Welcome to Hot Trouts Retro Computer Ramblings, the BLOG for the old computer website. From Roms to Emulators, playing NES and SNES games, tha latest Amiga rip or collecting systems and roms then this is the place to visit. Please feel free to post comments and visit the forums for more great content.
Should have been fitted, commodore cheaped out, well they where fitted to some of the Vic II chips that had a metal cage around them, anyhoo...
Picked up another Breadbin machine with a 1984 board, so I thought I'd get the coolers on like the others I have, simple job and prolongs the life of the hotter chips that fail more often (PLA, Sid Chip & Vic II).
Really is a good idea to do this, especially if your running the micro for extended periods, one of mines on now annoying the wife with fuzzy warbles of the Sid chippery kind.
I make mine out of cheap and cheerful U shaped Aluminium lengths, yeah you can buy them and the are prettier, but then I dont get to play with a Dremel
I've seen other ways of attaching the coolers, but a few mm of ultra thin double sided tape at the ends and a smear of Arctic silver in the middle and none have fell off yet
All done and lot cooler, next job build a better power supply, the next worst killer!.
July, 1975 Dick Heiser opens Arrowhead Computer Company "The Computer Store" in Los Angeles selling assembled Altairs! Nov. 1975 John French opened Computer Mart, selling the IMSAI! The BYTE SHOP ->
Paul Terrell started his Byte Shop in December 1975. By January he was being approached by people who wanted to open their own stores. He signed dealership agreements with them, whereby he would take a percentage of their profits, and soon there were Byte Shops in Santa Clara, San Jose, Palo Alto, and Portland, Oregon.
In March 1976, Terrell incorporated as Byte, Inc.
By March 1976, one could identified 4 big retailers; Terrell, Heisers, Peachtree in Atlanta, and Dick Brown. Brown opened his outlet "The Computer Store" like Heiser's in 1975 along Route 128 in Burlington, Massachusetts.
Paul Terrell in his BYTE SHOP
He also was interested in selling Apple I's. Without Paul Terrell and the Byte shop Apple may have never gotten anywhere.
In 1974, when Paul Terrell was running a sales representation company in Northern California, he got a call from friends who said they had seen a microcomputer in Popular Electronics for only $439. Terrell knew that no one could even get an 8080 chip on a PC board for that price, much less a power supply and a chassis and the rest. "My comment was that it was a paper tiger and forget about it," he said. "And a couple of months later, they called me back and told me to come on over and help them unwrap their paper tiger."
The Altair impressed Terrell. He contacted MITS in Albuquerque to see if it needed a sales representative in Northern California. MITS said it was primarily a mail-order company, but if he cared to meet MITS representatives at the National Computer Conference in Anaheim, California, that June, they'd be happy to talk. Terrell cared.
MITS showed up at the NCC with the MITSmobile. "You walked in and it had a refrigerator and a stove and a couple of computers set up," Terrell recalled. He talked with Ed Roberts and MITS's marketing manager. They got along well. Terrell felt Roberts did not really understand the sales representation business, but Roberts listened. In the end, they signed an exclusive sales representation contract whereby Terrell would promote the Altair and in turn receive a 5 percent commission on every MITS product shipped into Northern California, whether he had sold it or not.
After NCC, the MITSmobile toured the clubs in the Los Angeles area, meeting various people who had written in. Then it went north to the San Francisco Bay Area, where Terrell booked space in the Edwards Room at Rickey's Hyatt House in Palo Alto. The room held about 80 people. Between 200 and 300 showed up. The following month, in July of 1975, Roberts called a sales representatives meeting in Albuquerque. Terrell and his partner, Boyd Wilson, along with the ten or so other Altair representatives in the country, flew to New Mexico, where Roberts showed them his shopping center factory, explained something of the history of MITS, and indicated the direction he wanted them to take.
Roberts also mentioned something else. "One of the principal things that came out of the meeting was that Ed had identified a crazy man in L.A.~Dick Heiser-who had approached him to try to retail computers across the countertop," Terrell said. Roberts wanted the sales representatives to find similar
crazy men in their own territories. The retail idea was worth pursuing, he thought. Terrell asked what kind of deal retailers would get. Roberts said he would give them a 25 percent discount, no matter how much they sold. When they got back on the plane, Terrell and Wilson discussed this arrangement. "It was an easy task to figure that 25 percent plus 5 percent was 30 percent-a helluva lot more money than we were making as representatives," he said. They decided to open their own outlet.
Terrell and Wilson commenced the process in August. Soon after, Byte magazine appeared. "I told Boyd that this magazine is real significant," Terrell said. "There's a real following here. So let's be the Byte Shop, and we'll sell a helluva lot of Byte magazines in addition." Friends told him retailing computers wouldn't work. And some people, Terrell later mused, said it never snowed in Silicon Valley. Terrell recalled his friends' warnings as he watched the snow falling on December 8, 1975-the day he opened his Mountain View store in the heart of Silicon Valley.
Like most Altair dealers, Terrell quickly ran headlong into the MITS exclusivity policy. Terrell ignored it. He was selling all the Altairs he could get, about 10 to 50 per month, plus everything he could obtain from IMSAI and Proc Tech. The MITS edict, he concluded, was not only pointless, but, if he followed it, financially harmful as well. One day David Bunnell, then the MITS vice-president of marketing, called to cancel him as a dealer. Terrell argued that MITS should see the Byte Shop as rather like a stereo store, which carried many different brands and could turn a profit for them all. Bunnell waffled. It was Roberts's decision, he said. At the World Altair Computer Conference in March of 1976, Terrell approached Roberts directly. Roberts remained firm. Terrell was out.
At the time, Terrell was selling twice as many IMSAIs as Altairs, and he realized the MITS strategy of excommunication would ultimately hurt Roberts more than himself. He was still selling whatever he could get. He saw himself and John French, Heiser's Computer Mart competitor in Orange County, as conducting most of IMSAI's early business. They used to do battle for the product. Terrell would rent a van and drive it over to the back dock of IMSAI's manufacturing site in Hayward to collect his own and French's orders. Check in hand, he would ask, "You want cash on the barrelhead, boys?" It was hard-ware war.
