But Windows 1.x was nothing more than a DOS shell that ran some graphical-like programs. Win 3.1 was both relatively stable and useful.
125 posts • joined 9 Feb 2016
I started in January this year and continued once a month through May. I would receive a package Amazon addressed to a person I never heard of to my address. I Googled my street name and could find only one other city in the U.S. with the same name. Each time I would start a chat session with Amazon, lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to 7 hours (they took their time responding after I supplied the latest requested information and just periodically check the chat session). The hardest part was getting them to understand I was not the person who made the order, nor did I know the person who made the order, where they lived, nor that the postman did not deliver to the wrong address, but the package had my address. They would not issue me a return shipment labels because I didn't place the orders. Each time they instructed me to keep, give away, or dispose of the items as I saw fit. Most of the items were worth a few dollars. I was able to use some of the items. The final person I had chatted with I think fully understood the issue and said he would elevate the issue to see if the problem was a bug in their database, procedures or just human error. I think he may have solved the problem as I haven't received any more packages.
Years ago, I purchased a Tom Tom with lifetime map updates included. I used it for years, until I switched over to using a smart phone several years ago. The Tom Tom still worked, but it liked to take a 12 mile route to get to a destination I could see 1/2 mile away on a strait path. The smart phone is better at picking routes and faster than the aged Tom Tom. I also had to watch how many maps I put on the Tom Tom as it had far less memory than newer GPS devices. Another thing I didn't like on the Tom Tom was the login to an account to update firmware and maps on the device, which usually resulted in requiring a download of an updated app to update the Tom Tom. I recently had to replace my smart phone, but kept the old one to used just as a GPS device. I can't rate the various mapping apps for smart phones, but I have been pleased with the Here app (my smart phones are Android based).
This reminds me of when I was stationed in Korea back in 1970. I was in downtown Kimpo (near Seoul) at about sundown. There was a loud bang and flash on a power pole about 100 feet from me. I looked around and was surprised to see none of the Koreans reacted to the event. Seconds later, a Korean worker comes running around the corner, quickly climbs to the top of the pole, puts in a new fuse, quickly climbs back down and runs around the corner out of sight. The entire event was less than a minute. I can only assume this person was paid for uptime of the section for which he was responsible. Several years ago near my home (in the U.S.), I heard a fuse blow on an early Friday evening. I went to the pole where the fuse blew, jotted down the pole number and called the local electrical company to let them know that a fuse had blown. The "customer service" person said that they had no reports of any outages, ignoring my report. The fuse was only replaced the following Monday, apparently from an industrial customer serviced by that line. The blown fuse was for one phase of a 3-phase line. Not as responsive as the Korean lineman.
I worked at an office where many of the workers liked to keep extra toasty at their workstations. Despite warnings to not plug space heaters, which they were not supposed to have, into the workstation UPS units, there was always one or two instances during the winter season. Makes for a spectacular show and smell.
re: Jake's comment, "Consumer grade appliances are trash..."
About 60 years ago my mom purchased a GE refrigerator made in about 1935 for use as a second refrigerator to store milk and butter from our one cow on the farm where I grew up. It has been used for various beverages since then and is currently used by one of my brothers in his machine shop to keep cool ones handy. So far, the only repairs are the replacement of the door gasket (improvised with weather stripping) and more recently a new power cord. It is smart enough to keep the brewskies and soda cool in both summer and winter. No software upgrades required.
Bazza, While you may think MS has done a fantastic job of backward compatibility, they do a shitty job of making Microsoft products like Office 2013 and 2016 compatible with Microsoft Windows 10. I see all too often the Office 365 "demo" in Windows 10 totally borking the Office 2013 and 2016 (and previous) installations. I wish Microsoft would make Microsoft products Microsoft compatible.
And Win 10 32bit still runs my DOS based Clarion Personal Developer databases I still use to manage my software library and computer configurations. It has performed flawlessly for almost 3 decades now on all versions of DOS and 32 bit Windows. I haven't tried porting it to a Linux distribution using WINE yet, but if Microsoft ever drops 32 bit Windows, I will either use an obsolete version of WIndows in a virtual VM or try using in Linux with WINE, or other application.
Just this last week, I had a user not able to find one of her Excel XLSX files, because Excel 2013 changed the extension to LSX. Even though she knew where the file was, she could not get it open because of the change of the extension. I just had to rename the file from a command prompt and she was back in business.
Ah, yes ... night shift. More modern time problem with support from a company we will just call Happy People. The nightshift operator at a bank I used to work for had a red light appear on a RAID-5 array on a server. She dutifully called the Happy People tech support, which told her to remove the drive and reinsert it. She did as told and voila! the drive went back online and all was well -- until the next time the red light came on. Without calling the Happy People tech support, she removed the drive and re-installed the drive. This happened repeatedly where the RAID array brought the drive back online and restriped properly each time, that is until it didn't. I have had the Happy People tech support tell me to do the exact same thing when a RAID-5 array drive failed. I refused that advice and insisted on them sending a replacement drive each time, which they reluctantly did.
