Discussion:
Christmas Trees - ugh
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rumpelstiltskin
2018-09-12 14:03:28 UTC
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Whether one calls them Christmas Trees or Hanukkah Bushes,
I've always been horrified by the pointless destruction of so much
life for such frivolous reason. An artificial tree, if one feels one
must have something, would be much better IMV. The ecological
cost of producing an artificial tree might be greater than of cutting
down a natural tree, but the artificial tree can be used year after
year.

Rabid atheist that I am, I've never had a Christmas tree.
GLOBALIST
2018-09-12 15:31:54 UTC
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On Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at 9:03:28 AM UTC-5, rumpelstiltskin wrote:
> Whether one calls them Christmas Trees or Hanukkah Bushes,
> I've always been horrified by the pointless destruction of so much
> life for such frivolous reason. An artificial tree, if one feels one
> must have something, would be much better IMV. The ecological
> cost of producing an artificial tree might be greater than of cutting
> down a natural tree, but the artificial tree can be used year after
> year.
>
> Rabid atheist that I am, I've never had a Christmas tree.

Christmas trees are raised on farms and there is a constant turnover.
When one year is up for harvest, there are 2 or 3 years in
the process of growing up for the following year. It is no
different from growing corn. Every year you grow a new batch.
islander
2018-09-12 16:31:39 UTC
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On 9/12/2018 7:03 AM, rumpelstiltskin wrote:
> Whether one calls them Christmas Trees or Hanukkah Bushes,
> I've always been horrified by the pointless destruction of so much
> life for such frivolous reason. An artificial tree, if one feels one
> must have something, would be much better IMV. The ecological
> cost of producing an artificial tree might be greater than of cutting
> down a natural tree, but the artificial tree can be used year after
> year.
>
> Rabid atheist that I am, I've never had a Christmas tree.
>
The tradition of bringing an evergreen tree into the house is a
tradition that goes back thousands of years and probably has its origins
in the celebration of the winter solstice in Europe. Bringing an
evergreen in signifies the promise of spring (and also makes the house
smell nice - probably a benefit in early history).

When I was a boy, my father and I would go out to an abandoned field at
the back of the farm where eastern cedar trees abounded to cut one to
bring back to the house. Much more aromatic than other deciduous trees,
but very prickly. I have good memories of that. We were pretty poor
and a bit of celebration was nice in the middle of the winter. Not much
in the way of presents. One year each of us, my mother, father and I,
got a bow saw to use to cut firewood to burn in the kitchen stove.
rumpelstiltskin
2018-09-12 23:02:36 UTC
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On Wed, 12 Sep 2018 09:31:39 -0700, islander <***@priracy.com> wrote:

>On 9/12/2018 7:03 AM, rumpelstiltskin wrote:
>> Whether one calls them Christmas Trees or Hanukkah Bushes,
>> I've always been horrified by the pointless destruction of so much
>> life for such frivolous reason. An artificial tree, if one feels one
>> must have something, would be much better IMV. The ecological
>> cost of producing an artificial tree might be greater than of cutting
>> down a natural tree, but the artificial tree can be used year after
>> year.
>>
>> Rabid atheist that I am, I've never had a Christmas tree.
>>
>The tradition of bringing an evergreen tree into the house is a
>tradition that goes back thousands of years and probably has its origins
>in the celebration of the winter solstice in Europe. Bringing an
>evergreen in signifies the promise of spring (and also makes the house
>smell nice - probably a benefit in early history).


There are many times more people alive now than there were
then, but fertile ground for growing trees has not increased.

>
>When I was a boy, my father and I would go out to an abandoned field at
>the back of the farm where eastern cedar trees abounded to cut one to
>bring back to the house.


We did the same when I was a little kid, but when I was
older we bought trees from empty-lot setups. I think if
people want trees for Xmas, they should use artificial trees.
For one thing, they're re-usable, and for another it's less of
an insult to living things. If I have a religion, "respect for
living things" is an essential part of it, though I admit I
would gladly kill every single disease microbe if I could.



>Much more aromatic than other deciduous trees,
>but very prickly. I have good memories of that. We were pretty poor
>and a bit of celebration was nice in the middle of the winter. Not much
>in the way of presents. One year each of us, my mother, father and I,
>got a bow saw to use to cut firewood to burn in the kitchen stove.
Dan C
2018-09-12 21:04:39 UTC
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On Wed, 12 Sep 2018 07:03:28 -0700, rumpelstiltskin wrote:

> Whether one calls them Christmas Trees or Hanukkah Bushes,
> I've always been horrified by the pointless destruction of so much life
> for such frivolous reason. An artificial tree, if one feels one must
> have something, would be much better IMV. The ecological cost of
> producing an artificial tree might be greater than of cutting down a
> natural tree, but the artificial tree can be used year after year.
>
> Rabid atheist that I am, I've never had a Christmas tree.

I bet you've had a lot of DICK, though, eh?



--
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Thanks, Obama: http://brandybuck.site40.net/pics/politica/thanks.jpg
b***@gmail.com
2018-09-13 02:22:35 UTC
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On Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at 7:03:28 AM UTC-7, rumpelstiltskin wrote:
> Whether one calls them Christmas Trees or Hanukkah Bushes,
> I've always been horrified by the pointless destruction of so much
> life for such frivolous reason. An artificial tree, if one feels one
> must have something, would be much better IMV. The ecological
> cost of producing an artificial tree might be greater than of cutting
> down a natural tree, but the artificial tree can be used year after
> year.
>
> Rabid atheist that I am, I've never had a Christmas tree.
>

I had a few Xmas trees when I was a kid but I forget where they came from. Nowadays, I just have a couple pieces of holy branches that stay in place all year. I have a Xmas light show with about 100 lights that does various fancy sequences. It runs on an old windows 98 machine and boots up from a floppy disk. But occasionally some of the lights would burn out and I have to replace them. I regret not using LEDs which wouldn't burn out but it was 15 years ago when LEDs were not very bright.
islander
2018-09-13 03:35:50 UTC
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On 9/12/2018 7:22 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>
> On Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at 7:03:28 AM UTC-7, rumpelstiltskin wrote:
>> Whether one calls them Christmas Trees or Hanukkah Bushes,
>> I've always been horrified by the pointless destruction of so much
>> life for such frivolous reason. An artificial tree, if one feels one
>> must have something, would be much better IMV. The ecological
>> cost of producing an artificial tree might be greater than of cutting
>> down a natural tree, but the artificial tree can be used year after
>> year.
>>
>> Rabid atheist that I am, I've never had a Christmas tree.
>>
>
> I had a few Xmas trees when I was a kid but I forget where they came from. Nowadays, I just have a couple pieces of holy branches that stay in place all year. I have a Xmas light show with about 100 lights that does various fancy sequences. It runs on an old windows 98 machine and boots up from a floppy disk. But occasionally some of the lights would burn out and I have to replace them. I regret not using LEDs which wouldn't burn out but it was 15 years ago when LEDs were not very bright.
>
>
The first computer that I learned how to use had only paper tape I/O. I
found some green and gold Mylar tape that we used for programs that were
heavily used - it held up better than paper tape. I programmed the
computer to punch out "Merry Christmas" over and over and we decorated
the computer room with it.
b***@gmail.com
2018-09-13 14:45:32 UTC
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On Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at 8:35:54 PM UTC-7, islander wrote:
> On 9/12/2018 7:22 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> >
> > I had a few Xmas trees when I was a kid but I forget where they came from. Nowadays, I just have a couple pieces of holy branches that stay in place all year. I have a Xmas light show with about 100 lights that does various fancy sequences. It runs on an old windows 98 machine and boots up from a floppy disk. But occasionally some of the lights would burn out and I have to replace them. I regret not using LEDs which wouldn't burn out but it was 15 years ago when LEDs were not very bright.
> >
> >
> The first computer that I learned how to use had only paper tape I/O. I
> found some green and gold Mylar tape that we used for programs that were
> heavily used - it held up better than paper tape. I programmed the
> computer to punch out "Merry Christmas" over and over and we decorated
> the computer room with it.
>

