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Any computer wizz's here?


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Here's an interesting simulator story from right here in Oz:   https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-23/gold-coast-simulator-inventor/100560112

$ 60.000 For a Super Sabre! , In the 50s UK. I was given one Free !, fully fueled & fully armed. Of course they knew l couldn,t take it, SO  I put an axe threw the fuel ta

A few months ago, I pressed 1 on one of those calls. I said to the "service technician", Stick your scam call you steaming pile of dog's vomit, I hope you catch coronavirus and die. He hung up.

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Darn it.. Today, my baby - a computer I purchased about 2 months ago decided it had had enough of my rumblings on socialaus, and died a quick death. Lucky for you guys, because no doubt, I was in the middle of a diatribe of tumultuous proportions.

 

So, out came my > 10 year old desktop and apart from treating webex video as a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle, has done a sterling job in the face bloatware adversity - even though it runs Windows 10!

 

And it got me thinking.. WHat is the sum of the technical power I have today compared to the system I worked with in my forst software developer role (never bright enough to be called a Software Engineer)..

 

My first real programming job had me developing on a Prime 750 for deployment to a Prime 9950 (an then 9955, then 9955 II). Prime is long gone, but here is a wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_Computer

 

As I recall, the 9955II came with a whole megabyte of memory, was a logical 32 bit machine (well, was a 16 bit machine that moved 2 words, or lots of 16 bits in the operating system to make it emulate a 32 bit machine). It had a whole 1.2GB of disk capacity, with about 50% ever used. It serviced over 120 users in real time green screen (actually light blue screen), but was a hackers paradise. The CPU (yes, one and no multi cores) had a processor speed probably less than 1ghz, and processwd approx .75 MIPS (millions of instructions per second).

 

Then I thought how does that compare today? In our house:

  • I am typing from a HP laptop I7 Dual Core 2.6Ghz with 8GB of memory, onboard graphics which add memoryt (512KB I guess), graphics capability. There is a 300GB SSD drive. They're so fast, measuring CPU in MIPS or GIPS is useless.
  • My 10 year old desktop is a HP I7 8 core processor; somethng like a gen 4.. runnings about 1.8ghz per core. It has 6GB of memory, a 1TB SATA disk drive, 256MG SSD (subsequently added) and a dedicated graohics card running 1GB or memory and a reasonable GPU.
  • WHen my new baby returns, I will have an AMD Ryzen 5 latest gen (I think 4 cores, but maybe 2) at 3.6Ghz; 16GB of DDR4 RAM (2.1GHZ), 6GB Super Dooper GPU Graphics card (note, cybercurrency miners use graphihcs cards as the GPUs are all massively parallel)
  • My son has a similar computer as my hospitalised baby, but a slightly less powerul graphics card.
  • My partner has some super dooper iMac with 16GB of memory and I think an I7 9th gen quad core 3.6Ghz CPU. She has 2TB of SATA disk - so SSD.
  • Daughter has a Lenovol Intel I5 dual core with 8GB memory and 2TB hard disk drive.
  • We have an assortment of ipads (3), Samsung Galaxy Tablet (1), iphones and samsung phone (all varying ages - some quite old).
  • I have 2 spare 32 bit laptops that I use for Linux when I can be bothered.

The total processing power of just this laptop would probably be at least 15 times that of the old production machine I used to deploy to. All up, the above probably equates 10 closer to 100 times the processing power if not more. That old 9950/9955/9955II used to support 120+ user in real time with about a second response time and ensured certain transactions could be completed in the state of Victgoria legally.

 

Apart from the contribution on here (and occasionally rec flying), all of that power is used for little more than watching TV, playing games, and surfing the net.

 

Sad, really..

 

 

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My first desktop computer at work was a HP9825, in 1977. It had an audio cassette for storing programs and an A4 colour pen plotter. It ran "HP modified BASIC". I enjoyed programming it and the attention it got from being the first desktop computer in our office. It has its own website today, which begins:

 

Now vanished into the mists of time and computer evolution, the Hewlett-Packard 9825 desktop computer was way before its time. In many ways, the development of the HP 9825 and its brethren marked a significant turning point for the computer industry. It foreshadowed the PC revolution fully five years (that’s 50 years in computer time) before the IBM PC burst into existence in 1981.

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I was late into the computer scene personally, despite buying computers for my office workers in the early 1990's (and I made the mistake of buying Amstrad, then!) Amstrad of course, only made a short foray into PC's, and was wound up in 1997.

 

When I lost my business and all my assets in 1995, thanks to a vicious bank foreclosure, I went out on my own, dealing in machinery and parts and components, and I soon realised the world was changing rapidly, with Windows 95 starting to appear everywhere, and then Windows 98 being a major leap in user-friendly computing.