Back in the DOS 3, 4, and 5 days you didn't even need FTP to mangle your source files. Just use Microsoft's EDIT command. I discovered early on that some of my source files for Microsoft's MASM would skip about one line for every 30 lines of code. Using DEBUG, I found that periodically EDIT would sometimes terminate a line with cr-lf-lf instead of cr-lf. MASM would then think the line of code with the lf at the beginning was a comment. The solution was to purchase Wordstar for the IBM PC-JR, available very cheap at the time from Egghead. A few changes had to be made to the program to change screen settings, but that solved the problem of extraneous characters.
While I only use a small subset of features in LO, I haven't found bugs in the things I do. However, the things I need to do, I cannot do in Microsoft Office starting about rel 2010, specifically problems getting pivot tables to work or work properly. When I help users fix problems with Word documents or Excel spreadsheets, often I can only fix by opening in LO, fix the problem, save the document, and then it works properly in Microsoft Office. I also never have problems with Windows 10 borking LO, unlike having to deal with various releases of Microsoft Office getting totally hosed with their Office 365 demo.
I worked at a bank where the server room was on the bottom floor and the top floor (single-floor building with a flat roof). Unfortunately, roofers were not able to fix leaks in the roof for more than 2 years (only rains a few times a year). We had to have plastic sheeting over all equipment, supply shelves and desks when it rained, which made working and equipment ventilation difficult during periods of rain or melting snow.
Not just a gaming platform, but an advertising platform, a send info about user to MSoft HQ platform, a platform to automatically install incorrect device drivers, and above all - a platform that makes linux users happy knowing they made the correct decision to not use Windows for important uses.
I too hung onto Win98SE for a long time. The computer originally came with WinME, but I struggled for almost a year before I tossed in the towel and upgraded back to 98SE. On the other side of the coin, I have a brother who bought a WinME computer about the same time as I bought mine. He never had a bit of trouble with ME. However, after a few years, we did take advantage of the Win 7 upgrade option that came with his computer. The computer hummed along fine with Win 7 and we took advantage of the free upgrade path to Win 10 a couple years ago. The computer is still working fine, though a little sluggish as it is one of the old Core 2 Duo processors (I forgot which model).
I worked with a VAX 11/780 with the VMS operating system around 1980. Passwords were hashed to a 16bit word. The interesting thing was it used the same password algorithm as the Radio Shack Model 1 computer. It was a simple matter on either system to go into debug and change the password hash to a null password.
There is so much that Microsoft does that has never made any sense. One of them is the mixing of user data with the operating system. On top of that, you have that stupid registry for the operating system, program configurations, and even some user data. In the early days of Windows (circa 3.x), the programs I had the least problems with were those $5 to $10 applications that came on a floppy and the programmers just ignored the Microsoft recommendation of putting their DLLs into same location that Microsoft put theirs. There was no Microsoft clearing house that I was aware of for programmers to avoid conflicts in naming of DLLs. Those developers of the cheap software often just put their DLLs into the same directory tree as their program, as well as all configuration files. If you wanted to move the program to a new computer, just copy the directory to the new computer. Or, if you had to reinstall the operating system, you could just copy back the program directory and all your configurations were retained.
I have been using various flavors of Linux for almost 20 years now (I still use Windows for some tasks), and it is so nice to be able to even install a completely different flavor/version/distribution of Linux and still have my data still there (even though I do a backup just before doing that for safety reasons.
I do have a Linux computer setup at home for a home server, so most of my data is kept there so that all of my computers can access my data.
Slightly off topic, but many years ago when my brother was in the USAF, he had an additional duty of performing some maintenance on flight simulators. They were very low tech by today's standards as the flight track was drawn by a computer driven plotter. A gear had stripped on one of the plotters, but the manual had a national stock number where a replacement could be ordered. He ordered the gear, but none came until about 6 months later when a "delivery person" located my brother and announced he had his gear and wanted to know where to deliver it. My brother told him that it was okay to put it on the desk. The delivery person told him he couldn't do that and led him to the "Wide Load" truck with a gear that was about 10 feet in diameter. My brother told him that it wouldn't fit and to take it back. Apparently the national stock numbers had gone through a revision and the NSN for the 1/2" gear for the plotter was reassigned to a slightly larger gear.
