* Posts by Paul Cooper

202 publicly visible posts • joined 7 Mar 2007


No, I will not pay the bill. Why? Because we pay you to fix things, not break them

Paul Cooper

Two things, both with the same employer in the late 70s!

1) Company moved to a new headquarters, and telephone access to our computer (a bureau service) was essential (this was pre-internet days, and British Telecom (it might still have been the General Post Office!) were the only supplier. We had arranged with them for the telephone lines to be connected on the day of the move, well in advance. Come the day - no engineer. Rang them; "Oh, the engineers are on strike!" One and only time I have come close to losing my cool; they were told in VERY strong terms that it was their problem, not ours, and we had their name on a supply contract! I must have hit a nerve - an engineer (probably one who had been promoted to management) turned up and we got our connection. Or it might have been a case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease...

2) The hardware included a disc drive - probably a few megabytes in a thing the size of a spin dryer. It needed fairly regular maintenance (I had the usual collection of crashed disc platters on display). Funny thing was that every single time the engineer came, there were screws left behind - they knew they'd be back, and why put screws back in that they knew they'd be taking out again?

Martian microbes could survive up to 280 million years buried underground

Paul Cooper

Given that there are Martian meteorites on Earth, it is almost certain that there will be terrestrial meteorites on Mars. So, if a terrestrial meteorite (which we know would have a good chance of carrying terrestrial microorganisms such as D. radiodurans) landed on the Martian polar caps, it could easily have a short-lived environment after landing during which surviving bacteria could reproduce. As there is evidence for repeated melting and refreezing at the Martian Poles (e.g. "Spiders" and "trees"), it seems to me that we should EXPECT there to be bacteria or similar micro-organisms at least in the vicinity of the polar ice caps.

To make this computer work, users had to press a button. Why didn't it work? Guess

Paul Cooper

Re: Bad design

I hit this one recently; quarantine in Hong Kong. You had to have 4 successive negative PCR tests, which had to be done at either the quarantine hotel or at an official centre. The results were notified via SMS, and as part of the registration process, you had to give a mobile phone number. Snag was, I only had my UK phone; it (although supposedly unlocked) wouldn't accept a Hong Kong SIM (but that's another story) and the registration process would only accept Hong Kong or Chinese international dialling codes! I ended up buying a very cheap, non-smartphone just so I could receive those texts.

Cops swoop after crooks use wireless keyfob hack to steal cars

Paul Cooper

Many moons ago, in the mid 70's I owned a Toyota that was probably built around 1970. I locked the keys in two or three times, but it was simplicity itself to break in - a bit of bent wire between the window and the door frame to hook on the bar that operated the latch, and hey presto - you were in. I think it was a copper that showed me that trick!

I understand that cars built somewhat later had a fixed bar over the top of the bar that operated the latch so you couldn't do that!

To bring it up to date, my present car updates its software over a mobile phone connection (it has its own built in). It does ask for permission that must be given from the in car multi-function screen, though, but that only required the proximity of the key to operate it - I rarely have to take the key out of my pocket!

Charge a future EV in less than five minutes – using literally cool NASA tech

Paul Cooper

Actual experience

I drive an EV; a Volkswagen ID.3. It has a nominal range of about 240 miles. I recently did a trip from my home near Ely in Cambridgeshire, to Manchester, then Edinburgh, a day trip to St Andrew''s, then to York and finally back home. I forget the total mileage, but it must have been around 800 miles, with trips longer than the car's range on at least two days. I did not have the least problem with charging; I was able to find fast chargers at locations where I could stop for us to have a meal or whatever while the car charged, which took less than an hour for a full charge. Of course, I was never charging from a flat battery; I rarely let it go below 25% charge.

The point is that existing charging works perfectly well. Providing more of the existing type of fast chargers would cope quite happily; there was one point where I had to wait half an hour to get onto a charger, but that's a matter of sizing the facility to meet the demand. I was able to charge the car overnight at the hotels we used; I am sure that hotels have pretty quickly realized that people look for "Car Charging Facility" when choosing hotels! Slow charging mostly - even merely the provision of a standard 13 amp outlet - but overnight that was plenty.

In all that journey there was never a point at which e felt restricted or slowed down by problems with charging the car.