Terrell had started his Byte Shop in December 1975. By January he was being approached by people who wanted to open their own stores. He signed dealership agreements with them, whereby he would take a percentage of their profits, and soon there were Byte Shops in Santa Clara, San Jose, Palo Alto, and Portland, Oregon. In March 1976, Terrell incorporated as Byte, Inc.
This was a hobbyist industry, and Terrell found the clubs critical to his business. They provided his customer base. Many of the hobbyists who attended meetings had not bought their machines yet, and those who had often wanted accessories. Club members proved particularly receptive to Terrell's message.
From the book Fire in the Valley. By Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine.
blinkenlights: /blink'@n�li:tz/, n. [common] Front-panel diagnostic lights on a computer, esp. a dinosaur. Now that dinosaurs are rare, this term usually refers to status lights on a modem, network hub, or the like.
This term derives from the last word of the famous blackletter-Gothic sign in mangled pseudo-German that once graced about half the computer rooms in the English-speaking world. One version ran in its entirety as follows:
This silliness dates back at least as far as 1955 at IBM and had already gone international by the early 1960s, when it was reported at London University's ATLAS computing site. There are several variants of it in circulation, some of which actually do end with the word ‘blinkenlights’.
In an amusing example of turnabout-is-fair-play, German hackers have developed their own versions of the blinkenlights poster in fractured English, one of which is reproduced here:
Old-time hackers sometimes get nostalgic for blinkenlights because they were so much more fun to look at than a blank panel. Sadly, very few computers still have them (the three LEDs on a PC keyboard certainly don't count). The obvious reasons (cost of wiring, cost of front-panel cutouts, almost nobody needs or wants to interpret machine-register states on the fly anymore) are only part of the story. Another part of it is that radio-frequency leakage from the lamp wiring was beginning to be a problem as far back as transistor machines. But the most fundamental fact is that there are very few signals slow enough to blink an LED these days! With slow CPUs, you could watch the bus register or instruction counter tick, but even at 33/66/150MHz (let alone gigahertz speeds) it's all a blur.
Despite this, a couple of relatively recent computer designs of note have featured programmable blinkenlights that were added just because they looked cool. The Connection Machine, a 65,536-processor parallel computer designed in the mid-1980s, was a black cube with one side covered with a grid of red blinkenlights; the sales demo had them evolving life patterns. A few years later the ill-fated BeBox (a personal computer designed to run the BeOS operating system) featured twin rows of blinkenlights on the case front. When Be, Inc. decided to get out of the hardware business in 1996 and instead ported their OS to the PowerPC and later to the Intel architecture, many users suffered severely from the absence of their beloved blinkenlights. Before long an external version of the blinkenlights driven by a PC serial port became available; there is some sort of plot symmetry in the fact that it was assembled by a German.
Finally, a version updated for the Internet has been seen on news.admin.net-abuse.email:
This newest version partly reflects reports that the word ‘blinkenlights’ is (in 1999) undergoing something of a revival in usage, but applied to networking equipment. The transmit and receive lights on routers, activity lights on switches and hubs, and other network equipment often blink in visually pleasing and seemingly coordinated ways. Although this is different in some ways from register readings, a tall stack of Cisco equipment or a 19-inch rack of ISDN terminals can provoke a similar feeling of hypnotic awe, especially in a darkened network operations center or server room.
The ancestor of the original blinkenlights posters of the 1950s was probably this:
WWII-era machine-shop poster
We are informed that cod-German parodies of this kind were very common in Allied machine shops during and following WWII. Germans, then as now, had a reputation for being both good with precision machinery and prone to officious notices.
Back in the good old days -- the "Golden Era" of computers, it was easy to separate the men from the boys (sometimes called "Real Men" and "Quiche Eaters" in the literature). During this period, the Real Men were the ones that understood computer programming, and the Quiche Eaters were the ones that didn't. A real computer programmer said things like "DO 10 I=1,10" and "ABEND" (they actually talked in capital letters, you understand), and the rest of the world said things like "computers are too complicated for me" and "I can't relate to computers -- they're so impersonal". (A previous work  points out that Real Men don't "relate" to anything, and aren't afraid of being impersonal.)
But, as usual, times change. We are faced today with a world in which little old ladies can get computerized microwave ovens, 12 year old kids can blow Real Men out of the water playing Asteroids and Pac-Man, and anyone can buy and even understand their very own Personal Computer. The Real Programmer is in danger of becoming extinct, of being replaced by high-school students with TRASH-80s!
There is a clear need to point out the differences between the typical high-school junior Pac-Man player and a Real Programmer. Understanding these differences will give these kids something to aspire to -- a role model, a Father Figure. It will also help employers of Real Programmers to realize why it would be a mistake to replace the Real Programmers on their staff with 12 year old Pac-Man players (at a considerable salary savings).
LANGUAGES The easiest way to tell a Real Programmer from the crowd is by the programming language he (or she) uses. Real Programmers use FORTRAN. Quiche Eaters use PASCAL. Nicklaus Wirth, the designer of PASCAL, was once asked, "How do you pronounce your name?". He replied "You can either call me by name, pronouncing it 'Veert', or call me by value, 'Worth'." One can tell immediately from this comment that Nicklaus Wirth is a Quiche Eater. The only parameter passing mechanism endorsed by Real Programmers is call-by-value-return, as implemented in the IBM/370 FORTRAN G and H compilers. Real programmers don't need abstract concepts to get their jobs done: they are perfectly happy with a keypunch, a FORTRAN IV compiler, and a beer.
Real Programmers do List Processing in FORTRAN.
Real Programmers do String Manipulation in FORTRAN.
Real Programmers do Accounting (if they do it at all) in FORTRAN.
Real Programmers do Artificial Intelligence programs in FORTRAN.
If you can't do it in FORTRAN, do it in assembly language. If you can't do it in assembly language, it isn't worth doing.
