would *. So yes - having exposed the arrogance and short-sightedness of the EU commission by showing them to having failed has no doubt made them somewhat upset.

Tusk and Junckers are pissed as they have managed to lose parts of the empire almost single handedly by refusing to acknowledge issues that almost all member states are grappling with.

A better solution would have been to adopt the Hungarian position, ignore democratic process and just impose whatever measures were felt necessary and wait for the EU to throw the UK out - it probably would never have happened.

But in a way it could possibly be the best thing that could have happened to the EU - assuming that they recognise and do something about it. Otherwise expect this departure to be a starting point.

Said with an incredibly heavy heart as somebody who truly wants a European project to succeed and hoped it would never have got this far.

But without destruction there is rarely reinvention ....

* That also goes for the numpties that called the UK referendum without a plan if the 'wrong result' ever happened.

Pong, anyone? How about Pong on a vintage oscilloscope?

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Kudos for the effort....

This is the article you are looking for


page 35 onwards :-)

Somebody has done a sterling job of OCR-ing the whole lot into PDFs for your joy and delectation.

Minnesota, Illinois rebel over America's ISP privacy massacre, mull fresh info protections

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Minnesotan here!

But surely that's only because all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average ?

This AI stuff is all talk! Bots invent their own language to natter away behind humans' backs

Blue Pumpkin

Re: An infinite number of bots with typewriters

The quality of mercy is not strnen ...

.. with thanks to the Mekons

This goldfish and its steerable robot tank will destroy humanity

Blue Pumpkin

Nature vs nurture ?

It always stays in the corner ...

.. presumably trying to get the thing to go round in circles

It's now 2017, and your Windows PC can still be pwned by a Word file

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Meanwhile, Adobe is updating blah de fucking blah

I have it on good authority that the number of patches exceeded the number of lines of source code several years ago and now they just release useless patches so that people don't forget who they are ...

James Dyson's new startup: A university for engineers that doesn't suck

Blue Pumpkin

Phase 6 : Reward for the uninvolved

"after encouragement from Jo Johnson, the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, who was naturally chuffed ..."

.. at being able to take credit for something he was not involved in, nor had to fork out any money for, while still being able to neglect the rest of the system that piles huge amount of debt onto young people ...

But but but Brexit will solve it all for us of course .... and world hunger while it's at it.

Nicole forces NASA resupply into Sunday launch: Crew must wait for their packet soup

Blue Pumpkin

Re: I can imagine the conversation now...

cf: Baldrick's tea in Black Adder IV ...

Is Apple's software getting worse or what?

Blue Pumpkin

It's downhill all the way ...

Even the basics are being lost.

For around 10 years, dragging a photo onto the mail icon used to open up a new message with the photo in it - now we have mice with multi buttons I am forced to go via a crappy pop-up menu hierarchy to the 'share' options or play with cut and paste if my app is not in the list - assuming it feels like it.

And don't get me started on what a pile of crap Preview has become - trying to save a file under a different name now involves duplicating and renaming or exporting or some other nonsense - what was wrong with 'Save' and 'Save as' - which BTW appear in all other applications.

Moaning about iTunes doesn't count as it's been crap for so long and every new release means you can't do what you did in the last one - assuming that you can find anything again.

The simple intuitive gestures are disappearing on the desktop and being replaced by menus and stuff you have to read - and are often inaccessible via keyboard shortcuts.

Seems like they've moved on to another of Orwell's classics ..

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

iPhone 7's Qualcomm, Intel soap opera dumps a carrier lock-out on us

Blue Pumpkin

That old saying ...

"CPU benchmarks are like statistics: to paraphrase an old saying, 'there are lies, damned lies, and benchmarks'," Mark Hung, a Gartner research veep, told The Register this week.

What he meant to say was 'there are lies, damned lies, and Gartner'

Gun-jumping French pols demand rapid end to English in EU

Blue Pumpkin

yes they do ...

But generally you find that the code is more or less English with comments in French.

Variables and function names usually end up as some kind of Franglais.

Sometimes you get a fully blown 100% French set of code. However, this is still quite rare especially when compared to Spanish where often everything tends to be in Spanish.

And finally there are local home grown things - I remember that there used to be 'LTR' - Langage Temps-Réel that was promoted by defence companies such as Thomson and Aerospatiale in much the same way as CHILL and CORAL-66 were done here.