Rest in peace, Queen Elizabeth II – Britain's first high-tech monarch

Paul Cooper

Re: ta ta Liz

It still feels weird saying "King". I've had 59 years, my entire life, with the "Queen" on money and stamps. (Apart from the many King George and Queen Victoria coins still around when I was younger, pre-decimalisation, some so wor you could barely make out the letting on them)

I was born shortly after the Queen's accession. Think how weird it feels after 70 years!

When I started in Computing, undergraduate computer science wasn't a thing; programming was often taught in engineering or maths courses. I learnt "on the job" several years after graduating! Kudos to Her Majesty for at least engaging with IT, when so many people of my generation refuse to.

You can never have too many backups. Also, you can never have too many backups

Paul Cooper

Re: a place in hell

Not really a problem with a short name like John Smith, but if you have a patient with an eastern European or Asian name that's lengthy or difficult to spell there's a risk of mistake where you might type it wrong the second time but hit another patient's name by mistake!

Or Chinese names (or other non-alphabetic writing systems) where there might not be a consistent transliteration. My late wife's name could (quite correctly) be transliterated in several different ways. She always used the same one, but the symbol she transliterated as "Yau" could easily be transliterated as "Chiu"

Paul Cooper

Re: a place in hell

My brother and I have almost identical initials, differing only in our first name - and neither of us use our first names!

Nichelle Nichols' ashes set for trek to the stars

Paul Cooper

Re: New cremation technique!

You should try the lyrics to the Yorkshire folk song, "On Ilkla Moor B'aht 'at"! (https://www.otleybrassband.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Ilkley-Moor-Lyrics.pdf)

In a time before calculators, going the extra mile at work sometimes didn't add up

Paul Cooper

I did my O-levels when £sd was still around. Try and imagine doing compound interest sums in it! Actually, we converted to pounds and decimals of pounds, did the arithmetic, and then converted the result back to £sd! But simple arithmetic operations were carried out without conversion - in some ways, it helped when you were using other number bases (e.g. octal and hexadecimal)

Of course, Britain went decimal shortly afterwards!

Incidentally, the abbreviations are actually very simple and logical - if you know Latin! Libra, Solidus and Denarius were the origins of the abbreviations, the Roman coins that were regarded as "equivalent" to the later pound (Libra means a pound weight, originally of silver!), solidus (a small silver coin) and denarius (the commonest low value copper coin). For a very long time, the only actual coin in general use was the penny (until after the Norman Conquest, I think) and the others were units of account.

Getting that syncing feeling after an Exchange restore

Paul Cooper

At which point you just have to think about what you have done to piss off Sir John Cosmos* and wonder whether his plan of ruining your week will just stop at these corrupted backups or will he do his best to knobble your boiler on a cold morning as well.

Amd just to prove that the perversity of the Universe tends to a maximum, my central heating recently jammed ON! Fortunately before the peak of the heatwave, but it was still excessively toasty around my place until the engineer came. And yes, I could have killed it entirely - but the hot water was on the same system!

James Webb, Halley's Comet may be set for cosmic dust-up

Paul Cooper


"Unserviceable" means not functioning! I'm sure that the article really means "not serviceable".

The perfect crime – undone by the perfect email backups

Paul Cooper

I was wondering if someone would notice my grammatical error!

Paul Cooper

In fairness to the Police, they get some very odd requests for crime numbers resulting from the Insurance companies' love of them. I had a ridiculous one - I had my camera stolen while in Buenos Aires. Didn't realize it had been stolen until too late to do anything practical and I had no desire to get mixed up with Argentinian police (I worked for the UK government at the time). Got home and started a claim on my travel insurance. "Have you got a crime number?" they asked. I pointed out that I didn't, and they asked me to ring the local (UK) police to get one! I duly did so - and had a good laugh with the police officer I spoke to, who expressed great willingness to go to BA to investigate the crime! But he was obviously used to similar silly requests, and I got my crime number, out of which I got a rather better camera than the one I had stolen!

Know the difference between a bin and /bin unless you want a new doorstop

Paul Cooper

CMC Reality (a version of Pick). Before that I did use a thing called AS on an IBM 360, but I can't find any reference to it - I think it was something that IBM put together to provide bureau services. It bore no relationship with later things called AS. Then Phoenix on the Cambridge IBM 370. Then CP/M! But I started in computing for real in about 1976.

That time a techie accidentally improved an airline's productivity

Paul Cooper

Re: Everybody knows...

Chinese is even worse - a non-alphabetic language...