Computer science academicians have gotten into the "structured programming" rut over the past several years. They claim that programs are more easily understood if the programmer uses some special language constructs and techniques. They don't all agree on exactly which constructs, of course, and the examples they use to show their particular point of view invariably fit on a single page of some obscure journal or another -- clearly not enough of an example to convince anyone. When I got out of school, I thought I was the best programmer in the world. I could write an unbeatable tic-tac-toe program, use five different computer languages, and create 1000 line programs that WORKED. (Really!) Then I got out into the Real World. My first task in the Real World was to read and understand a 200,000 line FORTRAN program, then speed it up by a factor of two. Any Real Programmer will tell you that all the Structured Coding in the world won't help you solve a problem like that -- it takes actual talent. Some quick observations on Real Programmers and Structured Programming:
Real Programmers aren't afraid to use GOTOs.
Real Programmers can write five page long DO loops without getting confused.
Real Programmers enjoy Arithmetic IF statements because they make the code more interesting.
Real Programmers write self-modifying code, especially if it saves them 20 nanoseconds in the middle of a tight loop.
Programmers don't need comments: the code is obvious.
Since FORTRAN doesn't have a structured IF, REPEAT ... UNTIL, or CASE statement, Real Programmers don't have to worry about not using them. Besides, they can be simulated when necessary using assigned GOTOs. Data structures have also gotten a lot of press lately. Abstract Data Types, Structures, Pointers, Lists, and Strings have become popular in certain circles. Wirth (the above-mentioned Quiche Eater) actually wrote an entire book  contending that you could write a program based on data structures, instead of the other way around. As all Real Programmers know, the only useful data structure is the array. Strings, lists, structures, sets -- these are all special cases of arrays and and can be treated that way just as easily without messing up your programing language with all sorts of complications. The worst thing about fancy data types is that you have to declare them, and Real Programming Languages, as we all know, have implicit typing based on the first letter of the (six character) variable name.
What kind of operating system is used by a Real Programmer? CP/M? God forbid -- CP/M, after all, is basically a toy operating system. Even little old ladies and grade school students can understand and use CP/M. Unix is a lot more complicated of course -- the typical Unix hacker never can remember what the PRINT command is called this week -- but when it gets right down to it, Unix is a glorified video game. People don't do Serious Work on Unix systems: they send jokes around the world on USENET and write adventure games and research papers.
No, your Real Programmer uses OS/370. A good programmer can find and understand the description of the IJK305I error he just got in his JCL manual.
A great programmer can write JCL without referring to the manual at all. A truly outstanding programmer can find bugs buried in a 6 megabyte core dump without using a hex calculator. (I have actually seen this done.)
OS/370 is a truly remarkable operating system. It's possible to destroy days of work with a single misplaced space, so alertness in the programming staff is encouraged. The best way to approach the system is through a keypunch. Some people claim there is a Time Sharing system that runs on OS/370, but after careful study I have come to the conclusion that they are mistaken.
What kind of tools does a Real Programmer use? In theory, a Real Programmer could run his programs by keying them into the front panel of the computer. Back in the days when computers had front panels, this was actually done occasionally. Your typical Real Programmer knew the entire bootstrap loader by memory in hex, and toggled it in whenever it got destroyed by his program. (Back then, memory was memory -- it didn't go away when the power went off. Today, memory either forgets things when you don't want it to, or remembers things long after they're better forgotten.) Legend has it that Seymour Cray, inventor of the Cray I supercomputer and most of Control Data's computers, actually toggled the first operating system for the CDC7600 in on the front panel from memory when it was first powered on. Seymour, needless to say, is a Real Programmer.
One of my favorite Real Programmers was a systems programmer for Texas Instruments. One day, he got a long distance call from a user whose system had crashed in the middle of some important work. Jim was able to repair the damage over the phone, getting the user to toggle in disk I/O instructions at the front panel, repairing system tables in hex, reading register contents back over the phone. The moral of this story: while a Real Programmer usually includes a keypunch and lineprinter in his toolkit, he can get along with just a front panel and a telephone in emergencies.
In some companies, text editing no longer consists of ten engineers standing in line to use an 029 keypunch. In fact, the building I work in doesn't contain a single keypunch. The Real Programmer in this situation has to do his work with a text editor program. Most systems supply several text editors to select from, and the Real Programmer must be careful to pick one that reflects his personal style. Many people believe that the best text editors in the world were written at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center for use on their Alto and Dorado computers . Unfortunately, no Real Programmer would ever use a computer whose operating system is called SmallTalk, and would certainly not talk to the computer with a mouse.
Some of the concepts in these Xerox editors have been incorporated into editors running on more reasonably named operating systems. EMACS and VI are probably the most well known of this class of editors. The problem with these editors is that Real Programmers consider "what you see is what you get" to be just as bad a concept in text editors as it is in women. No, the Real Programmer wants a "you asked for it, you got it" text editor -- complicated, cryptic, powerful, unforgiving, dangerous. TECO, to be precise.
It has been observed that a TECO command sequence more closely resembles transmission line noise than readable text . One of the more entertaining games to play with TECO is to type your name in as a command line and try to guess what it does. Just about any possible typing error while talking with TECO will probably destroy your program, or even worse -- introduce subtle and mysterious bugs in a once working subroutine.
For this reason, Real Programmers are reluctant to actually edit a program that is close to working. They find it much easier to just patch the binary object code directly, using a wonderful program called SUPERZAP (or its equivalent on non-IBM machines). This works so well that many working programs on IBM systems bear no relation to the original FORTRAN code. In many cases, the original source code is no longer available. When it comes time to fix a program like this, no manager would even think of sending anything less than a Real Programmer to do the job -- no Quiche Eating structured programmer would even know where to start. This is called "job security".
Some programming tools NOT used by Real Programmers:
FORTRAN preprocessors like MORTRAN and RATFOR. The Cuisinarts of programming -- great for making Quiche. See comments above on structured programming. Source language debuggers. Real Programmers can read core dumps. Compilers with array bounds checking. They stifle creativity, destroy most of the interesting uses for EQUIVALENCE, and make it impossible to modify the operating system code with negative subscripts. Worst of all, bounds checking is inefficient. Source code maintainance systems. A Real Programmer keeps his code locked up in a card file, because it implies that its owner cannot leave his important programs unguarded .
