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C00012 00002	CPC Typhoon -- watching saturation lights
C00013 00003	Article 18 of alt.folklore.computers:
C00025 00004	Article 19 of alt.folklore.computers:
C00040 00005	Article 45 of alt.folklore.computers:
C00043 00006	Article 65 of alt.folklore.computers:
C00052 00007	Article 171 of alt.folklore.computers:
C00056 00008	Article 199 of alt.folklore.computers:
C00060 00009	Article 213 of alt.folklore.computers:
C00073 00010	Article 226 of alt.folklore.computers:
C00076 00011	Article 233 of alt.folklore.computers:
C00082 00012	Article 236 of alt.folklore.computers:
C00087 00013	Article 243 of alt.folklore.computers:
C00094 00014	Article 245 of alt.folklore.computers:
C00098 00015	Article 247 of alt.folklore.computers:
C00104 00016	Article 257 of alt.folklore.computers:
C00117 00017	Article 268 of alt.folklore.computers:
C00122 00018	Article 339 of alt.folklore.computers:
C00139 00019	Article 345 of alt.folklore.computers:
C00141 00020	Article 356 of alt.folklore.computers:
C00159 00021
C00174 00022	nice display of justice, Rube included in the next release of
C00187 00023	*:
C00202 00024	You could do like we did and modify his program with obscene language and a
C00217 00025	FUBAR contains the upper 16 bits of the UNIBUS address
C00233 00026	  launch the on-board Rate System hardware failed.  That in itself should not
C00247 00027	I used to work for an organization that produced command and
C00262 00028	Message-ID: <RODNEY.89Dec14172046@dali.ipl.rpi.edu>
C00277 00029	Phoenix) writes:
C00291 00030	Followup-To:
C00306 00031	could be pulsed by some command (I think "/V").  My very first program
C00320 00032
C00335 00033
C00350 00034
C00364 00035
C00379 00036	Message-ID: <1989Dec15.225150.24289@cs.rochester.edu>
C00394 00037	due would scream and pound the reinforced glass to no avail.
C00410 00038	... came in, I was always hard at work, coding or debugging, or just
C00426 00039	person "adult" software (least how I saw it), although I suppose if ya
C00440 00040	Message-ID: <1989Dec16.063832.529@world.std.com>
C00453 00041	Article 548 of alt.folklore.computers:
C00468 00042	get for a pittance. What the heck, why not? After 6 man-months (I
C00482 00043
C00497 00044	knows more about what your selling than you do.
C00511 00045	When I started hanging around the lab, I was given an account on the
C00525 00046	donated to the RPI-ACM in ~1983.  This was serial #165, had NO integrated
C00541 00047	!#$&![] SYNTAX ERROR 3465 IN LINE 654 C00555 00048 forward to the SUN. These eventually expired, and the PDP duly mailed C00571 00049 DB CR,"Nosey!",BEL,EOF C00586 00050 though. The reason is that a few years back someone looked inside the C00599 00051 References: <6877@shlump.nac.dec.com> <1989Dec15.041951.8081@world.std.com> <MAP.89Dec15144003@gaak.LCS.MIT.EDU> <1989Dec17.005842.4762@world.std.com> <2584@stl.stc.co.uk> <1989Dec19.064636.13870@psuvax1.cs.psu.edu> C00615 00052 | Phone: (508) 841-2087 | C00627 00053 C00641 00054 it's own built in screen and two disk drives. When I got it (fourth hand) C00656 00055 -- C00671 00056 Did she have any control over this? Did she get any commision from the C00684 00057 C00699 00058 Lines: 16 C00713 00059 > C00727 00060 back to the story - we change the code that put the 'B' up to but up C00739 00061 INTERNET: jack%cs.glasgow.ac.uk@nsfnet-relay.ac.uk USENET: jack@glasgow.uucp C00752 00062 C00766 00063 Station to ZZyzx and back, and the 30s movie stars were the most frequent C00779 00064 Organization: Virtual Technologies Inc. C00794 00065 allowed the "fsdb"-like maintenance program to go in and "undelete" the files. C00809 00066 C00824 00067 C00839 00068 C00853 00069 about two months ago on a Tuesday, when my friend and I SUPDUP'd over C00871 00070 C00884 00071 > Later, when working on the server at about 4 in the morning, we C00896 00072 References: <10257@microsoft.UUCP> <1741@gannet.cl.cam.ac.uk> C00911 00073 a knob on the front which controlled how many digits of precision you got C00925 00074 C00939 00075 A friend of mine was debugging some awful assembler code and the only C00953 00076 from the point of view of 'what do we want from this system'. C00967 00077 4. The order in which they stop produces an ascending sort. C00979 00078 John C00992 00079 Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers C01005 00080 Subject: Re: Moth in relay! Urban myth? C01021 00081 mentioned in the last part of this chronology. C01040 00082 SoftQuad Inc., Toronto and I see no hope for further development." C01055 00083 enjoyment to all. Their first attempt, DIGI-COMP 1, was an C01068 00084 smart cards? C01082 00085 >>Would anyone care to comment on the genesis of ":-)". C01097 00086 Obviously the software was somewhat primitive, especially the C01111 00087 Ok, I looked at her grades and realized that with a failing grade on C01126 00088 Center for Fire Research (of all places), there was a lab that had been the C01141 00089 Article 1822 of alt.folklore.computers: C01147 00090 ∂09-Mar-90 0805 clements@BBN.COM Re: more weird Uni* commands C01151 00091 ∂09-Mar-90 1416 LES re: more weird Uni* commands C01154 00092 ∂12-Mar-90 1737 schumach@convex.com Re: Taken aback by an abacus C01156 00093 ∂12-Mar-90 1836 LES re: Taken aback by an abacus C01157 00094 ∂20-Mar-90 1501 schumach@convex.com re: Taken aback by an abacus C01159 00095 ∂18-Mar-90 1056 anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu sliderules C01160 00096 ∂18-Mar-90 1132 LES re: sliderules C01161 00097 ∂18-Mar-90 1609 anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu re: sliderules C01163 00098 ∂18-Mar-90 2134 LES Re: Irony in Advertising C01167 00099 ∂19-Mar-90 2221 ibmsupt!vista.tcspa.ibm.com!ibmpa!eclarke@uunet.UU.NET re: Irony in Advertising C01170 00100 ∂30-Mar-90 1521 anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu re: sliderules C01171 00101 ∂30-Mar-90 1544 LES re: sliderules C01172 00102 ∂01-Apr-90 1632 anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu re: sliderules C01174 00103 ∂02-Apr-90 2212 anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu re: sliderules C01176 00104 ∂03-Apr-90 0135 LES re: sliderules C01178 00105 ∂03-Apr-90 1347 anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu re: sliderules C01180 00106 ∂03-Apr-90 1528 LES re: sliderules C01181 00107 ∂03-Apr-90 1947 anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu re: sliderules C01184 00108 ∂04-Apr-90 0159 LES re: sliderules C01186 00109 ∂07-Apr-90 1403 anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu re: sliderules C01188 00110 ∂07-Apr-90 1418 LES re: sliderules C01190 ENDMK C⊗; CPC; Typhoon -- watching saturation lights TX-0 RISC TX-2, Xerographic printer IBM 7090 "Machine will crash in 2 minutes" Spacewar & spacewar mode PDP-6 failure every 12 seconds Librascope; pressurized; tool inside; lawsuit FAIL manual cover Robot arms Video & audio switches Outside & inside temperature Super Foonly & SUDS Vending machine Quasar robot security guard PDP-6 trade-in Imprint-10 at MIT Article 18 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!entropy From: entropy@pawl.rpi.edu (The Propagandist) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Old-as-dirt #1: Robin Hood and Friar Tuck Message-ID: <VA+%1*@rpi.edu> Date: 6 Dec 89 06:28:16 GMT Distribution: alt Organization: Eaters of Wisdom Lines: 162 I, obviously, did not write this. ---BEGIN Date: 21 Dec 1988 1349-PST (Wednesday) From: horning@src.dec.com (Jim Horning) Newsgroups: rec.humor.funny Subject: Viruses and System Security (a story) [by Dave Platt] Date: 20 Dec 88 00:30:03 GMT Sender: funny@looking.UUCP Reply-Path: watmath!uunet!arthur.cs.purdue.edu!bee Also-Submitted-To-RISKS-by: From: Mark Brader <msb@sq.sq.com> The following story was posted in news.sysadmin recently. The more things change, the more they stay the same... Back in the mid-1970s, several of the system support staff at Motorola (I believe it was) discovered a relatively simple way to crack system security on the Xerox CP-V timesharing system (or it may have been CP-V's predecessor UTS). Through a simple programming strategy, it was possible for a user program to trick the system into running a portion of the program in "master mode" (supervisor state), in which memory protection does not apply. The program could then poke a large value into its "privilege level" byte (normally write-protected) and could then proceed to bypass all levels of security within the file-management system, patch the system monitor, and do numerous other interesting things. In short, the barn door was wide open. Motorola quite properly reported this problem to XEROX via an official "level 1 SIDR" (a bug report with a perceived urgency of "needs to be fixed yesterday"). Because the text of each SIDR was entered into a database that could be viewed by quite a number of people, Motorola followed the approved procedure: they simply reported the problem as "Security SIDR", and attached all of the necessary documentation, ways-to-reproduce, etc. separately. Xerox apparently sat on the problem... they either didn't acknowledge the severity of the problem, or didn't assign the necessary operating-system-staff resources to develop and distribute an official patch. Time passed (months, as I recall). The Motorola guys pestered their Xerox field-support rep, to no avail. Finally they decided to take Direct Action, to demonstrate to Xerox management just how easily the system could be cracked, and just how thoroughly the system security systems could be subverted. They dug around through the operating-system listings, and devised a thoroughly devilish set of patches. These patches were then incorporated into a pair of programs called Robin Hood and Friar Tuck. Robin Hood and Friar Tuck were designed to run as "ghost jobs" (daemons, in Unix terminology); they would use the existing loophole to subvert system security, install the necessary patches, and then keep an eye on one another's statuses in order to keep the system operator (in effect, the superuser) from aborting them. So... one day, the system operator on the main CP-V software-development system in El Segundo was surprised by a number of unusual phenomena. These included the following (as I recall... it's been a while since I heard the story): - Tape drives would rewind and dismount their tapes in the middle of a job. - Disk drives would seek back&forth so rapidly that they'd attempt to walk across the floor. - The card-punch output device would occasionally start up of itself and punch a "lace card" (every hole punched). These would usually jam in the punch. - The console would print snide and insulting messages from Robin Hood to Friar Tuck, or vice versa. - The Xerox card reader had two output stackers; it could be instructed to stack into A, stack into B, or stack into A unless a card was unreadable, in which case the bad card was placed into stacker B. One of the patches installed by the ghosts added some code to the card-reader driver... after reading a card, it would flip over to the opposite stacker. As a result, card decks would divide themselves in half when they were read, leaving the operator to recollate them manually. I believe that there were some other effects produced, as well. Naturally, the operator called in the operating-system developers. They found the bandit ghost jobs running, and X'ed them... and were once again surprised. When Robin Hood was X'ed, the following sequence of events took place: !X id1 id1: Friar Tuck... I am under attack! Pray save me! (Robin Hood) id1: Off (aborted) id2: Fear not, friend Robin! I shall rout the Sheriff of Nottingham's men! id3: Thank you, my good fellow! (Robin) Each ghost-job would detect the fact that the other had been killed, and would start a new copy of the recently-slain program within a few milliseconds. The only way to kill both ghosts was to kill them simultaneously (very difficult) or to deliberately crash the system. Finally, the system programmers did the latter... only to find that the bandits appeared once again when the system rebooted! It turned out that these two programs had patched the boot-time image (the /vmunix file, in Unix terms) and had added themselves to the list of programs that were to be started at boot time... The Robin Hood and Friar Tuck ghosts were finally eradicated when the system staff rebooted the system from a clean boot-tape and reinstalled the monitor. Not long thereafter, Xerox released a patch for this problem. I believe that Xerox filed a complaint with Motorola's management about the merry-prankster actions of the two employees in question. To the best of my knowledge, no serious disciplinary action was taken against either of these guys. Several years later, both of the perpetrators were hired by Honeywell, which had purchased the rights to CP-V after Xerox pulled out of the mainframe business. Both of them made serious and substantial contributions to the Honeywell CP-6 operating system development effort. Robin Hood (Dan Holle) did much of the development of the PL-6 system-programming language compiler; Friar Tuck (John Gabler) was one of the chief communications-software gurus for several years. They're both alive and well, and living in LA (Dan) and Orange County (John). Both are among the more brilliant people I've had the pleasure of working with. Disclaimers: it has been quite a while since I heard the details of how this all went down, so some of the details above are almost certainly wrong. I shared an apartment with John Gabler for several years, and he was my Best Man when I married back in '86... so I'm somewhat predisposed to believe his version of the events that occurred. Dave Platt Coherent Thought Inc. 3350 West Bayshore #205 Palo Alto CA 94303 C-- END -- The wicked flee when no one pursueth. Mark-Jason Dominus entropy@pawl.rpi.EDU entropy@rpitsmts (BITnet) Article 19 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!rpi!entropy From: entropy@pawl.rpi.edu (The Propagandist) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Old as dirt #2: Mel and the drum-memory computer follies Message-ID: <ZA+12*@rpi.edu> Date: 6 Dec 89 06:32:12 GMT Distribution: alt Organization: Eaters of Wisdom Lines: 186 I did not write this either; I dug it up off my hard disk. --- BEGIN A recent article devoted to the *macho* side of programming made the bald and unvarnished statement: Real Programmers write in Fortran. Maybe they do now, in this decadent era of Lite beer, hand calculators and "user-friendly" software but back in the Good Old Days, when the term "software" sounded funny and Real Computers were made out of drums and vacuum tubes, Real Programmers wrote in machine code. Not Fortran. Not RATFOR. Not, even, assembly language. Machine Code. Raw, unadorned, inscrutable hexadecimal numbers. Directly. Lest a whole new generation of programmers grow up in ignorance of this glorious past, I feel duty-bound to describe, as best I can through the generation gap, how a Real Programmer wrote code. I'll call him Mel, because that was his name. I first met Mel when I went to work for Royal McBee Computer Corp., a now-defunct subsidiary of the typewriter company. The firm manufactured the LGP-30, a small, cheap (by the standards of the day) drum-memory computer, and had just started to manufacture the RPC-4000, a much-improved, bigger, better, faster -- drum-memory computer. Cores cost too much, and weren't here to stay, anyway. (That's why you haven't heard of the company, or the computer.) I had been hired to write a Fortran compiler for this new marvel and Mel was my guide to its wonders. Mel didn't approve of compilers. "If a program can't rewrite its own code," he asked, "what good is it?" Mel had written, in hexadecimal, the most popular computer program the company owned. It ran on the LGP-30 and played blackjack with potential customers at computer shows. Its effect was always dramatic. The LGP-30 booth was packed at every show, and the IBM salesmen stood around talking to each other. Whether or not this actually sold computers was a question we never discussed. Mel's job was to re-write the blackjack program for the RPC-4000. (Port? What does that mean?) The new computer had a one-plus-one addressing scheme, in which each machine instruction, in addition to the operation code and the address of the needed operand, had a second address that indicated where, on the revolving drum, the next instruction was located. In modern parlance, every single instruction was followed by a GO TO! Put *that* in Pascal's pipe and smoke it. Mel loved the RPC-4000 because he could optimize his code: that is, locate instructions on the drum so that just as one finished its job, the next would be just arriving at the "read head" and available for immediate execution. There was a program to do that job, an "optimizing assembler", but Mel refused to use it. "You never know where its going to put things", he explained, "so you'd have to use separate constants". It was a long time before I understood that remark. Since Mel knew the numerical value of every operation code, and assigned his own drum addresses, every instruction he wrote could also be considered a numerical constant. He could pick up an earlier "add" instruction, say, and multiply by it, if it had the right numeric value. His code was not easy for someone else to modify. I compared Mel's hand-optimized programs with the same code massaged by the optimizing assembler program, and Mel's always ran faster. That was because the "top-down" method of program design hadn't been invented yet, and Mel wouldn't have used it anyway. He wrote the innermost parts of his program loops first, so they would get first choice of the optimum address locations on the drum. The optimizing assembler wasn't smart enough to do it that way. Mel never wrote time-delay loops, either, even when the balky Flexowriter required a delay between output characters to work right. He just located instructions on the drum so each successive one was just *past* the read head when it was needed; the drum had to execute another complete revolution to find the next instruction. He coined an unforgettable term for this procedure. Although "optimum" is an absolute term, like "unique", it became common verbal practice to make it relative: "not quite optimum" or "less optimum" or "not very optimum". Mel called the maximum time-delay locations the "most pessimum". After he finished the blackjack program and got it to run, ("Even the initializer is optimized", he said proudly) he got a Change Request from the sales department. The program used an elegant (optimized) random number generator to shuffle the "cards" and deal from the "deck", and some of the salesmen felt it was too fair, since sometimes the customers lost. They wanted Mel to modify the program so, at the setting of a sense switch on the console, they could change the odds and let the customer win. Mel balked. He felt this was patently dishonest, which it was, and that it impinged on his personal integrity as a programmer, which it did, so he refused to do it. The Head Salesman talked to Mel, as did the Big Boss and, at the boss's urging, a few Fellow Programmers. Mel finally gave in and wrote the code, but he got the test backwards, and, when the sense switch was turned on, the program would cheat, winning every time. Mel was delighted with this, claiming his subconscious was uncontrollably ethical, and adamantly refused to fix it. After Mel had left the company for greener pa$ture$, the Big Boss asked me to look at the code and see if I could find the test and reverse it. Somewhat reluctantly, I agreed to look. Tracking Mel's code was a real adventure. I have often felt that programming is an art form, whose real value can only be appreciated by another versed in the same arcane art; there are lovely gems and brilliant coups hidden from human view and admiration, sometimes forever, by the very nature of the process. You can learn a lot about an individual just by reading through his code, even in hexadecimal. Mel was, I think, an unsung genius. Perhaps my greatest shock came when I found an innocent loop that had no test in it. No test. *None*. Common sense said it had to be a closed loop, where the program would circle, forever, endlessly. Program control passed right through it, however, and safely out the other side. It took me two weeks to figure it out. The RPC-4000 computer had a really modern facility called an index register. It allowed the programmer to write a program loop that used an indexed instruction inside; each time through, the number in the index register was added to the address of that instruction, so it would refer to the next datum in a series. He had only to increment the index register each time through. Mel never used it. Instead, he would pull the instruction into a machine register, add one to its address, and store it back. He would then execute the modified instruction right from the register. The loop was written so this additional execution time was taken into account -- just as this instruction finished, the next one was right under the drum's read head, ready to go. But the loop had no test in it. The vital clue came when I noticed the index register bit, the bit that lay between the address and the operation code in the instruction word, was turned on-- yet Mel never used the index register, leaving it zero all the time. When the light went on it nearly blinded me. He had located the data he was working on near the top of memory -- the largest locations the instructions could address -- so, after the last datum was handled, incrementing the instruction address would make it overflow. The carry would add one to the operation code, changing it to the next one in the instruction set: a jump instruction. Sure enough, the next program instruction was in address location zero, and the program went happily on its way. I haven't kept in touch with Mel, so I don't know if he ever gave in to the flood of change that has washed over programming techniques since those long-gone days. I like to think he didn't. In any event, I was impressed enough that I quit looking for the offending test, telling the Big Boss I couldn't find it. He didn't seem surprised. When I left the company, the blackjack program would still cheat if you turned on the right sense switch, and I think that's how it should be. I didn't feel comfortable hacking up the code of a Real Programmer. --- END -- The wicked flee when no one pursueth. Mark-Jason Dominus entropy@pawl.rpi.EDU entropy@rpitsmts (BITnet) Article 45 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!cornell!mailrus!sharkey!math.lsa.umich.edu!hyc From: hyc@math.lsa.umich.edu (Howard Chu) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Funny commands Message-ID: <10159@stag.math.lsa.umich.edu> Date: 7 Dec 89 02:27:07 GMT Sender: news@math.lsa.umich.edu Reply-To: hyc@math.lsa.umich.edu (Howard Chu) Organization: University of Michigan Math Dept., Ann Arbor Lines: 23 UUCP-Path: {mailrus,umix}!um-math!hyc Anyone who's followed the history of the IBM 360/370 series might remember the reason for the creation of the IBM 360/67. Since IBM was unable to deliver an operating system that would take advantage of the multi-programming environment, UM came up with MTS, the Michigan Terminal System, which is still running today, on our IBM 3090-600E. There's a long story there, which I don't know very well, but anyway, enough intro... This system actually has a filesystem, as opposed to requiring users to allocate their own disk blocks... The command to delete files is "destroy." Back in the good old days, if you had a file on your account called "godzilla," the command destroy godzilla would yield "Godzilla is an invincible monster and cannot be destroyed!" (You could rename the file and then remove it...) The standard MTS command for exiting the current application (for interactive programs) and returning to the main command processor was "stop." If you typed stop at the main command prompt, it would reply Foolish mortal, no one can stop MTS. (Now it says "Invalid MTS command" - sigh...) -- -=- PrayerMail: Send 100Mbits to holyghost@father.son[127.0.0.1] and You Too can have a Personal Electronic Relationship with God! Article 65 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!usc!apple!bbn!bbn.com!khoult From: khoult@bbn.com (Kent Hoult) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Teco and Peace Message-ID: <49350@bbn.COM> Date: 7 Dec 89 14:52:26 GMT References: <JYM.89Dec6100158@anableps.berkeley.edu> <264@ns-mx.uiowa.edu> Sender: news@bbn.COM Reply-To: khoult@BBN.COM (Kent Hoult) Organization: Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc., Cambridge MA Lines: 22 >> If you type >> @ MAKE LOVE >> on a TOPS-20 system, Teco responds with: >> Not war? >> It used to work on VMS, too. (Now that Teco is officially >> supported by DEC, a company with lots of pals in the military, >> this feature has disappeared.) On many Lisp machines running the ZEMACS editor there were a few funky buttons. Besides the usual SHIFT and CONTROL, ther were also META, SUPER, & HYPER, and GREEK. If you typed: <CONTROL>-<META>-<GREEK>-B (control-meta-Beta) It would answer: Do-dah Do-dah If you typed: <HYPER>-SPACE It would answer: You must engage the warp drive first. Kent Hoult TEL: (617) 873-4385 ARPA: khoult@bbn.com Article 73 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!apple!baum From: baum@Apple.COM (Allen J. Baum) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Lisp Machine Folklore Message-ID: <37091@apple.Apple.COM> Date: 7 Dec 89 19:10:25 GMT References: <JYM.89Dec6100158@anableps.berkeley.edu> <264@ns-mx.uiowa.edu> <49350@bbn.COM> Reply-To: baum@apple.UUCP (Allen Baum) Organization: Apple Computer, Inc. Lines: 28 [] >In article <49350@bbn.COM> khoult@BBN.COM (Kent Hoult) writes: >On many Lisp machines running the ZEMACS editor there were some funky buttons. >Besides the usual SHIFT and CONTROL, ther were also META, SUPER, & HYPER, and >GREEK. > >If you typed: <CONTROL>-<META>-<GREEK>-B (control-meta-Beta) >It would answer: Do-dah Do-dah > >If you typed: <HYPER>-SPACE >It would answer: You must engage the warp drive first. This is second hand, so probably not entirely accurate, but also on the Lisp Machines at the MIT AI Labs, <control><meta><hyper><super>L would call the elevator to the 9th floor (which is where the lisp machines were). The elevators had been, um, slightly modified to perform this particular function. Also, <<control><meta><hyper><super>P would bring upper the Pizza menu, let you check of which items you wanted on your pizza, etc. The intent was to eventually to use the dialer, and allow the voice synthesizer to actually order the pizza, but I understand that part was never implemented. -- baum@apple.com (408)974-3385 {decwrl,hplabs}!amdahl!apple!baum Article 171 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!shelby!lindy!ucscb.UCSC.EDU!unknown From: unknown@ucscb.UCSC.EDU (The Unknown User) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Book about computer folklore Summary: "The Digital Deli" by the Lunch Group Keywords: "Digital Deli";Lunch Group Message-ID: <6368@lindy.Stanford.EDU> Date: 9 Dec 89 07:00:46 GMT Sender: news@lindy.Stanford.EDU (News Service) Reply-To: unknown@ucscb.UCSC.EDU (The Unknown User) Organization: University of California, Santa Cruz; CATS Lines: 26 As it seems that there have been a few people posting recommendations for books that deal with computer folklore, I think I'll add another one. It's called the "Digital Deli" and it's by the "Lunch Group".. I think there may also be another 'real person' it's atributed to, but that should hopefully be enough for you to find the book. It's a large paperback book with stories on seemingly EVERYTHING you would want to know about the history and folklore of computers.. Topics: the FIRST computer bug, Captain Crunch (i.e. the dude with the whistle from the cereal of the same name that emitted 2600 hz... That's for people who don't know what I'm talking about), Woz and Jobs, ETC ETC ETC.. It goes WAAAAY back.. Just a question dealing with NON computer folklore: There is some guy who has been on Late Night with David Letterman a few times and he used to write a weekly newspaper article on Urban Legends... Either he doesn't or my paper doesn't carry it anymore.. But I don't remember the guy's name. I want to find the 3 books he's written. I remember that much. The name "Johan Brunvand" pops in my head but I'm almost certain that's wrong. PLEASE E-MAIL ME WITH A RESPONSE as I probably will get flamed for even asking this here in the first place. -- unknown@ucscb.ucsc.edu APPLE II FOREVER! ["APL24VR" will be my personalized license plate] Article 199 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!sco!seanf From: seanf@sco.COM (Sean Fagan) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Cyber madness Message-ID: <4083@scolex.sco.COM> Date: 10 Dec 89 01:52:57 GMT Reply-To: seanf@sco.COM (Sean Fagan) Organization: The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc. Lines: 33 Well, all this talk has brought to mind a story recounted to me a few years ago about a CDC CE and a Cyber. First off, some background (and a plug): CDC Cybers are 60-bit machines, designed by Seymour Cray in the mid 60's. No microcode, just bunches of transistors and wires (not even any LSI, since none of the chips were fast enough at the time). Open it up, and you can see thousands and thousands of wires, and that's just the add unit... Anyway, the machine has an intruction called "XJ", for "eXchange Jump"; if you're in normal "user" mode, then the instruction will cause a dump of all the registers (24 in all, plus PC and a coule of other things), and reload them with what was there before (an exchange). If you're in "supervisor" mode, then you can specify where the package will go / be loaded from, otherwise you can't. (Incidently, this is the only difference between "user" and "supervisor" mode on the cyber...) Now, since this would be a slow process, there is an interesting way to speed it up: the Cyber's have a nice long wire (about 50 feet or so), through which the values go when they're being stored (not loaded, of course). This provides enough of a delay that the hardware doesn't have to wait to make sure the store is finished. Now, fun time: young CE comes in, fixes a problem with the Cyber. Happens to see this long, blue wire, which is about 45 feet too long. Being a bright boy, he realises he can replace it with a 5 foot long wire he has in his equipment. Does so, does some initial tests, they pass, and leaves. Cyber gets rebooted to run real (multiuser) stuff. Strangely, it's not behaving properly! The registers are all screwed up! How *strange*! Well, it was funny at the time 8-). -- Sean Eric Fagan | "Time has little to do with infinity and jelly donuts." seanf@sco.COM | -- Thomas Magnum (Tom Selleck), _Magnum, P.I._ (408) 458-1422 | Any opinions expressed are my own, not my employers'. Article 213 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!mit-eddie!bu-cs!ckd From: ckd@bu-pub.bu.edu (Christopher Davis) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Hidden messages Message-ID: <44298@bu-cs.BU.EDU> Date: 10 Dec 89 19:08:17 GMT References: <4844@blake.acs.washington.edu> Sender: daemon@bu-cs.BU.EDU Reply-To: ckd@bu-pub.bu.edu (Christopher Davis) Organization: Boston University School of Management Lines: 24 In-reply-to: milligan@blake.acs.washington.edu's message of 9 Dec 89 22:37:04 GMT >>>>> On 9 Dec 89 22:37:04 GMT, milligan@blake.acs.washington.edu (Gregory >>>>> Milligan) said: > I have heard that there is a hidded [sic] message in the Macintosh SE. > Does anyone know how to retreive it? Thanks Hit the interrupt button on the programmers' switch, which will drop you into the ROM debugger. Then 'G 41D89A'. Disclaimer: I haven't tried this yet, and I'd do it with your hard disk off (just to be safe--I'm always paranoid when I'm fiddling with debuggers). On a related note, the earlier Mac models (128/512/Plus) had the design team's signatures engraved inside the case. The SE doesn't--but it has the slideshow. [Disclaimer #2: Don't open the case to look at the signatures unless you know what you're doing. There's a *lot* of voltage in there, even after it's been unplugged for a while.] -- Christopher Davis, BU SMG '90 <ckd@bu-pub.bu.edu> <smghy6c@buacca.bitnet> "Many verbal attacks are part of someone's aim to establish their rank in a dominance hierarchy, the same sort of behavior common among nesting fowl." --Daniel Mocsny <dmocsny@uceng.UC.EDU> Article 220 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!cs.utexas.edu!jarvis.csri.toronto.edu!dgp.toronto.edu!flaps From: flaps@dgp.toronto.edu (Alan J Rosenthal) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Teco and Peace Message-ID: <1989Dec10.182716.26473@jarvis.csri.toronto.edu> Date: 10 Dec 89 23:27:16 GMT References: <7223@pt.cs.cmu.edu> <JYM.89Dec6100158@anableps.berkeley.edu> Lines: 14 jym@anableps.berkeley.edu (Jym Dyer) writes: >If you type > @ MAKE LOVE >on a TOPS-20 system, Teco responds with: > Not war? Ah, memories of my dec-10 days (this was the case on the dec-10 too, and teco was my favourite editor there). Article 226 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!ux1.cso.uiuc.edu!tank!iitmax!ed From: ed@iitmax.IIT.EDU (Ed Federmeyer) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Dancing Disk Drives Message-ID: <3086@iitmax.IIT.EDU> Date: 11 Dec 89 03:46:43 GMT References: <Dec.10.05.04.08.1989.11918@paul.rutgers.edu> Reply-To: ed@iitmax.iit.edu (Ed Federmeyer) Organization: Illinois Institute of Technology Lines: 20 In article <Dec.10.05.04.08.1989.11918@paul.rutgers.edu> spinner@paul.rutgers.edu (Ron Spinner) writes: > > [... a story about a$.003 label coming loose inside an old top-loading
>      disk drive to cause a lot of damage... ]

I heard that a computer company (DEC, I think) ran into a situation where
they would put a certain model disk through quality control, find that it
performed to spec, stuck a label on it and shipped it.  A few weeks later
all these drives would eventually come back as broken.  You guessed it,
the *quality control* label would eventually peel off inside the drive,
whip around a bit causing lots of damage!  Ironic that any drive that didn't
go through QC (If any did, I don't know if they tested _ALL_ the drives)
would still be working!

--
//==========================================================================\\
|| Ed Federmeyer                      ||   Internet:  ed@iitMax.iit.edu     ||
||     "Unauthorized access is        ||   Bitnet:    sysed@iitVax          ||
||        strictly unauthorized."     ||   Office:    (312) 567-5981        ||
\\==========================================================================//

Article 233 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!usc!snorkelwacker!spdcc!merk!xylogics!cloud9!jjmhome!m2c!wpi!jhallen
From: jhallen@wpi.wpi.edu (Joseph H Allen)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: On Air debugging
Message-ID: <6138@wpi.wpi.edu>
Date: 9 Dec 89 14:54:30 GMT
Reply-To: jhallen@wpi.wpi.edu (Joseph H Allen)
Organization: Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester ,MA
Lines: 63

I once worked as a programmer for a company that made 6800 & 6809 based
character generators.  The code in these machine was usually between 16K to
32K of assembly language- plenty of room for little easter eggs.

In one machine when you formatted a floppy, you had to set of a buffer
containing an image of what a track was supposed to look like.  The disk
controller (a WD1770 or 1771 or something) would simply copy this to the disk.
So what one of the programmers did is format each sector with his name:

Chris Early Chris Early Chris Early.....

This would have been fine except that occasionally you would get just
the right kind of disk error and 'Chris Early Chris Early...' would be titled
on a cable TV message channel.

One of our sales people was demonstraiting another machine.  This
machine had a unix-like 'crontab' file in it.  The sales person made just the
right syntax error in this file so that the 'Rudolf Robert Lowe was here
5/17/82' message appeared to the people he was demonstraiting this machine
to.  (The software consultant that did that never worked for the company
again)
---

The company was very small at the time I worked for it (the cable
industry recession of the early 80's almost killed them).  The engineering
department and customer service department were right next to each other and
occasionally we shared the servicing work.
The confusion that resulted from this was quite amusing.  One time I
fixed a machine and decided to give the owners a software upgrade as well
(after all, I had just made some 'improvements' to it).  At about 4 in the
afternoon of the following friday I answered a service call that turned out to
to involve that machine.  This poor secretary had been given the job of
updating some of the ads and program guide on one of the cable system she
worked for's message channel (and all her bosses had already left).  The
system was set up so that one machine (the one I had fixed) was at the main
office in Chicago while the other was 200 miles away in the cable transmitter
building.  ADs would be created on the machine in the main office and then
would be downloaded over telephone to the remote machine in the cable
transmitter.
By the time I understood that this machine wasn't being used
standalone but was being used to feed a remote machine I got this sick
feeling- "I thought there were no networked machines out in the field yet...
oops...."  Anyway it turned out that the machines were mostly compatible.  The
only difference was the codes used for colors and attributes.  So between 5:00
and 10:00 on this particular friday, chicago cable vision viewers got some
very strange messages on their program guide channel as I (in New York)
debugged a character generator over the phone through a secretary that was on
the air:

"Hello?  Does this work?"
"Is this purple?"
"The quick brown foxed jumped the two lazy dogs twice"
"BOLD Italics DROP SHADOW black border normal"
"T
h
i
s

should be scrolling...."
"Gilligan's Island   - 5:55
News at Ten         - 6:00
Monday night Football 6:05"
"Chyron sucks"

Article 236 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!cbmvax!kevin
From: kevin@cbmvax.UUCP (Kevin Klop)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: moving large disk drives across the room
Message-ID: <8934@cbmvax.UUCP>
Date: 11 Dec 89 08:37:58 GMT
References: <KIM.89Dec10105331@watsup.waterloo.edu>
Reply-To: kevin@cbmvax.UUCP (Kevin Klop)
Distribution: alt
Organization: Commodore Technology, West Chester, PA
Lines: 57

In article <KIM.89Dec10105331@watsup.waterloo.edu> kim@watsup.waterloo.edu (T. Kim Nguyen) writes:
>I remember a story about guys in a lab somewhere playing around with
>sending a disk drive's head seeking from first to last track and back
>and forth and back and forth...  Apparently they got the timing right
>and were able to get the entire drive (one of the big cabinet thingies
>you put a 10-pound carousel of disks into) to move around on the
>floor.  Is this from Soul of A New Machine?
>--
>T. Kim Nguyen 				  kim@watsup.waterloo.{edu|cdn}
>					        kim@watsup.uwaterloo.ca
>			    {uunet|utzoo|utai|decvax}watmath!watsup!kim
>Systems Design Engineering  --  University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

I'm sure that there is a plethora of walking disk drive stories out there...
here's Yet Another Disk Drive Goes For A Walk...

I was part of an OS Enahncements group that was building a multi-CPU
testing system (about 24 computers plus array processors).  A large number
of these 300 Meg removable disk pack drives were shared between two cpus.
As part of our work, we did what are commonly called "Thrash Tests" wherein
you seek back and forth between the outermost cylinder and the innermost
cylinder.

Remember that these are VERY quick drives, and that the heads build up an
hellacious amount of momentum.

There was also a night operator that was:

A) Universally disliked
B) Knew almost nothing about computers except how
to follow a checklist.

We set up a timed job to run at midnight, just about the time this operator
would be starting his backups.

Along comes midnight, and suddenly all the disk drives in the computer room
start thrashing angrily "Chugachugachugachuga", and rocking back and forth.
Eventually they started walking themselves along the floor.

At the same time, on the operator's console, the screen blanks, and the
following words appear, centered, on the display:

I'm coming to get you.

The operator quit the next day.

-- Kevin --

---------
Kevin Klop		{uunet|rutgers|amiga}!cbmvax!kevin
Commodore-Amiga, Inc.

The number, 111-111-1111 has been changed.  The new number is:
134-253-2452-243556-678893-3567875645434-4456789432576-385972

Disclaimer: _I_ don't know what I said, much less my employer.

Article 243 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!zog.cs.cmu.edu!tgl
From: tgl@zog.cs.cmu.edu (Tom Lane)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: The only Coke machine on the Internet
Message-ID: <7295@pt.cs.cmu.edu>
Date: 11 Dec 89 15:45:34 GMT
Organization: Carnegie-Mellon University, CS/RI
Lines: 70

This story is old news to ex-CMU folk, but may be amusing to others.

Since time immemorial (well, maybe 1970) the Carnegie-Mellon CS department
has maintained a departmental Coke machine, which sells bottles of Coke
for a dime or so less than other vending machines around campus.  As no
Real Programmer can function without caffeine, the machine is very popular.
(I recall hearing that it had the highest sales volume of any Coke machine
in the Pittsburgh area.)  The machine is loaded on a rather erratic
schedule by grad student volunteers.

In the mid-seventies expansion of the department caused people's offices
to be located ever further away from the main terminal room where the Coke
machine stood.  It got rather annoying to traipse down to the third floor
only to find the machine empty; or worse, to shell out hard-earned cash to
receive a recently loaded, still warm Coke.  One day a couple of people got
together to devise a solution.

They installed microswitches in the Coke machine to sense how many bottles
were present in each of its six columns of bottles.  The switches were
hooked up to CMUA, the PDP-10 that was then the main departmental
computer.  A server program was written to keep tabs on the Coke machine's
state, including how long each bottle had been in the machine.  When you
ran the companion status inquiry program, you'd get a display that might
look like this:

EMPTY	EMPTY	1h 3m
COLD	COLD	1h 4m

This let you know that cold Coke could be had by pressing the lower-left
or lower-center button, while the bottom bottles in the two right-hand
columns had been loaded an hour or so beforehand, so were still warm.
(I think the display changed to just "COLD" after the bottle had been
there 3 hours.)

The final piece of the puzzle was needed to let people check Coke status
when they were logged in on some other machine than CMUA.  CMUA's Finger
server was modified to run the Coke status program whenever someone
fingered the nonexistent user "coke".  (For the uninitiated, Finger
normally reports whether a specified user is logged in, and if so where.)
Since Finger requests are part of standard ARPANET (now Internet)
protocols, people could check the Coke machine from any CMU computer by
saying "finger coke@cmua".  In fact, you could discover the Coke machine's
status from any machine anywhere on the Internet!  Not that it would do
you much good if you were a few thousand miles away...

As far as I know nothing similar has been done elsewhere, so CMU can
legitimately boast of having the only Coke machine on the Internet.

The Coke machine programs were used for over a decade, and were even
rewritten for Unix Vaxen when CMUA was retired in the early eighties.
The end came just a couple years ago, when the local Coke bottler
discontinued the returnable, coke-bottle-shaped bottles.  The old machine
couldn't handle the nonreturnable, totally-uninspired-shape bottles, so it
was replaced by a new vending machine.  This was not long after the New
Coke fiasco (undoubtedly the century's greatest example of fixing what
wasn't broken).  The combination of these events left CMU Coke lovers
sufficiently disgruntled that no one has bothered to wire up the new
machine.

I'm a little fuzzy about the dates, but I believe all the other details
are accurate.  The man page for the second-generation (Unix) Coke programs
credits the hardware work to John Zsarnay, the software to David Nichols
and Ivor Durham.  I don't recall who did the original PDP-10 programs.

--
tom lane
Internet: tgl@cs.cmu.edu
UUCP: <your favorite internet/arpanet gateway>!cs.cmu.edu!tgl
BITNET: tgl%cs.cmu.edu@cmuccvma
CompuServe: >internet:tgl@cs.cmu.edu

Article 245 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!mit-eddie!bbn!bbn.com!cosell
From: cosell@bbn.com (Bernie Cosell)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: spacewar and TECO (was Re↑2: The word "hacker")
Message-ID: <49428@bbn.COM>
Date: 8 Dec 89 19:39:41 GMT
References: <18518@bellcore.bellcore.com> <01g502AT729m01@amdahl.uts.amdahl.com>
Sender: news@bbn.COM
Distribution: alt
Lines: 35

terry@uts.amdahl.com (Lewis T. Flynn) writes:

> The most famous hack occurred in the 40's when
>a group of students (supposedly including Ken Wadleigh, later Dean of Student
>Affairs) used thermite to weld an MTA car to its tracks in Kenmore Square

The person normally connected with this hack is Julius Stratton, not
Wadleigh.  Also "most famous" is in the eye of the beholder.  The (working)
phone booth on top of the great dome and the balloon in Harvard Stadium
that inflated during the Harvard-Yale game were pretty good.

> Examples of useful (or at
>least less destructive hacks were spacewar (by the MIT AI lab folks) and teco
>(supposedly by the Tech Model Railroad Club who were hooking up a spare PDP-8
>to their layout).

Wrong on both counts.  Both programs happened at Jack Dennis's
"Research Lab for Electronics" [the RLE] on the PDP-1.  Don't know who
did the first version of SpaceWar, but generations of hackers added and
added to it over the years; Dan Murphy wrote the original TECO [after
which generations of...].  The the TX-0/PDP-1 hackers at RLE, Minsky's
hackers (athe the AI Lab) and TMRC were all intertwined (and included
many of the same people) but were all different orgs.  Aside from the
fact that all of the real heavy-duty computer hackers were TMRC members
[Alan Kotok, et al], TMRC never did any actual computer hacking, on its
own, back in those days --- it was pretty much occupied keeping its
zillion-relay model train control system working.

Whenever this topic comes up, the usual trivia question is to observe that
'TECO' is an acronym... but what is it an acronym for?

__
/  )                              Bernie Cosell
/--<  _  __  __   o _              BBN Sys & Tech, Cambridge, MA 02238
/___/_(<_/ (_/) )_(_(<_             cosell@bbn.com

Article 247 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!mailrus!bbn!bbn.com!wbe
From: wbe@bbn.com (Winston Edmond)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Message-ID: <49456@bbn.COM>
Date: 10 Dec 89 06:41:43 GMT
References: <49252@bbn.COM>
Sender: news@bbn.COM
Reply-To: wbe@BBN.COM (Winston Edmond)
Organization: BBN Systems and Technologies Corporation, Cambridge, MA
Lines: 55

In article <49252@bbn.COM> ncramer@labs-n.bbn.com (Nichael Cramer) writes:
>In his books on Urban Legends (e.g. "The Vanishing Hitchhiker" or "The
>Choking Doberman") folklorist Jan Brunvand has a couple chapters on
>Computer Myths.  Included is the above Fortran story.  He also has the
>Cookie Monster story and the Unknown Glitch Story.
>
>Now, we've all heard these stories, but can anyone hear truly, honestly
>claim to have been working on a machine when one of these guys made an
>appearance?  [First hand experience only!]
>
>Now, *that* would be interesting data!  ;)
>
>NICHAEL
>
>P.S. Just to keep our terminology straight:
>
>1] The Cookie Monster: This is a (mythical?) virus-like program that at
>random times will popup a message on the user's terminal saying "I'm
>Hungry; give me a cookie".  The user must type "COOKIE" or the message will
>keep repeating indefinitely.  In some versions it starts deleting files or
>some such mischief after a certain number of requests for cookies.

I haven't read the books you mention, but the cookie monster was a program
that ran on the 9th floor Tech Square MIT-AI PDP-10 briefly (I think it was
about 1970 or '71).  Since ITS (the Incompatible Time-Sharing System) was
actively anti-protection and anti-security, no passwords were needed to log
in and anyone could :GUN anyone else.

The cookie monster program simply sent a message to a user's terminal asking
for a cookie.  It was designed to get increasingly impatient and insistent,
from "May I have a cookie?" once in a while to "COOKIE! COOKIE! COOKIE!"
every few seconds.  To satisfy the cookie monster, all you had to do was say
":send cookie-monster cookie" (or something very close to this).  If I recall
correctly, the DDT (yes, DDT was the default user "shell" under ITS) command
":send user message" was like a one-line UNIX 'write'; i.e., it was used to
print a message on someone's terminal, not to send mail.

Like many hacks, I think the very first version of the program was willing to
:GUN an ungenerous user, but that after the initial demonstrations that was
turned off, so that ignoring the pleas for cookies did no more than clutter
up your screen and make work difficult.

I cannot claim first hand experience with the cookie monster.  At the time, I
was an RLE PDP-1 hacker, and didn't use MIT-AI that much.  However, the above
was related to me by an MIT-AI friend of mine with all the enthusiasm
normally reserved for a "neat hack" one has just seen; I was encouraged to go
over and see it; and the details were consistent with the Tech Square MIT-AI
hackers and the ITS features I knew at the time.  I do not recall the program
being any kind of virus -- I think it was just a detached job that had some
hook for permitting :send's to itself even though it didn't have a real
terminal, but my memory of that level of detail is rather fuzzy.

Nichael,
What did "Computer Myths" have to say about the Cookie Monster program?
-WBE

Article 257 of alt.folklore.computers:
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Path: rochester!colbath
From: colbath@cs.rochester.edu (Sean Colbath)
Subject: Re: The only Coke machine on the Internet
Message-ID: <1989Dec11.190121.12099@cs.rochester.edu>
Reply-To: colbath@cs.rochester.edu (Sean Colbath)
Organization: University of Rochester Computer Science Department
References: <7295@pt.cs.cmu.edu>
Date: Mon, 11 Dec 89 19:01:21 GMT

In article <7295@pt.cs.cmu.edu> tgl@zog.cs.cmu.edu (Tom Lane) writes:
>Since time immemorial (well, maybe 1970) the Carnegie-Mellon CS department
>has maintained a departmental Coke machine, which sells bottles of Coke
>for a dime or so less than other vending machines around campus.  As no
>Real Programmer can function without caffeine, the machine is very popular.
>(I recall hearing that it had the highest sales volume of any Coke machine
>in the Pittsburgh area.)  The machine is loaded on a rather erratic
>schedule by grad student volunteers.

<Story about how you could use the finger command to determine the status of
the coke machine>

I don't think the students at RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) get
this newsgroup, so I'll relate this (true) story.  At UR, there is an
organization known as the Computer Interest Floor, an area of campus housing
where computer oriented people can get together.  RIT has a similar
organization, known as CSH (Computer Science House, or...).  Many of their
members are quite hardware oriented.  Well, apparently they found an old
slightly malfunctioning coke machine that was being thrown out (can-style).
They decided to install this on their hall, but were informed by the powers
that be that the university had granted a monopoly on vending machines to a
city vending machine service, and they couldn't set it up.  So, they decided
to come up with a way to get around this rule:  they changed the coke
machine from a vending machine to a peripheral!

The vending machine has a serial line running from it to one of the unix
systems.  It looks much like a regular machine, except it has a red
calculator-like display that says "Coke" on it.  If you press a button,
it'll tell you how many sodas are in that particular bin, or "Empty".  Next
to it is a terminal with the time of day displayed, and a coke logo.  To buy
a coke, all you have to do is to "log on" to your coke machine account at
the terminal, look at the status report, and "buy" your coke by selecting
from a menu.  Each user had a bank account that was added to by giving the
machine maintainers more money.

Now, this isn't all -- you could buy your coke from any terminal in their
housing section (every room had one, and they had two semi-public terminal
areas.  If you wanted to, you could program in a delay before the machine
dropped your coke, so you wouldn't get down the hall to find someone had
snarfed your coke.  Apparently they wanted coke to come do a commercial
showing someone hacking on a terminal, pausing with a thirsty look on their
face, type "coke", race down the hallway, and arrive just in time to have
the machine plop a soda in their hand...!

>				tom lane
>Internet: tgl@cs.cmu.edu
>UUCP: <your favorite internet/arpanet gateway>!cs.cmu.edu!tgl
>BITNET: tgl%cs.cmu.edu@cmuccvma
>CompuServe: >internet:tgl@cs.cmu.edu

--
Sean Colbath
colbath@cs.rochester.edu			...uunet!rochester!colbath
"And now for something completely different..."

Article 260 of alt.folklore.computers:
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: The only Coke machine on the Internet
Keywords: back real soon now.
Message-ID: <7299@pt.cs.cmu.edu>
Date: 11 Dec 89 20:26:30 GMT
References: <7295@pt.cs.cmu.edu>
Organization: Carnegie-Mellon University, CS/RI
Lines: 28

In article <7295@pt.cs.cmu.edu> tgl@zog.cs.cmu.edu (Tom Lane) writes:
>This story is old news to ex-CMU folk, but may be amusing to others.
[story of the CMU coke machine]

At the annual Jimmy Tsang's dinner expedition  last saturday, I
was talking with a member of the CS Facilities staff [Hi Steve :-)]
who is currently working on the new hardware for the coke server.
In addition to monitoring the status of the coke machine, the new
server will re-implement the JF (junk food) protocol, telling you
the status of the CS M&M dispenser and other CS-affiliated junk
food dispensers.  It's hoped that this will all be finished and installed
by early next year, such that any internet site will be able to
finger coke@cs.cmu.edu once again.

An addendum to the coke story is that for quite sometime there was a
Perq sitting behind a large glass window in front of the elevators
on the third floor of science hall that frequently ran a variation
of the coke program that would display bar graphs indicating the
amount of time since the machine had been filled.  You now didn't
even have to be logged in to find out if the coke was cold, rather
you could just be riding by on the elevator and decide on the fly
if you wanted to grab a cold coke.

You used to (and still may) be able to finger weather@hermes.ai.mit.edu
to find out what the weather was like on the 9th floor of tech square
(the ai labs).

steve

Article 261 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!usc!samsung!uunet!ns-mx!pyrite.cs.uiowa.edu
From: jones@pyrite.cs.uiowa.edu (Douglas W. Jones,201H MLH,3193350740,3193382879)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: The only Coke machine on the Internet
Message-ID: <289@ns-mx.uiowa.edu>
Date: 11 Dec 89 20:22:44 GMT
References: <7295@pt.cs.cmu.edu>
Sender: news@ns-mx.uiowa.edu
Lines: 25

From article <7295@pt.cs.cmu.edu>, by tgl@zog.cs.cmu.edu (Tom Lane):
> This story is old news to ex-CMU folk, but may be amusing to others.
>
> Since time immemorial (well, maybe 1970) the Carnegie-Mellon CS department
> has maintained a departmental Coke machine, which sells bottles of Coke
> for a dime or so less than other vending machines around campus.

The coke machine existed in the fall of 1969, back when the computer
center was on an upper floor of Scaife (I think that's the spelling) hall.
It was the most unusual coke machine I've ever patronized.  The machine was
cobbled together looking, but it looked like a coke machine.  The odd thing
was that the coin slot was on the other side of the hall, installed in a
locker.  Presumably, the wires from the coin slot to the machine went
under the floor, but there were rumors that the machine was interfaced to
the Univac 1108 somehow.

The rumor included the user-name for the machine: CM01.  All user names at
Carnegie-Mellon were made of the user's initials followed by a two digit
code to disambiguate those with the same initials.  If you look at project
andrew user names, you can see that the same pattern still seems to be in
use.

Doug Jones
Univac 1108: DJ02
Internet: jones@herky.cs.uiowa.edu

Article 262 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!swrinde!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!math.lsa.umich.edu!emv
From: emv@math.lsa.umich.edu (Edward Vielmetti)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: weather servers, was Re: The only Coke machine on the Internet
Message-ID: <EMV.89Dec11162719@picasso.math.lsa.umich.edu>
Date: 11 Dec 89 21:27:19 GMT
References: <7295@pt.cs.cmu.edu> <7299@pt.cs.cmu.edu>
Sender: news@math.lsa.umich.edu
Organization: University of Michigan Math Dept., Ann Arbor MI.
Lines: 12
In-reply-to: sgw@cad.cs.cmu.edu's message of 11 Dec 89 20:26:30 GMT

In article <7299@pt.cs.cmu.edu> sgw@cad.cs.cmu.edu (Stephen Wadlow) writes:

You used to (and still may) be able to finger weather@hermes.ai.mit.edu
to find out what the weather was like on the 9th floor of tech square
(the ai labs).

You can finger weather@madlab.sprl.umich.edu or weather@groucho.ucar.edu
to get NWS forecast info.

Brr it's cold outside,

--Ed

Article 268 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!mailrus!bbn!bbn.com!clements
From: clements@bbn.com (Bob Clements)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: DEC's sense of humor (was Re: Teco and peace)
Message-ID: <49532@bbn.COM>
Date: 11 Dec 89 21:03:03 GMT
References: <7296@pt.cs.cmu.edu>
Sender: news@bbn.COM
Reply-To: clements@BBN.COM (Bob Clements)
Lines: 42

In article <7296@pt.cs.cmu.edu> tgl@zog.cs.cmu.edu (Tom Lane) writes:
>Actually DEC had a pretty decent corporate sense of humor at one time.
[...]
>Relating this to the original thread, I can easily believe that the
>"make love not war" behavior was installed by DEC itself.

I believe I can claim to be responsible for putting this into the
DEC world, though not for actually authoring it.

As someone else pointed out, this function was actually in the
program "COMPIL" (program names were limited to six characters on
the original PDP-6 and PDP-10 operating system).  COMPIL was written
at Stanford by <dammit, I can't remember his name!> and was offered to
DEC as a part of some deal.  COMPIL was a program which was sort of an
early "make" except it had all the rules built in rather than being
directed by a makefile.  It was written in assembler, of course, as
was nearly all the system software on those machines.  (Those machines
had an instruction set for which assembler writing was actually fun.)

Anyhow, when COMPIL was delivered to DEC, it had some hacks in it
including "MAKE LOVE" spitting out the "Not war?" message before
firing up TECO to create a file called "LOVE".  I was given the
job of porting COMPIL's source from SAIL to MACRO.  We had to
have sources in the supported assembler in order to do software
distributions. [SAIL was the assembler used at Stanford.  Midas
at MIT, MACRO at DEC.  Serious NIH syndrome in those days, and of
course the competition bred some good tools.]

The author adamantly demanded that these hacks remain in the
program, and that we NOT use the name we were going to use ("CCL"
for "Concise Command Language" - a poke-in-the-ribs reference to
IBM's JCL).  If we didn't agree to his demands, we couldn't have
his program.  The responsible bosses at DEC weren't happy about
it, but we eventually came up with a middle ground.  The
compromise left "Not war?" in, but we used CCL as the name of the
feature, mainly because we couldn't think of a better one.

From there, of course, it spread to all the other DEC machines
as time went on.

/Rcc
Bob Clements, K1BC, clements@bbn.com  [formerly DEC badge #1047]

Article 339 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!samsung!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!jtsv16!geac!mnetor!utzoo!sq!msb
From: msb@sq.sq.com (Mark Brader)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Old as dirt #2: Mel and the drum-memory computer follies
Message-ID: <1989Dec12.085528.14602@sq.sq.com>
Date: 12 Dec 89 08:55:28 GMT
References: <ZA+12*@rpi.edu>
Distribution: alt
Organization: SoftQuad Inc., Toronto
Lines: 265
Summary: Reposted in proper form

I was very sorry to see that the person who posted the story of Mel
did not do so in its proper form, and with no author credit either.
It had been reformatted as if it was prose rather than free verse,
and now the ending is spoiled for anyone who was seeing it for the
first time.

This is the way Ed Nather posted it.  (More precisely, it's the way
Matt Crawford reposted it in 1987.)

A recent article devoted to the *macho* side of programming
made the bald and unvarnished statement:

Real Programmers write in Fortran.

Maybe they do now,
in this decadent era of
Lite beer, hand calculators and "user-friendly" software
but back in the Good Old Days,
when the term "software" sounded funny
and Real Computers were made out of drums and vacuum tubes,
Real Programmers wrote in machine code.
Not Fortran. Not RATFOR. Not, even, assembly language.
Machine Code.
Directly.

Lest a whole new generation of programmers
grow up in ignorance of this glorious past,
I feel duty-bound to describe,
as best I can through the generation gap,
how a Real Programmer wrote code.
I'll call him Mel,
because that was his name.

I first met Mel when I went to work for Royal McBee Computer Corp.,
a now-defunct subsidiary of the typewriter company.
The firm manufactured the LGP-30,
a small, cheap (by the standards of the day)
drum-memory computer,
and had just started to manufacture
the RPC-4000, a much-improved,
bigger, better, faster -- drum-memory computer.
Cores cost too much,
and weren't here to stay, anyway.
(That's why you haven't heard of the company, or the computer.)

I had been hired to write a Fortran compiler
for this new marvel and Mel was my guide to its wonders.
Mel didn't approve of compilers.

"If a program can't rewrite its own code,"
he asked, "what good is it?"

the most popular computer program the company owned.
It ran on the LGP-30
and played blackjack with potential customers
at computer shows.
Its effect was always dramatic.
The LGP-30 booth was packed at every show,
and the IBM salesmen stood around
talking to each other.
Whether or not this actually sold computers
was a question we never discussed.

Mel's job was to re-write
the blackjack program for the RPC-4000.
(Port?  What does that mean?)
The new computer had a one-plus-one
in which each machine instruction,
in addition to the operation code
and the address of the needed operand,
had a second address that indicated where, on the revolving drum,
the next instruction was located.
In modern parlance,
every single instruction was followed by a GO TO!
Put *that* in Pascal's pipe and smoke it.

Mel loved the RPC-4000
because he could optimize his code:
that is, locate instructions on the drum
so that just as one finished its job,
the next would be just arriving at the "read head"
and available for immediate execution.
There was a program to do that job,
an "optimizing assembler",
but Mel refused to use it.

"You never know where its going to put things",
he explained, "so you'd have to use separate constants".

It was a long time before I understood that remark.
Since Mel knew the numerical value
of every operation code,
and assigned his own drum addresses,
every instruction he wrote could also be considered
a numerical constant.
He could pick up an earlier "add" instruction, say,
and multiply by it,
if it had the right numeric value.
His code was not easy for someone else to modify.

I compared Mel's hand-optimized programs
with the same code massaged by the optimizing assembler program,
and Mel's always ran faster.
That was because the "top-down" method of program design
hadn't been invented yet,
and Mel wouldn't have used it anyway.
He wrote the innermost parts of his program loops first,
so they would get first choice
of the optimum address locations on the drum.
The optimizing assembler wasn't smart enough to do it that way.

Mel never wrote time-delay loops, either,
even when the balky Flexowriter
required a delay between output characters to work right.
He just located instructions on the drum
so each successive one was just *past* the read head
when it was needed;
the drum had to execute another complete revolution
to find the next instruction.
He coined an unforgettable term for this procedure.
Although "optimum" is an absolute term,
like "unique", it became common verbal practice
to make it relative:
"not quite optimum" or "less optimum"
or "not very optimum".
Mel called the maximum time-delay locations
the "most pessimum".

After he finished the blackjack program
and got it to run,
("Even the initializer is optimized",
he said proudly)
he got a Change Request from the sales department.
The program used an elegant (optimized)
random number generator
to shuffle the "cards" and deal from the "deck",
and some of the salesmen felt it was too fair,
since sometimes the customers lost.
They wanted Mel to modify the program
so, at the setting of a sense switch on the console,
they could change the odds and let the customer win.

Mel balked.
He felt this was patently dishonest,
which it was,
and that it impinged on his personal integrity as a programmer,
which it did,
so he refused to do it.
The Head Salesman talked to Mel,
as did the Big Boss and, at the boss's urging,
a few Fellow Programmers.
Mel finally gave in and wrote the code,
but he got the test backwards,
and, when the sense switch was turned on,
the program would cheat, winning every time.
Mel was delighted with this,
claiming his subconscious was uncontrollably ethical,
and adamantly refused to fix it.

After Mel had left the company for greener pa$ture$,
the Big Boss asked me to look at the code
and see if I could find the test and reverse it.
Somewhat reluctantly, I agreed to look.
Tracking Mel's code was a real adventure.

I have often felt that programming is an art form,
whose real value can only be appreciated
by another versed in the same arcane art;
there are lovely gems and brilliant coups
hidden from human view and admiration, sometimes forever,
by the very nature of the process.
You can learn a lot about an individual
just by reading through his code,
Mel was, I think, an unsung genius.

Perhaps my greatest shock came
when I found an innocent loop that had no test in it.
No test. *None*.
Common sense said it had to be a closed loop,
where the program would circle, forever, endlessly.
Program control passed right through it, however,
and safely out the other side.
It took me two weeks to figure it out.

The RPC-4000 computer had a really modern facility
called an index register.
It allowed the programmer to write a program loop
that used an indexed instruction inside;
each time through,
the number in the index register
was added to the address of that instruction,
so it would refer
to the next datum in a series.
He had only to increment the index register
each time through.
Mel never used it.

Instead, he would pull the instruction into a machine register,
and store it back.
He would then execute the modified instruction
right from the register.
The loop was written so this additional execution time
was taken into account --
just as this instruction finished,
the next one was right under the drum's read head,
But the loop had no test in it.

The vital clue came when I noticed
the index register bit,
the bit that lay between the address
and the operation code in the instruction word,
was turned on--
yet Mel never used the index register,
leaving it zero all the time.
When the light went on it nearly blinded me.

He had located the data he was working on
near the top of memory --
the largest locations the instructions could address --
so, after the last datum was handled,
incrementing the instruction address
would make it overflow.
The carry would add one to the
operation code, changing it to the next one in the instruction set:
a jump instruction.
Sure enough, the next program instruction was
in address location zero,
and the program went happily on its way.

I haven't kept in touch with Mel,
so I don't know if he ever gave in to the flood of
change that has washed over programming techniques
since those long-gone days.
I like to think he didn't.
In any event,
I was impressed enough that I quit looking for the
offending test,
telling the Big Boss I couldn't find it.
He didn't seem surprised.

When I left the company,
the blackjack program would still cheat
if you turned on the right sense switch,
and I think that's how it should be.
I didn't feel comfortable
hacking up the code of a Real Programmer."

-- Source: usenet: utastro!nather, May 21, 1983.

Reposted by
--
Mark Brader, SoftQuad Inc.,		"For want of a bit the loop was lost..."
Toronto, utzoo!sq!msb, msb@sq.com				 -- Steve Summit

Article 345 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!mailrus!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!shelby!csli!poser
From: poser@csli.Stanford.EDU (Bill Poser)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: "secure" disc drives
Message-ID: <11427@csli.Stanford.EDU>
Date: 13 Dec 89 07:51:02 GMT
References: <37148@apple.Apple.COM> <DENNIS.89Dec12173356@yang.cpac.washington.edu>
Sender: poser@csli.Stanford.EDU (Bill Poser)
Reply-To: poser@csli.stanford.edu (Bill Poser)
Organization: Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford U.
Lines: 10

A friend told me that many years ago when he was at CMU they inherited
a machine from the Army. It had an unusually thick, presumably bullet-proof
cabinet, and a red switch on the front panel labelled "BATTLE MODE".
What does a computer do in battle mode? They eventually figured out that
it caused all interrupts to be ignored, even things like illegal instructions
and arithmetic point exceptions. I guess that in the heat of battle,
it doesn't matter whether the results are right, as long as the program
keeps running.

Article 356 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!texbell!sugar!peter
From: peter@sugar.hackercorp.com (Peter da Silva)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: "secure" disc drives
Message-ID: <4751@sugar.hackercorp.com>
Date: 13 Dec 89 13:58:35 GMT
References: <37148@apple.Apple.COM> <DENNIS.89Dec12173356@yang.cpac.washington.edu> <11427@csli.Stanford.EDU>
Reply-To: peter@sugar.hackercorp.com (Peter da Silva)
Organization: Sugar Land Unix - Houston
Lines: 20

In article <11427@csli.Stanford.EDU> poser@csli.stanford.edu (Bill Poser) writes:
> A friend told me that many years ago when he was at CMU they inherited
> a machine from the Army. It had an unusually thick, presumably bullet-proof
> cabinet, and a red switch on the front panel labelled "BATTLE MODE".

Sort of like the "battle short" on other more conventional hardware (like
aircraft carriers) that drops a copper bar across each fuse.

> What does a computer do in battle mode? They eventually figured out that
> it caused all interrupts to be ignored, even things like illegal instructions
> and arithmetic point exceptions. I guess that in the heat of battle,
> it doesn't matter whether the results are right, as long as the program
> keeps running.

Let's say it's a fire control computer. Yes, it's more important that a gun
keep firing, even if it's off-target.
--
Peter "Have you hugged your wolf today" da Silva <peter@sugar.hackercorp.com>
-_-'
'U  "I haven't lost my mind, it's backed up on tape somewhere"

Article 357 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!mailrus!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!philmtl!philabs!ttidca!paulb
From: paulb@ttidca.TTI.COM (Paul Blumstein)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Strange Disk Drive crashes
Message-ID: <8418@ttidca.TTI.COM>
Date: 12 Dec 89 18:22:03 GMT
Reply-To: paulb@ncc1701.tti.com (Paul Blumstein)
Organization: DAM: Mothers Against Dyslexia
Lines: 26

This is a true story.  I used to work at the Infonet division of CSC.  We
had Univac 1108's with CDC disk drives.  This story took place at our
Australain affiliate with the same setup.

One of the disk drives would experience a head crash every few weeks.  Each
time it crashed, the CE would replace the heads and packs, CSC would
restore the data and everything would test well until a few weeks later
when it crashed again.  Needless to say, it drove both CSC & the CE's
crazy.

After this had been going on for several months, the CDC sent their best CE
in.  This man was determined to solve this mystery and took the whole drive
apart.  He found the answer:  The drive motor had been wired backwards at
the factory.  That meant that the drive had been spinning backwards.  The
software didn't care since it had been written and read in the same reverse
order.  However, the heads were aerodynamically stable only in one
direction.  With the air going backwards over the heads, they managed to
stay aloft for a few weeks at a time.  I guess some mild turbulence caused
the crash.  Once the motor wires were corrected by reversing them, it
worked fine from that point on.
=============================================================================
Paul Blumstein       | "The judicial system is very fast now that they've gotten
Citicorp/TTI         | rid of the lawyers" - Back to the Future 2 (in 2015 AD)
Santa Monica, CA     +-------------------------------------------------------
{philabs,csun,psivax}!ttidca!paulb  or  paulb@ttidca.TTI.COM
DISCLAIMER: Everything & everyone is hereby disclaimed!

Article 359 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!texbell!nuchat!steve
From: steve@nuchat.UUCP (Steve Nuchia)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: DEC's sense of humor
Message-ID: <17377@nuchat.UUCP>
Date: 13 Dec 89 15:17:23 GMT
References: <7296@pt.cs.cmu.edu> <4279@rtech.rtech.com>
Reply-To: steve@nuchat.UUCP (Steve Nuchia)
Organization: Houston Public Access
Lines: 31

In article <4279@rtech.rtech.com> mikes@rtech.UUCP (Mike Schilling) writes:
>Yeah.  In RSX-11M, there's a network error, value -69, name IE.NFW,
>translation "Path lost to partner".

Well, while we're on this silly thread ...

In the Altos 68000, one of the sagans of 68000 Unix boxes that flooded
the market back around '83, the ROM loader had one syntax error message:

<beep> WTF?

I mentioned it to a tech support type once when I called about something
else and they had an answer ready -- it meant "With Trace Flag?".

Yeah, sure.

Then there was the time when we had just finished scanning "all" of
our product source code for off-color text.  Of course there was
one directory that fell through the cracks...  And one message,
inside a debugging ifdef, that only came up if it couldn't open
a trace file.  "DEBFILE Fuck Up!" it said.  Reese, where are you now?

Anyway, as luck would have it, this was called in exactly once, about
two weeks after the certified clean version was shipped, by the one
person in all of California who was too pure to read us the line
over the telephone.  The boss damned near expired.
--
Steve Nuchia	      South Coast Computing Services      (713) 964-2462
"If the conjecture You would rather I had not disturbed you
by sending you this.' is correct, you may add it to the list of
uncomfortable truths."   - Edsgar Dijkstra

Article 360 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uunet!mcsun!sunic!tut!santra!news
From: jkp@cs.HUT.FI (Jyrki Kuoppala)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: BSD /bin/mail
Summary: don't let the machine puke on you even if it doesn't like you
Message-ID: <1989Dec13.171150.6074@santra.uucp>
Date: 13 Dec 89 17:11:50 GMT
Sender: news@santra.uucp (Cnews - USENET news system)
Reply-To: jkp@cs.HUT.FI (Jyrki Kuoppala)
Distribution: alt
Organization: Helsinki University of Technology, Finland
Lines: 18

Once I was working on a program to do some interesting things with
ptrace() (no, I won't tell you the details ;-).  I had the basic
concept working and was just polishing the code a bit.  I used
/bin/mail to do some testing.  I was more than a bit amazed when the
program just started saying puke' to me - I checked my code and no
there wasn't a string puke' there.  But still all the program did was
that it printed the word puke' on the line by itself - well maybe
machines really HAVE a sense of humour, I thought (taking into account
what I was trying to do ;-).

After some amount of tracing and thinking I could reproduce the
message by execlp("/bin/mail", 0);

//Jyrki

Jyrki Kuoppala    Helsinki University of Technology, Finland.
Internet :        jkp@cs.hut.fi           [130.233.251.253]
BITNET :          jkp@fingate.bitnet      Gravity is a myth, the Earth sucks!

Article 361 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!mailrus!usenet.ins.cwru.edu!hal!ncoast!mikes
From: mikes@NCoast.ORG (Mike Squires)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: CDC 3800 as sound generator
Keywords: CDC 3800 sound
Message-ID: <1989Dec13.045340.29706@NCoast.ORG>
Date: 13 Dec 89 04:53:40 GMT
References: <1989Dec11.165713.11604@world.std.com> <YZVK1x600VsLM0i3t1@andrew.cmu.edu>
Reply-To: mikes@ncoast.ORG (Mike Squires)
Organization: North Coast Public Access UN*X, Cleveland, OH
Lines: 10

The CDC 3800 I worked on had a register hooked to am amp and a speaker
(never saw exactly how).  The sound told the operator what the system
was doing; when the system was waiting for operator intervention the
sound was exactly like the Star Trek Red Alert (although the CDC 3800
preceded the program).  The displays on the rather extensive system
console were also very similar to the Star Trek bridge.

When the 3800 was replaced by a much newer Burroughs the most interesting
problem was that the Burroughs was 30x slower executing numerically intensive
software.

Article 362 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!samsung!cs.utexas.edu!hellgate.utah.edu!helios.ee.lbl.gov!nosc!crash!fgbrooks
From: fgbrooks@crash.cts.com (Fred Brooks)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: "secure" disc drives
Message-ID: <890@crash.cts.com>
Date: 13 Dec 89 17:57:07 GMT
References: <37148@apple.Apple.COM> <DENNIS.89Dec12173356@yang.cpac.washington.edu> <11427@csli.Stanford.EDU>
Reply-To: fgbrooks@crash.cts.com (Fred Brooks)
Organization: Crash TimeSharing, El Cajon, CA
Lines: 26

In article <11427@csli.Stanford.EDU> poser@csli.stanford.edu (Bill Poser) writes:
>A friend told me that many years ago when he was at CMU they inherited
>a machine from the Army. It had an unusually thick, presumably bullet-proof
>cabinet, and a red switch on the front panel labelled "BATTLE MODE".
>What does a computer do in battle mode? They eventually figured out that
>it caused all interrupts to be ignored, even things like illegal instructions
>and arithmetic point exceptions. I guess that in the heat of battle,
>it doesn't matter whether the results are right, as long as the program
>keeps running.
>
>

Oh yes, the BATTLE SHORT switch. Back when I was a Tech in the navy we had
a UYK-20 "Milspec Tactical processor" that ran the satellite link with the
shore station. Well one day we lost cooling for all of the electronic spaces
for about a month. The only way we could keep this thing running when it
got so hot you could fry an egg on it was by useing battle short. This
switch bypassed all fuses, overtemp sensors, and any error instructions or
execptions. After about a week of this the circuit cards solder connections
started to flow from the heat. She then went critical and blew every card
in the whole machine. First and only time I saw a computer really have a
melt down. I of course was covered because we had a signed letter from
the C.O of the ship that he needed this equipment running. "This was during
the 1980 failed rescue of the Iran hostages"

Fred Brooks

Article 363 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!usc!apple!agate!ucbvax!ucdavis!csusac!unify!dgh
From: dgh@unify.uucp (David Harrington)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: FORTRAN Greetings
Message-ID: <qtlnvv@unify.uucp>
Date: 13 Dec 89 17:52:25 GMT
References: <1923@paperboy.OSF.ORG>
Reply-To: dgh@unify.UUCP (David Harrington)
Organization: Unify Corporation, Sacramento, CA, USA
Lines: 27

In article <1923@paperboy.OSF.ORG> sp@mysteron.osf.org (Simon Patience) writes:
>
>	I worked with someone who worked on the FORTRAN compiler. He made
>	it so that during the two weeks prior to christmas, on even numbered
>	hours and when seconds equal minutes, the compiler printed "Merry
>	Christmas" on the screen when it was invoked. Of course it was
>	completely unreproducable but the complaints of "Undergraduate humour"
>	came in pretty quickly from one of the defence related establishments
>	so it was taken out after the first festive season :-(

This reminds me: remember in the 60's and 70's when we realized that, yes,
Virginia, the 20th century WILL give way to the 21st, and EVERY DATE ROUTINE
EVER WRITTEN WILL FAIL?

All those hard-coded '19' followed by a PIC 99 or XX field.

I always thought that you could really make a bundle, starting in about 1990,
with a company that did nothing but fixed all date routines, so the world
wouldn't end on Jan 1, 2000.

Unfortunately, I think date routines got smarter over the years :-(  :-).

--
David Harrington		                       internet: dgh@unify.UUCP
Unify Corporation		                 ...!{csusac,pyramid}!unify!dgh
3870 Rosin Court                                          voice: (916) 920-9092 Sacramento, CA 95834                                        fax: (916) 921-5340

Article 366 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!usc!samsung!sol.ctr.columbia.edu!emory!hubcap!shelby!eos!eugene
From: eugene@eos.UUCP (Eugene Miya)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Re↑2: notable computer stories in fiction and the media
Message-ID: <5817@eos.UUCP>
Date: 13 Dec 89 18:59:23 GMT
References: <6410@lindy.Stanford.EDU> <4487@ur-cc.UUCP> <11421@csli.Stanford.EDU> <11423@csli.Stanford.EDU>
Reply-To: eugene@eos.UUCP (Eugene Miya)
Distribution: na
Organization: NASA Ames Research Center, Calif.
Lines: 23

>>Terminator

One can easily check by renting the film.  I thought it was BASIC.
Not worth discussing further, Occam's razor says go rent.

>about "BIOS" something or other, and then you see: "BSD 9.3" or some such.

This is the film Die Hard (saw with a tape player).  James Shigeta
is the executive killed over his CRT filled desk.  He logs in and it
says "9.3 BSD."  They also shoot up lots of CDC equipment.  Another

Brian Gordon mentions FOCAL.  Gawk!  No I would have recognized that.
There were too many PDP-8s in the world.

Another gross generalization from

--eugene miya, NASA Ames Research Center, eugene@aurora.arc.nasa.gov
resident cynic at the Rock of Ages Home for Retired Hackers:
"You trust the reply' command with all those different mailers out there?"
"If my mail does not reach you, please accept my apology."
{ncar,decwrl,hplabs,uunet}!ames!eugene
Support the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

Article 379 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!cs.utexas.edu!jarvis.csri.toronto.edu!torsqnt!lethe!geac!maccs!johns
From: johns@maccs.dcss.mcmaster.ca (Conan the Barbarian)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: An amazing computer, that PET
Message-ID: <2585882F.26177@maccs.dcss.mcmaster.ca>
Date: 12 Dec 89 23:22:23 GMT
Reply-To: johns@maccs.dcss.mcmaster.ca (Conan the Barbarian)
Organization: McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario
Lines: 22

Ah yes, the Commodore PET days.  I have fond memories too.

I remember in high school there was a bully who would steal my designated
time on the PET.  I guess he hated me because I made fun of his stupid
mistakes.  And he was so much bigger and fatter than I, what could I do?
One time, he typed this long program in out of a book, and after debugging
it (which amounted to RUN, syntax error, check the book, make correction, RUN,
over and over for about an hour) and SAVEing it to tape, he of course wanted to
VERIFY that it was completely and uncorrupted on the tape.  So, he methodically
types NEW, and VERIFY and gets no errors.  By now I was laughing so hard, he
couldn't help but think he'd goofed so he VERIFYs again.  If I had looked
carefully, I'll bet he typed NEW again.
It took me a while to explain his mistake.  I had stopped laughing and
his train of thought was still boarding at the station.

P.S.  Mike Sullivan, if you'd like the blurb on REAL programmers, email me.

--
"After all is said an done,                        John Schmitt
a lot more is said than done."                    johns@maccs.dcss.mcmaster.ca
Don't blame anybody for what I say.                SCHMITTJ@SCIvax.mcmaster.ca

Article 380 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!apple!oliveb!tymix!strider!stimac
From: stimac@strider.uucp (Michael Stimac)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: revenge
Message-ID: <3117@tymix.UUCP>
Date: 13 Dec 89 23:20:01 GMT
Sender: news@tymix.UUCP
Distribution: alt
Organization: Tymnet NTD, San Jose CA
Lines: 50

He Who Laughs Last Laughs Best Department:

(names are changed to protect the innocent)

I worked with RCA Computer Systems Division in Cinnaminson,
New Jersey (and later Blue Bell, Pa) for several years both
before and after the Computer div. was sold to Univac (many
years before Univac became Unisys, or whatever). We wrote
all the OS, compiler, and communication software for RCA's
Spectra computers.

There was a super programmer (we didn't use the word hacker in
those antediluvian times) in the Languages Group, whom I will
refer to as Rube. Rube was/is your basic computer genius. He had
single-handedly invented and implemented a programming language
which I will call IPL. IPL was used for all kinds of semi-official
projects within the software development group.

