* Posts by Bob Carter

13 posts • joined 12 Mar 2009

ALGOL 60 at 60: The greatest computer language you've never used and grandaddy of the programming family tree

Bob Carter

Re: .. never used .. ?

I was taught Algol at Uni in 1975, and I still have a copy of my project on paper tape in the attic. I have been meaning to create an Arduino based paper tape reader just to see what is on it!

OK brainiacs, we've got an IT cold case for you: Fatal disk errors on an Amiga 4000 with 600MB external SCSI unless the clock app is... just so

Bob Carter

Re: My favourite timing bug

I admit it, distinctly remember soldering a scope probe to the back of a test fixture to get it to work so that I could go home...

Things I learned from Y2K (pt 87): How to swap a mainframe for Microsoft Access

Bob Carter

Back in the day I wrote a complete stock control system for a logic card rework line in 123 macros worked well....

COBOL: Five little letters that if put on a CV would ensure stable income for many a greybeard coder

Bob Carter

Re: Legacy items on your CV

Ahh, APL a write only language. Back in the 80's I once spent 4 hours on a transatlantic phone call (back when it was very expensive) talking to the developer of an APL accounting program trying to debug it - I had the terminal he was in a hotel with no access to a terminal or source. Try reading out APL code over the phone. We eventually got there finding a function where he had reset quad IO changing all the array indices and as a by product changing the number of months in a year....

Allowlist, not whitelist. Blocklist, not blacklist. Goodbye, wtf. Microsoft scans Chromium code, lops off offensive words

Bob Carter

Re: This is stupid

Then someone had better tell Airbus to stop the planes software calling the pilots Retard at 20 feet....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sikGj2flLB8

Too hot to handle? Raspberry Pi 4 fans left wondering if kit should come with a heatsink

Bob Carter

Re: Corrupt SD cards

Ditto - my OSMC installation on a Class 10 Sandisk card was trashed by a hard power shut off...

Could you just pop into the network room and check- hello? The Away Team. They're... gone

Bob Carter

Whistling Power Supplies

I was walking through an assembly area for banking controllers back in the early 80's, these machines had several pint pot 1 farad capacitors on the power supply rails, when I saw a test technician take a dive off his stool and away from the freshly assembled machine he had just turned on. A second later and there was an almighty flash and bang as the power supply exploded.

After checking that he was OK I asked him how he knew it was going to explode, and he told me that although rare this was not they first one the line had experienced and that they were taught to listen to the high pitch whistle the supply made as it powered up - and if it did not sound normal then get out of the way bl**dy fast.

Nowadays H&S would have a hissy fit, but then..

Mourning Apple's war against sockets? The 2018 Mac mini should be your first port of call

Bob Carter

Perception of speed

I have never been a fanbois - the sheer price and current inability to upgrade or maintain apple kit yourself stifle that. But I switched to a second hand Macbook 5 years ago for work reasons and I have never wanted to go back. Why ?

It is fast enough for what I want it to do - the UI tricks that give it a seemingly fast response make it a joy to use. Things like, clicking on a button and getting an instant response - having multiple desktops - actually being able to run multiple programs - choosing when I want to install software patches - regular free OS upgrades that just work. Excellent power control - long battery life - mine is still on the original battery and going strong.

I do keep a desktop Windows machine but just for 1 purpose - to run a flight simulator - as the equivalent hardware from Apple would be 3 times the cost, and I am considering moving that to Linux so that I have control over the system updates..

I repair Windows PCs & Laptops for friends, family and a local school, I have lost count of the reinstalls I have to do from botched forced upgrades/patches or users who unwittingly run recovery and factory reset their machines. Programs/Printers that worked last week being uninstalled or broken by the latest OS patches. Ridiculous Boot times, never sure if it has accepted your click and just queued opening the app - then suddenly a minute or so later getting duplicate windows openinge... Or have all my clients just been conned into buying the cheapest machines that really are not capable of running Windows 10.

My current Macbook is the last of the upgradable Macbooks - mid 2012 - it should still be usable in 5 years time. I could sell it today for a minimal loss after 5 years, the 2nd hand prices being so high. But it will probably be my last apple purchase. I can't see me paying out that much again for a new apple box that I can not open simply and upgrade the memory or disk. Though if the 2018 mac mini proves to be upgradeable I will be keeping an eye on the second hand market in 5 years time !

Scared of brute force password attacks? Just 'GIVE UP' says Microsoft

Bob Carter

Waste of Time

Whilst the sites allow you to reset the password based on some spurious question such as your mothers maiden name or your date of birth or some other fact that can be researched then just how strong the original password was simply does not matter..

from personal experience.....

Quick Q: How many FLOPPIES do I need for 16 MILLION image files?

Bob Carter

I still have one of my University Projects backed up in the loft - does any one have a paper tape reader to hand ?

Bob Carter

I still have my University second year project (1977) up in the loft - does anyone have a paper tape reader handy ?

Android rebellion: How to tame your stupid smartphone

Bob Carter

Painful so far...

I bought an Orange ZTE Blade aka San Fransico earlier this week and getting that up and running has been very painful (partly due to Orange and their SIM activation process failing abysmally) but a lot due to generic messages from Andriod that do not mean anything to a dumb user. "Sim card will not let you connect to that network" , finally got it connected and then received "Call Ended" every time I tried to dial out.....

Now I can not get past "validating phone number" when I try to open GMAIL !

Why does Market place keep giving me "A network error has occurred. Retry or cancel" when connected via my home broadband ?

Is there any real support ?

'WALL-E' robot grunt obeys military hand signals

Bob Carter
Happy

What about...

Now if they just add a rack for my golf clubs and they might have a winner.......

..then again how would it interpret my golf swing ?

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