The first computer I ever used was a DEC PDP-8 in 1976. A couple of us learned to program in Basic on that machine. I used to come in early and stay late just to play with the thing. We made programable function generators (Sine, Triangle, Square) and later I wrote a Basic program using 2 generators in two part harmony to play chop sticks.
islander
2018-09-14 14:16:12 UTC
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On 9/13/2018 7:45 AM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> On Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at 8:35:54 PM UTC-7, islander wrote:
>> On 9/12/2018 7:22 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>>
>>> I had a few Xmas trees when I was a kid but I forget where they came from. Nowadays, I just have a couple pieces of holy branches that stay in place all year. I have a Xmas light show with about 100 lights that does various fancy sequences. It runs on an old windows 98 machine and boots up from a floppy disk. But occasionally some of the lights would burn out and I have to replace them. I regret not using LEDs which wouldn't burn out but it was 15 years ago when LEDs were not very bright.
>>>
>>>
>> The first computer that I learned how to use had only paper tape I/O. I
>> found some green and gold Mylar tape that we used for programs that were
>> heavily used - it held up better than paper tape. I programmed the
>> computer to punch out "Merry Christmas" over and over and we decorated
>> the computer room with it.
>>
>
> The first computer I ever used was a DEC PDP-8 in 1976. A couple of us learned to program in Basic on that machine. I used to come in early and stay late just to play with the thing. We made programable function generators (Sine, Triangle, Square) and later I wrote a Basic program using 2 generators in two part harmony to play chop sticks.
>

Yes, the PDP-8 was a popular machine. The old machines seem to all have
one of the registers connected to a speaker which gave you an indication
of whether the program was working properly. The machine that I
mentioned was a Philco Transac-1000 and also had a small crt on the
console that was connected to the address register. Useful to see if
you were stuck in a loop. It was programmed in machine language, not
even an assembly language.

Did you know how DEC got into the computer business? They started out
by manufacturing digital modules which were essentially PC boards that
you could use to build your own systems.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Digital_Equipment_Corporation#Digital_modules
Very handy, but now I'm showing my age!
b***@gmail.com
2018-09-15 02:45:00 UTC
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On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 7:16:17 AM UTC-7, islander wrote:
> On 9/13/2018 7:45 AM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> > On Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at 8:35:54 PM UTC-7, islander wrote:
> >> On 9/12/2018 7:22 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> >>>
> >>> I had a few Xmas trees when I was a kid but I forget where they came from. Nowadays, I just have a couple pieces of holy branches that stay in place all year. I have a Xmas light show with about 100 lights that does various fancy sequences. It runs on an old windows 98 machine and boots up from a floppy disk. But occasionally some of the lights would burn out and I have to replace them. I regret not using LEDs which wouldn't burn out but it was 15 years ago when LEDs were not very bright.
> >>>
> >>>
> >> The first computer that I learned how to use had only paper tape I/O. I
> >> found some green and gold Mylar tape that we used for programs that were
> >> heavily used - it held up better than paper tape. I programmed the
> >> computer to punch out "Merry Christmas" over and over and we decorated
> >> the computer room with it.
> >>
> >
> > The first computer I ever used was a DEC PDP-8 in 1976. A couple of us learned to program in Basic on that machine. I used to come in early and stay late just to play with the thing. We made programable function generators (Sine, Triangle, Square) and later I wrote a Basic program using 2 generators in two part harmony to play chop sticks.
> >
>
> Yes, the PDP-8 was a popular machine. The old machines seem to all have
> one of the registers connected to a speaker which gave you an indication
> of whether the program was working properly. The machine that I
> mentioned was a Philco Transac-1000 and also had a small crt on the
> console that was connected to the address register. Useful to see if
> you were stuck in a loop. It was programmed in machine language, not
> even an assembly language.
>
> Did you know how DEC got into the computer business? They started out
> by manufacturing digital modules which were essentially PC boards that
> you could use to build your own systems.
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Digital_Equipment_Corporation#Digital_modules
> Very handy, but now I'm showing my age!
>

No, I didn't know that. I'm fairly ignorant about history. Somebody once said that history is a thing of the past. Anyway, the PDP-8 we had was left running 24/7 and one weekend the cooling fan stopped and the thing died from overheating. Nobody bothered to fix it since the new Commodore PET (personal electronic transactors) were just coming on line at low prices. I think we bought 4 of them, one for the engineering lab and 3 for production. It was a small desk top system with a monitor and a cassette tape drive and 8K of memory and a IEEE bus interface. It did all we wanted to do.
islander
2018-09-15 03:49:06 UTC
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On 9/14/2018 7:45 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 7:16:17 AM UTC-7, islander wrote:
>> On 9/13/2018 7:45 AM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>> On Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at 8:35:54 PM UTC-7, islander wrote:
>>>> On 9/12/2018 7:22 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>> I had a few Xmas trees when I was a kid but I forget where they came from. Nowadays, I just have a couple pieces of holy branches that stay in place all year. I have a Xmas light show with about 100 lights that does various fancy sequences. It runs on an old windows 98 machine and boots up from a floppy disk. But occasionally some of the lights would burn out and I have to replace them. I regret not using LEDs which wouldn't burn out but it was 15 years ago when LEDs were not very bright.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>> The first computer that I learned how to use had only paper tape I/O. I
>>>> found some green and gold Mylar tape that we used for programs that were
>>>> heavily used - it held up better than paper tape. I programmed the
>>>> computer to punch out "Merry Christmas" over and over and we decorated
>>>> the computer room with it.
>>>>
>>>
>>> The first computer I ever used was a DEC PDP-8 in 1976. A couple of us learned to program in Basic on that machine. I used to come in early and stay late just to play with the thing. We made programable function generators (Sine, Triangle, Square) and later I wrote a Basic program using 2 generators in two part harmony to play chop sticks.
>>>
>>
>> Yes, the PDP-8 was a popular machine. The old machines seem to all have
>> one of the registers connected to a speaker which gave you an indication
>> of whether the program was working properly. The machine that I
>> mentioned was a Philco Transac-1000 and also had a small crt on the
>> console that was connected to the address register. Useful to see if
>> you were stuck in a loop. It was programmed in machine language, not
>> even an assembly language.
>>
>> Did you know how DEC got into the computer business? They started out
>> by manufacturing digital modules which were essentially PC boards that
>> you could use to build your own systems.
>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Digital_Equipment_Corporation#Digital_modules
>> Very handy, but now I'm showing my age!
>>
>
> No, I didn't know that. I'm fairly ignorant about history. Somebody once said that history is a thing of the past. Anyway, the PDP-8 we had was left running 24/7 and one weekend the cooling fan stopped and the thing died from overheating. Nobody bothered to fix it since the new Commodore PET (personal electronic transactors) were just coming on line at low prices. I think we bought 4 of them, one for the engineering lab and 3 for production. It was a small desk top system with a monitor and a cassette tape drive and 8K of memory and a IEEE bus interface. It did all we wanted to do.
>