\Everyone/ in the company had high regard for Rube, who was a
genial and helpful person to everyone. Well, nearly everyone.

Now several management control systems had been cobbled-up using
Rube's IPL language. There was one data center manager who
apparently had no idea who Rube was, or who was otherwise
too self-important to treat Rube with respect. One day, Rube
wanted a small favor from this manager. The manager, forgetting
which side his bread was buttered on, refused Rube's request
as being against policy or whatever.

This same data center manager daily ran his summaries and
reports to higher management using Rube's IPL system. In a
nice display of justice, Rube included in the next release of
IPL, an additional feature, such that, when it was running
a job for THIS manager a deliberate delay would be taken
after each I/O operation. The amount of delay was minuscule,
but was increased each and every calendar day!

From the point of view of the hapless manager, his job would
run imperceptibly slower each day; but after a period of months
(and years) he would no longer be able to get his report finished
within the 24-hour reporting period!

Remember - don't try this at home, kids!

This is not a so-called urban myth; I am personally acquainted with "Rube".

Michael Stimac
.....sun!oliveb!tymix!stimac

disclaimer: dis claimer here ain't dat claimer der!

Article 385 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!usc!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!apple!well!mandel
From: mandel@well.UUCP (Tom Mandel)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Another secret message
Keywords: Framework 1.0
Message-ID: <15000@well.UUCP>
Date: 14 Dec 89 00:54:32 GMT
Lines: 17

The only secret message I ever discovered was in the FW.EXE file
of Framework 1.0, the first release of Ashton-Tate's integrated
software package for IBM-PCs and compatibles.  Stuck somewhere
down in the middle of what was a 200K file of gibberish is the
ASCII string:  "BEAT CAL".

Although I got to be good friends with the Framework team over
the years, I never found out who put this in the product.  However,
the fact that Robert Carr, Framework's inventor, went to Stanford
is somewhat suggestive.
--

--Tom Mandel	mandel@well.sf.ca.us	mandel@unix.sri.com

[Opinions expressed, if any, are not those of the WELL or SRI International.]

Article 386 of alt.folklore.computers:
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: The Day the World Ended ??
Keywords: DEC, DEC-10, Date routines
Message-ID: <129223@sun.Eng.Sun.COM>
Date: 14 Dec 89 00:36:39 GMT
Sender: news@sun.Eng.Sun.COM
Distribution: na
Lines: 15

I seem to vaguely remember a lovely tale of when The World Ended for
the DEC-10 machines. As I recall, the internal time/date was represented
as the number of (unit of time) since (arbitrary date), and the designers
had left too few bits of precision.  This fact was discovered a few months
prior to the event by a curious engineer and DEC couldn't quite get it all
repaired before the fateful day.  As machines worldwide crashed, programmers
held "End Of The World Parties".

Would someone who lived thru this please correct all the gross mistakes
in my version? Thanks.
========================================================================
Brad Martinson        Sun Microsystems        bmartinson@sun.com
<#include std/disclaimers.h>
========================================================================
"Must get Moose and Squirrel."

Article 390 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uwm.edu!lll-winken!decwrl!ucbvax!mtxinu!taniwha!paul
From: paul@taniwha.UUCP (Paul Campbell)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: DEC's sense of humor (was Re: Teco and peace)
Message-ID: <439@taniwha.UUCP>
Date: 13 Dec 89 18:02:31 GMT
References: <7296@pt.cs.cmu.edu> <129157@sun.Eng.Sun.COM>
Reply-To: paul@taniwha.UUCP (Paul Campbell)
Organization: Taniwha Systems Design, Oakland
Lines: 13

In article <129157@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> landauer@sun.UUCP (Doug Landauer) writes:
>Didn't the VAX have a "FUBAR" register?  I forget what
>it meant, something like Failed Uni Bus Address Register.
>Anyone still have an old VAX hardware reference manual?

VMS has a 'fork queue'. I heard that early VMS prototypes had this managed
with a 'mother forker' ...

Paul
--
Paul Campbell    UUCP: ..!mtxinu!taniwha!paul     AppleLink: CAMPBELL.P
"We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man,
Got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand ..." - Neil Young 'Freedom'

Article 393 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!usc!venera!isi.edu!raveling
From: raveling@isi.edu (Paul Raveling)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: hardware failure!
Message-ID: <10970@venera.UUCP>
Date: 14 Dec 89 01:02:31 GMT
References: <6058@wpi.wpi.edu>
Sender: news@venera.UUCP
Reply-To: raveling@isi.edu (Paul Raveling)
Organization: USC Information Sciences Institute
Lines: 35

In article <6058@wpi.wpi.edu>, jwhitson@wpi.wpi.edu (John C Whitson
KB2GNC) writes:

[About spurious missile warnings due to a chip failure]

Back in the late '60's someone I knew at UCLA went to work
for System Development Corporation in Santa Monica, and came back
one day with a story about a software bug.

She was working on the SAGE, twin of the NORAD SAGE and
apparently interconnected with it.  For the benefit of the
younger folks, SAGE was probably the largest vacuum tube
computer ever built -- when SDC brought theirs up it used
1/2 the power in Santa Monica.  Exactly how NORAD used it
wasn't crystal clear, since it lived in the black hole of
military secrecy.  Stated generally though, it collected
information about incoming hostile bombers and missiles,
and would coordinate dispatching NORAD resources to intercept
and destroy them.

Anyway, what she said was roughly this:

"A bug turned up today when I was testing new code on the SAGE.
Since we're connected to NORAD, we're required to call them
immediately when anything at all goes wrong on the system."

"When I told them that my program had just launched a missile,
they immediately asked 'Is this simulated or real?'"

"Simulated"... she said with a chilled shudder.

----------------
Paul Raveling
Raveling@isi.edu

Article 398 of alt.folklore.computers:
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Welcome!
Keywords: Posting #1
Message-ID: <1868@accuvax.nwu.edu>
Date: 6 Dec 89 17:31:37 GMT
References: <1989Dec6.015828.27289@cs.rochester.edu> <30902@iuvax.cs.indiana.edu> <30904@iuvax.cs.indiana.edu>
Sender: news@accuvax.nwu.edu
Organization: Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
Lines: 89

In article <1989Dec6.015828.27289@cs.rochester.edu>, colbath@cs.rochester.edu (Sean Colbath) writes:
>
> Hmm.  One of my all-time favorites is the origin of the phrase "Don't forget
> to mount a scratch monkey."  If you have the original post (1985-1986)
> perhaps someone could post it; if not, I'll re-tell the story to the best of
> my ability in a day or two.  NB:  Knowing this story could give you an
> extra point on the hacker test.
>

I saved this story when it was posted to rec.humor a few years ago.  Unfortunately, I had deleted all of the header information, as well as the .signature, but the story itself is intact.

*:>From: postpischil@being.dec.com (Always mount a scratch monkey.)
*:Newsgroups: net.jokes
*:Subject: Rape, a bathroom, and a monkey
*:Date: 21 Aug 86 15:35:45 GMT
*:Organization: Digital Equipment Corporation
*:Lines: 109
*:
*:...
*:                               -- edp
*:                               Eric Postpischil
*:                               "Always mount a scratch monkey."
*:...
*:
*:
*:Next, we have the Scratch Monkey story.
*:
*:    Seems one day Bud was sitting at his desk when the phone rang.
*:
*:    Bud:       Hello.
*:    Voice:     YOU KILLED MABEL!!
*:    B:         Excuse me?
*:    V:         YOU KILLED MABEL!!
*:
*:    This went on for a couple of minutes and Bud was getting nowhere,
*:    so he decided to alter his approach to the customer.
*:
*:    B:         HOW DID I KILL MABEL?
*:    V:         YOU PM'ED MY MACHINE!!
*:
*:    Well to avoid making a long story even longer, I will abbreviate
*:    what had happened.  The customer was a biologist at a university
*:    and he had a PDP12 that controlled gas mixtures that Mabel
*:    (the monkey) breathed.  Now Mabel was not your ordinary monkey.
*:    The University had spent years teaching Mabel to swim and they were
*:    studying the effects that different gas mixtures had on her physiology.
*:    It turns out that the Field Service Branch had just gotten a new
*:    Calibrated Power Supply (used to calibrate Analog equipment) and
*:    at their first opportunity, decided to calibrate the D/A converters
*:    in the PDP12.  This changed some of the gas mixtures and poor Mabel
*:    was asphyxiated.  Well, Bud then called the Branch Manager of the
*:    Field Service branch:
*:
*:    Manager:   Hello
*:    B:         This is Bud DeFore, I heard you did a PM at the University
*:               of Blah-de-blah.
*:    M:         Yes, we really performed a complete PM.  What can I
*:               do for You?
*:    B:         Can You Swim?
*:
*:The moral is, of course, always mount a scratch monkey.
*
*    Just after I first heard this, I was visiting a professor at Washington
*University School of Medicine who'd been having problems with some of his
*PDP-11's. I noticed a little metal contraption with lots of little straps
*on it. I was informed that they'd would strap a monkey to it so they could
*experiment with visual perceptions stuff, like how well a monkey could
*track a moving object with its eyes while its brain was being "stimulated"
*(a euphemism for "receiving electric shocks"). It seems that one day they'd
*left the monkey strapped in just before somebody came in to run diagnostics
*on the '11 controlling the lab instruments ... they ended up with one very
*fried monkey.
*    (apparently this was only one in a long series of horror stories
*about "those dumb lab assistants who always screw up my experiments" so
*this is really "med school folklore")
*
*    Our little conversation ended with:
*       me:  Well, that just goes to show you...
*       professor: Yes?
*       me:  Always Mount a Scratch Monkey.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Robert E. Wargaski Jr.		    |	This is stupid. -- Vila
wargaski@ils.nwu.edu		    |	When did that ever stop us. -- Avon
NU Distributed Systems Support	    |	. . . #include <disclaimer.h> . . .

Article 401 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!apple!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!psuvax1!psuvm!rle100
From: RLE100@PSUVM.BITNET
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: My true cookie story
Message-ID: <89347.200350RLE100@PSUVM.BITNET>
Date: 14 Dec 89 01:03:50 GMT
Organization: Penn State University
Lines: 15

For those of you who doubt, this is first hand...

In early 1986, when I was but a wee lad just starting in computers, someone
got an exec file circulating around PSUVM.  Finding it in my readerfile one
day, and not knowing any better, I ran it.  From then on, after every couple
commands, a message would come up demanding a cookie.  After consulting an
operator, I learned that I had no choice but to respond by typing "cookie".
If you didn't feed it, it eventually locked up your terminal and you would
have to get an operator to bump you off the system.  The demands for cookies,
would get more and more insistent, and after 14 or 15 times it would say:
"Just one more, please...".  After giving it that last cookie, it would say:
"Thanks, I'm full now.  Bye!" and be gone.  I agree that this was a fun little
virus, or whatever you want to call it.  Too bad they aren't all like that...

---Bob Eichler (RLE100 @ PSUVM)

Article 403 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!uwm.edu!lll-winken!bu-cs!husc6!spdcc!mirror!garison
From: garison@mirror.UUCP (Gary Piatt)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Revenge!
Message-ID: <33920@mirror.UUCP>
Date: 13 Dec 89 20:17:05 GMT
References: <1198@mit-amt.MEDIA.MIT.EDU>
Reply-To: garison@prism.TMC.COM (Gary E. Piatt)
Organization: Very little
Lines: 33

=>Does anyone out there have any great revenge stories? I was wondering
=>what to give a particular sys admin (who is absolutely, universally
=>hated with a passion) when I graduate this spring.

Well, this won't help you at all in getting back at your poor, defense-
less sysadmin (:->), but it is a good revenge story:

This story came to me third- or fourth-hand, so most of the details are
omitted and some are probably made up.  It seems that there was this
programmer at Printronix who was working merrily along until the day
that the Powers-That-Be told him, "finish up what you're doing and clean
out your desk."  (The reasons for this decision are lost in the annals
of history.)  Our programmer was not happy about losing his job, but he
went back to his office to finish his project, which was a set of diag-
nostics for Printronix's latest invention.

That's when he planned his revenge.  The printer he was testing was of
the drum variety, with the optimization that it always took the shortest
path to the next character to be printed *even if it meant spinning the
disk in the opposite direction*.  So he wrote a test which insured that
the drum would change direction for *every character*.  Then he left.

Rumor has it (Hell, rumor has this entire story!) that the printers
walked across the floor for a while, before they fell all to pieces.
Rumor also has it that Printronix had to redesign the printers to make
them pass the test!

-Garison-

PS: If anyone can verify this story, please do so and let me know.  If
anyone can refute this story, blame my sources.		-g

Article 405 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!entropy
From: entropy@pawl.rpi.edu (Mr. Wow)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: You're Fired!
Message-ID: <J9~8Q#@rpi.edu>
Date: 14 Dec 89 05:58:05 GMT
Distribution: alt
Organization: Eaters of Wisdom
Lines: 14

Once, long ago, I heard a story about an IBM employee who
committed some heinous crime against IBM.  When he arrived
at work the next morning, he discovered that all his office
furniture was out on the sidewalk in front of the building.
Gasoline was poured over his desk, his file cabinet, and his
chair, and they were set afire before his eyes.

Can anyone substantiate this?

--

The wicked flee when no one pursueth.
Mark-Jason Dominus 	   entropy@pawl.rpi.EDU	     entropy@rpitsmts (BITnet)

Article 406 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!psuvax1!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!apple!claris!cthulhu
From: cthulhu@claris.com (Paul T.S. Lee)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: An amazing computer, that PET
Message-ID: <10750@claris.com>
Date: 14 Dec 89 06:00:11 GMT
References: <2585882F.26177@maccs.dcss.mcmaster.ca>
Organization: Claris Corporation, Santa Clara CA
Lines: 48

From article <2585882F.26177@maccs.dcss.mcmaster.ca>, by johns@maccs.dcss.mcmaster.ca (Conan the Barbarian):
>
>   Ah yes, the Commodore PET days.  I have fond memories too.

Hmmmm.  Memories so fond, you wish you'd left them where you found them. :-)

I remember those behemoths.  Our school had a PET 2001 (with 32K!!) and 4
or 5 4016's (16K) and a 4032 (32K).  The 2001 was not used much because
the only way you could get a program onto it (besides typing) was through
a cassette drive (it was running Basic 2.0, which didn't have disk I/O
specific instructions, and no one wanted to learn that).  I guess I should
say that it was not used for classwork much.  What it was used for was the
space invader game we had on tape.  Even the data processing types (data
processing and computer science were taught together) learned one obscure
command, just to play the game.  Of course, nothing could beat the amazing
24x40 character graphics that brought the alien ships to life.  :-)))

Remember the disk drives they had.  We had a double unit that must've
weighed as much as the PET itself!  It was great fun trying to access them,
since we only had three drives and one printer, and every thing was
daisy-chained to everything else.  We spent half the time making sure that
the right disk was in the right drive.

>   I remember in high school there was a bully who would steal my designated
> time on the PET.  I guess he hated me because I made fun of his stupid
> mistakes.  And he was so much bigger and fatter than I, what could I do?

You could do like we did and modify his program with obscene language and a
couple of random GOTO's.  We did that to our bully, he was copying other
people's programs and turning them in as his own.  Of course, he had a
tendency to pick us up and toss us across the room, but he could afford to
actually hurt us badly enough, else he'd have to find other people to help
him with his program.  It's a pyrrhic of sorts, I admit.  But it did teach
him a lesson.

> --
> "After all is said an done,                    John Schmitt
>  a lot more is said than done."                johns@maccs.dcss.mcmaster.ca
> Don't blame anybody for what I say.            SCHMITTJ@SCIvax.mcmaster.ca

****************************************************************************
Paul Tien-Shih Lee              |cthulhu@claris.com
Claris Corporation, SQA Division|{ames,apple,sun,portal,voder}claris!cthulhu
Disclaimer: Dis is my claimer.  |AppleLink PE:Paul Lee
If Claris wants one, it can get |AppleLink: D0667
its own.  All hail Discordia!   |(coming soon to a network near you)
****************************************************************************

Article 407 of alt.folklore.computers:
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Path: rochester!fulk
From: fulk@cs.rochester.edu (Mark Fulk)
Subject: CDC 6600 infection
Message-ID: <1989Dec14.062403.16907@cs.rochester.edu>
Reply-To: fulk@cs.rochester.edu (Mark Fulk)
Organization: U of Rochester, CS Dept, Rochester, NY
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 89 06:24:03 GMT

I learned this one while working at the Courant Institute of Mathematical
Sciences, New York University:

Courant had vast sums of money from the Atomic Energy Commission (later
ERDA, then DOE).  They ran a major computer installation which featured
one of the first CDC 6600's; in fact, serial number 3.  Many wonderful things
were done on this machine, and many to it.  Ever hear of the supercritical
wing?

Well, the CDC had a bad habit of crashing at 3:00 or so weekdays.  It was
fairly regular about this; every few weeks, at 3:00, it would crash.  The
repairman would come in, find one of the "cordwood" PC cards burnt out,
replace it, and things would be back to normal for a while.  But everyone
worried about the mystery of the regular crash.

Turns out that, because the machine was number 3, the backplane had been
hand wire-wrapped.  The technicians had left fingerprints all over the place.
A fungus was growing on the backplane, apparently fed by the oils in the
fingerprints.  Most of the time, the air in the room was very dry, and the
fungus didn't grow.  But when the operators came in on weekdays, the moisture
in their breath was enough for the fungus to grow a bit.  Eventually it would
short a couple of pins (remember, the 6600's circuitry was run at the ragged
edge) causing something to burn out.  Of course, that bit of fungus would
get incinerated too.

An application of spray fungicide cured the problem.

---------------------

This machine is the subject of a bazillion stories, as are some of the people
around it.  It's the machine that Ken Kesey and the merry pranksters threatened
to blow up (hence, despite programming on it for a year, I never saw it;
the floor it was on was locked up).  Jacob Schwartz, my old boss, was famous
for inventing the first way to save one register when you couldn't touch the
rest: a long series of test and branch instructions (the Courant 6600 didn't
have an exchange jump instruction; that came later).  Garabedian and Jameson
did the first numerical simulations of the supercritical wing on it; that idea
later resulted in 30% fuel savings for jet engines.  Charles Peskin used it to
simulate blood flow in a dog's heart.  I used UT LISP on it; the only LISP with
CONS, CAR, CDR, and CSR (cooser); addresses were 18 bits, words were 60 bits,
so they put another pointer in a CONS cell.

Mark

Article 408 of alt.folklore.computers:
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Path: rochester!fulk
From: fulk@cs.rochester.edu (Mark Fulk)
Subject: Re: CDC 6600 infection
Message-ID: <1989Dec14.064508.17774@cs.rochester.edu>
Reply-To: fulk@cs.rochester.edu (Mark Fulk)
Organization: University of Rochester Computer Science Department
References: <1989Dec14.062403.16907@cs.rochester.edu>
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 89 06:45:08 GMT

Out of respect to a much admired friend, I should point out that Jacob
Schwartz is more famous for his great contributions to mathematics and
computer science than for a old programming trick.  And, come to think of
it, I'm not sure that he's the one responsible for the trick; I heard it
that way once, but I now recall someone telling me I had it wrong.

If you haven't heard this one, you're probably wondering what it's about.
On 6600's you loaded and stored X registers by loading A registers with
the addresses; if you loaded A0, X0 got stored; if you loaded A1 to A4,
the corresponding X got loaded.  To store an A register, you moved it to
a free X register; to load it, you got the address into an X register.
So X0 (I may have which registers did what a bit wrong; it's been ten years)
mostly had to be kept empty.

Now suppose you're writing an interrupt routine (not common; the
PP's took care of the I/O); you need to save the registers.  But you have
no right to assume that any register is free.  Later 6600's had the exchange
jump (XJ) instruction to deal with that case, but not the one at Courant.
How do you get X0 free so you can save registers?  Answer:

Branch to A1 on X0 negative
store 0 at location c1
Branch to B1
A1	store 1 at location c1
B1	Shift X0 left
Branch to A2 on X0 negative
store 0 at location c2
Branch to B2
A2	store 1 at location c2
..... 58 more times.
Save the rest of the registers.
Reconstruct X0 from c1-c60.
Store it.

This is my memory of what I was told by various friends.  Anyone with more
direct knowledge, please correct me where I'm wrong.

Mark

Article 410 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!rpi!rpi.edu!rodney
From: rodney@dali.ipl.rpi.edu (Rodney Peck II)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Infinite forwardings of phones
Message-ID: <RODNEY.89Dec14022725@dali.ipl.rpi.edu>
Date: 14 Dec 89 07:27:36 GMT
References: <9405@microsoft.UUCP> <1683@mrsvr.UUCP> <10972@venera.UUCP>
Organization: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Image Processing Lab, Troy NY
Lines: 39
In-Reply-To: raveling@isi.edu's message of 14 Dec 89 01:14:14 GMT

>>>>> On 14 Dec 89 01:14:14 GMT, raveling@isi.edu (Paul Raveling) said:

Paul> In article <9405@microsoft.UUCP>, phillipg@microsoft.UUCP (Phillip
Paul> Garding) writes:
> In article <1683@mrsvr.UUCP> chandra@bhairavi.uucp (B. Chandramouli) writes:
> >By accident he had set up the .forward files on two machines to forward to
> >each other.

Paul> 	A little phone-hacking escapade by one of the more
Paul> 	infamous members of the UCLA Computer Club in the '60's
Paul> 	was something like this.

Paul> 	UCLA and Berkeley had 6 tie lines.  He called Berkeley,
Paul> 	then forwarded the connection to UCLA, then to Berkeley...
Paul> 	and so on until all the tie lines were locked up in an
Paul> 	infinite loop.  It took several hours to free them.

hmmm...

RPI has its own internal phone system called the IBX (probably most
schools have their own phone system these days).  In it's infinite
wisdome, RPI decided to force all the students to have a phone in
their rooms and pay for it if they wanted it or not.  Well, I was
bored one day so I decided to play with it a bit.  Turns out there are
some fun things to do... the obvious one is to forward one phone to
another and then the second to the first.  The computer is pretty
smart, though and won't let you do that.

So, what you do is forward them to each other through an outside line!
You forward to 9-276-1234 and 9-276-4321, say.  The amusing side
effect is that each iteration of forwarding takes another two lines of
RPI's trunk into the Troy phone switch.  You can sit and listen to
them click in and the noise get louder and louder...after about 20
minutes, I got a busy signal and it dropped all the trunks.  My best
guess is that I actually used up all the available lines into RPI for
a little bit there.

--
Rodney

Article 411 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!noao!arizona!jms@mis.arizona.edu
From: jms@mis.arizona.edu@cs.arizona.edu (jms@mis.arizona.edu)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: DEC's sense of humor (was Re: Teco and peace)
Message-ID: <16138@megaron.cs.arizona.edu>
Date: 14 Dec 89 08:09:56 GMT
References: <7296@pt.cs.cmu.edu> <129157@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> <439@taniwha.UUCP>
Reply-To: jms@mis.arizona.edu (Joel M. Snyder)
Organization: U of Arizona MIS Dep't
Lines: 31

In article <129157@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> landauer@sun.UUCP (Doug Landauer) writes:
>Didn't the VAX have a "FUBAR" register?  I forget what
>it meant, something like Failed Uni Bus Address Register.
>Anyone still have an old VAX hardware reference manual?

You bet.  FUBAR, the Failed UNIBUS Address Register. "The
FUBAR contains the upper 16 bits of the UNIBUS address
translated from the SBI address during a previous software-
initiated data transfer..."  VAX Hardware Reference, pp. 293.

And another quote, more exactly:
CAUTION: ... It is alright to use spray cleaner on exposed
vertical surfaces, but do not use it around switches, near
intake gratings, or near any other openings, because the
"guck" can cause severe problems if it gets inside the
equipment.  (there is then a marginal note:) The "alright"
in this caution applies to the sheet metal.  Whether the
carcinogens that come out of aerosal cans are alright for your
lungs is up to you to decide.  It has never been shown that the
presence or absence of fingermarks or other stains has any
effect whatever on the operation of the system.  And anyway, it
is probably much healther to get a little exercise using
something like Spic and Span." (pp. F-1, decsystem10
System Reference Manual)

jms

PS: Mrc, you can't let those CMU weenies get away with their
story without telling the story of the Coke Machine in
Margaret Jakes, can you?  Or the Bells on the House?
System Reference Manual)

Article 412 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!apple!vsi1!daver!indetech!david
From: david@indetech.com (David Kuder)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Flamatrons
Message-ID: <1989Dec14.044238.21195@indetech.com>
Date: 14 Dec 89 04:42:38 GMT
Reply-To: david@indetech.com (David Kuder)
Organization: Independence Technologies, Inc. Fremont, CA
Lines: 28
Disclaimer: Author bears full responsibility for contents of this article

Way back in my misspent youth I hung out at Heidelberg College's
computer center even though I was a lowly high school student.  I found
out that I wasn't the lowest of the low though when the local business
college's COBOL class began to come in two nights a week to do their
lab work.

The machine being used was a Varian running some kind of real time OS
and a ASR 33 for a console.  One feature was the ability to schedule a
program to run at a fixed time.  The lab instructor for the COBOL class
had gotten confident that she could run the machine without help so the
center's student employee's no longer had to stick around and hold
hands much to their delight (COBOL didn't excite any of them).

One afternoon after my classes I came into the center and discovered some
faces alternating between chagrinned and giggly.  Seems someone had written
a program to type out
WARNING: THE FLAMATRON TUBES ARE OVERHEATING
with suitable bells and general clanking from the ASR 33.  The program was
scheduled to go off during the COBOL lab and then repeat every few minutes.
Of course none of the students got the panicy phone call, the center's
director did.  Hence the chagrinned students.  But the image of the COBOL
lab instructor in panic was enough to produce giggles.

To this day things that annoy people at regular intervals are, to me,
FLAMATRONS.
--
David A. Kuder                                               Now what coach?
415 438-2003  david@indetech.com  {uunet,sun,sharkey,pacbell}!indetech!david

Article 413 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!apple!sun-barr!lll-winken!arisia!sgi!shinobu!odin!odin.corp.sgi.com!portuesi
From: portuesi@tweezers.esd.sgi.com (Michael Portuesi)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: phreaking (was Re: Hacking is now whacking?)
Message-ID: <PORTUESI.89Dec13173957@tweezers.esd.sgi.com>
Date: 13 Dec 89 17:39:57 GMT
References: <18518@bellcore.bellcore.com> <22159@ut-emx.UUCP>
<4098@scolex.sco.COM> <129127@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> <44527@bu-cs.BU.EDU>
Sender: news@odin.SGI.COM
Reply-To: portuesi@sgi.com (Michael Portuesi)
Distribution: alt
Organization: Silicon Graphics, Inc., Mtn. View, CA
Lines: 18
In-reply-to: bear@bu-pub.bu.edu's message of 13 Dec 89 14:26:59 GMT

>>>>> On 13 Dec 89 14:26:59 GMT, bear@bu-pub.bu.edu (Blair M. Burtan) said:

blair> The term I've heard is "phreaking".
blair> But this may only apply to the guys who build telephone color boxes.

I heard somewhere that the reason the Atari 2600 video game system was
named the "2600" was that the engineers designed it for the secondary
function of being a telephone "blue box."  Apparently the sound
generators in the machine could generate the proper 2600hz tone, and
they even had a "blue box" program on a ROM cartridge that used a
joystick driven interface for controlling the phone company.

--M
--
__
\/  Michael Portuesi	Silicon Graphics Computer Systems, Inc.
portuesi@SGI.COM	Entry Systems Division -- Engineering

Article 414 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!usc!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!apple!amdahl!esf00
From: esf00@uts.amdahl.com (Elliott S Frank)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Cyber madness
Message-ID: <3crp026T74i701@amdahl.uts.amdahl.com>
Date: 14 Dec 89 02:14:16 GMT
References: <4083@scolex.sco.COM> <474@intelisc.nosun.UUCP>
Reply-To: esf00@amdahl.uts.amdahl.com (Elliott S. Frank)
Organization: Industrial Strength Un*x (tm)
Lines: 22

There is a story about the early Cybers that sounded apocryphal when
I heard it.  Does anyone have any further insight (or know the
perpetrators)?

On the CDC 6600, the console was two vector displays, controlled by
code that ran on one of the peripheral processors.  The displays were
round, and the message area was delimited by a line at the top and a line
at the bottom of the display.  In the semicircle above the top line,
various machine registers were displayed. In any case .... under
certain conditions, one end of the top delimiter line would start to sag.
After it had sagged far enough, a little stick figure would appear on
the opposite side of the display, walk across the console to the sagging
end, nail it back into place, and then walk off the screen.

Did anyone ever see this, or does anyone know the rest of the story?
--
Elliott Frank      ...!{hplabs,ames,sun}!amdahl!esf00     (408) 746-6384

[the above opinions are strictly mine, if anyone's.]
[the above signature may or may not be repeated, depending upon some
inscrutable property of the mailer-of-the-week.]

Article 416 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!cs.utexas.edu!jarvis.csri.toronto.edu!torsqnt!lethe!geac!sq!msb
From: msb@sq.sq.com (Mark Brader)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: The Real Space Probe Story
Message-ID: <1989Dec13.191043.4249@sq.sq.com>
Date: 13 Dec 89 19:10:43 GMT
Organization: SoftQuad Inc., Toronto
Lines: 69

Many thanks to the person who posted the 1987 articles from comp.risks.
Thanks also to Fred Webb for explaining where the DO-loop version came
from -- that article has been forwarded *to* comp.risks.

Finally, here's one more comp.risks item giving further details; this
from issue 8.75, sometime this past summer.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Sat, 27 May 1989 15:34:33 PDT
From: Peter Neumann <neumann@csl.sri.com>
Subject: Mariner I -- no holds BARred

Paul Ceruzzi has written a truly outstanding book for the new show that opened
two weeks ago at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.  The exhibit
and the book are both entitled "Beyond the Limits -- Flight Enters the Computer
Age".  Both are superb.  Go for it (them).

Paul has dug into several cases treated previously in RISKS and in issues of
the ACM Software Engineering Notes, and has been able to resolve several
mysteries.  In particular he considers the case of Mariner I, about which
various inaccurate stories have been told.  Intended to be the first US
spacecraft to visit another planet, it was destroyed by a range officer on 22
July 1962 when it behaved erratically four minutes after launch.  The alleged
missing hyphen' was really a missing bar'.  I quote from Paul's book, pp.
202-203:

During the launch the Atlas booster rocket was guided with the help of two
radar systems.  One, the Rate System, measured the velocity of the rocket as
it ascended through the atmosphere.  The other, the Track Ssytem, measured
its distance and angle from a tracking antenna near the launch site.  At the
Cape a guidance computer processed these signals and sent control signals
back to the tracking system, which in turn sent signals to the rocket.  Its
primary function was to ensure a proper separation from the Atlas booster and
ignition of the Agena upper stage, which was to carry the Mariner
Spacecraft to Venus.

Timing for the two radar systems was separated by a difference of forty-three
milliseconds.  To compensate, the computer was instructed to add fourty-three
milliseconds to the data from the Rate System during the launch.  This
action, which set both systems to the same sampling time base, required
smoothed, or averaged, track data, obtained by an earlier computation, not
the raw velocity data relayed directly from the track radar.  The symbol for
this smoothed data was ... R dot bar n' [R overstruck .' and _' and
subscript n], where R stands for the radius, the dot for the first derivative
(i.e., the velocity), the bar for smoothed data, and n for the increment.

The bar was left out of the hand-written guidance equations.  [A footnote
cites interviews with John Norton and General Jack Albert.]  Then during
launch the on-board Rate System hardware failed.  That in itself should not
have jeopardized the mission, as the Track System radar was working and could
have handled the ascent.  But because of the missing bar in the guidance
equations, the computer was processing the track data incorrectly.  [Paul's
EndNote amplifies: The Mariner I failure was thus a {\it combination} of a
hardware failure and the software bug.  The same flawed program had been used
in several earlier Ranger launches with no ill effects.]  The result was
erroneous information that velocity was fluctuating in an erratic and
unpredictable manner, for which the computer tried to compensate by sending
correction signals back to the rocket.  In fact the rocket was ascending
smoothly and needed no such correction.  The result was {\it genuine} instead
of phantom erratic behavior, which led the range safety officer to destroy
the missile, and with it the Mariner spacecraft.  Mariner I, its systems
functioning normally, plunged into the Atlantic.

------------------------------
Forwarded to alt.folklore.computers by
--
Mark Brader, SoftQuad Inc., Toronto, utzoo!sq!msb, msb@sq.com
"I'm a little worried about the bug-eater," she said.  "We're embedded
in bugs, have you noticed?"		-- Niven, "The Integral Trees"

Article 417 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!cbmvax!kevin
From: kevin@cbmvax.commodore.com (Kevin Klop)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: this really happened . . . (long)
Keywords: (black) magic
Message-ID: <8992@cbmvax.commodore.com>
Date: 14 Dec 89 03:29:35 GMT
References: <d5ph020Z73eI01@amdahl.uts.amdahl.com>
Reply-To: kevin@cbmvax.commodore.com (Kevin Klop)
Organization: Commodore, West Chester, PA
Lines: 17

In article <d5ph020Z73eI01@amdahl.uts.amdahl.com> esf00@uts.amdahl.com (Elliott S. Frank) writes:
>he got wax on his hand, wax on the sleeve of his silk shirt, and wax on
>the sleeve of his wool suit. And the machine chose that moment to go
>down, and was down for two days solid.
>
>The moral . . . .

Always mount a scratch candle?

-----
Kevin Klop		{uunet|rutgers|amiga}!cbmvax!kevin
Commodore-Amiga, Inc.

The number, 111-111-1111 has been changed.  The new number is:
134-253-2452-243556-678893-3567875645434-4456789432576-385972

Disclaimer: _I_ don't know what I said, much less my employer.

Article 419 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!mailrus!uunet!philmtl!philabs!ttidca!paulb
From: paulb@ttidca.TTI.COM (Paul Blumstein)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Primos Rel 18/20 Security Hole
Message-ID: <8456@ttidca.TTI.COM>
Date: 14 Dec 89 00:34:42 GMT
Reply-To: paulb@ncc1701.tti.com (Paul Blumstein)
Organization: DAM: Mothers Against Dyslexia
Lines: 18

In the early '80s, Prime Computer came out with their new Operating System
(Primos) Release 18 (or was it 20?).  Anyway, one of the new features of
this release was that it had additional security features.  It was
previewed at the Prime Users Group (PUG) meeting in Long Beach, CA where
the Prime executives proudly boasted that it was impossible to break
security.

After about 20 minutes of hacking away at a terminal, a high school student
attending the meeting, printed off a list of everyone's passwords.  The
red-faced execs announced that the OS will be released after this newly-
found security bug is fixed.

=============================================================================
Paul Blumstein       | "The judicial system is very fast now that they've gotten
Citicorp/TTI         | rid of the lawyers" - Back to the Future 2 (in 2015 AD)
Santa Monica, CA     +-------------------------------------------------------
{philabs,csun,psivax}!ttidca!paulb  or  paulb@ttidca.TTI.COM
DISCLAIMER: Everything & everyone is hereby disclaimed!

Article 420 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uunet!clyde.concordia.ca!jarvis.csri.toronto.edu!torsqnt!lethe!geac!censor!utzoo!dciem!tim
From: tim@dciem.dciem.dnd.ca (Tim Pointing)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: notable computer stories in fiction and the media
Message-ID: <2753@dciem.dciem.dnd.ca>
Date: 13 Dec 89 14:54:22 GMT
References: <6410@lindy.Stanford.EDU> <4487@ur-cc.UUCP>
Reply-To: tim@dretor.dciem.dnd.ca (Tim Pointing)
Distribution: na
Organization: Defence and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine
Lines: 20

In article <4487@ur-cc.UUCP> jap2_ss@uhura.cc.rochester.edu (The Mad Mathematician) writes:
>I believe that Robocop uses MS-DOS.  When he is first "booted" there
>is an a prompt, I think.  I'll have to ask someone to check their
>copies.  I nearly died myself when I recognized it.

And, in the series "War of the Worlds", when a famous code-breaker was
trying to break the code of the aliens, they showed the top of some of
the massive computer program (that was too big for the mainframe system
they were using) started off:

main(argc, argv)
char **argv;

They did get one thing right, though! Other output on the screen indicated
that they were at least using Unix for the task.
--
Tim Pointing, DCIEM
{decvax,attcan,watmath,...}!utzoo!dciem!tim
uunet!csri.toronto.edu!dciem!tim or nrcaer!dciem!tim
tim%ben@zorac.dciem.dnd.ca or tim@dretor.dciem.dnd.ca

Article 422 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!a.gp.cs.cmu.edu!rjones
From: rjones@a.gp.cs.cmu.edu (Randolph Jones)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Revenge!
Message-ID: <7340@pt.cs.cmu.edu>
Date: 14 Dec 89 16:39:11 GMT
Organization: Carnegie-Mellon University, CS/RI
Lines: 6

My sister-in-law works at Chevron in the bay area.  She tells me that they
have a special dismissal policy for the computer programmers in the company.
After you have been informed of your dismissal, a security officer escorts you
to your office, watches you clean it out, escorts you to the exit and informs
you that you should not bother coming to work for your last two weeks.  It
seems they take the possibility of revenge very seriously.

Article 424 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uunet!lll-winken!bu-cs!art
From: art@bu-cs.BU.EDU (Al Thompson)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: DEC's sense of humor (was Re: Teco and peace)
Message-ID: <44651@bu-cs.BU.EDU>
Date: 14 Dec 89 17:35:36 GMT
References: <7296@pt.cs.cmu.edu> <129157@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> <439@taniwha.UUCP>
Reply-To: art@cs.bu.edu (Al Thompson)
Followup-To: alt.folklore.computers
Organization: Boston University
Lines: 11

In article <439@taniwha.UUCP> paul@taniwha.UUCP (Paul Campbell) writes:
>In article <129157@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> landauer@sun.UUCP (Doug Landauer) writes:
>>Didn't the VAX have a "FUBAR" register?  I forget what
>>it meant, something like Failed Uni Bus Address Register.
>>Anyone still have an old VAX hardware reference manual?
>
>VMS has a 'fork queue'. I heard that early VMS prototypes had this managed
>with a 'mother forker' ...

The Data General Eclipse had (has?) a sign-extend instruction, SEX.

Article 425 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uwm.edu!srcsip!klemmer!vestal
From: vestal@SRC.Honeywell.COM (Steve Vestal)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: First hand true story (Re: "cookie")
Message-ID: <50518@srcsip.UUCP>
Date: 14 Dec 89 18:29:05 GMT
References: <21732@usc.edu> <1288@kuling.UUCP> <44484@bu-cs.BU.EDU>
Sender: news@src.honeywell.COM
Followup-To: alt.folklore.computers
Distribution: alt
Lines: 9
In-reply-to: art@bu-cs.BU.EDU's message of 12 Dec 89 22:56:00 GMT

>In article <44484@bu-cs.BU.EDU> art@bu-cs.BU.EDU (Al Thompson) writes:
>   It seems he was fooling around in the backplane and somehow had managed to
>   jumper the logic to the 100V ac.  The smoke leaked out of everything.  It

I've seen this happen.  Nice description, especially about the lines lifting
off the boards, but you forgot to mention the sensation of dozens of tiny
flashbulbs going off at once.  With MSI/LSI technology, this has a tendency to
cause the silicon inside the packages to explode, which leaves a nice little
crater in the tops of plastic DIPs.

Article 426 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uunet!pilchuck!ssc!mcgp1!flak
From: flak@mcgp1.UUCP (Dan Flak)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Military Computing
Message-ID: <3016@mcgp1.UUCP>
Date: 14 Dec 89 07:01:11 GMT
Distribution: usa
Organization: McCaw Cellular Communications, Inc., Seattle, WA
Lines: 39

I used to work for an organization that produced command and
control software and hardware for use by the U.S. Army.
Basically, it was off-the-shelf stuff customized for their use.

The hardware in this particular situation was a WICAT 160
computer put into an Army truck. Our company also customized the
truck with cabling, connecters and whatnot. (We always had a
tough time convincing the Army not to use the orange sockets -
the ones labled "for critical computer components only" - for
the coffee pot).

Our mission - should we accept it - was to train Army privates
how to operate and maintain a unix based micro computer. (We had
a tougher time with teaching the Army Colonels and Generals how
to use a computer. Their first request was how to make the
machine come to attention when they came into the room).

Anyway, part of the design was the power system to the truck. In
addition to the floating grounds (40 volts from truck to truck
was typical), we had to contend with the connection of generators
to the truck.

We developed a fool proof interconnect to make it impossible to
do anything other than connect one phase 115v AC to the truck.

The Army developed the fool to prove otherwise. There were
occassions when they would connect 3 phase 220 somehow. This
normally resulted in the explosion of a circuit breaker with a
very loud bang and a flash and a puff of acrid smoke. (If you are
in the truck at the time they do this, it casues temporary loss
of hearing, it could also cause an involuntary bowel movement :-).

On one occassion the breaker didn't blow. The bang, flash and
puff of smoke came from the Wicat itself. The Army asked us if we
could fix the computer. Our initial assessment was "NO". We
couldn't open the cabinet. It was welded shut.
--
Dan Flak - McCaw Cellular Communications Inc., 201 Elliot Ave W.,
Suite 105, Seattle, Wa 98119, 206-283-2658, (usenet: thebes!mcgp1!flak)

Article 429 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!haven!umd5!zben
From: zben@umd5.umd.edu (Ben Cranston)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Debacle after 1999 (was FORTRAN Greetings)
Summary: Have cash on hand on Dec 31!
Message-ID: <5784@umd5.umd.edu>
Date: 14 Dec 89 20:00:14 GMT
References: <1923@paperboy.OSF.ORG> <qtlnvv@unify.uucp>
Reply-To: zben@umd5.umd.edu (Ben Cranston)
Organization: University of Maryland, College Park
Lines: 35

In article <qtlnvv@unify.uucp> dgh@unify.UUCP (David Harrington) writes:

> This reminds me: remember in the 60's and 70's when we realized that, yes,
> Virginia, the 20th century WILL give way to the 21st, and EVERY DATE ROUTINE
> EVER WRITTEN WILL FAIL?
> All those hard-coded '19' followed by a PIC 99 or XX field.

Well, some will say "1900" (hard 19 caten 99 wrap to 00, lost oflo),
some will say "1000" (hard 1 caten 999 wrap to 000, lost oflo),
some will even say "1'00" (note that ' is immediately after 9 in ASCII :-)

Maybe this is just paranoia, but given American industry's historical record
of spending a little money now to prevent problems in the future, I'm going
to have about a month's worth of paper money in my pocket on Dec 31, 1999...

(For those engineers who had no time to schedule English courses this is
called Irony, or Sardonicism, or Sarcasm, or something...)

There was once a Fortran compiler (actually, it was a Michigan Algorithmic
Decoder - MAD compiler with a bug/feature that it compiled Fortran too, but
that is a different Urban Myth).  It was written by a group of people with
an amazing sense of humor.  It printed pictures of Alfred E. Newman when the
diagnostic count exceeded fifty, it put various historical headings on its
output listing like "Joan of Arc burned at the stake on this day in 15xx".

It also had a dirty word library.  Certain words were not allowed as variable
names.  One day a Poultry Science professor came to call on the designers.
He was not happy.  The compiler graciously allowed him to have an array
named HEN, but was not quite so sanguine about an array named COCK.

--
Sig     DS.L    ('ZBen')       ; Ben Cranston <zben@Trantor.UMD.EDU>
* Network Infrastructures Group, Computer Science Center
* University of Maryland at College Park
* of Ulm

Article 431 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!think!mintaka!Mintaka!map
From: MAP@LCS.MIT.Edu (Michael A. Patton)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: spacewar and TECO
Message-ID: <MAP.89Dec14161911@gaak.LCS.MIT.Edu>
Date: 14 Dec 89 21:19:11 GMT
References: <8067@viscous.sco.COM>
Sender: news@mintaka.lcs.mit.edu
Distribution: alt
Organization: MIT Laboratory for Computer Science
Lines: 18
In-Reply-To: evanh@sco.COM's message of 13 Dec 89 19:52:59 GMT

In article <8067@viscous.sco.COM> evanh@sco.COM (Evan A.C. Hunt) writes:
cosell@bbn.com (Bernie Cosell) says:
>Don't know who did the first version of SpaceWar [...]

Slug Russel.

Yes.  Steven R. ("Slug") Russell was only one of several people who
worked on the original PDP-1 version of spacewar.  He was, however,
still in possession of some listings and was called as a witness in
some court case concerning a patent on the concept of computer arcade
games.  He was used as part of the defendants claim that the patent
was invalid due to "prior art".  As I recall, the court declared
spacewar a bona fide example of what the patent was to apply to and
since the listings predated the patent, it was disallowed.

--
For those who are tracking sources, the above is my memory from many
personal conversations with Steve at the Tech Model Railroad Club.

Article 433 of alt.folklore.computers:
From: myers@ut-emx.UUCP (Eric Myers)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Infinite forwardings
Keywords: phones
Message-ID: <22351@ut-emx.UUCP>
Date: 14 Dec 89 19:23:17 GMT
References: <9405@microsoft.UUCP> <1683@mrsvr.UUCP> <10972@venera.UUCP>
Reply-To: myers@emx.UUCP (Eric Myers)
Organization: Center for Relativity, University of Texas
Lines: 26

In article <10972@venera.UUCP> raveling@isi.edu (Paul Raveling) writes:
>	UCLA and Berkeley had 6 tie lines.  He called Berkeley,
>	then forwarded the connection to UCLA, then to Berkeley...
>	and so on until all the tie lines were locked up in an
>	infinite loop.  It took several hours to free them.

When I was an undergraduate the college upgraded the phone system to
something like Centrex, which let you do... call forwarding.  But to
save money they put the new phones in the halls, to be shared by 4-5
rooms, rather than one phone per room.  Late one night some friends and
I were feeling playful and went through two entire dorms, forwarding all
of the phones to the one phone outside of the room of a guy we knew.

Later on there turned out to be a bug in the system that let you
connect to a long distance trunk if you knew the secret proceedure.  It
showed up in the computer as a very long call to time.  The student
newspaper, in an investigative reporting coup, printed a story about it,
including a description of how to do it.  This was on a Friday, but the
college had not plugged the hole, and couldn't do so until Monday.  As I
recall a lot of calls were made to Europe that weekend.

--
Eric Myers		"A stitch in time dials 9"

Center for Relativity, Department of Physics, University of Texas at Austin
myers@emx.utexas.edu  |   myers@UTAPHY.BITNET   |         (512)471-5426

Article 437 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uunet!ns-mx!pyrite.cs.uiowa.edu
From: jones@pyrite.cs.uiowa.edu (Douglas W. Jones,201H MLH,3193350740,3193382879)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Debacle after 1999 (was FORTRAN Greetings)
Message-ID: <298@ns-mx.uiowa.edu>
Date: 14 Dec 89 21:55:15 GMT
References: <5784@umd5.umd.edu>
Sender: news@ns-mx.uiowa.edu
Lines: 16

From article <5784@umd5.umd.edu>, by zben@umd5.umd.edu (Ben Cranston):
>
> There was once a Fortran compiler (actually, it was a Michigan Algorithmic
> Decoder - MAD compiler with a bug/feature that it compiled Fortran too, but
> that is a different Urban Myth).  It was written by a group of people with
> an amazing sense of humor.  It printed pictures of Alfred E. Newman when the
> diagnostic count exceeded fifty ....
>
The story I heard about the MAD compiler was that, one day, a group of state
legislators was being taken on a tour through the computer center when the
printer produced a portrait of Alfred E. Newman.  They were offended that
their state appropriation was being spent on such trash, and soon after that,
the MAD compiler stopped producing such portraits.

Doug Jones
jones@herky.cs.uiowa.edu

Article 438 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!rpi!rpi.edu!rodney
From: rodney@dali.ipl.rpi.edu (Rodney Peck II)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Infinite forwardings
Message-ID: <RODNEY.89Dec14172046@dali.ipl.rpi.edu>
Date: 14 Dec 89 22:20:59 GMT
References: <9405@microsoft.UUCP> <1683@mrsvr.UUCP> <10972@venera.UUCP>
<22351@ut-emx.UUCP>
Organization: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Image Processing Lab, Troy NY
Lines: 54
In-Reply-To: myers@ut-emx.UUCP's message of 14 Dec 89 19:23:17 GMT

>>>>> On 14 Dec 89 19:23:17 GMT, myers@ut-emx.UUCP (Eric Myers) said:

Eric> [...]  Late one night some friends and I were feeling playful
Eric> and went through two entire dorms, forwarding all of the phones
Eric> to the one phone outside of the room of a guy we knew.

There are a bunch of numbers in most phone systems to test the
pre-recorded messages that are played for wrong numbers and things
like that.  One of the fun things to do is to forward someone's phone
to the one that says "The call you have made requires a 25 cent
deposit.  Please hang up momentarily, deposit 25 cents and dial your
call again."  People get very confused.  Especially if you sneak into
someone else's room and do it to them.  They won't get any calls for
days.

Eric>   Later on there turned out to be a bug in the system that let
Eric> you connect to a long distance trunk if you knew the secret
Eric> proceedure.  It showed up in the computer as a very long call to
Eric> time.

Last one for me today... I have two papers that I have to write...

At RPI everyone has a nine digit access code so they can make long
distance calls from any phone on campus.  To get a long distance line
(like by dialing 1) you have to enter your code along with the number
you are going to dial (you've all seen this before).  Well, it turns
out that there were ways around it all.

The trick was to not enter your access code.  What you would do is
call an outside operator using 9 0 (which is free).  Then you tell the
operator that you want to make a call, but your phone dialer is
broken.  They will say "it is less expensive to dial direct, sir" to
this you simply snicker to yourself and say, thank you, I have no
choice.  Then you tell them the number and they dial it and bill it to
the number that is on their computer screen.  This number is _not_
your number on campus, it is the number of some random line that
connects RPI to the Troy phone switch.  What happens at the end of the
month is that the phone people at rpi (ITS) get the bill and can't
match the call to you because they don't know that you have done
anything other than call the operator.  Essentially, it's too much
work to add the code to match those calls for the number of people who
do this.

Over the past year or so, this hole has been closed.  It is impossible
to get an outside operator without entering your access code now.
They also made it impossible to call a 276 (campus internal) number
via a Troy line from inside the system -- eliminating the trunk eating
forwarding.  In fact, there is a computerized voice that says "For 276
number, dial extension." in a REALLY garbled tone.  It's a nice phone
switch overall though.

bye.... time for those papers....
--
Rodney

Article 439 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!sol.ctr.columbia.edu!sdsu!polyslo!unmvax!bbx!usenet
From: usenet@bbx.UUCP (USENET manager)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: First hand true story (Re: "cookie")
Message-ID: <953@bbx.UUCP>
Date: 14 Dec 89 21:15:17 GMT
References: <21732@usc.edu> <1288@kuling.UUCP> <44484@bu-cs.BU.EDU> <50518@srcsip.UUCP>
Reply-To: usenet@bbx.UUCP (USENET manager)
Distribution: alt
Organization: BASIS International, Albuquerque NM
Lines: 46

In article <50518@srcsip.UUCP> vestal@SRC.Honeywell.COM (Steve Vestal) writes:
>>In article <44484@bu-cs.BU.EDU> art@bu-cs.BU.EDU (Al Thompson) writes:
>>   It seems he was fooling around in the backplane and somehow had managed to
>>   jumper the logic to the 100V ac.  The smoke leaked out of everything.  It
>
>I've seen this happen.  Nice description, especially about the lines lifting
>off the boards, but you forgot to mention the sensation of dozens of tiny
>flashbulbs going off at once.  With MSI/LSI technology, this has a tendency to
>cause the silicon inside the packages to explode, which leaves a nice little
>crater in the tops of plastic DIPs.

But the ultimate has to be the lightning strike.

One of our people got one of those Friday afternoon calls, you
know the kind - when you know the weekend just got shot down?
The voice on the other end said something to the effect: 'The
610 went down'.  When asked if they'd tried to restart the
answer went something like: 'If we could see it we'd give it a
try'.

Seems the systems' owners, a small city west of Abuquerque, had
decided to install a few terminals across the street.  Figuring
they owned the power line poles they simply ran an unshielded
25 pair cable across the street hung between the lightning
arrestor wire and the power line.  The next big lightning storm
and the lightning arrestor didn't.

Oh - the reason that they couldn't see the computer?  Seems that
the copper in the traces had vaporized and made a pretty good
black smoke.

Sorbus managed to recover a printer and a part of the CPU chassis.

BTW - the 'walking disk drives' can still be done with the same
makers' disk drives.  They were *big* suckers, about 36x18x30
(h w d) in inches, 75MB with a voice coil driven head.  The voice
coil & head assembly weighs about 15# yet could move pretty
quickly.  The whole assembly was shock mounted allowing you to
seek in patterns building up a resonance.  So a seek pattern to
build the rock and a bit of a change and you could make it go
the desired direction assuming you wanted to go forward or
backwards.
--
Russ Kepler - system admininstrator for bbx - Basis International
SNAILMAIL:  5901 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109
UUCP:  {backboneishsite}!unmvax!bbx!russ    PHONE: 505-345-5232

Article 442 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!apple!usc!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!wuarchive!decwrl!ucbvax!bloom-beacon!eru!luth!sunic!bmc!kuling!jonasf
From: jonasf@kuling.UUCP (Jonas Flygare)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Secondhand stories..
Message-ID: <1295@kuling.UUCP>
Date: 14 Dec 89 19:06:36 GMT
Organization: Dep. of Computer Systems, Upsala University, Sweden
Lines: 21

These were told to me by my brother in law, and verified by my sister, so
I believe there is some truth in them..

My brother in law was studying CS at an American Univ, and had an assignment
to write an accounting system for the machine he was on. He got a peeve
pi**ed off when he discovered his teacher had sold his assignment to the Univ,
claiming he (the teacher) wrote it.. Luckily he had a backdoor to the beastie,
(it was rather large) and got in, billing the teacher for some 100x the
amount he actually was using the machine. Apart from that, he had access
to the machine room, where he connected the wall clock to the machine
in question, grounding it once every hour, on the hour.. :-)
After two days the teacher was ready to cry..

During finals he was sitting in front of the teleray terminals (this was a
while ago) that he actually got snow blind (or whatever I should call it..)
He had to get home by walking from one streetlight to another.. :-)

(Ok, if anyone recognizes these stories, please give some feedback, as I
said, they are secondhand accounts)--
jonasf@kuling.docs.uu.se : "Doedth eddydthig dthrike you adth dthrayge
Jonas (flax) Flygare     :  aboud dthidth houdth?" -- Dirk Gently

Article 450 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!bbn!usc!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!mcsun!ukc!edcastle!aiai!timd
From: timd@aiai.ed.ac.uk (Tim Duncan)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: An amazing computer, that PET
Message-ID: <1462@skye.ed.ac.uk>
Date: 14 Dec 89 21:19:24 GMT
References: <2585882F.26177@maccs.dcss.mcmaster.ca>
Reply-To: timd@aiai.UUCP (Tim Duncan)
Organization: AIAI, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Lines: 14

I particularly liked the one about how Commodore were mystified by the PET's
poor sales in France, until someone pointed out to them that "pet" is french
for fart :-)

--------------------------------------------------------------------
Tim Duncan, AI Applications Institute, University of Edinburgh,
80 South Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1HN, Scotland, United Kingdom.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
JANET:  T.Duncan@uk.ac.edinburgh
ARPA:   T.Duncan%uk.ac.ed@nsfnet-relay.ac.uk
BITNET: T.Duncan%uk.ac.ed@ukacrl.bitnet
UUCP:   ... mcvax!ukc!ed.ac.uk!T.Duncan
--------------------------------------------------------------------

Article 451 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!apple!apple.com!casseres
From: casseres@apple.com (David Casseres)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: notable computer stories in fiction and the media
Message-ID: <5786@internal.Apple.COM>
Date: 15 Dec 89 01:36:09 GMT
Sender: usenet@Apple.COM
Distribution: na
Organization: Apple Computer, Inc.
Lines: 34
References:<6410@lindy.Stanford.EDU> <4487@ur-cc.UUCP> <11421@csli.Stanford.EDU>

In article <11421@csli.Stanford.EDU> cphoenix@csli.Stanford.EDU (Chris
Phoenix) writes:
> In _The Last Starfighter_ there's a scene when the kid is just arriving
> at the starbase.  Everyone is speaking gibberish until they clip a
> translator device onto his collar.
> The device is the innards of a digital watch!  No one else noticed
> this...

This reminds of a tale told me by a friend who works in a Hollywood
special-effects company.  In some space-opera film or other (perhaps
"Battlestar Galactica"?) the specs for the spaceship bridge set called for
lots of CRT's with animated "wire-frame" displays on them, in the style we
all remember from "2001."

So the computer guys at the special-effects company sat down to whip up
these displays, and discovered what a pain it is to do real-time animated
graphics from scratch.  These guys were not really graphics hackers at
all; what they mostly did was write motion-control code to "fly" model
spaceships through combat sequences for the camera.

So after a bit of thought they reverted to doing what they knew best: they
got the model shop to build them some wire-frame models out of actual
wire, spray them with flourescent paint, and hook them up to servomotors
inside dummy CRT's that were illuminated with UV lamps; then they wrote
code to run the servomotors.  The wire models twirled and tilted around,
glowing brightly, and apparently looked just great on film, even to people
who knew what wire-frame graphics should look like.

All this cost only a small fraction of what it would have cost to learn
the graphics programming, or hire in somone who already knew how to do it.

David Casseres

Exclaimer:  Hey!

Article 452 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!apple!apple.com!casseres
From: casseres@apple.com (David Casseres)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: CDC 3800 as sound generator
Message-ID: <5789@internal.Apple.COM>
Date: 15 Dec 89 01:54:47 GMT
Sender: usenet@Apple.COM
Organization: Apple Computer, Inc.
Lines: 25
References:<1989Dec11.165713.11604@world.std.com> <YZVK1x600VsLM0i3t1@andrew.cmu.edu> <1989Dec13.045340.29706@NCoast.ORG>

In article <1989Dec13.045340.29706@NCoast.ORG> mikes@NCoast.ORG (Mike
Squires) writes:
> The CDC 3800 I worked on had a register hooked to am amp and a speaker
> (never saw exactly how).  The sound told the operator what the system
> was doing...

About a zillion years back someone took me through the SAGE air-defense
installation at RAND Corporation (radar data processing, with real-time
graphics on screens and user interaction via a "light gun," i.e. a large
and clunky version of what we now call a light pen).  Anyway, the hardware
was two identical vacuum-tube-based computers hooked up back to back, with
one operational and one on standby.  At the first hint that something was
wrong with the operational computer, its memory could be dumped into the
standby one and it would take over.

One way the operators could monitor the state of the system was to keep
audio circuits hooked into the logic at certain points, using sound for a
diagnostic tool as Mike Squires described in the previous post.  But when
I visited, both machines were running a program written specifically to
control the sound output, called "Computer Boogie."  It played multi-voice
boogie-woogie music on the two computers in stereo!

David Casseres

Exclaimer:  Hey!

Article 453 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!apple!apple.com!casseres
From: casseres@apple.com (David Casseres)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: You're Fired!
Message-ID: <5791@internal.Apple.COM>
Date: 15 Dec 89 02:13:48 GMT
References: <J9~8Q#@rpi.edu>
Sender: usenet@Apple.COM
Distribution: alt
Organization: Apple Computer, Inc.
Lines: 18

In article <J9~8Q#@rpi.edu> entropy@pawl.rpi.edu (Mr. Wow) writes:
> Once, long ago, I heard a story about an IBM employee who
> committed some heinous crime against IBM.  When he arrived
> at work the next morning, he discovered that all his office
> furniture was out on the sidewalk in front of the building.
> Gasoline was poured over his desk, his file cabinet, and his
> chair, and they were set afire before his eyes.

I don't believe IBM would ever do anything so undignified.  I heard this
story some years ago about some small Silicon Valley outfit, back in the
days when the programmers wrote 6502 BASIC interpreters while smoking
grass and the management made million-dollar deals while snorting coke
(yes, there was a class system...).  But I can't remember what company it
was supposed to be.

David Casseres

Exclaimer:  Hey!

Article 454 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!apple!apple.com!casseres
From: casseres@apple.com (David Casseres)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Military Computing
Message-ID: <5790@internal.Apple.COM>
Date: 15 Dec 89 02:08:52 GMT
References: <3016@mcgp1.UUCP>
Sender: usenet@Apple.COM
Distribution: usa
Organization: Apple Computer, Inc.
Lines: 23

In article <3016@mcgp1.UUCP> flak@mcgp1.UUCP (Dan Flak) writes:
> [amusing tales of military "intelligence" and computers]

Reminds me of a friend who was sent to an Air Farce base in Alaska to be a
programmer on the base's first computer (yeah, this was a while back!).
He and a few other enlistees arrived as the first people on the computer
crew, and the computer itself arrived a couple of days later.  The trouble
was that the computer crew's officers hadn't arrived yet, and regulations
didn't allow non-officers to be responsible for a big piece of equipment
like that, so it was temporarily assigned to the care of the Motor Pool.

Well every morning the Motor Pool sergeants would assign a work crew to
hose down all Motor Pool equipment with cold water.  And so every morning
the programmers would have to get up early and go down to the computer
room to be there before the Motor Pool crew, and talk them out of hosing
down the computer.  This had to be done every morning, because the Motor
Pool sent different guys every morning.  The programmers tried to talk to
the Motor Pool sergeants, but got nowhere.  Finally a few officers showed
up to be in charge of the computer and things got a little less silly.

David Casseres

Exclaimer:  Hey!

Article 457 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!usc!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!uwm.edu!lll-winken!decwrl!shelby!eos!ptolemy!fariss
From: fariss@ptolemy.arc.nasa.gov (Gary B. Fariss)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Software Easter Egg
Keywords: egg MAD 7094 uiuc
Date: 14 Dec 89 17:56:29 GMT
Distribution: usa
Organization: NASA-Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA
Lines: 25

The Scene:  Circa 1965.  University of Illinois intro to FORTRAN class
(Math 195?).  Students submit card decks to Operations at the
"input window" and pick up decks and output listings at
the "output window" of the IBM 7094 computer lab.  Pre-punched
"control cards" are available to place in front of the FORTRAN
cards to invoke the compiler.

The Story:  One day a student mistakenly places a $MAD card in front of his FORTRAN program instead of a$FORTRAN card.

The student picks up his output and finds that the MAD compiler
(the Michigan Algorithmic Decoder) has an Easter Egg:
If more than 25 compile-time errors exist in the program,
MAD generates a line-printer picture of Alfred E. Neuman
(a la Mad Magazine)!  Of course, using the FORTRAN program
as input produced LOTS of errors.

The word spreads rapidly!  Soon several students have submitted
decks with intentional errors in order to get a copy of the
picture.  Eventually I get the word and submit a deck.  By this
time Operations has gotten the word:  My output listing returns
in two sections, the page where the picture should have been
is gone and there is a hand written note on the next page;

"We seem to have lost a page of your output. Sorry."

Article 458 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!ncsuvx!mcnc!thorin!alanine!leech
From: leech@alanine.cs.unc.edu (Jonathan Leech)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Revenge!
Message-ID: <11172@thorin.cs.unc.edu>
Date: 14 Dec 89 17:40:07 GMT
References: <1211@mit-amt.MEDIA.MIT.EDU>
Sender: news@thorin.cs.unc.edu
Reply-To: leech@alanine.cs.unc.edu (Jonathan Leech)
Distribution: usa
Organization: University Of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Lines: 15
Summary:
Expires:
Sender:
Followup-To:
Keywords:

In article <1211@mit-amt.MEDIA.MIT.EDU> adam@mit-amt.MEDIA.MIT.EDU (Adam Glass) writes:
>Perhaps I should have been clearer in my last message - I'm using a
>RSTS/E system, and I'm trying to think of suitably devious and evil
>hacks.

You should be cautious. Consider the following exchange I observed
at Caltech ~1982:

<muncher>: "I can delete all your files!"
<hacker>:  "I can delete all your teeth."
--
Jon Leech (leech@cs.unc.edu)    __@/
UNDERWHELMING OFFER OF THE MONTH:
"Please feel free to skip the payment on this month's statement.
Normal finance charges will apply." - NCNB VISA

Article 460 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!uwm.edu!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!convex!concave!datri
From: datri@concave.uucp (Anthony A. Datri)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Book about computer folklore
Message-ID: <3963@convex.UUCP>
Date: 14 Dec 89 23:28:45 GMT
References: <6368@lindy.Stanford.EDU>
Sender: news@convex.UUCP
Reply-To: datri@convex.COM (Anthony A. Datri)
Organization: Convex Computer Corporation, Richardson, Tx.
Lines: 22
Keywords: "Digital Deli";Lunch Group

In article <6368@lindy.Stanford.EDU> unknown@ucscb.UCSC.EDU (The Unknown User) writes:

>	It's called the "Digital Deli" and it's by the "Lunch Group".. I think
>there may also be another 'real person' it's atributed to, but that should
>hopefully be enough for you to find the book. It's a large paperback book
>with stories on seemingly EVERYTHING you would want to know about the
>history and folklore of computers..

I got a free copy of this [so I would review it, apparently] back when
I was the entertainment editor of the campus paper.  It's got some good
stuff in it, like pictures of the Sol and the Apple 1 and Woz and Jobs
with hair and the phone-phreaking boxes they supposedly paid their way
through school selling.

It's almost exclusively dedicated to the micro world of the 70's and
early 80's, and has some pretty boring bits, like a story about a woman
who bought a Timex-Sinclair to see if she liked omputers and decided
that she didn't.

I'm fairly sure there's a "fiche and chips" pun in there somewhere.
I think a guy by the name of Steve Ditlea was involved, although it's
been a couple years since I looked at the thing.

Article 461 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!mit-eddie!bu-cs!bucsb!apollo
From: apollo@bucsb.UUCP (Doug Chan)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Another secret message
Message-ID: <162@bucsb.UUCP>
Date: 15 Dec 89 07:26:41 GMT
References: <15000@well.UUCP>
Reply-To: apollo@bucsb.bu.edu (Douglas Chan)
Followup-To: alt.folklore.computers
Organization: Boston Univ Comp. Sci.
Lines: 13

In article <15000@well.UUCP> mandel@well.UUCP (Tom Mandel) writes:
>The only secret message I ever discovered was in the FW.EXE file
>of Framework 1.0, the first release of Ashton-Tate's integrated
>software package for IBM-PCs and compatibles.  Stuck somewhere
>down in the middle of what was a 200K file of gibberish is the
>ASCII string:  "BEAT CAL".
>
Speaking of secret messages...
I stumbled across an interesting string on version 2.2 of Lotus 123's
123.exe file..."Error while decoding SMURF".  Gee, no one told me my
computer wanted to talk with little blue people!

-Doug
apollo@bucsb

Article 463 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!haven!uflorida!ukma!rex!samsung!cs.utexas.edu!jarvis.csri.toronto.edu!utgpu!utzoo!henry
From: henry@utzoo.uucp (Henry Spencer)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: HCF instruction (was Re: Welcome!
Message-ID: <1989Dec14.215309.10680@utzoo.uucp>
Date: 14 Dec 89 21:53:09 GMT
References: <30902@iuvax.cs.indiana.edu> <30904@iuvax.cs.indiana.edu> <8250@ttidca.TTI.COM> <5268@udccvax1.acs.udel.EDU> <1965@dover.sps.mot.com> <13165@fluke.COM>
Organization: U of Toronto Zoology
Lines: 17

In article <13165@fluke.COM> kurt@tc.fluke.COM (Kurt Guntheroth) writes:
>...I remember a rumor about killing the original IBMPC b&w monitor
>by turning off its sync signal in software...

True.  IBM cut some corners by using a monitor from an earlier product,
one that wasn't user-programmable.  The monitor operated at the horizontal
scan rate supplied by the video chip, no matter what it was... and the
design of the flyback transformer relied on that rate being reasonable.
Such a transformer design isn't uncommon; what is uncommon is a monitor
that will try to run at ridiculous rates.  Normal monitors will refuse to
lock onto your signal if it's too far out of range.  IBM saved a few
pennies by dispensing with that in the non-programmable Displaywriter,
and a few more by borrowing the Displaywriter monitor design for the PC.
The PC video chip let you program any scan rate, including zero...
--
1755 EST, Dec 14, 1972:  human |     Henry Spencer at U of Toronto Zoology
exploration of space terminates| uunet!attcan!utzoo!henry henry@zoo.toronto.edu

Article 464 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!haven!uflorida!rex!samsung!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!wuarchive!mit-eddie!husc6!spdcc!xylogics!world!bzs
From: bzs@world.std.com (Barry Shein)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: TECO (was Re: spacewar and TECO)
Message-ID: <1989Dec15.041951.8081@world.std.com>
Date: 15 Dec 89 04:19:51 GMT
References: <6877@shlump.nac.dec.com>
Distribution: alt
Organization: The World @ Software Tool & Die
Lines: 33
In-Reply-To: herbert@gr8ful.enet.dec.com's message of 13 Dec 89 22:28:25 GMT

>Hmmmm... I always thought that it was Text Editor And Corrector, but yesterday,
>my girlfriend was quizzing me with PDP-11 trivia cards, and she came across a
>card which claimed that it stands for *Tape* Editor and Corrector. I have a
>hard time believing this one... does anyone know anything about this meaning?

I've always heard *Tape* Editor and COrrector. Remember that back when
TECO was first a thing most files were stored on tapes (microtapes.)

Sort of gives the term "diskless workstation" a whole different
meaning.

In fact, TECO under VMS (1.6, TECO running in the PDP-11 emulator) did
a damn good job of playing with mag tapes and I often used it to
diddle a munged tape (or is that mung a diddled tape?)

Notice the P and Y commands in TECO which pull in and roll out block
sized chunks one at a time for editing? Now think about how you might
design an editor for tape files...uh huh, you got it. Now you know why
it has those strange commands.

We keep TECO in /usr/games/teco on our machine.

Anyone have any good TECO macros? DEC TECO, I have no access to ITS
TECO (er, as some would say, REAL TECO.) I once wrote a full screen,
menu driven help utility for VMS in TECO which used the VMS HELP
files.  Unfortunately 2.0 screwed it up by using load libraries or
some such silliness to store HELP files. I never figured out why.
--
-Barry Shein

Software Tool & Die, Purveyors to the Trade         | bzs@world.std.com
1330 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02146, (617) 739-0202 | {xylogics,uunet}world!bzs

Article 465 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!haven!uflorida!rex!samsung!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!wuarchive!cs.utexas.edu!jarvis.csri.toronto.edu!utgpu!utzoo!dciem!client1!mmt
From: mmt@client1.DRETOR.UUCP (Martin Taylor)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Checkers on Williams Tubes (Was Re: SWAC's 0 special case)
Message-ID: <2756@client1.DRETOR.UUCP>
Date: 14 Dec 89 21:59:52 GMT
References: <10937@venera.isi.edu>
Reply-To: mmt@client1.dciem.dnd.ca (Martin Taylor)
Organization: D.C.I.E.M., Toronto, Canada
Lines: 32

The Ferut (Ferranti Mark 1) computer also used Williams tubes. It had, I
think, 8, each of which had 65 words of 65 bits (2-way parity check, I
suppose).  The bits were laid out in an 8x8 array of 8x8 bits, with one
extra line of bits on the right and the bottom.  Two (or 3?) of the
Williams tubes had their displays replicated on the console.  One was
the B-store (later called an index register).  Christopher Strachey
programmed this (long before the days of assemblers) as a visual
display of a checkerboard, and the machine played checkers interactively
against a user who entered his moves on the teletype keyboard.  I consider
this to be one of the great early programming tours-de-force.

(Part 2) One day the teletype line was noisy (perhaps a dying tube or
something), and instead of the output looking like "Your move" ...
"You have 2 minutes to move" ... "If you don't move in 1 minute I will
claim the game" ... "I claim the game",  It looked more like #@xf%n ....
as in cartoon swearing.  At one point in this it said 'swounds<cr>
and shortly thereafter, it said "Od's blood I claim the game".  One
might ask whether there were any Shakespearean monkeys in the refrigerator
room (which was bigger than the computer room).

In addition to the Williams tubes, the machine had a fast drum backing
store, containing 1K of 65 bit words.  It also had a loudspeaker, which
could be pulsed by some command (I think "/V").  My very first program
was Good King Wenceslas played on this loudspeaker in subharmonics of
1 kHz.

The time of all this was summer of 1954 (maybe 53 or 55, but I think 54).
--
Martin Taylor (mmt@zorac.dciem.dnd.ca ...!uunet!dciem!mmt) (416) 635-2048
If the universe transcends formal methods, it might be interesting.
(Steven Ryan).

Article 469 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!husc6!spdcc!mirror!redsox!campbell
From: campbell@redsox.bsw.com (Larry Campbell)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: DEC's sense of humor (was Re: Teco and peace)
Message-ID: <1503@redsox.bsw.com>
Date: 15 Dec 89 02:31:27 GMT
References: <7296@pt.cs.cmu.edu>
Reply-To: campbell@redsox.UUCP (Larry Campbell)
Organization: The Boston Software Works, Inc.
Lines: 15

I recall that in one of the hardware reference manuals for the KI-10
processor, published around 1973, there was a paragraph that explained
how one could hitch a wire to the low-order bit of accumulator 0, and
connect it through a capacitor to an audio amplifier.  The paragraph went
on to say that by running a program that twiddled this bit at suitable
rates, musical tones could be generated, allowing one to play (persons
with weak stomachs, avert your eyes!):

"...Bach, or rock, or Bacharach".

Ba-doom.
--
Larry Campbell                          The Boston Software Works, Inc.
campbell@bsw.com                        120 Fulton Street
wjh12!redsox!campbell                   Boston, MA 02109

Article 470 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!uwm.edu!cs.utexas.edu!jarvis.csri.toronto.edu!utgpu!utzoo!dciem!client1!mmt
From: mmt@client1.DRETOR.UUCP (Martin Taylor)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: VW computer (Was Re: Cyber madness)
Message-ID: <2758@client1.DRETOR.UUCP>
Date: 14 Dec 89 22:55:02 GMT
References: <4083@scolex.sco.COM>
Reply-To: mmt@client1.dciem.dnd.ca (Martin Taylor)
Organization: D.C.I.E.M., Toronto, Canada
Lines: 24

--
--Now, fun time:  young CE comes in, fixes a problem with the Cyber.  Happens
--to see this long, blue wire, which is about 45 feet too long.  Being a
--bright boy, he realises he can replace it with a 5 foot long wire he has in
--his equipment.  Does so, does some initial tests, they pass, and leaves.
--Cyber gets rebooted to run real (multiuser) stuff.  Strangely, it's not
--behaving properly!  The registers are all screwed up!  How *strange*!
--
--Sean Eric Fagan
=========================

The VW 410 (?) was one of the first cars to have computer-controlled fuel
injection (or something like that).  A friend had one, which would never
start if the temperature was near 0C.  After many trips to the warranty
shop, the service manager found out about the problem, to which he knew
from experience the solution.  This was to remove one of the wires serving
as computer input from some sensor or other.  The car worked beautifully
after that, until the next service check, when ...

--
Martin Taylor (mmt@zorac.dciem.dnd.ca ...!uunet!dciem!mmt) (416) 635-2048
If the universe transcends formal methods, it might be interesting.
(Steven Ryan).

Article 471 of alt.folklore.computers:
Xref: rochester comp.sys.apple:14680 alt.folklore.computers:471
Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!sun-barr!decwrl!shelby!lindy!ucscb.UCSC.EDU!unknown
From: unknown@ucscb.UCSC.EDU (The Unknown User)
Newsgroups: comp.sys.apple,alt.folklore.computers
Subject: A Visit from Saint Woz
Message-ID: <6490@lindy.Stanford.EDU>
Date: 15 Dec 89 09:56:39 GMT
Sender: news@lindy.Stanford.EDU (News Service)
Reply-To: unknown@ucscb.UCSC.EDU (The Unknown User)
Organization: University of California, Santa Cruz; CATS
Lines: 71

Since it's that time of year, it seems this is something worthy of
a repost. As a small note to the alt.folklore.computers readers: This
doesn't seem to fit the folklore subject matter but does seem to be in the
same vein of some other song parodies which have gone over well on that
newsgroup.  This is probably my last call before next year (next DECADE even!).

A VISIT FROM SAINT WOZ
by Marty Knight
(Reprinted with permission of the Author)

'Twas the night before Christmas, sounds all through the house,
the printer a'buzzing; the clicking of mouse.
The floppies were stored in their cases with care
in hopes that St. Wozniak soon would be there.
The children were nestled, all snug in their beds,
while TransWarp GS's danced in their heads.
I need 3 megs more, but RAM costs a mint.
I'm nodding off, waiting for my printer to print.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I woke with a start, "Now what's the matter?"
Awakened from slumber I jumped up to see,
tripped over the dog and fell on my knee.
The moon shining onto the new fallen snow
formed a non-standard pallette with objects below.
When what to my poor bloodshot eyes should appear
but SHR graphics! Stereo sound do I hear!
With a sixteen bit chip and new bug-free GSOS,
I knew right away that it must be Saint Woz.
More rapid than Transwarp, his menus they came.
He clicked and he dragged and he called them by name.
"Now Pulldowns, now Buttons, now Dialogs, too.
On Finder, Mac Interface, we're faster than Mac II!
Blue slips for marketing! DTS better not scoff!
ProDOS format for Technotes or I'll lay you all off!
You know lame excuses make customers sad;
well Macs in the schools make Applers mad."
So up to the housetop his menus they flew
with a sack full of RAM chips and Saint Wozniak, too.
I listened intently with my two little ears
to true stereo sound spreading holiday cheer.
As I was scratching head and was turning around
down the chimney Saint Wozniak came with a bound.
He wore sneakers, a t-shirt, and blue jeans
stained with some soda (I think it was cream).
A bundle of chips he had slung on his back
and he looked like a hacker there searching his pack.
His eyes twinkled brightly, his dimples so merry,
his cheeks like twin apples, his nose like a cherry.
His droll little mouth smiled a smile O so grand,
a full bearded chin, AppleLink in his hand.
A thick slice of pizza he held tight with his teeth
while the steam from it circled his head like a wreath.
A plump little face and a round little belly;
he laughed and it shook like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump; a right jolly old elf.
I laughed when I saw him - he resembled myself.
He winked his left eye and he twisted his head,
so I knew deep inside I had nothing to dread.
He said not a word, just went right to work.
He soldered and programmed, then turned with a jerk.
Then placing his finger on top of that mess,
and giving a nod - POOF! fast GS!
He leaped to his ship as it rose from the ground,
up into the sky, and as he turned 'round
I heard him exclaim, ere he flew out of sight,
"GS plusses for all, and to all a good night!"