THE REAL PROGRAMMER AT WORK
Where does the typical Real Programmer work? What kind of programs are worthy of the efforts of so talented an individual? You can be sure that no real Programmer would be caught dead writing accounts-receivable programs in COBOL, or sorting mailing lists for People magazine. A Real Programmer wants tasks of earth-shaking importance (literally!):
Real Programmers work for Los Alamos National Laboratory, writing atomic bomb simulations to run on Cray I supercomputers.
Real Programmers work for the National Security Agency, decoding Russian transmissions.
It was largely due to the efforts of thousands of Real Programmers working for NASA that our boys got to the moon and back before the cosmonauts.
The computers in the Space Shuttle were programmed by Real Programmers.
Programmers are at work for Boeing designing the operating systems for cruise missiles.
Some of the most awesome Real Programmers of all work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Many of them know the entire operating system of the Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft by heart. With a combination of large ground-based FORTRAN programs and small spacecraft-based assembly language programs, they can to do incredible feats of navigation and improvisation, such as hitting ten-kilometer wide windows at Saturn after six years in space, and repairing or bypassing damaged sensor platforms, radios, and batteries. Allegedly, one Real Programmer managed to tuck a pattern-matching program into a few hundred bytes of unused memory in a Voyager spacecraft that searched for, located, and photographed a new moon of Jupiter.
One plan for the upcoming Galileo spacecraft mission is to use a gravity assist trajectory past Mars on the way to Jupiter. This trajectory passes within 80 +/- 3 kilometers of the surface of Mars. Nobody is going to trust a PASCAL program (or PASCAL programmer) for navigation to these tolerances.
As you can tell, many of the world's Real Programmers work for the U.S. Government, mainly the Defense Department. This is as it should be. Recently, however, a black cloud has formed on the Real Programmer horizon.
It seems that some highly placed Quiche Eaters at the Defense Department decided that all Defense programs should be written in some grand unified language called "ADA" (registered trademark, DoD). For a while, it seemed that ADA was destined to become a language that went against all the precepts of Real Programming -- a language with structure, a language with data types, strong typing, and semicolons. In short, a language designed to cripple the creativity of the typical Real Programmer. Fortunately, the language adopted by DoD has enough interesting features to make it approachable: it's incredibly complex, includes methods for messing with the operating system and rearranging memory, and Edsgar Dijkstra doesn't like it . (Dijkstra, as I'm sure you know, was the author of "GoTos Considered Harmful" -- a landmark work in programming methodology, applauded by Pascal Programmers and Quiche Eaters alike.) Besides, the determined Real Programmer can write FORTRAN programs in any language.
The real programmer might compromise his principles and work on something slightly more trivial than the destruction of life as we know it, providing there's enough money in it. There are several Real Programmers building video games at Atari, for example. (But not playing them. A Real Programmer knows how to beat the machine every time: no challange in that.) Everyone working at LucasFilm is a Real Programmer. (It would be crazy to turn down the money of 50 million Star Wars fans.) The proportion of Real Programmers in Computer Graphics is somewhat lower than the norm, mostly because nobody has found a use for Computer Graphics yet. On the other hand, all Computer Graphics is done in FORTRAN, so there are a fair number people doing Graphics in order to avoid having to write COBOL programs.
THE REAL PROGRAMMER AT PLAY
Generally, the Real Programmer plays the same way he works -- with computers. He is constantly amazed that his employer actually pays him to do what he would be doing for fun anyway, although he is careful not to express this opinion out loud. Occasionally, the Real Programmer does step out of the office for a breath of fresh air and a beer or two. Some tips on recognizing real programmers away from the computer room:
At a party, the Real Programmers are the ones in the corner talking about operating system security and how to get around it.
At a football game, the Real Programmer is the one comparing the plays against his simulations printed on 11 by 14 fanfold paper.
At the beach, the Real Programmer is the one drawing flowcharts in the sand.
A Real Programmer goes to a disco to watch the light show.
At a funeral, the Real Programmer is the one saying "Poor George. And he almost had the sort routine working before the coronary."
In a grocery store, the Real Programmer is the one who insists on running the cans past the laser checkout scanner himself, because he never could trust keypunch operators to get it right the first time.
THE REAL PROGRAMMER'S NATURAL HABITAT
What sort of environment does the Real Programmer function best in? This is an important question for the managers of Real Programmers. Considering the amount of money it costs to keep one on the staff, it's best to put him (or her) in an environment where he can get his work done.
The typical Real Programmer lives in front of a computer terminal. Surrounding this terminal are:
Listings of all programs the Real Programmer has ever worked on, piled in roughly chronological order on every flat surface in the office.
Some half-dozen or so partly filled cups of cold coffee. Occasionally, there will be cigarette butts floating in the coffee. In some cases, the cups will contain Orange Crush.
Unless he is very good, there will be copies of the OS JCL manual and the Principles of Operation open to some particularly interesting pages.
Taped to the wall is a line-printer Snoopy calender for the year 1969.
Strewn about the floor are several wrappers for peanut butter filled cheese bars (the type that are made stale at the bakery so they can't get any worse while waiting in the vending machine).
Hiding in the top left-hand drawer of the desk is a stash of double stuff Oreos for special occasions.
Underneath the Oreos is a flow-charting template, left there by the previous occupant of the office. (Real Programmers write programs, not documentation. Leave that to the maintainence people.)
The Real Programmer is capable of working 30, 40, even 50 hours at a stretch, under intense pressure. In fact, he prefers it that way. Bad response time doesn't bother the Real Programmer -- it gives him a chance to catch a little sleep between compiles. If there is not enough schedule pressure on the Real Programmer, he tends to make things more challenging by working on some small but interesting part of the problem for the first nine weeks, then finishing the rest in the last week, in two or three 50-hour marathons. This not only inpresses his manager, who was despairing of ever getting the project done on time, but creates a convenient excuse for not doing the documentation. In general:
No Real Programmer works 9 to 5. (Unless it's 9 in the evening to 5 in the morning.)
Real Programmers don't wear neckties.
Real Programmers don't wear high heeled shoes.
Real Programmers arrive at work in time for lunch. 
A Real Programmer might or might not know his wife's name. He does, however, know the entire ASCII (or EBCDIC) code table.
Real Programmers don't know how to cook. Grocery stores aren't often open at 3 a.m., so they survive on Twinkies and coffee.
