* Posts by AnonymousCoward

18 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Nov 2010

The New ROM Antics – building the ZX Spectrum 128


CP/M on Vax

I'm late to the party here but for posterity this was implemented by plugging a real Z80 card into the VAX11/780 backplane and there was some magic to route disk and console support out to the VAX and a users terminal. As I recall we could afford 2 of them and they had to be shared.

I can only assume we did that because the Tektronix cross assemblers that we used on the VAX for the QL development didn't support the correct dialect to be able to assemble the original source code. At the time Tektronix did a range of cross assemblers but they all shared a common set of directives that likely as not were not the same as the original processor manufactures assembler.

The only other site in the UK that was using these boards at the time was some defense contractor down Southampton way, that was just far enough to justify the use of the SRL twin engine turbo prop for the day trip from Cambridge to go and see them in action. Normally that plane was used for the monthly (possibly weekly) trip to Timex in Dundee to try and resolve manufacturing issues.

Different times.

Tech contractors fume over payday outage at Giant Pay after it sniffs 'suspicious activity'


Sounds like a crack team for dealing with an IT outage

"... we immediately assembled a response team including IT data experts and specialist lawyers,..."

10 PRINT "ZX81 at 37" 20 GOTO 10


Re: The good old days

Oops, you are correct. The initial LD (HL),A clears the first byte, the LDIR then clears BC more.

I wonder how many times I made that kind of mistake back in the day.


The good old days

It zeroes a block of memory 6192 bytes long starting at 16384 (0x4000) in the memory map.

On a ZX81 this would corrupt your system. On a Spectrum it would clear the screen and attributes.

Thanks for the brain cell challenge. Made me dig in a few dark corners.

Have you heard the one about IoT network tech that uses SIM cards?


Move along, nothing new to see here

One of the key points about USSD is where the server you are talking to is sited. It typically lives within the core network of your connectivity (SIM) provider and is, therefore, hard to get at/set up/manage. These guys can make USSD easy for you because they can host the server in their network usually using the ICCID to identify which of their customers the SIM belongs to and redirecting the request to that customers server so it can do specific things for that customer.

Its not a new idea but I guess they are dressing it up in a more usable API which has some value. It might make it possible to use cheaper modems as you don't need to support UDP/TCP but to be honest the core GSM protocol support will dwarf that for resources anyway.

Boeing 787 software bug can shut down planes' generators IN FLIGHT


RAT trap


Even the best trained pilots are going to break into a sweat when much of the power goes off and the last ditch RAT deploys. Assuming they sort it all out is the RAT retractable so they can proceed to land without ripping it off the bottom of the hull?

Microsoft announces Windows 10 and Azure for humanity's implacable IoT foes


Re: Why mega/gigabytes of code for kilobytes of functionality?

Often there is way more computing power/memory and code in the communications mechanism - ZigBee/WiFi/GPRS/3G etc - than there is in the application processor that is sampling the sensors and making decisions about how to interact with the outside world. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean its not there.

Car? Check. Driver? Nope. OK, let's go, says British govt


Interesting ethics ahead

There are going to be some interesting discussions to be had here.

A driver faced with a child walking out from between two parked cars will subjectively "do their best" to avoid a collision. Whatever the outcome.

A driverless car will no doubt have the technology on board to make an objective decision about the merits of various actions and their outcome. One of which might be "A collision is unavoidable within the available parameters. Therefore the pedestrian loses in order to avoid adding serious injury to the passenger to the body count".

In many ways that is a more reasoned outcome than the driver instinctively doing "something" because they don't have the information, or capacity to react otherwise. But it comes across as rather cold.

On the other hand perhaps the driverless car would have been aware of the upcoming situation and could have avoided it since it won't be playing with its iPOD, mobile phone etc while speeding past the local school.

Linus Torvalds releases Linux 3.18 as 3.17 wobbles


Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

Depends doesn't it. For example, if these "couple of people" were astronauts and this software was controlling their life support then yes I would.

Euro spacemen clear Ariane 6 for liftoff


Software reuse

Lets hope they have learned the lessons around component reuse that felled the first Ariane 5 launch.


Sinclair’s 1984 big shot at business: The QL is 30 years old


Re: My claim to fame:

I recall we named many of the ROM versions using the initials of various female secretaries and PA's who worked there. 'FH' being a particular favourite of one junior engineer named in the article.

I've got a super free multi-petabyte storage box for you: /dev/null


Re: WOM?

A wise, bearded and be-sandled system administrator once told me

"A backup is not a backup until its been read"

Wise words.

BT to fibre up another 98 exchanges, puffs 'FTTP on demand' offer


Re: Announcing new exchanges != installing 'em.

Our exchange was one of those that won the "race for infinity competition" a year or so back. Do we have it yet? No. There has been random digging and installation of cabinets but the BT website just announced another 6 month slip on availability to the end of the year.

I know it was all some cynical marketing gimmick but FFS at least deliver on the exchanges you said had won your stoopid competition.

BT - I hope you are listening because I can't find anyone who answers your phones that cares much.

Web czar: 'Drag your nan online'


Really, we want to help but...

I wish it was only an hour. I have lost count of the time spent trying to educate older family members how to use a computer offline let alone online with all the potential risks that brings with it. I have even had to make trips to other countries to fix things when they have really gone wrong.

I dont think any of these people are stupid but the technical hurdle required to use a computer and keep it going is a big one. They also dont use the machine enough so you tell them how to do something then a week later when they next turn the computer on again they have forgotten again.

For some people current technology is too complex to master, for those of us who try to help we need better tools to do so. Microsoft Remote Assistance? Great, find the short cut, enter a password, send the email to a friend who might or might not be around and wait for them to connect. Direct connection via RDP or VNC, ok - figure out how to get past the router and NAT and DynamicIP addressing.... Oh - your internet conneciton is not working.....

iPad - no remote access at all. "Where has my mail icon gone"? Who knows, I cant see your screen.

Bah, as an industry I am sure we can do better.

Qualcomm confirms Windows 8 on ARM


Kind of .....

Commercially it didnt work but the OS was clearly portable from the outset. The non Intel processors (PPC, Alpha and "the other one") might not have survived long term but the OS ran fine on all of them. True you did have to recompile all your code for the target platform which was a pain but that was a relatively straight forward process, including drivers.

What might make it more palatable for applications developers this time round is C# and the Common Language Runtime. You compile your application code into something processor agnostic and either it gets run in a VM like environment, or it compiles to the underlying processors instruction set as required when its installed or run.

Groupon worth 'as much as $25 billion'


Groupon Spam

I have never signed up with them and only ever seen one ad from them embedded in a web page. Then a few days later I get an email from them with latest offers. How does that work?

No doubt I am now counted as one of their "head count" for the purposes of valuation.

The forgotten, fat generation of Mac Portables


Disk mechanics not improved much since then

Interesting to note that while all the other hardware spec's have gone through the roof since this thing was created the hard disk "access time" has only managed to halve'ish from 28ms to 12ms. Thankfully gobs of RAM in the machines of today, and on the disks themselves, have hidden this from us.

Apple coughs to time zone problems


There is a work around for repeating alarms

f you set your repeating alarm(s) to go off 1 hour earlier then it will correctly repeat at the time you wanted it to go off. This at least saves having to remember to set single alarms every night to wake yourself up. In addition when you install the new realease with the fix the bug you will be woken up an hour earlier than you wanted which will give you time to (a) appreciate the geenius of the bug fix and (b) reset your repeating alarms to the correct time.

Works for me, your mileage may vary, void where prohibited by law etc.