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How long ago did you last assemble a computer?

scsirob Re:Glad to see you use the term 'assemble' (201 comments)

Mine was a bit later than that, but around 1982 I built a CP/M system using a Z-80 compatible HD64180. BYTE ran some articles back then (Chaos Manor) but I could not afford the boards. So I designed my own on breadboard (10x16cm experimenters PCB) with an Elektor 64-pin A/C backplane bus. I added 256KB RAM (The HD64180 had some crude bank switching mechanism), and later on build a floppy disk controller. Later on I added a separate Z-80 based video card and keyboard controller, and to top it off a SASI (no typo, Shugard Associates Systems Interface, not SCSI) controller. That attached to an Adaptec ACB4070 SASIRLL controller and a 10MB harddisk. Needed to partition it, as CP/M couldn't go beyond 8MB

I wrote my own BIOS for it, and implemented ZCPR-2. Looking back I just can't imagine how I ever found the time.

Feel free to play on my lawn ;-)

6 hours ago

How long ago did you last assemble a computer?

scsirob Minutes ago... (201 comments)

I just literally minutes ago finished soldering the last connections to a NUC board that I will be using in a mobile project. Added RS-232 using FTDI modules, added a CarPC power controller, made a nice little chassis to cram it all in a tiny aluminum box, put an SSD on the bottom of the chassis and it's running!

6 hours ago

Favorite "Go!" Phrase?

scsirob CLEAR PROP! (701 comments)

The adrenaline of starting the engine of your own plane and take to the skies.. Whenever and wherever you are.

about a week ago

Buying New Commercial IT Hardware Isn't Always Worthwhile (Video)

scsirob Re:My company... (92 comments)

I used to work for a hardware vendor who sold equipment to IBM. IBM demanded that all red power LED's be replaced with green ones. IBM users were used to seeing red LED's only when there was a fault with the equipment.

Bottom line: Sometimes a LED upgrade cycle makes sense..

about a week ago

US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

scsirob Free market economy (529 comments)

Well, as tough as it is, and as right as this senator may sound, this is the result of global free market economy. Companies get their resources where they are cheapest, regardless if this is parts or people.

about two weeks ago

Nano-Pixels Hold Potential For Screens Far Denser Than Today's Best

scsirob Re:What's the point? (129 comments)

The human eye is limited to certain pixel densities at certain distances. Technology such as this can create QHD displays in Google Glass applications where the pixels are much closer to the eye. In fact, it may be possible to implant this inside the eye and have augmented reality without p*ssing off the people around you.

about three weeks ago

Unintended Consequences For Traffic Safety Feature

scsirob Re:LOL No shit!! (579 comments)

Easy fix for this. Just make sure that as soon as the light turns red, big steel spikes come up from under the road to stop or pierce any car that might try to outwit the system. Oh, and on both sides of the street to ensure that real high-speed idiots will be caught on the other end.

about a month ago

Microsoft Opens 'Transparency Center' For Governments To Review Source Code

scsirob Re:...and.. (178 comments)

That will only work if government officials observe the creation of the gold RTM code and then every patch there after. Inspecting the source code today and not finding anything is no guarantee that this will be the case tomorrow. You don't get 'your compiled version' as the production code. And even if you do, the next round of patches you are done for.

Using a checksum/hash for the produced files is no use either. Even with unmodified sources, if you compile the same code twice, the produced executable will have different metadata (creation date, file headers, build number) so the hash will be differrent.

about a month ago

Grandmother Buys Old Building In Japan And Finds 55 Classic Arcade Cabinets

scsirob Re:neat, but was probably in use to 2000's (133 comments)

Agree. There are some pictures of PCB's that have chips with '90s date codes stamped on them.

about a month ago

Court Allowed NSA To Spy On All But 4 Countries

scsirob Agreement?? (242 comments)

"Only four countries in the world — Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — were exempt from the agreement"

So, did the 193 sovereign countries all agree to be spied upon? Or did one American tell another American that they had every right to do so.

about a month ago

FAA Bans Delivering Packages With Drones

scsirob Re:Luddites on the loose. (199 comments)

Meanwhile, over 400 military drones have crashed:
No-one knows if this happened over schoolgrounds yet, but considering the number of drones in service, that's a pisspoor safety record. I can only imagine that flocks of cheap, commercial drones over populated area's will cause some 'mechanical rain' when electronic disturbance (nearby lightning strike) causes them to fail.

about a month ago

When will large-scale IPv6 deployment happen?

scsirob Recycle old ranges (305 comments)

In the early days companies were able to claim entire class B or class C address ranges without much penalty. Usually only a few of these addresses are reachable from the outside world. Some companies don't even exist anymore but the range just lingers on.

A real world example is my former employer Exabyte. They used to produce tape streamers and libraries, the remnants are now part of Tandberg. They claimed the entire 161.81/16 address range in the early nineties. All but a few were reachable from the outside. Today there's still a few addresses active, but most of the range is lost.

