Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Trust the World's Fastest VPN with Your Internet Security & Freedom - A Lifetime Subscription of PureVPN at 88% off. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. ×

Comment Re:Ugly things from the eighties! (Score 3, Interesting) 611

IBM Series M keyboards.

TeamOS/2. These was one of the scenes you hung out in, if you wanted to be a PC-hacker.

Tag Lines: eg OS/2: because a 386 is a terrible thing to waste. or OS/2: a multi-threaded suite.

AT (and other pretentious terms that dated just too quickly).

Floppies (of all sizes).

Comment Ugly things from the eighties! (Score 1) 611

I'm nigh on near sixty, these are the sort of things wizards of various kinds (inc me) did. I did a fair bit of computing from 1977, but the main iron arrived in 1992.

BASIC, the kind of stuff you find in ROMBASIC and BASICA/GWBASIC, not QBASIC.

Wiring up things like cross-over cables and null modems.

Using a line-editor to edit text files (such as MS-Edlin).

Running pipes and scripts to do things.

XYZ-Wars. eg Edlin is better than Copycon

IBM Mainframe printer codes, and how to convert these into Windows or dos.

Writing to the iron in some code.

Computers before file-systems and operating systems. (The fourth computer i used actually had an operating system).

Comment The joys of solitaire monopoly. (Score 1) 123

I really like the game. I used to play the solitaire version when i was younger.

We heavily modified the rules, so that you could have unlimited building, so eg a thousand hotels on vine. Ah.. that will be £1,000,000, and we'll build another 666 hotels there.

The solitaire version is that you 'play the bank', buy all the land, and then bill the bank for staying there. Kind of like the clintons, but it was long before them.

I don't recall the cat. It used to be a lever in the versions from the sixties. Forty years on, i can still write out much of the board, and the hotel and base rentals for it. Just a little wasted time :)

Comment It's kind ofcute. (Score 1) 493

They claim the boogey man (russians) did it, with little or no proof. The fact that Wikileaks is handling it suggests that it's more an inside job. They like some sort of creditability in their stuff.

The claim that the Russians did it means they don't know how to handle classified information. Having classified information outside of a classified site is a felony, and we note the poor sailor in california that got nabbed for six photos at the lowest level. Here we're talking of 22 emails at Top Secret, supposedly left on a computer come what may,

Clinton really does not want you to see the archive, because it shows some fairly serious crimes.

Comment The GWX virus etc. (Score 1) 151

Some of us who lived in the dim past days of OS/2 and limited support. You just make your own i suppose. A great variety of programs are removed by hand, especially if the system is not pre-emptively single-tasking in just the way ye want. So you fire up the range of utilities needed to do things.

Until recently, I used Windows 2000, but have since moved on to Windows 7 Ultimate. They started putting on this 'free upgrade to windows 10' on Windows 7. Kind of like how websites offer you free toolbars for your web browser that pins your computer in. I suppose it's one thing if your Browser updates, cause you can dump it overboard, it's different if your OS does.

So you can hand-remove it. The trouble is that the programs are locked, and run on the user System authority of 'TrustedInstaller' So if you don't have a neat utility that can wrangle the trustedinstaller permsisions, it's pretty hard. Someone cobbled a ' run as trusted installer' program, which copies the token of TI and runs your proggie on that token. Ok. Then you can hunt down the directory and trim the files (ie you can't delete them even if you're running as administrator or system). Needless to say GWX appeared about five or six times.

Being for the benefit of users who pay by the megabyte upload, Microsoft provided a 'background' service which hammers the hard drive for a good few minutes. You can't stop that outside of running as TI either. You can't even read the strings in the binary until you do it as TI. "We're just poking around your hard disk and seeing what sort of stuff you have".

It is of course, spaghetti ini files. Microsoft tried it in the Win2k resource kit (which i looked at at this time), which uses a local ini file, bounces to a CLSID back to a DLL in the system32 directory, back to a registry for more settings, and bounce back to an INI file in the reskit directory. I wanted to add the support kit to this stuff. It worked, sort of.