What of the future? It is a matter of some concern to Real Programmers that the latest generation of computer programmers are not being brought up with the same outlook on life as their elders. Many of them have never seen a computer with a front panel. Hardly anyone graduating from school these days can do hex arithmetic without a calculator. College graduates these days are soft -- protected from the realities of programming by source level debuggers, text editors that count parentheses, and user friendly operating systems. Worst of all, some of these alleged computer scientists manage to get degrees without ever learning FORTRAN! Are we destined to become an industry of Unix hackers and Pascal programmers?
On the contrary. From my experience, I can only report that the future is bright for Real Programmers everywhere. Neither OS/370 nor FORTRAN show any signs of dying out, despite all the efforts of Pascal programmers the world over. Even more subtle tricks, like adding structured coding constructs to FORTRAN have failed. Oh sure, some computer vendors have come out with FORTRAN 77 compilers, but every one of them has a way of converting itself back into a FORTRAN 66 compiler at the drop of an option card -- to compile DO loops like God meant them to be.
Even Unix might not be as bad on Real Programmers as it once was. The latest release of Unix has the potential of an operating system worthy of any Real Programmer. It has two different and subtly incompatible user interfaces, an arcane and complicated terminal driver, virtual memory. If you ignore the fact that it's structured, even C programming can be appreciated by the Real Programmer: after all, there's no type checking, variable names are seven (ten? eight?) characters long, and the added bonus of the Pointer data type is thrown in. It's like having the best parts of FORTRAN and assembly language in one place. (Not to mention some of the more creative uses for #define.)
No, the future isn't all that bad. Why, in the past few years, the popular press has even commented on the bright new crop of computer nerds and hackers ( and ) leaving places like Stanford and M.I.T. for the Real World. From all evidence, the spirit of Real Programming lives on in these young men and women. As long as there are ill-defined goals, bizarre bugs, and unrealistic schedules, there will be Real Programmers willing to jump in and Solve The Problem, saving the documentation for later. Long live FORTRAN!
ACKNOWLEGEMENT I would like to thank Jan E., Dave S., Rich G., Rich E. for their help in characterizing the Real Programmer, Heather B. for the illustration, Kathy E. for putting up with it, and atd!avsdS:mark for the initial inspriration.
REFERENCES  Feirstein, B., Real Men Don't Eat Quiche, New York, Pocket Books, 1982.  Wirth, N., Algorithms + Datastructures = Programs, Prentice Hall, 1976.
 Xerox PARC editors . . .
 Finseth, C., Theory and Practice of Text Editors - or - a Cookbook for an EMACS, B.S. Thesis, MIT/LCS/TM-165, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, May 1980.
 Weinberg, G., The Psychology of Computer Programming, New York, Van Nostrabd Reinhold, 1971, page 110.
 Dijkstra, E., On the GREEN Language Submitted to the DoD, Sigplan notices, Volume 3, Number 10, October 1978.
 Rose, Frank, Joy of Hacking, Science 82, Volume 3, Number 9, November 1982, pages 58 - 66.
 The Hacker Papers, Psychology Today, August 1980.
geek code: n. (also “Code of the Geeks”). A set of codes commonly used in sig blocks to broadcast the interests, skills, and aspirations of the poster. Features a G at the left margin followed by numerous letter codes, often suffixed with plusses or minuses. Because many net users are involved in computer science, the most common prefix is ‘GCS’. To see a copy of the current code, browse
The geek code originated in 1993; it was inspired (according to the inventor) by previous “bear”, “smurf” and “twink” style-and-sexual-preference codes from lesbian and gay newsgroups. It has in turn spawned imitators; there is now even a “Saturn geek code” for owners of the Saturn car.
The Geek Code is basicly a (small) part of Internet history. When I did the first incarnation of the code back in '93, it was as a lark. Eventually, it evolved into the form you see online now and has remained virtually unchanged since that time.
I've always meant to, and still hope to, someday get back to the code and release a new version for the new century that was more modern and hip and all that. Several things happened. First, the internet of 1996 was still a wild untamed virgin paradise of geeks and eggheads unpopulated by script kiddies, and the denizens of AOL. When things changed, I seriously lost my way. I mean, all the "geek" that was the Internet was gone and replaced by Xfiles buzzwords and politicians passing laws about a technology they refused to comprehend. Think about it, this was the infancy of even the world wide web, when having a "DotCom" address wasn't hip (and wasn't a billion-dollar snowjob by the ICANN).
Still, I always said to myself "Self, some day you'll get over it and write the new code."
AND SOME DAY I WILL!
However, until that time does arrive, The Geek Code stands as it does now, still in the pure and pristine form it was intended. A testament to the history of the Internet, however small a part it may have played.
Robert Hayden ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Last updated: March 5, 1996 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So you think you are a geek, eh? The first step is to admit to yourself your geekiness. No matter what anyone says, geeks are people too; geeks have rights. So take a deep breath and announce to the world that you are a geek. Your courage will give you strength that will last you forever. How to tell the world you are a geek, you ask? Use the universal Geek code! Using this special code will allow you to let other un-closeted geeks know who you are in a simple, codified statement.
The single best way to announce your geekhood is to add your geek code to your signature file or plan and announce it far and wide. But be careful, you may give other geeks the courage to come out of the closet. You might want to hang on to your copy of the code in order to help them along.
A NOTE OR TWO FROM THE AUTHOR Well, here it is, finally, version 3.x of the World-Famous Geek Code. Yes, it's taken me much longer to write the new version than it should have. Yes, the old version was hopelessly out of date. I apologize. A combination of too much schooling followed by college graduation delayed it. In addition, there were almost 2,000 suggestions and comments on version 2.1 to wade through for consideration in this version. However, I'm a grad student now (Education Technology, Mankato State University), so I have a lot of time on my hands (yeah, right!). It is my hope that this new version will be much superior to version 2.x. One of the main problems with 2.x was not that it was too long (well, it is too long, but that's irrelevant), but much of its length was attributed to non-geek categories (such as 'barney'). One of the goals of 3.x is to eliminate many of the non-geeky and unimportant categories in order to make room for geeky traits. "More geek, less bullshit" is a good motto. In addition, many of the categories (such as politics) were very poorly developed. These categories have been revamped and expanded to make them more fully cover all the requisite areas.
