Re: I called the cops
I vaguely recall that the phones could be controlled by certain audio overtones that were generated by a homemade "blue box" or the whistle from a box of Captain Crunch cereal.
58 posts • joined 21 Feb 2015
Many years ago when the local telephone system around Boston was first set up, as an inducement the first customer was given lifelong free phone service. In error this included both local and long distance phone service. Also unfortunately the grantee was not only very long lived but had a hobby of genealogy, which involved lengthy and frequent international telephone calls. A subsequent legal case proved that the telephone company was indeed bond by it's initial legal contract and the customer chatted happily for many years.
I have Web of the City and Memos from Purgatory, both heavily influenced by Nelson Algren (Man With the Golden Arm and others). As Elison tells the tale being 5'2,he was easily able to run with a teenage street gang. In later years he would occasionally impress onlookers by whipping out a switchblade.
"Way back in the early days of the SF Network there was a huge repository of SF novels and novelettes. A bit of work with the Wayback Machine can unearth the trove. I"m in the process of working my way through the easily 300+ noels, novelettes and stories in ManyBooks. And there's always Project Ginsberg.
Perhaps you've heard about the Holy Cross football team of a few decades ago? As there were no backflow preventers, a drain pipe allowed standing water to be sucked into the cold water system. Result was that the majority of the football team were stricken by long term intestinal complaints and the season was cancelled.
'Nother tale: Once upon a time in a town not far away, there was a local who scorned the necessity for requiring licensed professionals and decided to (loudly, that being his habit) show that after all anyone of reasonable intelligence could do a similar job. He decided to do some plumbing of his house and then have the job professionally inspected to show that his work was on par with that of a professional. (Sneer sneer) The pro did the inspection and issued a large "Condemned" tag, commenting that the guy should tear out the job and start over before he poisoned his family. I do recall a few of the issues: no backflow vales, no lead free solder, several other deficiencies.
"without the harsh environmental specs of the military." Environmental tested COTS ICs for over a decade. Difference between commercial and military stressing per MILSTD 883 was that commercial ICs procedures were stricter than the requirements for military. example: where 883 required, say, 8 shocks, commercial procedures required 10-12 shocks.
OMG--really? I might still have my 2 emergency packs of "H&B" sitting in a desk drawer from 25 years ago. Got them as "healthier" replacements for my 2 pack/day Camels. Really preferred Old Gold Straights (unfiltered). Oddly enough I was one of the few people who quit after a session of hypnosis.
Much like a wave soldering machine. Parts are placed into a belt; the belt moves and carries the parts through one or more heated/cooled areas. I did work with a Korean gentleman who was modifying the equipment to cook a sheet of some Korean delicacy. Probably work on those flat Jewish crackers too
Oh, look! I found my stack of old monitors, one of which I still use on my Win10, and my dot matrix printer for my CoCo and my three or four DVD units! Maybe I can use them for HiFi audio record/playback? Several four channel auto radios, a four channel auto radio synthesizer...What treasures there be here!
Oh, I suppose I don't really need those dozen or so 386/486 laptops...though I still might trash out the motherboards and build a bunch of Pi laptops instead from the old keyboards and screens. But I'll keep the DG1 and someday I'll restore it. Promise. And what about my 5 1/2 inch floppies, complete with drives for my Autocad 11 with two drawing tablets? And yes, I do have a couple of 3 1/2" external floppy drives, one internal for my Win98 SE (for my music synth an MIDI) software, still useful, and one external for my IBM (before it was Lenovo) and several hundred floppies including systems backup for my win95. Then there's my 8-track desktop with several dozen 80's vintage tapes and my CoCo II with the assembler cartridge. Pity they wouldn't let me keep my IBM 360 to heat the house. The 4-channel stereo, the pair of 386 motherboards...They'll pry my 12500 internal modem out of my cold dead hands! Oh, and my 1922 Sears Neutrodyne, with the horn speaker. And those dozen or so books on obsolete software--the basic principles are still valid!
Well, off to my bedroom in the garage. TTFN.
All of this gives me to think: According to Guth's initial expansion theory there was a large expansion of the universe coincident with the Big Bang which ceased a very short time later (no my terminology isn't precise but you can figure out what I mean). Now current measurements show that the universe is expanding. Is there a relationship between the initial expansion and the much slower current expansion? (Does Lisa Reynolds know?)
I remember that mechanical sequencer setup, though don't recall it ever being used; I think it sat on a shelf in the oven room because it might someday be useful. As late as the 1990s the company ordered one of "my" burn in ovens with a sequencer with semicon logic to assure logic ICs were sequenced in correct order.
I know a guy who maintained COBOL programs until just a few years ago. Financial systems, he did. After so many decades they figured the bugs had all been worked out.
Then there was the guy around boston who many years ago agreed to have installed the first telephone line in the area. As an inducement the local telco gave him the line for free and agreed to let him have it for no charge. Free calls. For as long as he lived. He lived to be very old and took up genealogy as a hobby. Free calls. To Europe. Long discussions searching for European relatives. For years...