I did a short computerisation course in mid-1998 just as Windows 98 was released (I learnt on Windows 95), and then I decided I needed to get a PC for myself.

One BIL was doing a degree in computerisation, and he helped me enormously.

 

We found an English bloke who was a downhole/wireline engineer, living and working in Perth and servicing the oil and gas industry here. And he had a part-Asian wife who was quite astute and business-oriented, who wanted something to keep her occupied, while hubby was away on jobs - so they decided to start sourcing computers and software and selling from their home.

 

This bloke knew his stuff and sourced all the best technology and software and sold it for an excellent price. I paid the "bargain" price of $2200 in Oct 1998 for a 386 Intel desktop with a 14" colour screen, 2.6GB HDD, complete with a sizeable number of programmes - Windows 98, Lotus Smartsuite, Ulead iPhoto Express imaging programme (a Canon programme which is so good, I still use it today - 24 yrs later - that must be a record!), a Canon FB320 flatbed scanner, plus all the Canon imaging software (which scanner I'd still be using today if not for compatibility issues which saw it binned a few years ago - whilst still in excellent working order) - and a u-beaut 56K dial-up modem for my internet connection which is laughable today - but which worked just fine back then, and which allowed reasonable download and upload speeds.

 

This bloke sourced all the components and software and put it all together into a complete package, which really was a "premium product" at that time. But he made one serious error in his plans.

He told the authorities he was here on a specific job basis, and his visa did not allow him to undertake business activities. The authorities found out about his "on-the-side" computer sales, moved in, cancelled his work visa, and sent him packing! I just managed to acquire the computer and accessories, as he packed up to go back to the U.K.

 

I soon set up the desktop and promptly found the big WWW and all the forums - and the porn! - and I never looked back from that time. I was an early user of digitalisation, and online trading, and particularly eBay. I've been registered with eBay since Nov 2000, that must make me a pretty early Australian registrant on eBay. In those days, there was only one eBay, not country-specific eBays.

In those days, eBay was much better, it wasn't full of Chinese crap that you're pushed to buy multiples of, and it was like a huge, worldwide garage sale, with access to all kinds of rare parts, catalogues, manuals, and collector items.

 

I shipped in a lot of stuff from the U.S. and sent a lot of stuff to the U.S.! It was much cheaper to ship items then, too - no taxes, no massive charges for postage and freight, and selling prices that were very reasonable.

 

I learnt all about the huge amount of U.S. military disposals that were all coming online, which enabled me to do things such as buy a very big Caterpillar forklift out of a U.S. Navy base in Sagimihara, for a bargain-basement price, and have it shipped to me, without having to fly to Japan to inspect it or phone or meet face-to-face with shipping agents to organise shipping!

 

The U.S. military organisation handling the surplus sales to the public back then was DRMO (Defence Re-utilisation and Marketing Office), which, within a few years became DLA Disposition Services, which changed its focus to offering military surplus to other U.S. Govt and Military users as initial offerings, then the remainder goes to public sales, via the privately owned GovPlanet and IronPlanet auction services.

 

I made a huge killing out of that forklift, and went on to do a lot more equipment dealing using the internet. I'm surprised it's taken so long for widespread adoption of online trading and transactions to really gain traction - but this virus has surely cemented online as the most common communication method!

 

As an aside, Jerry - what brand of laptop was it, that crapped itself within 2 mths from new? A brand it sounds like it would be good to steer clear of? I'd like to acquire a new laptop soon, my old 17" Toshiba from 2009 is still a superb, trouble-free machine - but the processing power is lagging, and I've upgraded the RAM as much as is physically possible, and I'd probably like to get something that's lighter and faster. It's a shame that Toshiba pulled out of the laptop market, they really were the RR of laptops.

 

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Very interesting stories! I have been through a few computers, including building my own - once while I had probably one too many reds and blew almost every component except the VDU (as they were called in those days) and the power supply.

 

That is bad news re the aggressive bank foreclosure, OT.. glad everything appears to have worked out in the end.

 

It wasn't a laptop, but a desktop that popped its clogs. It is a specialist gaming brand called AlphaSync, and uses quality parts (Asus motherboards, seagate disks, AMD or Intel chips - I went AMD this time, etc. Sometimes, with solid state, a chip blows - usually a micron out on tolerance during manufacture. If they are going to blow, they usually blow early, so, apart from being a pain, I got the one in a million (or thereabouts) chip on one of my boards. As far as I can tell, it is an onboard SATA controller.

 

The supplier is pretty good - ship it back (attheir expense), they will run a test to make sure a virus hasn't got to it in such a way that it can be cleansed and it will work again; if one has, they wiill repair and send it back for free (they provided the anti-virus); if it is a genuine hardware fault, they ship a new PC out.

