* Posts by cshore

24 posts • joined 2 May 2013

Original Acorn Arthur project lead explains RISC OS genesis



I worked on that project, too (Hi, Alan).

I also got shipped off to work on the Acorn side of the port. GST somehow managed to convince Acorn that I was some kind of Unix guru and I ended up being given an Archimedes and the job of porting adb. Porting a debugger which I'd never used, for an OS with which I was unfamiliar, to a machine whose instruction set I'd never seen…was quite a challenge. But it worked!

RISC OS: 35-year-old original Arm operating system is alive and well


Ah. Arthur. "ARM by Thursday" is I remember right!

UK Ministry of Defence apologises after Afghan interpreters' personal data exposed in email blunder


Re: Egregious numpties

Because Lord Carrington's resignation over the Falklands is often cited as the last time a government minister exhibited a sense of honour and resigned.

Not keen on a 5G mast in your street? At least it'd be harder for crackpots to burn down 'a flying cell tower in orbit'


Reminds me of Douglas Adams description of how to get out of Cambridge...

“He had extracted himself from the Cambridge one-way system by the usual method, which involved going round and round it faster and faster until he achieved a sort of escape velocity and flew off at a tangent in a random direction, which he was now trying to identify and correct for.”

From Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.

‘Can COVID-19 vaccines connect me to the internet?’


Re: Not necessarily conspiracy nuts

But they believe that they who are doing the "critical thinking" and that everyone else is just blindly believing what they are told...

Retro Microlympics concludes with possible reopening dates for UK computer museums


Re: Elite

There's a brilliant chapter in Backroom Boys by Francis Spufford which goes into considerable detail about the sheer wizardry that went into writing Elite. The book is worth it for that chapter alone but is a spiffing read anyway.

Elite name on Brit scene sponsors retro video games preservation project at the Centre for Computing History


Re: Glorious

There is a brilliant chapter on the development of Elite in Backroom Boys by Francis Spufford. A book well worth reading anyway but that chapter is superb.

VMware to stop describing hardware as ‘male’ and ‘female’ in new terminology guide


Re: @Khaptain - @aberglas - You had better take these seriously

'Tis a well-known phenomenon. Look up "group polarisation". Social media turbocharges this kind of thing...

This'll make you feel old: Uni compsci favourite Pascal hits the big five-oh this year


Cue Niklaus Wirth joke...

His name is pronounced "Veert" but some mispronounce it as "Worth. His standard response to this was to remark "Some people call me by name and some people call me by value."

We lost another good one: Mathematician John Conway loses Game of Life, taken by coronavirus at 82


Re: Conway in Cambridge

I arrived in Caius in 1983 as a NatSci, later changing to CompSci. I only heard of both Conway and Hawking after leaving three years later. Had the pleasure of sharing Christmas Dinner with Hawking some years later, though, and the Hawking Lift is still there...

Sunday: Australia is shocked UK would consider tracking mobile data to beat pandemic. Monday: Australia to deploy drone intimidation squads


Re: We obey

Yes, I know 12 people who have almost certainly had it - none have been tested but the symptoms match in all cases. One of them is currently sedated and on a ventilator.

Grab a towel and pour yourself a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster because The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is 42


A schoolfriend and I made Geoffrey Perkins's acquaintance when RadioActive (remember them?) came to perform at our school theatre on their way to Edinburgh. He later organised for us a tour of Broadcasting House. We met him in an editing suite where he and an editor were frantically trying to edit the second series of HHGTTG before RadioActive flew to Australia for a tour the following morning. The floor was knee deep in tape offcuts (the days when all tape editing was done with a razor blade and sticky tape) and he wasn't sure whether they would finish it all in time. I believe they did.

He did tell us that Douglas Adams suffered from terrible writer's block (fairly well known, I think) and would frequently turn up to recording sessions having written precisely nothing. He would sit in the next room with a stack of carbon paper, writing out the script by hand. It would be taken into the studio and recorded immediately the sheets were torn off the carbon pad. Sheer genius!