--
unknown@ucscb.ucsc.edu    APPLE II FOREVER    APL24VR   GS tips? Mail me.

Article 474 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!usc!cs.utexas.edu!rice!uw-beaver!ssc-vax!fluke!ddsw1!tapa!larry
From: larry@tapa.uucp (Larry Pajakowski)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: oatmeal cookies - the CHAD kind
Message-ID: <1989Dec13.130752.902@tapa.uucp>
Date: 13 Dec 89 13:07:52 GMT
Organization: Pata Consultants
Lines: 13

A friend of mines wife worked in the business computer center for Purdue in
the early 70's.  They had a co-worker (a guy) who was a cookie mooch.
Actually he would steal cookes left on desks etc.   One of the women got
rather fed up with this and made some oatmeal cookies using punch card chad

They looked like oatmeal cookies.  They tasted like oatmeal cookies but...

Anyway they were left out on her desk.  Sure enough while she was away he took
on of the "oatmeal" cookies and started to eat it.  After a few yummy seconds
he was left with a mouthfull of wet paper.  He got the message.

Larry Pajakowski

Article 475 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!ns-mx!pyrite.cs.uiowa.edu
From: jones@pyrite.cs.uiowa.edu (Douglas W. Jones,201H MLH,3193350740,3193382879)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: One swift kick cures all
Message-ID: <299@ns-mx.uiowa.edu>
Date: 15 Dec 89 13:41:30 GMT
Sender: news@ns-mx.uiowa.edu
Lines: 24

Another story of the PDP-11/20 at the University of Illinois in 1973:

Sometimes the machine would stop working unexpectedly.  When this happened,
one of the common fixes was to give the CPU a swift kick from below before
trying to reboot.

The CPU was mounted in a standard relay rack, and there was open space below
it, so it wasn't hard to give it a good kick.  Those who didn't know what
was going on were usually quite puzzled.

This worked because the backplane was on top, with the CPU cards hanging
vertically from their card-edge connectors.  The bottom panel of the machine
had a foam backing that was supposed to keep the cards seated, but with the
vibration of the fans and whatnot, the cards tended to slowly sag out of
their sockets.  The kick re-seated all the cards quite effectively.

The design with the backplane on top was actually rather elegant, and if the
cards had been retained by something stronger than friction and foam, I'd
have liked it.  The box slid out of the rack on glides, then could be tilted
up for access to the cards or tilted down for access to the backplane wiring
(all wire-wrap, if I remember correctly).

Doug Jones
jones@herky.cs.uiowa.edu

Article 476 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!mailrus!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!ns-mx!pyrite.cs.uiowa.edu
From: jones@pyrite.cs.uiowa.edu (Douglas W. Jones,201H MLH,3193350740,3193382879)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Disk Problems
Message-ID: <300@ns-mx.uiowa.edu>
Date: 15 Dec 89 13:53:24 GMT
Sender: news@ns-mx.uiowa.edu
Lines: 31

Another story of the PDP-11/20 at the University of Illinois.

During the semester I learned Pascal at the U of Ill in 1973, we used
Ian Stocks' barely debugged compiler on a PDP-11/23 with DEC-tape, disk,
card-reader and printer.  The disk was a head-per-track disk, and as
the semester wore on, more and more of the heads crashed, leaving us
with less and less space for temporary files and the like.  Eventually,
the system ground to a halt and DEC's service people were called.

I was there when they opened and disassembled the drive.  They took
the disk off its hub and the working surface was deeply grooved over
each head, with bare aluminum showing on each recording track.  The
service man looked at it, noted that the machine wasn't under service
contract, and offered two solutions:

1) For lots of money, get a new disk and mount it on the drive.
This might take a week or two.

2) Turn over the platter.  The second surface wasn't certified, but
it looked OK, and he could get it running the same day.

The man in charge chose the latter, so the maintenance man set the
disk aside, vacuumed the remains of the head crash out of the drive,
went over the heads with a felt pad to polish them up, and then, very
carefully, buffed and polished the never-used (and never intended to be
used) side of the disk platter before remounting it in the drive.

It worked like a charm!  Modern disks may store more megabytes, but
they arent as forgiving as the old kind.
Doug Jones
jones@herky.cs.uiowa.edu

Article 479 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!haven!rutgers!usc!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!philmtl!philabs!ttidca!hollombe
From: hollombe@ttidca.TTI.COM (The Polymath)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: COBOL program
Message-ID: <8483@ttidca.TTI.COM>
Date: 14 Dec 89 23:35:04 GMT
References: <18494@bellcore.bellcore.com> <552@enea.se>
Reply-To: hollombe@ttidcb.tti.com (The Polymath)
Organization: The Cat Factory
Lines: 43

In article <552@enea.se> sommar@enea.se (Erland Sommarskog) writes:
}tom reingold (tr@bellcore.com) writes:
}>I heard in the folklore that once a COBOL programmer wrote a program
}>with the sequence below.  Forgive the syntax because I don't know
}>COBOL.  (Big loss!)  It's an approximation.
}>...
}>	IF I = 1 THEN ADD 1 TO COUNTER.
}>	IF I = 2 THEN ADD 2 TO COUNTER.
}>...
}I have actually seen such a program. It was not Cobol, but Fortran
}and it was not a repetition of 500 but of six. ...
}... basically the guy could have used a DO loop (or
}was it an array?) Anyway he repeated the same piece of code for
}six possibilities of the dice.

I've seen worse, I think.  A few years ago I designed a program to edit
graphic characters for our 1st generation ATMs. (The characters were used
to display instructions in Chinese).

Anyway, it was decided to write the code in Pascal.  Ultimately, it would
run on a DEC-20 under TOPS-20 and all the terminals we had were VT-100s.

One of the routines I assigned to someone else to write was a "move cursor
to screen location." I gave it to my office mate, nominally equal to me in
seniority.

Two _days_ later he came back and showed me the code for that routine.
All _150 lines_ of it.  I recall being too stunned to comment at the time.

Later that day I spent 10 minutes writing a 6 line routine that did
exactly the same thing plus some sanity checking his neglected. 3 of the 6
lines were Pascal overhead and 7 of the 10 minutes were spent locating my
VT-100 manual and looking up the command codes. (-:

On another occasion, he asked me how to convert Pascal integers into
hexadecimal (not print them out, _internally_ convert them).  This person
has a degree in CS.  I don't.  Go figure.

--
The Polymath (aka: Jerry Hollombe, hollombe@ttidca.tti.com)  Illegitimis non
Citicorp(+)TTI                                                 Carborundum
3100 Ocean Park Blvd.   (213) 450-9111, x2483
Santa Monica, CA  90405 {csun | philabs | psivax}!ttidca!hollombe

Article 480 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!haven!uflorida!mailrus!uwm.edu!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!philmtl!philabs!ttidca!hollombe
From: hollombe@ttidca.TTI.COM (The Polymath)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Real(tm) Folklore
Message-ID: <8484@ttidca.TTI.COM>
Date: 15 Dec 89 00:02:20 GMT
Reply-To: hollombe@ttidcb.tti.com (The Polymath)
Organization: The Cat Factory
Lines: 63
References:

I know the following stories are true because they happened to me ... or I
happened to them ... um ... anyway:

When I first got interested in computers I was entirely self-taught.  I'd
read the manuals in the terminal room at CSUN and try to make stuff work.
One day I was fiddling with FORTRAN and trying to write to a file (this
was on a CDC 3300 running KRONOS, as I recall).  I set up my deck of cards
following the manual and ran the program.  It seemed ok, so I ran it again
-- and it bombed.  After much head scratching, I finally went to one of
the head gurus who'd helped me before.  He started reading through the
deck.  After about three cards his jaw dropped and he turned white. "My
God!," he said, "You've opened a file on the master disk!  It's
99% full! [the disk, that is]"

I told him I'd just done what the manuals said.  The next day, all the
manuals were gone from the terminal room.  I kid you not. (-:

These two aren't really easter eggs, but they existed at the time:

One of my first jobs involved analyzing the OMSI Pascal compiler with a
view to porting it to another system.  Two comments I found in the
compiler's source code were:

Expression syntax too grotesque.  (On failing to parse an
arithmetic expression).

Well, shit.  After all that work. (After a page of code trying to
figure out a floating point
expression).

Then there was the year I got the card punches to print lace cards that
spelled out MERRY XMAS and mailed them to all my friends.  (Well, I
thought they were clever (-: ).

This one happened to a co-worker at Rockwell's Shuttle Avionics
Development Lab (ADL).  He was having some problems with a shuttle
computer peripheral and asked the duty tech for advice. "You've got to go
into the mock-up and flip the switch," was the response.  So, off he went
to the Space Shuttle mock-up to flip the switch.  Of course, as he found
out, the Shuttle's cabin is literally _coated_ with switches.  The tech
hadn't even told him which one, let alone where it was. (-:

I can't claim to have actually seen this one, but the L.A. Times reported,
some time in the late '60s, that the following sign hung in the UCLA
computer room:

ACHTUNG!  ALLES LOOKENSPEEPERS!  DAS COMPUTENMACHINE IST NICHT FUR
GEFINGERPOKEN UND MITTENGRABBEN!  IST EASY SNAPPEN DER SPRINGENWERK,
BLOWEN FUSEN UND POPPENCORKEN MIT PITZENSPARKEN!  IST NICHT FUR
GEWERKEN BY DAS DUMBKOPFEN!  DAS RUBBERNECKEN SIGHTSEEREN KEEPEN DAS
HANTS IN DAS POCKETS, RELAXEN UND VATCH DAS BLINKENLIGHTS!

It must be true, or I wouldn't still remember it after 20 years. (-:

--
The Polymath (aka: Jerry Hollombe, hollombe@ttidca.tti.com)  Illegitimis non
Citicorp(+)TTI                                                 Carborundum
3100 Ocean Park Blvd.   (213) 450-9111, x2483
Santa Monica, CA  90405 {csun | philabs | psivax}!ttidca!hollombe

Article 483 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!mit-eddie!bu-cs!lll-winken!uunet!shelby!neon!holstege
From: holstege@Neon.Stanford.EDU (Mary Holstege)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Infinite forwardings
Keywords: phones
Message-ID: <1989Dec15.165939.9675@Neon.Stanford.EDU>
Date: 15 Dec 89 16:59:39 GMT
References: <9405@microsoft.UUCP> <1683@mrsvr.UUCP> <10972@venera.UUCP> <22351@ut-emx.UUCP>
Sender: USENET News System <news@Neon.Stanford.EDU>
Organization: Computer Science Department, Stanford University
Lines: 33

In article <22351@ut-emx.UUCP> myers@emx.UUCP (Eric Myers) writes:
>  Later on there turned out to be a bug in the system that let you
>connect to a long distance trunk if you knew the secret proceedure.  It
>showed up in the computer as a very long call to time.  The student
>newspaper, in an investigative reporting coup, printed a story about it,
>including a description of how to do it.  This was on a Friday, but the
>college had not plugged the hole, and couldn't do so until Monday.  As I
>recall a lot of calls were made to Europe that weekend.
>
>--
>Eric Myers		"A stitch in time dials 9"
>

Ah! Fond memories.  The bug that let you get long distance was actually
caused by the fix to another problem.  Thing was, people were dialing up
time on the phone system (a free call, the way the system was installed)
and then leaving the phone off the hook, tying up the lines.  It was claimed
this was a problem, anyway.  So the phone people put a fix in that caused
a hang-up after the time message had repeated once or twice.  THEN you got
a dial tone that would accept calls for anywhere, not just local ones.  The
scam spread fairly widely before it was reported to the Dean.  The paper
spread the knowledge, but since various staffers had been using the number
themselves, it was hardly a gem of investigative reporting.  I think they
only went with the story when they found out the dean was pulling the plug.

-- Mary
Holstege@cs.stanford.edu

ARPA:                            holstege%cs@score.stanford.edu
BITNET:                          holstege%cs@STANFORD.BITNET
UUCP: {arpa gateways, decwrl, sun, hplabs, rutgers}!cs.stanford.edu!holstege

Chirp! Chirp!

Article 485 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!swrinde!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!lll-winken!bu-cs!art
From: art@bu-cs.BU.EDU (Al Thompson)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: TECO (was Re: spacewar and TECO)
Message-ID: <44733@bu-cs.BU.EDU>
Date: 15 Dec 89 18:20:17 GMT
References: <6877@shlump.nac.dec.com> <1989Dec15.041951.8081@world.std.com>
Reply-To: art@cs.bu.edu (Al Thompson)
Followup-To: alt.folklore.computers
Distribution: alt
Organization: Boston University
Lines: 26

In article <1989Dec15.041951.8081@world.std.com> bzs@world.std.com (Barry Shein) writes:
>
>>Hmmmm... I always thought that it was Text Editor And Corrector, but yesterday,
>>my girlfriend was quizzing me with PDP-11 trivia cards, and she came across a
>>card which claimed that it stands for *Tape* Editor and Corrector. I have a
>>hard time believing this one... does anyone know anything about this meaning?
>
>I've always heard *Tape* Editor and COrrector. Remember that back when
>TECO was first a thing most files were stored on tapes (microtapes.)

According to my ancient PDP/10 manual it's Text.

[...]
>
>Anyone have any good TECO macros? DEC TECO, I have no access to ITS
>TECO (er, as some would say, REAL TECO.) I once wrote a full screen,
>menu driven help utility for VMS in TECO which used the VMS HELP
>files.  Unfortunately 2.0 screwed it up by using load libraries or
>some such silliness to store HELP files. I never figured out why.

I once worked with a guy who'd had a CS prof tell him that Lisp was "the
only language in which it is possible to code the Towers of Hanoi".  Well,
my friend thought that just a little absurd.  So, every time he learned a
new language he'd code up the Towers of Hanoi and send the listing to his
old prof.  One day he learned TECO.

Article 493 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!haven!uflorida!rex!samsung!cs.utexas.edu!usc!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!apple!amdahl!esf00
From: esf00@uts.amdahl.com (Elliott S. Frank)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Yet another subroutine story
Keywords: similar to story of Mel
Message-ID: <d24Q02vE74EG01@amdahl.uts.amdahl.com>
Date: 15 Dec 89 19:26:08 GMT
Organization: Industrial Strength Un*x (tm)
Lines: 63

The 'blackjack program that cheated' brings to mind another (true,
dammit) story from when I was just a pup.

A large eastern university had a 7094 (1 mip, 1 megaflop, 32k 36-bit
words, the true 'power machine' of its day) that had a 1410 used as a
peripheral spooler -- the 1410 read the cards and printed the output,
and the 7094 could crank away.  The system started out using tape as
the medium of transfer, but by the time I showed up, had migrated to
a more elegant solution - an disk drive cabled to both machines. No vendor
software -- this used a homegrown monitor that allowed the 1410 to print
on three printers, read from two card readers, and read and write on the
disk, all at once.  Pushing the envelope for the early Sixties.

This homegrown nightmare was maintained by 'Hal'. 'Hal' showed up
at night, patched the monitor, handled modification requests, chatted
with the operators, and left every morning when the machine was given to
the CE's for the daily PM. Not seen by the rest of us mortals, but
productive and happy.

The university had a 'use it or lose it' policy on vacations for the non-
academic staff, so 'Hal' took off the week of his birthday and Christmas
week every year.  He explained that it was not right to work on his
birthday.

One morning the CE's finished PM and turned the machine back to the
operators.  They hit the load button, typed in the date and time
(machines then did not remember such things), lights blinked, fans
whirred and the machine stopped.  The operators turned the machine back
to the CE's, who reran all of their diagnostics.  Every diagnostic passed.
Load, type date and time, whirr, blink, and stop. Back to the CE's.
Pass. Back to the operators. Fail. By noon, someone suspected that
there might be a problem in the monitor. Reload the monitor from tape.
Load, type date and time, whirr, blink, stop. Call 'Hal'. No answer.
Someone realized that he was on vacation. No one else knew beans about
the monitor.

By late afternoon, a card reader and a printer are cabled to the 7094,
and the day's backlog is being handled, slowly. (The 7094 handled
the ideosyncrasies of the printer by means of timing loops). All of the
previous day's output that had been spooled to the disk is inaccessable:
the 7094 can write print images to the disk, it can't read them.

Six am the following day, the machines are given to the CE's. Eight am,
all diagnostics passed, the CE's give the machines back to the operators.
On a whim, one of the operators tries the 1410. Load, type date and time,
whirr, blink, READY. We now power down again to attach the card reader
and the printer back to the 1410. Life continues, albeit with a day out.
No one thinks to do more than note the problem in the monitor problem log.
'Hal' returns from vacation the following week, on his usual schedule.

A year later, 'Hal' is gone, and my mentor was given the task of
supporting the monitor.  She inventoried the disk, and found a
module in the startup sequence that was not listed in the documentation.
She could not find source for the module, so she disassembled it by hand.
If the date was 'Hal's' birthday, halt. It wasn't right for the
machine to be working on 'Hal's' birthday, either.
--
Elliott Frank      ...!{hplabs,ames,sun}!amdahl!esf00     (408) 746-6384

[the above opinions are strictly mine, if anyone's.]
[the above signature may or may not be repeated, depending upon some
inscrutable property of the mailer-of-the-week.]

Article 495 of alt.folklore.computers:
From: abbadon@nuchat.UUCP (David Neal)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: pdp silly things
Keywords: rsts pdp hsep
Message-ID: <17492@nuchat.UUCP>
Date: 15 Dec 89 17:23:10 GMT
Organization: South Coast Computing Services, Inc. - Houston, Tx
Lines: 56

Well, I have a couple of interesting stories to tell:

I used to attend the High School for Engineering Professions,
a magnet school in Houston, Texas.

After I left, one of my best friends with a creative streak was
made system manager (he was a student, by the way).

He had a utility that would really annoy and confuse
the hell out of new BASIC programmers.. it broadcast
or forced a '0' at random to terminals. Needless to
say, this played havoc with line numbering.

He later expanded this program to do other interesting things,
including the infamous 'Give me a cookie, I want a cookie'
which of course went away as soon as you typed 'cookie'.
(He didn't originate the idea, just stole it)

His best piece of work, however, was quota blackjack.

Each student had a 50 block (25k?) quota in which to

work on their class assignments. Sometimes, for whatever
reason, a student would request more quoata. An option
was added the "PLEASE" program, which became "BEG" and
later "GROVEL" to allow them to beg, whine, plead
and or offer sex for another block or two.
Sufficiently creative begging got you more quota.

When this wore thin, he decided that he didn't really care
HOW the quota was distributed, the students had a fixed
amount and that was that. So, he created quota blackjack,
you could bet quota, and play the computer for disk space.

It proved so popular that an option had to be added
allowing people to lend each other quota. Unfortunately,
as you have probably already guessed, the computer
cheated. By the end of the semester, 90% of this disk
space had been reclaimed, and people were pooling
disk space in one account just to get projects done.

The Real System Manager figured all's fair in love and
blackjack and was later promoted into Administration
for the Houston Independant School District.

The author, Richard Franklin (hi, Richard!) is now an
expensive Vax Systems Manager in Dallas, and quite
probably making his users' life hell.

David Neal
a
p.s., this was all on pdp 11/34 with 124k of memory,
20mb of disk and rsts/e 7.* and 8.*

Article 496 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!cs.utexas.edu!swrinde!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!apple!bbn!granite!Mandel
From: Mandel@granite.cr.bull.com (Mark Mandel)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: TRS-80/PDP-8 radio fun
Summary: music from MIT
Message-ID: <1989Dec15.191442.7123@granite.cr.bull.com>
Date: 15 Dec 89 19:14:42 GMT
References: <1989Dec11.165713.11604@world.std.com> <YZVK1x600VsLM0i3t1@andrew.cmu.edu> <951@bbx.UUCP>
Sender: Mandel@granite.cr.bull.com (Mark Mandel)
Reply-To: Mandel@granite.cr.bull.com (Mark Mandel)
Organization: Bull HN Information Systems Inc.
Lines: 15

Back in the early 60s some hackers at MIT wrote programs to do this.
I wasn't there -- I went to St. John's College (Annapolis, Md.: no
basketball team, no compulsory chapel, Great Books curriculum: mega
biblion mega kakon).  But a friend of mine at St. John's, who had hung
around the MIT campus radio station in his HS days, had a tape of
various funny stuff from WTBS, including two arrangements for PDP-8:
Bach's g minor fugue from "The Well-Tempered Clavier", and the pop
song "Downtown".  I still have them.

--

-- Mark Mandel

/* My employer is not responsible for anything I say, do, think, or eat. */

Article 497 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uunet!zephyr.ens.tek.com!wrgate!teklds!brucem
From: brucem@teklds.WR.TEK.COM (Bruce McAlary)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: notable computer stories in fiction and the media
Message-ID: <1082@wrgate.WR.TEK.COM>
Date: 15 Dec 89 20:21:41 GMT
References: <6410@lindy.Stanford.EDU> <4487@ur-cc.UUCP> <11421@csli.Stanford.EDU> <5786@internal.Apple.COM>
Sender: nobody@wrgate.WR.TEK.COM
Reply-To: brucem@teklds.WR.TEK.COM (Bruce McAlary)
Distribution: na
Organization: Tektronix, Inc., Beaverton,  OR.
Lines: 41

In article <5786@internal.Apple.COM-> casseres@apple.com (David Casseres) writes:
->In article <11421@csli.Stanford.EDU> cphoenix@csli.Stanford.EDU (Chris
->Phoenix) writes:
->> In _The Last Starfighter_ there's a scene when the kid is just arriving
->> at the starbase.  Everyone is speaking gibberish until they clip a
->> translator device onto his collar.
->> The device is the innards of a digital watch!  No one else noticed
->> this...
->
->This reminds of a tale told me by a friend who works in a Hollywood
->special-effects company.  In some space-opera film or other (perhaps
->"Battlestar Galactica"?) the specs for the spaceship bridge set called for
->lots of CRT's with animated "wire-frame" displays on them, in the style we
->all remember from "2001."
->
->So after a bit of thought they reverted to doing what they knew best: they
->got the model shop to build them some wire-frame models out of actual
->wire, spray them with flourescent paint, and hook them up to servomotors
->inside dummy CRT's that were illuminated with UV lamps; then they wrote
->code to run the servomotors.  The wire models twirled and tilted around,
->glowing brightly, and apparently looked just great on film, even to people
->who knew what wire-frame graphics should look like.
->
->David Casseres

I would like to know your sources on this! If you have watched _Battlestar
Galactica_ and actually *read* the credits, you will notice _Tektronix_
supplied the graphics for the show. I started Tek after the show went off
the air, and captured schematics on those very same displays the starfighters
were displayed on. The displays were DVST, a raster display. DVST stands for
Direct View bistable Storage Tube. They had the capability of a hundred
vectors in refresh at the most, the images would start flickering badly if
there were two many vectors, every vector could be displayed in storage mode.
There were, of course, several other displays on the bridge that look strangely
like ocilloscopes and other test and measurement equipment...

--

Opinions expressed here are all mine, real or otherwise, and are not those
of my employer. (And all that jazz...) ...brucem@teklds.WR.TEK.COM
Thinking of building a house? My advice: DON'T have ANY Morissette build it!

Article 499 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uunet!zephyr.ens.tek.com!orca.wv.tek.com!frip!andrew
From: andrew@frip.WV.TEK.COM (Andrew Klossner)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Another secret message
Message-ID: <5660@orca.wv.tek.com>
Date: 15 Dec 89 19:33:05 GMT
References: <15000@well.UUCP> <162@bucsb.UUCP>
Sender: andrew@orca.wv.tek.com
Organization: Tektronix, Wilsonville, Oregon
Lines: 17

When I worked at Heath in 1979 in their computer kit group (later spun
off as Zenith Data Systems), we used a PDP-11 RSTS system to develop
code for the H-11.  A co-worker, a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses,
also used the RSTS windowed TECO to write religious tracts.

This version of RSTS did not clear out disk blocks between their
release from a (deleted) file and their allocation to a new one.  And
the RSTS loader allocated room in executable files for uninitialized
data by simply seeking to the end of that data, so the disk blocks were
allocated but never written.

The result was that some H-11 executables went out with embedded
Jehovah's Witnesses literature.  We found out when someone
inadvertantly "TYPE"d an executable.

-=- Andrew Klossner   (uunet!tektronix!frip.WV.TEK!andrew)    [UUCP]
(andrew%frip.wv.tek.com@relay.cs.net)   [ARPA]

Article 500 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!think!bbn!bbn.com!clements
From: clements@bbn.com (Bob Clements)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: TECO (was Re: spacewar and TECO)
Message-ID: <49798@bbn.COM>
Date: 15 Dec 89 20:27:23 GMT
References: <6877@shlump.nac.dec.com> <1989Dec15.041951.8081@world.std.com> <MAP.89Dec15144003@gaak.LCS.MIT.EDU>
Sender: news@bbn.COM
Reply-To: clements@BBN.COM (Bob Clements)
Distribution: alt
Lines: 30

In article <MAP.89Dec15144003@gaak.LCS.MIT.EDU> MAP@LCS.MIT.Edu (Michael A. Patton) writes:
>Tape Editor and COrrector is correct, reported to me first hand by
>people who worked on it on the PDP-1.  ... the tapes
>referred to were PAPER tapes. ...

Yup, all true.  And as long as people are asking about TECO macros,
I'll report the following oldies, since I wuz there...

One of the first big TECO macro sets on the PDP-1 was written by
Dan Murphy, the author of TECO.  It implemented a minimal
compiler for the PDP-1.  By the time he gave up on it, it was
able to read a FORTRAN-like assignment statement and convert it
to PDP-1 assembler source (integer arithmetic only, of course).
He called it DANTRAN.  I vaguely recall that he submitted this as
his undergraduate thesis, but I may be wrong about that.

And of course TECO was written as one of the competitors in a "My
editor is better than your editor" war.  The other participant in
the war was L. Peter Deutsch and his editor was called QED, (I
think).

Early TECO was written in an environment where much early LISP
work was going on.  Some people wrote the basic primitives of
LISP in TECO macros, while other people wrote a TECO
implementation in LISP.  This was on the prototype PDP-6 at DEC
and the first PDP-6 to be shipped, at Project MAC.

/Rcc
--
Bob Clements, K1BC, clements@bbn.com

Article 502 of alt.folklore.computers:
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Path: rochester!ken
From: ken@cs.rochester.edu (Ken Yap)
Subject: Re: Another secret message
Message-ID: <1989Dec15.210412.21158@cs.rochester.edu>
Address: Rochester, NY 14627, (716) 275-1448
Organization: University of Rochester Computer Science Department
References: <15000@well.UUCP> <162@bucsb.UUCP> <5660@orca.wv.tek.com>
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 89 21:04:12 GMT

I once did a hex dump of Spellstar and found this string embedded
in the binary: "Nosy, aren't you?"

Article 503 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!usc!samsung!rex!ames!amelia!eos!eugene
From: eugene@eos.UUCP (Eugene Miya)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Non-flattering cookie program (VMS)
Message-ID: <5829@eos.UUCP>
Date: 15 Dec 89 19:55:56 GMT
Reply-To: eugene@eos.UUCP (Eugene Miya)
Distribution: na
Organization: NASA Ames Research Center, Calif.
Lines: 24

During the earlier (1980s, pre-NAS) days of the Unix versus VMS "wars"
at Ames, there was an interesting (not good) little incident which took
place on the VMS side of the house.  One of the high muckie-mucks,
an assistant Center director who will go unnamed was logging out on
his terminal.  The last thing the machine did at the time was execute
the VMS cookie command (like Unix fortune).  It happened that the
fortune returned said something about the current President of the US
in a somewhat negative light.  Unfortunately, the MM was a friend
of said Prez.  This started an investigation.  The cookie
command allows users to add cookies at their disgression.  It
also records who (username) added them.  They found the user's name,
but except for talking to the fellow, they could not do much,
he was kind of an important young physicist.  So they removed
the cookie command.  They never stopped the Unix side of the house's
fortune command.

Another gross generalization from

--eugene miya, NASA Ames Research Center, eugene@aurora.arc.nasa.gov
resident cynic at the Rock of Ages Home for Retired Hackers:
"You trust the reply' command with all those different mailers out there?"
"If my mail does not reach you, please accept my apology."
{ncar,decwrl,hplabs,uunet}!ames!eugene
Support the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

Article 373 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!texbell!texsun!newstop!sun!ichthous!mcgrew
From: mcgrew@ichthous.Sun.COM (Darin McGrew)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Cold Starts
Message-ID: <129202@sun.Eng.Sun.COM>
Date: 13 Dec 89 20:42:50 GMT
Sender: news@sun.Eng.Sun.COM
Reply-To: mcgrew@sun.UUCP (Darin McGrew)
Organization: Sun Microsystems, Mountain View
Lines: 34

I had a summer job operating the EMCS (Energy Monitoring and
Control System) at Fort Ord (CA).  It consisted of two HP 1000's
connected by a proprietary interface, and hundreds of Z80 based
field units.  Typically, one HP 1000 did the processing and the
other handled communication with the field, although either could
be run by itself and handle both jobs.  The field units had a
battery backup that lasted roughly 30 minutes, after which they
had to be reinitialized by the master HP 1000(s).

This worked great, unless the entire base lost power for more
than half an hour, and this happened at least once or twice a
summer (typically a garbage truck driver would leave the forks up
and snag a power line).  All the field units would exhaust their
backup power, and need to be reinitialized.

Once power was restored, the reboot sequence would start
initializing the field units.  While the field units were running
some sort of self diagnosis, the master system would start
initializing more field units.  Later, when the field units
started reporting back to the master system, the HP 1000 handling
communication would get overloaded.  The other HP 1000 would wait
for its partner to acknowledge a message, then timeout and reboot
the system.

The only solution was to turn off scanning on all the field
units, but by the time the terminal I/O routines were started
there was only time to turn off scanning for about half a dozen
field units before the imminent reboot.  It usually took two of
us an entire day to disable scanning on all the field units, and
then it took me a couple days to restart scanning one field unit
at a time.

Darin McGrew			mcgrew@Eng.Sun.COM
Affiliation stated for identification purposes only.

Article 508 of alt.folklore.computers:
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Path: rochester!colbath
From: colbath@cs.rochester.edu (Sean Colbath)
Subject: Re: Cold Starts
Message-ID: <1989Dec15.224514.24030@cs.rochester.edu>
Reply-To: colbath@cs.rochester.edu (Sean Colbath)
Organization: University of Rochester Computer Science Department
References: <129202@sun.Eng.Sun.COM>
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 89 22:45:14 GMT

In article <129202@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> mcgrew@sun.UUCP (Darin McGrew) writes:
>I had a summer job operating the EMCS (Energy Monitoring and
>Control System) at Fort Ord (CA).  It consisted of two HP 1000's
>connected by a proprietary interface, and hundreds of Z80 based
>field units.
<deleted story about the problems involved in sanely bringing up a
distributed system>

Although not very similar, your subject line reminded me of an interesting
incident that occured at an academic site that I was involved with.  This
site was a large IBM VM shop, with most of the computing done at the central
campus.  However, they had several smaller machines at the other campuses
that ran unattended.  The operator at the main campus ran the machine
remotely.  Of course, the only work that couldn't be done remotely was
printer feeding and the rare tape mount, so students were hired to tend to
these necessities.  However, they were not expected (read allowed) to do the
normal operator functions, such as shutdowns, etc, as these were done by the
full-time staff.

Some background:  when a VM system crashes or is shut down and is brought
back up, you have three options for the type of restart you can do:  Warm
start (look in a save area for volatile data structures from the last
shutdown), Checkpoint (look in your save area for these volatiles, but don't
trust them), or Cold Start (come up as a virgin system, no volatile data
structures such as spool files (mail) or temp disk space).  Well, over the
weekend, the remote campus had suffered a power failure and was without
juice for some period of time.  This was during the ~20 hours a week when
there weren't operators at the home site.  Well, this student operator,
we'll call him Fred, came in and took it upon himself to bring up the
system, quite against rules.  When the prompt for choosing the type of
restart, Fred thought, put his hand on the machine, and said to himself
"Hmm.  It's cold.  Better do a cold start," and restarted the machine wiping
out all the temporary disk space and mail files for the entire system.

>Darin McGrew			mcgrew@Eng.Sun.COM
>Affiliation stated for identification purposes only.

Article 509 of alt.folklore.computers:
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Path: rochester!colbath
From: colbath@cs.rochester.edu (Sean Colbath)
Subject: Re: Removable Disk Nightmares
Message-ID: <1989Dec15.224939.24158@cs.rochester.edu>
Reply-To: colbath@cs.rochester.edu (Sean Colbath)
Organization: University of Rochester Computer Science Department
References: <879@thor.wright.EDU>
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 89 22:49:39 GMT

In article <879@thor.wright.EDU> econrad@thor.wright.edu writes:
>	*** A TRAGEDY FROM DAYS OF OLDE ***
>
>I was disc-ussing a problem with a co-worker when we heard a
>high-pitched sound emanating from the computer room.  "Sounds
>like a head crash," this co-worker said.  "Yeah," I replied.
>
>I walked over to the computer room and got there just in time
>to find another co-worker spinning up a disk.  "I think we may
>have had a head crash.  I'm just spinning this disk up to see."
>
>Oh well!  Two 50 MB diskpacks byte the dust.

It could be worse -- this isn't necessarially a tragedy from days of olde.
If you've ever worked with mountable disks, the first thing you learn is
that if you *ever* drop a disk pack, you don't put that pack back in a drive
until it's been checked out, because the platters may have moved out of
alignment.  I knew of a student who was operating a PDP with some removable
RL02 disks, who failed to notice the little red "dropped disk" indicator
that are on DEC platters.  When he discovered that he was unable to read the
disk, he moved it over to another drive "to figure out if the problem was
with the drive or the disk."  Hmm, this disk doesn't read over here either.
Well, let's try the next drive...  Result:  3 disk drive head assemblies
trashed...  Sigh...

Article 510 of alt.folklore.computers:
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Path: rochester!colbath
From: colbath@cs.rochester.edu (Sean Colbath)
Subject: Re: First hand true story (Re: "cookie")
Message-ID: <1989Dec15.225150.24289@cs.rochester.edu>
Reply-To: colbath@cs.rochester.edu (Sean Colbath)
Organization: University of Rochester Computer Science Department
References: <21732@usc.edu> <1288@kuling.UUCP> <44484@bu-cs.BU.EDU> <50518@srcsip.UUCP> <1989Dec14.200639.10408@cs.rochester.edu>
Distribution: alt
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 89 22:51:50 GMT

In article <1989Dec14.200639.10408@cs.rochester.edu> ken@cs.rochester.edu writes:
>|I've seen this happen.  Nice description, especially about the lines lifting
>|off the boards, but you forgot to mention the sensation of dozens of tiny
>|flashbulbs going off at once.  With MSI/LSI technology, this has a tendency to
>|cause the silicon inside the packages to explode, which leaves a nice little
>|crater in the tops of plastic DIPs.
>
>Wow, now I know what to do with these antique computer boards I have.
>Wait, I'll get the video cam first. :-)
>
>Ok, a story. Somebody can repost the comp.risks article, but it really
>isn't that complicated. Seems some photog was taking publicity pictures
>in a machine room and crashed the machine everytime he took a picture.
>Eventually they realized that the flash was getting into the optical
>sensors and all the tape drives were seeing EOT at once. Sigh, exabytes
>and cartridge tapes are no fun. :-)

I thought the problem was that the door that the systems staff had opened
showed the motherboard, with all its EPROMS exposed.  When the photographer
took his picture, the very slight EMP of UV generated by the flash caused
massive parity errors in the CPU and took down the system...!

Article 511 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uwm.edu!lll-winken!bu-cs!art
From: art@bu-cs.BU.EDU (Al Thompson)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Revenge!
Message-ID: <44759@bu-cs.BU.EDU>
Date: 15 Dec 89 23:20:20 GMT
References: <1198@mit-amt.MEDIA.MIT.EDU>
Reply-To: art@cs.bu.edu (Al Thompson)
Followup-To: alt.folklore.computers
Organization: Boston University
Lines: 41

In article <1198@mit-amt.MEDIA.MIT.EDU> adam@mit-amt.MEDIA.MIT.EDU (Adam Glass) writes:
>Does anyone out there have any great revenge stories? I was wondering
>what to give a particular sys admin (who is absolutely, universally
>hated with a passion) when I graduate this spring.
>
>"Cookie" and "Robin Hood" were excellent. Let's hear some more.

Ok, one more.

It seems that a large university had just taken delivery of one of the
first IBM 360's to hit the streets.  One of the system programmers had
written a program that ran in the registers.  Its function was to zero all
of memory, ending with itself.  It was quite a sight, the program would
start (unbeknownst to all except the perpetrator) and in no time
everything would halt.  IBM service went over the machine from top to
bottom and then bottom to top.  It passed all the diagnostics.  Five
minutes after the service folk were gone bingo! it'd stop again.  Back
would come service, all diagnostics passed, they'd leave, it would stop
again and so on.  The engineers were going nuts.  Finally, they decided
the problem was software.  The software engineers found nothing.  The
machine kept stopping.  Finally one day one of the systems programmers
took one of the service guys aside and said, "Look, we've been thinking it
over and we're convinced it's hardware."

"Can't be." said the service type.

"Oh yes, we're convinced.  No doubt about it.  In fact we know exactly
what the problem is.  You see it's a bus problem.  The bus is not properly
terminated and that's what's causing the trouble."

"What are you talking about?"  Said the service man, "That's impossible."

"No, you see when we ordered this machine we specified 512k of memory and
you only let us have 256k.  We're convinced that if you ship the rest of
the memory the bus will be properly terminated and the problem will go
away.  Otherwise we're sure it will keep happening."

And you know what?  He was right.  The bus was not properly terminated.
The extra 256k arrived jolly quick, and the problem went away, just like
that.

Article 512 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!apple!sun-barr!newstop!sun!morocco!landauer
From: landauer@morocco.Sun.COM (Doug Landauer)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Beginnings of the ARPAnet
Message-ID: <129318@sun.Eng.Sun.COM>
Date: 16 Dec 89 00:37:52 GMT
References: <8960@asylum.SF.CA.US> <10975@venera.UUCP>
Sender: news@sun.Eng.Sun.COM
Reply-To: landauer@sun.UUCP (Doug Landauer)
Organization: Sun Microsystems, Mountain View
Lines: 28

> > And UCLA's first network: a pair of 7094's...
> 	Actually 3  ...  This was to have been the original ARPANET.
>
> 	There's a UCLA Computer Club connection here too.
> 	Steve Crocker was president in the year I joined, 1962.
> 	A couple others who are well-known in networking and had
> 	Computer Club ties are Jon Postel and Vint Cerf.

My first job was working for those guys, in 3804 Boelter Hall...

UCLA had the ARPAnet's host #1 -- a SDS Sigma 7 running a weird OS
called GORDO (came from LBL or LLL, I think) for a while; later, with
UCLA's changes, they called it "Sigma EXecutive" or "SEX".

When they finally god rid of the Sigma 7, to replace it with a PDP-11,
the saying went "They took away our SEX and gave us Unix".  It sounded
better than it looks.

Anyone have any stories about those enormous vertical silver disks that
Sigma 7's had?  (I.e., the hub of the disk is mounted horizontally, so
the plane of the disk is vertical).  I vaguely recall hearing one about
the disk coming out somehow, hitting the floor, getting traction, and
rolling itself right on out the window.  And another one where the
gyroscopic effect screwed things up real bad --  I think they had one
of these on a ship.  Sorry I can't recall any details.
--
Doug Landauer -- landauer@eng.sun.com   or   ...!sun!landauer   _
Sun Microsystems, Inc. -- SPD, SET, Languages                  La no ka 'oi.

Article 518 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!uwm.edu!lll-winken!decwrl!ucbvax!mtxinu!taniwha!paul
From: paul@taniwha.UUCP (Paul Campbell)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: First hand true story (Re: "cookie")
Message-ID: <441@taniwha.UUCP>
Date: 15 Dec 89 08:18:05 GMT
References: <21732@usc.edu> <1288@kuling.UUCP> <44484@bu-cs.BU.EDU> <50518@srcsip.UUCP> <1989Dec14.200639.10408@cs.rochester.edu>
Reply-To: paul@taniwha.UUCP (Paul Campbell)
Distribution: alt
Organization: Taniwha Systems Design, Oakland
Lines: 37

In article <1989Dec14.200639.10408@cs.rochester.edu> ken@cs.rochester.edu writes:
>Ok, a story. Somebody can repost the comp.risks article, but it really
>isn't that complicated. Seems some photog was taking publicity pictures
>in a machine room and crashed the machine everytime he took a picture.
>Eventually they realized that the flash was getting into the optical
>sensors and all the tape drives were seeing EOT at once. Sigh, exabytes
>and cartridge tapes are no fun. :-)

Which brings up another great story ... it goes that one of the very first
transistor based computer systems was built and was running perfectly until
they put the skins on the cabinet to make it look nice - everything stopped
working, they took them off - it started up again ... turned out some of the
transistors were acting as phototransistors and depended on being illuminated
in order to get their job done - the solution ... light bulbs in the cabinets!

Another great story (this one was told in CACM a few years ago) is about one
of the first IBM Stretch machines. It had code memory which in order to make
it go fast enough was oil cooled. One machine had an intermittant problem
with the memory subsystem this totally mystified the engineers working on
it untill someone noticed that the memory would fail at addresses that
increased to the end then restarted, finally someone had a bright idea -
they realized that there was a flake of solder in the cooling oil shorting
out different parts of the core stacks as it circulated - the result was the
first computer which was repaired by giving it an oil change (just try
taking you Vax down to Jiffy-Lube these days :-)

Paul

--
Paul Campbell    UUCP: ..!mtxinu!taniwha!paul     AppleLink: CAMPBELL.P
"We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man,
Got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand ..." - Neil Young 'Freedom'

Article 519 of alt.folklore.computers:
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Path: rochester!fulk
From: fulk@cs.rochester.edu (Mark Fulk)
Subject: Re: Revenge!
Message-ID: <1989Dec16.045941.3815@cs.rochester.edu>
Reply-To: fulk@cs.rochester.edu (Mark Fulk)
Organization: University of Rochester Computer Science Department
References: <1198@mit-amt.MEDIA.MIT.EDU> <44759@bu-cs.BU.EDU>
Date: Sat, 16 Dec 89 04:59:41 GMT

This one is almost certainly apocryphal, but so what...

At Enormous State University, we had a 370/75 as an academic computing machine.
Jobs were submitted on card decks wrapped in rubber bands and placed into a
pigeon-hole box at the machine room window.  Output would appear later in a
bigger box.  The night operators were mostly students, and some of them were
quite hated.  The worst of the lot would sit in the operator's chair, prop
his feet on the console, and snooze out for the night.  Students with projects
due would scream and pound the reinforced glass to no avail.

Eventually someone sneaked in with an auto starter solenoid.  They mounted it
under the false floor, just under the operator's chair.  The end of the
solenoid rod was covered with a crutch tip, and the solenoid was wired to
a battery and to an output line of an unused channel.  The affair was activated
by a channel program contained in the DUMPOP macro.

When the operator went to sleep, you told someone with TSO privileges, who
ran a DUMPOP job.  The solenoid fired, the false floor tile lifted about
1/2" or so, and the operator's chair rolled toward the console, tipping under
the operator who ended up in a heap on the floor with no idea how it happened.

Mark

Article 520 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!uwm.edu!dogie.macc.wisc.edu!decwrl!orc!mipos3!omepd!littlei!percy!parsely!bucket!leonard
From: leonard@bucket.UUCP (Leonard Erickson)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Micro Folklore...
Message-ID: <1817@bucket.UUCP>
Date: 15 Dec 89 08:13:40 GMT
References: <5697@internal.Apple.COM> <1989Dec9.015353.4860@sun.soe.clarkson.edu> <8914@cbmvax.UUCP> <9256@hoptoad.uucp>
Organization: Rick's Home-Grown UNIX; Portland, OR.
Lines: 25

Ah the joys of hacking in little "goodies" to confound users...

On the TRS-80 Model 3 there were vectors for the various I/O routines
that made it fairly easy to install your own routine or chain in
special code to filter things before they got to the normal driver.

This was a bit of a challenge so I wrote a short assembler program to
use an "undefined" keystroke as a "meta"-shift. I defined <ctrl><;>
to step thru a translator. Hit it once and the 40h-7Fh range was mapped
to 80H-BFh, hit it again and the mapping shifted to C0h-FFh. Once more
and things were back to "normal".

The 80-BF range was block graphics, but the C0-FF range could be defined
as kata kana.... So I'd load the routine, and if I needed to leave the
machine for a bit, I'd toggle it into Japanese. One time I got back in time
to watch one of my roommates start to type a command, look up at the screen
and freeze as he saw the characters.... he reached for backspace and seemed
quite relieved that it worked... I never had any trouble with roomies
forgetting to ask before using the machine after that. :-)
--
Leonard Erickson		...!tektronix!reed!percival!bucket!leonard
CIS: [70465,203]
"I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools.
Let's start with typewriters." -- Solomon Short

Article 522 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!jarvis.csri.toronto.edu!neat.cs.toronto.edu!rayan
From: rayan@cs.toronto.edu (Rayan Zachariassen)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: premonition?
Message-ID: <89Dec16.003152est.2164@neat.cs.toronto.edu>
Date: 16 Dec 89 05:32:12 GMT
Lines: 40

A couple of years ago when we got a replacement for our aging VAX, we saw it
as a great opportunity to clean up our world and start afresh.  With that in
mind we had no doubt that Neat was a good name for the new machine (especially
considering the domain it and we were in at the time would have made the
hostname Neat.AI which has a nice ring to it).  We had no end of trouble with
that machine and comparatively little with its sister machine that was almost
identically configured.  When time came to buy a new machine to offload
Neat, we remembered the many schemes dreamt up to appease the gremlins; we
had considered things akin to the black candle scene described in a previous
posting, except our thoughts were in the direction of more pagan rituals.
It didn't get to that, but we were pretty convinced that the name we gave
the machine had jinxed it.

The new machine was a fast multiprocessor.  Because much of what we accomplish
here is done using smoke & mirrors, I had those two names in mind for future
machines.  It would perhaps have been appropriate to rename Neat to Smoke
and the new machine to Mirrors (considering its MP), but we kept Neat Neat
and the new box became Smoke.

A couple of months after we got the machine, it was baptized.

Y'see, smoke's backplane is really two backplanes (two separate busses) that
are indistinguishable by any physical layout or marking differences.

The guy here was putting a disk controller in it and wasn't clear on which
slot to plug it in, so he guessed.  Wrongly.

I'm told a nice plume of smoke emerged from the box before he managed to
turn it off.  One pin on the board connector had melted and was stuck in the
bus connector, and the disk controller board had a distinctly black look
about the internal traces near that connector.  But, nothing else was
damaged.  The computer and the disk controller both work fine, now talking
to each other in the right slot.

We were pleased that Smoke had passed its trial by fire.

... then there's the story of the FE who blew two disks because he measured
the AC line voltage (on the 110V plugs on the sequencer) from hot to ground
and got 110V, and therefore removed the 220V label on the box...

Article 523 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!haven!uflorida!rex!samsung!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!apple!ginger.acc.com!ivucsb!todd
From: todd@ivucsb.sba.ca.us (Todd Day)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: CoCo cartridge copying
Message-ID: <1989Dec16.045835.8039@ivucsb.sba.ca.us>
Date: 16 Dec 89 04:58:35 GMT
References: <1201@mit-amt.MEDIA.MIT.EDU>
Reply-To: todd@ivucsb.sba.ca.us (Todd Day)
Distribution: alt
Organization: Lazy Engineers Who Drive Sportscars, Santa Barbara, CA
Lines: 57

Radio Schlock invariably keeps a demo TRS-80 Color Computer on
display, complete with cassette recorder.  It was trivial to acquire
most CoCo cartridge software by walking into Radio Shack with a blank
cassette and dumping a number of cartridges to tape.  This required
only a single poke to disable the cartridge insert auto-start,
followed by a block memory save command.

I remember friends doing this, but they didn't know about the poke.
They'd simply cover one of the cartridge's pins with a piece of tape.
Seems there was an interrupt running always looking for cartridge
insertion, even though you are warned several times not to insert
cartridges while the computer is on.  The poke disabled the interrupt.
The tape covered one of the grounded pins.

I only had 32K at the time, and the cartridge was mapped into the upper
32k ROM area.  Sometimes, I was lucky, and the cartridge program was
written entirely in relocatable code.  I was able to move it down into
the lower 32k.  But sometimes, I'd have to go through an entire program
and change all the non-relocatable references to the lower 32k (talk
about having tons of free time!).  This exercise included addresses in
tables (not fun).

My friends were lucky - since they had 64k, they could just map the
cartridge ROM back into the space it was originally intended to occupy.
However, somebody must have caught on, as we found a few programs that
wouldn't work even though they were mapped properly.  Turns out that
the software would write over itself: if it was in ROM form, nothing
would happen, but in RAM...  We quickly solved that problem by making
a switch that would turn off the write line to the upper 32k - this
was possible since we were using 4 banks of 16k RAMS.  [Side note: The
first CoCo I got a hold of had 4k and the infamous cassette.  It's hard
to believe they are still selling the same basic (BASIC) machine, but
now it has 128k (6809 only has 16bit address bus) and CGA-style graphics.
I also remeber my mom asking, "But what will you do with all that memory?"
after I first upgraded to 16k and then to 32k.]

Steve Bjork wrote a lot of CoCo programs that ended up in cartridge form.
At the end of the programs, he would invaribly add some ASCII message.
One of the programs I converted was "Shooting Gallery".  In one of the
screens, targets that looked like faces would alternate between smiles
and frowns, while bunnies hopped in the line of targets above.  If you
shot the face while it was sad, a bunny that you already knocked down
would reappear.  At the end of the dump of this program, he included
what has got to be one of the worst poems/puns I've seen in a long time:

My bunny lies over the ocean,
My bunny lies over the sea,
Somebody just shot a sad face,
Now bring back my bunny to me!

Ugggh...

--
Todd Day  |  todd@ivucsb.sba.ca.us  |  ivucsb!todd@anise.acc.com
The justice system works more quickly in the future,
since they've gotten rid of the lawyers.

Article 524 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!mit-eddie!mit-amt!snorkelwacker!spdcc!mirror!garison
From: garison@mirror.UUCP (Gary Piatt)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: TRS-80/PDP-8 radio fun
Message-ID: <34008@mirror.UUCP>
Date: 15 Dec 89 15:37:16 GMT
References: <1989Dec11.165713.11604@world.std.com> <YZVK1x600VsLM0i3t1@andrew.cmu.edu> <951@bbx.UUCP>
Reply-To: garison@prism.TMC.COM (Gary E. Piatt)
Organization: Very little
Lines: 50

Russ writes:
=>Memories of running diagnostics on the '10 and turning off the
=>CPU room lights - better than Laserium and free to boot.

I worked for a small medical research company in the late '70's.
We were using PDP-8's for development, and as the heart of our
product.  Since we were a research organization, we were always
looking for handouts ... uh, *donations* ... to continue our work.
So, at least once a month, someone would come in to tour the plant.
At that time, the boss always asked me to "look busy", so we could
make a good impression.  Well, when the rube ... uh, *contributor*
... came in, I was always hard at work, coding or debugging, or just
running tests; and, invariably, the boss would yell at me later for
not "looking busy".  It seems it's really difficult to program and
actually *look* like you're doing something: people expect to see
things moving, and lights flashing.  Well, finally, I figured out
what to do.

First, some background, for those of you who haven't met a PDP-8
(the rest of you can skip to the next paragraph).  The PDP-8 was
a wonderful little machine with very little memory (we used all of
the memory which would fit -- I think it was only 16K).  It had a
front panel with 12 toggle switches through which you entered the
bootstrap loader *every morning*.  There were two rows of lights,
one which always displayed the program counter, and another which
could be switched (by a dial on the front panel) to show the acc-
umulator, the status of the ALU, or the general status bits (I for-
get what they were called).  We had an 8-platter hard drive, two
8-inch floppies, and a DECtape drive.  This is the important part:
all of the files on all of the peripherals were contiguous;  When
you deleted a file, it left a gap where the file was; in order to
regain that space you had to "squish" the device.  The common pro-
cedure for doing this was to squich to a separate device, otherwise
the program would spend all day, seeking and rewinding, seeking and
rewinding.  Beginning to see the idea that I had?

The day the suckers ... uh, *investors* ... came to visit, the mom-
ent I heard that they were in the building, I started a squish on
the DECtape.  Then I sat down and wrote my mother a letter (she
hadn't heard from me in a while).  When the investors came into the
computer room, they saw me hard at work:  lights were flashing, tapes
were spinning, and I was taking notes!  For added effect, as the boss
was pointing things out to them, I stopped writing, turned the dial
on the front panel -- looked pensive for a second -- and went back to
"taking notes".  Later, the boss told that he was immensely pleased
with the impression I made -- and asked how much work I had gotten
done!  This, to me, was the funniest part: even *he* thought I was
working!

-Garison-

Article 525 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!mit-eddie!mit-amt!snorkelwacker!spdcc!mirror!garison
From: garison@mirror.UUCP (Gary Piatt)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: First hand true story (Re: "cookie")
Message-ID: <34010@mirror.UUCP>
Date: 15 Dec 89 16:13:47 GMT
References: <21732@usc.edu> <1288@kuling.UUCP> <44484@bu-cs.BU.EDU> <50518@srcsip.UUCP> <Dec.14.20.03.26.1989.6546@topaz.rutgers.edu>
Reply-To: garison@prism.TMC.COM (Gary E. Piatt)
Distribution: alt
Organization: Very little
Lines: 20

Jon Joshua writes:
=>In article <50518@srcsip.UUCP> vestal@SRC.Honeywell.COM (Steve Vestal) writes:
=>I used to work at a computer store and we did this sort of stuff when
=>business was slow.  We would solder all of the pins on each side of
=>the chip together and then we would put 120VAC wall current through
=>it.  We would let a volcano of sparks fly from the chip before turning
=>the current off.  SPECTACULAR RESULTS.
=>
=>If you're into small explosions, you can try the same thing with
=>resistors and capacitors.

Or pencils.  In 1975, when I worked for a small terminal manufacturer,
some of the guys played a practical joke on one of the other program-
mers. They sharpened both ends of a pencil and taped the stripped ends
of a length of zip cord to the ends of the pencil.  They plugged the
other end of the zip cord into the switched outlet of this guys com-
puter.  Three seconds after he turned it on, <*BOOM*>!  Toothpicks
everywhere!

-Garison-

Article 526 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!mvac23!thomas
From: thomas@mvac23.UUCP (Thomas Lapp)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Old PC MAG ads (was: Re: incinerating monitors)
Message-ID: <126.UUL1.3#5131@mvac23.UUCP>
Date: 16 Dec 89 00:17:29 GMT
Sender: usenet@udel.EDU
Organization: MultiVac23, Newark, DE, U.S.A.
Lines: 22

>    On some of the older model Commodore PET's (you know, those big bulky
> things that used to compete against TSR80s, and were shown in Playboy as the
> new "macho toy" for the late 70's...) had a problem with a certain signals

Anyone remember the "sexy" ads that were run in Personal Computing in the
early '80s?  As I remember it, the ad had a lady in enticing attire laying
on a bed of satin with a white TRS-80 on the bed with her.  The ad was for
some "adult" software.  Anybody know what this stuff was?  I thought about
ordering it at the time, but never got around to it....

I also recall that the ad only ran for a few issues before disappearing.
I wonder if the company did the same....
- tom
--
internet     : mvac23!thomas@udel.edu  or  thomas%mvac23@udel.edu
uucp         : {ucbvax,mcvax,psuvax1,uunet}!udel!mvac23!thomas
Europe Bitnet: THOMAS1@GRATHUN1
Location: Newark, DE, USA
Quote   : Virtual Address eXtension.  Is that like a 9-digit zip code?

--
The UUCP Mailer

Article 529 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!haven!uflorida!rex!samsung!cg-atla!millipore!blu
From: blu@millipore.uucp (Brian Utterback)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: It's not a bug, It's a feature
Message-ID: <1989Dec16.052955.15496@millipore.uucp>
Date: 16 Dec 89 05:29:55 GMT
References: <30901@iuvax.cs.indiana.edu> <5675@cps3xx.UUCP> </0_4H&@rpi.edu> <30914@iuvax.cs.indiana.edu> <3077@iitmax.IIT.EDU> <44125@bu-cs.BU.EDU>
Reply-To: blu@millipore.UUCP (Brian Utterback)
Organization: Millipore Corporation
Lines: 19

In article <44125@bu-cs.BU.EDU> bear@bu-pub.bu.edu (Blair M. Burtan) writes:
>How 'bout this one.  A number of years ago before the advent of
>the laser printer at BU, we used to have a rather large IBM
>impact printer.  The thing sounded like a large air-conditioner
>when running at full tilt.  Anyway, IBM designed the machine
>to open up automagically when it was out of paper.  It would start
>beeping and the door would open like Jaws.  Now, the feature, I mean

I used to work for one of those direct mail outfits.  They had 14 of these
IBM 1403 printers.  A few times I worked the graveyard shift alone, just me
and those 14 printers.

So there I would be, minding the printers, just me in the building, no one else.
And every once in a while a printer would run out of paper and open its lid.
Until one night when 6 of the 14 printers all ran out of paper at the same time.Scared the s**t out of me.  Six giant gaping maws opening up, and there I am,
all alone. Yikes.
--
Brian Utterback, Millipore Corporation, 75G Wiggins Ave., Bedford Ma. 01730
UUCP:: uunet!merk!millipore!blu Work:617-275-9200x8245, Home:603-891-2536

Article 530 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!haven!uflorida!rex!samsung!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!philmtl!philabs!ttidca!hollombe
From: hollombe@ttidca.TTI.COM (The Polymath)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Debacle after 1999 (was FORTRAN Greetings)
Message-ID: <8524@ttidca.TTI.COM>
Date: 15 Dec 89 23:45:14 GMT
References: <1923@paperboy.OSF.ORG> <qtlnvv@unify.uucp> <5784@umd5.umd.edu>
Reply-To: hollombe@ttidcb.tti.com (The Polymath)
Organization: The Cat Factory
Lines: 12

In article <5784@umd5.umd.edu> zben@umd5.umd.edu (Ben Cranston) writes:
}There was once a Fortran compiler (actually, it was a Michigan Algorithmic
}Decoder - MAD compiler with a bug/feature that it compiled Fortran too ...

UCLA used to have a single pass assembler for the IBM/370.  They called
it the SPASM, of course.

--
The Polymath (aka: Jerry Hollombe, hollombe@ttidca.tti.com)  Illegitimis non
Citicorp(+)TTI                                                 Carborundum
3100 Ocean Park Blvd.   (213) 450-9111, x2483
Santa Monica, CA  90405 {csun | philabs | psivax}!ttidca!hollombe

Article 532 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!mailrus!iuvax!pur-ee!mentor.cc.purdue.edu!mace.cc.purdue.edu!asd
From: asd@mace.cc.purdue.edu (Kareth)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Old PC MAG ads (was: Re: incinerating monitors)
Message-ID: <3725@mace.cc.purdue.edu>
Date: 16 Dec 89 08:47:42 GMT
References: <126.UUL1.3#5131@mvac23.UUCP>
Organization: Purdue University Computing Center
Lines: 28
Cc:

In article <126.UUL1.3#5131@mvac23.UUCP> thomas@mvac23.UUCP (Thomas Lapp) writes:

>>    On some of the older model Commodore PET's (you know, those big bulky
>> things that used to compete against TSR80s, and were shown in Playboy as the
>> new "macho toy" for the late 70's...) had a problem with a certain signals

>Anyone remember the "sexy" ads that were run in Personal Computing in the
Yeah, I do, cept they were in the now defunct A+ magazine.  Called
'Interlude' I do believe.  There were actually 2 of em!

>some "adult" software.  Anybody know what this stuff was?  I thought about
>ordering it at the time, but never got around to it....
As far as I can tell, remember, this program was something akin to Eliza
(AI program to that simulated conversation for any neophytes, been
ported to probably every language in the book! :)  Anyways, it was set
up for different "conversations/scenarios" and as I recall, was more of
something to get a couple going versus actually being some kind of one
person "adult" software (least how I saw it), although I suppose if ya
was real lonely....

>I also recall that the ad only ran for a few issues before disappearing.
>I wonder if the company did the same....
Not in A+ it didn't.  Ran for a good long time.  Long enough for a
second version to come out.  Must admit, the ad did have some eye
catching appeal to it.  Special in a magazine where you don't expect to
find a picture of a woman in seemingly ONLY a overcoat.

-kareth.

Article 534 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!convex!thurlow@convex.com
From: thurlow@convex.com (Robert Thurlow)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: TECO (was Re: spacewar and TECO)
Message-ID: <4024@convex.UUCP>
Date: 16 Dec 89 04:51:02 GMT
References: <6877@shlump.nac.dec.com> <1989Dec15.041951.8081@world.std.com> <44733@bu-cs.BU.EDU>
Sender: usenet@convex.UUCP
Distribution: alt
Lines: 19

art@bu-cs.BU.EDU (Al Thompson) writes:
>I once worked with a guy who'd had a CS prof tell him that Lisp was "the
>only language in which it is possible to code the Towers of Hanoi".  Well,
>my friend thought that just a little absurd.  So, every time he learned a
>new language he'd code up the Towers of Hanoi and send the listing to his
>old prof.  One day he learned TECO.

This brings back fond memories from my undergrad days!  The University
of British Columbia always used to have, on display for it's open
house, solutions to the Towers of Hanoi in every language known so
far.  They had it in Pascal, C, FORTRAN, LISP, ALGOL*, COBOL and
others, but the ones I remember best were written in FMT and Texture,
two text formatting programs popular on campus at the time.  I don't
know if they had a TECO version then, though ...

Rob T
--
Rob Thurlow, thurlow@convex.com
"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate."

Article 535 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uunet!convex!forsythe@convex.com
From: forsythe@convex.com (Charles Forsythe)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Interlude (was: Old PC mag ads)
Message-ID: <4029@convex.UUCP>
Date: 16 Dec 89 08:12:00 GMT
References: <126.UUL1.3#5131@mvac23.UUCP>
Sender: usenet@convex.UUCP
Lines: 31

thomas@mvac23.UUCP (Thomas Lapp) writes:
>Anyone remember the "sexy" ads that were run in Personal Computing in the
>early '80s?  As I remember it, the ad had a lady in enticing attire laying
>on a bed of satin with a white TRS-80 on the bed with her.  The ad was for
>some "adult" software.  Anybody know what this stuff was?  I thought about
>ordering it at the time, but never got around to it....

Interlude!  I had almost forgotten!  Interlude was a program that would
query a man and a woman about their sexual interests; when finished, it
would suggest an Interlude number.  Most of the numbers referenced a
description in a booklet (I think this was because if memory limitations,
not copy protection).  "The Ultimate Interlude" was encoded in the program
and was only revealed to the truly kinky -- or so the ads claimed.  I recall
that the program was pretty popular and even got some attention from the
mainstream media.

I had a chance to flip through the booklet once.  It wasn't very interesting.
The only "Interlude" I remember suggested spending time brushing your
partner's hair -- hair brushing, it claimed, was very sensous.  Since I was
in high school at the time and hair-brushing was something I could actually
convince my girlfriend to do -- I decided that it must not be that fun; thus,
I lost interest in finding out anything more about "Interlude".

Of course, there could have been another ad with a sexy woman and a computer,
but I'd be surprised.

-Charles
========================
Send comments/flames to: forsythe@convex.com
Convex does not filter outgoing posts and is not responsible for the contents
therein.

Article 537 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uunet!wang!fitz
From: fitz@wang.UUCP (Tom Fitzgerald)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: revenge
Message-ID: <739@wang.UUCP>
Date: 16 Dec 89 04:17:12 GMT
References: <3117@tymix.UUCP>
Distribution: alt
Organization: Wang Labs, Lowell MA
Lines: 22

stimac@strider.uucp (Michael Stimac) writes:
>Rube included in the next release of
>IPL, an additional feature, such that, when it was running
>a job for THIS manager a deliberate delay would be taken
>after each I/O operation. The amount of delay was minuscule,
>but was increased each and every calendar day!

There's a modern variant of this for graphic workstations that can
be entertaining.  Start a demon process on someone's workstation that
gradually changes the mouse-velocity (or mouse-acceleration) upward,
then downward, then upward... with a period of a couple of hours.
They'll have a migraine by the end of the day.  And apparently it's
subliminal enough that people don't notice - they may keep
disassembling the mouse to clean the mouseball, though.

Under X-windows you can do this with XChangePointerControl.

[Mouse velocity is the ratio of the movement of the physical mouse
to the movement of the pointer on the screen.  When it's too high, tiny
movements of the mouse will fling the pointer across the screen.  When
it's too low, you have to slide the mouse across three feet of desktop
to move the pointer halfway across the screen.]

Article 538 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!andrew.cmu.edu!ef1c+
From: ef1c+@andrew.cmu.edu (Esther Filderman)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Removable Disk Nightmares
Message-ID: <QZWRjHm00UjU894ZpW@andrew.cmu.edu>
Date: 16 Dec 89 06:08:19 GMT
Organization: Computing Systems, Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, PA
Lines: 14

One of our legends around the Machine Room is about an operator
who went out to mount a removable disk pack on one of the Tops-20s.
She came back to the console room a few minutes later saying that she
had put the pack in the drive but the cover wouldn't come off.

It seems that, somehow, she managed to get the whole pack in the drive,
bottom plate and all.  To this day, nobody knows how she managed this, but
we are sure of how upset the hardware people were!

----------------
Esther C. Filderman                 ef1c+@andrew.cmu.edu
Andrew Specialist                  Computer Operations
Computing Services                 Carnegie Mellon University

Article 539 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!zephyr.ens.tek.com!tektronix!reed!todd
From: todd@reed.bitnet (Todd Ellner,305 NE 26,,7778997)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: More Military Computing
Keywords: Tubes
Message-ID: <13756@reed.UUCP>
Date: 16 Dec 89 07:14:10 GMT
References: <1029@milton.acs.washington.edu>
Sender: news@reed.UUCP
Reply-To: todd@dharma.JPL.NASA.GOV (Todd Ellner)
Distribution: alt
Organization: Reed College, Portland, OR
Lines: 26

In article <1029@milton.acs.washington.edu> fetrow@milton.acs.washington.edu (David Fetrow) writes:
>
>  In 1978 I was nearing graduation from High School and my Dad was trying to talk
>me into the Air Force (BOTH my parents were Air Force).
>
> Anyway; he knew I was computer crazy so he wrangled permission to let me see the
>big computer that did the air traffic in the Pacific NorthWest, in the hopes that
>I'd be more interested in the Air Force afterwards.

Oh God, was that the machine at McChord Air Force Base?  I took a tour of it,
yes a tour of it in '80.  It was truly remarkable.  There was a real
blinkinlights panel, and miles upon miles of corridors full of tubes.

The sergeant who showed me around claimed (proudly) that they were going
solid state.  With tube emulators.  The storage devices were drums slightly
smaller than the 55 gal. oil ones ("travel at 90 miles an hour"). The amazing
thing was the speed.  They claimed that the computer was so fast it could do
an addition in less than 1/1000th of a second and find a number in memory in
less than 1/800th.

I aksed about cooling and was told that the big building next to the computer
building, the one about the same size, was the air conditioner.  If it and its
backups failed there was approximately a 10 minute grace period before the
machine melted.  I can believe that they paid for the replacement with a
year's worth of air conditioning.  I think they could have done it just
selling the gold and copper at scrap prices.

Article 540 of alt.folklore.computers:
From: madd@world.std.com (jim frost)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: DEC's sense of humor (was Re: Teco and peace)
Message-ID: <1989Dec16.063832.529@world.std.com>
Date: 16 Dec 89 06:38:32 GMT
References: <7296@pt.cs.cmu.edu>
Organization: Software Tool & Die
Lines: 10

tgl@zog.cs.cmu.edu (Tom Lane) writes:
>Actually DEC had a pretty decent corporate sense of humor at one
time.

Apple, too.  Check out the glossary in some of the older manuals,
particularly the definition for "window" ("what a programmer jumps out
of...").  There are several of them in that same glossary.

jim frost

Article 541 of alt.folklore.computers:
From: linden@adapt.Sun.COM (Peter van der Linden)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Chief Programmer Madness
Message-ID: <129335@sun.Eng.Sun.COM>
Date: 16 Dec 89 20:52:25 GMT
Sender: news@sun.Eng.Sun.COM
Reply-To: linden@sun.UUCP (Peter van der Linden)
Organization: Sun Microsystems, Mountain View
Lines: 32

The scene: 5pm, Friday night, small payroll bureau
The time:  12 years ago
The action:

The payroll printing program has just been amended and seems
to pass all its tests, so they do the live run.   After finishing
the operator notices that some of the printing is wrong, and takes
the useless output to the chief programmer.

The chief programmer looks at the buggy output, glances at the program,
finds the faulty code and quickly types a few lines to fix it, compiles
and tells the operator to re-run the job.   The operator comes back ten
minutes later with a new pile of buggy output:  everything is ok, except
no names have printed on the payslips.

The chief programmer grunts, and scans the code again, when the operator
drops the bombshell:  this job is urgently due, and there is no more of
the special stationery left to print on.

No problem at all.  The chief programmer types a few more lines, compiles
again, and tells the operator to run the job again, and feed the
output from the previous job through the printer again...
He had amended the program to remove all the printing except the names.
And between the two incomplete passes through the printer, they
got one good set of payslips.   I think....

----------------
Programmers of the world unite; you have nothing to use but your brains!
Peter van der Linden     linden@SuN.cOm    (415) 336-6206

Article 542 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!jarvis.csri.toronto.edu!utgpu!watserv1!watcgl!watsnew!mark
From: mark@watsnew.waterloo.edu (Mark Earnshaw)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Computer names
Summary: Computer names
Keywords: computers,names
Message-ID: <12737@watcgl.waterloo.edu>
Date: 16 Dec 89 21:15:50 GMT
References: <11212.484.forumexp@mts.rpi.edu>
Sender: daemon@watcgl.waterloo.edu
Reply-To: mark@watsnew.waterloo.edu (Mark Earnshaw)
Distribution: na
Organization: U. of Waterloo, Ontario
Lines: 14

In article <11212.484.forumexp@mts.rpi.edu> Greg_d._Moore@mts.rpi.edu (Commander Krugannal) writes:
>      Speaking of folklore, I think it might be interesting to
>   hear various names for computers.

Here at the University of Waterloo, many of our machine names have the form
"wat...".  The ones in our particular lab include:

watsnew     watever     watif      watelse     watgives

watsup      watnext     watnow     watsleft

--
Mark Earnshaw, Systems Design Engineering      {uunet,utai}!watmath!watsnew!mark
University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada        mark@watsnew.waterloo.{edu,cdn}

Article 543 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!jarvis.csri.toronto.edu!utgpu!watserv1!watcgl!awpaeth
From: awpaeth@watcgl.waterloo.edu (Alan Wm Paeth)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: TECO (classic old macros)
Message-ID: <12738@watcgl.waterloo.edu>
Date: 16 Dec 89 21:32:37 GMT
References: <6877@shlump.nac.dec.com> <1989Dec15.041951.8081@world.std.com> <MAP.89Dec15144003@gaak.LCS.MIT.EDU> <49798@bbn.COM>
Reply-To: awpaeth@watcgl.waterloo.edu (Alan Wm Paeth)
Distribution: alt
Organization: U. of Waterloo, Ontario
Lines: 14

Lunar lander seemed wide-spread. We had an undergrad (Caltech, circa '75) who
implemented a general Turing machine as the "infinite tape/read-write head over
a character" model is natural to TECO. His biggest computation was 15↑2, with
computations done in base one, eg the input: "111111111111111*111111111111111".
It took two hours of CPU time.

TECO also had a command to read the 36 front panel switches on the console (we
had one of the last PDP-10/KA's at the time) -- probably a throw-back from the
days of single user jobs. Anyway, we had a macro that would generate text like
"switch four has been carelessly left in the 'on' position" which would then be
e-griped/msg'ed off to the operators. They never know if we were serious or not
(we didn't most of the time, either).

/Alan (CITPPN: [29970,AWP]) Paeth

Article 544 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!jarvis.csri.toronto.edu!utgpu!utzoo!sq!lee
From: lee@sq.sq.com (Liam R. E. Quin)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Fortran Carriage control statements
Message-ID: <1989Dec16.213539.5038@sq.sq.com>
Date: 16 Dec 89 21:35:39 GMT
References: <2428@hudson.acc.virginia.edu> <MAP.89Dec11202521@gaak.LCS.MIT.Edu>
Reply-To: lee@sq.com (Liam R. E. Quin)
Organization: Unixsys (UK) Ltd
Lines: 24

MAP@LCS.MIT.Edu (Michael A. Patton) writes:
>[..] one of the expense accounts was entitled:
>	"Comptroller and assistants"
>[truncated
>Somehow the report didn't go over so well!  I changed it to truncate
>that field to 17 characters and leave 2 blanks, that worked better.

Someone I knew at University (Warwick, England) left to join the computer
typesetting industry.  I saw him a couple of years later, and he told me
that one of the jobs he had done was a directory, which the customer
required to be set in Helvetica.
Now, in small sizes, Helvetica "rn" looks like "m"...

So he was not too surprised when a someone complained about her listing.
She was called Mrs. Burns.

[If jrnl is out there, maybe he can correct me...]

Lee
--
Liam R. Quin, lee@sq.com Until Dec. 20th  (visiting sq, not an employee)
After Dec 20, Unixsys (UK) Ltd, Knutsford, UK -- +44 565 50021
At home: +44 925 831084 (0830 GMT to midnight GMT only please...)
rn: .signature: cannot open: no such fire or dirigible

Article 545 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!apple!bbn!bbn.com!ncramer
From: ncramer@bbn.com (Nichael Cramer)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Computer names
Keywords: computers,names
Message-ID: <49833@bbn.COM>
Date: 17 Dec 89 00:40:20 GMT
References: <11212.484.forumexp@mts.rpi.edu> <12737@watcgl.waterloo.edu>
Sender: news@bbn.COM
Reply-To: ncramer@labs-n.bbn.com (Nichael Cramer)
Distribution: na
Organization: Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc., Cambridge MA
Lines: 20

In article <12737@watcgl.waterloo.edu> mark@watsnew.waterloo.edu (Mark Earnshaw) writes:
>In article <11212.484.forumexp@mts.rpi.edu> Greg_d._Moore@mts.rpi.edu (Commander Krugannal) writes:
>>      Speaking of folklore, I think it might be interesting to
>>   hear various names for computers.
>
>Here at the University of Waterloo, many of our machine names have the form
>"wat...".  The ones in our particular lab include:
>
>          watsnew     watever     watif      watelse     watgives
>
>          watsup      watnext     watnow     watsleft

Likewise, they also put out the FORTRAN I learned on, WATFOR and its sequel
WATFIV.

NICHAEL

|  Nichael Lynn Cramer    | "COmet"... "COsmic COnnection"... "COsmos"... |
|   --  Nichael@BBN.Com   |    COincidence or ...?? Carl Sagan, famous    |
|   --  NCramer@BBN.Com   | Astonomer or Devil Worshipper... YOU Decide!  |

Article 548 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!jarvis.csri.toronto.edu!utgpu!utzoo!henry
From: henry@utzoo.uucp (Henry Spencer)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Checkers on Williams Tubes (Was Re: SWAC's 0 special case)
Message-ID: <1989Dec17.011412.140@utzoo.uucp>
Date: 17 Dec 89 01:14:12 GMT
References: <10937@venera.isi.edu> <2756@client1.DRETOR.UUCP>
Organization: U of Toronto Zoology
Lines: 28

In article <2756@client1.DRETOR.UUCP> mmt@client1.dciem.dnd.ca (Martin Taylor) writes:
>The Ferut (Ferranti Mark 1) computer also used Williams tubes...
>The time of all this was summer of 1954 (maybe 53 or 55, but I think 54).

Speaking of the Ferut, there's J.N.P. Hume's account of how he broke the
Ferut...  ("The" Ferut because "Ferut" was "Ferranti at U of T" and there
was only one.)  From memory of hearing him tell it some years ago:

Seems the powerdown procedure for this thing was a bit elaborate, with a
posted instruction sheet giving ten steps.  One day he was finishing up,
late in the day, and came to power down the machine... and somebody had
added an eleventh step, in between two existing ones, handwritten and
not too intelligible.  He tried to comply... smell of smoke and unpleasant
noises.  He hastily finished the procedure and called Ferranti.  "Service
hours are 9 to 5, we'll be there tomorrow morning."  They show up next
morning, take a quick look at the situation, and start hauling access
covers off, tearing subassemblies apart, and so forth.  Hume sits in his
office all morning waiting for the bad news, with passersby in the hall
looking in pityingly:  here's the junior prof on a miniscule salary who
broke the multi-million-dollar machine...  Around noon, the head Ferranti
man comes into Hume's office, dumps a double handful of parts on his desk,
and says "that's it".  Little bits of damage everywhere, but nothing major
and no significant expense.  The kicker:  for months afterward, the machine
was much more reliable than before!  He'd stressed it just enough to burn
out all the marginal parts.
--
1755 EST, Dec 14, 1972:  human |     Henry Spencer at U of Toronto Zoology
exploration of space terminates| uunet!attcan!utzoo!henry henry@zoo.toronto.edu

Article 549 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!cs.utexas.edu!usc!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!apple!snorkelwacker!spdcc!xylogics!world!bzs
From: bzs@world.std.com (Barry Shein)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Fortran
Message-ID: <1989Dec17.000915.4391@world.std.com>
Date: 17 Dec 89 00:09:15 GMT
References: <30902@iuvax.cs.indiana.edu> <30904@iuvax.cs.indiana.edu> <331@guardian.UUCP>
Organization: The World @ Software Tool & Die
Lines: 70
In-Reply-To: prune@guardian.UUCP's message of 14 Dec 89 19:48:04 GMT

>   In short, almost anything that would let the programmer save time for the
>computer was a good design decision for the times.  The programmers were mostly
>machine-code and assembly people to be trained in this new tool.  Structured
>programming, HIPO, and code reviews were things of the future.