So "TrustedInstaller" seems to run at a level hitherto reserved for viruses. Even the clever folk would not have the wherewithall to cope with TI without serious hacking. It is little wonder that people use GWXCP and Never10. Vigilance is the price of democracy.

Comment Co-gravitation (Score 2, Interesting) 274

None of the references point to co-gravition, or Heaviside's force, which seems to produce much of the desired results called for. Co-gravitation just requires to rethink the nature of energy, though, since it implies that the gravitational field is a sink of energy, Flag as Inappropriate. A good deal of work has been done by the likes of O. Jeffimenko, and more recently T de Mees. Heaviside suggested the necessary forces in 1893.

Comment Something Hybrid (Score 1) 484


The OS/2 and Windows shells together, complement features missing in the other. The sort of hacks you can do with REXX and the WPS don't cut it in Windows, but MSFT got the idea right when they had proper files, rather than just EAs for their shell. I even added items to a windows desktop remotely. IBM gave a lot of flexibility to the REXX api to the shell, but the SETUP string was a single element, and it could had been something akin to an environment in an INI file.

One could had done some interesting things with PIF files. For example, they could had launched an application off-path, and the same icon could have had several pages for different operating systems, so for example, the Boxer.pif could launch boxer, tko or boxer/2 for different operating systems. You put a mob of these in a directory and you could launch different applications without having to go to the desktop, or some menuing system.

So, you could have a fairly decent file patcher, and still just have a single link in the PIF file.

EXTPROC in OS/2, is the DOS version of the UNIX /! thing. Where in UNIX, you have to have perl in /usr/bin/perl or something, in the new shell, it would simply look for perl.pif, either in the pif or extproc directory. Doing this means you could run the same perl script under different environments. Extproc could be added to other languages, so one could see or launch a script under something like FAR or some other program that takes an external script.

For example, the OS/2 EWS "StartDOS" expects a REXX script as input, so if you made REXX handle EXTPROC, you could start the startDOS script as extproc /rexx StartDOS

Alternate DOS/Unix command line personalities, so that programs that look for UNIX or DOS would not have to be rewritten. Likewise, you could convert the drives into different pointers in the unix system, so that you could have multiple cwd's (eg subst c: /usr )

Run a file under a different extension. You can already do things like start OEMSETUP.BIN with the extension, and many utilities load .TMP, .MOD etc as exe files, so it's hardly a bug there. Note that in Windows 98+, the xcopy32.mod is just xcopy.exe, and works without the other files if so loaded. What it can do is to allow you to open an exe as a rar file, etc, eg open .rar rarexe.exe would instruct RAR to open it as a rar file.

Clipboard and Select interface from the command line. You could do things like 'select = ls pk*.*' , which would add the output files of the ls command to the select list, select /a is append to the list, and then /copy. /paste. /cut, /all, /move /reverse, /u would do various things to the list. @select is then a virtual list that can be used in any command that accepts lists.

Multiple desktops at session level. Something like LaTeX involves lots of little files in the path, which are largely used purely for Latex. A TeX desktop (by setting desktop=tex in the PIF), might open up a window of utilities that share more or less like the same virtual machine. You create objects in there which inherit the common Latex settings, so ye could have an Editor in there, like WinEdit, etc. When you are not playing LaTeX, these are no longer in the path. These could be in 'groups' like Win31 Progman, and you put links out to the common paths.

Multi-language interface, so one can use REXX. Lua, or a variety of other languages to access system functions. Something like 'fdisk' might report things like the size and file system of a device, and a function-call like call 'fdisk' diskfree, 'c:' could be used in any script, including command.com.

Network as a separate desktop, so one can be logged into several networks at once.

Comment Stable, well used.. (Score 1) 634

Some of the ideas that came out of the early computing times make much more sense than the current range of 'innovations'. Most pay-ware is legacy stuff on shipping, and eventually you move from dedicated programs for doing X to well-thought-out programs that use some sort of open idiom (like spreadsheets).