Airlines in Asia, Africa ground Boeing 737 Max 8s after second death crash in four-ish months


Re: According to the BBC...

What is officially known as "Controlled Flight into Terrain" is one of the leading causes of plane loss. And, yes, that is what they call it!

MPs tear 'naive' British Army a new one over Capita recruitment farce


Re: Easy solution

Or the wonderful German word "schlimbesserung" which translates as "making something worse while trying to make it better."

Twilight of the sundials: Archaic timepiece dying out and millennials are to blame, reckons boffin


Mass dials

I have seen one or two of these on bellringing trips to rural churches. A surprising number survive, even though the gnomon is almost always missing. They were used to advertise the time of mass.



Re: Dr King

He taught me too...8 programming languages in a term at the rate of one a week.

He is the University Bellringer, Steeplekeeper of the University Church, Keeper of the university Clock. I'd be happy with any one of those titles but to have all three is awesome.

Q. What's a good thing to put outside a building of spies? A: A banner saying 'here we are!'


A bit of Kipling...

“Watch the wall, my darling, while the huaweimen go by...”

Australia considers joining laptops-on-planes ban


What they are really admitting is...

...that they are incapable - still - of detecting explosives in luggage. Why on earth do they bother scanning everything and everyone that goes on a plane? What exactly are they looking for? If they can't reliably detect explosive substances, then they should stop pretending they can.

D'oh! Amber Rudd meant 'understand hashing', not 'hashtags'


The only one I am ware of is Heidi Allen (C South Cambs) who has a degree in Astrophysics. Cambridge also used to have Julian Huppert (who had a PhD in Biochemistry and was an active research scientist) but he lost his seat in the Lib Dem apocalypse.


Time to quote CP Snow...

"A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare’s?

"I now believe that if I had asked an even simpler question — such as, What do you mean by mass, or acceleration, which is the scientific equivalent of saying, Can you read? — not more than one in ten of the highly educated would have felt that I was speaking the same language. So the great edifice of modern physics goes up, and the majority of the cleverest people in the western world have about as much insight into it as their neolithic ancestors would have had."

OK, he was talking about physics but his point remains valid about science and technology in general. It's OK to be completely ignorant about them and still be regarded as well educated and qualified to run the country.

Cambridge wheels out latest smart city platform, ready for devs


Re: Hmm...

Of course. Still in the usual place. As is Gardies.

Tolkien 'almost became WWII code-breaker alongside Alan Turing'


Why Tolkien didn't become a codebreaker...

... because the UK declared war on Germany, not Mordor.

Rise of the machines, south of Milton Keynes


Re: Tremendous place, this museum

The story about Coventry has been, I think, comprehensively debunked. There is no evidence that the target of the raid was known before the afternoon of that day when the German navigation beams were switched on and converged over Coventry. There were messages warning of an imminent raid but three targets were given, no definite date was specified and the cities were given codenames. The codename for Coventry was not worked out until after the event.

Sounds trite but, as the saying goes, "you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs." In order to win the Battle of the Atlantic, the information that the U-boat codes had been broken had to be protected. At all costs. And, yes, that meant some convoys were not completely protected. War is a nasty business.

But, it is indisputable that the knowledge of Colossus which emerged in the late 70's and continues to emerge today, completely rewrote the history of the birth of electronic computing.

That aside, thankyou so much for this article. BP is a world-class site aned deserves all the attention it can get. Anyone with a remote interest in computing and history will be completely enthralled by the place.


Why next iPhone screen could be made of SAPPHIRE - and a steal...



Surely it's completely wrong to describe it as "aluminium glass", or even to describe it as glass at all. Glass is an amorphous solid, sapphire is a crystal. "Glass" is just a handy word in this context for "substance which is hard and transparent."


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