French authorities raid Google's Paris HQ over tax allegations

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Huh??

In the cloud .. you must be joking ... you have never had to deal with the French taxman.

Everything has to be available as hardcopy for umpteen years - or else another 'fine' opportunity - often in dodecaplicate and stamped by some other government authority whose office is only open between 10 - 11am on the 4th Tuesday of the month if it has an R in it ... and no you can't email it

Having recently had to deal with French govt and financial institutions again, I had forgotten just how bad and bureaucratic everything is .... UK is a paragon of efficiency and helpfulness in comparison

Elon Musk takes wraps off planet-saving Model 3 vapourmobile

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

But unlike most of the others, Teslas actually look like cars you'd want to drive and (certainly for the Model-S) have enough room to fit stuff in them - including people.

But convincing people to pay twice as much for something that doesn't go as far and is more inconvenient to refuel when away from home is still difficult. For £30k you can get an equivalent sized vehicle and at current UK prices (high compared to other countries) still have enough to travel over 100k miles.

Unless petrol prices rise significantly (unlikely until the oil producers have had a good go at putting shale and other competition out of business) or battery technology improves by orders of magnitude, electric vehicles will unfortunately remain toys for the rich.

Doesn't mean to say I don't want one :-)

Ever wondered what the worst TV show in the world would be? Apple just commissioned it

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Streaming services are a joke

Shirley you mean the Decline and Fall of the Times New Roman Empire ?

You say I mustn’t write down my password? Let me make a note of that

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Passwords and disaster recovery.

Oh yes, I remember when the power went and the generator didn't kick in .... only then did they realise that the emergency procedures and DR process were securely kept only in electronic format.

Needless to say that did not last

Linux fans may be in for disappointment with SQL Server 2016 port

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Perfectly understandable

Well as it used to be called Sybase ( version 7 II think but it is a long time ago) and it used to run happily on all manner of operating systems except Windows until MS got their mitts on it, the Unix / Linux code is probably hidden down the back of the sofa somewhere....

MAME goes fully FOSS

Blue Pumpkin
Thumb Up

You are standing at the end of a road before a small brick building.

Around you is a forest.

A small stream flows out of the building and down a gully.

LOHAN sponsor knocks up nifty iMac fish tank

Blue Pumpkin

Some guy called Jake ....

.... makes his living from it http://macquarium.jakeharms.com

But there is a nicer collection of Maquariums here based on various models over the years:


Spanish cops discover illegally parked flying car

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Mini on a second floor flat roof

Yep - ours was lifted from the car park sideways into the goods lift at the back of the Computer Science building to reappear later in one of the lecture halls ... happy days indeed :-)

Feds look left and right for support – and see everyone backing Apple

Blue Pumpkin

Re: It doesn't matter

You don't need to go that far.

Once you've given in to one government why shouldn't other countries demand the same for their 'terrorist' or 'crimes against the state' cases ?

On the list of national agencies you'd trust to do the right thing the FBI is (unlikely as it may seem) pretty high on the list in a relative way.

So Mr Apple you can do this for the US but not for us ? Some nice looking market share and shops you have there, wouldn't want anything to happen to them would you ...

Brits unveil 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car

Blue Pumpkin

Re: A better offroad vehicle than a Range Rover?

And managing to be less ugly than a Range Rover Evoque

Pilot posts detailed MS Flight Sim video of how to land Boeing 737

Blue Pumpkin

Re: 747 in old Microsoft Simulator

And the even older VAX version that would let you define your own planes and then would take over your MicroVAX completely.

We used to land the 747s on the aircraft carrier - or not - as we usually ran out of runway - but they did float :-)

Who would code a self-destruct feature into their own web browser? Oh, hello, Apple

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Sooo...

Errr ... All the laws of thermodynamics apply to EVERYTHING ....

1st law : You cannot win.

2nd law : You cannot break even

3rd law : You cannot quit the game

IIRC Ivar Jacobson has a small section entitled Software Entropy in one of his books ... But then again analysis and design is old hat these days ...

You've seen things people wouldn't believe – so tell us your programming horrors

Blue Pumpkin

Re: Bad code? Don't talk to me about bad code...

That and the "I can do table joins in memory quicker than the database" brigade by reading the contents of two tables into memory and then looping over them ...

Yes very good, until it went live and failed in the first 20s when presented with the 4+ million records in the initial load table ...