I use REXX. My tendency is to use cross-platform stuff because the operating system could change from DOS to OS/2 to Windows, or whatever. Regina REXX is to be had on all platforms. Code i wrote back in the 1990's still work reliably today. Programs i used back in the 1990s have to be ever updated. A number of utilities do not have to be compiled. You can have a fancy program that factorises numbers, and then construct the number to factorise in rexx, and run the command from inside rexx, eg 'factor' me You can even have factor set to a variable, as in factor="c:\utils\factor.exe" and then write the line "factor me" without the quotes, and it will string these strings together, and run "c:\utils\factor.exe 1727999" at the prompt.

Essentially, one is going to find examples of printed code, like fortran or rexx, which one can import without modification. My recollection is that fortran does not require one to think too hard about variable kinds. A chemist is a chemist, not a computer science graduate. He's more interested in formalderhides than data type declarations.

Comment In the past (Score 1) 230

I suppose that when terminals cost the price of houses, and the computers lived in air-conditioned pens with white-coats at hand, and boas under the floor, computing time was scarse.

Technology depends on how far one lives out from the main stream. I used punched cards and paper tape when i went through my course in the seventies. I used a teletype machine at work, it had a fairly large recriprocating mass, it used to "walk".

Still, it amuses me to think back then we talked about 'Automatic Data Processing' (ADP), but every bit was expensive and one spent a good deal of trying to get as much information into the available data space. Now-days, data is cheap, and everyone calls it "Information Technology". Its rather silly really. Most IT people spend their time pouring data from one jug to another, with little regard to 'information' or how to optimise things.

I still know how to find the main cycles of a program and bum speed out of it. You did that in the ancient days, and because i wanted to run the cycle a couple of thousand millions of times, it is of some profit to do this even today.

Comment Of orn and eðða (Score 1) 258

I have been using these letters since i was at high school, say early 1970s. I tried out ð too, but Modern english represents both of these by a single letter 'th'. One has ick and in, weaer or neier. It's in alphabets already, there's no need for a new rune when its been with us years. Writing "ðe" for "e" is like writing "as" as "az", and other 'newspeak' idioms.

Writing orn is pretty easy, and you get to learn to keep the ascenders on p quite short. Other than that, one gets people who get confused with is. I had a comment or three to the effect that "all of my ths come out like 'p's". I usually respond along the lines of trying to enquire about whether they were Non-English-Speaking Background or something.

The letter has existed for quite some time. A recent tome in the post 'archelogical papers', bought for yet another OE thing that most folk have long forgotten (the long hundred = counts by 120), has a church registery, with the likes of 'Richard, ye son of Peter and Mary', where ye is a form of e the capital looks something like an I, with a rod coming from the middle to 1 o'clock.

The 'polygloss as nature intended' on my website, is constructed in thorns, it's quite an 'easy read', and does not look too ugly. There are some 'th' in there, because some words have a separate t and h, eg the name Wythoff, which is Wyt (white) + hoff (yard). A simple s/th// does not work. The two polygloss pages are based on the same code, made up in a homg-growm markup. `T and `t are th becoming , 'f and `F are always , and `D `d are always Th th. This allows one to search the code for "th" and correct these on demand.

Comment Both sides (Score 1) 572

I worked on both sides of the help-desk in my time.

Being a computer whizz back then, one is asked of members how to do this or do that. One gets 'programming projects', to pretty-print and sort the download docs, and to Y1999 fix proggies. Still. One acquires a reputation from the newtork lads, because while the fixes work, they were not really in accord with the network aims.

On the other side, one gets to see the strange sort of things users do. They look strange, some work and some dont. Network people see boxes as swappable things, not places where users hide things. Some of the things i used to do there (like drop live icons on the user's desktops), sort of horrified them, but it saved a walk, and a good deal of time.

Slashdot Top Deals

Consultants are mystical people who ask a company for a number and then give it back to them.