I noticed one of the programmers for my dept at harvard would
periodically pull out a hand calculator while programming (this was
the mid/late-70's), the calculator was often sitting on her (paper)
terminal.

I asked what she was doing with this and, to make a long story only
slightly longer, she was precalculating all sorts of constants in her
fortran programs to "save computer time", her programs were full of
things like:

PIHALF = 1.57079632679489661923
PIQUART = 0.78539816339744830962

That she was calculating by hand and typing in off her calculator.

But we had zillions of things like this so we're talking a lot of work
on that calculator.

She seemed really shattered when I told her what a waste of (her) time
that was and, I suspect, was quite sure I was wrong.

She also once told me this long story about her last programming job
(where she was a novice, I guess they had trained her.)

Since the machine they were to work on had no multiply instruction
every new (assembler) programmer, as their first assignment, was to
code a multiply subroutine (and probably divide etc.) The conversation
went something like:

Me:	oh, that's a nice exercise I guess
Her:	Mine was one of the fastest!
Me:	But you didn't actually use these...
Her:	Of course I did, we all used our own routines
Me:	You mean you used this first assignment multiply
routine in your production software...?
Her:	Of course! What else would you use?
Me:	Er, perhaps something coded and tested once by an
experienced programmer?
Her:	It was more efficient to use our own routine!
Me:	ummm, I think I hear my phone...

(Note: she didn't work for me, it was a different part of the dept tho
we often had to interact, I was constantly amazed..)

Moral:

Everything said about machines being so much more expensive to use and
justifying various things to save time is true.

It's also true that this one "truism" was used to cover up more
horseshit than probably any other phrase since someone came up with
"the check is in the mail".

Everytime you asked a programmer back then why they did some
half-assed thing the answer seemed to be "it's more efficient!"

Actually, hasn't changed much...oh, now it's "user-friendly" just as
often.

--
-Barry Shein

Software Tool & Die, Purveyors to the Trade         | bzs@world.std.com
1330 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02146, (617) 739-0202 | {xylogics,uunet}world!bzs

Article 551 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!psuvax1!schwartz
From: schwartz@psuvax1.cs.psu.edu (Scott Schwartz)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: weather servers, was Re: The only Coke machine on the Internet
Message-ID: <1989Dec17.040449.22478@psuvax1.cs.psu.edu>
Date: 17 Dec 89 04:04:49 GMT
References: <7295@pt.cs.cmu.edu> <7299@pt.cs.cmu.edu> <EMV.89Dec11162719@picasso.math.lsa.umich.edu>
Organization: Penn State University Computer Science
Lines: 8

AccuWeather, located here in Happy Vally(TM), has a service wherein
subscribers can dial in and get the latest weather info. If you can
grok Tektronix 4014 graphics you can look at weather maps and such.
Best reason to leave the tek emulation in xterm I've ever heard!

--
Scott Schwartz		<schwartz@shire.cs.psu.edu>
"More mips; cheaper mips; never too many." -- John Mashey

Article 553 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!psuvax1!schwartz
From: schwartz@psuvax1.cs.psu.edu (Scott Schwartz)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: virtual card reader jammed
Keywords: VM
Message-ID: <1989Dec17.053452.26375@psuvax1.cs.psu.edu>
Date: 17 Dec 89 05:34:52 GMT
Organization: Penn State University Computer Science
Lines: 18

One day last year I dropped by the office of a friend who works at the
computer center here at psu.  He and the other IBM gurus had a little
problem.  For some reason which I've forgotten RSCS wasn't working that
day, and so print jobs were backing up on one 3090 waiting to get sent
to the other.  They were trying to get all the spool files transfered
over and printed.  I don't recall the exact tactic they settled on, but
it involved networked virtual devices, using some other protocol: send
the data to the virtual card reader of the VM system that had the
printers.  So the head programmer whips out a few lines of JCL and
starts it all rolling.  A minute later he gets an error message back:
"Card reader jammed.  Please reset."  Huh?  They all stare at the
screen for a while.  I say, "How do you do that?"  "Hit the reset
switch on the reader."   They had to take the system down to fix it.

--
Scott Schwartz		<schwartz@shire.cs.psu.edu>
"More mips; cheaper mips; never too many." -- John Mashey

Article 555 of alt.folklore.computers:
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Path: rochester!ken
From: ken@cs.rochester.edu (Ken Yap)
Subject: Re: virtual card reader jammed
Message-ID: <1989Dec17.060923.15667@cs.rochester.edu>
Keywords: VM
Address: Rochester, NY 14627, (716) 275-1448
Organization: University of Rochester Computer Science Department
References: <1989Dec17.053452.26375@psuvax1.cs.psu.edu>
Date: Sun, 17 Dec 89 06:09:23 GMT

I don't know if any Australians get this newsgroup. I hope they forgive
and correct my bad memory.

At the University of Sydney they were using big Cyber mainframes for
student jobs in the 77-79 timeframe. This was B.W. (Before
Workstations) remember. The department was physically separated from
the Computing Center by about 500 meters and jobs were submitted via a
RJE station. The way Unix got a foothold on Australian territory was as
a replacement for the CDC RJE software. Ian Johnstone and colleagues of
the UNSW had heard of this software called V6 which universities could
get for a pittance. What the heck, why not? After 6 man-months (I
think) of C hacking, they had a standalone Unix image that handled all
the RJE functions and was easier to maintain. The Sydney Univ. RJE
system was derived from the UNSW code. Our station was a 11/34 with two
line printers, a card reader and a teletype console. It read student
jobs from the hopper and generated the commands and delays required to
talk to the Cyber (no readahead in NOS).  Piers Dick-Lauder, our
resident guru, had dumped the OS image onto a pack of cards which was
used to boot the system from the card reader. Each card had the
starting address in memory of the contents so it didn't matter if you
spilled the deck!

This system served us well. Besides supporting Pascal teaching, there
was an assembler and simulator for a PDP-11 written in Fortran used for
teaching machine architecture. Imagine running a machine simulation in
a batch job.

In 1980 the department got a 11/780 and the RJE system was retired.
They did some amazing things with Unix V32 (BSD was at Release 1 or 2)
on that machine to support 60-80 users running ed and pi jobs.  Some of
that scheduling software was described in The Fair Share Scheduler (?)
in a recent CACM issue.  But that machine has a bunch of other
stories.

Article 558 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!usc!snorkelwacker!bloom-beacon!eru!luth!sunic!sics.se!sics.se!klemets
From: klemets@sics.se (Anders Klemets)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: DEC's sense of humor (was Re: Teco and peace)
Message-ID: <KLEMETS.89Dec17142523@shai.sics.se>
Date: 17 Dec 89 13:25:23 GMT
References: <7296@pt.cs.cmu.edu> <1989Dec16.063832.529@world.std.com>
Sender: news@sics.se
Organization: Swedish Institute of Computer Science, Kista
Lines: 17

Try this:

Nadja KTH Dec-2020 7.02 14:09:37 TTY60, line NADJA_60, system 4280

.disco duck
?DSCQCK Quack quack
.disco fever
?DSC39C 39 degrees centigrade

I think there is a third "disco" command that yields a similar error message,
but I do not remember which one it is.

Anders
--
klemets@sics.se

Article 559 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!mit-eddie!mit-amt!snorkelwacker!spdcc!merk!xylogics!cloud9!jjmhome!m2c!wpi!northrup
From: northrup@wpi.wpi.edu (Jim Northrup)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: COBOL program
Message-ID: <6291@wpi.wpi.edu>
Date: 14 Dec 89 19:34:29 GMT
References: <18494@bellcore.bellcore.com> <552@enea.se>
Reply-To: northrup@wpi.wpi.edu (Jim Northrup)
Organization: Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester ,MA
Lines: 44

In article <552@enea.se> sommar@enea.se (Erland Sommarskog) writes:
>tom reingold (tr@bellcore.com) writes:
>>I heard in the folklore that once a COBOL programmer wrote a program
>>	IF I = 1 THEN ADD 1 TO COUNTER.
>>	IF I = 2 THEN ADD 2 TO COUNTER.
>I have actually seen such a program. It was not Cobol, but Fortran
>.....................But the sad story was when I went through the
>exams with a teacher at the CS department. (I was only an assisting
>student teacher.) And he said: "It clumsy, but it is correct; it
>would work. We can't disapprove him." He had the final say, but I
>would even less approve that program today.

There was a program written in BASIC for the TRS-80 Model I to assist
with fantasy role-playing gaming (the "Dungeon Master's Familiar") that
appeared in an early 1980's issue of "Dragon" magazine.  The programmer
wanted to generate a random number between 1 and 4 if the user typed
"4", a random number between 1 and 6 if the user typed "6", etc.  As I
recall, the code looked like this:
-------------------------------------
def fnr(x) = int(rnd*x) + 1
...
input z$: z = val(z$)
if z = 4 gosub 100
if z = 6 gosub 200
if z = 8 gosub 300
...
100 a = fnr(4) : return
200 a = fnr(6) : return
300 a = fnr(8) : return
-------------------------------------
Talk about doing things the hard way!  And this program didn't just get
turned in as a class assignment, it got published!  I remember typing it
in to my old C-64 (translating to C-basic at the same time), and getting
to that section of code.  I was stunned....

Jim Northrup                                               northrup@wpi.wpi.edu
Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester MA  01609
I wish I could hear the soundtrack to my life.  Then I would know when to duck.
--
Jim Northrup                                               northrup@wpi.wpi.edu
Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester MA  01609
I wish I could hear the soundtrack to my life.  Then I would know when to duck.

Article 561 of alt.folklore.computers:
Xref: rochester alt.folklore.computers:561 rec.autos:20115
Path: rochester!cornell!uw-beaver!sumax!amc-gw!pilchuck!ssc!mcgp1!flak
From: flak@mcgp1.UUCP (Dan Flak)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers,rec.autos
Subject: What operating system is your car?
Message-ID: <3022@mcgp1.UUCP>
Date: 16 Dec 89 20:55:36 GMT
Distribution: usa
Organization: McCaw Cellular Communications, Inc., Seattle, WA
Lines: 29

The following happened to me concerning "Cherry Bomb II" (a red Ford
Tempo).

On Monday morning my car wouldn't start, (it cranked like crazy,
the spark just wouldn't "fire"). So my mechanic came over,
"jumpered" some connectors and it fired away. I drove it to his
station where he hooked it up to his $5,000 diagnostic computer. According to the compuuter there was nothing wrong. (Just my luck, his computer was DOS, my car was BSD 4.2 :-). The next morning, I had the same problem. The mechanic comes to my house (I live a block away), pours hot coffee over several of the components, jumps in, and starts the car. He then takes out a can of freon, sprays a component, starts the car, sprays another, starts the car, sprays a third, and doesn't start the car. The third component is replaced, and so far I haven't had a problem since. My questions are: 1) What *is* the "operating system" for an electronic ignition system? 2) Does anyone have a "real" computer story where seemingly complex technical problems are cured by primative remedies? -- Dan Flak - McCaw Cellular Communications Inc., 201 Elliot Ave W., Suite 105, Seattle, Wa 98119, 206-283-2658, (usenet: thebes!mcgp1!flak) Article 562 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!usc!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!rpi!image.soe.clarkson.edu!news From: demarem@clutx.clarkson.edu (Michael Demare) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Primos Rel 18/20 Security Hole Message-ID: <1989Dec17.190122.5909@sun.soe.clarkson.edu> Date: 17 Dec 89 19:01:22 GMT References: <8456@ttidca.TTI.COM> Sender: news@sun.soe.clarkson.edu Reply-To: demarem@clutx.clarkson.edu Organization: Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY Lines: 34 From article <8456@ttidca.TTI.COM>, by paulb@ttidca.TTI.COM (Paul Blumstein): > In the early '80s, Prime Computer came out with their new Operating System > (Primos) Release 18 (or was it 20?). Anyway, one of the new features of > this release was that it had additional security features. It was > previewed at the Prime Users Group (PUG) meeting in Long Beach, CA where > the Prime executives proudly boasted that it was impossible to break > security. > > After about 20 minutes of hacking away at a terminal, a high school student > attending the meeting, printed off a list of everyone's passwords. The > red-faced execs announced that the OS will be released after this newly- > found security bug is fixed. > > ============================================================================= > Paul Blumstein | "The judicial system is very fast now that they've gotten > Citicorp/TTI | rid of the lawyers" - Back to the Future 2 (in 2015 AD) > Santa Monica, CA +------------------------------------------------------- > {philabs,csun,psivax}!ttidca!paulb or paulb@ttidca.TTI.COM > DISCLAIMER: Everything & everyone is hereby disclaimed! Way back when I was in high school, (A certain private school in NJ) aquired a new Prime and about 40 terminals. The system administrater was a little paranoid but thought the security to be unbreachable and consequently did not moniter us Fortran students very well. We were denied access to change access to our directories and felt that this most unfair. To create a "private" file system for myself and my cadre all I needed to do was create a subdirectory under the mail directory with our names and a lot of bogus names given privilages. Under that we created a whole separate file system. My opinion is that PrimeOs had so many security holes that a two-year old could break security. Michael de Mare demarem@clutx.clarkson.edu "Those who followeth me shall walketh off cliffs." Article 563 of alt.folklore.computers: Xref: rochester alt.folklore.computers:563 rec.autos:20121 Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers,rec.autos Path: rochester!fulk From: fulk@cs.rochester.edu (Mark Fulk) Subject: Re: Apparently primitive remedies (was: What operating system is your car?) Message-ID: <1989Dec17.201656.5616@cs.rochester.edu> Reply-To: fulk@cs.rochester.edu (Mark Fulk) Organization: University of Rochester Computer Science Department References: <3022@mcgp1.UUCP> Distribution: usa Date: Sun, 17 Dec 89 20:16:56 GMT I assembled an Imsai 8800 and a Digital Group from kits (for DG aficianadoes, yes I got a cabinet!!). Both failed to work the first powerup, and the most useful diagnostic tool I used was indeed a freon can. (The other was my thumb.) The Imsai would start ok, and then freeze up after about 10 minutes. Popping the top and spraying ICs revealed that the timer chip was temperature sensitive; spraying it made the computer work again. The DG had the same sort of problem. This time, I left the top off the cabinet and pressed the pad of my thumb on IC packages for thirty seconds or so each. Eventually doing so reproduced the problem, in a bus interface chip as I recall. Of course, my thumb reduced the cooling rate of the chip. It helped that I am double-jointed; I can bend my thumb back 90 degrees. There is another story about ultraviolet-erasable PROMS. Seems that if you program and erase one quite a few times in a row, it loses the ability to be programmed. The cure is to bake it in a 350 degree oven for half an hour. Mark ZZ Article 564 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!bbn!usc!samsung!uunet!bywater!scifi!njs From: njs@scifi.UUCP (Nicholas J. Simicich) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Revenge! Message-ID: <1002@scifi.UUCP> Date: 17 Dec 89 18:38:31 GMT References: <1198@mit-amt.MEDIA.MIT.EDU> <33920@mirror.UUCP> Reply-To: njs@scifi.UUCP (Nicholas J. Simicich) Organization: Nick Simicich, Peekskill, NY Lines: 39 Adam Glass writes: =>Does anyone out there have any great revenge stories? I was wondering =>what to give a particular sys admin (who is absolutely, universally =>hated with a passion) when I graduate this spring. Back more than 10 years ago, I had a job working as Virginia Commonwealth University. One of the people in Systems Programming was said to be able to "piss Jesus Christ off in a three minute phone call" and managed to get one of the student consultants totally ticked off. Now this same student consultant was in charge of the training of neophytes in the use of the 370/148 and 370/158. Several partitions were reserved to allow those students to run WATBOL (Waterloo Cobol), WATFIV (Waterloo Fortran, but better than WATFOR) and several other fast batchers. These students would punch card decks and submit jobs. Perhaps a thousand per day. But they weren't there to learn JCL. So the student consultant would just give them a JOB card to copy. Now this systems programmer had the userid BRYDON, and the student consultant told the people in his class that a JOB card had to include the clause NOTIFY=BRYDON to be valid. Now, on TSO, you could issue a command to turn inter-user messages off, but these notify messages didn't come from another user, they came from the system. And you couldn't turn system messages off, since you might get an emergency warning from an operator, telling you to save and log off. Management wouldn't let him put a fix in. The terminals were glass, but ran in line mode, and the messages would interfere with whatever he was doing. Two years later, he was still, occasionally, getting a notification that some student's WATFIV job had been run. Sometimes, the simplest revenges can be the best. -- Nick Simicich --- uunet!bywater!scifi!njs --- njs@ibm.com (Internet) Article 565 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!usc!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!apple!agate!usenet From: raymond@math.berkeley.edu (Raymond Chen) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Is that a promise? Summary: Amusing sysadmin message Message-ID: <1989Dec17.201514.11119@agate.berkeley.edu> Date: 17 Dec 89 20:15:14 GMT Sender: usenet@agate.berkeley.edu (USENET Administrator;;;;ZU44) Reply-To: raymond@math.berkeley.edu (Raymond Chen) Organization: U.C. Berkeley Lines: 9 The following message was posted to the "msgs" system earlier this year. Message 389: From SYSADMIN@pucc Fri Nov 10 13:23:02 1989 Subject: 3081 THE 3081 WILL NOT BE GOING DOWN 11/12/89. -- raymond@math.berkeley.edu mathematician by training, hacker by choice Article 567 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!apple!sun-barr!newstop!sun!adapt!linden From: linden@adapt.Sun.COM (Peter van der Linden) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Edit paper tape Message-ID: <129346@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> Date: 17 Dec 89 23:27:29 GMT References: <6877@shlump.nac.dec.com> <1989Dec15.041951.8081@world.std.com> <MAP.89Dec15144003@gaak.LCS.MIT.EDU> <1989Dec17.005842.4762@world.std.com> Sender: news@sun.Eng.Sun.COM Reply-To: linden@sun.UUCP (Peter van der Linden) Distribution: alt Organization: Sun Microsystems, Mountain View Lines: 19 Barry Shein (whose "Software Tool & Die" Co has a *primo* logo) asks: > but how do you edit and correct a paper tape? Horrible as it sounds, it was actually done. You overpunch the errant character(s) to all holes. All holes is a special code that is usually just ignored. You then cut the tape, and splice in the replacement character(s). There are special adhesive patches that consist of all holes. Paper tape editing can also be accomplished more easily by having an input reader and an output punch as two separate devices. Thought for the day: how much longer will IBM be able to con the public into believing it is a computer company? ---------------- Programmers of the world unite; you have nothing to use but your brains! Peter van der Linden linden@SuN.cOm (415) 336-6206 Article 568 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!bbn!usc!sdsu!ucselx!maxc1142 From: maxc1142@ucselx.sdsu.edu (physically phffft) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: TRS-80's (Was Re: Micro Folklore...) Message-ID: <4251@ucselx.sdsu.edu> Date: 18 Dec 89 02:03:57 GMT References: <89343.221624DSB100@PSUVM.BITNET> Reply-To: maxc1142@ucselx.UUCP (physically phffft) Organization: San Diego State University Computing Services Lines: 40 In article <89343.221624DSB100@PSUVM.BITNET> DSB100@PSUVM.BITNET (David Barr) writes: >And it only had >upper case letters. (The full ASCII set was supported, except the >lowercase letters came out uppercase) I remember in one issue 80 Micro published an article stating that all you had to do to get lower case was buy a new character generator. The chip was around$5, and they would optionally install it for $55. The article kindly gave instructions on installing the chip ourselves, something like a couple of cuts and jumpers (hey, I built my own expansion interface. Of course I can do cuts and jumpers.) I went running down to my local radio shack to buy the chip and surprise surprise, now the chip was$60 but
installation was free!  A few months later an article was published indicating
some of us lucky ones didn't need new character generators, we just needed
a new ram chip to hold 1 bit.  I put that chip in and viola, lower case!

I quickly learned to love my TRS-80, but developed an extreme hatred for Radio
Shack.  Their philosophy was that if you weren't a corporate buyer looking
to get several units, you weren't worth their time.  I've got all sorts of
horror stories with the company, so much so I won't go into one of their
stores anymore.  And pre-TRS-80 I had their junior science kits, shortwave
radios, and bought all parts for my projects there.  Makes you wonder what
they were thinking of?

One other thing I should mention concerns their sales comissions.  When I
got my first computer (1979) I looked carefully at everything available.
About 4 different machines.  Radio Shack employees didn't know diddly
about their machines, when I went in to buy mine I was loitering around
their display unit waiting for a sales slime to show up.  The guy appeared
and I asked a few questions, more to delay spending the $1,000 than anything. The guy didn't understand the questions, let alone know the answers. So, while filling out the sales slip he comes to the question "who convinced you to buy this machine". I pointed to the girl manning the cash register, who had never even bothered to look in our direction the whole time, and said "She did." The moral? Just because the teenage customer is in levies, a tee shirt, and hasn't shaven, don't treat him like a nobody. Especially when he knows more about what your selling than you do. jim "Only dead fish go with the flow" Article 569 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!mcsun!ukc!axion!vision!simon From: simon@vision.UUCP (Simon Taylor) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Another secret message Message-ID: <866@vision.UUCP> Date: 17 Dec 89 21:07:32 GMT References: <15000@well.UUCP> <162@bucsb.UUCP> Reply-To: simon@vision.UUCP (Simon Taylor) Organization: VisionWare Ltd., Leeds, UK Lines: 28 In article <162@bucsb.UUCP> apollo@bucsb.bu.edu (Douglas Chan) writes: >In article <15000@well.UUCP> mandel@well.UUCP (Tom Mandel) writes: >>The only secret message I ever discovered was in the FW.EXE file >>of Framework 1.0, the first release of Ashton-Tate's integrated >>software package for IBM-PCs and compatibles. Stuck somewhere >>down in the middle of what was a 200K file of gibberish is the >>ASCII string: "BEAT CAL". I remember in one of the overlay files for Wordstar Version 2.01 (or thereabouts) for my trusty Apple ][+ running CP/M, if one "typed" or cat'd the file you saw nothing interesting, if however you were a little more persistent and used PIP (CP/M's attempt at dd) to dump the contents of the file, you were greated with the message: Nosey aren't you? Nice one Micropro ! Simon Taylor UUCP : simon@vision.uucp VisionWare Ltd BANGNET : ...!uunet!mcsun!ukc!vision!simon Systime House PHONE : +44 532 529292 Ex. 2458 Leeds Business Park FAX : +44 532 526614 Leeds LS27 0JG TELEX : 556283 SYSTIM G England ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------- VisionWare: The Home Of DOS-UNIX Integration ----------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Article 570 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!psuvax1!schwartz From: schwartz@psuvax1.cs.psu.edu (Scott Schwartz) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Primos Rel 18/20 Security Hole Message-ID: <1989Dec18.034037.17203@psuvax1.cs.psu.edu> Date: 18 Dec 89 03:40:37 GMT References: <8456@ttidca.TTI.COM> <1989Dec17.190122.5909@sun.soe.clarkson.edu> Organization: Penn State University Computer Science Lines: 15 The big problem with old versions of Primos (or pr1mos, as the manuals said) was that lots of programs relied on embedded passwords in executables to access protected directories. Editing, much less disassembling, a binary would give lots of programs away. Then when rev 20 came out (I think it was 20... maybe 19) with user accessible dynamic libraries, whole new worlds of hacking opened up. By searching for the DYNT entries in the binary and replacing them with your own you could wreak havoc. One systems programmer I knew (Hi Franz!) went to incredible lengths to hide the names of the DYNTs... even to the extent of building call frames by hand and then branching to them (shudder). -- Scott Schwartz <schwartz@shire.cs.psu.edu> "More mips; cheaper mips; never too many." -- John Mashey Article 572 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uunet!convex!schumach@convex.com From: schumach@convex.com (Richard A. Schumacher) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: notable computer stories in fiction and the media Message-ID: <4057@convex.UUCP> Date: 18 Dec 89 05:46:08 GMT References: <6410@lindy.Stanford.EDU> <4487@ur-cc.UUCP> <11421@csli.Stanford.EDU> <11423@csli.Stanford.EDU> <5817@eos.UUCP> Sender: usenet@convex.UUCP Distribution: na Lines: 8 The mainframe used in "Die Hard" was an air-cooled ETA-10 model; this is the black bubble-topped thingy in the shoot-up-the-computer-center scene. Actually what's seen in the movie is not a skin from a production machine, but a prop built 30% larger than the real thing. The producers felt that the real skin was too small to look like a supercomputer! (And as it turned out, skins of this design were never shipped by ETA.) The movie prop was on display at ETA headquarters in 1987. Article 571 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uunet!hoptoad!utzoo!censor!geac!sq!lee From: lee@sq.sq.com (Liam R. E. Quin) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: COBOL program Message-ID: <1989Dec17.224505.27032@sq.sq.com> Date: 17 Dec 89 22:45:05 GMT References: <18494@bellcore.bellcore.com> <552@enea.se> Reply-To: lee@sq.com (Liam R. E. Quin) Organization: Unixsys (UK) Ltd Lines: 30 In article <552@enea.se> sommar@enea.se (Erland Sommarskog) writes: >tom reingold (tr@bellcore.com) writes: >>I heard in the folklore that once a COBOL programmer wrote a program >>with the sequence below. Forgive the syntax because I don't know >>COBOL. (Big loss!) It's an approximation. >>... >> IF I = 1 THEN ADD 1 TO COUNTER. >> IF I = 2 THEN ADD 2 TO COUNTER. >I have actually seen such a program. It was not Cobol, but Fortran Perhaps we all have... Jon Bentley's Programming Pearls' contains this and a number of other anedotes. The COBOL program he describes had to read numbers in the range 1..500 and print out how many of each it had seen -- the program was a little over 1500 lines long: 500 initialisations, 500 IF statements and 500 print statements. There is a new volume, More Porgramming Pearls' which is (I think) somewhat thinner, but still an excellent read. The new volume includes the anecdote about the persone who could only log on when he was standing up, not when seated (no, I won't explain... read the book!). Lee -- Liam R. Quin, lee@sq.com Until Dec. 20th (visiting sq, not an employee) After Dec 20, Unixsys (UK) Ltd, Knutsford, UK -- +44 565 50021 At home: +44 925 831084 (0830 GMT to midnight GMT only please...) rn: .signature: cannot open: no such fire or dirigible Article 574 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uunet!mcsun!ukc!edcastle!aiai!rbk From: rbk@aiai.ed.ac.uk (Richard Kirby) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: An answer to what is the first year of the next century. Message-ID: <1468@skye.ed.ac.uk> Date: 18 Dec 89 09:40:53 GMT References: <18494@bellcore.bellcore.com> <552@enea.se> <8483@ttidca.TTI.COM> Reply-To: rbk@aiai.UUCP (Richard Kirby) Organization: AIAI, University of Edinburgh, Scotland Lines: 25 Since I last posted to alt.folklore.computers about the year 2000 being a leap year, but not 2100, I have received several messages along the lines of 2000 is the last year of this century, not the start of the next. Well this is clearly WRONG. Consider:- This is the twentieth century right, but why? Because its 19xx + 1, hence the year 2000 will be in the 21st century cause its 20 + 1. Jesus, was born. 1 A.D was when he was 1 year old, and starting his 2nd year. 2 A.D was when he was 2 years old, and starting his 3rd year. ... 9 A.D. was when he was 9 years old and starting his 10th year, so at 23:59:59.999* on 31st Dec 09 he had lived 10 years (or as close as infinitely possible), so 10 A.D must be the start of a new decade, otherwise he would have lived 11 years in a decade, and surely we all agree that a decade is deca (10) years. Hence by extrapolation, 00:00:00.0000000* 100 A.D must have been the start of a new century. Q.E.D | Richard Kirby | ARPA: Richard.Kirby%uk.ac.ed@nfsnet-relay.ac.uk | A.I.A.I. | JANET: Richard.Kirby@uk.ac.ed | University of Edinburgh | UUCP: ...!ukc!ed.ac.uk!Richard.Kirby | 80 South Bridge | VOICE: +010 031-225-4464 x213 | Edinburgh EH1 1HN | < Insert pithy comment> Article 576 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!sco!gorn!filbo From: filbo@gorn.santa-cruz.ca.us (Bela Lubkin) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Never change your hard disk's baud rate Message-ID: <110.filbo@gorn.santa-cruz.ca.us> Date: 18 Dec 89 10:05:39 GMT Lines: 59 X-Claimer: I >am< R Pentomino! During high school I took several mathematics and computer science classes at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. These were held in the Engineering and Math Sciences building. In this building was a student-accessible computer lab containing a PDP-8 and several terminals attached to a VAX-11/780. The lab was always accessible since someone had filled the keyhole of one of the building's doors with solder, making it impossible to lock (it is still that way to this day, or at least was 6 months ago). When I started hanging around the lab, I was given an account on the PDP-8; but that machine was very old and died the final death less than a month later. I was then given a non-priveleged account on the VAX. The VAX had a dial-out modem which I sometimes used to call one of the 2 or 3 BBSes (RCP/M or CBBS) that existed at the time in Milwaukee. I forget its name, but I used a communications program written by one of the VAX lab hackers. The program started by asking for a device name; normally one responded "TTA2:" (or whatever the modem was on). Once, for the heck of it, I told it "DMA1:" -- the user-storage disk drive. Then I told it to change the drive's baud rate. Under VMS, this is accomplished by a QIO call that is somewhat analogous to UNIX ioctl call. The comm program blindly sent the disk driver the bit pattern which would tell a terminal driver to change baud rates. I never did check what that pattern meant to the disk driver, but its effect was immediate and final: that drive became inaccessible. At the time I thought it was even worse -- I thought I'd destroyed the drive. The VAX-11/780 has a console processor and watchdog, I believe an LSI-11/03, which will reboot the machine after a crash. But this wasn't a crash -- the system was still running, it was just impossible to do anything useful with it. What I needed was a way to crash the machine, but my account didn't have any of the necessary privileges. Nobody else in the lab at that moment could do it either. It was late at night; it began to look like we'd just have to leave the machine in this half-crashed state and let the system manager deal with it in the morning. Finally someone came in who had system manager priveleges; but for some reason he was unable to crash the machine either. I remember he wrote a simple crash program and couldn't get it to work -- something on the order of 'change mode to kernel; HALT'. At this point someone arrived who had a key to the machine room down the hall. We burst in there only to find that the front panel keyswitch was set to disable the console, and nobody had a front panel key. After some discussion and hair-tearing, we settled on a last-resort solution: we unplugged the machine and plugged it back in. And what do you know, it booted up just fine and everything was back to normal. The communications program was soon modified to accept only >terminal< device names. So remember, never change your disk drive's baud rate. ;-} Bela Lubkin * * // filbo@gorn.santa-cruz.ca.us CI$: 73047,1112 (slow)
@       * *     //  belal@sco.com  ..ucbvax!ucscc!{gorn!filbo,sco!belal}
R Pentomino    *   \X/  Filbo @ Pyrzqxgl +408-476-4633 and XBBS +408-476-4945

Article 577 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uunet!pilchuck!ssc!mcgp1!flak
From: flak@mcgp1.UUCP (Dan Flak)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: More Military Computing
Keywords: Tubes
Message-ID: <3024@mcgp1.UUCP>
Date: 17 Dec 89 20:08:32 GMT
References: <1029@milton.acs.washington.edu>
Reply-To: flak@mcgp1.UUCP (Dan Flak)
Distribution: alt
Organization: McCaw Cellular Communications, Inc., Seattle
Lines: 19

In article <1029@milton.acs.washington.edu> fetrow@milton.acs.washington.edu (David Fetrow) writes:
[Description of obsolete A.F. Air Traffic Control Computer Deleted]

> It was replaced in the mid-80's with a couple boxes the size of Coke machines. The
>rumour was they paid for them out of the AIR CONDITIONING budget for Bonnie. I very much
>regret not having tried to get a piece of that for a souvenier after they were
>decomissioned.

Tulsa Approach Control still uses an ENIAC computer very similar to the
one described in the orginal article. It has a whole (large) room
all to itself, and hordes of personnel attending it. It was
originally used by NORAD to track incoming missles.

The thing that has me worried is that Tulsa Approach Control is
*proud* to have this beastie tracking their traffic!
worried about it is that Tulsa
--
Dan Flak - McCaw Cellular Communications Inc., 201 Elliot Ave W.,
Suite 105, Seattle, Wa 98119, 206-283-2658, (usenet: thebes!mcgp1!flak)

Article 578 of alt.folklore.computers:
From: madd@world.std.com (jim frost)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Edit paper tape
Message-ID: <1989Dec18.041746.10789@world.std.com>
Date: 18 Dec 89 04:17:46 GMT
References: <6877@shlump.nac.dec.com> <1989Dec15.041951.8081@world.std.com> <MAP.89Dec15144003@gaak.LCS.MIT.EDU> <1989Dec17.005842.4762@world.std.com> <129346@sun.Eng.Sun.COM>
Distribution: alt
Organization: Software Tool & Die
Lines: 21

linden@adapt.Sun.COM (Peter van der Linden) writes:
>Thought for the day: how much longer will IBM be able to con the
>public into believing it is a computer company?

Could be awhile.  They did a fine job of conning the public into
believing that the PC was a computer.  There Ain't No Justice.

More on the topic of folklore, IBM had two failures before coming up
with the IBM PC.  One was the IBM System/23 Datamaster which had 128k,
was EBCDIC, had 2 8" drives, and only spoke the strangest dialect of
BASIC I've ever had the displeasure of dealing with.  The keyboard was
the old familiar PC keyboard (function keys were dedicated and ALT was
a command key).  Closed architecture and only gave errors by number
(you looked 'em up).  This precursor to the PC was abandoned almost
immediately, much to the annoyance of those who bought them (so much
for customer support).

Who knows what the other was?

jim frost

Article 579 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uwm.edu!mailrus!iuvax!rutgers!aramis.rutgers.edu!athos.rutgers.edu!masticol
From: masticol@athos.rutgers.edu (Steve Masticola)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Cookie Monster
Message-ID: <Dec.18.09.24.48.1989.4233@athos.rutgers.edu>
Date: 18 Dec 89 14:24:49 GMT
References: <49252@bbn.COM> <49456@bbn.COM>
Organization: Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick, N.J.
Lines: 7

A friend of mine at U. Penn did this to the boot deck of the school's
Spectra 70/46. If the machine was seriously trashed enough to have to
be rebooted from cards, it would partially complete and then announce,
"I WANT A COOKIE". The boot would resume when the operator gave it "A

Ah, them was the days of wooden chips and iron men...

Article 580 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!cbmvax!jesup
From: jesup@cbmvax.commodore.com (Randell Jesup)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: (none)
Message-ID: <9076@cbmvax.commodore.com>
Date: 18 Dec 89 11:09:39 GMT
References: <11212.484.forumexp@mts.rpi.edu>
Reply-To: jesup@cbmvax.commodore.com (Randell Jesup)
Organization: Commodore, West Chester, PA
Lines: 32

In article <11212.484.forumexp@mts.rpi.edu> Greg_d._Moore@mts.rpi.edu (Commander Krugannal) writes:
>   hear various names for computers. Here at RPI, we have had
>   several computers. The first, (sorry not sure what it was)
>   was actually 4 hung together. This of course was known as
>   "Bob&? and Ted&Alice" ( I believe, I am much to young to have

A 360 of some sort.

>   (I believe, I may have left one out), was a large behometh known
>   as "Fat Albert". This I believe was a IBM 3033. The heat it

Fat Albert was a 370/?168?.  It was the last to live in the bottom
floor of the Math building.  The 3033 was called Myron, and ran from ~1979
until ~1984.  (memory is fuzzy)  Myron once ran for "meanest man on campus";
a contest held every other year in the spring.  It's high priest (Tamar
Wexler) sacrificed an HP calculator (or TI) in front of the Chapel entrance.
Myron was also a registered member of the Society for Creative Anachronism
(SCA), under the name "Myron Van Rensselaer".

>   produced was used to heat the building in which it was housed.

True.

>     Also, how many places have computer center in a converted chapel,
>   complete with stained glass windows?

Quite a pretty place, also quite ironic.

--
Randell Jesup, Keeper of AmigaDos, Commodore Engineering.
{uunet|rutgers}!cbmvax!jesup, jesup@cbmvax.cbm.commodore.com  BIX: rjesup
Common phrase heard at Amiga Devcon '89: "It's in there!"

Article 581 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!cbmvax!jesup
From: jesup@cbmvax.commodore.com (Randell Jesup)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: TRS-80/PDP-8 radio fun
Message-ID: <9078@cbmvax.commodore.com>
Date: 18 Dec 89 11:19:42 GMT
Reply-To: jesup@cbmvax.commodore.com (Randell Jesup)
Organization: Commodore, West Chester, PA
Lines: 37

There was an old PDP-8 at RPI owned by the XRay crystallography lab, which was
donated to the RPI-ACM in ~1983.  This was serial #165, had NO integrated
circuits in it (built entirely from DEC Flip-Chips - discrete transistors and
resistors, etc; about 4 flip-flops/board).  Anyway, it had an entire extra
cabinet of custom Flip-Chip hardware to control the Xray equipment.  What we
couldn't figure out was the speaker sitting on top of the bix, with a wire
running into it.  Well, we traced the wire back to a few extra boards which
implemented an i/o port, and sent the output bit through a pulse-amplifier
Flip-Chip to the speaker.  There were some card decks labelled with various
songs that came with it.  Cute hack by someone lost in prehistory.

Another amusing RPI hack involved MTS (mentioned before).  There were NO
inter-process communication facilities at the time, and someone wanted to
write a 'talk' program.  This person noted that the fp-registers of the
machine (IBM 3033) were stored in readable shared memory (if I remember right)
when your process was not running.  So he passed messages in the FP registers,
by stuffing them and then doing a wait of some sort.

Of course, MTS also had a standard PDP-8 simulator...

Last story: Some of the Courier terminals (3270-workalikes) had their
controllers left in maintenance mode.  You could access some strange functions
(most of them useless) by playing with funny combinations of function keys.
One of them displayed the current packet being sent to all the terminals (to
update a screen).  An ACM member playing with this saw someone's editor screen.
Said screen had a message to the systems staff about people being able to read
other peoples screens.  The controller was fixed soon after that. (The ACM
people were really hunting for a fabled "asteroids" program buried in the
terminals.  There wasn't one, but they disassembled much of the operating code
in the terminal by hand in the process of looking for it (Z80-based machine)).

Does any one else remember the infamous "Charlie Roth clones"?

--
Randell Jesup, Keeper of AmigaDos, Commodore Engineering.
{uunet|rutgers}!cbmvax!jesup, jesup@cbmvax.cbm.commodore.com  BIX: rjesup
Common phrase heard at Amiga Devcon '89: "It's in there!"

Article 582 of alt.folklore.computers:
Xref: rochester alt.folklore.computers:582 rec.autos:20143
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uunet!ns-mx!pyrite.cs.uiowa.edu
From: jones@pyrite.cs.uiowa.edu (Douglas W. Jones,201H MLH,3193350740,3193382879)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers,rec.autos
Subject: Freon debugging
Message-ID: <319@ns-mx.uiowa.edu>
Date: 18 Dec 89 14:54:53 GMT
References: <3022@mcgp1.UUCP>
Sender: news@ns-mx.uiowa.edu
Followup-To: alt.folklore.computers
Distribution: usa
Lines: 30

From article <3022@mcgp1.UUCP>, by flak@mcgp1.UUCP (Dan Flak):
>
> The next morning, I had the same problem. The mechanic comes to
> my house (I live a block away), pours hot coffee over several of
> the components, jumps in, and starts the car. He then takes out a
> can of freon, sprays a component, starts the car, sprays another,
> starts the car, sprays a third, and doesn't start the car.
>
I used to work on a Modcomp IV computer at the University of Illinois
School of Basic Medical Sciences.  We wrote a timesharing system on
it that ran a version of the Tutor language from the Plato system.

The Modcomp IV was one of the early 32-bit minicomputers, and Modcomp
pushed the spec's on a number of the parts they used.  After about a
year of use, the machine started failing regularly, but the failures
weren't detected by the official diagnostics; the diagnostic that
worked was to reboot the machine and see if it came up.

The repair man found that the most reliable way to track down the
intermittent components that were causing the problem was exactly
the solution used on Dan Flak's car, minus the coffee.  He'd squirt
freon at a batch of chips, and if the machine came up, the bad chip
must have been one of the chips he cooled.

It turned out that TI had a bad mask on one of their (then relatively
new) 74LS series chips, and the error in the mask made all the chips
marginally below spec.  Modcomp apparently got something out of TI
when TI finally admitted their error.
Doug Jones
jones@herky.cs.uiowa.edu

Article 584 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!ux1.cso.uiuc.edu!deimos!maverick!brtmac
From: brtmac@maverick.ksux.ksu.edu (Brett McCoy)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: An answer to what is the first year of the next century.
Message-ID: <1989Dec18.162231.24635@deimos.cis.ksu.edu>
Date: 18 Dec 89 16:22:31 GMT
References: <18494@bellcore.bellcore.com> <552@enea.se> <8483@ttidca.TTI.COM> <1468@skye.ed.ac.uk>
Sender: news@deimos.cis.ksu.edu (USENET News Admin)
Organization: Kansas State University
Lines: 32

In article <1468@skye.ed.ac.uk> rbk@aiai.UUCP (Richard Kirby) writes:
#Since I last posted to alt.folklore.computers about the year 2000 being a leap
#year, but not 2100, I have received several messages along the lines of 2000
#is the last year of this century, not the start of the next. Well this is
#clearly WRONG. Consider:-

#This is the twentieth century right, but why?
#Because its 19xx + 1, hence the year 2000 will be in the 21st century cause its
#20 + 1.

#Jesus, was born. 1 A.D was when he was 1 year old, and starting his 2nd year.
#2 A.D was when he was 2 years old, and starting his 3rd year. ... 9 A.D. was
#when he was 9 years old and starting his 10th year, so at 23:59:59.999* on
#31st Dec 09 he had lived 10 years (or as close as infinitely possible), so
#10 A.D must be the start of a new decade, otherwise he would have lived
#11 years in a decade, and surely we all agree that a decade is deca (10) years.
#Hence by extrapolation, 00:00:00.0000000* 100 A.D must have been the start of
#a new century.

The calendar did not start on 0 A.D., it started on Jan 1, 1 A.D., so he was
not 1 year old until the very end of 1 A.D. or the very first of 2 A.D., so
he was not 10 years old until the very end of 10 A.D. or the very first of
11 A.D., hence, the end of the first decade wasn't until the very end of
10 A.D., and the beginning of the second decade wasn't until Jan 1, 11 A.D.
This means that the end of the 20th century isn't until the end of 2000 A.D.
and the beginning of the 21st century isn't until Jan 1, 2001 A.D.

--
The XTrek Demi-God          |  God is real, unless declared integer
Brett McCoy                 |
brtmac@ksuvm.ksu.edu        |  If you don't get caught,
brtmac@maverick.ksu.ksu.edu |  did you really do it?

Article 585 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!samsung!uunet!mcsun!sunic!nuug!ifi!grimne.uio.no!kai
From: kai@grimne.uio.no (Kai Ivo Quale)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Large Green Dragon
Keywords: Dump, Dragon, Adventure
Message-ID: <2458@ifi.uio.no>
Date: 18 Dec 89 17:01:15 GMT
Sender: news@ifi.uio.no
Lines: 22

I've heard this one told as a "what happened to a friend of mine" story.
I don't know if that's the case, or if it's a classic.

Anyway, this guy was fighting a deadline, and was working 24 hour shifts,
debugging. Now, the company who ran the project (I don't know the word in English) and owned the building, didn't want people running around in the
corridors at night. So they prohibited night working (I know this sounds
weird, but it's supposed to be true).

So, here was this guy sweating it out in the middle of the night, trying
to spot errors and look out for the security guard at the same time. His
office light is off, naturally, and the only illumination is the ghostly green light from the screen.

Suddenly, the screen starts flickering. It blanks, and the following
message is printed in pulsing capital letters:

THERE IS A LARGE GREEN DRAGON BEHIND YOU, DRAWING ITS BREATH.

Somehow the file system had gotten confused, and his program dumped a line
from a source file of the local adventure game.

Kai Quale

Article 586 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!mcsun!sunic!nuug!ifi!grimne.uio.no!kai
From: kai@grimne.uio.no (Kai Ivo Quale)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: AI Hoax
Message-ID: <2459@ifi.uio.no>
Date: 18 Dec 89 17:17:54 GMT
References: <44353@bu-cs.BU.EDU>
Sender: news@ifi.uio.no
Distribution: alt
Lines: 30

In article <44353@bu-cs.BU.EDU>, bear@bu-pub.bu.edu (Blair M. Burtan) writes:
> A few years ago, there was a program floating around our IBM
> mainframe system, then a 3081, that seemed to be an unbelievable
> example of artificial intelligence.  When you ran the program, it
> would look and act something like Eliza.  But the difference was that
> it seemed to know a great deal about the person running it.
> [...]
> A few weeks later, the cat was out of the bag.  The program was actually
> a chat/talk style program that would communicate between the author's
> terminal and the user.  Or users.  Each user would open up a window
> on the author's screen.  He had to take the program down because so
> many people were "talking" to him and he couldn't keep everyone's
> information straight much less get any work done.

In the book Metamagical Themas, Douglas Hofstadter confesses being fooled
similarly: He had had lectures on the Turing test, and professed his belief
that no truly intelligent program would ever be made. One day his students
asked him to test one of their programs, to see if it would "reveal its
true nature". Mr. H. expected to do this very quickly, and was amazed at
the program's knowledge of semantics. Just when he was about to ask whether
the whole thing was a hoax, the program apparently hiccuped on his last
input line, and printed something like:

!#$&![] SYNTAX ERROR 3465 IN LINE 654 Whereupon he was instantly assured, and even encouraged his "disappointed" students, saying that the program was actually very impressive, it just needed some testing and debugging. Kai Quale Article 587 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!mcsun!sunic!nuug!ifi!grimne.uio.no!kai From: kai@grimne.uio.no (Kai Ivo Quale) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Missing keyboard Message-ID: <2460@ifi.uio.no> Date: 18 Dec 89 18:00:29 GMT Sender: news@ifi.uio.no Lines: 6 I seem to remember a booting script with the following sentence: "Keyboard missing. Please press F1" Kai Quale Article 589 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!shelby!eos!eugene From: eugene@eos.UUCP (Eugene Miya) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Pranks (was Re: revenge) Message-ID: <5836@eos.UUCP> Date: 18 Dec 89 18:23:30 GMT References: <3117@tymix.UUCP> <89348.111728DN5@PSUVM.BITNET> <PORTUESI.89Dec14204256@tweezers.esd.sgi.com> Reply-To: eugene@eos.UUCP (Eugene Miya) Organization: NASA Ames Research Center, Calif. Lines: 25 If you want programming pranks, you should check out a copy of The Legends of Caltech. The last one was the McDonald's Affair which shows the very simple Fortran program to print out names and addresses. Enter as many times as you like. Like 1.5 million. This was about 1/3 of the total entries and they expected to win 1/3 of the prizes: mostly food, but also 5 small cars and 1 sports car. McDonalds came out and said that for each Caltech won prize a separate non-Caltech prize would be awarded. This resulted in coupons now saying "No electronic means of duplication. Legends of Caltech is available from the Caltech bookstore for$10
along with the Richard Feynman CD and other curious and strange things.
Many other programming pranks (such as the reprogramming of the
Rose Bowl sign) can be found in RISKS.

This list is getting too long to read.  Starting to impact work!

Another gross generalization from

--eugene miya, NASA Ames Research Center, eugene@aurora.arc.nasa.gov
resident cynic at the Rock of Ages Home for Retired Hackers:
"You trust the reply' command with all those different mailers out there?"
"If my mail does not reach you, please accept my apology."
{ncar,decwrl,hplabs,uunet}!ames!eugene
Support the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

Article 591 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!mit-eddie!bbn!bbn.com!larry
From: larry@bbn.com (Larry Denenberg)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: TECO
Summary: N<1\><jcs1$;.u1.=jz/q1<q1c-d0\>> Message-ID: <49873@bbn.COM> Date: 18 Dec 89 19:18:35 GMT References: <6877@shlump.nac.dec.com> <1989Dec15.041951.8081@world.std.com> Sender: news@bbn.COM Reply-To: larry@bbn.com (Larry Denenberg) Distribution: alt Organization: Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc., Cambridge MA Lines: 23 In article <1989Dec15.041951.8081@world.std.com> bzs@world.std.com (Barry Shein) writes: > >Anyone have any good TECO macros? The most fun I ever had with TECO was as an undergraduate at that big non-MIT place in Cambridge. I wrote a macro to print the primes between 1 and N and challenged the APL hackers to do it in fewer characters! The TECO macro was only 31 characters long, not counting the decimal representation of N. But it turns out that you can do it in about 15 characters of APL. Coincidentally, 15 was also the largest N that worked on our machine, since the APL code used the fact, except for p=4, p is prime iff p↑2 doesn't divide p!. The TECO macro worked happily even for N in the tens of thousands even if it was slow getting started. So I claimed a moral victory anyway. (Besides, I'm not sure that the APL code correctly excised 4 from the list of primes.) The TECO macro is in the Summary line of this article so don't peek if you want to try your hand. Even at this late date, I'd love to see a shorter solution. /Larry Denenberg larry@harvard.edu larry@bbn.com Article 592 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!usc!bbn!bbn.com!levin From: levin@bbn.com (Joel B Levin) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: An answer to what is the first year of the next century. Message-ID: <49878@bbn.COM> Date: 18 Dec 89 20:03:50 GMT References: <18494@bellcore.bellcore.com> <552@enea.se> <8483@ttidca.TTI.COM> <1468@skye.ed.ac.uk> Sender: news@bbn.COM Reply-To: levin@BBN.COM (Joel B Levin) Organization: BBN Communications Corporation Lines: 28 In article <1468@skye.ed.ac.uk> rbk@aiai.UUCP (Richard Kirby) writes: |Since I last posted to alt.folklore.computers about the year 2000 being a leap |year, but not 2100, I have received several messages along the lines of 2000 |is the last year of this century, not the start of the next. Well this is |clearly WRONG. Consider:- | |This is the twentieth century right, but why? |Because its 19xx + 1, hence the year 2000 will be in the 21st century cause its |20 + 1. Let's not get complicated, this is really pretty simple. Because no one with any sense was around to design a proper numbering system for years, we got a system without a year 0. (I suppose this is worse than a ones-complement equivalent system, which might have had two year 0's!) So; 1 was the first year, and 10 was the tenth year. 10 was thus the last year of the first decade. 100 was the last year of the first century. 1000 was the last year of the first millenium. 2000 will be the last year of the twentieth century and the second millenium. 2001 will be the first year of both. /JBL = Nets: levin@bbn.com | "There were sweetheart roses on Yancey Wilmerding's or {...}!bbn!levin | bureau that morning. Wide-eyed and distraught, she POTS: (617)873-3463 | stood with all her faculties rooted to the floor." Article 594 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uunet!shelby!neon!neon!gumby From: gumby@Gang-of-Four.Stanford.EDU (David Vinayak Wallace) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: An answer to what is the first year of the next century. Message-ID: <GUMBY.89Dec18133236@Gang-of-Four.Stanford.EDU> Date: 18 Dec 89 21:32:36 GMT References: <18494@bellcore.bellcore.com> <552@enea.se> <8483@ttidca.TTI.COM> <1468@skye.ed.ac.uk> <49878@bbn.COM> Sender: USENET News System <news@Neon.Stanford.EDU> Organization: Computer Science Department, Stanford University Lines: 2 In-Reply-To: levin@bbn.com's message of 18 Dec 89 20:03:50 GMT To: levin@bbn.com Congratulations! You have just demonstrated that Pope Gregory XIII was a FORTRAN programmer. Article 597 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uunet!mcsun!ukc!acorn!moncam!loki From: loki@moncam.co.uk (Never Kid A Kidder) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: UUCP and the Sorceror's Apprentice. Message-ID: <LOKI.89Dec18150451@marvin.moncam.co.uk> Date: 18 Dec 89 15:04:51 GMT Sender: loki@moncam.co.uk Distribution: alt Organization: (n) The process of becoming an organ. Lines: 34 Not a particularly weird story, but possibly amusing... At one point we had a PDP-11/44 as our gateway onto the net. Everything was forwarded onto our SUNs via the old Forward to <so-and-so>' directive in the mail box. Eventually, one of the SUNs took over the gateway, and the uucp link from the PDP was disconnected (we were (are!!!) still using the PDP occasionally). A couple of months later I happened to be doing something on the PDP and noticed the system was running even slower than I remembered. I checked the processes running and noticed that the uu.daily crontab entry was busy, which was somewhat odd, as it was scheduled to run at 3am, and it was now mid afternoon. Now amongst other things, uu.daily purges the uucp queues of entries that are older than a certain time. Why should it be taking so long, I wondered? I checked the queues; after a number of minutes (uusnap' normally takes just seconds), it reported no less than HALF A MILLION jobs queued up for the SUN. The penny dropped ... when I disconnected the uucp link, the PDP wasn't informed - it thought there was a duff connection, and at the moment of transition there had been one or two outstanding jobs to forward to the SUN. These eventually expired, and the PDP duly mailed me to inform me that it had done so, but of course this mail was redirected to the SUN; that's *three* uucp files for each one deleted. So there were these new files, happily waiting to reach the SUN. Then they expired, were deleted, and I was informed. Every two weeks (since that was the expiry time), the purge program set to work, tripling the number of waiting files... -- Harry Fearnhamm, ,---.'\ EMAIL: loki@moncam.uucp Monotype ADG, (, /@ )/ ...!ukc!acorn!moncam!loki Science Park, /( _/ ') VOICE: +44 (0)223 420018 Cambridge, \,---' FAX: +44 (0)223 420911 CB4 4FQ, DISCLAIMER: Nothing is True. ENGLAND. Everything is Permitted. Article 603 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!psuvax1!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!think!mintaka!Mintaka!map From: MAP@LCS.MIT.Edu (Michael A. Patton) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Chief Programmer Madness Message-ID: <MAP.89Dec18191433@gaak.lcs.mit.edu> Date: 19 Dec 89 00:14:33 GMT References: <129335@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> Sender: news@mintaka.lcs.mit.edu Organization: MIT Laboratory for Computer Science Lines: 49 In-Reply-To: linden@adapt.Sun.COM's message of 16 Dec 89 20:52:25 GMT In article <129335@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> linden@adapt.Sun.COM (Peter van der Linden) writes: The payroll printing program has just been amended and seems to pass all its tests, so they do the live run. After finishing the operator notices that some of the printing is wrong, and takes the useless output to the chief programmer. [Then follows with details, and solution] I remember an occasion in which something like this happened, see the end of the story for authority information. It seems that a whole set of major changes were being made to a large payroll system. The new system was run in parallel with the old system for several weeks producing all the same reports, but the old system was still printing the actual checks. When finally the payroll department decided that the new system was working right, they decreed that the two systems would continue to run in parallel for a while, but now the new system would be primary and the old one would be running for a couple of weeks as a cross-verification only. At this company the standard deal was that checks were handed out every Friday. The data was collected on Monday, run through validation and initial reports (potentially many times until payroll was satisfied) on Tuesday and Wednesday, then checks were printed and stuffed on Thursday and sent to payroll late in the day so that they could be sent out to branches by over-nite courier so everyone could pick up checks as soon as they opened on Friday. As a slight side benefit, the payroll employees received their checks on Thursday after banks closed (this was before 24hr machines :-). Well, on the first week after change-over both systems were run to validate the input and they produced identical results, so checks were printed with the new system. When the payroll clerks opened their pay checks they noticed that the amounts all seemed high and were even dollar values to boot. The new check program had treated the numbers in the file as whole dollars, not dollars and cents. The only program that hadn't been running in the parallel testing! Here it is 4:30 Thursday afternoon and all the checks are for 100 times what they should be and the employees are going to be expecting to pick them up the next day at 7:30 AM! A programmer, several operators and most of the payroll staff had to stay late to reprint checks. Whole new reports were needed because the check numbers were now different! Anyway, everything was fine the next morning, everyone got their checks. Well it was fine for everyone but me, as the most junior person in the computer department at the time I got to open several thousand envelopes and hand stamp "VOID" on the checks within. That was the most boring day I've ever had in my dealing with computers. Article 609 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!uhura.cc.rochester.edu!misu_cif From: misu_cif@uhura.cc.rochester.edu (Whats in a name?) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: moving large disk drives across the room Message-ID: <4590@ur-cc.UUCP> Date: 19 Dec 89 02:03:25 GMT References: <KIM.89Dec10105331@watsup.waterloo.edu> <8934@cbmvax.UUCP> <3539@jarthur.Claremont.EDU> Reply-To: misu_cif@uhura.cc.rochester.edu (Whats in a name?) Distribution: alt Organization: Society for the Incurably Pompous Lines: 25 In article <3539@jarthur.Claremont.EDU> wilkins@jarthur.UUCP (Mark Wilkins) writes: > >>I'm sure that there is a plethora of walking disk drive stories out there... >>here's Yet Another Disk Drive Goes For A Walk... > Yep. Believe you me, I was a little fearful when about a week into my third shift operator's job three summers ago, this very thing happened. I was alone on my shift after the first couple of days of orientation etc. One night doing backups, I thought I heard this odd sort of noise. I was trying to find it, and noticed it got real loud when I opened the computer room door. Yes, we were using some old 288Mb Removable drives, and one of them was bouncing around like a washing machine. This was my first experience working on any kind of multi-user system (or with such outdated technology:-)) so I was just a tad bit freaked. I hurriedly stopped the backup and hacked a procedure that would skip that drive leaving it for the morning people to deal with... I later found out that just turning it off and restarting it would cure the problem. (You'd think I would have known enough to try that after all my PC experience, but I was just a little too freaked to want to have any risk of further damaging a$15000 piece of
equipment my fist week on the job.)

--mike

Article 613 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!samsung!uunet!lll-winken!bu-cs!hoppie
From: hoppie@bu-pub.bu.edu (Thomas I Hopkins)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: PC Predecessors (Was Re: Edit paper tape)
Message-ID: <44916@bu-cs.BU.EDU>
Date: 19 Dec 89 03:55:49 GMT
References: <6877@shlump.nac.dec.com> <1989Dec15.041951.8081@world.std.com>
<MAP.89Dec15144003@gaak.LCS.MIT.EDU>
<1989Dec17.005842.4762@world.std.com> <129346@sun.Eng.Sun.COM>
<1989Dec18.041746.10789@world.std.com> <4078@convex.UUCP>
Sender: daemon@bu-cs.BU.EDU
Distribution: alt
Organization: Boston University College of Engineering
Lines: 11
In-reply-to: nomad@convex1.uucp's message of 18 Dec 89 23:49:07 GMT

> The PC is called the 5150, showing that it is a direct descendant from the
↑↑↑↑
> portables.

I seem to recall that this is a police code in California somewhere for
a criminally insane individual (There was a Van Halen LP by that same
name.)  Somewhat appropriate, eh?

-Tom Hopkins <hoppie@bu-pub.bu.edu>
Followups about the quality of Van Halen to rec.music, please. :-)

Article 617 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!psuvax1!husc6!spdcc!mirror!garison
From: garison@mirror.UUCP (Gary Piatt)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Another secret message
Message-ID: <34116@mirror.UUCP>
Date: 18 Dec 89 17:41:11 GMT
References: <15000@well.UUCP> <162@bucsb.UUCP> <5660@orca.wv.tek.com>
Reply-To: garison@prism.TMC.COM (Gary E. Piatt)
Organization: Very little
Lines: 43

In article <5660@orca.wv.tek.com> andrew@frip.wv.tek.com writes:
=>The result was that some H-11 executables went out with embedded
=>Jehovah's Witnesses literature.  We found out when someone
=>inadvertantly "TYPE"d an executable.

I used to would for a company called Terminal Systems, which, con-
sidering its eventual status, was aptly named.  My boss, Bob Dumshit
(not his real name, but close enough), was one of those people who
*think* they know about computers.

One day, he called me into the lab to help with a problem he and the
other programmer (who should have known better) were having with the
PAGE utility I had written (designed to show files one page at a time;
something most programmers can write with their eyes closed).  They
were trying to track down a bug in the other programmer's code and
were using PAGE to see what assembly code the compiler had generated.
The problem was, PAGE kept throwing garbage on the screen, making rude
noises (beeps) and exiting.  Bob Dumshit wanted me to fix it.

First, I wanted to see this crash in action, so I sat down, did a dir-
ectory, and looked for something to PAGE through.  I saw nothing.

"Where are the ASM files?" I asked.

"ASM files?" they responded.  "What ASM files?"

I was beginning to see the light.  "Show me what you did," I said.
So Bob came over and typed "PAGE TSEDIT.COM" on the keyboard.  He was
trying to type out the executable!!!  So I showed them how to tell the
compiler to generate the ASM files, and then I showed them what they
(the files) looked like and how to PAGE through them.

Then, with this fiasco behind me, I went back to my office and spent
two days producing new releases of *all* of the software I had written
since starting there.  At the start of each program (including the ones
written in C, which was a bear to do) I put:

JMP	BEGIN
DB	CR,"Nosey!",BEL,EOF

which, when TYPEd or PAGEd, would print "Nosey!", beep, and stop.

-Garison-

Article 618 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!aramis.rutgers.edu!topaz.rutgers.edu!msmith
From: msmith@topaz.rutgers.edu (Mark Robert Smith)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Edit paper tape
Message-ID: <Dec.18.23.47.12.1989.21635@topaz.rutgers.edu>
Date: 19 Dec 89 04:47:15 GMT
References: <6877@shlump.nac.dec.com> <1989Dec15.041951.8081@world.std.com> <MAP.89Dec15144003@gaak.LCS.MIT.EDU> <1989Dec17.005842.4762@world.std.com> <129346@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> <1989Dec18.041746.10789@world.std.com> <4078@convex.UUCP>
Distribution: alt
Organization: Rutgers - The Police State of New Jersey
Lines: 20

In article <4078@convex.UUCP> nomad@convex1.uucp (Lee Damon) writes:

> The PC is called the 5150, showing that it is a direct descendant from the
> portables.

According to Eddie Van Halen, off of a live album, 51-50 is the
California State Police code for an insane person.

Kinda figures, eh?

:-)

Mark
--
RPO 1604               You may redistribute this article only if those who
P.O. Box 5063                 receive it may do so freely.
New Brunswick, NJ 08903-5063              msmith@topaz.rutgers.edu

Article 620 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!mips!apple!landon
From: landon@Apple.COM (Landon Dyer)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Cheep dates
Message-ID: <37385@apple.Apple.COM>
Date: 19 Dec 89 05:35:19 GMT
Organization: Apple Computer Inc., Cupertino, CA
Lines: 23

This is short.

Once upon a time, in the late 70's, a newly-constructed board in a kit
computer of mine wouldn't work.  After a week of frustration (my test
equipment was little above "stone knives and bear-skins"), I mailed the
board to the kit manufacturer.

Two weeks later, the board came back -- no charge for the fix.  Two of the
chips, which should have been 7420s, were really 7474s in disguise, with
"7420" being some kind of date code.

It struck me then that 1974 must have been a LOUSY year for TTL...

(Everyone out there with a WORKING Digital Group system, raise their hand!)

--

-----------------------------------------  "Mmmph!  Urghurmph!  Grugmph!"
Landon Dyer, Apple Computer, Inc.          "What's he trying to say?"
Development Systems Group (MPW / DSG)      "I dunno -- there's a lawyer
NOT THE VIEWS OF APPLE COMPUTER              crammed in his mouth."

Article 625 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uunet!mcsun!sunic!bmc!kuling!jonasf
From: jonasf@kuling.UUCP (Jonas Flygare)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Some TOPS20 memories..
Message-ID: <1302@kuling.UUCP>
Date: 19 Dec 89 01:57:07 GMT
Organization: Dep. of Computer Systems, Upsala University, Sweden
Lines: 90

A long, long time ago, when I was a second-year student.. :-)
a friend of mine wrote a small program, that would run on our
DEC2060. The program would sleep for some minutes, and then display a
random number of =,BS,>,BS,SPACE,BS,BS.. The result being a very small
pac-man lookalike gobbling the text you were writing. Then he would
walk around looking for terminals where the owner was out for coffee,
and install it in their LOGIN.CMD. Was it ever fun to see them sit down and
write, stop, stare, and then typeaway like crazy to keep up with the
pac-man.. :-) (Ahm, to be honest.. I also fell for this one.. :-)

Reminding this, I and a friend designed a PCL-script that would LINK
our terminal to some other users, and clear the screen. If they were
in EMACS, they would simply hit ↑L, and go ahead. (These people being
1:st year students, on their first programming course) As they had been told
about completion and recognition, we supplied a more-than-usual smart
user interface in emacs. (Like filling out sentences, and program
structures... ) I wish I had a camera back then..

PCL could be used to have even more fun.. I wrote a PCL program once that
would switch most of the usual commands, so that DIR would list users,
WHO would show the date and time, etc, etc, and LOGOUT wouldn't work
until you said the secret word.. ("PLEASE!")..
Watching the teacher trying to figure out what was going on was the
best part..
(Of course we don't do these things anymore, we're much too grownup
for simple pranks like that.. .)

Our DEC2060 will be put to rest pretty soon. Sigh.. It's such a nice
machine. This summer we had a heat problem with it, and DEC FS came to
take a look. The guy thought it was a fan running slow, so he decided
to find out which one. This was accomplished by putting a screwdriver
into each fan, and listening... >SKREEEEEEE< >SKRREEEEEEE< >SKOOOOOOOO<
"This one's faulty, I'll change it." :-)

The "other" DEC2060 here have a tape station that sometimes malfunctions.
I was told that one of my friends was in the room when it was rewinding
a reel, and it jumped off the drive.. The other people told (very
animated story-telling inserted here..) how he was alternately being
chased by/trying to catch a tape wheel careening around the machine room
at some 90 mph.. :-) (Slight exaggeration here.. :-)--
jonasf@kuling.docs.uu.se : "Doedth eddydthig dthrike you adth dthrayge
Jonas (flax) Flygare     :  aboud dthidth houdth?" -- Dirk Gently
Subject: Pac-man and the very-smart-EMACS
Newsgroups: alt.computer.folklore

A long, long time ago, when I was a second-year student.. :-)
a friend of mine wrote a small program, that would run on our
DEC2060. The program would sleep for some minutes, and then display a
random number of =,BS,>,BS,SPACE,BS,BS.. The result being a very small
pac-man lookalike gobbling the text you were writing. Then he would
walk around looking for terminals where the owner was out for coffee,
and install it in their LOGIN.CMD. Was it ever fun to see them sit down and
write, stop, stare, and then typeaway like crazy to keep up with the
pac-man.. :-) (Ahm, to be honest.. I also fell for this one.. :-)

Reminding this, I and a friend designed a PCL-script that would LINK
our terminal to some other users, and clear the screen. If they were
in EMACS, they would simply hit ↑L, and go ahead. (These people being
1:st year students, on their first programming course) As they had been told
about completion and recognition, we supplied a more-than-usual smart
user interface in emacs. (Like filling out sentences, and program
structures... ) I wish I had a camera back then..

PCL could be used to have even more fun.. I wrote a PCL program once that
would switch most of the usual commands, so that DIR would list users,
WHO would show the date and time, etc, etc, and LOGOUT wouldn't work
until you said the secret word.. ("PLEASE!")..
Watching the teacher trying to figure out what was going on was the
best part..
(Of course we don't do these things anymore, we're much too grownup
for simple pranks like that.. .)

Our DEC2060 will be put to rest pretty soon. Sigh.. It's such a nice
machine. This summer we had a heat problem with it, and DEC FS came to
take a look. The guy thought it was a fan running slow, so he decided
to find out which one. This was accomplished by putting a screwdriver
into each fan, and listening... >SKREEEEEEE< >SKRREEEEEEE< >SKOOOOOOOO<
"This one's faulty, I'll change it." :-)

The "other" DEC2060 here have a tape station that sometimes malfunctions.
I was told that one of my friends was in the room when it was rewinding
a reel, and it jumped off the drive.. The other people told (very
animated story-telling inserted here..) how he was alternately being
chased by/trying to catch a tape wheel careening around the machine room
at some 90 mph.. :-) (Slight exaggeration here.. :-)
--
jonasf@kuling.docs.uu.se : "Doedth eddydthig dthrike you adth dthrayge
Jonas (flax) Flygare     :  aboud dthidth houdth?" -- Dirk Gently

Article 627 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!psuvax1!schwartz
From: schwartz@psuvax1.cs.psu.edu (Scott Schwartz)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Some TOPS20 memories..
Message-ID: <1989Dec19.083736.16865@psuvax1.cs.psu.edu>
Date: 19 Dec 89 08:37:36 GMT
References: <1302@kuling.UUCP>
Organization: Penn State University Computer Science
Lines: 18

In article <1302@kuling.UUCP> jonasf@kuling.UUCP (Jonas Flygare) writes:
>Our DEC2060 will be put to rest pretty soon. Sigh.. It's such a nice
>machine. This summer we had a heat problem with it, and DEC FS came to
>take a look. The guy thought it was a fan running slow, so he decided
>to find out which one. This was accomplished by putting a screwdriver
>into each fan, and listening... >SKREEEEEEE< >SKRREEEEEEE< >SKOOOOOOOO<
>"This one's faulty, I'll change it." :-)

Well our engineering department has a DEC-10, and its not going to be
put to rest soon.... The engineers do their own maintainance on it,
though.  The reason is that a few years back someone looked inside the
(running) machine and saw that one of the power supplies had a hole in
it, and a note from the DEC repairman taped to it saying "parts on
order", and dated something like 1983.

--
Scott Schwartz
vacation?  we don' need no steenking vacation!

Article 630 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!jarthur!uci-ics!orion.oac.uci.edu!dkrause
From: dkrause@orion.oac.uci.edu (Doug Krause)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Robocop (was Re: notable computer stories in fiction and the media)
Message-ID: <3828@orion.cf.uci.edu>
Date: 19 Dec 89 09:05:17 GMT
References: <6410@lindy.Stanford.EDU> <4487@ur-cc.UUCP>
Reply-To: dkrause@orion.oac.uci.edu (Doug Krause)
Distribution: na
Organization: University of California, Irvine
Lines: 39

In article <4487@ur-cc.UUCP> jap2_ss@uhura.cc.rochester.edu (The Mad Mathematician) writes:
>I believe that Robocop uses MS-DOS.  When he is first "booted" there
>is an a prompt, I think.  I'll have to ask someone to check their
>copies.  I nearly died myself when I recognized it.

Here's what I could get from my copy.  ??? means I couldn't read it:

Screens 1, 2, and 3:

COMMAND.COM
MEMORY SET
SYSTEM STATUS
OK_

Screen 2:

COMMAND.COM
???
RAM CHECK
CONFIG.SYS
??? INTERFACE
??? I/O
CONTROLLER
COMSPEC.EXE
MEMORY.DAT
ROBOUTILS
SYSTEM BUFFERS
PARAMETERS
PARITY SET
MEMORY SET
SYSTEM STATUS
OK_

Douglas Krause                     One yuppie can ruin your whole day.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
University of California, Irvine   Internet: dkrause@orion.oac.uci.edu
Welcome to Irvine, Yuppieland USA  BITNET: DJKrause@ucivmsa

Article 632 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!jarvis.csri.toronto.edu!utgpu!watserv1!watcgl!sfwhite
From: sfwhite@watcgl.waterloo.edu (Stephen White)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: TRS-80/PDP-8 radio fun
Message-ID: <12762@watcgl.waterloo.edu>
Date: 19 Dec 89 12:22:51 GMT
References: <1989Dec11.165713.11604@world.std.com> <YZVK1x600VsLM0i3t1@andrew.cmu.edu> <951@bbx.UUCP> <6321@wpi.wpi.edu>
Reply-To: sfwhite@watcgl.waterloo.edu (Stephen White)
Organization: U. of Waterloo, Ontario
Lines: 33

In article <6321@wpi.wpi.edu> northrup@wpi.wpi.edu (Jim Northrup) writes:
> In article <951@bbx.UUCP> usenet@bbx.UUCP (USENET manager it's really me: Russ)
>> In article <YZVK1x600VsLM0i3t1@andrew.cmu.edu> cfe+@andrew.cmu.edu (Craig
>> F. Everhart) writes about generating musical tones using hardware not really

> I recall a program for the TRS-80 Model I that performed a nice trick.  Unlike
> the VIC's and C-64's, the TRS-80's would use a regular casette tape player
> for storing programs.  The speaker and microphone in your tape player were,
> of course, extraneous.  This program, however, would "click" the speaker
> and listen for "clicks" on the microphone --- sonar!  You could hold your
> tape player near a wall, and see a bar graph on the computer screen showing
> how far away from the wall your tape player was!  As I recall, it worked well
> for distances up to about four inches.

Ah yes, the Model I.  My first machine.  As I recall, one October,
the magazine '80 Micro printed a program which would generate a
Talking Pumpkin; the Pumpkin's mouth would open and close depending
on the volume of the cassette input.

Another Fun Casette Trick (TM) was to turn the motor on and off from
software, and record something from a real microphone.  Since the
microphone input included an enable switch, you could do just that.
A voice recorded in the manner would give an eerie warbling sound.

One Halloween, I combined these two effects, the former for the
visuals, the latter for audio, to great, spooky effect.  In fact,
the little kids from the neighbourhood were so freaked that
I was asked by their parents not to do it the next year!
--
___         Stephen White       standard_disclaimer()
______/__	    sfwhite@watcgl.waterloo.edu
<___   |  \  /\  /  "I've got a bike, you can ride it if you like.."
___>  |   \/  \/  	- Syd

Article 637 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uunet!ns-mx!pyrite.cs.uiowa.edu
From: jones@pyrite.cs.uiowa.edu (Douglas W. Jones,201H MLH,3193350740,3193382879)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Edit paper tape
Message-ID: <327@ns-mx.uiowa.edu>
Date: 19 Dec 89 14:47:58 GMT
References: <4078@convex.UUCP>
Sender: news@ns-mx.uiowa.edu
Distribution: alt
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From article <4078@convex.UUCP>, by nomad@convex1.uucp (Lee Damon):
> In article <1989Dec18.041746.10789@world.std.com> madd@world.std.com (jim frost) writes:
>> [The IBM PC had two predicesors...]
>>Who knows what the other was?
>
> The others were IBM 5100 and 5110, portable computers. Both had a small
> built in screen, builtin keyboard, and were about the size of an HP 9826.