Finally, despite my opinions to the contrary, I've left some of the "appearance" sections in. I'd like to think of looks as being not a very geeky trait, but it seems that many of the users of the code use it as a litmus test for dating or something. Thus, a geek code has become a replacement for the classic "what do you look like" that once permeated the net. I've eliminated most of the categories, but left the most important ones in. Hey, anything for my fellow geeks...
In other news, the Geek Code is starting to go mainstream. It appeared with commentary in the February '95 issue of Boardwatch magazine as well as the August 1995 issue of Fast Forward, a suplement to The Washington Post. I've also received permission requests from people that want to translate the code into other languages; so far Japanese, Russian, French and ADA (ewww!). It's my hope that perhaps this next year can bring a little more popular media exposure and a true world presence. If you want to write something about the Geek Code, or do a translation, or anything else, please read the copyright notice at the end. It's fairly open, but you don't want to get in trouble, do you? If you do write an article or something about the Geek Code, I would like to have a copy if it for my own records.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The geek code consists of several categories. Each category is labeled with a letter and some qualifiers. Go through each category and determine which set of qualifiers best describes you in that category. By stringing all of these 'codes' together, you are able to construct your overall geek code. It is this single line of code that will inform other geeks the world over of what a great geek you actually are. Some of the qualifiers will very probably not match with you exactly. It is impossible to cover all possibilities in each category. Simply choose that qualifier that most closely matches you. Also, some activities described in a specific qualifier you may not engage in, while you do engage in others. Each description of each qualifier describes the wide range of activities that apply, so as long as you match with one, you can probably use that qualifier.
After you have determined each of your qualifiers, you need to the construct your GEEK CODE BLOCK. Instructions are provided on how to do this towards the end of this file.
Also, pay particular attention to case-sensitivity, there can be a big difference between a 'w' and a 'W'.
Edmund Berkeley first described Simon in his 1949 book, "Giant Brains, or Machines That Think" and went on to publish plans to build Simon in a series of Radio Electronics issues in 1950 and 1951. Simon touched such pioneering computer scientists as Ivan Sutherland, who went on to influence development of interactive graphical personal computers.
Public Information Office Columbia University May 18, 1950
Fact Sheet on "Simon"
What is "Simon"? A very simple model, mechanical brain -- the smallest complete mechanical brain in existence. The machine was conceived by Edmund C. Berkeley, president of E.C. Berkeley and Associates actuarial consultants (of 60 State Street, Boston, and 36 West 11th Street, New York). Mr. Berkeley described the machine, before he had it built, in his book, "Giant Brains, or Machines That Think," which was published last November. In the book, he wrote:
"We shall now consider how we can design a very simple machine that will think.. Let us call it Simon, because of its predecessor, Simple Simon... Simon is so simple and so small in fact that it could be built to fill up less space than a grocery-store box; about four cubic feet....It may seem that a simple model of a mechanical brain like Simon is of no great practical use. On the contrary, Simon has the same use in instruction as a set of simple chemical experiments has: to stimulate thinking and understanding, and to produce training and skill. A training course on mechanical brains could very well include the construction of a simple model mechanical brain, as an exercise.
Who built "Simon"? The machine represents the combined efforts of a skilled mechanic, William A. Porter, of West Medford, Mass., and two Columbia University graduate students of electrical engineering, Robert A. Jensen (of 76-19 175th Street Flushing, L.I., N.Y.) and Andrew Vall (of 4237 Judge Street, Elmhurst, L.I.,N.Y.). Porter did the basic construction, while Jensen and Vall took the machine when it was still not in working order and engineered it so that it functioned. Specifically, they
designed a switching system that made possible the follow-through of a given problem;
set up an automatic synchronizing system;
installed a system for indicated errors due to loss of synchronization;
re-designed completely the power supply of the machine.
In their own words, the two students simply put to work their knowledge of electrical engineering, after mastering the mass of intricate detail with which they were presented last March, when Mr. Berkeley brought "Simon" to Columbia.
Capsule biographies: Vall, 23, received his bachelor's degree from Columbia's school of Engineering in 1949, and is working for his master's degree in electrical engineering. In June, he will join Bell Telephone Laboratories to do electronic development work. He is an Army veteran. Jensen, 25, holds a bachelor's degree from City College (1949) and is now working for his master s degree. He hopes to do development work in the computer or switching field. He is a veteran of three-and-a-half years with the Army Air Forces.
What operations does "Simon" perform? Addition, negation, greater than, and selection.
What did "Simon" Cost? About $600. The time and effort of the two Columbia students was contributed.
What makes "Simon" unique? According to Mr. Berkeley, the machine has established at least half a dozen world's records.
- It is the smallest complete mechanical brain in existence.
- It knows not more than four numbers; it can express only the number 0, 1, 2 and 3.
- It is "guaranteed to make every member of an audience feel superior to it."
- It is a mechanical brain that has cost less than $1,000.
- It can be carried around in one hand (and the power supply in the other hand).
- It can be completely understood by one man.
- It is an excellent device for teaching, lecturing and explaining.
What is the machine's future? Mr. Berkeley's answer follows:
"Simon has two futures. In first place Simon can grow. With another chassis and some wiring and engineering, the machine will be able to compute decimally, Perhaps in six months more, we may be able to have it working on real problems. In the second place, Simon may start a fad of building baby mechanical brains, similar to the hobby of building crystal radio sets that swept the country in the 1920's."
The HP-01 wrist instrument looked like a digital watch but was smarter than many pocket calculators. It performed more than three dozen functions to manipulate and interrelate time, calendar and numeric data. With six interactive functions (time, alarm, timer/stopwatch, date/calendar, calculator and memory) the HP-01 had 28 tiny keys that the user operated with a stylus built into the bracelet.
The HP-01, code-named "Cricket," was not a successful product for HP. It was too bulky and heavy, and HP sold it though upscale jewelry stores. But miniaturizing the math functions was quite an engineering feat, and when HP discontinued manufacturing the HP-01, its inner workings were destroyed so no one would copy the extraordinarily small package engineering. The HP Archives has a few of the remaining elements.