The PDP-11s were especially popular in the universities and lot of the
early networking research was done using them. They were almost
indestructible. There was one at Stanford that was accidentally sealed
into a niche during a remodeling where it continued serving as a node in
the Stanford University Network for years. I'm not sure how they found it!

There was a strongly held belief in the X-Windows world that you
shouldn't need to know where your program was running or where your data
was stored. I was always uncomfortable with that. Still am.
El Castor
2018-09-15 07:55:44 UTC
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On Fri, 14 Sep 2018 20:49:06 -0700, islander <***@priracy.com> wrote:

>On 9/14/2018 7:45 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>> On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 7:16:17 AM UTC-7, islander wrote:
>>> On 9/13/2018 7:45 AM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>>> On Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at 8:35:54 PM UTC-7, islander wrote:
>>>>> On 9/12/2018 7:22 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>>>>>
>>>>>> I had a few Xmas trees when I was a kid but I forget where they came from. Nowadays, I just have a couple pieces of holy branches that stay in place all year. I have a Xmas light show with about 100 lights that does various fancy sequences. It runs on an old windows 98 machine and boots up from a floppy disk. But occasionally some of the lights would burn out and I have to replace them. I regret not using LEDs which wouldn't burn out but it was 15 years ago when LEDs were not very bright.
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>> The first computer that I learned how to use had only paper tape I/O. I
>>>>> found some green and gold Mylar tape that we used for programs that were
>>>>> heavily used - it held up better than paper tape. I programmed the
>>>>> computer to punch out "Merry Christmas" over and over and we decorated
>>>>> the computer room with it.
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> The first computer I ever used was a DEC PDP-8 in 1976. A couple of us learned to program in Basic on that machine. I used to come in early and stay late just to play with the thing. We made programable function generators (Sine, Triangle, Square) and later I wrote a Basic program using 2 generators in two part harmony to play chop sticks.
>>>>
>>>
>>> Yes, the PDP-8 was a popular machine. The old machines seem to all have
>>> one of the registers connected to a speaker which gave you an indication
>>> of whether the program was working properly. The machine that I
>>> mentioned was a Philco Transac-1000 and also had a small crt on the
>>> console that was connected to the address register. Useful to see if
>>> you were stuck in a loop. It was programmed in machine language, not
>>> even an assembly language.
>>>
>>> Did you know how DEC got into the computer business? They started out
>>> by manufacturing digital modules which were essentially PC boards that
>>> you could use to build your own systems.
>>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Digital_Equipment_Corporation#Digital_modules
>>> Very handy, but now I'm showing my age!
>>>
>>
>> No, I didn't know that. I'm fairly ignorant about history. Somebody once said that history is a thing of the past. Anyway, the PDP-8 we had was left running 24/7 and one weekend the cooling fan stopped and the thing died from overheating. Nobody bothered to fix it since the new Commodore PET (personal electronic transactors) were just coming on line at low prices. I think we bought 4 of them, one for the engineering lab and 3 for production. It was a small desk top system with a monitor and a cassette tape drive and 8K of memory and a IEEE bus interface. It did all we wanted to do.
>>
>
>The PDP-11s were especially popular in the universities and lot of the
>early networking research was done using them. They were almost
>indestructible. There was one at Stanford that was accidentally sealed
>into a niche during a remodeling where it continued serving as a node in
>the Stanford University Network for years. I'm not sure how they found it!
>
>There was a strongly held belief in the X-Windows world that you
>shouldn't need to know where your program was running or where your data
>was stored. I was always uncomfortable with that. Still am.
>
Your history pre-dates mine, and was a bit more exciting and high end.
My first computer was a Commodore 64. Got it home, plugged it in, my
wife typed in a Basic program that made a lightning bolt appear on
the screen, then she nudged the power supply (a brick on the floor)
with her foot, and it blew up. Next day came an Atari 800XL, and long
before the Internet, I got active on a local dial-up bulletin board,
Pirates Bay - later re-named The Bay. My introduction to working with
computers at work came when my boss announced his intention to
computerize the department using an ancient Apple II, and I was the
only one who knew how to stick a 5 1/4" floppy into a drive. I went on
to do some programming in Clipper, a dbase III compiler, became a
product manager for a securities instruction program used by our
customers, and flew around the country installing and instructing.
Took me as far as Bermuda and Puerto Rico. Set up bank computers at
trade shows, wrote various advertising animations to run on them,
slide shows to illustrate speeches, and some of the first computerized
profitability analyses. A department was created to install PC
networks. I was one of the founding members, became a Novell CNE,
built our file servers, and installed dozens of networks -- later
managing several. I feel fortunate to have been witness to a little
slice of history.
islander
2018-09-15 14:55:29 UTC
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On 9/15/2018 12:55 AM, El Castor wrote:
> On Fri, 14 Sep 2018 20:49:06 -0700, islander <***@priracy.com> wrote:
>
>> On 9/14/2018 7:45 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>> On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 7:16:17 AM UTC-7, islander wrote:
>>>> On 9/13/2018 7:45 AM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>>>> On Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at 8:35:54 PM UTC-7, islander wrote:
>>>>>> On 9/12/2018 7:22 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> I had a few Xmas trees when I was a kid but I forget where they came from. Nowadays, I just have a couple pieces of holy branches that stay in place all year. I have a Xmas light show with about 100 lights that does various fancy sequences. It runs on an old windows 98 machine and boots up from a floppy disk. But occasionally some of the lights would burn out and I have to replace them. I regret not using LEDs which wouldn't burn out but it was 15 years ago when LEDs were not very bright.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>> The first computer that I learned how to use had only paper tape I/O. I
>>>>>> found some green and gold Mylar tape that we used for programs that were
>>>>>> heavily used - it held up better than paper tape. I programmed the
>>>>>> computer to punch out "Merry Christmas" over and over and we decorated
>>>>>> the computer room with it.
>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> The first computer I ever used was a DEC PDP-8 in 1976. A couple of us learned to program in Basic on that machine. I used to come in early and stay late just to play with the thing. We made programable function generators (Sine, Triangle, Square) and later I wrote a Basic program using 2 generators in two part harmony to play chop sticks.
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Yes, the PDP-8 was a popular machine. The old machines seem to all have
>>>> one of the registers connected to a speaker which gave you an indication
>>>> of whether the program was working properly. The machine that I
>>>> mentioned was a Philco Transac-1000 and also had a small crt on the
>>>> console that was connected to the address register. Useful to see if
>>>> you were stuck in a loop. It was programmed in machine language, not
>>>> even an assembly language.
>>>>
>>>> Did you know how DEC got into the computer business? They started out
>>>> by manufacturing digital modules which were essentially PC boards that
>>>> you could use to build your own systems.
>>>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Digital_Equipment_Corporation#Digital_modules
>>>> Very handy, but now I'm showing my age!
>>>>
>>>
>>> No, I didn't know that. I'm fairly ignorant about history. Somebody once said that history is a thing of the past. Anyway, the PDP-8 we had was left running 24/7 and one weekend the cooling fan stopped and the thing died from overheating. Nobody bothered to fix it since the new Commodore PET (personal electronic transactors) were just coming on line at low prices. I think we bought 4 of them, one for the engineering lab and 3 for production. It was a small desk top system with a monitor and a cassette tape drive and 8K of memory and a IEEE bus interface. It did all we wanted to do.
>>>
>>
>> The PDP-11s were especially popular in the universities and lot of the
>> early networking research was done using them. They were almost
>> indestructible. There was one at Stanford that was accidentally sealed
>> into a niche during a remodeling where it continued serving as a node in
>> the Stanford University Network for years. I'm not sure how they found it!
>>
>> There was a strongly held belief in the X-Windows world that you
>> shouldn't need to know where your program was running or where your data
>> was stored. I was always uncomfortable with that. Still am.
>>
> Your history pre-dates mine, and was a bit more exciting and high end.
> My first computer was a Commodore 64. Got it home, plugged it in, my
> wife typed in a Basic program that made a lightning bolt appear on
> the screen, then she nudged the power supply (a brick on the floor)
> with her foot, and it blew up. Next day came an Atari 800XL, and long
> before the Internet, I got active on a local dial-up bulletin board,
> Pirates Bay - later re-named The Bay. My introduction to working with
> computers at work came when my boss announced his intention to
> computerize the department using an ancient Apple II, and I was the
> only one who knew how to stick a 5 1/4" floppy into a drive. I went on
> to do some programming in Clipper, a dbase III compiler, became a
> product manager for a securities instruction program used by our
> customers, and flew around the country installing and instructing.
> Took me as far as Bermuda and Puerto Rico. Set up bank computers at
> trade shows, wrote various advertising animations to run on them,
> slide shows to illustrate speeches, and some of the first computerized
> profitability analyses. A department was created to install PC
> networks. I was one of the founding members, became a Novell CNE,
> built our file servers, and installed dozens of networks -- later
> managing several. I feel fortunate to have been witness to a little
> slice of history.
>
I was very fortunate to have lived during and participated in the
evolution of semiconductors, computers and telecommunications during a
time of rapid technical progress. Included in that was 20 years at NSA
where we were doing research that was 10 years ahead of the private
sector. A very exciting opportunity for a motivated young man. I have
no idea if NSA is still at the bleeding edge of new technology. I hope
they are.
El Castor
2018-09-15 19:05:46 UTC
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On Sat, 15 Sep 2018 07:55:29 -0700, islander <***@priracy.com> wrote:

>On 9/15/2018 12:55 AM, El Castor wrote:
>> On Fri, 14 Sep 2018 20:49:06 -0700, islander <***@priracy.com> wrote:
>>
>>> On 9/14/2018 7:45 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>>> On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 7:16:17 AM UTC-7, islander wrote:
>>>>> On 9/13/2018 7:45 AM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>>>>> On Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at 8:35:54 PM UTC-7, islander wrote:
>>>>>>> On 9/12/2018 7:22 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> I had a few Xmas trees when I was a kid but I forget where they came from. Nowadays, I just have a couple pieces of holy branches that stay in place all year. I have a Xmas light show with about 100 lights that does various fancy sequences. It runs on an old windows 98 machine and boots up from a floppy disk. But occasionally some of the lights would burn out and I have to replace them. I regret not using LEDs which wouldn't burn out but it was 15 years ago when LEDs were not very bright.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> The first computer that I learned how to use had only paper tape I/O. I
>>>>>>> found some green and gold Mylar tape that we used for programs that were
>>>>>>> heavily used - it held up better than paper tape. I programmed the
>>>>>>> computer to punch out "Merry Christmas" over and over and we decorated
>>>>>>> the computer room with it.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> The first computer I ever used was a DEC PDP-8 in 1976. A couple of us learned to program in Basic on that machine. I used to come in early and stay late just to play with the thing. We made programable function generators (Sine, Triangle, Square) and later I wrote a Basic program using 2 generators in two part harmony to play chop sticks.
>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> Yes, the PDP-8 was a popular machine. The old machines seem to all have
>>>>> one of the registers connected to a speaker which gave you an indication
>>>>> of whether the program was working properly. The machine that I
>>>>> mentioned was a Philco Transac-1000 and also had a small crt on the
>>>>> console that was connected to the address register. Useful to see if
>>>>> you were stuck in a loop. It was programmed in machine language, not
>>>>> even an assembly language.
>>>>>
>>>>> Did you know how DEC got into the computer business? They started out
>>>>> by manufacturing digital modules which were essentially PC boards that
>>>>> you could use to build your own systems.
>>>>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Digital_Equipment_Corporation#Digital_modules
>>>>> Very handy, but now I'm showing my age!
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> No, I didn't know that. I'm fairly ignorant about history. Somebody once said that history is a thing of the past. Anyway, the PDP-8 we had was left running 24/7 and one weekend the cooling fan stopped and the thing died from overheating. Nobody bothered to fix it since the new Commodore PET (personal electronic transactors) were just coming on line at low prices. I think we bought 4 of them, one for the engineering lab and 3 for production. It was a small desk top system with a monitor and a cassette tape drive and 8K of memory and a IEEE bus interface. It did all we wanted to do.
>>>>
>>>
>>> The PDP-11s were especially popular in the universities and lot of the
>>> early networking research was done using them. They were almost
>>> indestructible. There was one at Stanford that was accidentally sealed
>>> into a niche during a remodeling where it continued serving as a node in
>>> the Stanford University Network for years. I'm not sure how they found it!
>>>
>>> There was a strongly held belief in the X-Windows world that you
>>> shouldn't need to know where your program was running or where your data
>>> was stored. I was always uncomfortable with that. Still am.
>>>
>> Your history pre-dates mine, and was a bit more exciting and high end.
>> My first computer was a Commodore 64. Got it home, plugged it in, my
>> wife typed in a Basic program that made a lightning bolt appear on
>> the screen, then she nudged the power supply (a brick on the floor)
>> with her foot, and it blew up. Next day came an Atari 800XL, and long
>> before the Internet, I got active on a local dial-up bulletin board,
>> Pirates Bay - later re-named The Bay. My introduction to working with
>> computers at work came when my boss announced his intention to
>> computerize the department using an ancient Apple II, and I was the
>> only one who knew how to stick a 5 1/4" floppy into a drive. I went on
>> to do some programming in Clipper, a dbase III compiler, became a
>> product manager for a securities instruction program used by our
>> customers, and flew around the country installing and instructing.
>> Took me as far as Bermuda and Puerto Rico. Set up bank computers at
>> trade shows, wrote various advertising animations to run on them,
>> slide shows to illustrate speeches, and some of the first computerized
>> profitability analyses. A department was created to install PC
>> networks. I was one of the founding members, became a Novell CNE,
>> built our file servers, and installed dozens of networks -- later
>> managing several. I feel fortunate to have been witness to a little
>> slice of history.
>>
>I was very fortunate to have lived during and participated in the
>evolution of semiconductors, computers and telecommunications during a
>time of rapid technical progress. Included in that was 20 years at NSA
>where we were doing research that was 10 years ahead of the private
>sector. A very exciting opportunity for a motivated young man. I have
>no idea if NSA is still at the bleeding edge of new technology. I hope
>they are.