Not how programmers work... I don't think it is possible to make a language where programmer oversights are not possible. For example, if a programmer thinks that only states a, b, and c are possible in a section of code, but there is a state d that he didn't think about, then there is a bug that the language can't catch. Back in the DOS days (and to a lesser extent VAX 11/780 VMS) I would sometimes create a small special purpose application or driver and I always thought about possible states of inputs and the desired states of outputs. I usually put in a check for an unexpected input state, which I would use to trigger an output of a bad input state. I gave up on any programming for Microsoft products after Windows 3.1 because it was impossible to keep track of the constantly changing APIs.
I had the connector of an USB thumb drive break off in a computer. I didn't realize it until I was going to use on another computer. Didn't attempt to get data from the drive as all the files I had on it were also stored on my Google drive and home server (as well as on the server backups).
re: Halfmad: Which is fine if you don't want offsite backups...
The last time I checked, you can get a 2TB portable drive for well under $100 and then it can be disconnected from the computer and taken offsite. I like to use at least 3 drives and rotate so I have a good backup somewhere.
And in the days of DOS/Win 3.1, if you had the disk caching software running, you had to flush the cache before shutting down the computer. I had experienced many known corrupted data files before Microsoft eventually made it know that you had to flush the cache and gave the instructions on how to do it. They eventually made it automatic in the shutdown process.
Yes, Libre Office doesn't have Outlook. Thank-you for noticing. I much prefer Thunderbird - easier and faster to configure. If you have you e-mail with an ISP, Thunderbird can be configured to leave a copy of sent documents into a sent folder in your ISP e-mail account. I have never seen (found) such a setting in any version of Outlook.
People complain that Libre Office is not compatible with Microsoft Office. The big elephant in the room is that Microsoft Office (pick a previous version) is often not compatible with Microsoft Office (current version). For users who insist on having Microsoft Office on their computer, I usually also install Libre Office. Why? Well, when they call me to say they can't open a document their received by e-mail, or they opened a document they had created years before with Microsoft Office (a previous version) and they can't fix the formatting. The usual fix is I have them show me which document, I open it in Libre Office, fix the document, save it, give them my invoice and leave.
I learned years ago that you can spend hours trying to fix a document in Microsoft Office that just can't be fixed with Microsoft Office.
Many years ago, I spent about 4 months of 1/2 days to make a set of Excel spreadsheets work similarly to present-day workbooks using the powerful macros in Excel at that time. A master spreadsheet would get and manipulate data in 60 other spreadsheets to analyze training schedules for 16 groups of people. It worked great (although slow, taking up to 3 hours to complete with the 8086's of the day. It was obsoleted with the next version of Excel obsoleted the old macros.
Now, those types of things can be done in pivot tables. Some of the pivot tables I use are easy to setup and use in Libre Office. I have attempted to some of them in Microsoft's Excel with little success. There is often extraneous information I don't need that gets thrown-in and usually information I need that just won't seem to pop-out with Excel.
Libre Office never prompts/encourages me to put things in the cloud. I assume Open Office Org is also friendly in that regard. Both Libre Office and Open Office have roots in Star Office, I used Star Office, purchasing each new version that was released. When Sun Microsystems acquired the company and changed the name to Open Office (making it available free to all), I switched to that. When Oracle bought Sun, some nervous Nellies created a new fork of the code and Libre Office was born. I too was a nervous about anything associated with Oracle, so I switched to Libre Office. Functionality has steadily improved over the years.
The problem with testing updates before you deploy them is that it could take a person years to test an update to be sure it didn't cause problems (guaranteed you can find problems with any update). Sometimes a specific sequence of events is required to trigger an error. I recall one incident a couple decades ago where the user would experience the loss of a document during editing in the then current version of Microsoft Word. All hell would break loose if the user would mark a section of text, have to scroll a portion of the marked text past the visible portion of the window, complete marking the desired section of text, then paste the cut section to elsewhere in the document. Word would freeze and the document contents lost. Often the recovery feature could be used to get back to where the document state was a few minutes earlier, but not always.
The amazing thing about the mess was the user was able to identify the exact sequence that would cause the mess. It was repeatable on other computers and documents.
Yes, testing some key things before deploying is good. I find it better to avoid the crap put out by Microsoft whenever possible. When I setup a new computer, I always put on Libre Office in addition to customer requested Microsoft Office. Reason: when they call me to fix a document they can't open in Microsoft Office or something weird is happening with pictures/images, I open the offending document in Libre Office, fix the document, and save it. I gave up a long time ago trying to fix a messed-up document/spreadsheet with Microsoft Office.
I quit using tape for backups years ago. Opted for portable hard drives for daily off-site storage and internal hard disks for on-site backups. My backup systems are running Linux and use Back-In-Time for the backups. Because the backup systems "pull" data from the servers, the Windows side of the network never accesses the backup drives.
Sure there is a risk of an infection attacking the Linux systems and corrupting the data on the backups, but not any more than the system running a tape backup getting infected and corrupting the tape backups.