The HP-01 currently is one of the most sought after collectibles in the antique electronics market, often fetching two or three times its original price ($650 for the silver color, $750 for the gold version).
Attachments: Number of Attachments: 2 0022cutaway.jpg Attachment Comments: HP-01 wrist instrument, 1977—cutaway view
Cutaway image Number of Downloads: 350 Filesize: 22.15 KB 0022thumb.jpg Attachment Comments: The HP-01 "calculator watch" performed more than three dozen functions to manipulate and interrelate time, calendar and numeric data. The user operated the 28 tiny keys with a stylus built into the bracelet. Number of Downloads: 350 Filesize: 16.96 KB
On the last day of his mission in Afghanistan, on his way to a firefight, Lieutenant Sam Brown, in his Humvee, hit an improvised exploseive device. The result being, Brown, having 30% of his body being covered with third degree burns. His injuries so severe, he was kept in a medically induced coma for the first few weeks.
Brown endured more than two dozen surgeries. The most excrciating pain came from daily wound care and physical therapy. The pain so unbearable, his superior officers would have to order him to undergo treatment.
Brown was concerned about becoming dependant on the addictive painkilling narcotics given him. His doctor suggested a video game to relieve the pain.
Video Game ? --- Pain Relief ? --- Silly ? --- Not so farfetched !
SnowWorld is a ground breaking experiment in virtual reality. In SnowWorld, Brown could concentrate on throwing snowballs at penguins and mastodons to the music of Paul Simon, instead of focusing on the painful wound care happening at the same time.
SnowWorld uses the age old trick of distraction.
For Sam Brown, SnowWorld was a Godsend. For the first time since his accident, he felt relief from pain, without drugs.
The definitive magic of video gaming, we all knew it was there.
Attachments: Number of Attachments: 5 Brown.jpg Attachment Comments: Brown & Family Today Number of Downloads: 434 Filesize: 62.66 KB SW.jpg Attachment Comments: SnowWorld Number of Downloads: 434 Filesize: 14.02 KB VG.jpg Number of Downloads: 434 Filesize: 11.69 KB 2.jpg Attachment Comments: The Humvee Remains Number of Downloads: 434 Filesize: 16.71 KB SB.jpg Attachment Comments: Lieutenant Sam Brown Number of Downloads: 434 Filesize: 27.47 KB
When I was at school (many years ago), one series of games really captured what PC gaming was all about. The Wing Commander series was unique, original, different and I became hooked from the start. I followed the games right from the first floppy disk version and played them all to completion right up to the final game 'Privateer 2' in 1996. There were attempts to release further games, 'Privateer 3', 'Wing Commander VII' but alas it was not to be. I am also not ashamed to say that I even watched the movie based on the games but the less said about that the better.
Today (10-10-2012) the creator of the series, Chris Roberts unveils his plans for the next game in the series. Star Citizen is his grandest plan to date and if the visuals are anything to go by it is not going to disappoint. Here are a few pictures to get your juices flowing,
I am also currently an avid EVE player and have been for over seven years but somehow EVE never delivered in terms of story or history. Technically it is brilliant and one of the most complex and involving MMORPG games available. Still it does not deliver in terms of action in the same way that the Wing Commander games did all those years ago.
There is just one small problem. No one will back and space game, not to mention a space game on the PC. This is where you come in. Go to his site and make a pledge from as little as $10 (or as much as $10,000, as Clint in Jaws said, '$10,000 for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing' ). Then you will have shown your interest and also provided the team at Star Citizen with confidence to continue their mission, to make the best dam space game ever.
I will see you all ingame hopefully some time very soon. Now go and sign up
An excerpt from "Secrets of the Little Blue Box" by Ron Rosenbaum, printed in the October 1971 issue of Esquire Magazine.
A Phone Phreak Call Takes Care of Business
The next morning I attend a gathering of four phone phreaks in ----- (a California suburb). The gathering takes place in a comfortable split-level home in an upper-middle-class subdivision. Heaped on the kitchen table are the portable cassette recorders, M-F cassettes, phone patches, and line ties of the four phone phreaks present. On the kitchen counter next to the telephone is a shoe-box-size blue box with thirteen large toggle switches for the tones. The parents of the host phone phreak, Ralph, who is blind, stay in the living room with their sighted children. They are not sure exactly what Ralph and his friends do with the phone or if it's strictly legal, but he is blind and they are pleased he has a hobby which keeps him busy.
The group has been working at reestablishing the historic "2111" conference, reopening some toll-free loops, and trying to discover the dimensions of what seem to be new initiatives against phone phreaks by phone-company security agents.
It is not long before I get a chance to see, to hear, Randy at work. Randy is known among the phone phreaks as perhaps the finest con man in the game. Randy is blind. He is pale, soft and pear-shaped, he wears baggy pants and a wrinkly nylon white sport shirt, pushes his head forward from hunched shoulders somewhat like a turtle inching out of its shell. His eyes wander, crossing and recrossing, and his forehead is somewhat pimply. He is only sixteen years old.
But when Randy starts speaking into a telephone mouthpiece his voice becomes so stunningly authoritative it is necessary to look again to convince yourself it comes from a chubby adolescent Randy. Imagine the voice of a crack oil-rig foreman, a tough, sharp, weather-beaten Marlboro man of forty. Imagine the voice of a brilliant performance-fund gunslinger explaining how he beats the Dow Jones by thirty percent. Then imagine a voice that could make those two sound like Stepin Fetchit. That is sixteen-year-old Randy's voice.
He is speaking to a switchman in Detroit. The phone company in Detroit had closed up two toll-free loop pairs for no apparent reason, although heavy use by phone phreaks all over the country may have been detected. Randy is telling the switchman how to open up the loop and make it free again:
"How are you, buddy. Yeah. I'm on the board in here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and we've been trying to run some tests on your loop-arounds and we find'em busied out on both sides.... Yeah, we've been getting a 'BY' on them, what d'ya say, can you drop cards on 'em? Do you have 08 on your number group? Oh that's okay, we've had this trouble before, we may have to go after the circuit. Here lemme give 'em to you: your frame is 05, vertical group 03, horizontal 5, vertical file 3. Yeah, we'll hang on here.... Okay, found it? Good. Right, yeah, we'd like to clear that busy out. Right. All you have to do is look for your key on the mounting plate, it's in your miscellaneous trunk frame. Okay? Right. Now pull your key from NOR over the LCT. Yeah. I don't know why that happened, but we've been having trouble with that one. Okay. Thanks a lot fella. Be seein' ya."