 

All my important data is backed up to drop box (free), and this ol' desktop is powerful enough for most of what I want, so it is just a minor inconvenience...

 

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My first was an Amstrad too... the 464, which had a cassette drive in the keyboard and a whole 16k of RAM...  you had to program in BASIC to get it to go.  That was when I was 14 and blew my entire childhood savings on the computer - and don't regret it.  (So must have been 1986 or so).  

 

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7 hours ago, onetrack said:

I was late into the computer scene personally, despite buying computers for my office workers in the early 1990's (and I made the mistake of buying Amstrad, then!) Amstrad of course, only made a short foray into PC's, and was wound up in 1997.

 

When I lost my business and all my assets in 1995, thanks to a vicious bank foreclosure, I went out on my own, dealing in machinery and parts and components, and I soon realised the world was changing rapidly, with Windows 95 starting to appear everywhere, and then Windows 98 being a major leap in user-friendly computing.

I did a short computerisation course in mid-1998 just as Windows 98 was released (I learnt on Windows 95), and then I decided I needed to get a PC for myself.

One BIL was doing a degree in computerisation, and he helped me enormously.

 

We found an English bloke who was a downhole/wireline engineer, living and working in Perth and servicing the oil and gas industry here. And he had a part-Asian wife who was quite astute and business-oriented, who wanted something to keep her occupied, while hubby was away on jobs - so they decided to start sourcing computers and software and selling from their home.

 

This bloke knew his stuff and sourced all the best technology and software and sold it for an excellent price. I paid the "bargain" price of $2200 in Oct 1998 for a 386 Intel desktop with a 14" colour screen, 2.6GB HDD, complete with a sizeable number of programmes - Windows 98, Lotus Smartsuite, Ulead iPhoto Express imaging programme (a Canon programme which is so good, I still use it today - 24 yrs later - that must be a record!), a Canon FB320 flatbed scanner, plus all the Canon imaging software (which scanner I'd still be using today if not for compatibility issues which saw it binned a few years ago - whilst still in excellent working order) - and a u-beaut 56K dial-up modem for my internet connection which is laughable today - but which worked just fine back then, and which allowed reasonable download and upload speeds.

 

This bloke sourced all the components and software and put it all together into a complete package, which really was a "premium product" at that time. But he made one serious error in his plans.

He told the authorities he was here on a specific job basis, and his visa did not allow him to undertake business activities. The authorities found out about his "on-the-side" computer sales, moved in, cancelled his work visa, and sent him packing! I just managed to acquire the computer and accessories, as he packed up to go back to the U.K.

 

I soon set up the desktop and promptly found the big WWW and all the forums - and the porn! - and I never looked back from that time. I was an early user of digitalisation, and online trading, and particularly eBay. I've been registered with eBay since Nov 2000, that must make me a pretty early Australian registrant on eBay. In those days, there was only one eBay, not country-specific eBays.

In those days, eBay was much better, it wasn't full of Chinese crap that you're pushed to buy multiples of, and it was like a huge, worldwide garage sale, with access to all kinds of rare parts, catalogues, manuals, and collector items.

 

I shipped in a lot of stuff from the U.S. and sent a lot of stuff to the U.S.! It was much cheaper to ship items then, too - no taxes, no massive charges for postage and freight, and selling prices that were very reasonable.

 

I learnt all about the huge amount of U.S. military disposals that were all coming online, which enabled me to do things such as buy a very big Caterpillar forklift out of a U.S. Navy base in Sagimihara, for a bargain-basement price, and have it shipped to me, without having to fly to Japan to inspect it or phone or meet face-to-face with shipping agents to organise shipping!

 

The U.S. military organisation handling the surplus sales to the public back then was DRMO (Defence Re-utilisation and Marketing Office), which, within a few years became DLA Disposition Services, which changed its focus to offering military surplus to other U.S. Govt and Military users as initial offerings, then the remainder goes to public sales, via the privately owned GovPlanet and IronPlanet auction services.

 

I made a huge killing out of that forklift, and went on to do a lot more equipment dealing using the internet. I'm surprised it's taken so long for widespread adoption of online trading and transactions to really gain traction - but this virus has surely cemented online as the most common communication method!

 

As an aside, Jerry - what brand of laptop was it, that crapped itself within 2 mths from new? A brand it sounds like it would be good to steer clear of? I'd like to acquire a new laptop soon, my old 17" Toshiba from 2009 is still a superb, trouble-free machine - but the processing power is lagging, and I've upgraded the RAM as much as is physically possible, and I'd probably like to get something that's lighter and faster. It's a shame that Toshiba pulled out of the laptop market, they really were the RR of laptops.