Probably reading every word we type. (-8
b***@gmail.com
2018-09-16 00:45:48 UTC
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On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 8:49:11 PM UTC-7, islander wrote:
> On 9/14/2018 7:45 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> > No, I didn't know that. I'm fairly ignorant about history. Somebody once said that history is a thing of the past. Anyway, the PDP-8 we had was left running 24/7 and one weekend the cooling fan stopped and the thing died from overheating. Nobody bothered to fix it since the new Commodore PET (personal electronic transactors) were just coming on line at low prices. I think we bought 4 of them, one for the engineering lab and 3 for production. It was a small desk top system with a monitor and a cassette tape drive and 8K of memory and a IEEE bus interface. It did all we wanted to do.
> >
>
> The PDP-11s were especially popular in the universities and lot of the
> early networking research was done using them. They were almost
> indestructible. There was one at Stanford that was accidentally sealed
> into a niche during a remodeling where it continued serving as a node in
> the Stanford University Network for years. I'm not sure how they found it!
>
> There was a strongly held belief in the X-Windows world that you
> shouldn't need to know where your program was running or where your data
> was stored. I was always uncomfortable with that. Still am.
>

Yes, I would be too. I back up everything on flash drives. We did have a PDP-11 but I never got involved with it. At a later job I had a VAX machine terminal on my desk which serviced many users at the same time (also a DEC). I didn't do any programming with it and just consulted the software manager and explained what I wanted and he wrote the program. I even had one program named after me and I just typed in BOWDEN and the program would run. My favorite computer was a Commodore VIC-20 I purchased for $80 with 3K of memory in 1981. I wrote a PAC-MAN game using the cassette buffer for extra memory and gave a copy to my boss for his son to try out. He said it couldn't be done and he knew several people who had tried. All I could say was it was all on the cassette tape and seems to work fine. I think I spent 3 months on that thing. But I remember the day I discovered transistors actually worked according to theory. I had attended military schools where we learned the collector current of a transistor was many times greater than the input base current. I didn't believe it so one night I went out to my workplace and set up an experiment. I put a milliamp meter in series with the transistor collector and a high value variable resistor in series with another meter and the base so I could measure the ratio of input base current to output collector current. Sure enough, the collector current varied wildly as the base current made small changes. I was a believer after that but it's still a mystery how it all works. I think it's all magic.
islander
2018-09-16 03:02:21 UTC
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On 9/15/2018 5:45 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 8:49:11 PM UTC-7, islander wrote:
>> On 9/14/2018 7:45 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>> No, I didn't know that. I'm fairly ignorant about history. Somebody once said that history is a thing of the past. Anyway, the PDP-8 we had was left running 24/7 and one weekend the cooling fan stopped and the thing died from overheating. Nobody bothered to fix it since the new Commodore PET (personal electronic transactors) were just coming on line at low prices. I think we bought 4 of them, one for the engineering lab and 3 for production. It was a small desk top system with a monitor and a cassette tape drive and 8K of memory and a IEEE bus interface. It did all we wanted to do.
>>>
>>
>> The PDP-11s were especially popular in the universities and lot of the
>> early networking research was done using them. They were almost
>> indestructible. There was one at Stanford that was accidentally sealed
>> into a niche during a remodeling where it continued serving as a node in
>> the Stanford University Network for years. I'm not sure how they found it!
>>
>> There was a strongly held belief in the X-Windows world that you
>> shouldn't need to know where your program was running or where your data
>> was stored. I was always uncomfortable with that. Still am.
>>
>
> Yes, I would be too. I back up everything on flash drives. We did have a PDP-11 but I never got involved with it. At a later job I had a VAX machine terminal on my desk which serviced many users at the same time (also a DEC). I didn't do any programming with it and just consulted the software manager and explained what I wanted and he wrote the program. I even had one program named after me and I just typed in BOWDEN and the program would run. My favorite computer was a Commodore VIC-20 I purchased for $80 with 3K of memory in 1981. I wrote a PAC-MAN game using the cassette buffer for extra memory and gave a copy to my boss for his son to try out. He said it couldn't be done and he knew several people who had tried. All I could say was it was all on the cassette tape and seems to work fine. I think I spent 3 months on that thing. But I remember the day I discovered transistors actually worked according to theory. I had attended military schools where we learned the collector current of a transistor was many times greater than the input base current. I didn't believe it so one night I went out to my workplace and set up an experiment. I put a milliamp meter in series with the transistor collector and a high value variable resistor in series with another meter and the base so I could measure the ratio of input base current to output collector current. Sure enough, the collector current varied wildly as the base current made small changes. I was a believer after that but it's still a mystery how it all works. I think it's all magic.
>
>
>
In the '60s, IBM was all-in on bipolar technology and was building
computers that needed liquid cooling. At NSA, we bet on a surface
effect device, metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS). We worked with a
start-up on Long Island, General Microelectronics started by Frank
Wanlass, and proved that the technology had enormous promise. The rest
is history. Not magic - only good solid state physics.

I had three teams in my division: Process engineers who defined and
characterized the processes that we would use, Design engineers who
designed the chips, and Computer aided design engineers who developed
the tools used by the designers. We went through four generations of
the technology while I was there.

I was raided twice by GE Research in NY who stole my best people. They
went on to great careers in industry. One of them was responsible for
the group that designed the Alpha chips that were used in the final
generation of machines built by DEC. They were incredible designs, but
too late to save DEC which totally missed the personal computer market.