Ah, the good old days.  The 5100 series of machines was a marvelous flop!
As I understand it, from talking to a very enthusiastic IBM sales rep soon
after the 5100 came out, 15000 bought you a box that contained a microprogrammed IBM-360 implementation that ran either an APL interpreter or a BASIC interpreter from ROM. You also got dual 8 inch floppy drives; that was nothing to be upset with, since 8 inch drives were state-of-the- art at the time. My understanding was that the internal assembly of the 5100 was all based on IBM-360 component technology, and part of the purpose of the machine was to provide some use for the 360 assembly lines that had been made obsolete by the IBM-370 series of machines. I've also heard the same story about the IBM Office System 6 series of machines, and in that case, I saw enough of their insides to believe it. Doug Jones jones@herky.cs.uiowa.edu Article 639 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uunet!ns-mx!pyrite.cs.uiowa.edu From: jones@pyrite.cs.uiowa.edu (Douglas W. Jones,201H MLH,3193350740,3193382879) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Real floklore -- a computer joke Message-ID: <329@ns-mx.uiowa.edu> Date: 19 Dec 89 15:11:03 GMT Sender: news@ns-mx.uiowa.edu Distribution: alt Lines: 30 Here's a joke I remember hearing back in the 1970s. Does anyone know who originated it? An architect, a hooker and a programmer were talking one evening, and somehow, the discussion turned to which profession was the oldest. "Come on, you guys! Everyone knows mine is the oldest profession," said the hooker. "Ah," said the architect, "but before your profession existed, there had to be people, and who was there before people?" "What are you getting at, God?" The hooker asked. "And was He not the divine architect of the universe?" The architect asked, looking smug. The programmer had been silent, but now he spoke up. "And before God took on himself the role of an architect, what was there?" "Darkness and chaos," the hooker said. "And who do you think created chaos?" the programmer said. I think there was once a system called CHAOS (an operating system, judging by the trailing OS), and of course, this joke alludes more literally to the role of programmers in creating chaos. Doug Jones jones@herky.cs.uiowa.edu Article 642 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!think!snorkelwacker!paperboy!osf!meissner From: meissner@osf.osf.org (Michael Meissner) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Ordering informatin (was Re: TECO) Message-ID: <2134@paperboy.OSF.ORG> Date: 19 Dec 89 16:33:43 GMT References: <6877@shlump.nac.dec.com> <1989Dec15.041951.8081@world.std.com> <MAP.89Dec15144003@gaak.LCS.MIT.EDU> <1989Dec17.005842.4762@world.std.com> <2584@stl.stc.co.uk> <1989Dec19.064636.13870@psuvax1.cs.psu.edu> Sender: news@OSF.ORG Reply-To: meissner@osf.org (Michael Meissner) Organization: Open Software Foundation Lines: 16 In article <1989Dec19.064636.13870@psuvax1.cs.psu.edu> schwartz@psuvax1.cs.psu.edu (Scott Schwartz) writes: >We got some IBM RTs that were shipped with wooden crates strapped under >the boxes containing the machines. (You've all seen stuff like that, >right?) Anyway, these crates had IBM product numbers on them. We >figured that was so we could order more if we ever needed to... I >think the numbers are written down somewhere around here.... Ten years ago, when I started working for Data General, we had a problem with the CDC 190 Meg removable disk drives cover flying up while the disk was still spinning. Needless to say this did nothing good for the disk. So some of the lab people put concrete blocks on top of the lid to keep it in place. Some enterprising sole got some of the 'Eclipse' blue paint, and painted the block blue, and then put a bogus DG part number on it. Ah, the good old days. Article 643 of alt.folklore.computers: Xref: rochester comp.misc:5734 alt.folklore.computers:643 Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!decwrl!shelby!neon!Gang-of-Four!weening From: weening@Gang-of-Four.Stanford.EDU (Joe Weening) Newsgroups: comp.misc,alt.folklore.computers Subject: Bucky bits (was Re: Multi-button mice) Message-ID: <WEENING.89Dec19085547@Gang-of-Four.Stanford.EDU> Date: 19 Dec 89 16:55:47 GMT References: <172@comcon.UUCP> <7326@ficc.uu.net> <9320@hoptoad.uucp> <1989Dec18.081450.28019@psuvax1.cs.psu.edu> <2253@dataio.Data-IO.COM> <37371@apple.Apple.COM> Sender: USENET News System <news@Neon.Stanford.EDU> Followup-To: comp.misc Organization: Computer Science Department, Stanford University Lines: 47 In-Reply-To: baum@Apple.COM's message of 18 Dec 89 22:38:55 GMT In article <37371@apple.Apple.COM> baum@Apple.COM (Allen J. Baum) writes: >In article <2253@dataio.Data-IO.COM> aez@dataio.Data-IO.COM () writes: >The Symbolics had a three-button mouse and software scannable control >keys on the keyboard (control, meta, hyper, super, [shift counted as >a double click]). The mouse, keyboard usage was suggested by >Buckminster Fuller and Richard Zipple (project leader) called them >"Bucky Keys". The terminology of "bucky-bits" precedes Symbolics by quite a bit. It originated at Stanford AI Labs in the late 60's, I believe. I can't recall how they got named exactly. Perhaps someone who remembers could set it straight, and possibly cross-post to alt.computer.folklore As I've heard it, "Bucky" was a nickname for Nicklaus Wirth (of Pascal fame); don't ask me why. I checked this with Les Earnest, who was the administrator of the Stanford AI Lab, and he confirms this. (The "I" in the following message is Les; "JMC" is John McCarthy, director of the lab. "III" (pronounced "triple eye") is an old display system.) From: Les Earnest <LES@SAIL.Stanford.EDU> Subject: re: bucky bits Yes, the bucky bits were named for Nicklaus Wirth, who had suggested the extra control key. The two control keys, originally called Control-1 and Control-2, were incorporated in the design of the Philco display terminals connected to the PDP-1/Thor timesharing system in Pine Hall. This happened shortly before I arrived and I don't know who hung the name "Bucky" on them -- JMC may remember. The same keyboard design was carried forward into the keyboards of the III displays when they were purchased around 1968. Interestingly enough, those keyboards used optical encoding -- they used conventional typewriter keyboards with optical masks hung below each key. When a key was depressed, its mask blocked some of the light aimed at 6 photodiodes, which generated the basic code for that key. The Shift, Control-1, and Control-2 keys activated more photodiodes, yielding 9 bits. You can imagine some of the failure modes, especially with n-key rollover. When I redesigned the keyboard for the Data Disk system in 1971 and chose Microswitch to build them, I renamed the two control keys as Control and Meta and added the Top key. We then replaced the troublesome III keyboards with this new design, which was later copied by MIT, CMU and, to some extent, Symbolics. -- Joe Weening Computer Science Dept. weening@Gang-of-Four.Stanford.EDU Stanford University Article 645 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!usc!sdsu!crash!adamsd From: adamsd@crash.cts.com (Adams Douglas) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Vanishing bug at JPL Message-ID: <933@crash.cts.com> Date: 19 Dec 89 15:02:18 GMT Reply-To: adamsd@crash.cts.com (Adams Douglas) Distribution: alt Organization: Crash TimeSharing, El Cajon, CA Lines: 65 During most of the 80's, I was in charge of the Command Modulator firmware on NASA's Deep Space Network at JPL-Pasadena. I have stories galore from there, but I've always especially enjoyed this one. A story of a vanishing bug. Most of the network at each DSN site consists of interconnected ModComp II 16-bit minicomputers (we're talking TTL chips here, folks!). A recurring problem on one particular subsystem was that it would occasionally lose data blocks (packets, in modern parlance) during exchanges with its neighbor subsystems. Since this was not a critical problem (lost blocks were tagged and retransmitted--where they always got through) it was not a high priority fix in the midst of upgrading the network for things like Voyager's Uranus and Nepune encounters and Galileo. It was, nonetheless, annoying to the programmer in charge of the subsystem (we'll call him Ray); try as he might, he could not find out what was wrong or even reliably reproduce the problem. The only thing he noticed was that as time went on the problem would gradually happen more often, and then would go away again and not happen at all for an equally long time. One day, long after everybody had gotten used to this behavior (you had to monitor the packets to even see it at all). Ray discovered the bug. We were all properly amazed as it was only by chance that it had not bitten everyone a lot worse than it had: Since there were a lot of ModComp II's running on the network, a large amount of "common software" had been written back when they were installed in the 70's. Most of this was essentially a library of custom assembly routines you could use in your own code to keep things standard. Each routine had some standard documentation written for it, one item always being the amount of time the routine would take to run under worst-case and best-case conditions. A certain long-gone programmer had written a routine that would perform a "long-divide". That is, divide a 64 or 32-bit integer by another. The documentation page for this routine said that the routine would take between 1.5 and 3 microseconds to execute, depending on the arguments. One convention on the network was that date/time stamps were stored as a single 32-bit integer. Said integer represented the count of the number of deciseconds since midnight, January 1 of the current year. For his subsystem, Ray needed to divide this value by another, so he used the aforementioned routine. It turned out that the actual worst-case time for this routine was 5 MILLIseconds--three orders of magnitude slower that the best case time! Furthermore, the variation was a discontinuous function of the number of 1 bits in the dividend. You can guess the rest. Whenever Ray called this routine, and the current date/time had a lot of 1's, the ModComp would briefly slow to molasses speed. If a block happened to be incoming at the time, many bytes (sometimes the whole block) would be missed. By the time the network noticed and sent the block again, Ray's machine would be long past the bottleneck and the block would read fine. At various times more 1's would pile up in the high-order bits of the date/time integer and slow the system down more frequently. Later, the bits would carry to a small number of 1's again and the problem would vanish. Oh, and why was Ray the only one who had this problem? It seems out of the whole net, he was the only one who called this particular divide routine. Article 646 of alt.folklore.computers: Xref: rochester comp.misc:5736 alt.folklore.computers:646 Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!decwrl!shlump.nac.dec.com!arkham.enet.dec.com!gofer.enet.dec.com!harley From: harley@gofer.enet.dec.com (John H. Privitera) Newsgroups: comp.misc,alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Bucky bits (was Re: Multi-button mice) Message-ID: <23@arkham.enet.dec.com> Date: 19 Dec 89 18:37:42 GMT References: <WEENING.89Dec19085547@Gang-of-Four.Stanford.EDU> <172@comcon.UUCP> <7326@ficc.uu.net> <9320@hoptoad.uucp> Sender: news@arkham.enet.dec.com Reply-To: harley@gofer.enet.dec.com Followup-To: comp.misc Organization: Digital Equipment Corporation Lines: 20 Extracted from jargon.txt... BUCKY BITS (primarily Stanford) n. The bits produced by the CTRL and META shift keys on a Stanford (or Knight) keyboard. DOUBLE BUCKY: adj. Using both the CTRL and META keys. "The command to burn all LEDs is double bucky F." /---------------------------------------------------------------------\ | John Privitera | "As leader of all illegal activities | | Digital Equipment Corp | in Casablanca, I'm an influential and | | 333 South St. | respected man." | | Shrewsbury, Mass. | Sidney Greenstreet | +---------------------------------------------------------------------+ | E-Net: gofer::harley | | UUCP: ...!decwrl!gofer.enet.dec.com!harley | | INET: harley@gofer.enet.dec.com | | Phone: (508) 841-2087 | | All opinions expressed or implied are mine, and you know what they | | say about opinions... | \---------------------------------------------------------------------/ Article 648 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!apple!sun-barr!newstop!sun!hanami!landman From: landman@hanami.Sun.COM (Howard A. Landman x61391) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: User's do the darnedest things Message-ID: <129435@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> Date: 19 Dec 89 20:54:08 GMT References: <1820@odin.SGI.COM> Sender: news@sun.Eng.Sun.COM Reply-To: landman@sun.UUCP (Howard A. Landman x61391) Organization: Sun Microsystems, Mountain View Lines: 41 In article <1820@odin.SGI.COM> ciemo@bananaPC.sgi.com (Dave Ciemiewicz) writes: >he noticed that the customer had used magnets to >hold the colorful disks to the side of the their metal filing cabinet. I've heard this story in many variations, but I don't fully believe it anymore. Here's why: A few months ago I had a bunch of disks I wanted to REALLY erase the data on. (These were 3.5" DSDD Sony disks with Macintosh data on them.) I decided to do this with a magnet instead of just reformatting the disk. The first magnet I tried was a refrigerator magnet. Rubbed it all over the disk. Put the disk back in the drive. All the data was still there. O.K., a refrigerator magnet wasn't strong enough. Next I tried a cow magnet. For those who have never seen one, a cow magnet is a round-ended cylinder a few inches long and nearly an inch across. They are fed to cows. Cows sometimes eat hay that has been baled with metal wire, you see, and if a cowhand isn't careful he may leave a little sharp shred of metal in the hay, which causes problems when it passes through the cows's alimentary canal. The cow magnet is heavy, so it stays in the crop, and the shreds stick to it (until the cow dies, at which point you could theoretically recover the magnet). The cow magnet I have will hold a good fraction of a pound of metal. Rubbed it all over the disk. Put the disk back in the drive. All the data was still there. O.K., now I was getting mad. A year or so back I blew out the woofer on an Advent speaker. For some reason I had the corpse of the woofer on a shelf. The magnet on the woofer was capable of lifting MANY pounds of metal. Prying a nail off this magnet requires BOTH HANDS. I lugged the woofer into the living room (didn't want it in the same ROOM as my precious backup disks!) and rubbed the DISK all over the MAGNET. You guessed it. Put the disk back in the drive. All the data was still there. I gave up and reformatted the disk. MORAL: It takes a lot more than a medium-size magnet to trash most of today's floppy disks. (On the other hand, don't press your luck, and don't blame it on me if you do and it doesn't work out.) Howard A. Landman landman%hanami@eng.sun.com Article 657 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uwm.edu!rpi!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!mips!apple!sun-barr!newstop!sun!hanami!landman From: landman@hanami.Sun.COM (Howard A. Landman x61391) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: notable computer stories in fiction and the media Message-ID: <129449@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> Date: 20 Dec 89 00:02:06 GMT References: <5786@internal.Apple.COM> <1989Dec15.161334.26866@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu> Sender: news@sun.Eng.Sun.COM Reply-To: landman@sun.UUCP (Howard A. Landman x61391) Distribution: na Organization: Sun Microsystems, Mountain View Lines: 11 In article <1989Dec15.161334.26866@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu> krol@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu (Ed Krol) writes: >So he went back and did the rotating wire frame on a course mesh death >star which was projected and used in the movie. There's a bug in this picture. The actual Death Star shown in the movie has the ray-firing dimple in its northern hemisphere. The wire-frame graphics show the dimple on the equator. In other words, the rebels had incorrect plans for the Death Star! Howard A. Landman landman%hanami@eng.sun.com Article 661 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!cs.utexas.edu!uwm.edu!rutgers!ukma!xanth!xanth.cs.odu.edu!scott From: scott@cs.odu.edu (Scott Yelich) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Pranks (was Re: revenge) Message-ID: <SCOTT.89Dec19122655@ceawlin.cs.odu.edu> Date: 19 Dec 89 17:26:55 GMT References: <3117@tymix.UUCP> <89348.111728DN5@PSUVM.BITNET> <PORTUESI.89Dec14204256@tweezers.esd.sgi.com> Sender: news@cs.odu.edu Distribution: alt Organization: Old Dominion University Computer Science Systems Group Lines: 56 In-reply-to: portuesi@tweezers.esd.sgi.com's message of 14 Dec 89 20:42:56 GMT > One day, either myself or another person got the idea for putting > together a fake basic interpreter. It accepted any line that began > with a line number, just as if the user were talking to the > interpreter. Any immediate mode commands, such as "run" or "list" > were greeted with "?syntax error". See gremlins'' on the apple ][s. 1) There was this guy who thought he was a super hacker.'' He would STEAL your disks when you were not looking and copy them. He would even take disks out of the drive of the machine you were using... Anyway, I made this program..... and started a rumor that I had the BEST and FASTEST copying program out. It was the smallest program yet because it was written in a super high level language (PASCAL?) and it copied EVERY DISK. Well, sure enough.... he stole one of my disks one day and got a copy of it. The program was short, sure, the only commands it had in its executable were similar to: format; print "Please insert next disk...'' 2) I used to write my name in the hub'' section of ALL my 5.25 floppy disks. I used to have so many I would lose track of them. I would always inspect disks that I found... or that other people let me borrow.... one time a conversation went something like this: me : Is this your disk?'' Him: Yes.'' me : I lost a disk yesterday and it looks a lot like this one'' (As I read my name in the center near the hub...) Him: I bought it last week.'' me : Did you get a good deal? I looks like a good quality disk.'' Him: It was on sale.'' me : Oh? Tell me, do you always buy disks with my name on them?'' Him: Huh? Oh, maybe I did find this one.'' me : Yeah.'' (as I took the disk back) 3) I did something similar to #1 above... except for the Atari computer. This was for a cheap BBS operator who thought having the newest WAREZ was cool. Anyway, he wanted the newest upgrade to his BBS that was supposedly hacked out by hackers... :) Anyway, my program said something like insert your BBS MASTER disk... for upgrading. It also said: DO NOT REMOVE THE DISK UNTIL UPGRADE IS FINISHED. Well, all it really did was read the disk sectors from 1 to 720 by a step of 19... and that made it sound like it was formatting the disk! Well, also, I did punch hole in his vtoc! :) 4) There are a BUNCH of things for unix.. I love them.... especially for those who think they are hackers on unix. like: alias whoami "echo root"'' stuff like that. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Scott D. Yelich scott@cs.odu.edu [128.82.8.1] After he pushed me off the cliff, he asked me, as I fell, Why'd you jump?'' ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Article 662 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!cs.utexas.edu!jarvis.csri.toronto.edu!utgpu!watserv1!watcgl!andrewt From: andrewt@watnow.waterloo.edu (Andrew Thomas) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Atom bombs in empire Message-ID: <ANDREWT.89Dec19181333@watnow.waterloo.edu> Date: 19 Dec 89 23:13:33 GMT Sender: daemon@watcgl.waterloo.edu Organization: University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada Lines: 24 About 6 years ago I was working on a Vax750 in VMSand found the game of Empire. After trying it for some time, I told a friend who is a wargame fanatic about it. He sat playing for a couple of hours, and had the enemy on the run when I decided I was bored of working. I wrote a little script which waited for a few minutes and then sent a message to his terminal, waited, sent etc. Then I went and watched his game as he was playing. The game went something like this: Game: Enemy aircraft carrier at (37,14) struck an iceberg and sank. Kevin: Holy Shit! he's got aircraft carries already? And I have to watch out for icebergs? Cool. <play on> <assorted innocent messages> Game: Near miss on your city at (12,55) by neutron bomb. Production down to one half. Kevin: Neutron bomb? Where was that in the rules? Me: I think it gets a little more stuff because the computer is not as smart as you are. Kevin: hmmm. Me: I wonder how it knew your city was there. Game: High flying scout planes, of course. Kevin: Holy cow! that's just what I was thinking too. I'd love to meet the guy who wrote this game! Article 665 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!andrew.cmu.edu!ef1c+ From: ef1c+@andrew.cmu.edu (Esther Filderman) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Cold Starts Message-ID: <sZXjPg200Uh0I1iUdS@andrew.cmu.edu> Date: 20 Dec 89 03:05:16 GMT References: <129202@sun.Eng.Sun.COM>, <1989Dec15.224514.24030@cs.rochester.edu> Organization: Computing Systems, Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, PA Lines: 40 In-Reply-To: <1989Dec15.224514.24030@cs.rochester.edu> Excerpts from netnews.alt.folklore.computers: 15-Dec-89 Re: Cold Starts Sean Colbath@cs.rocheste (2171) > Although not very similar, your subject line reminded me of an interesting > incident that occured at an academic site that I was involved with. This > site was a large IBM VM shop, with most of the computing done at the central > campus. Although even less similar: We have an IBM 3083 running VM/CMS which is the only water-cooler computer in our machine rooms. [There are two machine rooms, the 3083 is in the lower machine room.] All the other computers are air cooled, with glycol-based air conditioners keeping the temperature [fairly :-)] stable. Of course, in the true redundant way, the cooling unit for the the 3083 has a glycol-based air conditioner next to it which keeps the water for the 3083 cool. If the machine shuts down, you must shut down the a/c unit within 10-15 minutes, or the lines freeze. If the a/c unit dies, the machine will alarm 'high temperature' and, if you don't shut the machine down in about 10 minutes, it will take itself down. Well, we had been having intermittent problems with the a/c unit, and one fine day, the system console in the upper machine room set off it's alarm and complained of 'high temperature.' The lead Operator reset the alarm on the system console and then sent his shift-partner, a student Operator, down to check things out. The student Operator reset the a/c unit, which made the system happy, but the console down there was still producing an audible alarm. The student called the lead Operator and asked, "The alarm is still going off. What should I do?". The lead Operator said, innocently enough, "Turn it off." So the student turned off the computer. Yes, he lived. :-) --------------------------------------------------------------------- Esther C. Filderman ef1c+@andrew.cmu.edu Andrew Specialist Computing Services Computer Operations Carnegie Mellon University Article 675 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!usc!spica.usc.edu!ahoffman From: ahoffman@spica.usc.edu (Alan M. Hoffman) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Real(tm) Folklore Message-ID: <21882@usc.edu> Date: 20 Dec 89 10:36:31 GMT References: <8484@ttidca.TTI.COM> <129448@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> Sender: news@usc.edu Reply-To: ahoffman@spica.usc.edu (Alan M. Hoffman) Organization: University Computing Services--U.S.C. Lines: 24 I've got a copy of that sign hanging over my desk. It reads as follows: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ACHTUNG! Alles Lookenspeepers Das computenmachine ist nicht fur gefinger poken und mitten grabben. Ist easy schnappen der springenwerk, blowenfusen, und poppencorken mit spettzensparken. Ist nicht fur gewerken by das dummkopfen. Das rubbernecken sightseeren keepen hands in das pokets--relaxen und watch das blinkenlights. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Of course, your results may vary . . . ---------------------------------------------------------- OO OO OOO OOOO Alan M. Hoffman/UCS Operations OO OO OO OO ARPA: ahoffman@skat.usc.edu Compuserve: 74066,1363 OO OO OO OO UUCP: uunet!usc!ahoffman Phone: (818) 548-5182 OOO OOO OOOO Article 677 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!usc!wuarchive!decwrl!ucbvax!ziploc!eps From: eps@toaster.SFSU.EDU (Eric P. Scott) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Yet another "easter egg" Summary: DG seemed to have a lot of these Message-ID: <196@toaster.SFSU.EDU> Date: 20 Dec 89 08:18:52 GMT Reply-To: eps@cs.SFSU.EDU (Eric P. Scott) Organization: San Francisco State University Lines: 9 About 5 years ago Data General AOS/VS had a program to post- mortem its equivalent of UNIX core dumps--what they called breakfiles. This program, the "breakfile analyzer" was more commonly known as BRAN. If you gave it the undocumented /RAISIN switch it said I don't like raisins. -=EPS=- Article 681 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!mit-eddie!mit-amt!mit-caf!npreyer From: npreyer@mit-caf.MIT.EDU (Norris Preyer) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Apple's sense of humor (was Re: DEC's sense of humor Message-ID: <3630@mit-caf.MIT.EDU> Date: 20 Dec 89 13:12:42 GMT References: <7296@pt.cs.cmu.edu> <1989Dec16.063832.529@world.std.com> <258F0599.3945@maccs.dcss.mcmaster.ca> Reply-To: npreyer@mit-caf.UUCP (Norris Preyer) Organization: Microsystems Technology Laboratories, MIT Lines: 11 No one's yet mentioned the devolution of the names of serious error codes for the macintosh (like DSZeroDivErr, DSBusErr, etc.): In the early documentation, these were simply know as "Deep Shit" errors. This was too frank, apparently, and when "Macintosh Revealed" came out, Stephen Chernicoff called these "Dire Strait" (or "Deep Spaghetti") errors. When the hardbound version of Inside Mac came out the censors had cleansed the colorful language altogether, but the "DS" had to remain since all the header files had this prefix, to the confusion of new mac programmers ever since. Similar tales from other machines? Article 685 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!zephyr.ens.tek.com!uw-beaver!milton!dancey From: dancey@milton.acs.washington.edu (Mikel Stromberg) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: One swift kick cures all Summary: Kaypro tales... Message-ID: <1108@milton.acs.washington.edu> Date: 20 Dec 89 15:49:00 GMT References: <299@ns-mx.uiowa.edu> Reply-To: dancey@milton.acs.washington.edu (Ryan Dancey) Organization: University of Washington, Seattle Lines: 54 I own a Kaypro II circa. 1982, which is a small box (about 1.5' X 2') with it's own built in screen and two disk drives. When I got it (fourth hand) in 1987, it had relatively few problems, save an annoying message which appeared curtesy of CP/M when the system booted, i.e.: KAYPRO II CP/M v2.2 A: I used a sector editor to change this message to: (Poof) Yes Master? A: and the 'warm boot' message to: Cold Brew A: Which was most humorous for about a day and a half. However, I gave some copies of the hack to some friends at the local users group, and CP/M machines tend to get sold, and resold over and over. Imagine my suprise to boot a computer in Pullman, about 200 miles from my home near Seattle in Washington State, and see the message: (Poof) Yes Master? A: :) My Kaypro also tends to go 'out of kilter' now and again, and the only proven solution is to whack on the side with a rubber mallet (I'm not kidding, I'ts right here by my side) which cures the problem instantly. No amount of service calls, or replacement of components has fixed the problem, but a good whack will do the trick every time. If you have the old CP/M version of WordStar, you'll find the message: Nosy, aren't you? Placed in every available open space in the executable code.... +--------------------------------------------------------------+ | Well, you're climbing to a job on the company ladder, | | Hope it dosen't take too long. . . | | Can't you see there'll come a day when it won't matter, | | Come a day when you'll be gone? | | I understand about indescision, | | and I don't care if I get behind! | | People livin' in competition, | | All I want | | is to have my piece of mind. | | -Boston | +--------------------------------------------------------------+ Article 688 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!pilchuck!ssc!mcgp1!flak From: flak@mcgp1.UUCP (Dan Flak) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Computer Names Message-ID: <3028@mcgp1.UUCP> Date: 19 Dec 89 16:15:47 GMT Distribution: usa Organization: McCaw Cellular Communications, Inc., Seattle, WA Lines: 10 In days of yore, when I used to work for a Government Contractor (Yeah, I'll admit to doing anything), we had 4 computers dedicated to a project. These computers were used for source code control, development, testing, and demonstrations. It was the latter purpose that led to their names: "Dog", "Pony", "Bell", and "Whistle". -- Dan Flak - McCaw Cellular Communications Inc., 201 Elliot Ave W., Suite 105, Seattle, Wa 98119, 206-283-2658, (usenet: thebes!mcgp1!flak) Article 689 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!hoptoad!asylum!karl From: karl@asylum.SF.CA.US (Karl Auerbach) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: What operating system is your car? Message-ID: <9141@asylum.SF.CA.US> Date: 19 Dec 89 18:21:34 GMT References: <3022@mcgp1.UUCP> <5675@orca.wv.tek.com> Reply-To: karl@asylum.UUCP (Karl Auerbach) Distribution: usa Organization: The Asylum; Belmont, CA Lines: 20 >2) Does anyone have a "real" computer story where seemingly >complex technical problems are cured by primative remedies? I don't know if this counts: Seems that some folks are mouse dislexic. In other words, when they want to move the pointer left their hand goes right. ("Yes, people really do this." [probably copyright or trademark by Chevron Oil]) Saw this happen to a friend on a visit to Xerox PARC (when we had a viewing of the STAR). The folks at Parc knew the solution: just flip the mouse around so that the tail comes out towards the wrist rather than the fingers. --karl-- Reminds me of the time when the Q7 (a SAGE computer with vacuum tubes) went on the blink, we walked into the CPU, past the asles of memory, and laying between the adder and the sequencer we found ... Article 691 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!hoptoad!asylum!sharon From: sharon@asylum.SF.CA.US (Sharon Fisher) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: My true cookie story Message-ID: <9154@asylum.SF.CA.US> Date: 20 Dec 89 08:24:30 GMT References: <89347.200350RLE100@PSUVM.BITNET> Reply-To: sharon@asylum.UUCP (Sharon Fisher) Organization: The Asylum; Belmont, CA Lines: 24 In article <89347.200350RLE100@PSUVM.BITNET> RLE100@PSUVM.BITNET writes: >In early 1986, when I was but a wee lad just starting in computers, someone >got an exec file circulating around PSUVM. Finding it in my readerfile one >day, and not knowing any better, I ran it. From then on, after every couple >commands, a message would come up demanding a cookie. After consulting an >operator, I learned that I had no choice but to respond by typing "cookie". >If you didn't feed it, it eventually locked up your terminal and you would >have to get an operator to bump you off the system. The demands for cookies, >would get more and more insistent, and after 14 or 15 times it would say: >"Just one more, please...". After giving it that last cookie, it would say: >"Thanks, I'm full now. Bye!" and be gone. I agree that this was a fun little >virus, or whatever you want to call it. Too bad they aren't all like that... It's lots older than that. I heard about it circa 1977 at RPI. The other interesting story I heard about computing at RPI was 'wabbits.' As I recall, it involved running a program that generated two copies of itself. Eventually, the load crashed the system. When I was there, we had IBM mainframes running the Michigan Terminal System. With it, we could write cute little animated scripts for the 25th line on our IBM 3270 terminals, like little rockets across the bottom of the screen (with --> strings) and intercourse (with --> and ) strings, as I recall, with OOO! OOO! next to them). Article 696 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!cs.utexas.edu!husc6!spdcc!merk!alliant!werme From: werme@Alliant.COM (Ric Werme) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: The only Coke machine on the Internet Message-ID: <3588@alliant.Alliant.COM> Date: 17 Dec 89 23:57:51 GMT References: <7295@pt.cs.cmu.edu> <289@ns-mx.uiowa.edu> Reply-To: werme@alliant.Alliant.COM (Ric Werme) Organization: Alliant Computer Systems, Littleton, MA Lines: 42 In article <289@ns-mx.uiowa.edu> jones@pyrite.cs.uiowa.edu (Douglas W. Jones,201H MLH,3193350740,3193382879) writes: >From article <7295@pt.cs.cmu.edu>, by tgl@zog.cs.cmu.edu (Tom Lane): >> This story is old news to ex-CMU folk, but may be amusing to others. >> >> Since time immemorial (well, maybe 1970) the Carnegie-Mellon CS department >> has maintained a departmental Coke machine, which sells bottles of Coke >> for a dime or so less than other vending machines around campus. > >The coke machine existed in the fall of 1969, back when the computer >center was on an upper floor of Scaife (I think that's the spelling) hall. >It was the most unusual coke machine I've ever patronized. The machine was >cobbled together looking, but it looked like a coke machine. The odd thing >was that the coin slot was on the other side of the hall, installed in a >locker. Presumably, the wires from the coin slot to the machine went >under the floor, but there were rumors that the machine was interfaced to >the Univac 1108 somehow. [No, they weren't. -EW13] That was a different Coke machine, I believe run by Roy Weil. In 1968 when I showed up, the coin slot was in a locker next to the machine. (In order to fit it into a hole in the wall, the machine's shell had to be removed.) When the Comp. Center installed card reader for WATFOR jobs, the locker with the coin changer was removed, so it had to be installed across the hall. A sign went up saying "Insert money across the hall", and graffiti immediately was added saying where to get the bottle, where to open it, return it, etc. The Cs engineering lab was in Porter Hall when Jim Teter ran his machine. He got a second one when Science Hall opened (Is that Stever Hall now?). They paid a substantial portion of his tuition. His Porter Hall machine had five columns of Coke and one that varied. We could tell which grad student was burning the most midnight oil by seeing which column was lowest, so I learned to use the least recently used column (the LRU algortihm). That was the coldest and most often produced Cokes that began to freeze upon opening. I left in 1974, before the machines got hooked to the computer. Thanks for that info. - Eric Werme (EW13) [Appropriate - I was born on Friday 13th!] -- | A pride of lions | Eric J Werme | | A gaggle of geese | uucp: decvax!linus!alliant | | An odd lot of programmers | Phone: 603-673-3993 | Article 701 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!joefritz From: joefritz@pawl.rpi.edu (Jochen M. Fritz) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Apple's sense of humor (was Re: DEC's sense of humor Message-ID: <*Y'8&@rpi.edu> Date: 20 Dec 89 19:59:40 GMT References: <7296@pt.cs.cmu.edu> <1989Dec16.063832.529@world.std.com> <258F0599.3945@maccs.dcss.mcmaster.ca> <3630@mit-caf.MIT.EDU> Organization: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy NY Lines: 8 The apple II also had much humor in it. The disk controller chip is called the IWM for integrated WOZ machine (after its creator). In the BASIC reference manual the section on the USR function in the title "Users with fewer than 16 fingers are advised to skip this section." In the glossery, there was an entry for "Write Only Memory" Jochen Fritz ("Noah") Article 704 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!zephyr.ens.tek.com!orca.wv.tek.com!frip!andrew From: andrew@frip.WV.TEK.COM (Andrew Klossner) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: The only Coke machine on the Internet Message-ID: <5691@orca.wv.tek.com> Date: 20 Dec 89 19:54:08 GMT References: <7295@pt.cs.cmu.edu> <289@ns-mx.uiowa.edu> <3588@alliant.Alliant.COM> Sender: andrew@orca.wv.tek.com Reply-To: andrew@frip.wv.tek.com Organization: Tektronix, Wilsonville, Oregon Lines: 6 Then there was the vending machine at SAIL (Stanford AI Lab). To use, identify yourself and place your order on a TTY. No need for coins, your account was debited. And you could roll for double or nothing. -=- Andrew Klossner (uunet!tektronix!frip.WV.TEK!andrew) [UUCP] (andrew%frip.wv.tek.com@relay.cs.net) [ARPA] Article 707 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!columbia!cunixc!cunixb.cc.columbia.edu!ajw From: ajw@cunixb.cc.columbia.edu (Andrew J Werden) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Archeology Message-ID: <2534@cunixc.cc.columbia.edu> Date: 20 Dec 89 19:48:06 GMT Sender: news@cunixc.cc.columbia.edu Reply-To: ajw@cunixb.cc.columbia.edu (Andrew J Werden) Distribution: usa Organization: Columbia University Lines: 39 If you are brave of heart and have a penchant for irony, you'll find that there are many people out there eager to GIVE away their old toys and orphans. Despite the fact that they may seem outdated or were 'ways of the future' that the future ignored, many still function and can provide both service and amusement. Some of my favorite orphans include the IBM Series 1 mainframe, the IBM 5700 (?) office automation system and of course the IBM 5100 small business computer (yes, I know someone who owned one). By the way, to my knowledge, the original IBM PC [with cassette ports] was the model 5150; though thankfully not related to the 5100. I've jokingly been called a 'computer archeologist' by my co-workers for my habit of acquiring these antiques (of course they shouldn't talk, as they're working on a IBM4381 running DOS/VSE under VM/CMS [DOS is an operating system that never should have been; it was introduced as a stop-gap measure by IBM when they were late on shipping OS/360. They tried to kill it for ten years]). Now a question: I'm picking up/hauling away an APPLE III tomorrow. Anyone know anything about it? I don't think it has a CP/M card; anyone have any software or hardware they'd be willing to part with (cheap)? Anyone have a keyboard for a TRS-80 model 1? What a fun machine; crashed every half hour; you had to polish the card-edge connectors every day to prevent memory errors; I had mine plugged in to an amplifier although the machine wasn't supposed to have sound (the cassette port was adressable; some folks found how to play neat music through it); and yes, I kept a rubber mallet by the desk to periodically whack the disk drives when they got out of alignment. Enough babbling. Someone want to buy a PDP11/34? A client gave it to me last January; a friend has been storing it in San Francisco since. 3 35 meg drives and a line printer too. /Andrew Article 708 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!samsung!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!mips!apple!baum From: baum@Apple.COM (Allen J. Baum) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: cookie Message-ID: <37438@apple.Apple.COM> Date: 20 Dec 89 21:43:10 GMT References: <KIM.89Dec11041331@watsup.waterloo.edu> <RODNEY.89Dec11104132@dali.ipl.rpi.edu> <1157@nsscb.UUCP> Reply-To: baum@apple.UUCP (Allen Baum) Organization: Apple Computer, Inc. Lines: 16 [] >In article <1157@nsscb.UUCP> njc@nsscb.UUCP (Neil Cherry (STARGRP)) writes: >Now for something slightly unbeleivable. A customer called in complaining >that whem they ran a certain program the computer would turn off ..... >So sometimes you must believe the unbelievable. Hmm... at MIT AI Labs they had a phase of the moon program, which was usually invoked at login- it gave day, date, and phase. Well, I was told that once upon a time there was a bug in the program that would cause the machine to crash. So, you see, there are problems that occur depending on the phase of the moon.. -- baum@apple.com (408)974-3385 {decwrl,hplabs}!amdahl!apple!baum Article 709 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!usc!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!swrinde!emory!hubcap!grimlok From: grimlok@hubcap.clemson.edu (Mike Percy) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers,alt.peeves Subject: Radio Shack is brain-damaged!!! Message-ID: <7504@hubcap.clemson.edu> Date: 20 Dec 89 21:35:23 GMT References: <1989Dec20.155753.25355@sun.soe.clarkson.edu> Organization: Clemson University, Clemson, SC Lines: 78 [nostalgia about stupid Radio Shack (salesmen), and TRS-80's deleted] Ah, Radio Shack, let me tell you about Radio Shack. You see, my wife manages one, and I worked at one as a second job while trying to save up money to buy our first house. Point 1 -- 95% of the salesmakers, as they are called, are totally ignorant regarding the products they sell -- don't know how to hook up a VCR, program the 6-disk changer CD player, don't know a 1ohm resistor from a 1Kohm, can't run a DOS machine, etc. The worst I have seen personally is when a salesmaker (whom I didn't like in the first place, since I knew he was stupid) told a potential customer that the Tandy 1000 TL/2 (80286 based 640K DOS machine) ran _MacIntosh_ software!!!! His explanation was that they both use the same floppy size, ergo... Point 2 -- Point 1 comes about because those people who are too stupid to know their products, are the same people who are too stupid to know that they are being shafted by the corporation. Bluntly, Tandy corporate policy is fucked-up! When my wife took over her store, she found that there was a6000
inventory loss, which the corporation was going to hold her responsible
for! Day one, she comes in and does an inventory, $6000 of stuff is missing, and its her fault?? Salesmakers earm hourly ($3.50) or 6.5% commission, whichever is
higher; except between Thanksgiving and New Year's, when the commission
is dropped to 5.5%.  Corporate says that lots of sales are "unearned"
during this time.

Managers make 3.5% commission on everything the sell, provided they
average more than $75 per hour, and they only get commision on the dollar amount over$75. The rate drops to 2.5% during the golden
quarter.  Also, managers are not supposed to be salesmakers.  What this
leads to is salesslime making more than the manager -- purely as a
result of corporate policy!

My wife recently tried to get some more sales help. To do so she had
to request her "team leader" approval. The team leader has to get the
district manager's approval.  The district manager has to request from
corporate HQ in Fort Worth, TX, that an ad be placed in our local paper.
Corporate HQ may or may not do this.  Luckily it was done, turnaround of
10 days or so from first call to seeing the ad.  When someone came in
that my wife interviewed and felt would be good, she had to send them
off to the team leader for another interview.  If the team leader
accepts the person, they go off to the distric manager for a final
interview!!  Talk about centralized control.

Most recently, corporate had an employee bonus deal where we could
buy a computer, 20M hard drive, and EGA monitor at "cost". Pretty good
deal, and lots of employees responded.  To get a computer you filled out
the form, and mailed it to corporate HQ. They eventually UPS'd the unit
directly to you.  The catch here is that the cost of all warranty work
is charged to the store you were working at when you bought your
computer (which eventually comes out of teh manager's paycheck).  What
happened? Right, one of her employees got one, and his hard disk was
broke $399 replacement cost to evetually come out of my wifes pocket. Did she have any control over this? Did she get any commision from the sale? Of course not! But something goes wrong and it must be her fault. A company which deals in computers didn't have computerized inventory control or point-of-sale terminals until THIS FALL. Corporate liked pencil and paper wasting time, I guess. Then the FINALLY figured out that it cost $$to waste that time! One last thing. Forty percent of the manager's commisions earned are held back until the end of teh fiscal year and are forfeited if the manager is not with the company at the end of the fiscal year. This is the reason my wife is still there -- we can't afford to have her walk away from$3000 in held back commisions.

So next time you have to buy something from RS, and are amazed at the
stupidity of the salesperson, you'll know that all the good ones quit
out of frustration.
--

'I just couldn't convince the voters that Dukakis was Greek for
"Bubba".' -- Lloyd Benson explaining why the Democrats didn't carry
Texas

Article 710 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!samsung!jbw
From: jbw@samsung.COM (Jeremy B. Wohlblatt)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: write only memory
Message-ID: <8765@samsung.samsung.com>
Date: 20 Dec 89 22:10:41 GMT
References: <7296@pt.cs.cmu.edu> <1989Dec16.063832.529@world.std.com> <258F0599.3945@maccs.dcss.mcmaster.ca> <3630@mit-caf.MIT.EDU> <*Y'8&@rpi.edu>
Organization: Samsung Software America, Inc.
Lines: 39

joefritz@pawl.rpi.edu (Jochen M. Fritz) writes:
>      The apple II also had much humor in it.  The  disk controller chip is
>called the IWM for integrated WOZ machine (after its creator).  In the BASIC
>reference manual the section on the USR function in the title "Users with
>fewer than 16 fingers are advised to skip this section."  In the glossery,
>there was an entry for "Write Only Memory"

in my undergraduate class on computer architecture, the professor (an old, wise
man with a thick chinese accent) once said, so now you see there is memory
that you can read and write, and read only memory that you can read but not
write.  so bright students sometimes ask if there is not such a thing as write
only memory.  of course there is.  it is today's handout.  i write it and
you don't read it.

incidentally, the term write only memory actually has legitimate use, e.g.,
in describing memory mapped displays.  the memory' location has to be hooked
up to some device which does something useful when the location is written to.

-- jeremy

--
these opinions might not be those of my employer.  they might not even be mine.
jeremy b. wohlblatt: samsung software america, inc.
uucp: {decvax!{gsg,cg-atla},uunet,ulowell}!ginosko!jbw
internet:	jbw@ginosko.samsung.com

Article 717 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!rice!uw-beaver!milton!blake!Tomobiki-Cho!mrc
From: mrc@Tomobiki-Cho.CAC.Washington.EDU (Mark Crispin)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Message-ID: <5123@blake.acs.washington.edu>
Date: 21 Dec 89 00:00:13 GMT
References: <KIM.89Dec11041331@watsup.waterloo.edu> <RODNEY.89Dec11104132@dali.ipl.rpi.edu> <1157@nsscb.UUCP> <37438@apple.Apple.COM>
Sender: news@blake.acs.washington.edu
Organization: Mendou Zaibatsu, Tomobiki-Cho, Butsumetsu-Shi
Lines: 37

In article <37438@apple.Apple.COM> baum@apple.UUCP (Allen Baum) writes:
>Hmm... at MIT AI Labs they had a phase of the moon program, which was usually
>invoked at login- it gave day, date, and phase. Well, I was told that once
>upon a time there was a bug in the program that would cause the machine to
>crash. So, you see, there are problems that occur depending on the phase of
>the moon..

A bit exaggerated.

Here's the actual story, albeit from memory; Guy Steele can give the
details:

There was an application that generated source code as output.  In a
header comment the phase of the moon was included.  The problem was
that a maximum possible text width phase of the moon would make the
output line longer than the specified limit.

You guessed it, the output routines would recognize this and output
the overflow on a second line.  The problem was, without any leading
semicolons the overflow was treated as code instead of comments...

This story was told in "The Hacker's Dictionary: A Guide to the World
of Computer Wizards", by Steele et al. (I was one of the "et al"),
published by Harper&Row but (alas!) now out of print.  Unfortunately,
the typographer saw the obvious mistake in the text in the example of
the "phase of the moon bug" and...you guessed it...corrected it.

So, as I said, pointing at the appropriate page: "The example of the
phase of the moon bug bug has a bug.  The bug is that there's no bug.
That's the bug."  :-)

Mark Crispin / 6158 Lariat Loop NE / Bainbridge Island, WA 98110-2098
mrc@CAC.Washington.EDU -- MRC@PANDA.PANDA.COM -- (206) 842-2385
Atheist & Proud -- R90/6 pilot -- Lum-chan ga suki ja!!!
tabesaserarenakerebanaranakattarashii...kisha no kisha ga kisha de kisha-shita
sumomo mo momo, momo mo momo, momo ni mo iroiro aru
uraniwa ni wa niwa, niwa ni wa niwa niwatori ga iru

Article 718 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!cs.utexas.edu!jarvis.csri.toronto.edu!utgpu!utzoo!censor!teecs!belkin
From: belkin@teecs.UUCP (Hershel Belkin)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Old micro-computer magazines live!!
Message-ID: <5520001@teecs.UUCP>
Date: 20 Dec 89 06:01:40 GMT
Organization: Litton Systems, Toronto ONT
Lines: 34

I have a large collection of historic Micro-computer magazines which
I must finally part with...  These include most issues of the following
Magazines/years:

BYTE			1977 - 1986

INTERFACE AGE		1977 - 1981

KILOBAUD		1977 - 1978

PERSONAL COMPUTING	1977 (some)

Dr. Dobbs Journal of Computer Calisthenics & Orthodontia
(Yes, that was the original title!)	1976 - 1979  (assorted)

OnCOMPUTING		1979 (some)

There are a total of over 190 issues in this collection!  Most are in
very good condition. (WARNING: They are _heavy_; shipping may be costly...)

If the names "MITS/Altair", "Processor Technology/SOL", "IMSAI", "SWTPC",
"North Star" mean anything to you...  Contact me via e-mail and make me
an offer!

*** BEFORE THEY ARE GONE:  If anyone has a look-up request (assuming
that it doesn't require too much effort :-) let me know!  These
mags bring back a lot of memories!  (So does the old IMSAI in my
basement...wonder if it still works??...)
--
+-----------------------------------------------+-------------------------+
| Hershel Belkin               hp9000/825(HP-UX)|      UUCP: teecs!belkin |
| Test Equipment Engineering Computing Services |     Phone: 416 246-2647 |
| Litton Systems Canada Limited       (Toronto) |       FAX: 416 246-5233 |
+-----------------------------------------------+-------------------------+

Article 719 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!uwm.edu!dogie.macc.wisc.edu!decwrl!ucbvax!ziploc!eps
From: eps@toaster.SFSU.EDU (Eric P. Scott)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: The only Coke machine on the Internet
Message-ID: <197@toaster.SFSU.EDU>
Date: 21 Dec 89 00:51:56 GMT
References: <7295@pt.cs.cmu.edu> <289@ns-mx.uiowa.edu> <3588@alliant.Alliant.COM> <5691@orca.wv.tek.com>
Reply-To: eps@cs.SFSU.EDU (Eric P. Scott)
Organization: San Francisco State University
Lines: 14

In article <5691@orca.wv.tek.com> andrew@frip.wv.tek.com writes:
>Then there was the vending machine at SAIL (Stanford AI Lab).  To use,
>identify yourself and place your order on a TTY.  No need for coins,
>your account was debited.  And you could roll for double or nothing.

It was better than that... there were some unusual things you
could get from "The Pony."  For example, $2 would buy you a cup with 8 quarters in it. Note that you could use coins if you wanted to--provided that what you wanted to purchase was priced a multiple of 5 cents. There were things that weren't... -=EPS=- Article 724 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!cad.cs.cmu.edu!sgw From: sgw@cad.cs.cmu.edu (Stephen Wadlow) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Pranks (was Re: revenge) Message-ID: <7378@pt.cs.cmu.edu> Date: 21 Dec 89 02:21:00 GMT References: <3117@tymix.UUCP> <89348.111728DN5@PSUVM.BITNET> <PORTUESI.89Dec14204256@tweezers.esd.sgi.com> Distribution: alt Organization: Carnegie-Mellon University, CS/RI Lines: 31 In article <PORTUESI.89Dec14204256@tweezers.esd.sgi.com> portuesi@sgi.com (Michael Portuesi) writes: >One day, either myself or another person got the idea for putting >together a fake basic interpreter. It accepted any line that began >with a line number, just as if the user were talking to the >interpreter. Any immediate mode commands, such as "run" or "list" >were greeted with "?syntax error". hey Mike! We had done a similar version of this that would allow you to type in an entire program, but on the command "run" it would start printing peeks of all the memory from 1 to some large number and the machine would freak. We had disabled the break key, so there was no way for the user to halt the program short of a power cycle, though there was an interrupt (control shift up-arrow I think) that would allow us to stop the program and return to basic. Kind of nasty, but occasionally fun.... The other high school hack I pulled on the old model 3's was to have it slowly draw in crufty trs-80 graphics some basic lines in some generic pattern. I got then memorize the pattern, and showed the program to the teacher. While the program was running, I touched the screen, and moved my finger at the same speed and in the same places that the machine was drawing graphic blocks. To the unaware observer (ie, my teacher) it appeared that I had written something that made the model-3 monitor into a touch screen. He was disappointed when I told him the truth, though I think he did pull the same stunt on a few other people. steve Article 725 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!cad.cs.cmu.edu!sgw From: sgw@cad.cs.cmu.edu (Stephen Wadlow) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: One swift kick cures all Message-ID: <7379@pt.cs.cmu.edu> Date: 21 Dec 89 02:44:23 GMT References: <299@ns-mx.uiowa.edu> Organization: Carnegie-Mellon University, CS/RI Lines: 25 In article <299@ns-mx.uiowa.edu> jones@pyrite.cs.uiowa.edu (Douglas W. Jones,201H MLH,3193350740,3193382879) writes: >Another story of the PDP-11/20 at the University of Illinois in 1973: > >Sometimes the machine would stop working unexpectedly. When this happened, >one of the common fixes was to give the CPU a swift kick from below before >trying to reboot. When I was a student technician at the university hardware repair center ("Terminal Repair" I always found the name amusing. ;-)) we used to repair a terminals (vt52's I think) in a similar way. The logic board was mounted upside-down on the bottom of the computer. Some of the logic was socketted. Occasionally, the chips would start to unseat and the terminal would be flakey. When the terminal would come in for repair, we would take the terminal out of site of the customer, take a wooden stick (label "for terminals only") and bang the bottom of the terminal hard enough to re-seat the chips, and then bring the terminal back to the front counter to check it out. The expression on the customer's face was frequently one of utter amazement. Note: The terminals that we did this on always belonged to our computation center (though they may be in individual offices) and we never did this to someone who actually *owned* the terminal (at least, we tried not to...) steve Article 731 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!emory!utkcs2!cs.utk.edu!moore From: moore@cs.utk.edu (Keith Moore) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Revenge of the Sigma, or Fun with Paranoid Sysadmins Message-ID: <1519@utkcs2.cs.utk.edu> Date: 21 Dec 89 06:25:54 GMT Sender: news@utkcs2.cs.utk.edu Reply-To: moore@cs.utk.edu (Keith Moore) Organization: CS Dept -- University of TN, Knoxville Lines: 41 Just before I started school there back in 1978, Tennessee Tech University replaced its aging Xerox Sigma 7 computer with a brand new (but already-obsolete) Burroughs 6700. (Sigh) Unlike the Xerox CP-V operating system which was full of holes, the Burroughs MCP (Master Control Program) was said to be very secure. The new machine had no assembler or debugger with which to explore, and Burroughs systems were popular in banks and other environments where security was important. So the computer center administration was happy that it could relax a bit in the war against the students. The "beast" (as we called it) had a large front panel facing the machine room window so users could watch the lights blink. The most noticable feature on the front panel was a rectangular grid of 192 lights. You could tell at a glance how heavily loaded the machine was, since the MCP's idle process would put a "B" (the Burroughs logo) in the lights whenever it was running. Imagine if you will a computer center director walking by the machine room a few months after the machine had been installed. Casually he looks through the window to see how the machine is doing, only to realize that the front panel lights now form the pattern of a SIGMA. As it turns out, all you had to do to accomplish this was to keep the right bit patterns on the top of the stack (the B6700 was a stack machine) -- this basically involved sitting in a tight loop doing a bitwise compare of two double-precision values over and over. So the system's security had not really been compromised (yet), but this was little comfort to one sysadmin who was convinced that the front panel lights were controlled by "the innermost part of the operating system"... No, I can't claim credit for this hack -- but I knew the people who worked on it and I did see the program run. One of them eventually went on to collaborate in the CMU "coke" effort after leaving TTU. Keith Moore Internet: moore@cs.utk.edu University of Tenn. CS Dept. BITNET: moore@utkvx 107 Ayres Hall, UT Campus UT Decnet: utkcs::moore Knoxville Tennessee 37996-1301 Telephone: +1 615 974 0822 Article 741 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!mcnc!spl From: spl@mcnc.org (Steve Lamont) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: First hand true story (Re: "cookie") Message-ID: <5923@alvin.mcnc.org> Date: 21 Dec 89 12:35:19 GMT References: <21732@usc.edu> <1288@kuling.UUCP> <44484@bu-cs.BU.EDU> <50518@srcsip.UUCP> <1989Dec14.200639.10408@cs.rochester.edu> Reply-To: spl@mcnc.org.UUCP (Steve Lamont) Distribution: alt Organization: Foo Bar Brewers Cooperative Lines: 37 In article <1989Dec14.200639.10408@cs.rochester.edu> ken@cs.rochester.edu writes: > ... Seems some photog was taking publicity pictures >in a machine room and crashed the machine everytime he took a picture. >Eventually they realized that the flash was getting into the optical >sensors and all the tape drives were seeing EOT at once. Sigh, exabytes >and cartridge tapes are no fun. :-) I don't know about tape drives seeing EOT, but I have been told by two reliable sources at two separate Cray-2 sites about photo flashes crashing their machines. As most folks no doubt know, the Cray-2 logic and memory are immersed in a liquid bath (Flourinert) to keep them cool. There are, of course, sensors to protect the machine from cooking itself if that level gets too low -- if the machine springs a leak or something. The sensors are optical. You guessed it. When photographers would come into the machine room to take pictures of the wonder machine, with the proud department head standing beside the processor, of course, the system would panic when it saw what it thought was a low coolant level and crump. The sensors were eventually replaced with something a mite less hair trigger, I am told. NASA Ames Numerical Aerodynamic Simuation Facility no longer allows cameras in the supercomputer room. (Hey, Gene -- can you confirm this?) spl (the p stands for "Processor's a quart low, m'am...") -- Steve Lamont, sciViGuy EMail: spl@ncsc.org NCSC, Box 12732, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 "Reality involves a square root" Thomas Palmer Article 745 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!samsung!shadooby!sharkey!itivax!scs From: scs@iti.org (Steve Simmons) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: AT&Ts sense of humor (Re: Apple's sense of humor (was Re: DEC's sense of humor)) Message-ID: <4683@itivax.iti.org> Date: 21 Dec 89 14:35:44 GMT References: <7296@pt.cs.cmu.edu> <1989Dec16.063832.529@world.std.com> <258F0599.3945@maccs.dcss.mcmaster.ca> <3630@mit-caf.MIT.EDU> <4810@sugar.hackercorp.com> Sender: news@itivax.iti.org Lines: 16 peter@sugar.hackercorp.com (Peter da Silva) writes: >The 6th edition of the manual, in the notes for the 'dsw' command (the V6 >equivalent of rm -i) said "The etymology of the name is interesting". >I have been given to understand that it stood for "Delete Shit Work". Heard a slightly different origin: Dsw was specificly for the purpose of deleting file names which you could not type. The name allegedly comes from ham radio (morse) jargon, where 'dsw' meant 'goodbye'. *That* usage supposedly was from the Russian word for 'goodbye', loosely trans-spelled 'doh-swedanya'. Since you can't *spell* 'doh-swedanya' without Cyrillic letters, 'dsw' seems a particularly appropriate command for saying goodbye to unspellable files. Article 746 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uunet!pilchuck!ssc!mcgp1!flak From: flak@mcgp1.UUCP (Dan Flak) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: More Military Computing Message-ID: <3030@mcgp1.UUCP> Date: 21 Dec 89 05:06:09 GMT Distribution: usa Organization: McCaw Cellular Communications, Inc., Seattle, WA Lines: 43 Ah, those indestructable WICATS (except when you put 220v to them)! This is another story about WICAT 160's that got drafted. (These WICATs were actually camulflaged! - but that's another story). The particular WICATs involved in this incident were located in a bunker.It had been raining rather haevily for several days, and the local creek was close to flooding over. What the Army didn't know was that upstream there was a temporary dam created by fallen trees and twings and other such flotsom. Behind this temporary dam was a rather (by now) sizable resevoir of water. The temporary dam eventally burst, and in addition to sending a wall of water downhill, it also sent a good portion of the dam along on the crest. The remains of the dam got lodged in a bridge leading to the bunker and diverted the water from the stream bed, directly into the bunker. I heard the story. I saw the computers. They were full of mud. Hey, what do you do? If you have a jeep and it gets dirty, you wash it. If you have a tank and it gets dirty, you wash it. So, if you have a computer and it gets dirty, ... you got it! They took the WICATS down to the motor pool and put the hoses to them. Then, they hung the boards out to dry. We (the contractors) did keep them somewhat honest in that they didn't put the computers (and / or components thereof) into a washing machine on heavy duty cycle. After the intial hosing down, we suggested that they dry the components using hair driers in the "blow" (no heat) setting to get the moisture and dirt out of as many nooks and crannies as possible. We also suggested going after all connectors with alcohol swabs. Most of the computers survived the drowning and were put back into service! -- Dan Flak - McCaw Cellular Communications Inc., 201 Elliot Ave W., Suite 105, Seattle, Wa 98119, 206-283-2658, (usenet: thebes!mcgp1!flak) Article 747 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!samsung!uunet!mcsun!sunic!front.se!per From: per@front.se (Per Lindberg) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Revenge! Message-ID: <927@front.se> Date: 21 Dec 89 15:03:11 GMT References: <1198@mit-amt.MEDIA.MIT.EDU> <33920@mirror.UUCP> <1989Dec18.020732.11229@icc.com> Organization: Front Capital Systems, Stockholm, Sweden Lines: 44 >In article <33920@mirror.UUCP> garison@prism.TMC.COM (Gary E. Piatt) writes: >>Adam Glass writes: >>=>Does anyone out there have any great revenge stories? I was wondering >>=>what to give a particular sys admin (who is absolutely, universally >>=>hated with a passion) when I graduate this spring. Well, there's this classic. It's a variant on the RHBOMB mentioned in Ted Nelson's "Computer Lib". Harmless and funny. Create a file named PASSWORDS.TXT or SECRET.PSW or something similar. Make it readable. (Or, if he has got privvs, protected). Fill the file with the text "GOTCHA!" followed by 100000 <BEL>. Wait. If you want a more brutal revenge, try a variant on this, which I pulled on one of my colleauges for unwittingly killing my EMACS process on a VMS system some years ago (with reservations for errors): Call a command file from his LOGIN.COM doing something like: - define the DIR command to echo the string "%DIRECT-W-NOFILES, no files found" - echo something like: "%LOGIN-S-LGNFDE, fatal system disk error" "%LOGIN-S-DIRFUL, directory full" "%LOGIN-W-delufl, deleting user files" - list his files At a computer center where I worked many years ago, we took a more hardwarily revenge on one old man who insisted on using SOS (a brain-damaged line editor) instead of EMACS on his fine VT100-compatible screen terminal. After 6 months of escalating persuations (including batch jobs printing hints on his terminal, and him running other jobs using his privvs to shoot down ours), we put one of those piezoelectric xmas-card melody chips in his keyboard, connected to LED 1. (the voltage over a lighted LED is enough to drive those CMOS chips, which runs on anything from a battery to nickel plus some foot sweat). Then we patched SOS, so it turned on LED 1 when started, and turned it off on exit. His terminal now plays xmas songs when he runs SOS. -- Per Lindberg (The Mad Programmer) ! __!__ Front Capital Systems ! _____(_)_____ Ceci n'est pas une Piper Linneg 5, 11447 Stockholm, Sweden ! ! ! ! Article 767 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!jarvis.csri.toronto.edu!utgpu!watserv1!watdragon!crocus!rbharding From: rbharding@crocus.waterloo.edu (Ron Harding) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Revenge Summary: Mouse revenge Keywords: mouse systems Message-ID: <19447@watdragon.waterloo.edu> Date: 21 Dec 89 22:51:37 GMT References: <3146@tymix.UUCP> <10768@claris.com> Sender: daemon@watdragon.waterloo.edu Reply-To: rbharding@crocus.waterloo.edu (Ron Harding) Organization: U. of Waterloo, Ontario Lines: 34 In article <10768@claris.com> cthulhu@claris.com (Paul T.S. Lee) writes: > ...about messing with mouse balls, and other assorted mischievous > endeavors.> We used to have a lot of fun with the Mouse Systems optical mouse on the IBM PC. I suspect the same mouse is used by Sun Microsystems. You can recognize it by the metal mouse pad with lines on it. First, we discovered that we could freak people by turning the pad sideways. The pads are very nearly square, so it's not immediately obvious. This tends to confuse the mouse, so it doesn't report movements correctly. People catch on to this quickly. The next step is to turn the mouse over. There are two holes with LED-phototransitor pairs in them. One pair is red, and detects horizontal motion; the other is infrared, and detects vertical motion. If you put a write-protect label over one of these holes, the mouse won't report motion in that direction. Harder for the novice to spot, because the label looks like it belongs there. We also discovered that the mouse will work properly if you use a piece of newspaper or even your jeans as the pad. Apparently, the lettering or the stitching is enough to allow it to detect motion. My last boring anecdote requires that you place the mouse against your monitor. The passage of the electron beam really messes with the mouse. It shakes and jitters wildly. Enough of this silliness. I must away, ere break of evening to rent some pale enchanted movies... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "Nuke 'Em! Get them before they get you. | Ron Harding Another quality home game from Butler Bros." | rbharding@crocus.waterloo.edu -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Article 772 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!entropy From: entropy@pawl.rpi.edu (Just Another Upright Monkey) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Knuth's sense of humour Message-ID: <}F?-!-@rpi.edu> Date: 22 Dec 89 00:27:58 GMT References: <19449@watdragon.waterloo.edu> Distribution: na Organization: Eaters of Wisdom Lines: 43 In article <19449@watdragon.waterloo.edu> rbharding@crocus.waterloo.edu (Ron Harding) writes: > I was reading the early chapters of The Book (The Art of Computer > Programming, for those of you who don't know), and I found a bit of > weirdness in the introduction to volume 1. > > Knuth includes a set of problems at the end of each section. These > problems include a character to rate the difficulty. Something like > 'B' for beginner, 'I' for intermediate, and so on up to 'G' for a > graduate level research project. The scale is 00 to 50. 00 is supposed to be something you can answer right off the top of your head without thinking at all. 10 is a question you need to put a little thought into answering. 40 would make a good semester research project. 50 is unsolved and appears difficult. So the first exercise at the end of the first chapter is 00 What does a rating of 00 indicate? or some such, and the second, I think, is 10 Why is it important to do the exercises? or the like, and the third is 50 Show that for all n>2, (etc.) Which is a good joke and helps to illustrate the point. Now, when I worked for CTY, which is a program Johns Hopkins runs for talented math students, I would hand out sheets of extra problems that were offbeat or interesting. One of the questions I always asked on the very first day was, "Show that for all n>2 (etc)". I think I had some kind of notion that if Fermat really did have a proof, then it ought to be within the scope of a bright highschool student, and that the only person who was going to find such a proof was one who did not know that the problem was supposed to be hard. It always amazes me at how easily people can be taught that something is too difficult for them. Followups to sci.math. -- The wicked flee when no one pursueth. Mark-Jason Dominus entropy@pawl.rpi.EDU entropy@rpitsmts (BITnet) Article 773 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!bbn!usc!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!rpi!entropy From: entropy@pawl.rpi.edu (Just Another Upright Monkey) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Blinking lights on the Connection Machine Message-ID: <?F?K#-@rpi.edu> Date: 22 Dec 89 00:30:34 GMT Distribution: alt Organization: Eaters of Wisdom Lines: 17 I heard a story that when Hillis and Minsky finished building the first Connection Machine, they stepped back and looked at it, and saw that it was kind of dull looking: it was a uniform, featureless black cube. Since they had already spent so many millions of dollars on it, they decided that, being a breakthrough and a revolutionary piece of hardware, it ought to look like one, and invested another couple of thousand dollars in nifty blinking lights. Can anyone substantiate this? -- The wicked flee when no one pursueth. Mark-Jason Dominus entropy@pawl.rpi.EDU entropy@rpitsmts (BITnet) Article 775 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!sunybcs!sybil.cs.Buffalo.EDU!jae From: jae@sybil.cs.Buffalo.EDU (Jae-Hoon Lee) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Floppy disks Message-ID: <15133@eerie.acsu.Buffalo.EDU> Date: 22 Dec 89 00:54:29 GMT References: <Dec.7.23.49.05.1989.29566@topaz.rutgers.edu> Sender: nobody@acsu.buffalo.edu Reply-To: jae@sybil.cs.Buffalo.EDU.UUCP (Jae-Hoon Lee) Organization: SUNY/Buffalo Computer Science Lines: 23 In article <Dec.7.23.49.05.1989.29566@topaz.rutgers.edu> msmith@topaz.rutgers.edu (Mark Robert Smith) writes: >It turned out he or she had tried to insert a 5.25 disk into >the Mac's 3.5 drive, BY FOLDING IT IN HALF. I also heard about the same story from a friend of mine. A user approached to him and asked why the PC cannot read his 5.25 disk. When he was asked to pass the disk to my friend, he pulled out a disk from his pocket which was folded twice (half and again half). Another time, there was girl using Macintosh. When she was done typing her essay, she asked the consultant how she can print it out to a printer connected to another Mac on the next table. (For some reason she liked the other printer on the next table then the one connected to her Mac.) The consultant took the printer cable apart from her Mac and told her to aim it to the printer on the next table and hit "return". As soon as she hit return, he turned his head form the end of the cable (she is holding) to the printer on the next table (pretending he is following the transmission) and cried out "Darn, you missed it. Try again!". She had to repeat a few more times before she figured out what she was doing. Jae /* Internet: Jae@cs.Buffalo.EDU */ Jae H. Lee /* BITnet: Jae@sunybcs.BITnet */ Article 777 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!andrew.cmu.edu!ef1c+ From: ef1c+@andrew.cmu.edu (Esther Filderman) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Achtung!!! Message-ID: <MZYMZZC00Uh0Q443wz@andrew.cmu.edu> Date: 22 Dec 89 01:54:45 GMT References: <Dec.20.19.00.49.1989.29246@topaz.rutgers.edu> Organization: Computing Systems, Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, PA Lines: 41 In-Reply-To: <Dec.20.19.00.49.1989.29246@topaz.rutgers.edu> Our sign says: ATTENTION Do not tease, annoy or bother the computer or it will eat your paycheck. ===== Related story: Up until recently, all of the University's administrative work was done on one of two Tops-20s [the last Tops-20 is to be phased out next month (*sniff*)]. Anyway, one day, about three years ago, we had an airconditioning failure. When the temperature reached 85 degrees, the supervisor on duty did the proper thing: she shutdown the machines as politely as possible and then spun down the disks. At the time, the payroll people had their databases and programs on an RP20, which, if you've never seen one, looks like a giant two-spindled dishwasher. I'm not sure, but I think that that RP20 had been with the system just about from the start. Well, after the temperature came back down, the systems were restarted. However, the RP20 refused to spin back up. The hardware people tried everything, probably including begging, pleading and voodoo rituals. It never spun up. It was a disaster, but not un-recoverable. The data that had been on the RP20 was restored from backup tape onto different drives. When the Supervisor received her next paycheck, it was for$4.76 [if I
remember right].

The payroll folks found out a reason that this happened [I have no idea
what it was].  There are still those who aren't sure that it wasn't
TopsA, getting revenge....

--------------------------------------------------------------
Esther C. Filderman             ef1c+@andrew.cmu.edu
Andrew Specialist		Computing Services
Computer Operations	Carnegie Mellon University

Article 779 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!uwm.edu!dogie.macc.wisc.edu!decwrl!ucbvax!mtxinu!taniwha!paul
From: paul@taniwha.UUCP (Paul Campbell)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Revenge of the Sigma, or Fun with Paranoid Sysadmins
Message-ID: <444@taniwha.UUCP>
Date: 21 Dec 89 17:56:21 GMT
References: <1519@utkcs2.cs.utk.edu>
Reply-To: paul@taniwha.UUCP (Paul Campbell)
Organization: Taniwha Systems Design, Oakland
Lines: 38

In article <1519@utkcs2.cs.utk.edu> moore@cs.utk.edu (Keith Moore) writes:
>(but already-obsolete) Burroughs 6700. (Sigh)

this was one of the great machines of its time ... (I, of course,
am biased)

>room window so users could watch the lights blink.  The most noticable
>feature on the front panel was a rectangular grid of 192 lights.
>You could tell at a glance how heavily loaded the machine was, since
>the MCP's idle process would put a "B" (the Burroughs logo) in the
>lights whenever it was running.

and therein lies another story ... because we all started out telling the
operators that when they saw the 'B' the machine was lightly loaded so
they would stuff more work in. The problem was that when the machine got
overloaded and started to thrash its little guts out it would go into
disk wait as it shuffled data in/out of core, the 'B' would come on while
it waited for disk and the operators would stuff more work in - such
positive feedback was bad news ....

We solved it by changing the macro that put the 'B' up (MCP was shipped
to sites in source form - card images (not actual cards) - you compiled
it and installed it when you brought up a new version of the OS (it didn't
always compile first time of the tape without syntax errors!) - anyway
back to the story - we change the code that put the 'B' up to but up
3 faces, a smiley face :-) when the machine is dead empty, an open mouth
:-() when the machine is lightly loaded and a frown when it was thrashing :-(
(they were vertical smileys) this stopped the operators from over stuffing
the machine .... maybe we were an early user of icons ....

Paul

--
Paul Campbell    UUCP: ..!mtxinu!taniwha!paul     AppleLink: CAMPBELL.P
"We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man,
Got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand ..." - Neil Young 'Freedom'

Article 784 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!uwm.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!math.lsa.umich.edu!emv
From: emv@math.lsa.umich.edu (Edward Vielmetti)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Double Bucky
Message-ID: <EMV.89Dec21230626@urania.math.lsa.umich.edu>
Date: 22 Dec 89 04:06:26 GMT
References: <172@comcon.UUCP> <7326@ficc.uu.net> <9320@hoptoad.uucp>
<1989Dec18.081450.28019@psuvax1.cs.psu.edu>
<MWM.89Dec18115216@raven.pa.dec.com> <WAYNE.89Dec19075816@dsndata.uucp>
<21363@mimsy.umd.edu>
Sender: news@math.lsa.umich.edu
Organization: University of Michigan Math Dept., Ann Arbor MI.
Lines: 38
In-reply-to: don@brillig.umd.edu's message of 20 Dec 89 09:18:03 GMT

Too good to pass up, this is for the a.f.c. songbook:

In article <21363@mimsy.umd.edu> don@brillig.umd.edu (Don Hopkins) writes:

Double Bucky
(Sung to the tune of "Rubber Duckie")

Double bucky, you're the one!
You make my keyboard lots of fun
Double bucky, an additional bit or two:
(Vo-vo-de-o!)
Control and Meta side by side,
Augmented ASCII, nine bits wide!
Double bucky, a half a thousand glyphs,
plus a few!
Oh,
I sure wish that I
Had a couple of
bits more!
Perhaps a
Set of pedals to
Make the number of
Bits four:
Double double bucky!
Double bucky, left and right
OR'd together, outta sight!
Double bucky, I'd like a whole word of
Double bucky, I'm happy I heard of
Double bucky, I'd like a whole
word of you!

(C) 1978 by Guy L. Steele, Jr.

(For those of you who are interested, the term "bucky bits"
comes from Niklaus Wirth, known as "bucky" to friends, who
suggested that an extra bit be added to terminal codes on 36
bit machines for use by screen editors.)

Article 790 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!haven!rutgers!jarvis.csri.toronto.edu!utgpu!utzoo!censor!teecs!belkin
From: belkin@teecs.UUCP (Hershel Belkin)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Old micro-computer magazines live!!
Message-ID: <5520002@teecs.UUCP>
Date: 22 Dec 89 04:06:02 GMT
References: <5520001@teecs.UUCP>
Organization: Litton Systems, Toronto ONT
Lines: 12

/ teecs:alt.folklore.computers / ralf@b.gp.cs.cmu.edu (Ralf Brown):
>You forgot the subtitle: "Running Light without Overbyte"

Correct!  In fact, a footnote on the bottom of the cover of volume 1
number 2 (Feb 1976) states:  "previously Dr. Dobb's Journal of
Tiny Basic Calisthenics & Orthodontia".
--
+-----------------------------------------------+-------------------------+
| Hershel Belkin               hp9000/825(HP-UX)|      UUCP: teecs!belkin |
| Test Equipment Engineering Computing Services |     Phone: 416 246-2647 |
| Litton Systems Canada Limited       (Toronto) |       FAX: 416 246-5233 |
+-----------------------------------------------+-------------------------+

Article 796 of alt.folklore.computers:
From: scs@iti.org (Steve Simmons)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Revenge or fun things to do to co-workers
Message-ID: <4691@itivax.iti.org>
Date: 22 Dec 89 13:57:27 GMT
References: <11212.745.forumexp@mts.rpi.edu>
Sender: news@itivax.iti.org
Lines: 19

Greg_d._Moore@mts.rpi.edu (Commander Krugannal) writes:

>      At work, I had a new manager who needed a good joke played
>   on him . . .

A friend (who shall remain nameless) reported this prank:

His supervisor, Judy, was a complete zero.  At one point Judy got a wild
hair and absolutely *insisted* that her host be placed on usenet.  Need
I say Judy was utterly incompetant to do this herself?  Anyway, the
person who took care of it noticed Judy hadn't set a host name (surely
a neccesary item) and took care of that, too.  Then they very very
carefully explained to Judy that her email address was (I quote)

"foo exclaimation point bar exclaimation point gang exclaimation
point judy"

He didn't know if anyone ever told her "exclaimation point" is
often pronounced "bang".

Article 798 of alt.folklore.computers:
From: emcguire@cadfx (Ed McGuire,1410 EB,,)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: (none)
Message-ID: <342@ns-mx.uiowa.edu>
Date: 22 Dec 89 14:29:35 GMT
References: <11212.484.forumexp@mts.rpi.edu>
Sender: news@ns-mx.uiowa.edu
Lines: 5

From article <11212.484.forumexp@mts.rpi.edu>, by Greg_d._Moore@mts.rpi.edu (Commander Krugannal):
>    And of course, being split brained, it was known as Sybil.

We've got an Integraph engineer's workstation with two graphics
heads'.  Naturally its name is zaphod'.

Article 807 of alt.folklore.computers:
From: emcguire@cadfx (Ed McGuire,1410 EB,,)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: System time (was Re: Class project and question)
Message-ID: <349@ns-mx.uiowa.edu>
Date: 22 Dec 89 17:09:52 GMT
References: <7061@shlump.nac.dec.com>
Sender: news@ns-mx.uiowa.edu
Lines: 9

From article <7061@shlump.nac.dec.com>, by burch@slab.enet.dec.com (Ben Burch):

> On VMS, eight bytes are used and contain the "clunks", ie 10 ms intervals
> since the base time.

And did you know that VMS system administrators have to specify certain
time-related system parameters in units of micro-fortnights'?  :-)

peace.  -- Ed

Article 808 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!samsung!uunet!mcsun!ukc!strath-cs!cs.glasgow.ac.uk!jack
From: jack@cs.glasgow.ac.uk (Jack Campin)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: (none)
Message-ID: <4048@vanuata.cs.glasgow.ac.uk>
Date: 21 Dec 89 12:37:26 GMT
References: <11212.484.forumexp@mts.rpi.edu>
Reply-To: jack@cs.glasgow.ac.uk (Jack Campin)
Organization: COMANDOS Project, Glesga Yoonie, Unthank
Lines: 16
Summary:
Expires:
Sender:
Followup-To:
Keywords:

Greg_d._Moore@mts.rpi.edu (Commander Krugannal) wrote:

> Also, how many places have computer center in a converted chapel,
> complete with stained glass windows?

Another one is ICL's training centre at Beaumont, near Heathrow Airport.
It's a converted Catholic boys' school; the computers are in the chapel
with statues of Jesus and the BVM, bigger than lifesize, keeping an eye on
the operators.

--
Jack Campin  *  Computing Science Department, Glasgow University, 17 Lilybank
Gardens, Glasgow G12 8QQ, SCOTLAND.    041 339 8855 x6044 wk  041 556 1878 ho
INTERNET: jack%cs.glasgow.ac.uk@nsfnet-relay.ac.uk  USENET: jack@glasgow.uucp
JANET: jack@uk.ac.glasgow.cs     PLINGnet: ...mcvax!ukc!cs.glasgow.ac.uk!jack

Article 811 of alt.folklore.computers:
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Blinking lights on the Connection Machine
Message-ID: <1266@mit-amt.MEDIA.MIT.EDU>
Date: 22 Dec 89 20:49:54 GMT
References: <?F?K#-@rpi.edu>
Distribution: alt
Organization: Hack & Slash - Boldly doing evil, subversive things.
Lines: 14

entropy@pawl.rpi.edu (Just Another Upright Monkey) writes:
> I heard a story that when Hillis and Minsky finished
> building the first Connection Machine, they stepped back and
> looked at it, and saw that it was kind of dull looking:  it
> was a uniform, featureless black cube.
>

Perhaps someone should forward this to Steve Jobs...

--
Adam Glass, ex-"hacker" at the Media Lab  \  "Something is going to happen...
Email to: adam@media-lab.media.mit.edu     \    ...something wonderful."

Article 816 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!apple!sun-barr!newstop!sun!basselope!shiffman
From: shiffman%basselope@Sun.COM (Hank Shiffman)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Revenge or fun things to do to co-workers
Message-ID: <129572@sun.Eng.Sun.COM>
Date: 22 Dec 89 18:57:35 GMT
References: <11212.745.forumexp@mts.rpi.edu>
Sender: news@sun.Eng.Sun.COM
Reply-To: shiffman@sun.UUCP (Hank Shiffman)
Organization: Sun Microsystems, Mountain View
Lines: 37

Some years ago I was working as a System Engineer for Data General in
the Rochester, NY sales office.  Our district office was in Albany and
there was a small rivalry going on between the two SEs in Rochester
and the crew in Albany.  Some of this had to do with the fact that we
had all the technical smarts but they had much newer and more
interesting machines to play with.  (For the time, anyway.  Can't
imagine wanting to bother with an Eclipse in these more enlightened
times.)

Anyway, one day I decided to have some fun.  We knew the password for
the operator account on the Albany machine.  I dialed in and added a
small patch to their Exec process, which handles user logins and batch
queues.  The patch would watch as each new user logged in.  If the
user's id was Brian (my coworker's name) it would flip the superuser
bit on.  However, the patch was *very* specific.  The user id had to
be typed as upper case "B", with the rest of the letters in lower
case.  (AOS is case insensitive, so it was highly unlikely that anyone
would ever type a user id in anything other than strict lower case.)

Once the patch was in, Brian logged into their system and pointed out
his new privileges.  They went crazy trying to figure out how he did
it.  The user profile editor said that he didn't have superuser
privilege.  If *they* logged in with his id the privilege wasn't
enabled.  Changing the password on the operator id didn't help either.

Don't think they ever figured it out.  If Brian hadn't spilled the
beans later they still wouldn't know.  (Hi, guys!)

--
Hank Shiffman                                     (415) 336-4658
Marketing Technical Specialist
Software Engineering Technologies               ...!sun!shiffman
Sun Microsystems, Inc.                          shiffman@Sun.com

Zippy sez:
Now I'm concentrating on a specific tank battle toward
the end of World War II!

Article 823 of alt.folklore.computers:
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Path: rochester!colbath
From: colbath@cs.rochester.edu (Sean Colbath)
Subject: Re: Knuth's humor, impossible assignments
Message-ID: <1989Dec23.065852.441@cs.rochester.edu>
Keywords: genius
Reply-To: colbath@cs.rochester.edu (Sean Colbath)
Organization: University of Rochester Computer Science Department
References: <7407@pt.cs.cmu.edu>
Date: Sat, 23 Dec 89 06:58:52 GMT

In article <7407@pt.cs.cmu.edu> you write:
>This isn't really about computers, but it is about geniuses.
>Re: Knuth "humorously" posing Fermat's last theorem in his books:
>
>A friend of mine who went to Yale told me this story,
>related by someone in an advanced (I think it was Topology) math
>class.
>
>The teacher would, as a "joke", pose certain unsolved problems
>in exams and homework problem sets.
>The first time he did this, he asked if anyone had any luck with
>these problems.
>Before he could say that these were unsolved,
>a certain quiet person in the back said,
>"Well, I got the first four but the fifth I'm not sure about."
>All five were previously unsolved problems...
>
>-- Steve

On the topic of hidden jokes in books, textbooks or otherwise, if you look
in the index of Aho, Hopcroft, and Ullman's _Data_Structures_ under
recursion, you see a listing of about 10 page numbers including the number
of the page in the index that you are currently looking at...

--
Sean Colbath
colbath@cs.rochester.edu			...uunet!rochester!colbath
"And now for something completely different..."