If I use my sisters-in-law's computers I have to get them to change the language for me!

We can bend the laws of physics for your super-yacht, but we can't break them

Paul Cooper

This is actually a real class of problem in Operational Research, and it has answers. Don't ask me to explain them; I don't understand the maths. But I know it is a real, answerable problem.

Human-made hopper out-leaps rival robots in artificial jumping contest

Paul Cooper

Re: The next hurdle

I look forward to seeing the Mk2 version that can carry a usable payload.

There's plenty of instrumentation available for much lighter birds and insects. As it is, it could carry a useful payload with several sensors.

Buying a USB adapter: Pennies. Knowing where to stick it: Priceless

Paul Cooper

Re: Seems ok

Mates rates is paying their full going rate, how else would they be able to pay for a round at the pub

Indeed. In fact, if I get a friend or relation to do a job for me, I pay whatever the going rate is; in most cases, they need the money more than I do.

Saving a loved one from a document disaster

Paul Cooper

Re: Evil Books!

Indeed. I have at least one book on my shelf that is about 120 years old. I defy you to find ANY digital; media that old! And our present discussion of WP illustrates the problems of old formats. I have quite a few WP files on my machine (my work used it for several years in the early 90s) - most will open in Word, but some won't!

NASA's Curiosity finds signs of ancient life on Mars. Or maybe not. More data needed

Paul Cooper

Re: "very primitive life, likely never beyond lichen if that"

So, pretty much on par with what sits between a politician's ears then..

I think the lichen's lawyers might be knocking at your door - that's probably libel!

Phone jammers made my model plane smash into parked lorry, fumes hobbyist

Paul Cooper

WiFi range extenders are a thing, and many rely on illegally high power. I can readily imagine a lorry driver using one of these to connect to a distant WiFi source.

IT god exposed as false idol by quirks of Java – until he laid his hands on the server

Paul Cooper

I managed an inspirational moment once - and it was a mechanical part of the system I was working on! I was developing software to process ground-sounding radar data in real-time (in the late 80s - transputers were the big new thing!). The antenna had a complex system to scan it sideways behind a moving vehicle, and the mechanical engineer had devised a nice system using stepping motors etc. Suddenly, he was made aware that the antenna was several times heavier than expected, and the system with all the motors was going to be too heavy to hang off the back of a van. All hands on deck time! But I sat down and worked out the movements of the linkage, and realized that two consecutive joints simply rotated by the same amount in the opposite direction, and a simple belt running between the two would achieve the same result as a clever system of motors. This reduced the weight sufficiently that all was well. I felt very clever for a while!

Zuckerberg wants to create a make-believe world in which you can hide from all the damage Facebook has done

Paul Cooper

The Unknown Limits

When I heard of the renaming, my immediate thought was "Meta Incognita" - the name given to part of Baffin Island by Martin Frobisher in 1577! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meta_Incognita_Peninsula).

It isn't, perhaps, an obvious link to one not conversant with the Polar Regions, but I think it does indicate the direction that the new entity is likely to take! "Limits? What Limits?"

Scoot on over for a wheely tricky mystery with an electrifying solution

Paul Cooper

And again, SNAP

Quite literally!

In 1983 I was working on a prototype airborne ice-sounding radar system, and we were doing fieldwork in Svalbard. We had a nice office in the airport buildings at Longyearbyen, and of course, there were many last-minute changes and corrections to the software that were required. The airborne kit included a Z80 based single card computer, which controlled all the data acquisition in flight. Needless to say, this was very basic with NO software at all, so I developed the assembler programs using an Osborne 1 with asm, link and Wordstar as editor. This all worked perfectly in Cambridge!

However, in Svalbard, the Osborne 1 demonstrated exactly the same symptoms as Kristian's machine. You could open it up, switch it on and it would power up happily - but as soon as I touched the keyboard, it died. Light dawned when I realized that every time I walked past a filing cabinet near the door, I attracted a large and painful spark! The carpet was, of course, nylon, and the air in the polar regions has very low humidity, so just walking across the carpet could generate quite a large electrostatic potential! After that, I had to remember to earth my hand before touching the Osborne 1, and all was well.

FYI: Catastrophic flooding helped carve Martian valleys, not just rivers of water

Paul Cooper


Surely this was all postulated back in the 1970s, when the Viking Orbiters sent back photos like this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploration_of_Mars#/media/File:Viking_Teardrop_Islands.jpg.