Quite a shame because around 1980 the university research community
foresaw networked computers and talked DEC into selling 5-pacs of VAX750
machines to the universities under various government and company
sponsorship of networking research. I don't think that they ever really
got it and SUN (a Stanford/Berkel
b***@gmail.com
2018-09-16 03:09:48 UTC
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On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 8:49:11 PM UTC-7, islander wrote:
> On 9/14/2018 7:45 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> > No, I didn't know that. I'm fairly ignorant about history. Somebody once said that history is a thing of the past. Anyway, the PDP-8 we had was left running 24/7 and one weekend the cooling fan stopped and the thing died from overheating. Nobody bothered to fix it since the new Commodore PET (personal electronic transactors) were just coming on line at low prices. I think we bought 4 of them, one for the engineering lab and 3 for production. It was a small desk top system with a monitor and a cassette tape drive and 8K of memory and a IEEE bus interface. It did all we wanted to do.
> >
>
> The PDP-11s were especially popular in the universities and lot of the
> early networking research was done using them. They were almost
> indestructible. There was one at Stanford that was accidentally sealed
> into a niche during a remodeling where it continued serving as a node in
> the Stanford University Network for years. I'm not sure how they found it!
>
> There was a strongly held belief in the X-Windows world that you
> shouldn't need to know where your program was running or where your data
> was stored. I was always uncomfortable with that. Still am.
>

Here's another tidbit of modern computing. This little 18 pin chip is a complete computer minus a monitor and keyboard. It sells on e-bay for about a dollar and has 2K of ROM program memory and a couple hundred bytes of RAM. It does all my simple projects with memory left over. It has two 8 bit I/O ports and all that for a dollar.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/20PCS-IC-PIC16F628-PIC16F628A-I-P-DIP-18-Microchip-NEW/221990956346?hash=item33afb12d3a:g:thUAAOSwGotWkkEk
islander
2018-09-16 14:24:50 UTC
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On 9/15/2018 8:09 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>
> On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 8:49:11 PM UTC-7, islander wrote:
>> On 9/14/2018 7:45 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>> No, I didn't know that. I'm fairly ignorant about history. Somebody once said that history is a thing of the past. Anyway, the PDP-8 we had was left running 24/7 and one weekend the cooling fan stopped and the thing died from overheating. Nobody bothered to fix it since the new Commodore PET (personal electronic transactors) were just coming on line at low prices. I think we bought 4 of them, one for the engineering lab and 3 for production. It was a small desk top system with a monitor and a cassette tape drive and 8K of memory and a IEEE bus interface. It did all we wanted to do.
>>>
>>
>> The PDP-11s were especially popular in the universities and lot of the
>> early networking research was done using them. They were almost
>> indestructible. There was one at Stanford that was accidentally sealed
>> into a niche during a remodeling where it continued serving as a node in
>> the Stanford University Network for years. I'm not sure how they found it!
>>
>> There was a strongly held belief in the X-Windows world that you
>> shouldn't need to know where your program was running or where your data
>> was stored. I was always uncomfortable with that. Still am.
>>
>
> Here's another tidbit of modern computing. This little 18 pin chip is a complete computer minus a monitor and keyboard. It sells on e-bay for about a dollar and has 2K of ROM program memory and a couple hundred bytes of RAM. It does all my simple projects with memory left over. It has two 8 bit I/O ports and all that for a dollar.
>
> https://www.ebay.com/itm/20PCS-IC-PIC16F628-PIC16F628A-I-P-DIP-18-Microchip-NEW/221990956346?hash=item33afb12d3a:g:thUAAOSwGotWkkEk
>
>
>
Pretty amazing! Back in the late '60s I met a young engineer by the
name of Don Trotter who invented the first electronic calculator. He
was a professor at Mississippi state and he still had the prototype when
I last talked to him years ago. Calculator chips were the first step in
what became a rapidly evolving world of computers-on-a-chip. In '71 my
team was looking for sources of silicon gate PMOS and we were visiting a
number of companies who were using that technology. At Intel, they were
in the process of developing the I8008 and were all excited about how it
would revolutionize the game industry. I recall thinking at the time
that they should market it as part of a computer kit. There were a lot
of hobbyists at the time who used the chip in home-brew computers. At
the same time, we visited Hughes research facility where they were the
dominant manufacturer of watch chips. We talked with their chief
designer who was wearing two watches, one with an led display and the
other with a lcd display. Remember the led watches? They consumed a
lot of power and had a motion sensor so that you could turn on the
display with a shake of the wrist. I remember watching people dancing
in a club with their watches leaving red streaks in the air as the leds
turning on from the motion.

Yes, we have come a long way!
b***@gmail.com
2018-09-16 21:00:15 UTC
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On Sunday, September 16, 2018 at 7:24:55 AM UTC-7, islander wrote:
> On 9/15/2018 8:09 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> >
> > On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 8:49:11 PM UTC-7, islander wrote:
> >> On 9/14/2018 7:45 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> >>> No, I didn't know that. I'm fairly ignorant about history. Somebody once said that history is a thing of the past. Anyway, the PDP-8 we had was left running 24/7 and one weekend the cooling fan stopped and the thing died from overheating. Nobody bothered to fix it since the new Commodore PET (personal electronic transactors) were just coming on line at low prices. I think we bought 4 of them, one for the engineering lab and 3 for production. It was a small desk top system with a monitor and a cassette tape drive and 8K of memory and a IEEE bus interface. It did all we wanted to do.
> >>>
> >>
> >> The PDP-11s were especially popular in the universities and lot of the
> >> early networking research was done using them. They were almost
> >> indestructible. There was one at Stanford that was accidentally sealed
> >> into a niche during a remodeling where it continued serving as a node in
> >> the Stanford University Network for years. I'm not sure how they found it!
> >>
> >> There was a strongly held belief in the X-Windows world that you
> >> shouldn't need to know where your program was running or where your data
> >> was stored. I was always uncomfortable with that. Still am.
> >>
> >
> > Here's another tidbit of modern computing. This little 18 pin chip is a complete computer minus a monitor and keyboard. It sells on e-bay for about a dollar and has 2K of ROM program memory and a couple hundred bytes of RAM. It does all my simple projects with memory left over. It has two 8 bit I/O ports and all that for a dollar.
> >
> > https://www.ebay.com/itm/20PCS-IC-PIC16F628-PIC16F628A-I-P-DIP-18-Microchip-NEW/221990956346?hash=item33afb12d3a:g:thUAAOSwGotWkkEk
> >
> >
> Pretty amazing! Back in the late '60s I met a young engineer by the
> name of Don Trotter who invented the first electronic calculator. He
> was a professor at Mississippi state and he still had the prototype when
> I last talked to him years ago. Calculator chips were the first step in
> what became a rapidly evolving world of computers-on-a-chip. In '71 my
> team was looking for sources of silicon gate PMOS and we were visiting a
> number of companies who were using that technology. At Intel, they were
> in the process of developing the I8008 and were all excited about how it
> would revolutionize the game industry. I recall thinking at the time
> that they should market it as part of a computer kit. There were a lot
> of hobbyists at the time who used the chip in home-brew computers. At
> the same time, we visited Hughes research facility where they were the
> dominant manufacturer of watch chips. We talked with their chief
> designer who was wearing two watches, one with an led display and the
> other with a lcd display. Remember the led watches? They consumed a
> lot of power and had a motion sensor so that you could turn on the
> display with a shake of the wrist. I remember watching people dancing
> in a club with their watches leaving red streaks in the air as the leds
> turning on from the motion.
>
> Yes, we have come a long way!
>