Article 1300 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!mailrus!bbn!bbn.com!cosell
From: cosell@bbn.com (Bernie Cosell)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: XYZZY
Message-ID: <51073@bbn.COM>
Date: 18 Jan 90 13:28:30 GMT
References: <4504@rtech.rtech.com>
Sender: news@bbn.COM
Lines: 10

reb@squid.rtech.com ("REB - Tennessee Lamb") writes:

}Does the word "xyzzy" have an origin earlier than the Colossal Cave adventure
}game? Where exactly did it come from?

I believe that Will just made it up [much as he made up near everything else
in Adventure].  I can ask him, but I'm really quite sure that it was just
random-letters.

/Bernie\

Article 1301 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!usc!ucsd!sdcc6!sdbio2!jude
From: jude@sdbio2.ucsd.edu (Jude Poole)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: XYZZY
Message-ID: <6194@sdcc6.ucsd.edu>
Date: 18 Jan 90 17:39:02 GMT
References: <4504@rtech.rtech.com> <51073@bbn.COM>
Sender: news@sdcc6.ucsd.edu
Reply-To: jude@sdbio2.ucsd.edu (Jude Poole)
Organization: University of California, San Diego
Lines: 18

In article <51073@bbn.COM> cosell@bbn.com (Bernie Cosell) writes:
>reb@squid.rtech.com ("REB - Tennessee Lamb") writes:
>
>}Does the word "xyzzy" have an origin earlier than the Colossal Cave adventure
>}game? Where exactly did it come from?
>
>I believe that Will just made it up [much as he made up near everything else
>in Adventure].  I can ask him, but I'm really quite sure that it was just
>random-letters.

On I-15 between Los Angeles and Las Vegas there is a road with the
name Xyyzzy or something very similar (I fly nowadays and so haven't
seen it in a while) This may be where he got the word but I have no
way of verifying it.

jpoole@ucsd.edu
jpoole@ucsd.bitnet

Article 1306 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!swrinde!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!mcsun!ukc!sys.uea!cmp8118
From: cmp8118@sys.uea.ac.uk (D.S. Cartwright)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Lights on Burroughs machines
Message-ID: <1065@sys.uea.ac.uk>
Date: 17 Jan 90 11:43:07 GMT
References: <1990Jan15.173434.5792@virtech.uucp> <6454@mentor.cc.purdue.edu>
Organization: UEA, Norwich, UK
Lines: 36

gis@mentor.cc.purdue.edu (Brian L. Stuart) writes about flashing lights;

I and my friends have developed many mini-theories about these items:

1. The speed of any machine is inversely proportional to the number of
flashing lights.

2. The cost of any machine is proportional to the cube of the number of
flashing lights.

3. The first item to malfunction on any piece of machinery is the flashing
lights.

4. Any fault detection system which uses flashing lights is incapable of
detecting faults in the flashing lights.

5. Any flashing light which detects the presence of mains power will fail to
go off when the power is turned off.

6. Any light intended as any sort of 'Disk In Use' indicator will be rendered
unnecessary by the very loud grinding noise of the disk drive; people will
hear the drive being used and will never look at the flashing light.

7. Though machines are designed with the intention of avoiding redundancy in
all circumstances, this practice does not extend to redundancy of flashing
lights.

8. Problems will be encountered when trying to expand machines with extra disk
drives, etc, as the front panel is full of flashing lights.

9. The peripheral support industry of the 1990's will me in the maintenance of
flashing lights.

10. Flashing lights are a pain in the bum.

Dave C, UEA, Norwich, ENGLAND.

Article 1313 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!usc!snorkelwacker!bloom-beacon!shelby!mcnc!spl
From: spl@mcnc.org (Steve Lamont)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: XYZZY
Message-ID: <6100@alvin.mcnc.org>
Date: 18 Jan 90 20:57:20 GMT
References: <4504@rtech.rtech.com> <51073@bbn.COM> <6194@sdcc6.ucsd.edu>
Reply-To: spl@mcnc.org.UUCP (Steve Lamont)
Organization: Foo Bar Brewers Cooperative
Lines: 17

In article <6194@sdcc6.ucsd.edu> jude@sdbio2.ucsd.edu (Jude Poole) writes:
>On I-15 between Los Angeles and Las Vegas there is a road with the
>name Xyyzzy or something very similar (I fly nowadays and so haven't
>seen it in a while) This may be where he got the word but I have no
>way of verifying it.

Actually it is Zzyzx Road.  Whatever the hell that is.

spl (the p stands for
put a lot of miles on
the RX-7 between San
Diego and Vegas...)
--
Steve Lamont, sciViGuy	(919) 248-1120		EMail:	spl@ncsc.org
NCSC, Box 12732, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
"That's People's Commissioner Tirebiter -- and NOBODY'S sweetheart!"
- F. Scott Firesign

Article 1323 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!usc!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!philmtl!philabs!ttidca!hollombe
From: hollombe@ttidca.TTI.COM (The Polymath)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Lights on Burroughs machines
Message-ID: <9082@ttidca.TTI.COM>
Date: 17 Jan 90 01:56:51 GMT
References: <1990Jan15.173434.5792@virtech.uucp> <729@ncs.dnd.ca>
Reply-To: hollombe@ttidcb.tti.com (The Polymath)
Organization: The Cat Factory
Lines: 16

In article <729@ncs.dnd.ca> jstewart@ncs.dnd.ca (John Stewart) writes:
}... it would also display
}
}    DE
}
}if some part of the system was down!

IBM 370's and their descendants do the same thing (though they display

--
The Polymath (aka: Jerry Hollombe, hollombe@ttidca.tti.com)  Illegitimis non
Citicorp(+)TTI                                                 Carborundum
3100 Ocean Park Blvd.   (213) 450-9111, x2483
Santa Monica, CA  90405 {csun | philabs | psivax}!ttidca!hollombe

Article 1325 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!cs.utexas.edu!hellgate.utah.edu!cc.utah.edu!cc.usu.edu!slsw2
From: SLSW2@cc.usu.edu (Roger Ivie)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Hitting the Fan
Message-ID: <16867@cc.usu.edu>
Date: 18 Jan 90 05:20:00 GMT
References: <1990Jan15.181808.1352@newcastle.ac.uk>
Distribution: alt
Lines: 23

In article <1990Jan15.181808.1352@newcastle.ac.uk>, Brian.Randell@newcastle.ac.uk (Brian Randell) writes:

> What had happened was there had been a break in a sewer pipe - a pipe
> being fed by all the toilets in the large multi-story building whose
> ground floor housed the computer room. The sewage gradually backed up,
> and then overflowed into the hole in the ground housing the fan, and
> then into the fan itself, so as to be distributed evenly and
> efficiently - for a while at least - around the whole computer!

My story isn't that dramatic.

The university here used to have a Burroughs B6800. One day it went down
in a fashion more severe than its normal yoyo mode. It turned out that a
rat had crawled into the fan on one of the disk drives and had been spewed
all over one of the disk packs.

===============================================================================
Roger Ivie

35 S 300 W
Logan, Ut.  84321
(801) 752-8633
===============================================================================

Article 1330 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!snorkelwacker!apple!sun-barr!newstop!jethro!grendal!acm
From: acm@grendal.Sun.COM (Andrew MacRae)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Hitting the Fan
Message-ID: <732@jethro.Corp.Sun.COM>
Date: 19 Jan 90 20:31:33 GMT
References: <1990Jan15.181808.1352@newcastle.ac.uk> <16867@cc.usu.edu>
Sender: news@jethro.Corp.Sun.COM
Reply-To: acm@sun.UUCP (Andrew MacRae)
Distribution: alt
Organization: Sun Microsystems, Mountain View
Lines: 18

The company I worked for 10 years ago was a big user of PDP-11/34s.
About that time DEC began selling replacement front panels.  Instead of
nifty toggle switches and lights you could have a keypad (octal of course)
and an LED readout.

We had put in a call for maintenance on a band printer.  The tech who came
out decided to replace the old front panel with one of the new ones as long
as he was out at our shop.  This was on a Friday afternoon, late, and he
didn't bother to test it out afterwards.  After all, all you have to do
is hook up a few wires, right?

On Monday morning when we powered up that machine, we heard funny clicking
and ticking sounds, then the whole machine went dead.  After pulling the
front panel off we found the problem; the guy had run the wires for the
panel *through* the fans.  Hey, it was the shortest distance, and the blades
weren't moving anyway.  When we powered up, the fan blades had started chopping
away at the wires until they were cut, at which point everything shut down.
Oh yes, he hadn't gotten around to fixing the printer either.

Article 1345 of alt.folklore.computers:
From: morris@jade.jpl.nasa.gov (Mike Morris)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: XYZZY
Message-ID: <2632@jato.Jpl.Nasa.Gov>
Date: 20 Jan 90 09:57:38 GMT
References: <4504@rtech.rtech.com> <51073@bbn.COM> <6194@sdcc6.ucsd.edu> <6100@alvin.mcnc.org>
Sender: news@jato.Jpl.Nasa.Gov
Lines: 37

In article <6100@alvin.mcnc.org> spl@mcnc.org.UUCP (Steve Lamont) writes:
>In article <6194@sdcc6.ucsd.edu> jude@sdbio2.ucsd.edu (Jude Poole) writes:
>>On I-15 between Los Angeles and Las Vegas there is a road with the
>>name Xyyzzy or something very similar (I fly nowadays and so haven't
>>seen it in a while) This may be where he got the word but I have no
>>way of verifying it.
>
>Actually it is Zzyzx Road.  Whatever the hell that is.

One day as I was driving home from an Amateur Radio Convention in L.V. (anybody
here remember SAROC?), a friend of mine and I decided we had a few extra
hours to kill, so we did some exploring.  Zzyzx road north of the freeway
goes nowhere - a dead end maybe 1/4 mile from the ramp.  Southbound the
pavement ends the same 1/4 mile, but a well maintained (in '80 or so) dirt
road goes for about 30 minutes and with just around a blind turn ends
at a barbed-wire-and-2x4s gate.  My '69 Rambler, at that time, had a cracked
exhaust manifold and the noise brought a gentleman out of a run-down house
trailer with a shotgun in his hands (this was about 3pm or so).  Don and I
were smart enough to make no sudden moves and after we explained we were
just curious what Zzyzx was, the gentleman put the gun down and invited us
in for coffee & cokes.  It turns out that Zzyzx was a '30s hot springs
resort that went broke, and the gentleman lived there in a trailer as a
gurad for the buildings, which were in surprisingly good shape (at least
the exteriors - Don and I didn't ask if we could get a tour, and none
was offered).  Supposedly a fleet of busses ran from LA's Union Rail
Station to ZZyzx and back, and the 30s movie stars were the most frequent
guests.  There is no ACpower, no telephone, and communications is limited
to commercial two-way radio (nowadays cellular phones would work there too),
and CB.

All this is 9-10 year old memory, and unverified.

Mike Morris                      Internet:  Morris@Jade.JPL.NASA.gov
Misslenet: 34.12 N, 118.02 W
#Include quote.cute.standard     Bellnet:   818-447-7052
#Include disclaimer.standard     Radionet:  WA6ILQ

Article 1346 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!haven!uflorida!mailrus!uwm.edu!psuvax1!schwartz
From: schwartz@cs.psu.edu (Scott Schwartz)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Lights on Burroughs machines
Message-ID: <C5n!6d1@cs.psu.edu>
Date: 20 Jan 90 08:12:45 GMT
References: <1990Jan15.173434.5792@virtech.uucp> <729@ncs.dnd.ca> <9082@ttidca.TTI.COM> <25b77c7a.2b35@polyslo.CalPoly.EDU>
Organization: Penn State University Computer Science
Lines: 12

>	Can't remember what machine it was, but if it crashed...
>	the console would print:
>		P
>		   L
>		      O
>			 P.......
>	And then give the kernal debug prompt.

Back in the old days, when psuvax1 really was a vax,
someone altered the kernel panic routine to print
"Take her down Scotty, she's sucking mud!"
on the console just before handling the crash.

Article 1355 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!cs.utexas.edu!samsung!think!paperboy!tonic!mbrown
From: mbrown@tonic.osf.org (Mark Brown)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Lights on Burroughs machines
Summary: TI 990 message
Message-ID: <2899@paperboy.OSF.ORG>
Date: 20 Jan 90 17:10:41 GMT
References: <1990Jan15.173434.5792@virtech.uucp> <729@ncs.dnd.ca> <9082@ttidca.TTI.COM> <25b77c7a.2b35@polyslo.CalPoly.EDU> <C5n!6d1@cs.psu.edu>
Sender: news@OSF.ORG
Reply-To: mbrown@tonic.osf.org (Mark Brown)
Organization: Open Software Foundation
Lines: 22

In article <C5n!6d1@cs.psu.edu> schwartz@cs.psu.edu (Scott Schwartz) writes:
>
>Back in the old days, when psuvax1 really was a vax,
>someone altered the kernel panic routine to print
>	"Take her down Scotty, she's sucking mud!"
>on the console just before handling the crash.

Actually, this came from an old TI 990 'if all else fails' error message,
(straight from the Oilfield -- 990 were used by geologists):

"Shut'er down Clancy,
She's a-pumpin' mud!"
ERROR

One was never, NEVER supposed to see this message, but of course, someone did
and sent it in to Field Support....

Mark Brown   IBM AWD / OSF  | If a train station is where
The Good     mbrown@osf.org |       a train stops,
The Bad     uunet!osf!mbrown| What happens at
The Ugly     (617) 621-8981 |       a work station?

Article 1363 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!apple!vsi1!wyse!mips!ultra!wayne
From: wayne@ultra.com (Wayne Hathaway)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Hitting the Fan
Summary: Thar she blows ...
Message-ID: <1990Jan20.235655.18624@ultra.com>
Date: 20 Jan 90 23:56:55 GMT
References: <1990Jan15.181808.1352@newcastle.ac.uk> <16867@cc.usu.edu> <732@jethro.Corp.Sun.COM>
Reply-To: wayne@ultra.com (Wayne Hathaway)
Distribution: alt
Organization: Ultra Network Technologies
Lines: 23

Here's one my brother told me from when he was an IBM salesman back
in the early 60's, when plugboard machines like the 407 Accounting
Machine (exact name?) were all the rage.

One day he gets this frantic phone call from a customer who reports
that his 407 has blown up.  Hmm, says my brother, you mean it's
malfunctioning?  No, says the customer, I mean it BLEW UP!

Sure enough, when my brother arrives at the scene he finds little
pieces of 407 all over the place.  What the HELL???

Further investigation revealed that someone on the customer's staff
had cleaned the type bars -- with gasoline!  The heavy fumes had
settled down into the large body cavity of the machine, and when power
was turned back on ...

And you thought you had problems when your PROGRAMS blew up!

Wayne Hathaway
Ultra Network Technologies     domain: wayne@Ultra.COM
101 Daggett Drive            Internet: ultra!wayne@Ames.ARC.NASA.GOV
San Jose, CA 95134               uucp: ...!ames!ultra!wayne
408-922-0100

Article 1369 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!rpi!crdgw1!sixhub!davidsen
From: davidsen@sixhub.UUCP (Wm E. Davidsen Jr)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: XYZZY
Message-ID: <422@sixhub.UUCP>
Date: 21 Jan 90 17:51:10 GMT
References: <4504@rtech.rtech.com>
Reply-To: davidsen@sixhub.UUCP (bill davidsen)
Organization: *IX Public Access UNIX, Schenectady NY
Lines: 13

In article <4504@rtech.rtech.com> reb@squid.UUCP ("REB - Tennessee Lamb") writes:
| Does the word "xyzzy" have an origin earlier than the Colossal Cave adventure
| game? Where exactly did it come from?

I don't know where it came from, but my daughter was once playing
another adventure game (Isle of {something}) and typed it. She got back
the response "We do not recycle used magic words from other games."
Broke us up.
--
bill davidsen - sysop *IX BBS and Public Access UNIX
davidsen@sixhub.uucp		...!uunet!crdgw1!sixhub!davidsen

"Getting old is bad, but it beats the hell out of the alternative" -anon

Article 1380 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!cs.utexas.edu!samsung!usc!rutgers!texbell!sugar!peter
From: peter@sugar.hackercorp.com (Peter da Silva)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Lights on Burroughs machines
Message-ID: <4981@sugar.hackercorp.com>
Date: 22 Jan 90 12:37:08 GMT
References: <1990Jan15.173434.5792@virtech.uucp> <6454@mentor.cc.purdue.edu> <1065@sys.uea.ac.uk>
Reply-To: peter@sugar.hackercorp.com (Peter da Silva)
Organization: Sugar Land Unix - Houston
Lines: 9

> 4. Any fault detection system which uses flashing lights is incapable of
>    detecting faults in the flashing lights.

Ever hear of "Lamp Test"? *You're* the fault detection system for the flashing
lights.
--
Peter "Have you hugged your wolf today" da Silva <peter@sugar.hackercorp.com>
-_-'
'U  "I haven't lost my mind, it's backed up on tape somewhere"

Article 1382 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!texbell!sugar!peter
From: peter@sugar.hackercorp.com (Peter da Silva)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Emacs
Keywords: Acronym
Message-ID: <4983@sugar.hackercorp.com>
Date: 22 Jan 90 12:50:39 GMT
References: <21743@unix.cis.pitt.edu> <4504@rtech.rtech.com> <51073@bbn.COM> <6194@sdcc6.ucsd.edu> <4534@amelia.nas.nasa.gov> <2878@paperboy.OSF.ORG> <4345@brazos.Rice.edu>
Reply-To: peter@sugar.hackercorp.com (Peter da Silva)
Organization: Sugar Land Unix - Houston
Lines: 11

> > In the same vein as all of the posts about TECO, VAX, and PDP....
> > What does Emacs mean?

> Emacs > Makes > A > Computer > Slow.

Actually, if you look in /usr/include/errno.h, you'll see that it's a UNIX
error code: EMACS -- Editor Too Large.
--
Peter "Have you hugged your wolf today" da Silva <peter@sugar.hackercorp.com>
-_-'
'U  "I haven't lost my mind, it's backed up on tape somewhere"

Article 1396 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!virtech!jje
From: jje@virtech.uucp (Jeremy J. Epstein)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Multi-punches on IBM 026
Keywords: 12-6-8?
Message-ID: <1990Jan22.152652.7636@virtech.uucp>
Date: 22 Jan 90 15:26:52 GMT
Organization: Virtual Technologies Inc.
Lines: 20

Back in the bad old days, I keypunched all my programs on IBM 026
card punches.  [The first time I saw an 029 I was overwhelmed with
how modern it was]

Does anyone out there remember the multi-punch sequences for the
characters which weren't on the keyboard (no cheating by looking at
old card decks)?  I think that "+" was 12-6-8, but I'm not sure.  I don't
even remember what characters had to be multipunched besides +, (, )

Also, on IBM 360s (and hence on all 370 architecture systems) the
op code for multiply was 5C, which was also the EBCDIC for '*'.
Does anyone know if that was accidental, or coincidence?  Do other
machines have neat opcodes like that?  It sure helped in debugging
programs 'cause you could look in the ASCII dump for your multiply
instructions, and then find everything else relatively quickly...
--
Jeremy Epstein
TRW Systems Division
703-876-4202
jje@virtech.uu.net

Article 1399 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!philmtl!philabs!ttidca!hollombe
From: hollombe@ttidca.TTI.COM (The Polymath)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: XYZZY
Message-ID: <9252@ttidca.TTI.COM>
Date: 23 Jan 90 01:44:56 GMT
References: <4504@rtech.rtech.com> <422@sixhub.UUCP>
Reply-To: hollombe@ttidcb.tti.com (The Polymath)
Organization: The Cat Factory
Lines: 19

In article <422@sixhub.UUCP> davidsen@sixhub.UUCP (bill davidsen) writes:
}In article <4504@rtech.rtech.com> reb@squid.UUCP ("REB - Tennessee Lamb") writes:
}| Does the word "xyzzy" have an origin earlier than the Colossal Cave adventure
}| game? Where exactly did it come from?
}
}  I don't know where it came from, but my daughter was once playing
}another adventure game (Isle of {something}) and typed it. She got back
}the response "We do not recycle used magic words from other games."
}Broke us up.

There's a similar message in the original ADVENT (only 6 character program
names under RSTS/E).  If you typed in "abracadabra" it responded with
"Nice try, but that is an old, worn-out magic word."

--
The Polymath (aka: Jerry Hollombe, hollombe@ttidca.tti.com)  Illegitimis non
Citicorp(+)TTI                                                 Carborundum
3100 Ocean Park Blvd.   (213) 450-9111, x2483
Santa Monica, CA  90405 {csun | philabs | psivax}!ttidca!hollombe

Article 1404 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!uwm.edu!cs.utexas.edu!yale!husc6!encore!maxzilla.encore.com
From: soper@maxzilla.encore.com (Pete Soper)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: funny error messages
Message-ID: <10931@encore.Encore.COM>
Date: 23 Jan 90 18:31:37 GMT
References: <C5n!6d1@cs.psu.edu>
Sender: news@Encore.COM
Lines: 12

From article <C5n!6d1@cs.psu.edu>, by schwartz@cs.psu.edu (Scott Schwartz):
> 	"Take her down Scotty, she's sucking mud!"
> on the console just before handling the crash.

About 10 years ago Texas Instruments DX10 OS had a similar
panic message: "Shut her down, Clancy, she's pumping mud". I always
figured this was because DX10 was developed in oil country :-)

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Pete Soper                                             +1 919 481 3730
internet: soper@encore.com     uucp: {bu-cs,decvax,gould}!encore!soper
Encore Computer Corp, 901 Kildaire Farm Rd, bldg D, Cary, NC 27511 USA

Article 1405 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!usc!apple!well!rchrd
From: rchrd@well.UUCP (Richard Friedman)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Another musical computer
Message-ID: <15661@well.UUCP>
Date: 23 Jan 90 19:17:58 GMT
References: <5895@eds.ericsson.se> <2659@cunixc.cc.columbia.edu> <54665@srcsip.UUCP>
Organization: Pacific-Sierra Research
Lines: 12

Using sound to detect periodicity is not so odd as it may seem.
Charles Dodge, a composer at Columbia in the '70's used data from
the fluctuations of the earth's magnetosphere as recorded by NASA
probes as the basis for a piece of digital electronic music called
(I believe) "The Earth's Magnetic Field" and it appeared on a
Nonesuch recording.
--
/s/ rchrd <=> Richard Friedman <=>  rchrd@well
rchrd@well.sf.ca.us | {apple,pacbell,hplabs,ucbvax}!well!rchrd
[Pacific-Sierra Research / Berkeley CA] (415) 540-5216
(The usual disclaimers apply - I speak only for myself!)

Article 1414 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!uwm.edu!cs.utexas.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!snorkelwacker!apple!well!wdh
From: wdh@well.UUCP (Bill Hofmann)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Emacs
Keywords: Acronym
Message-ID: <15672@well.UUCP>
Date: 24 Jan 90 04:52:15 GMT
References: <21743@unix.cis.pitt.edu> <4504@rtech.rtech.com> <51073@bbn.COM> <6194@sdcc6.ucsd.edu> <4534@amelia.nas.nasa.gov> <2878@paperboy.OSF.ORG> <4345@brazos.Rice.edu> <4983@sugar.hackercorp.com>
Reply-To: wdh@well.UUCP (Bill Hofmann)
Organization: Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link, Sausalito, CA
Lines: 8

I'd believe that excruciatingly detailed history of EMACS.
However, I think that the influence of ice cream on computer systems,
especially around MIT, can't be underestimated.  EMACS was the text editor,
and the document formatter was known as BOLIO.  Now, at the time, one of
the better known premium ice cream places was Emac and Bolio's.  Let's not
forget mixins in Lisp Machine Lisp (or flavors)....

=Bill=

Article 1415 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!bnrgate!bnr!janick
From: janick@bnr.CA (Janick Bergeron 1617964)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: More secret messages (CopyWrite for PC)
Message-ID: <809@crk56.bnr.ca>
Date: 23 Jan 90 18:30:59 GMT
References: <1191@husc6.harvard.edu> <3543@hub.UUCP> <1220@husc6.harvard.edu> <5866@orca.wv.tek.com> <191@jabberwock.shs.ohio-state.edu> <1990Jan17.044711.2132@world.std.com> <1288@husc6.harvard.edu> <6882@wpi.wpi.edu>
Reply-To: janick@crk56.UUCP (Janick Bergeron 1617964)
Organization: bnr
Lines: 21

In the summer 1985, I was looking at a diskette containing a copy-protected
software via Norton Utilities. We had been succesful at copying the disk
using CopyWrite but I was looking at the original..

In sector #4 (That may be wrong but it was in one of the first sectors anyway)
there was a message from the authors of CopyWrite saying that this diskette
was a pirate copy, copied using their software and that this message was there as
"witness". They were warning to software authors not to use this sector of the
diskette for copy-protection as a new version of CopyWrite would be promptly
issued and there would be no way to identify copies any longer.

Now, I remind you that I was looking at the *ORIGINAL* diskette...
looks like the distribution firm was using CopyWrite to copy their
own software :-)

--
Janick Bergeron     Bell-Northern Research, Ltd       Ph.: (613) 763-5457
VHDL Tools            P.O. Box 3511, Station C        Fax: (613) 763-2661
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1Y 4H7
janick@bnr.ca                     library disclaimer; use disclaimer.all;

Article 1418 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!cucstud!c3pe!charles
From: charles@c3pe.UUCP (Charles Green)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: rm *
Summary: Sometimes pulling the plug isn't enough...
Message-ID: <8313@c3pe.UUCP>
Date: 24 Jan 90 02:02:37 GMT
References: <11781@goofy.megatest.UUCP> <1540@castle.ed.ac.uk> <11037@ucsd.Edu>
Reply-To: charles@c3pe.UUCP (Charles Green)
Organization: C3 Incorporated, Herndon, VA
Lines: 24

In article <11037@ucsd.Edu> brian@ucsd.edu (Brian Kantor) writes:
>I once typed rm -rf / & (God, it hurts just to type that in a
>news article!) and realized the error about 10 uSec after hitting the
>return key.  Yanking the power plug out of the wall stopped it before it
>had a chance to write the updated buffers to disk and it suffered no
>loss at all.

I once worked on a bid for a Government contract which involved fault-tolerant
processing.  Everything was handled by redundant hardware (CPUs, memories,
disk controllers and mirrored volumes) and there was, of course, integral
battery backup.  If a board went south, it lit an error LED (Good Scout! :-),
and you simply yanked it out while the system was still running (hey, that's
why there's *two* of everything) and shoved in a new one.  The system said,
"Ooh, a new component.  Better test it ... looks okay, I'll put it online".

It seems that one of our number had been working a few too many hours and
accidentally cleaned out his working directory rather than the old directory.
He immediately told the local system rep (Thanks, Chris!) whose response was:
"Pull *both* CPU cards.  NOW."

Still, I think the thing that saved us was the filesystem organization, which
allowed the "fsdb"-like maintenance program to go in and "undelete" the files.
--
charles@C3.COM	{decuac.dec.com,cucstud}!c3pe!charles	ex::!echo Boo:

Article 1423 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!usc!cs.utexas.edu!rice!uw-beaver!ssc-vax!fluke!ddsw1!corpane!disk!jcsewell
From: jcsewell@disk.UUCP (Jim Sewell)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: More hidden messages.
Message-ID: <1228@disk.UUCP>
Date: 20 Jan 90 03:18:09 GMT
Distribution: usa
Organization: Digital Information Systems of Ky (DISK), Louisville, Ky
Lines: 17
Keywords: Amiga

Forgive the lack of specifics, quite honestly I have forgotten them, but if
you had an Amiga 1000 open the workbench (opsys) window and put the pointer
in the right place and pressed a combination of 4 keys, something like left
shift, right shift, control, and left Amiga, along with the function keys
you would see various credit lines:
Video by  Fred, Joe, Ellen, etc...
Sound by ... you get the idea...
and if you did the SPECIAL 5 KEY - 2 HAND - 1 FOOT - and LEFT EAR trick you
could see the developer's comments:
Commodore fucked it up
That about says it all.
--
============================================================================
J.C. Sewell		DISK: Digital Information Systems of Kentucky
uunet!disk!jcsewell	(502) 968-5401 thru 968-5406
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent" - Eleanor Roosevelt

Article 1425 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!apple!sun-barr!newstop!jethro!grendal!acm
From: acm@grendal.Sun.COM (Andrew MacRae)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Another musical computer
Message-ID: <743@jethro.Corp.Sun.COM>
Date: 24 Jan 90 17:58:23 GMT
References: <5895@eds.ericsson.se> <2659@cunixc.cc.columbia.edu>
Sender: news@jethro.Corp.Sun.COM
Reply-To: acm@sun.UUCP (Andrew MacRae)
Organization: Sun Microsystems, Mountain View
Lines: 34

In article <2659@cunixc.cc.columbia.edu> garton@cunixa.cc.columbia.edu (Bradford Garton) writes:
>This is interesting to me -- Does anyone know of any other applications
>using the auditory modality for 'research' like this?  There was much
>discussion about Feigenbaum, et. al.'s use of computer graphics imaging
>to see patterns in chaotic systems... it seems to me that the sonic domain
>would be an excellent place to check for periodicities which might otherwise
>go unnoticed.

A few years ago I wrote a program to display the lexical scoping of Pascal
programs.  In doing so I had to write a parser that could read and understand
Pascal syntax.  While debugging the parser I got tired of sitting and watching
the display as it spit out token after token, waiting for it to hang up - its
usual way of crashing.  I first tried just beeping the pc's speaker as each
token was parsed but at 20 or so tokens a second, that was too monontanous.
I ended up summing the ascii value of the characters of each token and using
that for the frequency of each beep.  The result was an amazing cacophony
of sound.  At first hearing it seemed totaly random, but if you paid
attention you could hear patterns as the same tokens were used repeatedly
within a procedure or function.  This became so much fun that I added an
option to slow down the parse when generating the audio signal so that each
tone could be heard.

A larger suprise came when I began analyzing other people's code.  There was
a program I had written with two other people, about 10,000 line of code.  I
got so that I could listen to the audio signature of the code being parsed and
identify which of the three of us had written that piece of code.  What is
worse is that one of the programmers was not very good and his code sounded
very chaotic.  My code (average quality) sounded ok, but the third person
wrote very elegant code and the audio signiture of her code reflected that.

What it suggested is that good code not only runs well, is easily maintained,
but also sounds good!

Andrew MacRae

Article 1430 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!apple!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!psuvax1!psuvm!dsb100
From: DSB100@PSUVM.BITNET (David Barr)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: XYZZY
Message-ID: <90024.134216DSB100@PSUVM.BITNET>
Date: 24 Jan 90 18:42:16 GMT
References: <4504@rtech.rtech.com> <422@sixhub.UUCP> <1753@castle.ed.ac.uk>
Organization: Penn State University
Lines: 21

In article <1753@castle.ed.ac.uk>, aidas@castle.ed.ac.uk (David A. Sinclair)
says:
>In article <422@sixhub.UUCP> davidsen@sixhub.UUCP (bill davidsen) writes:
>>  I don't know where it [xyzzy] came from, but my daughter was once playing
>>another adventure game (Isle of {something}) and typed it. She got back
>>the response "We do not recycle used magic words from other games."
>>Broke us up.

>Not bad. Typing in 'PLUGH' in Level 9's Snowball invoked a robot which...

That's strange.. PLUGH was the 'magic' word in one of the origional
adventure games, Pyramid 2000, written for the TRS-80 model I
It wasn't really all that magical.. it just rearranged the directions
so that north was actually east.. etc.. Thereby confusing the user.

Dave
| David Barr           |  I did! I did! I did saw a puddy tat!!    |
| DSB100@psuvm.psu.edu |  Where's the kaboom? There was supposed   |
| DSB100@psuvm         |    to be an earth-shattering kaboom!      |
| 72145.224@compuserve.com  |
|        There's too much blood in my alcohol system!              |

Article 1432 of alt.folklore.computers:
From: jackson@adobe.COM (Curtis Jackson)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: static discharges - the Murphy's Law Kid
Date: 24 Jan 90 19:41:56 GMT
References: <1990Jan10.040655.324@cs.rochester.edu>
Organization: Adobe Systems Incorporated, Mountain View
Lines: 28

An instructor of mine at AT&T's corporate training center in
Lisle, IL told me this one.  Seems he had this one relatively
young guy in a systems administration class who was the classic
klutz -- everything he touched broke or curled up and died.
The instructor was convinced it was just a confidence problem,
and tried to help the guy during the class.  A couple of days
into the class he took them in to look at a running 3B20 (it
may have been a Vax 11/780 back then, though; can't remember).
The klutz was scared to death to touch anything for fear of
breaking the machine, and kept protesting.

The instructor opened one of the cabinet doors to show them the
cards in the machine, and curiosity got the best of the klutz.
He stepped forward and said, "What's this big card for?" while
pointing his finger out at it.

I'll let the instructor's words finish the story:

"The longest biggest static electricity spark I'd ever seen in
my life jumped off this guy's finger almost *two inches* to the
board, and the whole @$#↑$@ computer went to its knees instantly.
It was all I could do to keep the poor embarrassed guy from
jumping out the window.  I had an anti-static carpet put down in
the room the next week."
--

Curtis Jackson @ Adobe Systems in Mountain View, CA  (415-962-4905)

Article 1433 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!snorkelwacker!apple!amdahl!nw
From: nw@uts.amdahl.com (Neal Weidenhofer)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Bidding (was Re↑2: PDP = ? (was re: TECO))
Summary: "I""B""M"
Message-ID: <34Yy02PR82bt01@amdahl.uts.amdahl.com>
Date: 24 Jan 90 23:47:30 GMT
References: <6877@shlump.nac.dec.com> <1989Dec15.041951.8081@world.std.com> <1990Jan15.022611.17274@world.std.com>
Distribution: alt
Organization: Amdahl Corporation, Sunnyvale CA
Lines: 26

In article <1990Jan15.022611.17274@world.std.com>, madd@world.std.com (jim frost) writes:
> This is reminiscent of what some friends of mine at LANL have to do to
> get the computer equipment they want.  They have to go through a
> bidding process, of course, so what they do is describe the machine
> they want so specifically that it comes down to only one manufacturer.
>
> Sigh.
>
> jim frost
> jimf@saber.com

A state university I was once associated with turned in a RFP for a
computer that specified that it had to have the letters "I", "B", and
"M" in that order on the front.

The opinions expressed above are mine (but I'm willing to share.)

Regards,
Neal Weidenhofer
It's not the earth		nw@amdahl.uts.amdahl.com
The meek inherit,		Amdahl Corporation
It's the dirt.			1250 E. Arques Ave. (M/S 316)
P. O. Box 3470
Sunnyvale, CA 94088-3470
(408)737-5007

Article 1434 of alt.folklore.computers:
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: XYZZY
Message-ID: <504@ns-mx.uiowa.edu>
Date: 25 Jan 90 00:14:35 GMT
References: <90024.134216DSB100@PSUVM.BITNET>
Sender: news@ns-mx.uiowa.edu
Lines: 12

From article <90024.134216DSB100@PSUVM.BITNET>, by DSB100@PSUVM.BITNET (David Barr):

> That's strange.. PLUGH was the 'magic' word in one of the origional
> adventure games, Pyramid 2000, written for the TRS-80 model I
> It wasn't really all that magical.. it just rearranged the directions
> so that north was actually east.. etc.. Thereby confusing the user.

Not so strange.  PLUGH is another magic word originating in Adventure.
(It's used to teleport between "Y2" and the wellhouse.)  This is
evidently another example of a creative reuse of a magic word.

peace.  -- Ed

Article 1439 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!ontek!mikey
From: mikey@ontek.UUCP (Michael E. Lee)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Hitting the Fan
Keywords: OOH GROSS!
Message-ID: <923@ontek.UUCP>
Date: 25 Jan 90 01:11:05 GMT
Reply-To: mikey@ontek.UUCP (Michael E. Lee)
Organization: Krill Entertainment Corporation
Lines: 17

At the site of Ontek's previous offices, a printer shared one end of an
office with a coffee nook.  There was a refrigerator, water cooler,
coffee maker, and a small sink.

At the same site, another company was involved in casting and
forming polymers, which required high-temp, high pressure autoclaves.
Well, the obvious thing happened.  Someone forgot to shut off the
sewage connection to one of the autoclaves before firing it up, and the
pressure spouted raw sewage up through all plumbing fixtures in the
building, including our sink.  Parts of it shot about six feet across
the room, landed in the printer and thoroughly gummed it up.  The
printer was a total loss.

Later I found out that one of the foremen in the shop had gotten really
peeved about this.  At the exact time this occured, he happened to be
sitting on the toilet...

Article 1445 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!ns-mx!pyrite.cs.uiowa.edu
From: jones@pyrite.cs.uiowa.edu (Douglas W. Jones,201H MLH,3193350740,3193382879)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Love and Computers
Message-ID: <508@ns-mx.uiowa.edu>
Date: 25 Jan 90 16:30:23 GMT
Sender: news@ns-mx.uiowa.edu
Distribution: alt
Lines: 31

In article <5279@blake.acs.washington.edu>
fetrow@blake.acs.washington.edu (David Fetrow) writes:
< So anyone met there wife/husband over a Bulletin Board System?

This has been around in an on-and-off way for two decades now!  The first
story I heard of a marriage that followed from people who met by computer
was back when I worked for Com-Share Inc. in 1972.  Com-Share was (and,
to the best of my knowledge still is) a time sharing service.  They had,
by 1972, a nationwide customer base served by a computer center in Ann Arbor
(packed full of machines).

When I worked on the Plato IV system at Illinois (1973-1980), there were
many stories of people who met on-line and then got married.  Plato had
something like 1000 terminals spread around the US, most all of them in
universities and mostly used for undergraduate instruction.  Plato had,
by 1974, an on-line newspaper called newsreport as well as the original
notesfile mechansim (a clone of this is now one of the standard newsreaders
available for usenet news service).  Both newsreport and the system notesfile
on Plato would qualify by todays standards as moderated newsgroups, and
the Plato's public notes would qualify as an unmoderated newsgroup.  Plato
offered E-mail as well, and the social consequences among the Plato
community were predictable.  People met that way, some of the meetings
were heterosexual, and some of those led to romance and marriage.

I assume that the early years of the ARPANET were similar, but I wasn't
involved with that community till the '80s.

In the field of computers, we forget our history quickly!

Doug Jones
jones@herky.cs.uiowa.edu

Article 1471 of alt.folklore.computers:
From: rab@well.UUCP (Bob Bickford)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Love and Computers
Message-ID: <15723@well.UUCP>
Date: 26 Jan 90 09:49:20 GMT
Reply-To: rab@well.UUCP (Bob Bickford)
Distribution: alt
Organization: Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link, Sausalito, CA
Lines: 15

>Anybody met their wife/husband through computers?

I met and fell in love/lust with a lady who moved in with me through
this here computer (the WELL) who later dumped me to go move in with
a famous graphics hacker.  (She left him too.)

After nearly a year of disgusting self-pity, I met my present wife.
Through the very same computer.   Gee, I love happy endings.    :-)

--
Robert Bickford        {apple,pacbell,hplabs,ucbvax}!well!rab
rab@well.sf.ca.us      /-------------------------------------\
| Don't Blame Me: I Voted Libertarian |
\-------------------------------------/

Article 1472 of alt.folklore.computers:
From: rab@well.UUCP (Bob Bickford)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Lights on Burroughs machines
Message-ID: <15724@well.UUCP>
Date: 26 Jan 90 10:27:16 GMT
References: <1990Jan15.173434.5792@virtech.uucp> <729@ncs.dnd.ca> <1990Jan15.211417.17833@cs.rochester.edu> <10676@stag.math.lsa.umich.edu>
Reply-To: rab@well.UUCP (Bob Bickford)
Organization: Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link, Sausalito, CA
Lines: 62

> (various discussions about the Burroughs FORTRAN compiler)

Since I'd learned FORTRAN in high school, when I got to college (UOP)
and was introduced to their B6700, the first thing I did was to try
out my high-school FORTRAN programs.  The TAs in the computer center
were no help; they all looked down their noses at anything that wasn't
written in ALGOL (which I eventually learned in self-defense).

They (the TAs) had a game among themselves in which they would try
to devise ways of preventing each other from getting any work done,
almost always by totally tying up the victim's terminal.  All of their
efforts were written in ALGOL, of course.

Under CANDE (Command-And-Edit, the Burroughs "user interface"), any
command prefaced with a '?' was intercepted by the CANDE program
itself and effectively invisible to a program.  A little perusal of
the system documentation, plus the appropriate experimentation,
revealed that the command   ?DENY   would kill the TA's "bomber"
programs (curiously, they were mystified as to why I was never
disturbed by their efforts after that).

Since I didn't know ALGOL at the time (and was suspicious of this
strange-looking BASIC thing -- too similar to FORTRAN), but did know
FORTRAN, I decided to try writing a "bomber" program of my own.

Opening the victim's terminal was easy.  Spewing output to it, and
gobbling the input, was also easy.  But what could I do about "?DENY" ?

Well, after a *lot* of experimentation, I discovered two things: I
could detect the error condition if I used a really bizarre (to me)
version of the WRITE statement; and the condition was the same as that
for "end-of-file".  At that point I had an "Aha!" insight, and looked
in the section of the manual about tape commands: sure enough, there
was a REWIND function which said it would "clear end-of-file".

To my everlasting surprise, it worked: typing  ?DENY  to my program
would cause it to branch to the error-handler I'd written, which
did a "REWIND" on the ___terminal___ (!), and print out a message
that said "Hey! -- Don't do that!", and return to the main code.

(I later heard that somebody working for Burroughs on their FORTRAN
compiler for the B6700 didn't know what to do with the REWIND function
in the case of a terminal, and so just connected it to the code that
reset all error conditions --- including the end-of-file condition
set by ?DENY)

After compiling my program one final time, I deleted the source and
discreetly waited a week before using it on anybody.  The TAs simply
could not figure out what I'd done; but after that I got a lot more
respect.  They even let me hack on our copy of ADVENTURE when we
finally got it (this was 1976-77).

(This was all freshman year at college, which is so long ago that I
may have garbled some of the details......)

--
Robert Bickford        {apple,pacbell,hplabs,ucbvax}!well!rab
rab@well.sf.ca.us      /-------------------------------------\
| Don't Blame Me: I Voted Libertarian |
\-------------------------------------/

Article 1473 of alt.folklore.computers:
From: rab@well.UUCP (Bob Bickford)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: XYZZY
Message-ID: <15727@well.UUCP>
Date: 26 Jan 90 10:58:59 GMT
References: <4504@rtech.rtech.com> <422@sixhub.UUCP> <1753@castle.ed.ac.uk> <90024.134216DSB100@PSUVM.BITNET>
Reply-To: rab@well.UUCP (Bob Bickford)
Organization: Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link, Sausalito, CA
Lines: 20

In article <90024.134216DSB100@PSUVM.BITNET> (David Barr) writes:
>That's strange.. PLUGH was the 'magic' word in one of the origional
>adventure games, Pyramid 2000, written for the TRS-80 model I
>It wasn't really all that magical.. it just rearranged the directions
>so that north was actually east.. etc.. Thereby confusing the user.

Er.... hate to burst your bubble, but the Trash-80 came onto the
market some **YEARS** after the original, FORTRAN, Colossal-Cave
ADVENTURE game written by Will Crowther and Don Woods was making the
rounds of numerous types of mainframes and minis.

I first saw a listing in 1976.... and I'd been *hearing* about the
damn program for at *least* a year before that....... a quick look
at my copy of Levy's _Hackers_ gives the original year as 1974.

--
Robert Bickford        {apple,pacbell,hplabs,ucbvax}!well!rab
rab@well.sf.ca.us      /-------------------------------------\
| Don't Blame Me: I Voted Libertarian |
\-------------------------------------/

Article 1479 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!apple!ames!sparkyfs!davy
From: davy@sparkyfs.istc.sri.com (David Curry)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Alice's PDP-10
Message-ID: <29678@sparkyfs.istc.sri.com>
Date: 23 Jan 90 23:10:28 GMT
References: <4373@brazos.Rice.edu>
Reply-To: davy@sparkyfs.itstd.sri.com.UUCP (David Curry)
Organization: SRI International, Menlo Park, CA 94025
Lines: 593

In article <4373@brazos.Rice.edu> preston@titan.rice.edu (Preston Briggs) writes:
>
>I saw a take-off of Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaraunt" posted
>a couple of years ago.  It was called "Alice's PDP-10".
>Anybody out there have it?

There's actually two of them (that I know of): "MIT's AI Lab", and then
"Alice's PDP-10", which was a takeoff on the former.  They're both
included below.

I wrote one called "Alice's ECN" about the Purdue Engineering Computer
Network after seeing these two; I haven't included it, since unless
you worked there in 1984 it wouldn't make much sense to you.  If
there's enough interest though, I can dig it up... the second part is
all lots of fun System V bashing...

Dave Curry

==============================================================================

You can get anything you want at a Chinese Restaurant
(exceptin a hamburger) ....

Chris Stacy, Alan Wecsler, and Noel Chiappa

This song is called "MIT's AI Lab".  It's about MIT and
the AI Lab, but "MIT's AI Lab" is not the name of the lab, that's
just the name of the song.  That's why I call the song "MIT's AI
Lab."

Now it all started two full dumps ago, on Thanksgiving,
when my friend and I went up to visit the hackers at AI lab on
the ninth floor.  But the hackers don't always live on the ninth
floor, they just go there to use these complex order code stack
machines they call Lisp Machines.

And using a special purpose processor like that, they got
a lot of room upstairs where DDT used to be, and havin' all that
ROOM they decided that they didn't have to collect any garbage
for a long time.

We JFCLed up here and found all the garbage in there and
we decided that it'd be a friendly gesture for us to take all the
garbage down to the system dump.

So we took the half-a-meg of garbage, put it in the back
of a red ECL Multibus, took subrs and hacks and implementations
of defstruction, and headed on toward the system dump.

Well, we got there and there was a big pop up window and
a write protect across the dump sayin', "This Garbage Collecter
Under Development on Thanksgiving," and we'd never heard of a
garbage collector NOP'd out on Thanksgiving before, and with
tears in our eyes, we CDR'd off into the sunset lookin' for
another place to put the garbage.

We didn't find one 'til we came to a side area, and off
the side of the side area was three hundred megabyte disk, and in
the middle of the disk was another heap of garbage.  And we
decided that one big heap was better than two little heaps, and
rather than page that one in, we decided to write ours out.
That's what we did.

Branched back to the Lisp Listener, had a Chinese
Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat, went to
SI:PROCESS-WAIT SLEEP, and didn't get up until the next quantum,
when we got a funcall from Mr. Greenblatt.  He said, "Kid, we
found your name on a cons at the bottom of a half-a-meg of
garbage and I just wanted to know if you had any information

And I said, "Yes sir, Mr.  Greenblatt, I cannot tell a
lie.  I put that structure under that garbage."  After speakin'
to Greenblatt for about forty-five million clock ticks on the
telnet stream, we finally arrived at the truth of the matter and
he said that we had to go down and link up the garbage, and also
had to go down and speak to him at the Lisp Machine Factory.  So
we got in the red ECL Multibus with the subrs and hacks and
implementations of defstruction and headed on toward the Lisp
Machine Factory.

Now, friends, there was only one of two things that
Greenblatt could've done at the Lisp Machine Factory, and the
first was that he could've given us another 64K board for bein'
so brave and honest on BUG-LISPM (which wasn't very likely, and
we didn't expect it), and the other thing was that he could've
flamed at us and told us never to be seen BLTing garbage around
in the vicinity again, which is what we expected.

But when we got to the Lisp Machine Factory, there was a
third COND-clause that we hadn't even counted upon, and we was
both immediately Process-Arrested, Deexposed, and I said,
"Greenblatt, I can't GC up the garbage with these here
ARREST-REASONS on".  He said: "Output-Hold, kid, and get in the
back of the Control CAR."  ...And that's what we did...sat in the
back of the Control CAR, and drove to the sharpsign quote open
scene-of-the-crime close.

I wanna tell you 'bout the town of Cambridge,
Massachusetts, where this is happenin'.  They got seven hunnert
stop signs, no turn on red, and two campus police CARs, but when
we got to the sharpsign-quote-open scene-of-the-crime close,
there was five Lisp Machine hackers and three scope carts, bein'
the biggest hack of the last ten years and everybody wanted to
get in the HUMAN-NETS story about it.

And they was usin' up all kinds of digital equipment that
they had hangin' around the Lisp Machine Factory.  They was
takin' backtraces, stack traces, plastic wire wraps, blueprints,
and microcode loads...  And they made seventeen 1K-by-32 pixel
multi-flavored windows with turds and arrows and a scroll bar on
the side of each one with documentation panes explainin' what
each one was, to be used as evidence against us.

.....Took pictures of the labels, blinkers, the cursors, the pop
up notification windows, the upper right corner, the lower left
corner.....and that's not to mention the XGP'd screen images!

After the ordeal, we went back to the Factory. Greenblatt
said he was gonna locate us in a cell.  He said:  "Kid, I'm gonna
INTERN you in a cell.  I want your manual and your mouse."

I said, "Greenblatt, I can understand your wantin' my
manual, so I don't have any documentation about the cell, but
what do you want my mouse for?"  and he said, "Kid, we don't want
any window system problems". I said, "Greenblatt, did you think I
was gonna deexpose myself for litterin'?"

Greenblatt said he was makin' sure, and, friends,
Greenblatt was, 'cause he took out the left Meta-key so I
couldn't double bucky the rubout and cold-boot, and he took out
the Inspector so I couldn't click-left on Modify, set the
PROCESS-WARM-BOOT-ACTION on the window, *THROW around the
UNWIND-PROTECT and have an escape.  Greenblatt was makin' sure.

It was about four or five hours later that Moon---
(remember Moon? This here's not a song about Moon)--- Moon came
by and, with a few nasty sends to Greenblatt on the side, bailed
us out of core, and we went up to the Loft, had another Chinese
dinner that couldn't be beat, and didn't get up until the next
evening, when we all had to go to court.

We walked in, sat down, Greenblatt came in with the
seventeen 1K-by-32 pixel multi-flavored windows with turds and
arrows and documentation panes, sat down.

McMahon came in, said, "All rise!"  We all stood up, and
Greenblatt stood up with the seventeen 1K-by-32 pixel
multi-flavored windows with turds and arrows and documentation
panes, and the judge walked in, with an LA36, and he sat down.
We sat down.

Greenblatt looked at the LA36...  then at the seventeen
multi flavored windows with the turds and arrows and
documentation panes... and looked at the LA36...  and then at the
seventeen 1K-by-32 pixel multi-flavored windows with turds and
arrows and documentation panes, and began to cry.

Because Greenblatt came to the realization that it was a
typical case of LCS state-of-the-art technology, and there wasn't
nothin' he could do about it, and the judge wasn't gonna look at
the seventeen 1K-by-32 pixel multi-flavored windows with turds
and arrows and documentation panes, explainin' what each one was,
to be used as evidence against us.

And we was fined fifty zorkmids and had to rebuild the
world load...in the snow.

But that's not what I'm here to tell you about.
I'm here to talk about the Lab.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

They got a buildin' down in Cambridge called Technology
Square, where you walk in, you get your windows Inspected,
detected, neglected and Selected!

I went down and got my interview one day, and I walked
in, sat down (slept on the beanbag in 926 the night before, so I
looked and felt my best when I went in that morning, 'cause I
wanted to look like the All-American High School Tourist from
Sunnyvale.  I wanted to feel like.....  I wanted to BE the
All-American Kid from Sunnyvale), and I walked in, sat down, I
was gunned down, brung down, locked out and all kinds of mean,
nasty, ugly things.

And I walked in, I sat down, KAREN gave me a piece of
paper that said:  "Kid, see the CLU hackers on XX."

I went up there, I said, "Eliot, I wanna lose.  I wanna
lose! I wanna see hacks and kludges and unbound variables and
cruft in my code!  Eat dead power supplies with cables between my
teeth!  I mean lose!  lose!  lose!"

And I started jumpin' up and down, yellin' "LOSE!  LOSE!
LOSE!" and Stallman walked in and started jumpin' up and down
with me, and we was both jumpin' up and down, yellin', "LOSE!
LOSE!  LOSE!  LOSE!!"  and some professor came over, gave me a
6-3 degree, sent me down the hall, said, "You're our
distinguished lecturer."  Didn't feel too good about it.

Proceeded down the infinite corridor, gettin' more
inspections, rejections (this IS MIT), detections, neglections,
and all kinds of stuff that they was doin' to me there, and I was
there for two years...  three years...  four years...  I was
there for a long time goin' through all kinds of mean, nasty,
kludgy things, and I was havin' a tough time there, and they was
inspectin', injectin', every single part of me, and they was
leavin' no part unbound!

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Proceeded through, and I finally came to see the very
last man. I walked in, sat down, after a whole big thing there.
I walked up, and he said, "Kid, we only got one question:  Have
you ever been arrested"?

And I proceeded to tell him the story of the half-a-meg
of garbage with full orchestration and five-part harmony and
stuff like that, and other phenomenon.

He stopped me right there and said, "Kid, have you ever
been to court"? And I proceeded to tell him the story of the
seventeen 1K-by-32 pixel multi-flavored windows with turds and
arrows and documentation panes...

He stopped me right there and said, "Kid, I want you to
go over and sit down on that bench that says 'LISP Machine
Group'...  NOW, KID!"

And I walked over to the bench there, and there's...  The
LISP Machine Group is where they put you if you may not be moral
enough to join Symbolics after creatin' your special form.

There was all kinds of mean, nasty, ugly-lookin' people
on the bench there ...  there was Microcoders, DPL hackers, File
System hackers, and Window System Hackers!!  Window System
hackers sittin' right there on the bench next to me!  And the
meanest, ugliest, nastiest one...  the kludgiest Window System
hacker of them all...  was comin' over to me, and he was mean and
ugly and nasty and horrible and all kinds of things, and he sat
down next to me.  He said, "Kid, you get a new copy of the
sources?"  I said, "I didn't get nothin'.  I had to rebuild the

He said, "What were you arrested for, kid?"  and I said,
"Littering..."  And they all moved away from me on the bench
there, with the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean, nasty
things, 'til I said, "And making gratuitous modifications to
LMIO; sources..."  And they all came back, shook my hand, and we
had a great time on the bench talkin' about microcoding, DPL
designing, file-system hacking, .....  and all kinds of groovy
things that we was talkin' about on the bench, and everything was
fine.

We was drinking Coke smoking all kinds of things, until
the RA came over, had some paper in his hand, held it up and
said:

"KIDS-THIS-EXAM-S-GOT-FOURTY-SEVEN-WORDS-THIRTY-SEVEN-MULTIPLE-
CHOICE-QUESTIONS-FIFTY-EIGHT-WORDS-WE-WANT-TO-KNOW-THE-DETAILS-
OF-THE-HACK-THE-TIME-OF-THE-HACK-AND-ANY-OTHER-KIND-OF-THING-YOU-
THING-YOU-GOT-TO-SAY-WE-WANT-TO-KNOW-THE-ARRESTED-PROCESS'-NAME-
AND-ANY-OTHER-KIND-OF-THING..."

And he talked for forty-five minutes and nobody
understood a word that he said.  But we had fun rolling the mice
around and clickin' on the buttons.

I filled out the special form with the four-level macro
defining macros.  Typed it in there just like it was and
everything was fine.  And I put down my keyboard, and I switched
buffers, and there ...  in the other buffer...  centered in the
other buffer...  away from everything else in the buffer...  in
parentheses, capital letters, backquotated, in 43VXMS, read the
following words:  "Kid, have you featurized yourself"?

I went over to the RA.  Said, "Mister, you got a lot of
damned gall to ask me if I've featurized myself!  I mean, I
mean, I mean that you send, I'm sittin' here on the bench, I mean
I'm sittin' here on the Lisp Machine Group bench, 'cause you want
to know if I'm losing enough to join the Lab, burn PROMs, power
supplies, and documentation, after bein' on SF-LOVERS?"

----------------------------------------------------------------------

He looked at me and said, "Kid, we don't like your kind!
We're gonna send your user-id off to the DCA in Washington"!
And, friends, somewhere in Washington, enshrined on some little
floppy disk, is a study in ones and zeros of my brain-damaged
programming style...

----------------------------------------------------------------------

And the only reason I'm singin' you the song now is
'cause you may know somebody in a similar situation.  Or you may
be in a similar situation, and if you're in a situation like
that, there's only one thing you can do:

[ CHORUS ]

You  know, if one person, just one person, does it, they
may think he's really dangerous and they won't take him.

And if two people do it, in harmony, they may think
they're both LISP hackers and they won't take either of them.

And if three people do it!   Can you imagine three people
walkin' in, singin' a bar of "MIT's AI Lab"  and walkin' out?
They may think it's an re-implementation of the window system!

And can you imagine fifty people a day?  I said FIFTY
people a day, walkin' in, singin' a bar of "MIT's AI Lab"  and
walkin' out?  Friends, they may think it's a MOVEMENT, and that's
what it is:  THE MIT AI LAB ANTI-LOSSAGE MOVEMENT!  And all you
gotta do to join is to sing it the next time it comes around on
the circular buffer.

With feelin'.

You can hack anything you want
on MIT Lisp Machines
You can hack anything you want
on MIT Lisp Machines
Walk right in and begin to hack
Just push your stuff right onto the stack
You can hack anything you want
on MIT Lisp Machines

(but don't forget to fix the bug...  on MIT Lisp Machines!)

==============================================================================

;;; With thanks (and apologies) to Chris Stacy, Alan Wechsler, Noel
;;; Chiappa, Larry Allen, and of course Arlo Guthrie, and particularly
;;; to Ann Marie Finn who is a kind soul and not at all like the
;;; person portrayed herein.  --sra 3 May 85

This song is called "Alice's PDP-10".  But Alice doesn't own a PDP-10,
in fact Alice isn't even in the song.  It's just the name of the song.
That's why I called this song "Alice's PDP-10".

You see, it all started about two incompatible monitor versions ago,
about two months ago on a Tuesday, when my friend and I SUPDUP'd over
to MIT-OZ to pick up some hackers to go out for a Chinese dinner.  But
AI hackers don't live on MIT-OZ, they live on various assorted lispms
and such, and seeing as and how they never log in except via the file
server, they hadn't gotten around to doing filesystem garbage
collection for a long time.

We got over there, saw 600 pages free, 10000 pages in use on a 5 pack
PS:, and decided it would be a friendly gesture to run CHECKD for them
and try to reclaim some of that lost space.  So we reloaded the system
with the floppies and the switch registers and other implements of
destruction, and answered "Y" to RUN CHECKD?

But when we got the system up and tried to release all the lost pages
there was a loud beeping and a big message flashed up on our screen
saying:
PERMISSION DENIED BY ACJ

Well, we'd never heard of a version of ACJ that would let you go into
MDDT from ANONYMOUS but not run CHECKD, and so, with tears in our
eyes, we headed off over the Chaosnet looking for a filesystem with
enough free pages to write out the LOST-PAGES.BIN file.  Didn't find
one...

Until we got to XX-11, and at the other end of XX-11 was another MIT
Twenex, and in PS:<OPERATOR> on that MIT Twenex was another
LOST-PAGES.BIN file.  And we decided that one big LOST-PAGES.BIN file
was better than two little LOST-PAGES.BIN file, and rather than page
that one in we thought we'd write ours out.  So that's what we did.

Went back to OZ, found some hackers and went out for a Chinese dinner
that couldn't be beat, and didn't get up until the next morning when
we got a SEND from Ann Marie Finn.  She said, "Kid, we found you
initials in SIXBIT in the right half of a POPJ at the end of a two
megaword core dump full of garbage, just wanted to know if you had any
information about it".  And I said, "Yes ma'am Ann Marie, I cannot tell
a lie, I put that XUNAME into that halfword".

After talking back and forth with Ann for about 45 messages we arrived
at the truth of the matter and Ann said that we had to go rebuild the
bittable and we also had to come down and talk to her in room
NE43-501.  Now friends, there was only one of two things that Ann
could of done with us down at room 501, and the first one was that she
could have hired us on the spot for actually knowing enough about
Twenex to screw it up that badly, which wasn't very likely and we
didn't expect it, and the other was that she could have bawled us out
and told us never to be seen hacking filesystems again, which was what
we expected.  But when we got to room 501 we discovered that there was
a third possibility that we hadn't even counted upon, and we was both
immediately de-wheeled.  CD%DIR'ed.  And I said "Ann, I don't think I
can rebuild the bittable with this here FILES-ONLY bit set."  And she
said "XOFF, kid, get into this UDP packet" and that's what we did and
rode up to the square bracket asciz slash scene of the crime slash
close square bracket.

Now friends, I want to tell you about the ninth floor of building NE43
where this happened.  They got three KL10s, 24 LISPMs, and about 32
VAXen running 4.2 unix.  But when we got to the square bracket asciz
slash scene of the crime slash close square bracket there was five
twenex hackers past and present, this being the biggest lossage yet by
an RMS clone and everybody wanted to get in their suggestion for a new
system daemon that would have kept it from ever having happened in the
first place.  And they was using up all kinds of debugging equipment
that they had lying around on V3A SWSKIT tapes.  They were doing DSs,
MONRDs, and RSTRSHs, and they made 27000 pages of core dumps and photo
files on an RP06 with comments and -READ-.-THIS- files to be used as
evidence against us.

After the ordeal, Ann took us back downstairs and left us with the CLU
hackers.  She said "Kid, I'm gonna leave you with the CLU hackers.  I
want your jsys manual and your ROLM DTI".  I said "Ann, I can
understand your wanting my jsys manual so I won't remind the CLU
hackers of grody things like operating systems, but what do you want
my DTI for?" and she said "Kid, we don't want any VTS errors".  I said
"Ann, did you think I was going to try to crash the system for
littering?"  Ann said that she was making sure, and friends, Ann was,
'cause she cleared all my left-hand privs bits so I couldn't logout.
And she disabled the TREPLACE command so I couldn't crock in an
XCT [0] instruction, cause an illegal instruction interrupt to MEXEC,
and sneak into MDDT.  Yeah, Ann was making sure, and it was about four
or five hours later that Chiappa (remember Chiappa?  This song's never
even mentioned Chiappa) Chiappa came by and with a few gratuitous
insults to the CLU hackers bailed us out of there, and we went out and
had another Chinese dinner that couldn't be beat, and didn't get up
until the next morning when we all had to go to LCS Computational
Resources staff meeting.

We walked in, sat down.  Ann came in with the RP06 disk pack with the
27000 pages with the comments and the -READ-.-THIS- files and a two
liter coffee mug, sat down.  Esther Felix comes in says "All rise", we
stood up, Ann stood up with the 27000 page RP06 pack, and Dave Clark
comes in with an IBM PC.  He sits down, we sit down, Ann looks at the
IBM PC.  Then at the 27000 page RP06 pack, then at the IBM PC, then at
the 27000 page RP06 pack, and began to cry, because Ann had come to
the realization that it was a typical case of 36%8==4 and that there
was no way to display those last four bits, and that Dave wasn't gonna
look at the 27000 pages of core dumps and photo files on the RP06 pack
with the comments and -READ-.-THIS- files explaining what each one was
to be used as evidence against us.

And we were permanently assigned to the batch dregs queue and had to
rebuild the bittable (in the batch dregs queue).  But that's not what
I came here to talk about.  I came here to talk about DEC.

======================================================================

They got a building up there in Marlboro where you walk in and get
averted, diverted, inverted, reverted, and perverted.  I went up there
one day to pick up a new copy of the tools tape.  Drove down to Philly
for a Greatful Dead concert the night before, so I looked and felt my
best when I went in that morning.  'Cause I wanted to look like a real
live twenex hacker from MIT.  I wanted to feel like, I wanted to be a
real live twenex hacker from MIT.  I walked in and I was hung down,
brung down, hung up, and spaced out.  The receptionist hands be a
piece of paper saying "Kid, the EDIT-20 maintainers are polling user
opinions today and would like you to stop by room 604 while you're
here."

I walked in there and I said "Droids, I want to lose.  I mean, I want
to lose.  I want to see line editors on CRTs and nulls in my files.
Write 36 bit ascii that can't be read except with the monitor
filtering it.  I mean LOSE, LOSE, LOSE!"  And I started jumping up and
down yelling "LOSE, LOSE", and Kevin Paetzold came in wearing his
moose ear hat and started jumping up and down with me yelling "LOSE,
LOSE", and a DEC sales rep came over, put an arm around my shoulder,
and said "How'd you like me to show you a *real* editor that has
macros and things like that?  We have one, it's called TV...."

Didn't feel too good about it.

Proceeded on down the hall getting more diversions and perversions.
Man, I was in there for two hours, three hours, four hours, I was in
there for a long time, and they was doing all kinds of mean nasty ugly
things, and I was just having a tough time there.  They was diverting
and inverting every single part of me and they was leaving no bit
untouched.

Finally I got to the very last office (I'd been in all the rest), the
very last desk, after that whole big thing there, and I walk over and
say "what do you want?" and the man says "Kid, we only got one
question: have you ever been dewheeled?"

So I proceeded to tell him the story of the 10600 page five pack PS:
with full orchestration and five part harmony and other phenomena and
he stopped me right there and said "Kid, did you ever get hauled on
the carpet for it?"

So I proceeded to tell him about the 27000 page RP06 pack with the
comments and the -READ-.-THIS- files and he stopped me right there and
said "Kid, I want you to go sit over there on that bench marked Large
Systems SIG.  NOW, KID!"

I, I walked over to the bench there... See, the LCG group is where
they put you if they think you may not be compatible with the rest of
DEC's product line.

There was all kinds of mean nasty ugly people there on the bench...
Chaosnet designers... Lisp hackers... TECO hackers.  TECO hackers
right there on the bench with me!  And the meanest one of them, the
hairiest TECO hacker of them all was coming over to me.  And he was
mean and nasty and horrible and undocumented and all kinds of stuff.
And he sat down next to me and said:

[1:i*↑Yu14<q1&377.f"nir'q1/400.u1>[8
.-z(1702117120m81869946983m8w660873337m8w1466458484m8
)+z,.f↑@fx*[0:ft↑]0w↑\

And I said "I didn't get nothing, I had to rebuild the bittable in
queue six" and he said:

[1:i*↑Yu16<q1&77.+32iq1f"l#-1/100.#-1&7777777777.'"#/100.'u1r>6c[6
.(675041640067.m6w416300715765.m6w004445675045.m6
455445440046.m6w576200535144.m6w370000000000.m6),.fx*[0:ft↑]0w↑\

And I said "Littering".  And they all moved away from me on the bench
there, with the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty ugly stuff
until I said "and making undocumented gratuitous changes to the
default EMACS key bindings".  And they all came back, shook my hand,
and we had a great time on the bench talking about Chaosnet hacking
and Lisp interpreters written in TECO, and everything was fine.  And
we were eating Peking ravs and smoking all kinds of things until the
guy from DDC came over, had some paper in his hand, said:

KIDS-THIS-SPR-FORM-HAS-FIFTY-EIGHT-LINES-THIRTY-SEVEN-BOXES-AN'-
SIXTY-EIGHT-QUESTIONS-WE-WANT-TO-KNOW-THE-DETAILS-OF-THE-BUG-THE-
TO-SAY-WE-WANT-TO-KNOW-THE-F-S-GUY'S-NAME-AND-HOW-MANY-TRACKS-ON-
YOUR-TAPE-DRIVE-AND-ANY-OTHER-KIND-OF-THING-YOU-GOT-TO-SAY-

and he talked for forty-five minutes and nobody understood a word
that he said or why we were doing this but we had fun filling out the
forms in triplicate and speculating on why we were filling out SPRs on
unsupported products.

I filled out the special form with the four-level macro defining
macros.  Typed it in there just like it was and everything was fine.
And I put down my keyboard, and I switched buffers, and there ...  in
the other buffer...  centered in the other buffer...  away from
everything else in the buffer...  in parentheses, capital letters, in
reverse video, read the following words:

"Kid, have you taken the VMS for TOPS-20 managers'' course yet?"

I walked over to the man and I said "Mister, you got a lot of damned
gall asking me if I've taken the VMS for TOPS-20 managers'' course
yet.  I mean... I mean... I mean, I'm sitting here on the bench, I'm
sitting here on the LCG SIG bench, 'cause you want to know if I'm
braindamaged enough trade my PDP-10 for partial credit on a system
that doesn't even handle filename completion after being a litterbug."

He looked at me and said "Kid, the front office don't like your kind,
so we're going to put you on our VAX/VMS mailing list."  And friends,
somewhere down in the NE43 receiving room is a large trash barrel with
a big sign on it that says "VAX/VMS documents".

And the only reason I'm singing you the song now is that someday
you may know somebody in a similar situation... or you may be in a
similar situation.  And if you're in a situation like that there's
only one thing you can do, and that's call up the Digital Educational
Services office nearest you and sing "You can hack anything you want
with TECO and DDT" and hang up.

You know, if one person, just one person, does it, they may think he's
really dangerous and they won't take his machine.

And if two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both ITS
hackers and they won't touch either of them.

And if three people do it!  Can you imagine three people calling up,
singin' a bar of "Alice's PDP-10" and hanging up?  They may think it's
an re-implementation of the Chaosnet protocol.

And can you imagine fifty people a day?  I said FIFTY people a day,
calling up, singin' a bar of "Alice's PDP-10" and hanging up?
Friends, they may think it's a MOVEMENT, and that's what it is: THE
36-BIT ANTI-LOSSAGE MOVEMENT!  And all you gotta do to join is to sing
it the next time it comes up to the head of the GOLST.

With feelin'.