Randy hangs up, reports that the switchman was a little inexperienced with the loop-around circuits on the miscellaneous trunk frame, but that the loop has been returned to its free-call status.
Delighted, phone phreak Ed returns the pair of numbers to the active-status column in his directory. Ed is a superb and painstaking researcher. With almost Talmudic thoroughness he will trace tendrils of hints through soft-wired mazes of intervening phone-company circuitry back through complex linkages of switching relays to find the location and identity of just one toll-free loop. He spends hours and hours, every day, doing this sort of thing. He has somehow compiled a directory of eight hundred "Band-six in-WATS numbers" located in over forty states. Band-six in-WATS numbers are the big 800 numbers -- the ones that can be dialed into free from anywhere in the country.
Ed the researcher, a nineteen-year-old engineering student, is also a superb technician. He put together his own working blue box from scratch at age seventeen. (He is sighted.) This evening after distributing the latest issue of his in-WATS directory (which has been typed into Braille for the blind phone phreaks), he announces he has made a major new breakthrough:
"I finally tested it and it works, perfectly. I've got this switching matrix which converts any touch-tone phone into an M-F-er."
The tones you hear in touch-tone phones are not the M-F tones that operate the long-distance switching system. Phone phreaks believe A.T.&T. had deliberately equipped touch tones with a different set of frequencies to avoid putting the six master M-F tones in the hands of every touch-tone owner. Ed's complex switching matrix puts the six master tones, in effect put a blue box, in the hands of every touch-tone owner.
Ed shows me pages of schematics, specifications and parts lists. "It's not easy to build, but everything here is in the Heathkit catalog."
Ed asks Ralph what progress he has made in his attempts to reestablish a long-term open conference line for phone phreaks. The last big conference -- the historic "2111" conference -- had been arranged through an unused Telex test-board trunk somewhere in the innards of a 4A switching machine in Vancouver, Canada. For months phone phreaks could M-F their way into Vancouver, beep out 604 (the Vancouver area code) and then beep out 2111 (the internal phone-company code for Telex testing), and find themselves at any time, day or night, on an open wire talking with an array of phone phreaks from coast to coast, operators from Bermuda, Tokyo and London who are phone-phreaksympathizers, and miscellaneous guests and technical experts. The conference was a massive exchange of information. Phone phreaks picked each other's brains clean, then developed new ways to pick the phone company's brains clean.
Ralph gave M F Boogies concerts with his home-entertainment-type electric organ, Captain Crunch demonstrated his round-the-world prowess with his notorious computerized unit and dropped leering hints of the "action" he was getting with his girl friends. (The Captain lives out or pretends to live out several kinds of fantasies to the gossipy delight of the blind phone phreaks who urge him on to further triumphs on behalf of all of them.) The somewhat rowdy Northwest phone-phreak crowd let their bitter internal feud spill over into the peaceable conference line, escalating shortly into guerrilla warfare; Carl the East Coast international tone relations expert demonstrated newly opened direct M-F routes to central offices on the island of Bahrein in the Persian Gulf, introduced a new phone-phreak friend of his in Pretoria, and explained the technical operation of the new Oakland-to Vietnam linkages. (Many phone phreaks pick up spending money by M-F-ing calls from relatives to Vietnam G.I.'s, charging $5 for a whole hour of trans-Pacific conversation.)
Day and night the conference line was never dead. Blind phone phreaks all over the country, lonely and isolated in homes filled with active sighted brothers and sisters, or trapped with slow and unimaginative blind kids in straitjacket schools for the blind, knew that no matter how late it got they could dial up the conference and find instant electronic communion with two or three other blind kids awake over on the other side of America. Talking together on a phone hookup, the blind phone phreaks say, is not much different from being there together. Physically, there was nothing more than a two-inch-square wafer of titanium inside a vast machine on Vancouver Island. For the blind kids >there< meant an exhilarating feeling of being in touch, through a kind of skill and magic which was peculiarly their own.
Last April 1, however, the long Vancouver Conference was shut off. The phone phreaks knew it was coming. Vancouver was in the process of converting from a step-by-step system to a 4A machine and the 2111 Telex circuit was to be wiped out in the process. The phone phreaks learned the actual day on which the conference would be erased about a week ahead of time over the phone company's internal-news-and-shop-talk recording.
For the next frantic seven days every phone phreak in America was on and off the 2111 conference twenty-four hours a day. Phone phreaks who were just learning the game or didn't have M-F capability were boosted up to the conference by more experienced phreaks so they could get a glimpse of what it was like before it disappeared. Top phone phreaks searched distant area codes for new conference possibilities without success. Finally in the early morning of April 1, the end came.
"I could feel it coming a couple hours before midnight," Ralph remembers. "You could feel something going on in the lines. Some static began showing up, then some whistling wheezing sound. Then there were breaks. Some people got cut off and called right back in, but after a while some people were finding they were cut off and couldn't get back in at all. It was terrible. I lost it about one a.m., but managed to slip in again and stay on until the thing died... I think it was about four in the morning. There were four of us still hanging on when the conference disappeared into nowhere for good. We all tried to M-F up to it again of course, but we got silent termination. There was nothing there."
An end of an era of phreaking came to an end April !, 1970, sadly it was no April Fools joke. Or was it the end...????????.....................
This Vista Gadget will add a simple "phreaker's" audio bluebox to your sidebar BlueBox is a gadget that will add an audio BlueBox to your Vista Sidebar or desktop.
For those of you that don't know, a blue box was a phreakers [telephone....um....enthusiast] toy that simulated the DTMF [Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency] tones used to dial a touch tone telephone.
As you'd expect, they can mimic the usual keys (1-9,0,# and *). In addition, there are 4 more tones (keys A,B,C and D) that were generally reserved for special functions.