China discloses new space tech: Coloured cargo labels to replace beige ones taikonauts found fiddly

Paul Cooper

There go my chances of being a taikonaut - I'm allergic to crustaceans!

Sir Clive Sinclair: Personal computing pioneer missed out on being Britain's Steve Jobs

Paul Cooper

Sinclair was BC (Before Computing!)

As the article mentions, Clive Sinclair was well-known in the electronics world long before the ZX80 and ZX81. He produced a whole series of radios and audio amplifiers that were very good value for money at the time. I remember the regular adverts in Practical Electronics! Famously, he discovered that a lot of reject transistors were good enough for audio use; they were being rejected as not good enough for demanding military applications. One story goes that he dug up a whole lot from landfill, and another is that his then wife spent many hours grading the reject transistors.

We shouldn't forget that he was successful in the electronics world before he ever touched computers.

Unlike many, I never owned a Sinclair product, but I did aspire to a ZX81 at one time! But I came into computing via another route, and my experience in programming a S100 based ZX80 single-card computer makes me take my hat off to Sir Clive and his team. Never before was so much squeezed into so little!

Ghosts in the machine learning pipeline will be impossible to exorcise

Paul Cooper

I was bereaved earlier this year; my wife died very suddenly and unexpectedly.

I have ample material from online chats conducted while we were courting and engaged (we lived on opposite sides of the world, so all our conversations were electronic). Her Facebook profile would provide ample material to bring it up to date. In other words, I am in a position to do exactly what Joseph did, given the skills (which I don't have).

However, I am not even slightly tempted. It was my wife's intelligence and sometimes quirky response to things that made her what she was. It was doing things with her, sharing common interests, that made our life together. It was helping her cook her favourite Chinese dishes - the list goes on and on.

An AI avatar might perhaps fool me for a few minutes, but even if it got everything right, it still wouldn't fool me for long. How does an AI handle the idiosyncratic English of a person for whom it isn't their first language? What about all the private things that never came anywhere near an electronic interface?

All I'd end up with would be a sort of Barbie-doll version of my late wife. Better to accept that she is gone, move on and see what lies around the corner - as she would have wanted me to.

Hacking the computer with wirewraps and soldering irons: Just fix the issues as they come up, right?

Paul Cooper

Re: Computer O Level

I can't remember if it was two of us or three who passed (i.e. got a C grade or higher), but only my friend Rhys and I went on to do A-level Computer Science, and we found ourselves helping said teacher with his lessons during our "free" periods when we should have been studying...

I was in a similar position at A-level for Physics. Our old-school Physics teacher had retired, and in his place, a young teacher with experience in the experimentally based Nuffield Physics course had been recruited. Of course, we were already partway through the conventional, mathematically based Physics course, and couldn't switch mid-course. Myself and another guy who was the school mathematical genius frequently ended up either correcting his working or being asked to explain to the class!

Paul Cooper

Re: PL/I … "think C with even crappier aesthetics"

It was still around and occasionally used in the 1980s; I think I've got a programming manual for it on my shelf somewhere (the IBM variant). Thankfully I never actually used it - got the manual because I sometimes had to resurrect other people's programs, though I drew the line at things written in really strange languages (one was in SNOBOL, and I've seen RATFOR as well).

Paul Cooper

I wouldn't go so far as to call it an OS, but I wrote a data logging program for a Z80 based S100 bus single card computer that had no software at all; just the bare iron. I used an Osborne 1 with WordStar, link and asm as my development environment (the system had to be debuggable in the Arctic!). The program was logging data in real-time from a prototype ice-sounding radar! The basic structure was sufficiently flexible that I was able to keep using it through several iterations of ancillary hardware, and I think (with hindsight) that it could have been developed into a real-time OS without too much trouble.

A new island has popped up off the coast of Japan thanks to an underwater volcano

Paul Cooper

Re: New Tectonics

In 1971, I was in the first year where Plate Tectonics was taught to first-year undergraduates in Cambridge. It was a truly exciting and revolutionary idea, and it was a very exciting time to be learning geology.

Tired: What3Words. Wired: A clone location-tracking service based on FOUR words – and they are all extremely rude

Paul Cooper

Re: Not my kind of humor, but

Also something where the failure of a single company will bring the whole thing down.