 

I remember my history teacher in grade 9 telling us about seeing F-86 Sabres in good flying condition being sold for about $60,000.  That would have been before the internet really got going - it was 2 years later one of our year 11 classes got "online" for a few minutes and talked to a computer in the US, at ridiculously high phone fees.

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I started out on the big stuff - half a dozen cabinets in a specal air conditioned room connected by large cables under a raised floor. (Not mine of course)

 

First computer - Burroughs B300

 

2014720288_BurroughsB300.thumb.jpg.e22fe2068a9ebd14c45de9b05424047e.jpg

 

Then we moved up to the B3500 with a teletype operator console and punched card reader - no CRT monitors.

 

1577107422_Operatorsconsole.thumb.JPG.8c636019a4dfadf6c0d9a87df19fbc60.JPG

 

Printer

 

1872177033_Lineprinter.thumb.JPG.389bacb1c60aae1f1fb5210c005fb049.JPG

 

Later, IBM PC and clones.

 

 

 

 

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$ 60.000

For a Super Sabre! ,

In the 50s UK. I was given one Free !, fully fueled & fully armed.

Of course they knew l couldn,t take it,

SO

 I put an axe threw the fuel tanks , to drain it, then same axe, chopped the wings off, ready to put on the truck to be smelted into alluminium ingots.

Those " canon " shells, l had to putthe bullet end in the vice & jiggle the brass casing off, cordite into a bucket,  last job ' Fire '  the cap , so it,s safe to melt-down into more ingots.

Best years of my life at that firm, because l met my wife there.

spacesailor

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That was a job were l got to sit in lots of military aircraft,including seaplanes.

A lot were crashed & trashed, bulldozed into heaps, but a lot were as new ready to be deployed. 

Also a majority of much older types were burnt to get rid of canvas & paint.

The firm was ' scrap metal & foundry ' making lots of money turning anything into ingots,

£300 Nett profit per ton.

spacesailor

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@red750 - they are great flashback photos. I moved from Primes to Unisys A series (big Burroughs), which were a technically better machine than IBM 3090 mainframes, IMHO. Of course, like everything, marketing wins out and in the day, no one got fired for buying big blue. All of the kit in those days was housed in raised floor air conditioned rooms, with big patch panels, and old style multiplexers.

 

I left the Vic Government and took a job at Coles Myer, where I was working on the IBM 3090 series (now ES-9000). Even though it was IBM's latest offering at the time, it was like stepping back a few years.. We used to affectionally term IBM as I Bring Manuals.. They just had so many manuals that even to the propellor-heads (of which I was one), were difficult to decipher, and in many cases, contained circular references where for further information, see manual x, and in manual x, it would say for further information see manual y, and eventually, it would refer you to the origtinal section of the original manual you were reading - so it would be a call to IBM to work out what to do.

 

 

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For a while I have wanted to create some video of my computer screen, in particular, how I edit the photos I use in the Aircraft profiles. I've tried a couple of the free download screen capture programs, (can't afford bought ones) but didn't have a lot of success. I tried this little setup, and while a bit rough and ready, it at least does what I had intended. Now needs to be set up properly and scripted to look a little less amateurish.

 

It involves placing my iPhone in the edge of a cardboard box in front of the screen and using the video function.

 

P1030229.thumb.JPG.05aadad86694ad249ccffd168f9892c6.JPG

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Since the latest update, Firefox can't access the BOM site. It throws up this message 'The Bureau of Meteorology website does not currently support connections via HTTPS'. Firefox isn't requesting a HTTPS connection. The BOM site keeps trying to redirect to it's exact same address unsuccessfully. Maybe there's some settings in Firefox to work around it. At present, I have to open Chrome to get to the BOM website. Not that inconvenient, but Chrome is a slow loader so it just takes longer.

 

 

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I have no trouble with BOM on Brave browser. Brave is fast, it blocks trackers, and has an ad blocker built in. Yahoo email hates it and constantly tells me to turn my ad blocker off. The only problem I have with it is if I receive 4 or 5 emails with video clips, the first one will download, but I have to shut the Yahoo window and re-open it to watch the next video. So I have Chrome just for that. Stopped using Firefox when Brave came out. Don't use Microsoft Edge.

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Occasionally, when scrolling through Facebook, I will come across a video clip which looks like this:

 

1770911769_FBvideo.thumb.JPG.f038a4b9f6ed49d42aeba4a0cc30b7ce.JPG

 

The lines will wiggle about for 4 or 5 seconds, then the proper image will appear. Any idea what causes this scrambled image?

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In Linux, you have a number of free screen capture programs, both video and picture, as well as audio capture, all free and extremely good. I capture music and videos all the time whilst doing other things, mostly from youtube. Have a huge library of music of many genres that are either cd's or in USB sticks and make videos and slide shows for friends and as a record of our gigs at times.

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