Go through the list of address range owners. If they expose less than half of their range to the outside world, recycle. DNS will cope with the changes.

about a month and a half ago

Which desktop environment do you like the best?

scsirob Re:CP/M (611 comments)

You failed to mention STAT.COM and ED.COM? What's wrong with you anyway?

about 2 months ago

The Shrinking Giant Red Spot of Jupiter

scsirob Re:Global warming (160 comments)

I'm sure they'll invent a 'save the red spot, pay up' tax soon.

about 2 months ago

Future of Cars: Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Or Electric?

scsirob Re:The RAV4 EV was strictly a compliance scam car (659 comments)

Rrrright... And you have an ingenious system that takes in water, then uses road signs "Oxygen molecules to the left, Hydrogen molecules to the right" and Bob's your Uncle.

Any idea how much energy it takes to split water? Care to explain where that energy will come from?

Hydrogen is a potential energy carrier, not an energy supplier.

about 3 months ago

EU Court of Justice Paves Way For "Right To Be Forgotten" Online

scsirob Definitely good, but there are two sides (199 comments)

I can't help wonder what happens is a person who wants to be forgotten is referred to by someone else. Removing search results regarding some particular person may mean unintentional removal of content that someone else created and want visible.

about 3 months ago

Why Microsoft Shouldn't Patch the XP Internet Explorer Flaw

scsirob Re:Stop misleading people (345 comments)

By your reasoning you'd claim anyone who buys a Volkswagen Golf today is buying a 40 year old car. The Golf was introduced 40 years ago and you can still get one today. Never mind it has zero components in common with the Golf from 40 years back..

XP was and is doing everything the majority of users expect from an operating system. Many of the changes since XP are not exactly improvements for many of the users. Some are, some are not.

Microsoft can stop XP support in only one way. That's when they stop taking money from government or corporations for extended support. They will need to say 'no' to the hand that feeds then. Until they do so, they are obliged to patch XP. Not just for those who pay hefty support fees, but also to tose who bought their XP new, just 4 years ago.

about 3 months ago

The Hackers Who Recovered NASA's Lost Lunar Photos

scsirob Re:A foretaste... (89 comments)

Fully agree with you here. Add to that the recent advances in technology that gave us the 'benefits' of encryption, DRM, proprietary formats etc, and you can rest assured that no-one will be able to recover data from this era one hundred years from now. We are living in the digital Dark Age right now.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Moving From Tech Support To Development?

scsirob Find a project for your support job (133 comments)

No-one will start with a blank screen in the morning and start to write code, just because. You need to have an itch, something you want to solve. Writing code is the means, not the goal.

Think about your support job, and ask yourself what tool would really make your life easier. Then set out to write that tool. You have the target people sitting around you right now, solve your problem and solve theirs too. If you're lucky, the tool will be valuable enough for the company to take it to that next country, all while you keep supporting that code.

I did this many years ago, while working as tech support for a tape vendor (Exabyte). I found their customer tools rubbish, so I started writing something easier (Expert 7 for MS-DOS). I asked my wife to test it for me (she is not in IT), just to see what she struggled with and made it better. It took me a while, but in the long run the company made my tool the default for customer support. I have kept on supporting that tool and many others after that until the end of last year. For almost 20 years those tape tools have given me part of my income. Even today, I still have a few customers asking me to code for them. LTO-7 is coming, perhaps I'll be asked to integrate support by then.

about 4 months ago



No more Groklaw

scsirob scsirob writes  |  about a year ago

scsirob (246572) writes "Word is out that PJ has pulled the plug on Groklaw. A source of education on US law, patents, SCO versus IBM and much more stops. PJ simply cannot justify to herself to stay connected in a world that is under constant surveillance. The Internet as it stands today is a threat to humanity, she explains.
Goodby PJ, you will be missed."

Link to Original Source

Slashdot Poll: Reader age distribution

scsirob scsirob writes  |  about 2 years ago

scsirob (246572) writes "Today's logo about the demise of Ceefax included the comment that most readers were born after Ceefax was introduced. This, combined with the 15th anniversary of Slashdot, would make a great poll. "How old are you?" with options in 10-year intervals."

scsirob scsirob writes  |  more than 7 years ago

scsirob (246572) writes "Novell has maintained free developer support for many years on it's news server. Just yesterday, all novell.devsup.* newsgroups received the following message: "This forum is now closed to new traffic but will remain open in a read-only status for reference purposes. Novell has made the decision to phase out forums for API Developer support excep for GroupWise. Novell partners with a valid agreement will continue to be supported via your existing contract. Customers with developer related questions are welcome to post messages in the technical support forums which are not oficially monitored by Novell, but are used for user-to-user conversations regarding Novell products. You can find the link to the technical support forums at" Is Novell not interested in helping out developers for their products anymore? Could this be related to the Microsoft agreement?"

scsirob scsirob writes  |  more than 7 years ago

scsirob writes "When I first started playing with computers (25 years ago), they were relatively easy to understand. Intel 8080 chips, TRS-80 Model 1 and CP/M isn't exactly rocket science. I tought myself how to program in assembly and later in C. I now design little gadgets with embedded processors and program them, and I write diagnostics software on a range of O/Ses. My kids (8 and 10 years old) are starting to get interested too and want me to teach them how to do all this. But I find that their level of expectation is waaay to high. They want to design games without any basic knowlegde. So my question is, how do you 'bootstrap' kids into computer knowledge to a comfortable level without turning them off or disappointing them?"


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