You can hack anything you want, with TECO and DDT.
You can hack anything you want, with just TECO and DDT.
$U in and begin to hack. Twiddle bits in a core dump and write it back. You can hack anything you want, with TECO and DDT. (But be careful typing <RET>) Just with TECO and DDT! Article 1481 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!usc!venera.isi.edu!raveling From: raveling@isi.edu (Paul Raveling) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: More hidden messages. Message-ID: <11588@venera.isi.edu> Date: 26 Jan 90 20:02:35 GMT References: <3200@odin.SGI.COM> <1228@disk.UUCP> Sender: news@venera.isi.edu Reply-To: raveling@isi.edu (Paul Raveling) Distribution: usa Organization: USC Information Sciences Institute Lines: 26 "Hidden messages" reminds me of a not-so-hidden message that got the UCLA Computer Club's machine-time privileges suspended for a week in 1963. One member, Glen, slipped a card into the UCLA Computing Facility system programmer's edit deck that changed a message from the FORTRAN (II) compiler. Ordinarily it reported compilation errors in a section with the following heading: FORTRAN DIAGNOSTIC RESULTS After the furtive 1-card edit it said: FORTRAN DIAGNOSTIC INSULTS Besides getting the Club into hot water, this also convinced UCLA CF that they should hire Glen before much time elapsed or many edits were done. ---------------- Paul Raveling Raveling@isi.edu Article 1482 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!apple!usc!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!van-bc!ucbvax!mtxinu!rtech!llama!fredb From: fredb@llama.rtech.UUCP (Fred Buechler (Devil Mountain Consulting) HP Group x2439) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: static discharges - the Murphy's Law Kid Message-ID: <4585@rtech.rtech.com> Date: 26 Jan 90 14:34:40 GMT References: <1990Jan10.040655.324@cs.rochester.edu> <1660@adobe.UUCP> <130725@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> Sender: news@rtech.rtech.com Reply-To: fredb@llama.UUCP (Fred Buechler (Devil Mountain Consulting) HP Group Organization: Ingres Corporation, Alameda, CA Lines: 26 In article <1660@adobe.UUCP> jackson@adobe.UUCP (Curtis Jackson) writes: >"The longest biggest static electricity spark I'd ever seen in >my life jumped off this guy's finger almost *two inches* to the >board, and the whole @$#↑@ computer went to its knees instantly. >It was all I could do to keep the poor embarrassed guy from >jumping out the window. I had an anti-static carpet put down in >the room the next week." I was working in Alaska (on the Pipeline Project) around 1977. When the project was winding down for my company, we had to move the computer from the field office to the administrative office. It was an IBM S/3-10. They didn't want to spend a lot of money to get the admin office setup for this system, so all they did was put in the wiring, move the system into the reception area, and build a wall around it. It was winter and the outdoor temps were around -50 to -60F. For cooling, I was told to open the window a little bit. Anyway, at that outdoor temperature most of the moisture in the air freezes leaving the relative humidity at about 6%. We were always drawing huge arcs whenever we got near anything that was grounded. We learned to use a metal pen to discharge ourselves to something harmless before touching any part of the system, but occasionally someone would forget. If we were lucky we'd just have to reboot. If not, well the IBM guy was always ready with his parts supply. Fred Buechler Article 1485 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!usc!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!lavaca.uh.edu!uhnix1!flatline!jet From: jet@flatline.UUCP (It's "Mr. Boyo" to you Dylan) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: notable computer stories in fiction and the media Keywords: ScienceFiction, computers Message-ID: <2623@flatline.UUCP> Date: 27 Jan 90 21:04:43 GMT References: <1361@scorn.sco.COM> <1990Jan24.223252.18729@cec1.wustl.edu> Reply-To: jet@flatline.UUCP (It's "Mr. Boyo" to you Dylan) Organization: Marshall McLuhan's Revenge Lines: 15 When I was 10 or 13 or so, there was a book in the local library about a Robin Hood-type of programmer for a small town courthouse who used his computer knowledge to create several fake identities; he then faked his death, and took his van-full-of-computer-and telecommunications-equipment off to the woods to live in a cabin. This was in the late 70s/early 80s . Anybody remember the name of the book? -- "It's my code, I'll vi if I want to, vi if I want to..." Why does Sun have it in for Stan Hanks? J. Eric Townsend -- uunet!sugar!flatline!jet -- jet@flatline.lonestar.org EastEnders mailing list -- eastender@flatline.lonestar.org Article 1487 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!sol.ctr.columbia.edu!emory!hubcap!rwillis From: rwillis@hubcap.clemson.edu (Richard "Crash" Willis) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re↑2: notable computer stories in fiction and the media Keywords: ScienceFiction, computers Message-ID: <7788@hubcap.clemson.edu> Date: 28 Jan 90 05:32:21 GMT References: <1361@scorn.sco.COM> <1990Jan24.223252.18729@cec1.wustl.edu> <2623@flatline.UUCP> Organization: Clemson University, Clemson, SC Lines: 8 Yep, they called it "The Programmer" I believe. funny book, mainly bacause of the way computer systems were portrayed. Take a look at it! --------------------------------- "Allright, That does it! No more mister Nice Mad Scientist!" rwillis@hubcap.clemson.edu Article 1488 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!usc!snorkelwacker!bloom-beacon!athena.mit.edu!jik From: jik@athena.mit.edu (Jonathan I. Kamens) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: More hidden messages. Message-ID: <1990Jan28.074552.22713@athena.mit.edu> Date: 28 Jan 90 07:45:52 GMT References: <3200@odin.SGI.COM> <1228@disk.UUCP> Sender: news@athena.mit.edu (News system) Reply-To: jik@athena.mit.edu (Jonathan I. Kamens) Distribution: usa Organization: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lines: 24 In article <3200@odin.SGI.COM>, paquin@kahua.esd.sgi.com (Tom Paquin) writes: > Later, when working on the server at about 4 in the morning, we > encountered one of those one-too-many-straws and became silly. > Figuring that we were being called on to solve the world's problems, > we added routines to do just that, hence the routine ppcEndWorldHunger(). > I'll leave it to folks to run strings or to do a nm on Xibm (AIX or 4.3) > to see just how silly we got. Mature software? Well... :) We ran strings over the Xibm binary here about a year ago when we were debugging the X server. I seem to recall that the ppc code is only distributed outside IBM in object code (i.e. no source), so we were trying to find out what functions we couldn't debug (without disassembling, of course :-). The most recent X server from IBM also includes: ppcEndWarForever ppcPayServerHackersWhatTheyreWorth ppcRefinanceNationalDebt Man, that's some powerful X server :-) Jonathan Kamens USnail: MIT Project Athena 11 Ashford Terrace jik@Athena.MIT.EDU Allston, MA 02134 Office: 617-253-8495 Home: 617-782-0710 Article 1489 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!devon!paul From: paul@devon.lns.pa.us (Paul Sutcliffe Jr.) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: funny error messages Message-ID: <1990Jan28.163026.3056@devon.lns.pa.us> Date: 28 Jan 90 16:30:26 GMT References: <C5n!6d1@cs.psu.edu> <10931@encore.Encore.COM> Reply-To: paul@devon.LNS.PA.US (Paul Sutcliffe Jr.) Organization: Devon Computer Services, Lancaster, PA Lines: 37 In article <10931@encore.Encore.COM> soper@maxzilla.encore.com (Pete Soper) writes: +--------- | From article <C5n!6d1@cs.psu.edu>, by schwartz@cs.psu.edu (Scott Schwartz): | > "Take her down Scotty, she's sucking mud!" | > on the console just before handling the crash. | | About 10 years ago Texas Instruments DX10 OS had a similar | panic message: "Shut her down, Clancy, she's pumping mud". +--------- The Tandy 6000 is a dual-processor (68000/Z80) system running Xenix. The Z80 does all I/O work for the 68K. It (the Z80) runs a loop something like this: start: save the Stack Pointer do this do that do something do something else [...] compare current SP to saved value if okay, go to start If the compare fails, it is assumed that something went wrong and the console gets the message: Bughlt: SckMud and the system is promptly halted. An older version of the Z80 code is said (I never saw it) to have also displayed the message "Shut 'er down Scotty..." - paul INTERNET: paul@devon.lns.pa.us | If life's a bitch, then UUCP: ...!rutgers!devon!paul | we must be her puppies. Article 1493 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!apple!bbn!granite!mandel From: mandel@granite.cr.bull.com (Mark Mandel) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: St. Habakkuk of the Abacus Message-ID: <1990Jan29.165447.10384@granite.cr.bull.com> Date: 29 Jan 90 16:54:47 GMT Reply-To: mandel@granite.cr.bull.com (Mark Mandel) Distribution: alt Organization: Bull HN Information Systems Inc. Lines: 42 St. Habakkuk of the Abacus is the patron saint of software engineers. He was a public scribe and money-changer (an honest one) in the late Roman Empire, when all computation was performed on a kind of abacus consisting of pebbles ("calculi") sliding in a grooved tabletop. He developed an improved method of multiplication, which enabled him to carry out his clients' commissions much more quickly and efficiently than any of his competitors. His offer to teach them his system free of charge (the first recorded instance of shareware) only inflamed their rage, and they stoned him to death with the pebbles of his own counting board: he was martyred, by calculation, on July 14, A.D. 559. (This date was determined [on April 25, 1988] by a combination of divine inspiration and the use of a machine that is descended from the instruments of his martyrdom.) His feast day is celebrated every 256 days. The following chart gives the dates of his feast days from the end of 1987 through the end of the twentieth century. This Wednesday is the 2041st (decimal) iteration of St. Habakkuk's Day. 2038 December 25, 1987 2039 September 6, 1988 2040 May 20, 1989 2041 January 31, 1990 2042 October 14, 1990 2043 June 27, 1991 2044 March 9, 1992 2045 November 20, 1992 2046 August 3, 1993 2047 April 16, 1994 2048 December 28, 1994 2049 September 10, 1995 2050 May 23, 1996 2051 February 3, 1997 2052 October 17, 1997 2053 June 30, 1998 2054 March 13, 1999 2055 November 24, 1999 -- -- Mark Mandel (InterNet: Mandel@granite.cr.bull.com) /* My employer is not responsible for anything I say, do, think, or eat. */ Article 1494 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!cica!sol.ctr.columbia.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!usc!bbn!granite!mandel From: mandel@granite.cr.bull.com (Mark Mandel) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: St. Habakkuk of the Abacus Summary: More? Message-ID: <1990Jan29.203409.19905@granite.cr.bull.com> Date: 29 Jan 90 20:34:09 GMT References: <1990Jan29.165447.10384@granite.cr.bull.com> Reply-To: mandel@granite.cr.bull.com (Mark Mandel) Distribution: alt Organization: Bull HN Information Systems Inc. Lines: 8 Further contributions to the hagiography (i.e., saintly biography) of St. Habakkuk are invited. Send them by email; I'll collate and post. -- -- Mark Mandel (InterNet: Mandel@granite.cr.bull.com) /* My employer is not responsible for anything I say, do, think, or eat. */ Article 1498 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!cec2!news From: flan@ai.wustl.edu (Ian Flanigan) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: XYZZY Message-ID: <1990Jan30.175209.10258@cec1.wustl.edu> Date: 30 Jan 90 17:52:09 GMT References: <4504@rtech.rtech.com> <422@sixhub.UUCP> <1753@castle.ed.ac.uk> <90024.134216DSB100@PSUVM.BITNET> <11920@csli.Stanford.EDU> Sender: news@cec2 (USENET News System) Reply-To: flan@ai.wustl.edu (Ian Flanigan) Organization: Washington University, St. Louis MO Lines: 21 In article <11920@csli.Stanford.EDU> jkl@csli.stanford.edu (John Kallen) writes: >I was frustrated by Pyramid, so I did a pass with T-BUG. Commands >(like PLUGH) showed up, but the text messages were compressed to make >it fit into the massive 16K of RAM my TRS-80 had. Boy, those were >impressive machines.... I seem to remember that there was a version of Star Trek for the TRS-80 that had to call the Klingons "Klings", because otherwise the program was too big to fit in memory. >_______________________________________________________________________________ > | | | | |\ | | /|\ | John K{llen "God hates me. *That's* > | |\ \|/ \| * |/ | |/| | | PoBox 11215 what it is." "Hate Him > | |\ /|\ |\ * |\ | | | | Stanford CA 94309 back; it works for me." >_|_|___|___|____|_\|___|__|__|_jkl@csli.stanford.edu___________________________ Ian Flanigan flan@ai.wustl.edu "You can never have too many napkins." wucs1.wustl.edu!ai!flan@uucp Article 1499 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!mips!ultra!wayne From: wayne@ultra.com (Wayne Hathaway) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: non-volatile core memory Summary: Yet Another War Stry Message-ID: <1990Jan30.190148.6406@ultra.com> Date: 30 Jan 90 19:01:48 GMT References: <10257@microsoft.UUCP> <1741@gannet.cl.cam.ac.uk> Reply-To: wayne@ultra.com (Wayne Hathaway) Organization: Ultra Network Technologies Lines: 35 Speaking of non-volatile core memories, the first machine I ever programmed was an IBM 1620 (remember the "CADET"?). This guy had the astounding quantity of 20,000 characters of core storage, and (I was told) it was shipped from the factory with the diagnostics already loaded into memory, ready to run. Power it up, say "go," and the diagnostics took right off. Good idea, too, since the only other I/O it had was a card reader/punch and its console TTY. Another fun thing about this guy was that IPLs from the card reader were done with a single-card "self loader" at the front of the deck; push "load," the first card is read into memory and branched to, and it loads the rest. But the card reader also had a single card's worth of storage itself, and (I forget the details, but) you could leave it "booby trapped" by reading your own "single card loader" into the reader's "on-board RAM" and then powering the whole thing down. The next unsuspecting user would show up (yes, it was a single-user machine that you signed up for in blocks of a half hour or so), power the machine up, and fill the reader's input hopper with a huge card deck containing (e.g.) the FORTRAN compiler. The unsuspecting user would then press "load," but instead of reading the compiler's load card, it would read the booby trap one left in the reader's buffer. And what would that card do? Well, such "hilarious" things as pass the entire compiler through the reader (which was NOT fast!) just like a normal load, and then do something like print "Burp" on the console. Or maybe do something cute with the lights. Or start duplicating the compiler on the punch. [Obviously my definition of "hilarious" was a bit different back then!] wayne Wayne Hathaway Ultra Network Technologies domain: wayne@Ultra.COM 101 Daggett Drive Internet: ultra!wayne@Ames.ARC.NASA.GOV San Jose, CA 95134 uucp: ...!ames!ultra!wayne 408-922-0100 Article 1502 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!apple!bbn!granite!mandel From: mandel@granite.cr.bull.com (Mark Mandel) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: St. Habakkuk of the Abacus Summary: Refreshments! Message-ID: <1990Jan31.035928.24140@granite.cr.bull.com> Date: 31 Jan 90 03:59:28 GMT References: <1990Jan29.165447.10384@granite.cr.bull.com> Reply-To: mandel@granite.cr.bull.com (Mark Mandel) Distribution: alt Organization: Bull HN Information Systems Inc. Lines: 10 On the Feast Day of St. Habakkuk it is traditional to consume foods reminiscent of calculi (counting-board pebbles). Such are usually small, hard and round. Your grandmother's kreplach, ravioli, or wonton may qualify. Afterdinner mints can be used, and jellybeans are especially popular. Among software engineers aspirin are very common. -- -- Mark Mandel (InterNet: Mandel@granite.cr.bull.com) /* My employer is not responsible for anything I say, do, think, or eat. */ Article 1503 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!samsung!uunet!mmlai!barash From: barash@mmlai.UUCP (Rev. Steve C. Barash) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: The Beagle Brothers!! Message-ID: <669@mmlai.UUCP> Date: 30 Jan 90 22:15:06 GMT Organization: Martin Marietta Labs, Baltimore, MD Lines: 27 Whatever happened to the Beagle Brothers (a.k.a. Bert Kersey) ? Back in the early 80's they put out a bunch of wild'n'crazy programs, tools, games, and other out-of-control hacks for the Apple ][. They'd sell their software cheap, and un-copy-protected. There was one game called Sub Search where the BASIC program listing had a notice that "modifying the Copyright notice in this listing will cause the program to bomb". And sure enough, it did. I found out that in the token listing of the program, a certain BASIC token was stored by code 60 at some location, say 1000. The program would, at various points, issue a CALL(1000). The opcode 60 also happens to be a RTS (return from subroutine) in 6502. If the length of the code is changed at all, there will not be a 60 at 1000, so the program would blow up real good. The clincher: The CALL(1000) was invisible in the BASIC listing - it was followed by a REM'ed out sequence of backspaces, enough to cover up the CALL(1000) and the REM keyword. Only by listing at SPEED=<small number> did I notice this. There were all sorts of utilities like an UNDELETE command, and a disk sector editor. I wish I could remember more about their stuff - it's been ages. Maybe I'll go did some of those old disks out of my Dad's attic. Anybody else remember the Beagle Brothers feats of hackerism, or know where Bert Kersey is now? Steve Barash @ Martin Marietta Labs ARPA: barash@mmlai.uu.net UUCP: uunet!mmlai!barash Article 1508 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!usc!cs.utexas.edu!rutgers!mcnc!spl From: spl@mcnc.org (Steve Lamont) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: non-volatile core memory Message-ID: <6160@alvin.mcnc.org> Date: 31 Jan 90 15:10:05 GMT References: <10257@microsoft.UUCP> <1741@gannet.cl.cam.ac.uk> <1990Jan30.190148.6406@ultra.com> Reply-To: spl@mcnc.org.UUCP (Steve Lamont) Organization: Foo Bar Brewers Cooperative Lines: 45 In article <1990Jan30.190148.6406@ultra.com> wayne@ultra.com (Wayne Hathaway) writes: >Speaking of non-volatile core memories, the first machine I ever >programmed was an IBM 1620 (remember the "CADET"?). ... Sure. Can't Add, Doesn't Even Try :-) >Another fun thing about this guy was that IPLs from the card reader >were done with a single-card "self loader" at the front of the deck; >push "load," the first card is read into memory and branched to, and >it loads the rest. But the card reader also had a single card's worth >of storage itself, and (I forget the details, but) you could leave it >"booby trapped" by reading your own "single card loader" into the >reader's "on-board RAM" and then powering the whole thing down. ... Yes, I believe this was correct. That's why you always hit the RESET button (or whatever) on the card reader -- to clear the cache memory and remove any little presents left for you by previous users. Anybody remember MONITOR-I, the disk operating system for the beast? I remember going through the source listings for it one day, trying to track down some bug or another (yes, back in those days, IBM routinely provided source listings). I remember being at a point where I had totally lost track of what was going on, due to overlays and such (remember overlays?), and was completely and hopelessly lost. At this point, I ran across the comment WHITHER WANDEREST THOU, WAYFARER? Broke me up. On a similar subject, one version or another of the IBM VM/CMS source listings has this little helpful comment, which appears just before the control flow disappears into some similar morass: DIVE! DIVE! Anyone else seen any of these little documentation gems? spl (the p stands for punching cards since 1966...) -- Steve Lamont, sciViGuy (919) 248-1120 EMail: spl@ncsc.org NCSC, Box 12732, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 "That's People's Commissioner Tirebiter -- and NOBODY'S sweetheart!" - F. Scott Firesign Article 1509 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!ibmarc!sd2.almaden.ibm.com!drake From: drake@sd2.almaden.ibm.com (Sam Drake) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Y VAX? [was : TECO on a DEC-System 10] Message-ID: <1336@ks.UUCP> Date: 31 Jan 90 08:22:37 GMT References: <153.UUL1.3#5131@mvac23.UUCP> <457@ns-mx.uiowa.edu> <1990Jan18.193530.22427@utzoo.uucp> <2839@paperboy.OSF.ORG> <4322@vanuata.cs.glasgow.ac.uk> <4347@vanuata.cs.glasgow.ac.uk> Sender: news@ibmarc.UUCP Reply-To: drake@ibmarc.uucp (Sam Drake) Organization: IBM Almaden Research Center, San Jose Lines: 31 In article <4347@vanuata.cs.glasgow.ac.uk> jack@cs.glasgow.ac.uk (Jack Campin) writes: > >ICL did the same with their low-end 3900 series machines; the cheaper ones >were the same hardware as the faster ones but with microcode delay loops. >Their microcode was accordingly kept completely under wraps; nobody outside >the inner sanctums of the company got access to sources or development >tools for it. > Before I joined my current employer, my previous employer was considering getting an IBM S/370 compatible computer. This was in the days when more people leased computers than purchased them. The particular computer being considered was highly tuned to the lease market; it had a key activated switch on the front console with two settings ... "fast" and "slow". Beside the switch were two meters, one of which recorded how many hours the machine ran "fast" and one which recorded how many hours the machine ran "slow". Your month lease payment was based on some formula involving both numbers ("fast" hours cost much more than "slow" ones, of course). Again, I believe this was done with (conditional) microcode loops. A similar feature existed in the IBM S/360 model 44 computer, which had a knob on the front which controlled how many digits of precision you got out of floating point operations. You could speed things up if you could take the accuracy hit. All opinions are strictly my own. Sam Drake / IBM Almaden Research Center Internet: drake@ibm.com BITNET: DRAKE at ALMADEN Usenet: ...!uunet!ibmarc!drake Phone: (408) 927-1861 Article 1511 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!swrinde!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!wuarchive!psuvax1!psuvm!cunyvm!jkmjj From: JKMJJ@CUNYVM Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Blinking lights on the Connection Machine Message-ID: <90031.103950JKMJJ@CUNYVM.BITNET> Date: 31 Jan 90 15:39:50 GMT References: <9174@cbmvax.commodore.com> <134.UUL1.3 Organization: City University of New York/ University Computer Center Lines: 6 A couple of years ago, some advance men from the TV show The Equalizer came to our computer center to see if they could use our machine room as part of a set. They went in looked at our IBM 4381 and asked "Where are all the flashing lights?" Needless to say, they did not use our site for the set. Article 1516 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!think!mintaka!mintaka!mernst From: mernst@theory.lcs.mit.edu (Michael Ernst) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Cryptic comments (was re: non-volatile memory) Message-ID: <MERNST.90Jan31200807@owl.lcs.mit.edu> Date: 1 Feb 90 01:08:07 GMT Sender: news@mintaka.lcs.mit.edu Distribution: alt Organization: MIT Lab for Computer Science Lines: 9 I seem to remember a line in the Symbolics garbage-collector source; the code was long and convoluted, and it contained but a single comment: ; Gute Nacht, mein Wesen just before a variable's value was bashed. Does anyone else have a clearer memory of this? -Michael Ernst mernst@theory.lcs.mit.edu Article 1519 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!psuvax1!psuvm!ch9 From: CH9@psuvm.psu.edu Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: The Beagle Brothers!! Message-ID: <90031.161035CH9@PSUVM.BITNET> Date: 31 Jan 90 21:10:35 GMT References: <669@mmlai.UUCP> Organization: Penn State University Lines: 4 Ah yes! Beagle Bros., the company that consistantly produced high quality software, but never took it seriously! They are now producing nifty things that run inside Appleworks (fonts, spellers, ect.) and, I'm told, they were involved in producing Appleworks 3.0 for Claris. Article 1520 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!pacific.mps.ohio-state.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!psuvax1!psuvm!cunyvm!jkmjj From: JKMJJ@CUNYVM Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: rm * Message-ID: <90031.122454JKMJJ@CUNYVM.BITNET> Date: 31 Jan 90 17:24:54 GMT References: <9081@ttidca.TTI.COM> <161.UUL1.3 Organization: City University of New York/ University Computer Center Lines: 4 In 1975 our IBM 370/145 crashed each night during the spring at 5PM and 11PM. After a few days of investigation, it was discovered that the lights on the track and field were turned on at 5pm and off at 11 pm. The computer problem was resolved shortly thereafter. Article 1521 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!uwm.edu!rpi!image.soe.clarkson.edu!news From: stadnism@clutx.clarkson.edu (Steven Stadnicki,,,) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Snake Byte Message-ID: <1990Feb1.025631.8296@sun.soe.clarkson.edu> Date: 1 Feb 90 02:56:31 GMT References: <3372@expert.cc.purdue.edu> Sender: news@sun.soe.clarkson.edu Reply-To: stadnism@clutx.clarkson.edu Organization: Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY Lines: 28 From article <3372@expert.cc.purdue.edu>, by aqm@expert.cc.purdue.edu (Steve Weinrich): > ..Remember Snake Byte?? :) God, yes... that one was the source of a *lot* of wasted hours in our High School computer room... one of my friends even wrote a TRS-80 version, because the teacher could see the screens of the Apples if you were on those, but the TRS-80's were set up with their screens to the back of the room, so the students could see the blackboard as they typed... he also wrote a slightly stripped-down (only the craters) version of Moon Patrol, as well as some other really good stuff... all in Disk Basic. Still one of the most impressive programmers I've known... Steven Stadnicki stadnism@clutx.clarkson.edu "Researchers have investigated ray-surface intersection calculations for a number of surface primitives, including checkerboards, glass balls, green fractal hills, mandrills, abstract blue surfaces, more glass balls, robot arms, pool balls, low-resolution clouds, morphine molecules, aquatic blobby things making strange noises, fantastic cities, and running skeletons. Unfortunately, _nobody has ray traced any food_. The _Dessert Realism Project_ here at Pixar is addressing this problem." --Paul Heckbert, "Ray Tracing Jell-O (r) Brand Gelatin" Article 1522 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!uwm.edu!marque!studsys!jetzer From: jetzer@studsys.mu.edu (Mike Jetzer) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: The Beagle Brothers!! Message-ID: <771@studsys.mu.edu> Date: 1 Feb 90 01:40:09 GMT References: <669@mmlai.UUCP> Reply-To: jetzer@studsys.UUCP (Mike Jetzer) Organization: Marquette University - Milwaukee, Wisconsin Lines: 31 In article <669@mmlai.UUCP> barash@mmlai.UUCP (Rev. Steve C. Barash) writes: >Whatever happened to the Beagle Brothers (a.k.a. Bert Kersey) ? >Back in the early 80's they put out a bunch of wild'n'crazy programs, >tools, games, and other out-of-control hacks for the Apple ][. ... >I wish I could remember more about their stuff - it's >been ages. Maybe I'll go did some of those old disks out of my Dad's >attic. Anybody else remember the Beagle Brothers feats of >hackerism, or know where Bert Kersey is now? Actually, they were the Beagle Bros, but I pick nits. Bert Kersey is now retired. Beagle Bros was purchased by Mark Simonsen (sp?), who was himself a Brother (Bros?). Unfortunately, they now specialize only in end-user type applications, and have a very successful line of add-on AppleWorks products. They no longer sell anything in the line of utilities (other than their Triple-Dump graphics printing package). All, however, is not lost, as Beagle Bros now has a bboard where they have placed nearly all of their "classic" programs. They're "nearly freeware;" that is to say, you may download them and give them to friends, but not upload them anywhere. Unfortunately, I don't think I want some of these old programs badly enough to spend a couple of hours on the phone to San Diego. -- Mike Jetzer "Hack first, ask questions later." Article 1525 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!uwvax!fluffy.cs.wisc.edu!dross From: dross@fluffy.cs.wisc.edu (Dan "the Man with the Plan" Ross) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: CDC slowdown / TV computers (Was: Re: Burroughs 203) Summary: Computers do amazing things in Hollywood Keywords: CDC TRS-80 TV differential analyzer 3270 Message-ID: <9651@spool.cs.wisc.edu> Date: 1 Feb 90 05:30:47 GMT References: <4815@convex.convex.com> Sender: news@spool.cs.wisc.edu Distribution: alt Organization: U of Wisconsin CS Dept Lines: 22 We were told in my undergraduate architecture class that some CDC system that came in several models contained, for the 'slower' models, a 'decelerator' board to slow them down. It might have been the 6600; I can't remember for sure. Also, there was an episode of some TV show ("The Greatest American Hero" ?) where someone looks up information about someone--including a photographic-quality mug shot--on a TRS-80 Model III (a machine with a monochrome screen with something like 128x48 resolution, unless one upgraded something like CGA, but still monochrome). In, I think, "Whiz Kids," an IBM-3270 -type terminal is used to trigger a building's sprinkler / fire-alarm system. And in this B&W science-fiction movie ("When Worlds Collide" ?), a 'differential analyzer' is used to perform some giant calculation. The machine was a huge mechanical calculator, something like Babbage's analytical engine. I saw "Angry Red Planet" as a child and thought it was really scary. Of course, I didn't notice the Burroughs 203... Dan Ross dross@cs.wisc.edu ..!uwvax!cs.wisc.edu!dross Article 1527 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!cs.utexas.edu!swrinde!ucsd!nosc!crash!malloy From: malloy@crash.cts.com (Sean Malloy) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Cryptic comments Message-ID: <1321@crash.cts.com> Date: 1 Feb 90 05:09:42 GMT References: <MERNST.90Jan31200807@owl.lcs.mit.edu> Reply-To: malloy@crash.cts.com (Sean Malloy) Distribution: alt Organization: Crash TimeSharing, El Cajon, CA Lines: 29 In article <MERNST.90Jan31200807@owl.lcs.mit.edu> mernst@theory.lcs.mit.edu (Michael Ernst) writes: >I seem to remember a line in the Symbolics garbage-collector source; the >code was long and convoluted, and it contained but a single comment: > ; Gute Nacht, mein Wesen >just before a variable's value was bashed. When I worked for ITT Courier, one of the things I got to do was make some modifications to the code for the POS (Point-Of-Sale) systems that the company was marketing to McDonalds. I grew to loathe the code, simply because the person who'd developed it (and left) had a radically minimalist and baroque attitude toward commenting their code. In a three-page loop of Z80 assembler, there was the single comment line, "Chunka Chunka". Another loop occupying a page and a half of assembler dealing with controlling the cost display had the single comment "And it comes out here". Three-quarters of a page of code dealing with error recovery was commented "Oops". I learned more about how _not_ to document my programs then than I did anywhere else, though (as well as winding up memorizing the explosion table for McDonald's products -- howw much of what goes into each item on the menu, for inventory tracking). Sean Malloy | {hplabs!hp-sdd, akgua, ucsd, nosc}!crash!malloy | "I am here by the will of ARPA: crash!malloy@nosc | the people, and I will Navy Personnel Research and Development Center | not leave until I get my San Diego, CA 92152-6800 | raincoat back." UUCP: {hplabs!hp-sdd, akgua, ucsd}!nprdc!malloy | ARPA: malloy@nprdc.navy.mil | Article 1528 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!samsung!uunet!mcsun!ukc!cam-cl!rf From: rf@cl.cam.ac.uk (Robin Fairbairns) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Funny signal names (was Re: Lights on Burroughs machines) Message-ID: <1744@gannet.cl.cam.ac.uk> Date: 30 Jan 90 13:32:07 GMT References: <1990Jan15.173434.5792@virtech.uucp> <729@ncs.dnd.ca> Sender: news@cl.cam.ac.uk Reply-To: rf@cl.cam.ac.uk (Robin Fairbairns) Organization: U of Cambridge Comp Lab, UK Lines: 38 In article <729@ncs.dnd.ca>, jstewart@ncs.dnd.ca (John Stewart) writes: >Other burroughs trivia: > >One old disk had a signal called "HFML", that showed a digital true when >the disk was spun up. HFML? Heads Flying Mighty Low, of course. I worked, as an undergraduate on long (summer) vacation, in the local telephone exchange (read: central office). In those days, even the trunk (read: long-distance) calls were switched by massive banks of relays and uniselectors. (And no, I'm not that old: this is the UK, and it was the 60s.) Anyway, coinboxes (public telephones) were controlled by a massive thing called the CFC (Coin and Fee Check) relay set. These things counted the charge pulses coming from the switching centre, and debited them against the 3d, 6d and 1s coins the customer had fed in (1s=12d=(approx) 3c US today). To the point of the story: there was a relay TBF (Too Bloody Fast) that triggered if a charge pulse came in less than 2 secs after the previous most recent one. Fine: the longest-distance call charged about once every 10 secs then. But then they introduced International Dialling (sadly not where I was, in Bristol) and you could dial the States. And the admin failed to notice that the charge rate implied one pulse every 1.2secs. So for a while, you could make unlimited duration calls to the USA from (e.g.) a London call box for the 3d that would be consumed by the first charge pulse, as the thing locked up after the second one. This went on long enough that the National press got hold of it. The Post Office (it was the days before a separate telecom authority) must have lost masses before they sorted out barring international service to coin boxes. Robin Fairbairns Laser-Scan Ltd, but a guest of the site mentioned above. Article 1529 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!ucbvax!agate!codon1.berkeley.edu!mkkuhner From: mkkuhner@codon1.berkeley.edu (Mary K. Kuhner;335 Mulford) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: static discharges - the Murphy's Law Kid Message-ID: <1990Feb1.083750.23657@agate.berkeley.edu> Date: 1 Feb 90 08:37:50 GMT References: <1990Jan10.040655.324@cs.rochester.edu> <1660@adobe.UUCP> <130725@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> <4585@rtech.rtech.com> Sender: usenet@agate.berkeley.edu (USENET Administrator;;;;ZU44) Reply-To: mkkuhner@codon1.berkeley.edu.UUCP (Mary K. Kuhner) Organization: University of California, Berkeley Lines: 20 In article <4585@rtech.rtech.com> fredb@llama.UUCP (Fred Buechler (Devil Mountain Consulting) HP Group writes: >Anyway, at that outdoor temperature most of the moisture in the air freezes >leaving the relative humidity at about 6%. We were always drawing huge arcs >whenever we got near anything that was grounded. >Fred Buechler Ah, yes, the pleasures of computing in Alaska. I used to scare new students with this at the University of Alaska in Anchorage. Walk up to the terminal shuffling my feet on the carpet, point at their painfully-typed-in-listing, and *ping* the screen goes blank! One could sometimes unhang hung terminals with this--a great way to impress students with the Nodie's divinity. "You just touched it and now it works?" Mary Kuhner mkkuhner@enzyme.berkeley.edu -or- mkkuhner@ocf.berkeley.edu Take your pick--no guarentees on either one. Article 1534 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!mailrus!uflorida!haven!grebyn!brian From: brian@grebyn.com (Brian Bishop) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: The Beagle Brothers!! Summary: More Antics Message-ID: <19322@grebyn.com> Date: 1 Feb 90 13:07:56 GMT References: <669@mmlai.UUCP> Reply-To: brian@grebyn.UUCP (Brian Bishop) Organization: Grebyn Timesharing, Vienna, VA, USA Lines: 26 In article <669@mmlai.UUCP> barash@mmlai.UUCP (Rev. Steve C. Barash) writes: >Whatever happened to the Beagle Brothers (a.k.a. Bert Kersey) ? > Anybody else remember the Beagle Brothers feats of >hackerism, or know where Bert Kersey is now? > These guys were great! All of their stuff came with a flock on one-liner basic programs that didi various weird things, plauy a little game, do a funny graphic, etc. They did a little demo of the basic shape-animation ( anybody still remember - SHAPE TABLES?)that still cracks me up, for some reason. ( A guy walks out of a house and points his finger away from the house and a cat runs out and falls off the end of the screen. Guess you had to be there) Anyway, my first recognition of their weirdness came after I had run a graphic-test pattern program of theirs. You got the prompt back, but no matter what you typed, a different message showed up: "This is your computer. I am in control. Get up and go the computer store and buy a big bag of memory chips. Whatever you do, do not turn of the power!" (one letter appeared every time you hit a key on the keyboard...) Brian Bishop brian@grebyn.com Article 1535 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!mcsun!ukc!newcastle.ac.uk!stobhill!nlfm From: Lindsay.Marshall@newcastle.ac.uk (Lindsay F. Marshall) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Cryptic comments (was re: non-volatile memory) Message-ID: <1990Feb1.152953.7453@newcastle.ac.uk> Date: 1 Feb 90 15:29:53 GMT References: <MERNST.90Jan31200807@owl.lcs.mit.edu> Sender: news@newcastle.ac.uk Distribution: alt Organization: Computing Laboratory, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, NE1 7RU Lines: 14 A friend of mine was debugging some awful assembler code and the only comment on the whole thing read "AWB 9/10". He was pretty stuck and puzzled and puzzled over the meaning of this comment. Eventually he tracked down the author of the code and asked him what it signified. "Oh", he said, " There was an Average White Band concert on the 9th of October and I wanted remember it........" L. -- MAIL : Lindsay.Marshall@newcastle.ac.uk (UUCP: s/$$.*$$/...!ukc!\1/) POST : Computing Laboratory, The University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK NE1 7RU VOICE: +44-91-222-8267 FAX: +44-91-222-8232 Article 1538 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!snorkelwacker!apple!oliveb!orc!mipos3!pldote!dregis From: dregis@pldote.intel.com (~Dave Regis) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: static discharges Message-ID: <109@pldote.intel.com> Date: 1 Feb 90 21:57:53 GMT References: <1990Jan10.040655.324@cs.rochester.edu> <1660@adobe.UUCP> <130725@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> <4585@rtech.rtech.com> <1990Feb1.083750.23657@agate.berkeley.edu> Reply-To: dregis@pldote.UUCP (~Dave Regis) Organization: Intel PLDO, Folsom CA Lines: 12 I learned never to wipe dust off a crt while listening to a Walkman. I've got my walkman on an AC transformer and the headphones are the in-ear type with the metal screens over the speakers. As I sat in my chair listening to Peter Buffet, my feet on the pedastal legs, I wiped the CRT (16" Color) with a napkin. The result was the discharge attempting to make its path through my ears. Besides producing a loud >*snap*<, I got my first taste of a flavor of electro-shock therapy. As a form of adverse conditioning, it worked -- I will probably never try anything like that again... Dave Regis Article 1552 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!ns-mx!pyrite.cs.uiowa.edu From: jones@pyrite.cs.uiowa.edu (Douglas W. Jones,201H MLH,3193350740,3193382879) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Anti folklore (the truth) Message-ID: <562@ns-mx.uiowa.edu> Date: 2 Feb 90 15:11:24 GMT Sender: news@ns-mx.uiowa.edu Lines: 51 From article <5065@convex.convex.com>, by datri@convex.com (Anthony A. Datri): > > As I understand it, the Analytical Engine would have been a digital, not > analog, machine. There is a very common misperception that Babbages analytical engine was never built and that his difference engines never came to much. This is FALSE. Babbage never completed his large-scale plans for the difference engine, but he did get sections of it to work, and he did publish descriptions of his work (most notably in the Edinburgh Review?) During Babbage's lifetime, a Swede who read one of his articles got so excited by the idea that he built a working difference engine and exhibited it at a world's fair type exhibition in London (read about it in Babbage's "Reflections on the Life of a Philosopher). Babbage traces the machine to the US Naval Observatory -- where is it now? A copy of the machine was built and put to use by the British government -- again, where is it now? By 1910, difference engines were being routinely used for the purpose Babbage originally intended, evaluating interpolating polynomials to produce mathematical tables. I found one German book of tables of higher mathematical functions that included a photograph of the hand-cranked printing difference engine they'd used to produce the tables in the book, along with a 20 page description of exactly how it was done. They didn't cite Babbage at all, but it's hard to imagine there not being a link. Babbage's son (Willian Henry Babbage?) built a scaled down version of the analytical engine sometime around the turn of the century. It's in the Royal Science Museum in London today. I've seen photos of it, and it is beautiful. The microcode is on a music-box mechanism near the hand crank that runs the engine, and the entire mill (cpu to use modern terms) is built on top of a nice looking Victorian-era oak desk. Apparently the engine was used to compute a table of logarithms, but one writer said it kept jamming. Maurice Wilkes, the modern re-inventor of microcode, says (in his book "Menoirs of a Computer Pioneer") that if he'd only known of Babbage's work, he'd have gotten his first computer working years sooner than he did. Sadly, there were mathematicians who did remember Babbage at that time. I found another table of mathematical functions, published in the late 1930's, with a photo of "Babbage's Analytical Engine" as a frontspiece, and a dedication that read something like "In the hope that Babbage's dream of mechanical computation will someday be realized." Doug Jones jones@herky.cs.uiowa.edu Article 1555 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!noao-gemini!asuvax!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!mcsun!ukc!kl-cs!nott-cs!cat.fulcrum.bt.co.uk!masalla.fulcrum.bt.co.uk!igb From: igb@fulcrum.bt.co.uk (Ian G Batten) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Cryptic comments Message-ID: <K72BS*@masalla.fulcrum.bt.co.uk> Date: 2 Feb 90 12:39:31 GMT References: <MERNST.90Jan31200807@owl.lcs.mit.edu> <1321@crash.cts.com> Sender: root@fulcrum.bt.co.uk (Root on Masalla) Distribution: alt Organization: BT Fulcrum, Birmingham, England. Lines: 11 As barmar confirmed, many of the comments in Multics' Emacs by Bernie Greenberg were in Latin. Most of the code was as well: (buffer-est-delenda-p ...) and all the fenestra code. Plus jeter-les-gazongas! ian -- Ian G Batten, BT Fulcrum - igb@fulcrum.bt.co.uk - ...!uunet!ukc!fulcrum!igb Article 1559 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!rpi!rpitsmts!forumexp From: Greg_d._Moore@mts.rpi.edu (Commander Krugannal) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Best Code Message-ID: <11212.1491.forumexp@mts.rpi.edu> Date: 2 Feb 90 18:50:00 GMT Lines: 37 The best bit of code I ever came across ran something like the following: IF (BOOL) Then WRITE(*,*) 'BOOL is True!' RETURN ENDIF IF (.NOT. BOOL) THEN WRITE(*,*) 'BOOL is False!' RETURN ENDIF WRITE(*,*) ' See below...' Well, when I came across this, I decided to keep the general structure, but replaced the final WRITE(*,*) Statement with a call to our error message handler ERRMSG('Example of Trillian Logic'). To the best of my knowledge no customer has ever called in about this error message! (I would be real worried if one did!) In the same set of code, an earlier programmer after a set of error conditions reached an error that was ALMOST impossible to get. The comment? C User fall down and go BOOM! That explained it as well as anything else. What through me though one day was looking through a section of code and coming across variable names such a LORADO, COWBOY, etc. I had no idea where these names came from. Luckily, this programmer is a friend of mine. So when I got home, I asked him. It was simple, he had the song 'Streets of Lorado' (title?) in his head all day, and when he needed a variable name, he took it from the song! Between that and his lack of commenting, the code was REAL interesting to try to figure out. Greg_d._Moore@mts.rpi.edu Disclaimer: Why do I need one? Because my company was bought. So these comments do not represent me, my company, or the company that bought my company. Article 1566 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!usc!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!mcsun!ukc!icdoc!syma!stevedc From: stevedc@syma.sussex.ac.uk (Stephen D Carter) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Cryptic comments (was re: non-volatile memory) Message-ID: <2092@syma.sussex.ac.uk> Date: 2 Feb 90 08:30:39 GMT References: <1990Feb1.152953.7453@newcastle.ac.uk> Distribution: alt Organization: University of Sussex Lines: 33 ....my programs are worse than yours..... In the early 1970's the adminstration of this university had to take over the maintenance of a Teaching Timetabling system from some so called academics (flame flame) who'd written it. (The easy bit was done, so they dumped the drudge on the professionals). Anyway, this system had been written, for academic credit (which makes me a PhD 40 times over) by a MSc student. As far as the end user goes, it was GREAT - it allowed very good timetabling facilities, and was sensibly written from the point of view of 'what do we want from this system'. However... When we took over the sources (ICL 1900 PLAN) we discovered that a) All field and variable names were German words (the author was british, so don't ask me why) unrelated to their content even, and b) For fun, the programmer had written his own filehandler when ICL had a perfectly OK Housekeeping library the rest of the galaxy used. It took us a year to get the programs into a state we were prepared to support. Stephen D Carter, Systems Manager, The Administration, The University of Sussex, Sussex House, Falmer, BRIGHTON, BN1 9RH. UK Tel: +44 273 678203 (Direct line). Tel: +44 273 606755 (Switchboard). JANET : stevedc@uk.ac.sussex.syma ARPA : stevedc%sussex.syma@nsfnet-relay.ac.uk USENET: stevedc@syma.sussex.ac.uk UUCP : ...!mcvax!ukc!syma!stevedc BITNET: ukacrl!sussex.syma!stevedc or stevedc%sussex.syma@ukacrl Article 1571 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!snorkelwacker!spdcc!mirror!redsox!campbell From: campbell@redsox.bsw.com (Larry Campbell) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Cryptic comments (was re: non-volatile memory) Message-ID: <1532@redsox.bsw.com> Date: 3 Feb 90 16:50:38 GMT References: <MERNST.90Jan31200807@owl.lcs.mit.edu> <1990Feb1.152953.7453@newcastle.ac.uk> Reply-To: campbell@redsox.UUCP (Larry Campbell) Distribution: alt Organization: The Boston Software Works, Inc. Lines: 19 My favorite two obscure comments were both in the kernel for TOPS-10 (the operating system for DEC's DECsystem-10 36-bit mainframe). One said (PUSHJ is the PDP-10 subroutine call instruction): PUSHJ P,<something> ;You may think we should call COMTYO. ;You are wrong. The other was a single comment at the beginning of a long piece of obscure code in the code that calculated the checksum for a disk block. The comment was: ;Casting out 63's (Do they still teach casting out 9's in elementary school these days?) -- Larry Campbell The Boston Software Works, Inc. campbell@redsox.bsw.com 120 Fulton Street wjh12!redsox!campbell Boston, MA 02109 Article 1576 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!futures!scott From: scott@futures.UUCP (Scott Boyd) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Unlistable BASIC programs (was Re: The Beagle Brothers!!) Message-ID: <1617@futures.UUCP> Date: 2 Feb 90 22:11:44 GMT References: <669@mmlai.UUCP> <3372@expert.cc.purdue.edu> Organization: Commodity Futures, Inc. Woodside, CA Lines: 22 aqm@expert.cc.purdue.edu (Steve Weinrich) writes: > Another trick the bro's sold was a "copy-protect your program" program. >If you "protected" your program with it and then tried to load and >list it, nothing would appear. It was if the memory had been cleared. BUT! >if you typed in "run", sure enough... off it went. Never had time to check >this out, but it was a neat protection scheme... for Basic programs that >is. <grin> This was pretty simple with any Microsoft Basic. MS Basic consisted of a linked list of line numbers and tokens. There was a place in the zero page of the 6502 that provided the starting and ending locations of a BASIC program. If you set the ending address equal to the start address, the program would run, but not list. This trick worked on Commodore PETs and CompuThink Minimaxs as well. Anyone remember the Minimax? -- +---------------------+-----------------------------+-------------------------+ | Scott Boyd | Security is an illusion, | Commodity Futures, Inc. | | uunet!futures!scott | there is only opportunity! | Woodside, California | +---------------------+-----------------------------+-------------------------+ Article 1578 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!burdvax!dave From: dave@PRC.Unisys.COM (David Lee Matuszek) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Cryptic comments Message-ID: <12799@burdvax.PRC.Unisys.COM> Date: 4 Feb 90 17:33:23 GMT References: <MERNST.90Jan31200807@owl.lcs.mit.edu> <1321@crash.cts.com> Sender: news@PRC.Unisys.COM Distribution: alt Organization: Unisys Corporation, Paoli Research Center; Paoli, PA Lines: 19 Many years ago a friend (Hi, Carl!) and I wrote a program that displayed fireworks on the screen, very much like Pyro! does. (Gosh, it just occurred to me--I probably should sue them for "look and feel." Maybe I could make a bundle.) Anyway, the part of the program my friend wrote had only one comment in it: "WOW! LOOK AT THAT ONE" Actually, the most interesting comment I've ever run across was a comment (in fact, the only comment) in an assembly language program we inherited. On an obviously redundant instruction (I think it was the second "load accumulator" instruction in a row) was the comment "TRICK." We made numerous modifications and improvements to the program, but no one ever dared to touch that one line. -- Dave Matuszek (dave@prc.unisys.com) -- Unisys Corp. / Paoli Research Center / PO Box 517 / Paoli PA 19301 -- Any resemblance between my opinions and those of my employer is improbable. << Those who fail to learn from Unix are doomed to repeat it. >> Article 1580 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!uwm.edu!ux1.cso.uiuc.edu!ravel.csg.uiuc.edu!blj From: blj@ravel.csg.uiuc.edu (Bob Janssens) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Moth in relay! Urban myth? Message-ID: <1990Feb4.195707.11429@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu> Date: 4 Feb 90 19:57:07 GMT References: <1990Feb4.072343.7821@agate.berkeley.edu> Sender: news@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu (News) Reply-To: blj@ravel.csg.uiuc.edu.UUCP (Bob Janssens) Distribution: alt Organization: Univ of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Lines: 20 In article <1990Feb4.072343.7821@agate.berkeley.edu> bks@alfa.berkeley.edu (Brad Sherman) writes: > >I have heard a number of versions of a story about a moth >flying into a relay of an early electro-mechanical computer. >The moth gets taped into the system log book. >The use of "bug" meaning computer problem is born. > The Oxford English Dictionary ( second edition ) quotes the use of "bug" as "A defect or fault in a machine, plan, or the like" as early as 1889. Interestingly, it seems Thomas Edison may have coined the term: 1889 Pall Mall Gaz. 11 Mar. 1/1 Mr. Edison, I was informed, had been up the two previous nights discovering a bug' in his phonograph-an expression for solving a difficulty, and implying that some imaginary insect has secreted itself inside and is causing all the trouble. Bob Janssens blj@csg.uiuc.edu or b-janssens@uiuc.edu Center for Reliable and High Performance Computing, University of Illinois Article 1584 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!uwvax!fluffy.cs.wisc.edu!dross From: dross@fluffy.cs.wisc.edu (Dan "the Man with the Plan" Ross) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: optical diff (was Re: Emacs) Message-ID: <9678@spool.cs.wisc.edu> Date: 5 Feb 90 01:37:44 GMT References: <1990Feb2.080816.9889@cs.rochester.edu> <22048@unix.cis.pitt.edu> Sender: news@spool.cs.wisc.edu Followup-To: alt.folklore.computers Distribution: alt Organization: U of Wisconsin CS Dept Lines: 27 In article <22048@unix.cis.pitt.edu> dtate@unix.cis.pitt.edu (David M Tate) writes: >In article <1990Feb2.080816.9889@cs.rochester.edu> ken@cs.rochester.edu writes: >>The solution I came up with was to take the correct printout, overlay >>it with the suspect printout, align the letters and hold both against >>the light. It worked. > >I love it! "Analog software tools"! The overlay technique is VERY useful! It is even downward-compatible to documents existing only in printed form. And it doesn't even use electricity in daylight. The _Scientific_American_ computer column (I forget its name at the time) discussed some algorithms like that for sorting. My favorite was the "Spaghetti Sort": 1. cut dry spaghetti to lengths representing the values to sort 2. grasp these lengths in your hand vertically over a flat surface A constant-time sorting algorithm! Then, there was also the "Volkswagen Sort": 1. Get as many Volkswagen Bugs as there are values to sort 2. Fill their gas tanks with amounts of gas proportional to the values to sort. 3. Line them up, and start them running. 4. The order in which they stop produces an ascending sort. Any others like this? Dan Ross dross@cs.wisc.edu ..!uwvax!cs.wisc.edu!dross Article 1588 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!zweig From: zweig@brutus.cs.uiuc.edu (Johnny Zweig) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Moth in relay! Urban myth? Message-ID: <1990Feb5.070341.18156@brutus.cs.uiuc.edu> Date: 5 Feb 90 07:03:41 GMT References: <1990Feb4.072343.7821@agate.berkeley.edu> <V~47W@rpi.edu>
Sender: news@brutus.cs.uiuc.edu
Distribution: alt
Organization: U of Illinois, CS Dept., Systems Research Group
Lines: 11

My understanding was that the term "bug" came from telephony, in which the
buzzing noises heard on bad lines was jokingly attributed to bugs buzzing
in the lines.  Maybe this, in turn, comes from the use in audio recording
technology cited by the OED -- namely, bugs making buzzing sounds on shoddy
recordings.

The 1945 log-book was a good joke since they actually *found* a real live
(rather, dead) bug that was causing the problem.  Hacker humor.

-Johnny Bug

Article 1589 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!shelby!csli!poser
From: poser@csli.Stanford.EDU (Bill Poser)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Moth in relay! Urban myth?
Message-ID: <12080@csli.Stanford.EDU>
Date: 5 Feb 90 07:40:21 GMT
References: <1990Feb4.072343.7821@agate.berkeley.edu> <V~47W$@rpi.edu> <1990Feb5.070341.18156@brutus.cs.uiuc.edu> Sender: poser@csli.Stanford.EDU (Bill Poser) Reply-To: poser@csli.stanford.edu (Bill Poser) Distribution: alt Organization: Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford U. Lines: 4 This reminds me of the time we found a Xerox Dandelion (1108 hardware running LISP) dead due to a mouse that had gotten itself decapitated in the power supply fan. Just think, if events had occured in a different order we might refer to programs as having "mice". Article 1590 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!apple!netcom!teraida!teda!mikel From: mikel@teda.UUCP (Mikel Lechner) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Invisible Outputs ! Message-ID: <278@teda.UUCP> Date: 5 Feb 90 08:02:26 GMT References: <13998@s.ms.uky.edu> Distribution: alt Organization: Teradyne EDA Inc., Santa Clara, Calif. Lines: 18 munish@ms.uky.edu (Munish Mehra) writes: >Ever set the forground and background to the same color on your output ? >You get invisible results ! Whilst running batch jobs under VS1/VM I discovered the somewhat obscure feature that the JOBNAME field in JCL could contain the character '#'. This was used to produce a space in the jobname when the job was printed. So out of curiousity I started submitting jobs with the jobname of "#######". As expected, this generated printouts which had blank jobnames. I found this mildly amusing, but for some reason, the computer center personel did not. -- If you explain so clearly that nobody can misunderstand, somebody will. Mikel Lechner Teradyne EDA, Inc. UUCP: mikel@teraida.UUCP Article 1592 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!mcsun!ukc!newcastle.ac.uk!stobhill!nlfm From: Lindsay.Marshall@newcastle.ac.uk (Lindsay F. Marshall) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Cryptic comments (was re: non-volatile memory) Message-ID: <1990Feb5.102014.13316@newcastle.ac.uk> Date: 5 Feb 90 10:20:14 GMT Sender: news@newcastle.ac.uk Distribution: alt Organization: Computing Laboratory, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, NE1 7RU Lines: 17 The program "cyntax" on 8th Edition UNIX had been run through a wonderful program (which was not distributed!!) that systematically renamed all the files in a directory as c1.c, c2.c etc. and also the variable names used in the program which were rewritten with long words which were, I suspect, chosen at random from /usr/dict/words. The whole effect was to make the program *completely* unreadable and unmaintainable. Lindsay -- MAIL : Lindsay.Marshall@newcastle.ac.uk (UUCP: s/$$.*$$/...!ukc!\1/) POST : Computing Laboratory, The University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK NE1 7RU VOICE: +44-91-222-8267 FAX: +44-91-222-8232 Article 1593 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!ucsd!brian From: brian@ucsd.Edu (Brian Kantor) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Moth in relay! Urban myth? Message-ID: <11524@ucsd.Edu> Date: 5 Feb 90 14:32:20 GMT References: <1990Feb4.072343.7821@agate.berkeley.edu> <V~47W$@rpi.edu> <1990Feb5.070341.18156@brutus.cs.uiuc.edu> <12080@csli.Stanford.EDU>
Reply-To: brian@ucsd.edu (Brian Kantor)
Distribution: alt
Organization: The Avant-Garde of the Now, Ltd.
Lines: 8

One day we found that our 2-kilowatt transmitter had died because a
large spider had crawled into the final cavity and shorted out the
high voltage.  The computer controlling the transmitter had correctly
shut it down, but couldn't tell us that it had a bug....

The technician's remark upon finding the carbonized spider was "no
wonder it doesn't work: the chief engineer died!"
- Brian

Article 1594 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!samsung!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!uwm.edu!dogie.macc.wisc.edu!decwrl!shlump.nac.dec.com!quik07.enet.dec.com!burch
From: burch@quik07.enet.dec.com (Ben Burch)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: XYZZY
Message-ID: <8121@shlump.nac.dec.com>
Date: 5 Feb 90 16:12:30 GMT
References: <51073@bbn.COM> <4504@rtech.rtech.com>
Sender: newsdaemon@shlump.nac.dec.com
Reply-To: burch@quik07.enet.dec.com (Ben Burch)
Organization: Digital Equipment Corporation
Lines: 22

> I believe that Will just made it up [much as he made up near everything else
> in Adventure].  I can ask him, but I'm really quite sure that it was just
> random-letters.
>
>   /Bernie\
>

If you know him;  I have a question I have been fairly itching to ask;

I read a book called "The Longest Cave" which was all about the exploration of
the Mammoth Cave / Colossal Cave complex in TN.  (There IS a place named "Y2",
there IS a "Bedquilt")  In this book is a picture of a woman named Pat
Crowthers (I dont really remember the correct spelling, sorry if I got
it wrong.)
who is mapping the cave on an IBM 1130 with a pen plotter.  My question is
if this woman is related to the adventure author of the same last name?

Thanks!

-Ben Burch

Article 1595 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!unix.cis.pitt.edu!jgh2
From: jgh2@unix.cis.pitt.edu (John G. Hardie)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Moth in relay! Urban myth?
Message-ID: <22111@unix.cis.pitt.edu>
Date: 5 Feb 90 16:54:25 GMT
References: <1990Feb4.072343.7821@agate.berkeley.edu> <V~47W$@rpi.edu> <1990Feb5.070341.18156@brutus.cs.uiuc.edu> <12080@csli.Stanford.EDU> <11524@ucsd.Edu> Reply-To: jgh2@unix.cis.pitt.edu (John G. Hardie) Distribution: alt Organization: Nuclear Physics Lab, Univ. of Pittsburgh Lines: 15 I'm told (I wasn't there) that the Bates Linear Accelerator in Middleton Mass. was brought down (yes, the entire facility) by a stray cat which managed to touch both terminals on the 10 MW (that's MEGAwatts folks) primary transformer. Supposedly it was quite a mess and took several days to get everything back up again. Anyone know the details? John -- =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= John G. Hardie jgh2@unix.cis.pitt.edu Dept. of Physics, Univ of Pittsburgh jgh2@vms.cis.pitt.edu Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most. Article 1596 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!haven!umd5!zben From: zben@umd5.umd.edu (Ben Cranston) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Moth in relay! Urban myth? Summary: Verifying quote from Dahlgren newsletter circa 1973 Message-ID: <6084@umd5.umd.edu> Date: 5 Feb 90 17:15:57 GMT References: <1990Feb4.072343.7821@agate.berkeley.edu> Reply-To: zben@umd5.umd.edu (Ben Cranston) Distribution: alt Organization: University of Maryland, College Park Lines: 51 Expires: In article <1990Feb4.072343.7821@agate.berkeley.edu> bks@alfa.berkeley.edu (Brad Sherman) writes: > > I have heard a number of versions of a story about a moth > flying into a relay of an early electro-mechanical computer. > The moth gets taped into the system log book. > The use of "bug" meaning computer problem is born. > Can someone attest to moth in the logbook story? > (First- or second- hand sources preferred.) I guess being a packrat has its uses. I'm looking at a much-xeroxed page from "The Laboratory <unreadable>", U.S. Naval Weapons Lab, Dahlgren VA. Vol 45 no 36, but date unreadable. Given the 1947 date and the 26 years quoted in the caption this must have been published circa 1973 or so. Those who don't want to see this, please skip this posting... DO YOU KNOW THE ORIGIN OF THE WORD "DE-BUG"? BILL BURKE IS THE OWNER OF THE ORIGINAL COMPUTER BUG. In 1946 and 1947, Bill Burke, Head of the Computer Operations Branch (KOO) and Ed Culhan, KEE, were at Harvard constructing the Aiken Relay Calculator, more commonly refered to as MARK II. Named after Professor Howard Aiken, Head of Harvard's Computation Laboratory, the system operated with several thousand electrical [sic] mechanical relays. (Ralph, A. Niemann, Head of the Warfare Analysis Department, was one of the first civilian programmers hired at the University to work on MARK II.) In September 1947, the programmer and the engineers were having difficulty getting a program to run. After much exploration and much head scratching, a moth was found trapped inside one of the relay cases of the calculator. It had been beaten to death by the triggering of the relay. The bug was enshrined in the machine's log with Scotch tape and now resides in Bill Burke's desk drawer in C-107, K Department. For the record -- the moth removed from MARK II is the origin of the word "debugging" and it is owned by NWL, and not displayed in the Smithsonian, as has been reported, and it was removed from the Aiken Relay Calculator. [Caption of picture 1:] "TWENTY-SIX-YEAR-OLD-MEMORIES. Going clockwise: Bill Burke, Ed Culhan, and Ralph Niemann consider the well-preserved insect secured in the MARK II log which gave a new word to the English language. [Caption of picture 2:] "The first computer "bug" really was this moth, much smaller of course." [the picture makes it about 3" long! -zben] -- Sig DS.L ('ZBen') ; Ben Cranston <zben@Trantor.UMD.EDU> * Network Infrastructures Group, Computer Science Center * University of Maryland at College Park * of Ulm Article 1597 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!uwm.edu!bbn!bbn.com!cosell From: cosell@bbn.com (Bernie Cosell) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: XYZZY Message-ID: <51725@bbn.COM> Date: 5 Feb 90 18:06:07 GMT References: <51073@bbn.COM> <4504@rtech.rtech.com> <8121@shlump.nac.dec.com> Sender: news@bbn.COM Lines: 23 burch@quik07.enet.dec.com (Ben Burch) writes: } }> I believe that Will just made it up [much as he made up near everything else }> in Adventure]. I can ask him, but I'm really quite sure that it was just }> random-letters. As a footnote, I did ask him and he did make it up. All the purported etymologies are "folk"... }I read a book called "The Longest Cave" which was all about the exploration of }the Mammoth Cave / Colossal Cave complex in TN. (There IS a place named "Y2", }there IS a "Bedquilt") In this book is a picture of a woman named Pat }Crowthers (I dont really remember the correct spelling, sorry if I got }it wrong.) }who is mapping the cave on an IBM 1130 with a pen plotter. My question is }if this woman is related to the adventure author of the same last name? Just so. Patty was Will's wife at the time. She is still involved in caving, I think, but Will has been out of it for years. /Bernie\ Article 1542 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!snorkelwacker!bloom-beacon!athena.mit.edu!jik From: jik@athena.mit.edu (Jonathan I. Kamens) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: EMACS Keywords: psychoanalyze-pinhead Message-ID: <1990Feb2.053149.17173@athena.mit.edu> Date: 2 Feb 90 05:31:49 GMT References: <7534@wpi.wpi.edu> Sender: news@athena.mit.edu (News system) Reply-To: jik@athena.mit.edu (Jonathan I. Kamens) Organization: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lines: 21 In article <7534@wpi.wpi.edu>, profesor@wpi.wpi.edu (Matthew E Cross) writes: > I don't know how widespread this is, but if I type 'ESC-x psychoanalyze-pinhead' > in EMACS, it gives me an ELIZA-like intaraction mode... Well, considering that it comes with the standard GNUemacs sources, and lots and lots of people are running GNUemacs, it's probably pretty common. Also note that "psychoanalyze-pinhead" is simply emacs' "doctor" routine (an implementation of ELIZA) talking to emacs' "yow" routine (which spits out fabricated Zippy quotes). You can run M-x doctor by itself to talk to eliza, or run M-x yow to get a Zippy quote in your mini-buffer.... Yes, sir, emacs -- the editor that has everything -- including the kitchen sink! Jonathan Kamens USnail: MIT Project Athena 11 Ashford Terrace jik@Athena.MIT.EDU Allston, MA 02134 Office: 617-253-8495 Home: 617-782-0710 Article 1604 of alt.folklore.computers: Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Path: rochester!colbath From: colbath@cs.rochester.edu (Sean Colbath) Subject: Re: EMACS Message-ID: <1990Feb5.213124.24459@cs.rochester.edu> Keywords: psychoanalyze-pinhead Reply-To: colbath@cs.rochester.edu (Sean Colbath) Organization: University of Rochester Computer Science Department References: <7534@wpi.wpi.edu> <1990Feb2.053149.17173@athena.mit.edu> Date: Mon, 5 Feb 90 21:31:24 GMT In article <1990Feb2.053149.17173@athena.mit.edu> jik@athena.mit.edu (Jonathan I. Kamens) writes: >In article <7534@wpi.wpi.edu>, profesor@wpi.wpi.edu (Matthew E Cross) writes: >> I don't know how widespread this is, but if I type 'ESC-x >psychoanalyze-pinhead' > > Well, considering that it comes with the standard GNUemacs sources, >and lots and lots of people are running GNUemacs, it's probably pretty common. > > Also note that "psychoanalyze-pinhead" is simply emacs' "doctor" >routine (an implementation of ELIZA) talking to emacs' "yow" routine >(which spits out fabricated Zippy quotes). You can run M-x doctor by >itself to talk to eliza, or run M-x yow to get a Zippy quote in your >mini-buffer.... Actually, the funny thing about "psychoanalyze-pinhead" is that after 10 or so iterations of zippy quotes and responses from the doctor, the doctor says: Hey... Are you Zippy? > Yes, sir, emacs -- the editor that has everything -- including the >kitchen sink! No comment... >Jonathan Kamens USnail: >MIT Project Athena 11 Ashford Terrace >jik@Athena.MIT.EDU Allston, MA 02134 >Office: 617-253-8495 Home: 617-782-0710 -- Sean Colbath colbath@cs.rochester.edu ...uunet!rochester!colbath "And now for something completely different..." Article 1606 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!haven!uvaarpa!murdoch!dale.acc.Virginia.EDU!gjh From: gjh@dale.acc.Virginia.EDU (Galen J. Hekhuis) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: XYZZY Message-ID: <1990Feb5.231623.6932@murdoch.acc.Virginia.EDU> Date: 5 Feb 90 23:16:23 GMT References: <51073@bbn.COM> <4504@rtech.rtech.com> <8121@shlump.nac.dec.com> Sender: news@murdoch.acc.Virginia.EDU Reply-To: gjh@dale.acc.Virginia.EDU (Galen J. Hekhuis) Organization: University of Virginia Health Sciences Center Lines: 27 In article <8121@shlump.nac.dec.com> burch@quik07.enet.dec.com (Ben Burch) writes: >I read a book called "The Longest Cave" which was all about the exploration of >the Mammoth Cave / Colossal Cave complex in TN. (There IS a place named "Y2", >there IS a "Bedquilt") In this book is a picture of a woman named Pat >Crowthers (I dont really remember the correct spelling, sorry if I got >it wrong.) The book: The Longest Cave by Roger W. Brucker & Richard A. Watson ISBN 0-394-48793-1 Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. NY Is about the Mammoth Cave/Colossal Cave/[Flint Ridge system, and a host of others] complex in Kentucky, rather than TN. The system is over 300 mi in length and is the longest known cave system in the world, nothing else even comes close. Pat Crowther was indeed on the party that linked Mammoth to the Flint Ridge system, and numerous other trips. She is unrelated to anyone, however, including her family. hang gliding mailing list: hang-gliding@virginia.edu Galen Hekhuis UVa Health Sci Ctr (804)982-1646 gjh@virginia.edu A woman needs a fish like an umbrella needs a bicycle Article 1611 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!shawnee.cis.ohio-state.edu!wilcox From: wilcox@shawnee.cis.ohio-state.edu (Patricia P Wilcox) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: XYZZY Message-ID: <76712@tut.cis.ohio-state.edu> Date: 6 Feb 90 17:06:21 GMT References: <51073@bbn.COM> <4504@rtech.rtech.com> <8121@shlump.nac.dec.com> <1990Feb5.231623.6932@murdoch.acc.Virginia.EDU> Sender: news@tut.cis.ohio-state.edu Reply-To: Patricia P Wilcox <wilcox@cis.ohio-state.edu> Organization: Ohio State University Computer and Information Science Lines: 17 Pat Wilcox (formerly Crowther) is alive and well and living at the sign of the Coolspring Banjo Works north of Columbus, Ohio. She gave up caving about ten years ago because of back trouble, but keeps busy designing Amiga software and fonts, playing for square dances, and being a brand new OSU grad student. (Mid-terms -- aaaarrrrggggghhh!) Yep, Colossal Cave, the spring house, the gate, the Hall of the Mountain King, the maze of twisty little passages... They're all real. We typed in all that survey data from muddy little books on a 110-baud teletype to a PDP-1 (the survey code took advantage of an undocumented side-effect of a custom-wired instruction that was only on that one machine, he he he). Then generated plotting commands on huge rolls of paper tape, which we carried over and plotted using a salvaged Calcomp drum plotter attached to a Honeywell 316 that was destined to become an ARPAnet IMP. (Will Crowther did a lot of the original ARPAnet code, too, when he wasn't busy writing Adventure.) . Article 1615 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!ucsd!gkn From: gkn@ucsd.Edu (Gerard K. Newman) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Movies and computer centers (was Re: Blinking lights on the Connection Machine) Summary: Bizarre rituals, art(?) Message-ID: <11574@ucsd.Edu> Date: 6 Feb 90 22:31:10 GMT References: <9174@cbmvax.commodore.com> <134.UUL1.3 <90031.103950JKMJJ@CUNYVM.BITNET> Reply-To: gkn@ucsd.edu (Gerard K. Newman) Organization: San Diego Supercomputer Center Lines: 22 In article <90031.103950JKMJJ@CUNYVM.BITNET> JKMJJ@CUNYVM writes: >A couple of years ago, some advance men from the TV show The >Equalizer came to our computer center to see if they could use >our machine room as part of a set. They went in looked at our >IBM 4381 and asked "Where are all the flashing lights?" > >Needless to say, they did not use our site for the set. About two years ago a collection of people from the art department here at UCSD made a video tape of a bunch of people in, ah, unusual costumes and with a variety of props and trinkets parade through our computer room, where we had turned off all the lights. The parade ended up in front of our Cray X-MP/48, wherin they proceeded to worship and dance randomly for a while. This was quite a spectacle, to say the least. gkn SDSC "It must be art -- I don't understand it." S.P. Lamont Article 1616 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!bbn!think!snorkelwacker!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!ucsd!gkn From: gkn@ucsd.Edu (Gerard K. Newman) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: notable computer stories in fiction and the media Summary: Ollcay itay. Keywords: ScienceFiction, computers Message-ID: <11576@ucsd.Edu> Date: 6 Feb 90 22:39:12 GMT References: <1361@scorn.sco.COM> <1990Jan24.223252.18729@cec1.wustl.edu> <2623@flatline.UUCP> <1990Feb1.041534.11787@oracle.com> Reply-To: gkn@ucsd.edu (Gerard K. Newman) Organization: San Diego Supercomputer Center Lines: 34 In article <1990Feb1.041534.11787@oracle.com> nhess@dvlseq.oracle.com (Nate Hess) writes: >How about _The_Adolescence_Of_P1_, by Thomas Ryan (?), which came out in >the late 70's. Fun romp with an AI program. > connecting to host system. Science App Inc 701a.64 14:32:50 TTY24 system 1256 Connected to Node BARNUM(2) Line # 52 Please LOGIN or ATTACH .login 10,7077 JOB 28 Science App Inc 701a.64 TTY24 Password: 14:32 6-Feb-90 Tue Working... % Failed to change search list -- one or more packs dismounted. Job 28 TTY24: BARNUM_52 GKN [10,7077] Tuesday 6-Feb-90 14:33:11 System: Science App Inc 701a.64, Up: 5:47:07, Why reload: OPR Good afternoon, there are 29 users logged in. .p1 ?oolcay itay. .k/n/m Article 1617 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!ucsd!gkn From: gkn@ucsd.Edu (Gerard K. Newman) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: lights & crashes Summary: It happens to Cray-2s! Message-ID: <11577@ucsd.Edu> Date: 6 Feb 90 22:54:11 GMT References: <3372@expert.cc.purdue.edu> <1990Feb1.025631.8296@sun.soe.clarkson.edu> <1990Feb2.173353.6177@cunixf.cc.columbia.edu> Reply-To: gkn@ucsd.edu (Gerard K. Newman) Organization: San Diego Supercomputer Center Lines: 23 In article <1990Feb2.173353.6177@cunixf.cc.columbia.edu> nick@cunixf.cc.columbia.edu (Nick Christopher) writes: > >Eventually they figured out that the flashes from the camera's where >tripping the end-of-tape sensors (which detect light reflected from a >reflective end-of-tape sticker on the tape). The simultaneous EOT on >all the drives at once was more than the poor machines could handle. Second hand story from the Air Force Weapons Laboratory at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque: they have a Cray-2 there, and for those unfamiliar with this critter it's immersion cooled with a liquid called flourinert (the basis for artifical blood plasma, and it's electrically inert, among other interesting properties). At the bottom of the CPU is a light sensor which detects if some (nearly all) of the flourinert has leaked out, and will scram the machine if so. The sensor trips when it gets lots of light, which it doesn't normally when there's flourinert in the way. However, when you take the machine's picture with a flash camera ... I don't think later Cray-2s suffer from this problem. gkn SDSC systems Article 1624 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!psuvax1!psuvm!cunyvm!jkmjj From: JKMJJ@CUNYVM Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Moth in relay! Urban myth? Message-ID: <90037.161049JKMJJ@CUNYVM.BITNET> Date: 6 Feb 90 21:10:49 GMT References: <22111@unix.cis.pitt.edu> <167.UUL1.3 Organization: City University of New York/ University Computer Center Lines: 16 An acquaintance of mine at New York University Dental School was given six shark teeth by AT&T and asked to fabricate a few dozen teeth with characteristics similar to the shark teeth. It seems that sharks were attaching the undersea phone and data (see some computer stuff) links. The phone company was devising new shielding for the cable and wanted to test it out. They gave the jaws grant to a different institution. ------- Jack Meth John Jay College of Criminal Justice New York, NY 10019 BITNET JKMJJ@CUNYVM "When all is said and done, more is said than done." A.E.N. Article 1628 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!jarvis.csri.toronto.edu!utgpu!utzoo!mnetor!geac!sq!msb From: msb@sq.sq.com (Mark Brader) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Anti folklore (the truth) Message-ID: <1990Feb7.115046.20782@sq.sq.com> Date: 7 Feb 90 11:50:46 GMT References: <562@ns-mx.uiowa.edu> Reply-To: msb@sq.com (Mark Brader) Organization: SoftQuad Inc., Toronto Lines: 365 > During Babbage's > lifetime, a Swede who read one of his articles got so excited by the idea > that he built a working difference engine and exhibited it at [the Great > Exhibition of 1855 in Paris] ... Babbage traces the machine to the US Naval > Observatory -- where is it now? The Smithsonian. Or at least, it was donated to them, so it can be presumed that they still have it. However, my reference says that it was the Dudley Observatory in Albany, NY, that used it. I suppose that that could be related to the USNO. > A copy of the machine was built and put > to use by the British government -- again, where is it now? You've got me. Maybe it was scrapped -- these things were big! The following is an article I compiled and posted to comp.misc in 1988 when there was a discussion in that group about historical computers. It appears here as it did then, except for minor corrections. You will note, incidentally, that Babbage was not the first to invent the Difference Engine, and Pascal was not the first to invent the adding machine. ---------------------------------------------------- A Chronology of Digital Computing Machines (to 1952) ---------------------------------------------------- I thought this material would be of interest to this group, considering the recent discussions of early computers. I have compiled it from two sources. The primary one that I used is: Bit by Bit: An Illustrated History of Computers. By Stan Augarten, pub. 1984 by Ticknor and Fields, New York. ISBN 0-89919-268-8, 0-89919-302-1 paperback. I recommend that book, by the way, but with some reservations. The author is a journalist rather than a computer person. From time to time this shows, but it's generally clear what he means even if he doesn't actually say that. In any case, he does tell the story in an interesting and readable fashion. For some material in the last part of the chronology I also consulted: Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering, 2nd edition. Editor Anthony Ralston, Associate Editor Edwin D. Reilly Jr., pub. 1983 by Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York. ISBN 0-442-24496-7. There was an article on the Atanasoff-Berry machines in the August 1988 issue of Scientific American. The criteria for including a machine in this chronology were that it either was technologically innovative or was well known and influential; certain particularly innovative concepts have also been included as of the first time that they were described. When I refer to a machine as being able to do some operation, I mean that it can do it more or less without assistance from the user. This disqualifies the abacus from consideration, for instance; similarly, a user wanting to subtract 16 on a 6-digit Pascaline could do it by adding 999984, but this does not count as ability to do subtraction. Where I do not describe the size of a machine, it is generally suitable for desktop use if it has no memory and is unprogrammable or if it is a small prototype, but would fill a small room if it has memory or significant programmability (of course, the two tend to go together). The names Tuebingen, Wuerttemberg, and Mueller should have an umlauted "u" in place of the "ue" used here. ---------------------------------------------------- 1623. Wilhelm Schickard (1592-1635), of Tuebingen, Wuerttemberg (now in Germany), makes his "Calculating Clock". This is a 6-digit machine that can add and subtract, and perhaps includes an overflow indicator bell. Mounted on the machine is a set of Napier's Rods, a memory aid facilitating multiplications. The machine and plans are lost and forgotten in the war that is going on. (The plans were rediscovered in 1935, lost in war again, and re-rediscovered by the same man in 1956! The machine was reconstructed in 1960 and found to be workable.) Schickard was a friend of the astronomer Kepler. 1644-5. Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), of Paris, makes his "Pascaline". This 5-digit machine can only add, and that probably not as reliably as Schickard's, but at least it doesn't get forgotten -- it establishes the computing machine concept in the intellectual community. (Pascal sold about 10-15 of the machines, some supporting as many as 8 digits, and a number of pirated copies were also sold. No patents...) This is the same Pascal who invented the bus. 1674. Gottfriend Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716), of Leipzig, makes his "Stepped Reckoner". This uses a movable carriage so that it can multiply, with operands of up to 5 and 12 digits and a product of up to 16. But its carry mechanism requires user intervention and doesn't really work in all cases anyway. The calculator is powered by a crank. This is the same Leibniz or Leibnitz who co-invented calculus. 1775. Charles, the third Earl Stanhope, of England, makes a successful multiplying calculator similar to Leibniz's. 1770-6. Mathieus Hahn, somewhere in what is now Germany, also makes a successful multiplying calculator. 1786. J. H. Mueller, of the Hessian army, conceives the idea of what came to be called a "difference engine". That's a special-purpose calcu- lator for tabulating values of a polynomial, given the differences between certain values so that the polynomial is uniquely specified; it's useful for any function that can be approximated by a polynomial over suitable int- ervals. Mueller's attempt to raise funds fails and the project is forgotten. 1820. Charles Xavier Thomas de Colmar (1785-1870), of France, makes his "Arithmometer", the first mass-produced calculator. 1822. Charles Babbage (1792-1871), of London, having reinvented the differ- ence engine, begins his (government-funded) project to build one by constructing a 6-digit calculator using similar geared technology. 1832. Babbage produces a prototype segment of his difference engine, which operates on 6-digit numbers and 2nd-order differences (i.e. can tabulate quadratic polynomials). The complete engine was to have operated on 20-digit numbers and 6th-order difference, but no more than this prototype piece was ever assembled. 1834. Pehr George Scheutz, Stockholm, produces a small difference engine in wood, after reading a brief description of Babbage's project. 1836. Babbage produces the first design for his "Analytical Engine". Whether this machine, if built, would have been a computer or not depends on how you define "computer". It lacked the "stored-program" concept necessary for implementing a compiler; the program was in read-only memory, specifically in the form of punch cards. In this article such a machine will be called a "program-controlled calculator". The final design had three punch card readers for programs and data. The memory had 50 40-digit words of memory and 2 accumulators. Its program- mability included the conditional-jump concept. It also included a form of microcoding: the meaning of instructions depended on the positioning of metal studs in a slotted barrel. It would have done an addition in 3 seconds and a multiplication or division in 2-4 minutes. 1842. Babbage's difference engine project is officially cancelled. (Babbage was spending too much time on the Analytical Engine.) 1843. Scheutz and his son Edvard Scheutz produce a 3rd-order difference engine with printer, and the Swedish government agrees to fund their next development. 1853. To Babbage's delight, Scheutz and Scheutz complete the first really useful difference engine, operating on 15-digit numbers and 4th-order differences, with a printer. 1858. The difference engine of 1853 does its only useful calculation, producing a set of astronomical tables for an observatory in Albany, New York. The person who spent money to buy it is fired for this, and the machine ends up in the Smithsonian Institute. (The Scheutzes did make a second similar machine, which had a long useful life in the British government.) 1871. Babbage produces a prototype section of the Analytical Engine's "mill" (CPU) and printer. No more is ever assembled. 1878. Ramon Verea, living in New York City, invents a calculator with an internal multiplication table; this is much faster than the shifting carriage or other digital methods. He isn't interested in putting it into production; he just wants to show that a Spaniard can invent as well as an American. 1879. A committee investigates the feasibility of completing the Analytical Engine and concludes that it is impossible now that Babbage is dead. The project becomes somewhat forgotten and is unknown to most of the people mentioned in the last part of this chronology. 1885. Dorr E. Felt (1862-1930), of Chicago, makes his "Comptometer". This is the first calculator where numbers are entered by pressing keys as opposed to being dialed in or similar awkward methods. 1889. Felt invents the first printing desk calculator. 1890. US Census results are tabulated for the first time with significant mechanical aid: the punch card tabulators of Herman Hollerith (1860-1929) of MIT, Cambridge, Mass. This is the start of the punch card industry (thus establishing the size of the card, the same as a US$1 bill
(then)).  The cost of the census tabulation rises by 98% from the previous
one, in part because of the temptation to use the machines to the fullest
and tabulate more data than formerly possible.  The use of electricity to
read the cards is also significant.

1892.	William S. Burroughs (1857-1898), of St. Louis, invents a machine
similar to Felt's but more robust, and this is the one that really
starts the office calculator industry.  (The calculators are still hand
powered at this point, but electrified ones follow in not too many years.)

1937.	George Stibitz (c.1910-) of Bell Labs, New York City, constructs a
demonstration 1-bit binary adder using relays.

1937.	Alan M. Turing (1912-1954), of Cambridge University, England, publishes
a paper on "computable numbers", which solves a mathematical problem
by considering as a mathematical device the theoretical simplified computer
that came to be called a Turing machine.

1938.	Claude E. Shannon (c.1918-) publishes a paper on the implementation of
symbolic logic using relays.

1938.	Konrad Zuse (1910-) of Berlin completes a prototype mechanical
programmable calculator, later called the "Z1".  Its memory used sliding
metal parts and stored about 1000 bits.  The arithmetic unit was unreliable.

Oct 1939.  Stibitz and Samuel Williams complete the "Model I", a calculator
using relay logic.  It is controlled through modified teletypes
and these can be connected through phone lines.  Later machines in the series
also have some programmability.

c.Oct 1939.  John V. Atanasoff (1903-) and Clifford Berry, of Iowa State
College, Ames, Iowa, complete a prototype 16-bit adder.  This
is the first machine to calculate using vacuum tubes.

c.1940.	Zuse completes the "Z2", keeping the mechanical memory but using
relay logic.  He can't interest anyone in funding him.

Dec 1941.  Zuse, having promised to a research institute a special-purpose
calculator for their needs, actually builds them the "Z3", which
is the first operational program-controlled calculator, and has 64 22-bit
words of memory.  However, its programmability doesn't include a conditional-
jump instruction; Zuse never had that idea.  The program is on punched tape.
The machine includes 2600 relays, and a multiplication takes 3-5 seconds.

Spring 1942.  Atanasoff and Berry complete a special-purpose calculator for
solving systems of simultaneous linear equations, later called
the "ABC" ("Atanasoff-Berry Computer").  This has 60 50-bit words of memory
in the form of capacitors (with refresh circuits) mounted on two revolving
drums.  The clock speed is 60 Hz, and an addition takes 1 second.
For secondary memory it uses punch cards, with the holes being burned
rather than punched in them, moved around by the user.  (The punch card
system's error rate was never reduced beyond 0.001%, which wasn't good enough.)
Atanasoff then left Iowa State, and apparently lost all interest
in digital computing machines.

Jan 1943.  Howard H. Aiken (1900-1973) and his team at Harvard University,
Cambridge, Mass. (with IBM's backing), complete the "ASCC Mark I"
("Automatic Sequence-Controlled Calculator Mark I").  This is the first
program-controlled calculator to be widely known:  Aiken was to Zuse as Pascal
to Schickard.  The machine is about 60 feet long and weighs 5 tons; it has
72 accumulators.

Dec 1943.  Alan Turing and his team at Bletchley Park, near Cambridge, England,
complete the first version of the "Colossus".  This is a secret,
special-purpose decryption machine, not exactly a calculator but close kin.
It includes 2400 tubes for logic and reads characters (optically) from 5
long paper tape loops moving at 5000 characters per second.

Nov 1945.  John W. Mauchly (pronounced Mawkly; 1907-80) and J. Presper Eckert
(1919-) and their team at the Moore School of the University of
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, complete the "ENIAC" ("Electronic Numerator,
Integrator, Analyzer, and Computer") for the US Army's Ballistics Research
Lab.  (Too late for the war and 200% over budget -- problems that would face
Eckert and Mauchly again on later projects.)
The machine is a secret (until Feb 1946) program-controlled calculator.
Its only memory is 20 10-digit accumulators (4 were originally planned).
The accumulators and logic use vacuum tubes, 17648 of them altogether.
The machine weighs 30 tons, covers about 1000 square feet of floor, and
consumes what is either 174 kilowatts (233 horsepower) or 174 hp (130 kW).
Its clock speed is 100 kHz; it can do 5000 additions per second, 333 multip-
lications per second.  It reads data from punch cards, and the program is
set up on a plugboard (considered reasonable since the same or similar
program would tend to be used for weeks at a time).
Mauchly and Eckert apply for a patent.  The university disputes
this at first, but they settle.  The patent is finally granted in 1964, but
is overturned in 1973, in part because of the previous work by Atanasoff.

1945-46.  John von Neumann (1903-1957) joins the ENIAC team and writes a
report describing the future computer eventually built as the
"EDVAC" ("Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer" (!)).  This
report was the first description of the design of a stored-program computer.
An early draft which fails to credit other team members such as Eckert
and Mauchly gets too-wide distribution, leading to von Neumann getting
too much credit, e.g., the term "von Neumann computer" which is derived from
this paper.

Jan 1948.  Wallace Eckert (1902-1971, no relation to Presper Eckert and not
mentioned again in this article) of IBM, with his team, completes
the "SSEC" ("Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator").  This techonological
hybrid has vacuum tube logic with 8 20-digit registers, 150 20-digit words
of relay memory, and a program that is partly stored but also controlled
by a plugboard.  IBM considers it the first computer.