Latutude and longitude are two nice, simple numbers that give one's location to whatever precision is required, are completely public domain, and can be obtained from any device that can use What3Words.

Hubble, Hubble, toil and trouble: NASA pores over moth-eaten manuals ahead of switch to backup hardware

Paul Cooper

Re: Sounds Like...

>Couldn't we just send Geordies astronauts ?

Only female ones!

One good deed leads to a storm in an Exchange Server

Paul Cooper

Academics generally were very early adopters of email; if you're collaborating with people around the world, the benefits are pretty obvious!

As a result, I think I've seen every single one of the error cases that people have reported; OoO loops, emails sent to everyone in the organization; you name it, it's happened to every large academic organization! I hasten to say that the worst I've done is send a message to the "wrong" email group resulting in something reaching people it shouldn't.

Go to L: A man of the cloth faces keyboard conundrum

Paul Cooper

Zero problems

Well, I've been preparing sermons electronically since about 1988, starting on a PCW, and never hit that one!

But I have hit a related problem more recently. For a while, I used a phone-based satnav system that linked with my car's electronics. All well and good! But it had a sort of character at a time handwriting recognition system for inputting addresses etc. Again, so far so good, and it was mostly pretty reliable. But I NEVER found a reliable way to distinguish 0 and O. 1 and l were ok; you just did the serif on a 1. But I tried doing the 0 in either direction - always came up with O. Tried crossing it European style (I habitually do that anyway; habits gained from preparing input sheets to be entered on punch cards) - I forget what it came up with but it wasn't 0! I never did find a way to do it.

Baby Space Shuttle biz chases dreams at Spaceport Cornwall

Paul Cooper

Machrihanish has abysmal transport connections - no rail, and it's at the end of a very long, rural, single-carriageway road. And while I think the "zombie apocalypse" description is a bit OTT, it's certainly in the right direction. There is a deep water port nearby at Campbelltown, though.

Watchdog 'enables Tesla Autopilot' with string, some weight, a seat belt ... and no actual human at the wheel

Paul Cooper

Re: Hmm ...

There was an incident at a Radar site where a tech was working up the tower having carefully taken the 'Man aloft' key with him. Officer came along and wanted to use the system so got the spare key from the safe and turned the transmitter on.

No matter how hard you try, someone will find a way

ISTR there were several early rail disasters where mistakes in passing tokens had fatal results, e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1898_St_Johns_rail_accident

From Maidenhead to Morocco: In a change to the scheduled programming, we bring you The On Call of Dreams

Paul Cooper

Re: I wanna visit the Regomiser!

I've always thought of it being like the Thagomizer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thagomizer)

Forget GameStop: Keyboard warriors and electronic trading have never mixed well

Paul Cooper

Similar phenomena

A similar phenomenon happens in boating circles. It's the never-ending pause between realizing that you're going to go in the water and actually getting wet. Frequently caused by a dinghy moving away from the jetty while the person concerned has their weight neither in the dinghy nor on the jetty. Can have more complex causes involving free water effects.

A VERY long time ago, I saw a MAD Magazine cartoon which described the shortest interval known to mankind being that between the traffic light turning green and a New York Cab driver honking the horn!

No egrets: Ardent twitchers fined for breaking lockdown after bloke spots northern mockingbird in his garden

Paul Cooper

Re: Be thankful they're only visitors

So its a totally different rarity league to something like (earlier mentioned) waxwings, which visit from Scandinavia just abut every winter (though numbers vary, each year sometimes lots, often just a few) and so even though they are very attractive to see they are not a "mega" (but a drab US vagrant is)

They're progressively rarer as you travel south in the UK - I live near Cambridge, and waxwings in this area are something only seen maybe once a decade or even less frequently. They're seen much more frequently in Scotland and Northern England, but I think the year we had them (winter 1995-1996) was the latest time they've been seen in East Anglia - but I may be wrong.

Paul Cooper


IIn the winter of 1995-1996, I was fortunate enough to have a flock of waxwings congregate in a crab-apple tree in our front garden. They're rare-ish winter visitors in the UK, so we did notice a fair number of people coming along to see them. All were very polite and very careful not to violate our privacy, remaining on the road and not attempting to enter our front garden even though they would probably have got closer and a better camera angle by doing so. When I first saw them (they're a fairly distinctive bird), I was quite worried about being besieged by hordes of anorak wearing twitchers, but in fact people were actually quite polite about it.

