Saturday, 27 February 2010

Mini versus Micro

In the 80's, I heard about mainframes, microcomputers and minicomputers. For some reason, I thought a minicomputer would be small, but someone showed me a minicomputer in the 90's, and it was the size of a fridge.

It took me another 10 years to learn that a MICRO computer is smaller than a MINI computer, just as a MINI computer is smaller than a MAINFRAME.

Ah well, at least I eventually learned the right terminology!

Friday, 19 February 2010

Apollo 15-17: Pub Crawl on the Moon

I recently rented a DVD called 'Apollo 15-17 - Mountains of the Moon'. It was my first viewing of Apollo (Moon landing) footage.

But after a few minutes, I was aghast. The astronauts were basically clowning around and cracking jokes. $40 billion for this? I know it had to be entertaining, otherwise nobody would watch, but this took the biscuit.

Okay, so they get drunk, crash the rover, play golf in the moon dust, and basically talk and act like drunkards going on a vast interplanetary pub crawl. I wouldn't have been surprised to see them leaving traffic cones in a crater.

Oh for shame, Apollo 15-17. An automated rover should never seem more dignified than mankind's best.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Origin of the Word 'Bleh'

I have an email search program which essentially lets me search all over 120,000 emails in a few seconds. Anyway, I remember using the word 'bleh' when nobody else did. So I did an email search to find the earliest use of the word. I found it in an email from April 14th 1998, but I didn't use the word, it was an American friend in Florida called Jonathan Harp (who was helping us write movie reviews) who mentioned it in a review.

So there are 3 possibilities... (1)Is Jonathan invented it, I used it, and people copied me. (2)Is Jonathan didn't invent it, I used it, and people copied me. (3)Jonathan invented or didn't invent it, and people copied HIM.

Either way, it's nice to think I popularized a word.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Be Careful What You Design

At high school, I typed in a BBC B program on the Acorn Archimedes (BBC B = old 8 bit PC, Archimedes = old 32 bit PC), and it let you draw lines and circles, and zoom in and out infinitely. Wireframe graphics.

Me and my friend made a little world in it, and if you zoomed in in a certain place, it said "If you can read this, F*** off". Then we got the maths teacher to look at it.

It was our bad luck that he chose the exact choices and I turned red when he read "If you can read this, F*** off". But he took it in good humour.

The lesson? Don't make assumptions about what choices people make on a computer.

Webserver on the Moon

If our civilization collapses, and we lose all our data, we'll need a way to get all that data that got blown up or erased.

What to do?

Simple! Send a rocket to the Moon with a phat laptop and a few Terabytes of space. Then, make it so you can send voice or data requests over a radio link from Earth, and then if a future civilization rediscovers the concept of radio, they can get all that data.

It'll be *safe* on the Moon. Google webservers on the moon are where it's at!

Monday, 1 February 2010

Belkin F5D7010 And laptop batteries

I found out that my F57D010 card (7xxx series) plugged into my laptop's PCMCIA socket, shuts off whenever I switch to running off battery.

The solution? Simple...

Get a 5xxx series F57D010 card and it works great. This is I assume, because it uses less power. The 7xxx uses more power than a laptop battery can provide.

An older version using less power? Criminal...