Also fed-up with Dell. I ordered an entry-level server with 16GB RAM instead of the baseline 8GB. The server arrived, but with only 8GB RAM. Called "customer support" to see if they could send the other 8GB RAM. After more than an hour on the phone with the the "support" person (located somewhere in India, and barely intelligble English), she determined that the only thing that could be done is to send the system back and they would send the correct server configuration. I got the replacement server in a few days, and it also had only 8GB memory. Called "customer support" again, got pretty much the same response that I return the unit and they would send one with the correct configuration. I get the replacement, and it too had only 8GB memory. Repeated call to "customer service". The agent this time said I would have to send the server back and they would have to cancel the order (which they did) because a customer can only have two returns on a single order.
After about a week, I get a call from the "Dell Triage Team" (the manager of the department and located in the U.S.). He offerred to send a 16 GB memory module and I could return the 8GB stick. I told him that would be good, if I had a server in which to install the memory. Bottom line was I had more than 10 hours in calls to dell and more than 40 e-mails in an attempt to resolve the issue and to get a refund when they refused to fix the problem in the first place. My opinion is if Dell are paying the "customer support" agents more than 27 cents (US) an hour, they are extremely over paid.
While waiting for the refund, I purchased an HP server and had it configured an in service in 1/10 th the time than it took me to deal with Dell with that mess.
Really disturbing is the Boeing bulletin which states that 'continuous or intermittent stick shaker..' and 'minimum speed bar..' can occur on '..the affected side only'. Well, that would depend on why the AOA is incorrect and in which position it is incorrect. If the AOA of the affected side is giving a too low indication and the pilot 'corrects' the AOA, then the 'good' AOA sensor would indicate a true stall condition and activate the stick shaker on the 'good' side.
I think the bulletin by itself shows that Boeing doesn't have a clue about MCAS, what is wrong with it, or how to fix it. If you (or they believe) what is in the bulletin, then if there is a discrepancy in AOA indications, the side that activates the stick shaker is bad and can be ignored and would be a simple software fix to ignore the AOA sensor that is generating the command to activate the stick shaker. Of course, that makes absolutely no sense.
Or how about go back to erasable ROMs that had to be erased with a UV light before being put into a ROM writing device to reprogram? Then put the ROM back in the computer.
Ok, probably bad idea, but it is really secure. I do like the idea of a switch or jumper for modern technology.
The first version of Windows I used was 1.15 - which seemed to be nothing more than a DOS menuing program that chewed up memory and seemed to be poorly implemented. Windows 3.0 was actually useful between the several times daily of "General Protection Fault", forcing one to reboot the computer. Microsoft proudly announced that they fixed the problem of the General Protection fault (... by renaming the error "Unrecoverable Application Error"). One thing I do like about Windows 10 is security patches can be applied much faster than in Windows 7. What I don't like is the little control over which updates get applied and when. I especially hate the short support life of each version of Windows.
I worked at a small bank when "Check 21" was implemented in 2004 (paper checks get turned into electronic checks). The principle of Check 21 is all paper checks get turned into electornic form for easy transmittal to/from banks. Banks had to certify that every check image is sent only once. However, it was typical for the same image to be sent by an institution more than once. Because the company that provided and supported the bank software didn't provide a means to check for duplicate submissions, While not a programmer, I often used DOS batch files and BASIC to do quick and dirty tasks to keep from having to do them manually.
The bank was typically getting up to 10 duplicate images daily from checks submitted in the previous two weeks. Using batch files and BASIC, I was able to provide a list of under 100 potential duplicate check images from the thousands of checks processed daily. This made it easy for the staff to identify and reject duplicate submissions and prevent bad customer relations with our customers. This relied heavily on loops (get next record - if no more records, exit this module - process the record - repeat) .
The banking software company did develop a duplicate check module, but it only checked for a week. The system I developed went back a full calendar month. Often duplicates were submitted 2 weeks after the original image, so the bank continued to use my method after I had left that bank.
Even BASIC can be made very structured. I always programmed using what I called "states". Every module will produce a result in one of maybe 2 or 3 states (sometimes more), but I would consider what the possible states could be and plan the next process to handle all possible states.
No, I'm not a programmer. I did take an introductory Fortran course in the mid 1970's, where I did appreciate the nasty habits one could develop with all the GOTOs and other ways of getting places in an ungraceful way.
If there are any volatiles coming from the surface of the asteroid, the acceleration makes perfect sense. As the asteroid rotates, the surface facing the sun will have a temperature gradient that will have the center of highest temperature that is shifted a slight angle from the sun in the direction of rotation. The out-gassing on the hotter surface would exert more pressure on that quarter of the asteroid vs the other quarter facing the sun. The two quarters facing away from the sun would have significantly less out-gassing, having minimal effect on any acceleration/deceleration.
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