Yes, I remember those LED watches. I think I had one that used a button to light the display. For several years I had a self-winding watch with 24 hour display that wound itself as you moved your wrist. No batteries needed. In school we had one old guy (38) who had one of the first HP scientific calculators in 1972. The instructor was always asking him if his calculations were right. I think he spent $400 for the thing. I got my first calculator (HP-21) used in 1975 for $200. But my best deal was a programmable HP-25 scientific calculator that stores 40 keystrokes and has 8 memories. I found it in a pile of junk at a swap meet a few years ago and bought it for $3. It uses LEDs so you have to keep it plugged in or the program is lost if you turn it off.
islander
2018-09-16 23:36:25 UTC
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On 9/16/2018 2:00 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>
> On Sunday, September 16, 2018 at 7:24:55 AM UTC-7, islander wrote:
>> On 9/15/2018 8:09 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>>
>>> On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 8:49:11 PM UTC-7, islander wrote:
>>>> On 9/14/2018 7:45 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>>>> No, I didn't know that. I'm fairly ignorant about history. Somebody once said that history is a thing of the past. Anyway, the PDP-8 we had was left running 24/7 and one weekend the cooling fan stopped and the thing died from overheating. Nobody bothered to fix it since the new Commodore PET (personal electronic transactors) were just coming on line at low prices. I think we bought 4 of them, one for the engineering lab and 3 for production. It was a small desk top system with a monitor and a cassette tape drive and 8K of memory and a IEEE bus interface. It did all we wanted to do.
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> The PDP-11s were especially popular in the universities and lot of the
>>>> early networking research was done using them. They were almost
>>>> indestructible. There was one at Stanford that was accidentally sealed
>>>> into a niche during a remodeling where it continued serving as a node in
>>>> the Stanford University Network for years. I'm not sure how they found it!
>>>>
>>>> There was a strongly held belief in the X-Windows world that you
>>>> shouldn't need to know where your program was running or where your data
>>>> was stored. I was always uncomfortable with that. Still am.
>>>>
>>>
>>> Here's another tidbit of modern computing. This little 18 pin chip is a complete computer minus a monitor and keyboard. It sells on e-bay for about a dollar and has 2K of ROM program memory and a couple hundred bytes of RAM. It does all my simple projects with memory left over. It has two 8 bit I/O ports and all that for a dollar.
>>>
>>> https://www.ebay.com/itm/20PCS-IC-PIC16F628-PIC16F628A-I-P-DIP-18-Microchip-NEW/221990956346?hash=item33afb12d3a:g:thUAAOSwGotWkkEk
>>>
>>>
>> Pretty amazing! Back in the late '60s I met a young engineer by the
>> name of Don Trotter who invented the first electronic calculator. He
>> was a professor at Mississippi state and he still had the prototype when
>> I last talked to him years ago. Calculator chips were the first step in
>> what became a rapidly evolving world of computers-on-a-chip. In '71 my
>> team was looking for sources of silicon gate PMOS and we were visiting a
>> number of companies who were using that technology. At Intel, they were
>> in the process of developing the I8008 and were all excited about how it
>> would revolutionize the game industry. I recall thinking at the time
>> that they should market it as part of a computer kit. There were a lot
>> of hobbyists at the time who used the chip in home-brew computers. At
>> the same time, we visited Hughes research facility where they were the
>> dominant manufacturer of watch chips. We talked with their chief
>> designer who was wearing two watches, one with an led display and the
>> other with a lcd display. Remember the led watches? They consumed a
>> lot of power and had a motion sensor so that you could turn on the
>> display with a shake of the wrist. I remember watching people dancing
>> in a club with their watches leaving red streaks in the air as the leds
>> turning on from the motion.
>>
>> Yes, we have come a long way!
>>
>
> Yes, I remember those LED watches. I think I had one that used a button to light the display. For several years I had a self-winding watch with 24 hour display that wound itself as you moved your wrist. No batteries needed. In school we had one old guy (38) who had one of the first HP scientific calculators in 1972. The instructor was always asking him if his calculations were right. I think he spent $400 for the thing. I got my first calculator (HP-21) used in 1975 for $200. But my best deal was a programmable HP-25 scientific calculator that stores 40 keystrokes and has 8 memories. I found it in a pile of junk at a swap meet a few years ago and bought it for $3. It uses LEDs so you have to keep it plugged in or the program is lost if you turn it off.
>
>
>
I was given a scientific calculator when I left NSA and it was a really
nice machine, at least until the turn of the millennium when the clock
got very confused. I finally threw it out this year.
b***@gmail.com
2018-09-17 01:20:44 UTC
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On Sunday, September 16, 2018 at 4:36:29 PM UTC-7, islander wrote:
> On 9/16/2018 2:00 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> >
> >
> > Yes, I remember those LED watches. I think I had one that used a button to light the display. For several years I had a self-winding watch with 24 hour display that wound e had one old guy (38) who had one of the first HP scientific calculators in 1972. The instructor was always asking him if his calculations were right. I think he spent $400 for the thing. I got my first calculator (HP-21) used in 1975 for $200. But my best deal was a programmable HP-25 scientific calculator that stores 40 keystrokes and has 8 memories. I found it in a pile of junk at a swap meet a few years ago and bought it for $3. It uses LEDs so you have to keep it plugged in or the program is lost if y turn it off.
> >
> >
> I was given a scientific calculator when I left NSA and it was a really
> nice machine, at least until the turn of the millennium when the clock
> got very confused. I finally threw it out this year.
>