OMG--am I that old? (I wont mention my exposure on the IBM 360 Mark 1965, fresh out of the box; I have a Certificate of Competence on the IBM 026 Duplicating Keypunch) I remember the Eternal Summer when the internet went to hell...and even the comp.women debate. At the time I had a DEC terminal that I could connect to the internet; there was a local ISP that I could connect to for free after 5 PM. During the day Ed Featherstone would extract and email usenet postings. I later did field circus on Nat. Weather Service weathermap receivers controlled by tone controls over the phone lines
I have a AUTOCAD 11 on 5 1/2 floppy with the drive for 386, complete with two drawing pads and the templates for drawing schematics and text. No USB; sorry. Probably have the xternal power supplies for something or other. I keep it under my workbench with my Data General One laptop and my Sears 1922 Neutrodyne.
"Hand operated card punch..."? Back when I was training on our brand new IBM 360 Mark1965, we were pretty advanced--we used an IBM 026 Duplicating Keypunch. Might even still have my Certificate in Competence. I do remember feeding in the punchcards to get the operating system going and if the cake pan shaped RAM wasn't in, seeing the printout, "Put in the disk, stupid."
When I trained on a IBM360 Mark 1965, complete with a card sorter, mag tape storage and, I do believe a thundering 256K of RAM, I obtained a Certificate of Competence on the IBM 026 Keypunch Duplicator. Whadda thrill that was.
Then there were the weather map machines, fascinating technology involving chemically treated paper, a spinning glass cylinder, an IP26 PMT, various tone activates relays to set the drum sped, and several SAMOS earth satellites. Oh, and a modem eventually upgraded to 1200 baud. My piece of the action was still tube technology.
"Mimsy" isn't quite the same story, but it's close. Mimsy (and the Momsy raiths upgab) was about a baby upgraded by transdimentional aliens to an superntelligent baby who, being a baby and never disciplined, was a pain in the butt. Eventually Baby fools with a gizmo and is...I forget...either reduced to a true baby or vanishes completely. I remember it from Tales of Time and Space, my constant companion for the past 55 years.
Once upon a long ago time, about 1990 or so, the lab bought a new piece of test equipment, an ESD tester. This had a GUI that could vary an electrostatic discharge (voltage, number of spikes, duration of spikes, etc) at a pin of an IC. The GUI had a number of parameters that could be varied by moving a mouse onto the proper field. Remember that this was so long ago that probably none of us had ever tried to target a mouse with any precision; none of the techs/engineers could hit the correct button without at least five minutes of tries to refine coordination.
Now, imagine you're a 70 year old with poor eyesight and coordination who's not quite sure what to do in the first place.
Land grab...? after the collapse of the Roman Empire c 600 more or less), Western Europe was pretty depopulated, as shown by birth/Baptismal records. Some 500-odd years later population rebounded caused by several factors. By the time Charlemagne came up, there was sufficient population pressure to allow expansion of population into new or previously abandoned areas. In the near eastern areas the Avars and (Southern) Saxons were slaughtered; meanwhile the Cathusians (bear with me, I'm doing this from memory) expanded into the German forests and the Estonians, etc expanded into the northern Baltic areas. While Islam and Europe coexisted in Spain for the time being, the reconquest and expansion of Spain continued until 1492 One can guess at the fate of the disorganized pagan tribes of the conquered areas. In summary both Islam and Europe expanded and added land/population until they collided.
Ah, the days of our yoof...made a hot air balloon out of a trash bag filled with hot air. Attached the better part of a roll of tin foil tailing behind it. I heard the radar personnel at Logan airport thought it was a DC3 that had somehow gotten misplaced.
Back when I was in college a all knowing under grad chem major would mix ammonia and Iodine to produce Amonium Iodide, a low level contact explosive used mainly by students to amuse unsuspecting visitors. One day he set a batch on the windowsill to dry; a breeze came up and scattered the sample over his dorm room, producing unexpected small and occasional larger unexpected explosions until the room was thoroughly cleaned.
In high school the teacher demonstrated the effect of a small amount of adding Phosphorous to a small beaker of water--mainly bubbles, hissing and similar low level effects. This was mildly amusing so the next day a student decided that if a little was amusing, seeing a large amount dumped into a nearby pond would be a most spectacular sight. Unfortunately in haste he grabbed the wrong sample bottle--it was not Phosphorous but Sodium. The most unfortunate part of this episode was that the resulting explosion broke all the windows of the assistant principal's apartment building. The student might still be in the detention room
Sure. Mars Bars. My lab had a burn-in oven, purged using several good sized tanks of LN2. The usual habit was to freeze the candy bars with the LN2 and then slam them down on a bench, resulting in handy sized fragments.
In the old days film for the instant photo head of the macrocamera needed to be coated with a preservative. The preservative would be packed in a one time use sealed tube about the size of your thumb. Load the tube with a few CCs of LN2 and carefully chewed up fragments of paper and place it in an inconspicuous spot. The pressure would build up and eventually the tube lid would pop off with a loud POP and a shower of confetti would fill the air. "Veddy Bootiful" to quote the Three Stooges
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