I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that programming the old mainframes took “greater skill” than present-day computers. It took skill and knowledge but it really wasn’t harder because those machines and software were damn simple compared to what you have today.
4MB Memory? That’s actually a lot when you are punching in card decks with FORTRAN programs on them. To fill up that memory would take more boxes of cards than you could lift and it rarely came to that. When you ran out of memory it was because your data arrays got too large not because the program was too big. Then you streamed data to and from mag tape drives.
On the DEC PDP-8 (not a mainframe but as an illustration) you could write and compile FORTRAN programs in 8K words. That would barely hold the minimum C-runtime library from either Microsoft or GNU. The point is the vast amount of resources in a computer today is beyond a programmer’s control even though you have to understand and use it.
No graphics cards, GUI, mouse input devices (no human input devices at all unless you were programming the OS.) No networking. Less than a dozen OS system calls you need to know.
Those machines were a lot of fun and that is why you can find simulators for them online.
That’s not satire. That’s the right wing in America today.
alanx commented on the blog post Facebook And Google To Leave ALEC Over Climate Denialism
It is sort of depressing and uplifting at the same time to see that the climate deniers are finally running afoul of big commercial interests. It is good to see these nihilistic slime balls lose their political power but I can’t help wishing that it didn’t take the will and influence of big corp to do it.
What exactly are you looking for that they didn’t do with the Tesla Roadster, which was based on a stretched Lotus body ? As for the Model S, it was designed floor to ceiling as an electric car. The drive train is radically different (and smaller). All the cars of yesteryear you are lusting after were designed [...]
alanx commented on the blog post Tea Party Founder Told Live On Air ‘It’s Impossible For You To Have Been More Wrong’
It will make no difference. Many of the true believers don’t understand squat about how the federal-level economy works and believe that the root of the problem is we aren’t on a gold standard to begin with.
So Rick will have his following regardless. You will hear then talk about well that would have happened had we “not been here to force change, right?”
Yes lard is a health food. Unfortunately lard that is not hydrogenated is a bit hard to find. You have to buy it from a farm that sells it online. Mine comes from a farm in Tennessee and I live in California! This shipping costs more than the product, but at least it lasts a [...]
Butter is a health food. The theory that saturated fat is harmful is totally wrong even though it is believed by mainstream nutritionists religiously. As a result of misguided dietary advice Americans have cut their butter consumption over the last 30 years and substituted manufactured oils and refined carbohydrates and the result has been a [...]
alanx commented on the blog post FCC Site Crashes After John Oliver Segment On Net Neutrality
I think you forgot to report the most important takeaway line from the segment. We shouldn’t be talking about “net neutrality.” That puts everyone to sleep.
It should always be referred to “cable company f***ery*
alanx commented on the blog post Will White House Official Who Revealed Kabul CIA Station Chief’s Identity to Reporters Be Held Responsible?
Oh, boy. You can count on a new round of blue ribbon Republican-led congressional investigations into this one. And that won’t count how many times this will be brought up in the brand new Benghazi hearings.
Investigations on who shafted Valerie Plame. Meh who cares.
Step 1: Lose election.
Step 2: Make the nation ungovernable.
Step 3: Blame the guy you lost the election to.
Works like a charm every time.
alanx commented on the blog post Judge Unseals Documents Making It Possible for Lavabit Owner to Speak About FBI’s Pursuit of Snowden
So the FBI has never heard of OCR?
The ATM machine my bank uses can decipher hard-to-read handwritten checks I deposit. You can buy a scanner/printer plus high-grade OCR software for about $400.
alanx commented on the diary post PRISM Isn’t Just About Terror. It’s About All Things Clandestine by Barry Eisler.
I disagree with the assumption that the Democratic “leadership” would be that much difference in there response if a Republican was in office. Since before 9/11 and certainly since then they would all lockstep vote for and support ANYTHING rather than being called “soft on terror” or some other bullcrap. None of them are to [...]
alanx commented on the blog post Former Intelligence Analyst: Obama Was Wiretapped By NSA In 2004
Isn’t this exactly what J. Edgar Hoover did for four decades?
alanx commented on the blog post Assange Statement on the First Day of Manning Trial
The best thing Assange could do for Manning would be to leave the protection of the embassy, let the brits extradite him to Sweden, then call their bluff as to whether they really are acting on the behalf of the US or not.
If the US does do the extradition thing, the whole Manning prosecution will be exposed as a farce. The theory is that the whole Manning overreach was just a step to try to get to Assange and that would prove it. If they don’t then he will have is mobility back. Assange does not have any real risk of being disappeared the way he says — he just has too much visibility for the U.S. to risk it at this point.
It would be tough on Assange, but I don’t see how it would be much worse than it is now.
And people are still -making- donations?
Sad but true — enough of them to keep her on this lucrative gig.
But is it really that surprising? Huge swaths of people still vote Republican even after years of getting screwed by the policies they put in place. So if you can figure out how that keeps happening this wouldn’t seem so strange.
alanx commented on the blog post Creepy Twins Will Own Your Ass With Their Fantasy Internet Nerd Money
It would seem there are a lot of misconceptions about Bitcoin here. I am no expert but have spotted a few here.
First, there is no central authority for Bitcoin. When you see someone typing the phrase “those who control Bitcoin” that is an indicator they don’t know what they are talking about.
Second, Bitcoin has the same value as any other currency, which is what people are willing to trade for it. The current Bitcoin exchange rate to USD is fluctuating because of speculation and cyber-attacks on the major exchanges, but any currency is susceptible to that. (Remember how the USD was supposed to crash because of the 9/11 attacks?) It has nothing to do with the fact that Bitcoin is not “real.” The US Dollar is not real in the same way either.
alanx commented on the blog post Dick Armey Says No One Saw The Gun During Attempted FreedomWorks Coup
This is just one more confirmation of what we already knew — the House Republicans past and present are just a bunch of dressed-up gangster thugs. This activity — where you enter a business with a gun and leave with $8M — is something that should be investigated as a violation of the RICO act.
GWB lied no less during his campaign in 2000 and with the collusion of media he not only gained legitimacy but got elected to a second term on the prowess of his military record over John Kerry’s. Why would you think Romney’s campaign would be any different?
alanx commented on the diary post Hearing on Planned Parenthood and Texas’ Women’s Health Program Pits Science, Health Against Ideology by RH Reality Check.
How are they performing all these abortions if there are no doctors at the clinics?
Or does the receptionist do it?
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