UK dev loses ownership claim on forensic software he said he wrote in spare time and licensed to employer

Paul Cooper

Related issue

In academia, if you work in a University it is usual for people to retain IPR on the work they do, and to take their work with them when they move to another university. This includes data, samples, code and whatever. Of course, a lot of it is published and freely available anyway, but there is always a corpus of work that is not yet published. I don't think this is documented anywhere in particular, but it's the usual way things happen.

Those who moved from University to a government institution sometimes got a nasty shock when they realized that their research belonged to the institute, NOT to themselves personally. When it came to Freedom of Information and Environmental Information Regulations (the latter was more important in most cases), it made a big difference - the institute could and did instruct them to release data to third parties in compliance with those regulations. Some more recalcitrant members of staff had to be threatened with disciplinary action before they could be made to take it seriously!

Housekeeping and kernel upgrades do not always make for happy bedfellows

Paul Cooper

Limited space and facilities

Many moons ago, I was "sysadmin" for a mini-computer system - a CMC reality (this was the late 70s). In those days, system upgrades were performed by the manufacturer, so that wasn't an issue.

However, we were handling large databases (by 1978 standards - tens of thousands of records, I think) and writing software to manipulate these databases in ad-hoc ways almost every day. But what a lot of people here are forgetting is that in those days, system resources were tiny, disc (yes, we had a disc) space was extremely limited and backup was a 1600bpi reel-reel magnetic tape. Indeed disc space was so limited that you often had to save a file to tape to be able to load another one. However, several databases had to be on-line - we ran an online query system for a few clients (no internet - this was via modems and hunting groups). Remember, too, that in those days even the concept of a file or a record varied from machine to machine - the ubiquitous Unix style bit-stream model of a file wasn't by any means universal. The CMC, for example, regarded a file as a collection of records whose location was allocated according to a hashing function derived from key fields - a record was a collection of fields. So even if you had a backup, it wasn't an image of what was on the disc, it was the output of a command to convert the disc version to a sequential format.

Anyway, the point I'm working round to is that very often we had no choice but to work on a live and running database - there wasn't space or resources to do anything else. And equally, the safeguard was to ensure you were working on a very well-defined small set of records when carrying out tests so that you knew what you were going to have to fix if it went pear-shaped. But of course, it was far more error-prone than anything a modern DBA or sysadmin would allow. today! And equally, of course, we were often manipulating data input by bored keyboard operators, so incorrectly formatted data were fairly common (we did apply validation on entry, but again, it was limited by the resources available). Very often, we'd run a command to reformat a field according to new customer requirements and find that it fell over when it hit a condition that we hadn't anticipated because an operator had put in something the client had told us didn't happen!

Whatever the rights and wrongs of what we were doing, it didn't half teach you to bench-check your code VERY carefully!

Drone smashes through helicopter's windscreen and injures passenger

Paul Cooper

Re: Right of way

COLREGS DON'T say anything about "right of way" - there's no such concept in them. As you say, every navigator has the responsibility to avoid collisions. However, there is no "right of way" - there's "Stand on" vessel, which is the vessel which should maintain its speed and course, and there "give way" vessel, which has to change its course and speed in the manner mandated by the regulations.

Windows might have frozen – but at least my feet are toasty

Paul Cooper

Re: Only once

If the temperature in your fridge is too high, you should turn the fridge _up_...

And in Hong Kong, you turn the thermostat UP to save electricity....

Cruise, Kidman and an unfortunate misunderstanding at the local chemist

Paul Cooper

Re: Hmm

It also strikes me as odd that a company would think nothing of spending an awful lot of money on film and development without either their own dark room facility, or understand the savings that would have come with an (even that expensive) digital camera.

Even the relatively small outfit (~400 employees; 2 photographers!) I worked for had it's own colour processing system.

A 1970s magic trick: Take a card, any card, out of the deck and watch the IBM System/370 plunge into a death spiral

Paul Cooper

Back in the dark and distant days on the 1980s, I did have one or two programs that either would or woudln't work if a comment was in a particular location! I think that would have been in IBM's H Fortran Compiler, which was often rather too clever in its optimizations - my favourite was it movind a RAND function outside a loop because the argument didn't change within the loop!

Who knew that hosing a table with copious amounts of cubic metres would trip adult filters?

Paul Cooper

Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

Or even place-names - "Stow-cum-Wendy" is a real place!