Jun 1948.  Max Newman, F. C. Williams, and their team at Manchester Univers-
ity, Manchester, England, complete a prototype machine called the
"Mark I".  This is the first machine that everyone would call a computer,
because it's the first with a true stored-program capability.
It uses a new type of memory invented by Williams, which uses the
residual charges left on the screen of a CRT after the electron beam has been
fired at it.  (The bits are read by firing another beam through them and
reading the voltage at an electrode beyond the screen.)  This is a little
unreliable but is fast, relatively cheap, and much more compact (with room
for about 1024 or 2048 bits per tube) than any other memory then existing.
The Mark I uses six of them, but I don't know of how many bits.
Its programs are initially entered in binary on a keyboard, and
the output is read in binary from another CRT.  Later Turing joins the
team and devises a primitive form of assembly language, one of several
developed at about the same time in different places.
Newman was the first person shown Turing's 1937 paper in draft form.

1949-51.  Jay W. Forrester and his team at MIT construct the "Whirlwind" for
the US Navy's Office of Research and Inventions.  The vague date
is because it advanced to full-time operational status gradually.  Originally
it had 3300 tubes and 8900 crystal diodes.  It occupied 2500 square feet
of floor.  Its 2048 16-bit words of CRT memory used up tubes so fast they
were costing $32000 per month. This was the first computer designed for real-time work, hence the short word size; it could do 500000 additions or 50000 multiplications per second. Spring 1949. Forrester conceives the idea of magnetic core memory. The first practical form, 4 years later, will replace the Whirlwind's CRT memory and render all then existing types obsolete. Jun 1949. Maurice Wilkes (1913-) and his team at Cambridge University complete the "EDSAC" ("Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Computer"), which is closely based on the EDVAC design report from von Neumann's group. This is the first operational stored-program computer of greater than prototype size. Its I/O is by paper tape, and it has a sort of mechanical read-only memory, made from rotary telephone switches, for booting. Its main memory is of another new type, invented by Eckert: the "ultrasonic" or "delay line" memory. In this type, the data is repeatedly converted back and forth between electrical pulses and ultrasonic pulses; only the bits currently in electrical form are accessible. (The ultrasonic pulses were typically fired from one end of a tank of mercury to the other, though other substances were also used.) In the EDSAC, 32 mercury tanks 5 feet long give a total of 256 35-bit words of memory. Aug 1949. Eckert and Mauchly, having formed their own company, complete the "BINAC" ("Binary Automatic Computer") for the US Air Force. Designed as a first step to in-flight computers, this has dual (redundant) processors each with 700 tubes and 512 31-bit words of memory. Each processor occupies only 4 square feet of floor space and can do 3500 additions or 1000 multiplications per second. The designers are thinking mostly of their forthcoming "UNIVAC" ("Universal Automatic Computer") and don't spend much time making the BINAC as reliable as it should be, but the tandem processors compensate somewhat. Feb 1951. Ferranti Ltd., of Manchester, England, completes the first commercial computer, yet another "Mark I". 8 of these are sold. Mar 1951. Eckert and Mauchly, having sold their company to Remington Rand, complete the first UNIVAC, which is the first US commercial computer. It has 1000 12-digit words of ultrasonic memory and can do 8333 additions or 555 multiplications per second; it contains 5000 tubes and covers 200 square feet of floor. 1951. Grace Murray Hopper (1906-), of Remington Rand, invents the modern concept of the compiler. 1951-52. The EDVAC is finally completed. It has 4000 tubes, 10000 crystal diodes, and 1024 44-bit words of ultrasonic memory. Its clock speed is 1 mHz. 1952. The IBM "Defense Calculator", later renamed the "701", the first IBM computer unless you count the SSEC, enters production at Poughkeepsie, New York. (The first one is delivered in March 1953; 19 are sold altogether. The memory is electrostatic and has 4096 36-bit words; it does 2200 multiplications per second.) 1952. Grace Murray Hopper implements the first compiler, the "A-0". (As with "computer", this is a somewhat arbitrary designation.) ---------------------------------------------------- A few things have happened since then, too, but this margin is too narrow... Mark Brader "Inventions reached their limit long ago, SoftQuad Inc., Toronto and I see no hope for further development." utzoo!sq!msb, msb@sq.com -- Julius Frontinus, 1st century A.D. Article 1631 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!ucbvax!agate!alfa.berkeley.edu!bks From: bks@alfa.berkeley.edu (Brad Sherman) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Anti folklore (the truth) Message-ID: <1990Feb7.211955.25395@agate.berkeley.edu> Date: 7 Feb 90 21:19:55 GMT References: <562@ns-mx.uiowa.edu> <1990Feb7.115046.20782@sq.sq.com> <1990Feb7.203631.26834@brutus.cs.uiuc.edu> Sender: usenet@agate.berkeley.edu (USENET Administrator;;;;ZU44) Reply-To: bks@alfa.berkeley.edu (Brad Sherman) Distribution: alt Organization: University of California, Berkeley Lines: 14 In article <1990Feb7.203631.26834@brutus.cs.uiuc.edu> zweig@cs.uiuc.edu writes: >I think any chronology of "computing hardware" that includes anything as > ... >basically a table with a grid drawn on it and pebbles for counters which > ... If not mistaken, calculus is from the latin for small stone. Stones having been used for early computing as indicated above. I seem to remember reading that the analogue of taxi-cabs in ancient Rome used a geared mechanism which dropped a stone into a hopper for every N revolutions of the wheels of the vehicle (chariot?). One paid at the end of the trip according to the count of the stones. (OK, I won't ask for first- or second-hand sources for this one.) -- Brad Sherman (bks@alfa.berkeley.edu) Article 1646 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!zephyr.ens.tek.com!tekcrl!tekgvs!toma From: toma@tekgvs.LABS.TEK.COM (Tom Almy) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Anyone (else) own a Geniac/Brainiac? Message-ID: <6822@tekgvs.LABS.TEK.COM> Date: 8 Feb 90 17:06:26 GMT Reply-To: toma@tekgvs.LABS.TEK.COM (Tom Almy) Distribution: alt Organization: Tektronix, Inc., Beaverton, OR. Lines: 47 The recent postings about computers with names ending in "AC" reminded me of the$15.00 "digital computers" sold in the back of Popular Science/
Popular Mechanics type magazines in the late 50's and early 60's. It seems
that the original one was called the GENIAC ("GENIus Automatic Computer?")
but there was a falling out of the owners and another one called "BRAINIAC"
was sold at roughly the same price. The BRANIAC advertisements typically
mentioned the GENIAC, saying they had everything that the early GENIACs had
and more.

Well I saved up my pennies and bought a GENIAC (this represented better than
three months allowance, a *MAJOR* purchase). It worked, erratically, but was
a major disappointment -- I thought the thing at least would have relays
behind the panel, but the Geniac consisted of:

A Masonite panel with holes punched in it, and six masonite swith plates.

You essentually had six switches which you could program by placing jumpers
on the plates, the jumpers closing contacts made via screws in the panel.
It didn't make very good contact.  Output was via a row of light bulbs mounted
on the panel.

They gave you a bunch of programs, the most interesting of which were a
tic-tac-toe player (it would occasionally loose!), a weather forcaster, and
a music composer.

In 1966 I built a computer that (using diode transistor logic) implemented
the music composer. It got first place in the area fair so I guess I got
my money's worth from the Geniac! I should mention that the DTL was not
ICs (way too expensive at the time) but actual germanium diodes and
transistors! There were even a bunch of relays and a mechanical drum switch!

Back to the Geniac,
they included a copy of Shannon's paper on switching logic. The company
(Oliver Garfield) also sold courses on robotics at fantastic prices, and
a cylindrical slide rule, which would be a collectors item today.

Oliver Garfield wrote a book in the early fifties entitled something like
"Electronic Brain Machines and How to Use Them" that the local public
library had (this was their only computer book in the early 60's!). It
was exciting reading at the time.

Tom Almy
toma@tekgvs.labs.tek.com
Standard Disclaimers Apply

Article 1650 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!mips!apple!sun-barr!newstop!jethro!grendal.Sun.COM!acm
From: acm@grendal.Sun.COM (Andrew MacRae)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Anyone (else) own a Geniac/Brainiac?
Message-ID: <840@jethro.Corp.Sun.COM>
Date: 8 Feb 90 20:45:46 GMT
References: <6822@tekgvs.LABS.TEK.COM>
Sender: news@jethro.Corp.Sun.COM
Reply-To: acm@grendal.EBay.Sun.COM (Andrew MacRae)
Distribution: alt
Organization: Sun Microsystems, Inc.  Mt. View, Ca.
Lines: 26

In article <6822@tekgvs.LABS.TEK.COM> toma@tekgvs.LABS.TEK.COM (Tom Almy) writes:
>
>The recent postings about computers with names ending in "AC" reminded
>me of the 15.00 "digital computers" sold in the back of Popular Science/ >Popular Mechanics type magazines in the late 50's and early 60's. It seems >that the original one was called the GENIAC ("GENIus Automatic Computer?") >but there was a falling out of the owners and another one called "BRAINIAC" >was sold at roughly the same price. The BRANIAC advertisements typically >mentioned the GENIAC, saying they had everything that the early GENIACs had >and more. [nice account deleted] >Was this anyone elses first computer? I didn't have a Braniac though I remember the ads well. I did have the red plastic flip flop computer kit (from Edmund?). It had a series of inter- connecting flip flops that were programmed by adding or removing plastic stubs. It had a three digit binary readout. This was in 1965 and took me at least two or three days to assemble. I only remember one program from the instruction book. It solved the problem of three men crossing a river with a boat that holds only two (or something like that). Mainly it taught me binary arithmetic. Boy, I wish I still had it! (I would too, except that my house burned a couple of years later, [sigh]). Andrew MacRae Article 1651 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!cs.utexas.edu!rice!titan!preston From: preston@titan.rice.edu (Preston Briggs) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Anyone (else) own a Geniac/Brainiac? Message-ID: <4816@brazos.Rice.edu> Date: 8 Feb 90 22:44:08 GMT References: <6822@tekgvs.LABS.TEK.COM> <840@jethro.Corp.Sun.COM> Sender: root@rice.edu Distribution: alt Organization: Rice University, Houston Lines: 19 In article <840@jethro.Corp.Sun.COM> acm@grendal.EBay.Sun.COM (Andrew MacRae) writes: >In article <6822@tekgvs.LABS.TEK.COM> toma@tekgvs.LABS.TEK.COM (Tom Almy) writes: >>Was this anyone elses first computer? > >I didn't have a Braniac though I remember the ads well. I did have the red >plastic flip flop computer kit (from Edmund?). It had a series of inter- Yes! But what was it called? My parents may still have it around; I'll have to search. Otherwise, playing on a DEC-10 in '73, but then an Altair 8800 with 1K of RAM. First program on the Altrair was a sort. (Later I found out that von Neuman's 1st program for ENIAC was also a sort.) The sort program was also my 1st into to complexity analysis; It took a lot longer when we expanded to 4K. Preston Briggs preston@titan.rice.edu Article 1655 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!cs.utexas.edu!asuvax!noao-gemini!seaman From: seaman@noao.edu (Rob Seaman CCS) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Anyone (else) own a Geniac/Brainiac? Summary: DIGI-COMP 1 - E.S.R., inc. Message-ID: <1990Feb9.002747.2717@noao.edu> Date: 9 Feb 90 00:27:47 GMT References: <6822@tekgvs.LABS.TEK.COM> <840@jethro.Corp.Sun.COM> <38470@apple.Apple.COM> Distribution: alt Organization: National Optical Astronomy Observatories, Tucson, AZ, USA Lines: 59 In article <38470@apple.Apple.COM>, stuart@Apple.COM (Harold Stuart) writes: > It was called "DIGICOMP", and came in both basic and advanced models, as I > remember. I just dug my DIGI-COMP 1 (the "first real operating digital computer in plastic") out of a box on the top of the shelf in my office. It's in pretty good shape considering it's moved about seven times - the only things missing are the little L-shaped springs that served to keep the flips from flopping. The maker was E.S.R., inc. (Edmund Scientific???), Montclair, NJ: "E.S.R., Inc. was founded several years ago by three scientists and engineers who wanted to provide toys and educational devices that would have those qualities that lead children and adults to fuller and more successful lives - and yet bring enjoyment to all. Their first attempt, DIGI-COMP 1, was an instant success. Today, tens of thousands of youngsters and adults in America and Canada have enjoyed DIGI-COMP and now have been introduced to the computer field. Over a thousand public and private schools have used DIGI-COMP for classroom demonstrations. New textbooks in Science and Mathematics are including a discussion of DIGI-COMP. With the new advanced manual now available for DIGI-COMP a very though examination of computer math an fundamentals is now a reality for all." Rather poignantly, the coupon for the "Detailed Programming of the Experiments in Digi-Comp 1" manual on the back of the old unadvanced' manual that I do have is filled out in my adolescent scrawl. The manual cost a dollar that I suppose I didn't have at the time. I always wondered about the 1' part of the name, perhaps the DIGI-COMP 2 manipulated more than a single octal digit! > The program I remember simulated an elevator. The manual (dated 1963) lists the following experiments': Check Out Final Count Down Automatic Elevator Bank Lock Sequential Bank Lock Ho-Hum (described as a logical riddle') Space Ship Check Out Guess The Number Space Capsule Re-Entry Binary Counter Game of NIM Binary Number Comparator Binary addition, subtraction, multiplication, (no division...) The section titled What is a Computer?' concludes with: "EVERYTHING YOU LEARN ON DIGI-COMP CAN BE USED ON LARGE ELECTRONIC DIGITAL COMPUTERS" (capitals theirs) Rob Seaman (Nat'l. Optical Astronomy Obs., seaman@noao.edu) Article 1656 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!sco!rosso From: rosso@sco.COM (Ross Oliver) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: UNIX variants Message-ID: <2189@scorn.sco.COM> Date: 8 Feb 90 22:35:33 GMT References: <13680@phoenix.Princeton.EDU> Sender: news@sco.COM Lines: 30 In article <13680@phoenix.Princeton.EDU> tbrakitz@phoenix.Princeton.EDU (Byron Rakitzis) writes: >Just a simple question: why is it that some people write UN*X for UNIX >consistently in their postings? Just wondering... (I can think of a >number of reasons, but I can't imagine what the real reason might be) Up until a short while ago, AT&T forbade the vendors of any UNIX(tm)-like operating system from using the name UNIX(tm). So, vendors had to think up other names. A few that come to mind are: XENIX 386/ix Minix VENIX A/IX A/UX QNX (or maybe QUNIX) HP/UX Ultrix Zeus (from Zilog, one of my favorites) SunOS For a while, Victor Technologies was developing a UNIX-like system, and was going to call it VIX. Until receiving a letter from their German subsiderary informing them that "vix" was vulgar slang for "masterbation." Anyway, with all these variations, people took to using wildchards when talking about "generic" UNIX-like operating systems. So rather than writing "UNIX and all its variants," us lazy net people use UN*X, *IX, etc. Article 1657 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!apple!netcom!woolsey From: woolsey@netcom.UUCP (Jeff Woolsey) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Anyone (else) own a Geniac/Brainiac? Message-ID: <6838@netcom.UUCP> Date: 9 Feb 90 01:20:31 GMT References: <6822@tekgvs.LABS.TEK.COM> <840@jethro.Corp.Sun.COM> <4816@brazos.Rice.edu> <6598@internal.Apple.COM> Distribution: alt Organization: NetCom Lines: 14 Oh, yes, CARDIAC. The CARDboard Illustriative Aid to Computation. I think Bell Labs put the thing out, if I remember right. I still have mine, somewhere. It's twenty years old by now, I'm sure. To tie this in to another ongoing discussion here, CARDIAC has a bug without which it wouldn't work. The program counter was a paper ladybug with a long nose that stuck in the holes next to the spots where you wrote down the instructions (memory). There was a sliding instruction decoder, too. Just the thing to impress the hell out of an 11-year-old (quick, how old am I?). -- -- Jeff Woolsey Microtec Research, Inc +1 408 980-1300 ...!apple!netcom!woolsey ...!amdcad!sun0!woolsey Article 1659 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!usc!ucsd!brian From: brian@ucsd.Edu (Brian Kantor) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Anyone (else) own a Geniac/Brainiac? Message-ID: <11627@ucsd.Edu> Date: 9 Feb 90 04:55:17 GMT References: <6822@tekgvs.LABS.TEK.COM> Reply-To: brian@ucsd.edu (Brian Kantor) Distribution: alt Organization: The Avant-Garde of the Now, Ltd. Lines: 13 As I recall, the big problem with the Brainiac was that it had cadmium plated screws instead of the brass ones that came with the Geniac - and the cad screws didn't make good contact when you turned the masonite disks to alter the machine settings, so your light bulb outputs would flicker. The cure was to polish the screw heads with fine crocus cloth or emery paper. I dunno what one of the young Turks who fix machines nowadays would say if you told him that you had gotten your start in computing polishing the heads of your disks with sandpaper.... I must have been all of ten years old at the time. - Brian Article 1668 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!ux1.cso.uiuc.edu!deimos!iowasp!syswtr From: syswtr@iowasp.physics.uiowa.edu Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Anyone (else) own a Geniac/Brainiac? Message-ID: <23.25d28c7d@iowasp.physics.uiowa.edu> Date: 9 Feb 90 15:25:17 GMT References: <6822@tekgvs.LABS.TEK.COM> <840@jethro.Corp.Sun.COM> <3250@pikes.Colorado.EDU> Distribution: alt Organization: Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Iowa Lines: 14 Gentlemen: I think you are all dating us.... I started reading this thread and couldn't believe it. I had both ot these thingys as a child. Imagine that, a bright red and whit plastic computer and a piece of masonite with screws and fasteners. (Did you all have to align the slots in the machine screws to get it to work?). Did anyone else build the 'paper-clip' computer that was published is a paper-back, complete with drum memory? Bill Robison Article 1670 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!cica!sol.ctr.columbia.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!swrinde!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!mcsun!ukc!edcastle!iain From: iain@castle.ed.ac.uk (Iain Lindsay) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Anyone (else) own a Geniac/Brainiac? Summary: Of course, we 'ad it tough! Message-ID: <2180@castle.ed.ac.uk> Date: 9 Feb 90 13:57:11 GMT References: <6822@tekgvs.LABS.TEK.COM> <840@jethro.Corp.Sun.COM> <4816@brazos.Rice.edu> <6598@internal.Apple.COM> Reply-To: iain@ee.ed.ac.uk (Iain Lindsay) Distribution: alt Organization: Edinburgh University Electrical Engineering Lines: 23 >Well, I suppose you could count "Cardiac" (sic), a cardboard sliding-part >based computer that was used in my high school's introduction to computers Oooh, we used t' dream of 'avin' cardboard computer. We made do wi' paper! Seriously, Look in IRE (now IEEE) Transactions on Electronic Computers, volume 7, number 4, September 1958, pp 254-8. This is the Science Education Subcommitte Newsletter section, which features PAPAC-00 by Rollin P. Mayer. A build-it-yourself 1 bit 1 instruction computer requiring only a copy of the article and some pins. One of my students built one of these last month, from 80 gram per square meter paper. Yes, it does work. I suppose that you could argue about just how programmable it is, but does a journal with a built-in computer beat smart cards? Is this the progenitor of "The Hitch-Hikers' Guide to The Galaxy"? -Iain.. p.s. I've just thought. I could fax that computer to someone (copyright permitting). Electronic transfer of a _processor_. The first computer _hardware_ to be protected by copyright instead of patent? Article 1673 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!zephyr.ens.tek.com!tekcrl!tekgvs!toma From: toma@tekgvs.LABS.TEK.COM (Tom Almy) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Anyone (else) own a Geniac/Brainiac? Message-ID: <6834@tekgvs.LABS.TEK.COM> Date: 9 Feb 90 20:26:35 GMT References: <6822@tekgvs.LABS.TEK.COM> <840@jethro.Corp.Sun.COM> <38470@apple.Apple.COM> <1990Feb9.002747.2717@noao.edu> Reply-To: toma@tekgvs.LABS.TEK.COM (Tom Almy) Distribution: alt Organization: Tektronix, Inc., Beaverton, OR. Lines: 26 In article <1990Feb9.002747.2717@noao.edu> seaman@noao.edu (Rob Seaman CCS) writes: >In article <38470@apple.Apple.COM>, stuart@Apple.COM (Harold Stuart) writes: >> It was called "DIGICOMP", and came in both basic and advanced models, as I >> remember. > > I just dug my DIGI-COMP 1 (the "first real operating digital > computer in plastic") out of a box on the top of the shelf in my > office. Yep, and I had one too, besides my Geniac. This thing actually worked well (unlike the Geniac), but it wasn't as flexible. I was also much older when I got it. I know it didn't seem to take quite the bite out of my finances. So the Geniac/Brainiac dates back to 1958, or earlier (?). The DIGI-COMP was about 1963 (judging from a posting) The Cardiac was about 1970 (judging from a posting) Any other early "home computers," or particularly any before the Geniac/Brainiac? How about it, historians? These things weren't technological marvels -- they all could have been made any time in this century. Tom Almy toma@tekgvs.labs.tek.com Standard Disclaimers Apply Article 1674 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!bbn!usc!samsung!uunet!mcsun!sunic!draken!ianf From: ianf@nada.kth.se (Ian Feldman) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Anyone (else) own a Cardiac? Summary: Early not-quite integrated computers Message-ID: <2904@draken.nada.kth.se> Date: 9 Feb 90 21:13:07 GMT References: <6822@tekgvs.LABS.TEK.COM> <840@jethro.Corp.Sun.COM> <4816@brazos.Rice.edu> <6598@internal.Apple.COM> Reply-To: ianf@nada.kth.se (Ian Feldman) Distribution: alt Organization: Royal Institute Of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden Lines: 21 Cc:ianf In article <6598@internal.Apple.COM> cep@Apple.COM (Christopher Pettus) writes about early "computers": > > Well, I suppose you could count "Cardiac" (sic), a cardboard sliding-part > based computer that was used in my high school's introduction to computers > class. Does anyone else remember (or even have one of) _those_? Yea, I have one still, bought it by mailorder for US 12.- from Bell
Labs (I think; can't remember properly).  Great stuff... a _real_
paper-computer with one register, 100 memory locations, programmed in
3-digit decimal code using a 10-command assembly language, complete
with a pointer to the current memory cell in the shape of a lady-bug  ;-)

I only ever wrote one and a half program for it though... some sort
of a generic "add two values and output it in cell 100" routine from
the book and (half of) something else that was even simpler than that.

I much preferred my first BBC Micro though...

/ "just an average self-unemployed ascii hacker"

Article 1694 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!ucbvax!decwrl!orc!mipos3!iwarp.intel.com!news
From: merlyn@iwarp.intel.com (Randal Schwartz)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: An old-timer speaks (was Re: :-))
Message-ID: <1990Feb12.180541.29223@iwarp.intel.com>
Date: 12 Feb 90 18:05:41 GMT
Sender: news@iwarp.intel.com
Reply-To: merlyn@iwarp.intel.com (Randal Schwartz)
Organization: Stonehenge; netaccess via Intel, Beaverton, Oregon, USA
Lines: 27

In article <16848@boulder.Colorado.EDU>, eesnyder@boulder (Eric E. Snyder) writes:
| Would anyone care to comment on the genesis of ":-)".

If my memory serves properly, Usenet invented it, back in the early
days ('round 81-82, when there were less than 100 machines "on the
net").

Seems that a bunch of people were getting pissed off because people
were saying sarcastic things, but the traditional tonal qualities that
give away sarcasm weren't present (as well as people not being very
good at sarcasm :-).  So, the net decided (in "net.jokes", or maybe
even "net.general") to tag the mis-meaninged text with a symbol, and
someone came up with the smiley-face.  It was at least a year or two
before anyone even *thought* of "other faces".  All this nonsense with
the graphic cows and canonical smiley faces still baffles me.

Disclaimer: The three or four neurons that I have that recall these
events have been under the influence of many factors over the years,
most of them not conducive to remembering such detail.

Still recalling the first day when I finally unsubscribed from *any*
group for the first time (yes, the net used to be *that* small),
--
/=Randal L. Schwartz, Stonehenge Consulting Services (503)777-0095 ==========\
| on contract to Intel's iWarp project, Beaverton, Oregon, USA, Sol III      |
| merlyn@iwarp.intel.com ...!any-MX-mailer-like-uunet!iwarp.intel.com!merlyn |
\=Cute Quote: "Welcome to Portland, Oregon, home of the California Raisins!"=/

Article 1695 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!think!masscomp!danny
From: danny@masscomp.ccur.com (Dan Pearl)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Anyone (else) own a Geniac/Brainiac?
Message-ID: <9531@masscomp.ccur.com>
Date: 9 Feb 90 17:50:53 GMT
References: <6822@tekgvs.LABS.TEK.COM> <840@jethro.Corp.Sun.COM> <4816@brazos.Rice.edu>
Reply-To: danny@masscomp.UUCP (Dan Pearl)
Distribution: alt
Organization: Concurrent Computer Corp. - Westford, Ma
Lines: 40

I loved those ESR toys.  They were not made by Edmund.

DIGICOMP (I) was my first computer.  I mastered programming the thing
with their stubby "logic" rods and long "clock" rods.  It was actually
quite clever.

Other ESR computers:

DIGICOMP II - This was a quite impressive step up from DIGICOMP I.
It resembled a cross between a pinball machine and a pachinko machine,
with marbles rolling down zig-zag paths, triggering flip-flops, falling
into holes, down chutes, etc.   Because of all the moving parts, it never
QUITE worked the way it should have: marbles jammed, triggers didn't trigger,
etc.  It was quite instructive because it probably is the best toy model
of how electronic computer components actually work.

THINK-A-DOT - Remember this one?  A red and white plastic thing measuring
about 10cm (H) x 10cm (W) x 3cm (D).  It had three holes on top, and an
array of 8 flip flops with blue/yellow readout dots on the front.  You
would plunk marbles down the holes for various effects.  You initialized
the thing by tilting it to one side, so all the flip-flops would
orient themselves.

DR. NIM - This special-purpose computer played a perfect game of nim.
In the grand ESR tradition, marbles (surprise!) raced their way around a
red plastic track, triggering white plastic flip-flops.  You
could set it for automatic mode, where a constant stream of marbles would
be triggered from the reservoir at the top.  I recall seeing ads
on TV for only this one: (echoey voiceover: "Doctor Nimmmmmmmm"!).

Yeah, I had that Geniac thing.  Cheap masonite and sleasy jumpers and
wires.  The thing never did work right; nor did it interest me as much
as the ESR's.  It is probably in some closet at my boyhood home,
conspiring with the neglected chemistry set, planning to take over the
home.
--

Daniel Pearl  danny@westford.ccur.com
c/o Concurrent Computer Corp - 1 Technology Way -- Westford, MA 01886

Article 1697 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!brutus.cs.uiuc.edu!apple!jp
From: jp@Apple.COM (John Peterson)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: : )
Keywords: Human-Nets ArpaNet
Message-ID: <38564@apple.Apple.COM>
Date: 12 Feb 90 22:08:38 GMT
References: <312@toaster.SFSU.EDU>
Organization: Apple Computer Inc., Cupertino, CA
Lines: 22

>>Would anyone care to comment on the genesis of ":-)".
>
> I have no objection to anyone actually answering the question,
> but it never seems to happen--we always get "smileys for Little
>

This is probably still more noise than signal, but I believe things
like ": )" might be tracable to a posting on Human-Nets, an old
ArpaNet discussion group that existed before the days of Usenet.
As I recall, the message was to the effect that the symbols were in
widespread use at the poster's department.  Of course, they came into
common use quickly afterwords.  This would have been 1981 or 82.

Caveat: my memory of this is pretty fuzzy, it might also have been
a private memo.  Groups like Human-Nets were operated as moderated mailing
lists, since network-wide bboard software didn't exist.

Maybe somebody with an archive of Human-Nets could grep for ": )"...

Cheers,
jp

Article 1699 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!samsung!think!think.com
From: rlk@think.com (Robert Krawitz)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Anyone (else) own a Cardiac?
Message-ID: <33900@news.Think.COM>
Date: 12 Feb 90 23:44:41 GMT
References: <6822@tekgvs.LABS.TEK.COM> <840@jethro.Corp.Sun.COM> <4816@brazos.Rice.edu> <6598@internal.Apple.COM> <2904@draken.nada.kth.se>
Sender: news@Think.COM
Reply-To: rlk@think.com (Robert Krawitz)
Distribution: alt
Organization: Thinking Machines Corp., Cambridge MA
Lines: 31

In article <2904@draken.nada.kth.se>, ianf@nada (Ian Feldman) writes:
]In article <6598@internal.Apple.COM> cep@Apple.COM (Christopher Pettus) writes
]>
]> Well, I suppose you could count "Cardiac" (sic), a cardboard sliding-part
]> based computer that was used in my high school's introduction to computers
]> class.  Does anyone else remember (or even have one of) _those_?
]
]  Yea, I have one still, bought it by mailorder for US$12.- from Bell ] Labs (I think; can't remember properly). Great stuff... a _real_ ] paper-computer with one register, 100 memory locations, programmed in ] 3-digit decimal code using a 10-command assembly language, complete ] with a pointer to the current memory cell in the shape of a lady-bug ;-) I got my paws on a few of them back in elementary school (for some reason one of the teachers got a whole bunch of them & handed them out to all interested parties). I remember that the PC (ladybug) kept getting lost, so I modified it by attaching it with a piece of wire (one of my more successful hardware hacks :-) ). ] I only ever wrote one and a half program for it though... some sort ] of a generic "add two values and output it in cell 100" routine from ] the book and (half of) something else that was even simpler than that. The double precision arithmetic was neat, though. I could probably still dig the thing out next time I visit my parents. -- ames >>>>>>>>> | Robert Krawitz <rlk@think.com> 245 First St. bloom-beacon > |think!rlk (postmaster) Cambridge, MA 02142 harvard >>>>>> . Thinking Machines Corp. (617)876-1111 Article 1706 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!philmtl!zap!fortin From: fortin@zap.UUCP (Denis Fortin) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Anyone (else) own a Cardiac? Message-ID: <1583@zap.UUCP> Date: 13 Feb 90 04:27:01 GMT References: <35540@iuvax.cs.indiana.edu> Reply-To: fortin@zap.UUCP (0000-Denis Fortin) Distribution: alt Organization: (none), Montreal QC, Canada Lines: 14 In article <35540@iuvax.cs.indiana.edu> zaring@iuvax.cs.indiana.edu (Alan Zaring) writes: >I happen to have my CARDIAC and its instruction manual sitting here on my desk. >It did indeed come from Bell Labs. Hey, I even have a French translation of the "Cardiac" which was available up here in Montreal in the early 70's!!! Quite an interesting little gizmo. (By the way, it was also called a CARDIAC in French, which was in theory an acronym for "CARton DIdactique ACcessoire", which really doesn't mean much.) -- Denis Fortin | fortin@zap.uucp DMR Group Inc. | uunet!philmtl!zap!fortin The opinions expressed above are my own | fortin%zap@larry.mcrcim.mcgill.edu Article 1713 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!udel!wuarchive!uunet!zephyr.ens.tek.com!tektronix!reed!littlei!nosun!prp From: prp@nosun.UUCP (Paul Pierce) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Old CE story Message-ID: <578@intelisc.nosun.UUCP> Date: 13 Feb 90 01:17:46 GMT Reply-To: prp@intelisc.UUCP (Paul Pierce) Distribution: alt Organization: Intel Scientific Computers Lines: 58 Here is a story from the time before computers, told to me by the IBM CE that it happened to. Although it is not strictly computer folklore, this kind of stuff still goes on with real computers. The IBM Customer Engineer had a customer who was leasing a 519 Reproducing Punch, basically a punch card copier. It had two feeds, one for reading original card decks and the other for blank cards to be punched. There was a control panel which could be wired to do fancy kinds of copying. The machine could take options such as a mark sense reader and a card imprinter (the 519 had a longer punch path than the 514 so this would fit) but the customer was leasing a basic unit. This particular machine had a tendency to jam. Every time the young CE went to the customer's office, he was met at the door by the DP supervisor, a large woman with an incredible vocabulary who would yell at him the whole way from the front door to the machine room in back, past all the pretty keypunch operators. About halfway along, the owner would join the party. He was a small whiny man who would complain about all the lost time and money it was costing him because the machine was down. As the CE cleared the massive card jam in the punch feed, ripping and sawing out pieces of cards (anyone remember card saws?), they would orbit constantly and continue the harangue. Each time, after clearing the jam, he ran diagnostic decks with lace cards and all sorts of hard things to copy, and the machine would perform flawlessly. He would close the covers, and with his entourage in tow, make his way back through the keypunch room and leave. He could see nothing wrong with the machine. The jams kept getting worse. He was starting to get pressure from his boss to find the problem and fix it. A couple of times, he took another CE with him and they both looked at it. Once, he took the whole punch feed out and carefully tweaked every adjustment along the entire card path. He kept the machine shiny and clean. It always ran perfectly when he was done, but the jams kept getting worse and the calls more frequent. Finally one day, after a particularly nasty jam, he was still in the building when he was beeped again. Instead of calling in, he turned around and went straight back to the customer's office. As usual, he was met at the door and the verbal abuse started. He went straight back to the machine and opened the covers. But this time he was to quick for them. In addition to the worst jam he had seen yet, there was, in the option slot in the punch feed, a card imprinting unit. It was dirty, in horrible mechanical shape, and crooked! The customer had removed it each time he came so they wouldn't have to make lease or maintenance payments. Without saying a word, he pulled the imprinting option out, threw it through their plate glass window onto the lawn, and left. Disclaimer: All opinions are solely my own; any similarity to actual people or events is purely coincidental. -- Paul Pierce | prp@isc.intel.com Intel Scientific Computers | ...uunet!vrdxhq!verdix!intelisc!prp 15201 N.W. Greenbrier Pkwy. | ...tektronix!ogicse!intelisc!prp Beaverton, Oregon 97006 | (503) 629-7677 Article 1729 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!usc!apple!sun-barr!newstop!east!hinode!geoff From: geoff@hinode.East.Sun.COM (Geoff Arnold @ Sun BOS - R.H. coast near the top) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: 360/65 with PCP - can anyone remind me? Message-ID: <1588@east.East.Sun.COM> Date: 15 Feb 90 02:10:48 GMT Sender: news@east.East.Sun.COM Reply-To: geoff@east.sun.com Organization: Sun Microsystems PC-NFS Engineering Lines: 32 OK, let's REALLY dig back there. There's an incident in my early years which I remember imperfectly; maybe someone can recognize the context. Back in summer 1970 I was working for the Ministry of Technology in London, England (shortly before it was abolished). I was involved in some horrendous econometric input-output modelling, which I carried on using an arcane matrix manipulatioon package. This thing ran on the IBM London Data Centre systems. The configuration, as I remember it, was a 360/50 running MFT acting as a front end (via ASP) to a 360/65 which was running PCP (Primary Control Program - a simple single-tasking OS). The 360/65 had no peripherals, only a channel attach to the 360/50. IPL involved downloading the OS over this channel link. Obviously the software was somewhat primitive, especially the scheduler. One day, the 360/50 spooler detected that the 360/65 was up an running, and transferred the image of my Fortran app over the channel. Unfortunately, PCP had not yet finished(?) loading. The resulting slew of error messages brought out every IBM tech support person to gloat over the listing, which was framed in the manager's office. Did I dream all this? Nobody I know will admit to any knowledge of ASP, PCP or such things? Geoff Geoff Arnold, PC-NFS architect, Sun Microsystems. (geoff@East.Sun.COM) ----------- News software that enforces a four-line .signature limit is responsible for the fact that these postings just go on and on and on and seem to end in mid- Article 1783 of alt.folklore.computers: Path: rochester!rutgers!usc!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!rpi!entropy From: entropy@pawl.rpi.edu (Someone other than J. Henry H. Lowengard) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers,talk.bizarre Subject: Historical Note Message-ID: <TR!#}V=@rpi.edu> Date: 17 Feb 90 16:07:23 GMT Followup-To: alt.folklore.computers Organization: Eaters of Wisdom Lines: 53 My$NAME today honors Mr. J. Henry H. Lowengard.

The introductory story about Henry is: Henry's
Grandfather used to have a lot of money.  He had invented a
way to grow leaf tobacco for cigars in, of all places,
Connecticut.  Of course, nobody smokes cigars any more, so
the Harton Tobbaco Co. is out of business.

I met Henry two summers ago during a stint at
Information Builders, Inc.  IBI manufactures FOCUS, which is
a dinosaurian hierarchical database system.  Henry was one
of the IBIers from way, way back, almost the dawn of time,
and so he knew more about the fundamental workings than
anyone else.  I shared an office with Henry.  For two weeks
I couldn't figure out what he was being paid to do.  It
seemed like he sat around, played with the little plastic
dinosaurs on his desk, went to lunch, and answered stupid
questions from me about CMS.  I remember asking someone
"What does Henry _do_?"  I forget the answer I got.

One day, a customer called the customer service
people.  The customer was not happy.  The customer's
database had had a little accident and was blasted beyond
hope.  All the godzillions of little pointers that point
around inside the FOCUS file were dangling hither and
thither.  Customer service transferred the customer to
Henry.

For the next four or five or six hours, Henry was on
the phone with the customer, telling them how to take the
pointy ends of the pointers and stick them back into the
right places.  Henry knew so much about the bottom-level
workings of FOCUS and had known it so long that it was
second nature.

Having fixed the database, he showed me the ruler he
kept inside the keyboard of his 3270 where the diagnostic
guide was supposed to go.  It had little scenes of mother
animals with their babies that moved when you tilted the
ruler back and forth.

I never asked what Henry did again.  I had learned a
valuable lesson: When you have a program as big and as old
as FOCUS, very few people know what it is actually doing any
more.  If you do happen to have someone on hand who knows,
you hold on to them.

Quite a thought.
--

The wicked flee when no one pursueth.
Mark-Jason Dominus 	   entropy@pawl.rpi.EDU	     uunet!inco!alembic!entropy

Article 1785 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!uwm.edu!cs.utexas.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!husc6!husc8!karafiol
From: karafiol@husc8.HARVARD.EDU (P.J. Karafiol)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Backward Clocks (was Re: Grace Hopper)
Message-ID: <1718@husc6.harvard.edu>
Date: 17 Feb 90 18:23:57 GMT
References: <5353@star.cs.vu.nl> <3767@accuvax.nwu.edu> <ED.90Feb14182504@ravel.sli.com> <2232@rex.cs.tulane.edu> <T80T%_@rpi.edu> <77225@tut.cis.ohio-state.edu>
Sender: news@husc6.harvard.edu
Reply-To: karafiol@husc8.harvard.edu (P.J. Karafiol)
Organization: Disorganized.
Lines: 24

In article <77225@tut.cis.ohio-state.edu> John R. Mudd <jrm@cis.ohio-state.edu> writes:
>[Lots of stuff about Grace Hopper on Letterman]
>She also mentioned the clock she had in her office.  It ran counter-clock-
>wise.  Her premise was that it was just a clock, it didn't matter which
>direction the hands turned, it simply had to tell time.  I've been meaning
>to fix a clock to do this someday.
>
>... John

Clocks like this are available -- particularly from those little shops that
used to sell inflatable palm trees and posters and Marilyn Monroe stuff.  The
two kinds I've seen have essentially standard faces, but just backwards.  The
only difference between the two is that one had the numerals reversed as
well, so that it was almost like looking through the back of the clock.  I
think the standard numerals in the reversed positions is better -- more subtly
devious.

And I once had a clock that would occasionally take it into its head to start
running backward.  Had nothing to do with polarity of the plug, time of day,
anything that we could tell.  Pretty frightening.  But it fell off a table
one day and died.
== pj karafiol
_______________________________________________________________________________
dare to be naive

Article 1790 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!uwm.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!wuarchive!uunet!mcsun!hp4nl!mhres!jv
From: jv@mh.nl (Johan Vromans)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Cat bringing system down
Message-ID: <JV.90Feb18151806@mhres.mh.nl>
Date: 18 Feb 90 22:18:06 GMT
Sender: jv@mhres.mh.nl
Organization: Multihouse Gouda, the Netherlands
Lines: 43

Everybody knows the stories about squirrels bringing computer systems
down by biting the cables.
My cat took a different approach ...

One day I was working at home, using a modem connection, doing some
system management. I logged in as super user, and started working. I
used a Hewlett-Packard HP2382 terminal. My shell was the C-shell,
which had its prompt set to "root> " (it usually showed the user's
name since we 'su' a lot).
For some reason I cd-ed to "/bin" and was copying some files when my
cat walked towards the keyboard and pressed the "Enter" key.
If you don't know what HP's Enter key does: it sends the contents of
the current line on the screen to the remote system.
Well, my screen looked something like

root> cp somefile

when Enter was hit, so the remote system suddenly got the input

cp somefileroot> cp somefile

Of course it started complaining about 'somefileroot' it could not
find, and I was relieved nothing seriously happened.

Some time later I noticed a file which I was sure I had moved to
another location. I mv-ed it once again, and to my astonishment it
would not disappear. And then it became clear to me that the
unexpected input had caused the C-shell to create a file "cp" (by
ouput redirection), and since I was in /bin, it had overwritten
/bin/cp. And since cp, mv and ln are all linked together, I couldn't
copy, move or link anymore.

I had no other choice than to kill cron, and drive to the office to
restore the programs from a backup tape.

My definition of a home computer: one that ignores input from pets.

Johan
--
Johan Vromans				       jv@mh.nl via internet backbones
Multihouse Automatisering bv		       uucp: ..!{uunet,hp4nl}!mh.nl!jv
Doesburgweg 7, 2803 PL Gouda, The Netherlands  phone/fax: +31 1820 62944/62500
------------------------ "Arms are made for hugging" -------------------------

Article 1794 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!snorkelwacker!spdcc!merk!xylogics!world!bzs
From: bzs@world.std.com (Barry Shein)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: copying code (was: Cheating on Programs)
Message-ID: <1990Feb18.205810.11192@world.std.com>
Date: 18 Feb 90 20:58:10 GMT
References: <3583@tahoe.unr.edu> <5449@bgsuvax.UUCP> <38701@apple.Apple.COM> <52348@bu.edu.bu.edu>
Organization: The World @ Software Tool & Die
Lines: 79
In-Reply-To: ardai@bass.bu.edu's message of 17 Feb 90 01:02:31 GMT

Food-for-thought folklore about teaching CS:

A few years ago I was teaching a course which was mostly group
projects. One major project was individual work, a program they had to
write in C. One woman handed in a program which couldn't have worked,
couldn't have even compiled, it only vaguely resembled a program.

Ok, I looked at her grades and realized that with a failing grade on
this assignment she was likely to fail the course, there was still
some time, so I called her in to talk.

To make matters worse, I found out she was a last-semester senior, if
she flunked this course she wouldn't graduate and her family was from
somewhere far away and already had plans to fly in for her graduation
and all that.

Ok, look, there were almost two weeks for her to just convince me that
there was some excuse to give her a passing grade. Work on this
assignment a few days and show me where you've gotten.

She comes back and the program is a little bit improved but it's real
obvious that she hasn't a clue how to write a program, serious lack of
anything resembling programming skills (and believe me by now I'm not
being picky, most of the routines that were supposed to do something
were just trying to fake it with printf()'s, things like that, no
clue.)

So I decide it's time for a long talk. First, is she a theoretician?
I had decided that if she were mostly majoring in theoretical CS then
no major problem, her skills in the field simply lay elsewhere. No,
not a theoretician at all.

WHAT have you been doing for four years? What do you want to be when
you grow up? Why did you continue in a major in CS if you had no
interest in either programming or theory? What have you gotten out of
this program?

Tears time. She basically had managed, for four years, to duck and
dodge the entire program and was graduating with essentially no
knowledge of CS in any sub-field. I could not get a handle on anything
much she had learned other than some buzz-words and shallow concepts.

Whoa. No joke, amazing. But most of all, sad.

I gave her a "gentleman's C" because, at this late date, there simply
was no point in doing anything else. Let her graduate and sort out her
life elsewhere.

Next time you decide to let a student slide, give them a break, turn
woman and how she managed to slip through \$50K/4-years worth of
education without learning a thing. Most of all, remember her tears
for having done so, and my feeling of hopelessness because no one
stopped her before it was too late, near as I could tell professor
after professor had quietly "given her a break" or just never managed
to notice that she wasn't learning anything.

It's possible to "nice" a person to death, and the line between being
nice and, well, maliciously not giving a shit can get real vague. I
still feel bad about her tho I assume she'll work it out.

I will also add that at a lot of colleges there's a lot of, well,
street smarts in letting someone "slip by". Failing someone can result
in complaints about your teaching as a defense and irate parents
calling various folks. Oftentimes these result in attacks on the
teacher and people who you would think would back you up basically
saying "sure you're right, but who needs this grief, why not just pass
them? get smart, it's not worth it, we have no time to deal with angry
parents etc." The indefinite incomplete is often the only way out,
ugh.

I suspect that a few dozen teachers just nodded their heads in
recognition at the last paragraph but daren't admit it's true.
--
-Barry Shein

Software Tool & Die    | {xylogics,uunet}!world!bzs | bzs@world.std.com
Purveyors to the Trade | Voice: 617-739-0202        | Login: 617-739-WRLD

Article 1798 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!uunet!bnrgate!bigsur!bnr-rsc!bcarh185!schow
From: schow@bcarh185.bnr.ca (Stanley T.H. Chow)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: copying code (was: Cheating on Programs)
Message-ID: <2212@bnr-rsc.UUCP>
Date: 19 Feb 90 08:52:42 GMT
References: <1990Feb18.205810.11192@world.std.com>
Sender: news@bnr-rsc.UUCP
Reply-To: bcarh185!schow@bnr-rsc.UUCP (Stanley T.H. Chow)
Organization: BNR Ottawa, Canada
Lines: 39
Summary:
Followup-To:
Keywords:

In article <1990Feb18.205810.11192@world.std.com> bzs@world.std.com (Barry Shein) writes:
>
>Food-for-thought folklore about teaching CS:
[story of girl about to graduate who hadn't learned anything]
>
>Tears time. She basically had managed, for four years, to duck and
>dodge the entire program and was graduating with essentially no
>knowledge of CS in any sub-field. I could not get a handle on anything
>much she had learned other than some buzz-words and shallow concepts.
>
>Whoa. No joke, amazing. But most of all, sad.
>
>I gave her a "gentleman's C" because, at this late date, there simply
>was no point in doing anything else. Let her graduate and sort out her
>life elsewhere.

I probably interviewed her for a job!

At the time, we were *really* trying to hire some females into the
software side and I was interviewing a bunch of new grads - mostly
girls. There was this girl whose resume looked good and since she was
as they say - easy on the eyes, I was trying hard to find reasons to
hire her.

It turns out she knew NOTHING about computer science. I went through
her whole transcript and tried to find something, anything. Well, even
the course in which she got A's & B's, she knew nothing! She could not
write a program to add two numbers (in the language of her choice)! She
did throw a lot of buzz words at me, but could not even use them in
the right context. It was simply amazing.

[I know, it is sexist, etc. But it was her resume and transcript that
got her the interview and her looks only got her a little more time to
prove her competence.]

Stanley Chow        BitNet:  schow@BNR.CA
BNR		    UUCP:    ..!psuvax1!BNR.CA.bitnet!schow
(613) 763-2831		     ..!utgpu!bnr-vpa!bnr-rsc!schow%bcarh185
Me? Represent other people? Don't make them laugh so hard.

Article 1799 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!cbmvax!mks
From: mks@cbmvax.commodore.com (Michael Sinz - CATS)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Cat bringing system down
Message-ID: <9720@cbmvax.commodore.com>
Date: 19 Feb 90 12:28:03 GMT
References: <JV.90Feb18151806@mhres.mh.nl>
Reply-To: mks@cbmvax.cbm.commodore.com (Michael Sinz - CATS)
Organization: Commodore, West Chester, PA
Lines: 33

In article <JV.90Feb18151806@mhres.mh.nl> jv@mh.nl (Johan Vromans) writes:
>Everybody knows the stories about squirrels bringing computer systems
>down by biting the cables.
>My cat took a different approach ...
[story deleted...]

Well, my cat took yet another approach...

It was back in the days of S-100 systems and funny machines that would use
cassette tape as low-cost home storage devices.  One of my systems had this
"reset" button that was in the casework and made in such a way that you had
to push it with your finger twice for it to really do the reset.

It also had a CPU idle light in it...

The cat liked to watch this but had never gone near it.  However, one day,
while working on some large program, the cat started to play with the button.
Before I was able to stop it, it had double pushed the button and the system
went down!  I spent the next hour trying to recover the core and the source
I was working on and just as I was saving it to cassette, the blasted cat
did it again!  I had to take the cat outside, lock the door, rebuild the
core once again and save it.  I then added a toggle switch to the back of the
machine that would enable the reset button (simple stuff) and let the cat
back in.  While it continued to play with the button, it never again had
the chance to reset the machine.

/----------------------------------------------------------------------\
|      /// Michael Sinz -- CATS/Amiga Software Engineer                |
|     ///  PHONE 215-431-9422  UUCP ( uunet | rutgers ) !cbmvax!mks    |
|    ///                                                               |
|\\\///          "I don't think so," said Ren'e Descartes.             |
| \XX/                    Just then, he vanished.                      |
\----------------------------------------------------------------------/

Article 1801 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!cs.utexas.edu!swrinde!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!unix.cis.pitt.edu!dtate
From: dtate@unix.cis.pitt.edu (David M Tate)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: old computers
Keywords: DIGI-COMP nuclear slide-rule
Message-ID: <22419@unix.cis.pitt.edu>
Date: 19 Feb 90 15:20:50 GMT
References: <132026@sun.Eng.Sun.COM>
Reply-To: dtate@unix.cis.pitt.edu (David M Tate)
Organization: Univ. of Pittsburgh, Comp & Info Services
Lines: 27

In article <132026@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> herzog@dogwalk.Sun.COM (Brian Herzog) writes:
>On the topic of old computers (emphasis more on "old" than "computers"),
>I have a "NUCLEAR BOMB EFFECTS COMPUTER" dated 1962 (revised edition,
>no less!), which was packaged with the book "The Effects of Nuclear
>Weapons."  I don't have the book handy, but I believe it was published
>by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).  I got it from my father, who
>was a civil engineer certified in the design of fallout shelters

Hey!  We had one of those!  I worked at the National Bureau of Standards (now
NIST) during summers and vacations to put myself through college.  In the
Center for Fire Research (of all places), there was a lab that had been the
home of a rather wacked-out tech named Max.  In addtion to collecting silver
objects ("Maxwell's Silver Hammer", "Maxwell's Silver Pencil", "Maxwell's
Silver Mustang Convertible"...), he had customized all the little magnetic
labels on the drawers.  In addition to the standard "O-rings", "pipettes",
"thermocouples", "swage-lock fittings", and so on, were a few ringers: "doorway
to another reality", for example.  When I came across "Nuclear Bomb Effects
Computer" labelled on a very small drawer one day, I assumed Max had been at
it again.  Imagine my shock when I opened the drawer, and found that it had
been labelled correctly...

--
David M. Tate       | "The concept of weight of evidence was central
dtate@unix.cis.pitt.edu   |  to my first book, and occurred also in at least
|  32 other publications [of mine].  What I say 33
"A Man for all Seasonings" |  times is true."          -- I. J. Good.

Article 1807 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!cica!iuvax!mailrus!wuarchive!decwrl!shlump.nac.dec.com!pgg!piatt
From: piatt@pgg.dec.com (Garison Ellsworth Piatt)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers,talk.bizarre
Subject: Re: Historical Note
Message-ID: <8485@shlump.nac.dec.com>
Date: 19 Feb 90 18:08:57 GMT
Sender: newsdaemon@shlump.nac.dec.com
Followup-To: alt.folklore.computers
Distribution: na
Organization: Very Little, If Any
Lines: 57

Someone other than J. Henry H. Lowengard writes...
>	I never asked what Henry did again.  I had learned a
>valuable lesson: When you have a program as big and as old
>as FOCUS, very few people know what it is actually doing any
>more.  If you do happen to have someone on hand who knows,
>you hold on to them.
>Quite a thought.

Ah, yes... the joys of being *necessary*.

I began working for a local terminal menufacturer in 1980.  I started
out working on support of their older terminals, and graduated slowly
to being project leader of their top-of-the-line ASCII terminal.  They
made about 14 or 15 different terminals, and, in the 5+ years I worked
there, I came to know the intimate details of *all* of them.  Customer
Service would routinely call me for information about suspected bugs
in different terminals, and I would immediately confirm or refute the
claim.  After a while, my supervisor despaired of me spending so much
of my time with CS, and ordered them to pass all questions -- in writ-
ing -- through her; but she (as she openly admitted) didn't know as
much as I did about our terminals, and she invariably refered the CS
questions to me anyway.

I enjoyed this relationship: it did wonders for my ego.  It was nice
to know that people were depending on me to have the solution to their
problems.  It all came to an end one day, when the company was having
financial difficulties, and couldn't give me more than a 3% raise.  It
was the first sign of the company's ultimate demise, and I didn't want
to be around when it happened.  When I returned the following year to
do some consulting work, I found that Customer Service was now about
two month's behind on service calls: without someone there to answer
their questions, they had to test each bug report by hand.  I spent
some spare time helping them to catch up, and then gave them the names
of some people who could fill in after I left again.

It's been five years since then, and I haven't stayed anywhere long
enough (I'm a consultant now) to be in that position again.  I still
miss it sometimes...

-Gary-

PS: I just reread this note, and found that it sounds quite egotistic-
al.  I didn't mean for it to come out that way; it's just that I had a
"skill", and Customer Service needed me for that: it was a good feeling.

==============================================================================
Gary E. Piatt, software contractor                       Garison Software, Inc
==============================================================================
Any opinions expressed herein should be taken with a large dose of salt.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
According to theory, I can be reached by any or all of the following paths:
piatt@pgg.dec.com ... piatt@pgg.enet.dec.com ... decpa!pgg.dec.com!piatt
... and all of the above, replacing "pgg" with "apache"

Article 1810 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!rutgers!mit-eddie!bu.edu!xylogics!world!bzs
From: bzs@world.std.com (Barry Shein)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Etymology time again...
Message-ID: <1990Feb19.153142.18624@world.std.com>
Date: 19 Feb 90 15:31:42 GMT
References: <1990Feb19.014305.6165@cs.rochester.edu>
Distribution: alt
Organization: The World @ Software Tool & Die
Lines: 32
In-Reply-To: colbath@cs.rochester.edu's message of 19 Feb 90 01:43:05 GMT

>man page gave the breakdown of biff as "Be Informed iF mail arrives and who
>it is From" (ack), but apparently conventional wisdom has it that biff was
>the name of the programmer's dog.

Heidi Stettner's dog, biff, who barked when the mail came. When
Armando Stettner (no relation) got a dog he named it Heidi.

>As to finger, however, I was quite stumped.  Programs with this name and
>function appear on a variety of systems.  I had always assumed it came from
>the old crime movie usage ("Boiz, I think Bugzy has squealed to the cops and
>fingered Guido as the one who iced the boss..."), and not the vulgar.  In
>other words, finger :-- to point out, describe in detail.  Does anyone have
>any better guesses?

Someone probably has the truth but finger certainly goes back at least
as far as the mid-late 70's on ITS systems. Although it probably
doesn't pre-date Unix it didn't appear on Unix until the early 80's
(in any generaly distribution, no doubt someone had hacked something
like it onto a local Unix earlier, I think I did one of the first
widely distributed finger daemons and network extensions of finger for
Unix just after 4.2 with TCP came out (the 4.2 finger didn't support
remote finger), around 1983 tho "fing" came out shortly thereafter and
ended up being more commonly used.)

The silly name even has a DARPA RFC for the finger protocol, I'd bet
the image of pointing out someone is correct.
--
-Barry Shein

Software Tool & Die    | {xylogics,uunet}!world!bzs | bzs@world.std.com
Purveyors to the Trade | Voice: 617-739-0202        | Login: 617-739-WRLD

Article 1819 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!batcomputer!rpi!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!samsung!cs.utexas.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!ukma!uflorida!bikini.cis.ufl.edu!esj
From: esj@bikini.cis.ufl.edu (Eric S. Johnson)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Etymology time again...
Message-ID: <22351@uflorida.cis.ufl.EDU>
Date: 20 Feb 90 01:53:40 GMT
References: <1990Feb19.014305.6165@cs.rochester.edu> <1990Feb19.153142.18624@world.std.com>
Sender: news@uflorida.cis.ufl.EDU
Reply-To: esj@bikini.cis.ufl.edu (Eric S. Johnson)
Distribution: alt
Organization: UF CIS Department
Lines: 14

Ahh, finger. What a great name for a command. It has caused much amusement
for me in the past.

I once asked a female friend why she had this silly stuff in her .plan
file. "Oh, I put it in there months ago and then forgot about it. I never
finger myself ya see. Why would I want to finger myself? So I just...."
Followed by a red face and laughter all around...

Or go up to some girl in the terminal room and address her by name. "How
do you know my name??" "Well I just fingered you"

Cheep joke, but great conversation starter... Or ender if she is shy...

Ej

Article 1820 of alt.folklore.computers:
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Path: rochester!ken
From: ken@cs.rochester.edu (Ken Yap)
Subject: Re: Etymology time again...
Message-ID: <1990Feb20.021432.13209@cs.rochester.edu>
Address: Rochester, NY 14627, (716) 275-1448
Organization: University of Rochester Computer Science Department
References: <1990Feb19.014305.6165@cs.rochester.edu> <1990Feb19.153142.18624@world.std.com> <22351@uflorida.cis.ufl.EDU>
Distribution: alt
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 90 02:14:32 GMT

|Ahh, finger. What a great name for a command. It has caused much amusement
|for me in the past.

Ah yes, that reminds me...

Long before finger or even BSD, our Unix 32V system had a program
called "pp", for personal profile. Our system had quotas and all that
because it's hard otherwise to manage Vax resources for 50 or more
simultaneous users. (Those were the bad old days.) So I went up to
this girl and started off:

You must be Kathy.
Yes, how did you know?
I did a "pp" on you.
Well, shame on you.

I wasn't so good at repartee in those days. I turned red.

Article 1822 of alt.folklore.computers:
Xref: rochester alt.folklore.computers:1822 rec.pets:9074
Path: rochester!pt.cs.cmu.edu!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!snorkelwacker!bloom-beacon!bu.edu!mirror!redsox!campbell
From: campbell@redsox.bsw.com (Larry Campbell)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers,rec.pets
Subject: Cats at work (was Re: Cat bringing system down)
Message-ID: <1538@redsox.bsw.com>
Date: 20 Feb 90 02:07:43 GMT
References: <JV.90Feb18151806@mhres.mh.nl> <9720@cbmvax.commodore.com>
Reply-To: campbell@redsox.UUCP (Larry Campbell)
Followup-To: rec.pets
Organization: The Boston Software Works, Inc.
Lines: 24

[this has nothing to do with computers, but everything to do with cats,
so I've redirected this thread to rec.pets...]

Roger Dean is a well known commercial artist who has done, among other
things, many album covers for Yes.  He likes to work with a large, horizontal
canvas.  He also has cats.

One day he was working on a very important canvas, another Yes album cover.
Cat owners know what's coming:  he turned his back for a moment, and when he
turned around he saw one of his cats walking calmly across the wet canvas.

Fortunately, there were no weapons nearby.  Even more fortunately, the cat
has walked across the sky in the painting.  Dean grabbed some cotton balls
and some white paint and managed to turn the paw prints into clouds;  the
painting was salvaged and made it onto the album cover.

And if you look closely at the sky on the cover of "Yessongs", you can
clearly see cat prints in the clouds.  (The most interesting part is that
you can guess the size of the original canvas from the size of the paw
prints.  Either the cat was very small, or the canvas was huge.)
--
Larry Campbell                          The Boston Software Works, Inc.
campbell@redsox.bsw.com                 120 Fulton Street
wjh12!redsox!campbell                   Boston, MA 02109

Article 1830 of alt.folklore.computers:
Path: rochester!cornell!rbrown
From: rbrown@thor.cs.cornell.edu (Russell Brown)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Subject: Re: Computer in bug?
Message-ID: <37547@cornell.UUCP>
Date: 20 Feb 90 18:43:23 GMT
References: <4734@vice.ICO.TEK.COM>
Sender: nobody@cornell.UUCP
Reply-To: rbrown@cs.cornell.edu (Russell Brown)
Organization: Cornell Univ. CS Dept, Ithaca NY
Lines: 15

In article <4734@vice.ICO.TEK.COM> keithl@vice.ICO.TEK.COM (Keith Lofstrom) writes:
>In this age of implantible microelectronics, has anyone put a
>COMPUTER in a BUG?   That is, a programmable sensor in an insect?

Rod Brooks, of the AI Lab at MIT (as if there were another AI Lab)
has gone even further than that.  He designed a computer bug (or was it a
bug computer).  The thing is an artificial insect about six or eight inches
long with a couple of microprocessors on board.  When he talked here last
year, he brought videotape of the thing crawling around the lab (over objects,
etc).  I believe the thing was programmed to seek heat (as indicated by its
infrared sensors) since hot things might be food sources.  Brooks claimed that
his next project was a robot iguana.

Russell G. Brown					rbrown@cs.cornell.edu

∂09-Mar-90  0805	clements@BBN.COM 	Re: more weird Uni* commands
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To: les@gang-of-four.stanford.edu
Subject: Re: more weird Uni* commands
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
References: <9003030414.AA26475@en.ecn.purdue.edu> <JOHN.90Mar5185256@jetson.UPMA.MD.US> <RDH.90Mar7122010@borodin.sli.com>
Organization: Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc., Cambridge MA
Cc: clements@BBN.COM
Date: Fri, 09 Mar 90 10:50:30 -0500
From: clements@BBN.COM

Hi, Les,

In article <1990Mar8.223327.14502@Neon.Stanford.EDU> you write:
>Robert D. Houk writes:
>>TECO predates '72 by several years, going back well into the '60s at
>>least. The ancestral forms of TECO go back to MIT and the PDP-6 days,
>>if not before even that.
>
>True -- as I recall it was available on the PDP-6 when delivered at
>Stanford in June 1966.

You may recall that I was the guy that came out with that PDP-6
to do the installation.  I brought a copy of project-MAC teco and
did the conversion to the DEC monitor while we were having those
horrible problems of trying to get the machine to pass acceptance
without the air conditioner.  So it was available on the PDP-6
but only in stand-alone MAC-tape when we started, and available
in DEC timesharing when I went home.

By the way, I got to Palo Alto for the first time in a decade
last month.  I drove down Arastradero to see if I could spin by
the old SAIL building (D.C. Power?).  I wanted to point it out to
my lady friend.  It seemed to have been sold off and the gate was
locked.  Ah, well.

/Rcc

>Les Earnest                                  Phone:  415 941-3984
>Internet: Les@Sail.Stanford.edu              USMail: 12769 Dianne Dr.
>UUCP: . . . decwrl!Sail.Stanford.edu!Les         Los Altos Hills, CA 94022

Bob Clements, K1BC, clements@bbn.com

∂09-Mar-90  1416	LES 	re: more weird Uni* commands
To:   clements@BBN.COM
[In reply to message sent Fri, 09 Mar 90 10:50:30 -0500.]

Hi Bob!

> You may recall that I was the guy that came out with that PDP-6
> to do the installation.

I couldn't possibly forget that, nor our struggle to keep the temperature
down by putting water on the roof and dry ice under the floorboards.

> By the way, I got to Palo Alto for the first time in a decade
> last month.  I drove down Arastradero to see if I could spin by
> the old SAIL building (D.C. Power?).  I wanted to point it out to
> my lady friend.  It seemed to have been sold off and the gate was
> locked.  Ah, well.

Worse than that, after the Computer Music group moved out in 1986 Stanford
demolished the building and bulldozed the site so that you can't tell
there was ever anything there -- it is now a horse corral.  Shortly before,
in 1985, an arsonist started a grass fire just downhill from the Lab,
apparently intending to take it out, but instead it swept through the
crowns of the eucalyptus trees on Arastradero and burned down 11 houses
nearby.  The city then destroyed the trees, so it is now a barren
wasteland.  I have many fond memories of that place but little desire to
revisit it.

-Les

∂12-Mar-90  1737	schumach@convex.com 	Re: Taken aback by an abacus
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Date: Mon, 12 Mar 90 19:02:42 CST
From: schumach@convex.com (Richard A. Schumacher)
Message-Id: <9003130102.AA13476@trojan>
To: les@Gang-of-Four.Stanford.EDU
Subject: Re: Taken aback by an abacus
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
References: <1636@gould.doc.ic.ac.uk} <1990Feb27.053429.4893@oracle.com} <22570@unix.cis.pitt.edu} <1990Feb27.213215.17410@oracle.com> <1678@east.East.Sun.COM> <1990Mar11.030431.7562@Neon.Stanford.EDU>

A Blacker mole, right? Thanks for the stories!

Have you contributed any lore to the alumni newsletter?

∂12-Mar-90  1836	LES 	re: Taken aback by an abacus
To:   schumach@CONVEX.COM
[In reply to message sent Mon, 12 Mar 90 19:02:42 CST.]

> A Blacker mole, right? Thanks for the stories!

You're welcome.  Indeed, I was once Pope of Blacker House, but how did I
give myself away?  Also, I do not recognize "mole."  We had snakes in
my era but no moles.

> Have you contributed any lore to the alumni newsletter?

I confess that I haven't; perhaps I should.

∂20-Mar-90  1501	schumach@convex.com 	re: Taken aback by an abacus
Received: from uxc.cso.uiuc.edu by SAIL.Stanford.EDU with TCP; 20 Mar 90  15:01:36 PST
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Date: Tue, 20 Mar 90 10:18:40 CST
From: schumach@convex.com (Richard A. Schumacher)
Message-Id: <9003201618.AA08288@trojan>
To: LES@SAIL.Stanford.EDU
Subject: re: Taken aback by an abacus

It seemed to me that only somone from Blacker would invent a way to
extract roots on an abacus.

When I was a Scurve (EX '77) there were snakes, moles (like snakes,
but they tried to have some fun when they came out) and trolls
(who never came out at all). The mutation rate must be high in the
old houses.

∂18-Mar-90  1056	anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu 	sliderules
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Date: Sun, 18 Mar 90 13:56:12 EST
From: anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu (Hillary Anger)
To: Les@Sail.Stanford.edu
Subject: sliderules

Is Linus Pauling still at Stanford?

∂18-Mar-90  1132	LES 	re: sliderules
To:   anger%husc11@HARVARD.HARVARD.EDU
[In reply to message sent Sun, 18 Mar 90 13:56:12 EST.]

Pauling still lives in this area but now runs the Linus Pauling Institute,
a small research organization that is investigating his theories on
Vitamin C and related issues.  Some of the people in his Institute actually
work at Stanford, so there are clearly close ties still.

∂18-Mar-90  1609	anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu 	re: sliderules
Received: from harvard.harvard.edu by SAIL.Stanford.EDU with TCP; 18 Mar 90  16:09:09 PST
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Date: Sun, 18 Mar 90 19:09:20 EST
From: anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu (Hillary Anger)
To: LES@SAIL.Stanford.EDU
Subject: re: sliderules

Thanx for the information.
Do you happen to know the address of the Institute?

∂18-Mar-90  2106	LES 	re: sliderules
To:   anger%husc11@HARVARD.HARVARD.EDU
[In reply to message sent Sun, 18 Mar 90 19:09:20 EST.]

> Do you happen to know the address of the Institute?

According to the telephone book it is
440 Page Mill Road
Palo Alto, CA
I don't know the ZIP, but it is probably 94305.

∂18-Mar-90  2134	LES 	Re: Irony in Advertising
To:   alt-folklore-computers@UCBVAX.BERKELEY.EDU
[The following message from ibmsupt!ibmpa!eclarke@uunet.UU.NET (Eric S. Clarke)
is forwarded at his request, though I don't agree with his argument and am
wearying of this topic.	-Les]

>
> >The upshot is that Radio Trash and others were a little dishonest when they
> >claimed to have 65K of memory.  Either they should have used the convention
> >and claimed 64K or else used decimal and claimed 65.536K  Using 65K sounds
> >deliberately misleading to me.  Not of course that anyone who understood the
> >technology had any trouble understanding exactly what was meant of course
> >but they were selling to many people who didn't understand and thought
> >they were getting something more.
>
> Yes, and many of those people probably thought that 65K meant some number
> between 64,500 and 65,500, which it does.  In other words, Radio Shack
> was among the few accurate and honest vendors.
>
I don't know if you are really serious or not.  When Radio Shack used the
above noted advertising, the accepted number for 2↑16 was (is) 64K.  They
(RS) were trying to convince people that knew very little about computers
that "65K" was more than "64K".  It had nothing to do with the various
arguments about the real size of a "K".  I would submit that this was really

BTW, my company won't let me post to this news group.  So if you would like
to post this for me I would thank you.

Eric S. Clarke                                   UUCP: uunet!ibmsupt!eclarke
1510 Page Mill Road                              COM:  415-855-4458
Palo Alto, CA 94304                              TIE:  465-4458

Addendum from Les Earnest:

Eric Clarke says:
> I don't know if you are really serious or not.  When Radio Shack used the
> above noted advertising, the accepted number for 2↑16 was (is) 64K.

I observe that that value is accepted only by people with binary brains.
The fact that they seem to be in the majority among current computerniks
is an anomaly that will disappear in the long run, I believe.

Naturally, I reject his allegation of deliberate deception by Radio Shack.
In fact, as was pointed out earlier, it would have been correct to call it
66K, so they were understating the memory size.

I now plead that we drop this religious discussion before I repeat myself
again, again, again, . . .

-Les Earnest (Les@Sail.Stanford.edu)

∂19-Mar-90  2221	ibmsupt!vista.tcspa.ibm.com!ibmpa!eclarke@uunet.UU.NET 	re: Irony in Advertising
Received: from uunet.uu.net by SAIL.Stanford.EDU with TCP; 19 Mar 90  22:20:59 PST
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From: ibmsupt!vista.tcspa.ibm.com!ibmpa!eclarke@uunet.UU.NET (Eric S. Clarke)
Message-Id: <9003200025.AA02208@vista.tcspa.ibm.com>
To: ibmsupt!eclarke@uunet.UU.NET, LES@SAIL.Stanford.EDU
Subject: re: Irony in Advertising

Les,

Do you work for Radio Shack?  This particular desception is only one of
many that have been perpitrated (sp?) by them.

Eric S. Clarke                                   UUCP: uunet!ibmsupt!eclarke
1510 Page Mill Road                              COM:  415-855-4458
Palo Alto, CA 94304                              TIE:  465-4458

∂20-Mar-90  0057	LES 	re: Irony in Advertising
To:   ibmsupt!vista.tcspa.ibm.com!ibmpa!eclarke@UUNET.UU.NET
[In reply to message sent Mon, 19 Mar 90 16:25:56 PST.]

Eric,
I have worked for Radio Shack for the same length of time that I have
worked for IBM: zip.  I have never noticed Radio Shack engaging in
deceptive practices, though I haven't looked closely.  On the other hand,
I can provide a whole catalogue of deceptive practices by IBM dating back
to the 1950s.

Cheers,
Les Earnest

∂30-Mar-90  1521	anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu 	re: sliderules
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Date: Fri, 30 Mar 90 18:22:23 EST
From: anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu (Hillary Anger)
To: LES@SAIL.Stanford.EDU
Subject: re: sliderules

Thanx a lot.
What's your real name?
How's life in general at Stanford?
--Hill

∂30-Mar-90  1544	LES 	re: sliderules
To:   anger%husc11@HARVARD.HARVARD.EDU
[In reply to message sent Fri, 30 Mar 90 18:22:23 EST.]

> Thanx a lot.

You're welcome.

> What's your real name?

Les Earnest

> How's life in general at Stanford?

You will have to ask some of the microbes that inhabit the generals --
there are very few of them at Stanford.  More admirals.  Even an
ex-Secretary of Defense.

∂01-Apr-90  1632	anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu 	re: sliderules
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Date: Sun, 1 Apr 90 19:33:11 EDT
From: anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu (Hillary Anger)
To: LES@SAIL.Stanford.EDU
Subject: re: sliderules
Cc: anger@harvard.harvard.edu

What do you mean by "generals"?
I'll rephrase my original question:
How's life at Stanford?
--Hill

∂02-Apr-90  1624	LES 	re: sliderules
To:   anger%husc11@HARVARD.HARVARD.EDU
[In reply to message sent Sun, 1 Apr 90 19:33:11 EDT.]

> I'll rephrase my original question:
>  How's life at Stanford?

It's a great place to live or to work, though I have now officially
retired.
-Les

∂02-Apr-90  2212	anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu 	re: sliderules
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Date: Tue, 3 Apr 90 01:13:27 EDT
From: anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu (Hillary Anger)
To: LES@SAIL.Stanford.EDU
Subject: re: sliderules
Cc: anger@harvard.harvard.edu

So you're not a student anymore.
I wondered how you were able to have Linus Pauling as your freshman
chemistry professor. That must have been amazing.
He's my role model, as corny as that sounds.
Here at Harvard, I had Dudley Hershbach as my freshman chem professor.
He's also an amazing guy.
Were you a professor at Stanford?
How do you get parts of the original letter to appear in your reply?
--Hill

∂03-Apr-90  0135	LES 	re: sliderules
To:   anger%husc11@HARVARD.HARVARD.EDU
[In reply to message sent Tue, 3 Apr 90 01:13:27 EDT.]

> I wondered how you were able to have Linus Pauling as your freshman
> chemistry professor. That must have been amazing.
> He's my role model, as corny as that sounds.

He was my role model too -- I decided to become a chemist and spent
a year on that track before discovering that I wasn't cut out for it.

> Were you a professor at Stanford?

I was a Senior Research Computer Scientist.  I was principal bureaucrat
of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory for 15 years and
Associate Chairman of the Computer Science Department for another 3 years.

> How do you get parts of the original letter to appear in your reply?

By copying them, of course.

-Les Earnest

∂03-Apr-90  1347	anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu 	re: sliderules
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Date: Tue, 3 Apr 90 16:48:19 EDT
From: anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu (Hillary Anger)
To: LES@SAIL.Stanford.EDU
Subject: re: sliderules
Cc: anger@harvard.harvard.edu

What made you decide you weren't "cut out" to be a chemist.
A lot of people here take the intensive course, like I did, and
then leave chemistry because they think they're not good enough,
because it was the first real challenge they had. I just don't
like labs. I wonder if there's a place in this world for theore-
tical chemists, though I would doubt it.
As a bureaucrat, did you get to program a lot?
--Hill

∂03-Apr-90  1528	LES 	re: sliderules
To:   anger%husc11@HARVARD.HARVARD.EDU
[In reply to message sent Tue, 3 Apr 90 16:48:19 EDT.]

> What made you decide you weren't "cut out" to be a chemist.

A Sophmore course in Physical Chemistry -- yes, a lab course.  That and a
newly discovered fascination with electronics.

> As a bureaucrat, did you get to program a lot?

Lots.  Among my minor inventions are the first spelling checker (1967) and
the FINGER program (1974), which is now a standard utility on most
timesharing systems, including Unix.

∂03-Apr-90  1947	anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu 	re: sliderules
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Received: by husc11.HARVARD.EDU; Tue, 3 Apr 90 22:47:39 EDT
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 90 22:47:39 EDT
From: anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu (Hillary Anger)
To: LES@SAIL.Stanford.EDU
Subject: re: sliderules
Cc: anger@harvard.harvard.edu

I've always wondered how spell checkers suggest correct words to replace
incorrectly spelled words. Do they break the word into syllables, and
have in the memory which parts are most likely to be spelled wrong? I've
spelled words so egregiously wrong sometimes, and marvelled at how the
spell checker found the right ones.
They're considering offering labs separately from chemistry courses here,
which I think is a great idea. I'd feel much more comfortable about taking
chem electives that way. I think I'll take physical chemistry anyway- I'm
a math and Sanskrit language and literature concentrator and I need my
challenges.
Do you mean the finger command that lets you see a few lines of information
for other users on the same system? If so, thanks a lot. It's really helpful.
--Hill

∂04-Apr-90  0159	LES 	re: sliderules
To:   anger%husc11@HARVARD.HARVARD.EDU
[In reply to message sent Tue, 3 Apr 90 22:47:39 EDT.]

> I've always wondered how spell checkers suggest correct words to replace
> incorrectly spelled words. Do they break the word into syllables, and
> have in the memory which parts are most likely to be spelled wrong?

Simpler than that: first look for single character changes that would
match dictionary entries, specifically substitution, insertion or deletion
of a single letter, then look for two-letter transpositions such as "ei"
instead of "ie."  These kinds of transformations account for most typing
mistakes and a lot of spelling errors.

> Do you mean the finger command that lets you see a few lines of information
> for other users on the same system? If so, thanks a lot. It's really helpful.

Yup, that's it.  You're welcome.

-Les

∂07-Apr-90  1403	anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu 	re: sliderules
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Date: Sat, 7 Apr 90 17:04:10 EDT
From: anger%husc11@harvard.harvard.edu (Hillary Anger)
To: LES@SAIL.Stanford.EDU
Subject: re: sliderules
Cc: anger@harvard.harvard.edu

What kind of algorithm does a spellchecker use to first check to see
if a word is correct? They seem much too fast to simply check against
each word in a list with 50,000 entries. Do you think there will ever
be a grammar checker? It would likely be clumsy, but it seems possible
to me, at least for English. For a language like Sanskrit, it wouldn't
be very effective, because grammar mistakes are more likely to cause
a sentence to change its meaning than to make it structurally unsound.
English doesn't have as many ambiguities, it seems to me, but maybe
only because I've known it for too long to notice most of them.
--Hill

∂07-Apr-90  1418	LES 	re: sliderules
To:   anger%husc11@HARVARD.HARVARD.EDU
You say:
> What kind of algorithm does a spellchecker use to first check to see
> if a word is correct? They seem much too fast to simply check against
> each word in a list with 50,000 entries.

They use a hash code -- for example, hash the first four letters and
the number of letters in the word and look in the corresponding bucket.

> Do you think there will ever be a grammar checker?

There already are, but they have serious limitations both because of the
ambiguities of English and because no one has yet produced a complete
grammar and perhaps never will.  The well-funded (by CIA) failure of
machine translation that fell apart about 30 years ago ran head-on into
this problem.  Anthony Oettenger (sp?) of Harvard was one of the more
active investigators of English grammar at that time.

-Les