I remember we had a huge slide rule on the front wall of a high school math class. The slide part extended about 6 feet and it would produce 3 digit accuracy. It's easy to read a slide rule if it's long enough. Probably get 6 digit accuracy if it was a mile long.
islander
2018-09-17 13:44:24 UTC
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On 9/16/2018 6:20 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>
> On Sunday, September 16, 2018 at 4:36:29 PM UTC-7, islander wrote:
>> On 9/16/2018 2:00 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>> Yes, I remember those LED watches. I think I had one that used a button to light the display. For several years I had a self-winding watch with 24 hour display that wound e had one old guy (38) who had one of the first HP scientific calculators in 1972. The instructor was always asking him if his calculations were right. I think he spent $400 for the thing. I got my first calculator (HP-21) used in 1975 for $200. But my best deal was a programmable HP-25 scientific calculator that stores 40 keystrokes and has 8 memories. I found it in a pile of junk at a swap meet a few years ago and bought it for $3. It uses LEDs so you have to keep it plugged in or the program is lost if y turn it off.
>>>
>>>
>> I was given a scientific calculator when I left NSA and it was a really
>> nice machine, at least until the turn of the millennium when the clock
>> got very confused. I finally threw it out this year.
>>
>
> I remember we had a huge slide rule on the front wall of a high school math class. The slide part extended about 6 feet and it would produce 3 digit accuracy. It's easy to read a slide rule if it's long enough. Probably get 6 digit accuracy if it was a mile long.
>
Yes, I remember that. In high school, I was a nerd and thought it was
cool to carry a slide rule on my belt. When I got to college, I found
out that that was not cool. Still, I was proud of that slide rule and
still have it. And, it still works! :) I also still have my
mechanical drafting kit. Pretty useless today in view of CAD/CAM
graphics programs. Guess I'm a pack rat. I finally threw away my
college text books not long ago. It really pained me to throw them into
the recycle bin at the dump, especially remembering how much they cost
me. Tools are different and seem to always be valuable. I especially
value my grandfather's wood carving tools.
b***@gmail.com
2018-09-17 20:39:49 UTC
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On Monday, September 17, 2018 at 6:44:29 AM UTC-7, islander wrote:
> On 9/16/2018 6:20 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> >
> > On Sunday, September 16, 2018 at 4:36:29 PM UTC-7, islander wrote:
> >> On 9/16/2018 2:00 PM, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> Yes, I remember those LED watches. I think I had one that used a button to light the display. For several years I had a self-winding watch with 24 hour display that wound e had one old guy (38) who had one of the first HP scientific calculators in 1972. The instructor was always asking him if his calculations were right. I think he spent $400 for the thing. I got my first calculator (HP-21) used in 1975 for $200. But my best deal was a programmable HP-25 scientific calculator that stores 40 keystrokes and has 8 memories. I found it in a pile of junk at a swap meet a few years ago and bought it for $3. It uses LEDs so you have to keep it plugged in or the program is lost if y turn it off.
> >>>
> >>>
> >> I was given a scientific calculator when I left NSA and it was a really
> >> nice machine, at least until the turn of the millennium when the clock
> >> got very confused. I finally threw it out this year.
> >>
> >
> > I remember we had a huge slide rule on the front wall of a high school math class. The slide part extended about 6 feet and it would produce 3 digit accuracy. It's easy to read a slide rule if it's long enough. Probably get 6 digit accuracy if it was a mile long.
> >
> Yes, I remember that. In high school, I was a nerd and thought it was
> cool to carry a slide rule on my belt. When I got to college, I found
> out that that was not cool. Still, I was proud of that slide rule and
> still have it. And, it still works! :) I also still have my
> mechanical drafting kit. Pretty useless today in view of CAD/CAM
> graphics programs. Guess I'm a pack rat. I finally threw away my
> college text books not long ago. It really pained me to throw them into
> the recycle bin at the dump, especially remembering how much they cost
> me. Tools are different and seem to always be valuable. I especially
> value my grandfather's wood carving tools.
>

I never knew my grand fathers. One of my grandmothers was born in 1865 and died when I was 2 so I didn't know her. My other grandmother came from a farm in Kansas and died when I was 15. My mother died when I was 12 at age 47 and my father died 3 years later when I was 15. My father was a photographer in his early life and liked to print his own B/W pictures. We had a small building that was divided in half. One half for the laundry room and freezer and the other half was a dark room with a enlarger and chemicals to develop film and print pictures. My dad had a fancy speed-graphic camera with a focal-plane shutter that used cut film (2.25 by 3.25) I think. You had to load the film sheet in modules in the dark room with one piece of film on each side. You would slide the module in the back of the camera, pull out the cover and take a picture and then turn the module around to take another with the other piece of film. The focal plane shudder would drag a slot across the film so there were no bright spots in the center as produced with regular cameras. When I was 18, I used the camera and enlarger to make myself a fake driver's license so I could be 21 and buy beer. Anyway, my dad had a collection of pictures I've been carrying around for 57 years stored in an army footlocker that I never looked at very closely. A few weeks ago I was looking in the locker for an old picture of my mother that I took just before she died. I found it but it was not a very good picture since she was standing in the background and her facial features are hard to see. I found another picture of a piano keyboard and my mother was a concert pianist and played the organ in church and gave music lessons so I figured my dad took the picture before I was born. And then I found a large (11X14) picture of a young woman about 30 years old with the same hairstyle I remember my mother wore. I think it's a picture of my mother before I was born, but I can't be sure. My brother knew her before I was 2 years old (we had different mothers) so I'm going to ask him if he recognizes her, but I haven't seen him yet.
w***@gmail.com
2018-09-13 03:52:11 UTC
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On Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at 8:03:28 AM UTC-6, rumpelstiltskin wrote:
> Whether one calls them Christmas Trees or Hanukkah Bushes,
> I've always been horrified by the pointless destruction of so much
> life for such frivolous reason. An artificial tree, if one feels one
> must have something, would be much better IMV. The ecological
> cost of producing an artificial tree might be greater than of cutting
> down a natural tree, but the artificial tree can be used year after
> year.
>
> Rabid atheist that I am, I've never had a Christmas tree.

It was totally mad when lighted candles were put on X Mas Trees:

"In the 17th century, the Germans combined the two elements and the tradition of illuminating the Christmas tree with candles began (legend has it that Martin Luther, inspired by a starry Christmas Eve sky, lit the first tree a century earlier, but the first documented references to a lit tree come from 1660)."

By the way the X in X Mas trees is not a way to eliminate Christ in Christmas like some conservatives charge:

"What does X mean in X Mas?
Xmas is a common abbreviation of the word Christmas. ... The "X" comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Χριστός, which in English is "Christ". The "-mas" part is from the Latin-derived Old English word for Mass"
mg
2018-09-13 04:30:25 UTC
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On Wed, 12 Sep 2018 07:03:28 -0700, rumpelstiltskin<***@y.com> wrote:

> Whether one calls them Christmas Trees or Hanukkah Bushes,
>I've always been horrified by the pointless destruction of so much
>life for such frivolous reason. An artificial tree, if one feels one
>must have something, would be much better IMV. The ecological
>cost of producing an artificial tree might be greater than of cutting
>down a natural tree, but the artificial tree can be used year after
>year.
>
> Rabid atheist that I am, I've never had a Christmas tree.
>
>
Christmas trees are for kids and I never knew any kids (or adults)
that attached any religious significance to them.

My mother always managed somehow to make sure that we had a tree and
to make sure that I had a great present under it on Christmas morning.
As a single mother, I don't know how she managed it, but I have always
assumed that she got the money from my alcoholic father by hook, or
crook, or someway, or another.
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