Archive
Computers
Two Bytes Are Better Than One (Oct, 1977)

Two Bytes Are Better Than One

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THE FLOPPY ROM: Software Distributed on Records (Oct, 1977)

Back in my Apple II days, I would occasionally get a magazine that came with a 5-1/4″ floppy inside. Later, of course, CD inserts became commonplace. But around the time I was learning to walk, Interface Age was shipping software by Flexi Disc. Little plastic records. First at 300, then 1200bps. It looked like it was insanely hard to get working but I find the idea that people went to this much trouble pretty inspiring.

I’ve attached some photos from my trusty BioniCam where you can see the binary nature of the disc, though I borked the focus ring so the 400x ones are a bit blurry.

Also, I wasn’t sloppy with the scanning. All that white crap in the record images is actually on the underside of the scanner glass. I guess I’m going to have to tear the thing apart and clean the inside too.

THE FLOPPY ROM #2

(Happy Computing with a General Ledger Account Program)

By popular request this month’s Floppy ROM™ is a business program rather than a software development program. The reception to Bud Shamburger’s General Payroll Package in the June issue was overwhelming with many additional requests for his General Ledger Package to be featured on a Floppy ROM™.

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COMPUTER SEX? (Oct, 1977)

Tease.

COMPUTER SEX?

Not yet… but the INFO 2000 ADAPTER MATES the BEST HARDWARE to the FINEST SOFTWARE.

INFO 2000 ADAPTER and Disk Monitor + PerSci Drives and Intelligent Controller + TDL Software + your S-100 or Digital Group Z-80 Computer = the fastest, most useful microcomputer system for your money.

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What if you choose HP products to enhance your productivity? (May, 1980)

Being immersed in our current open source rich culture, the idea of paying $4000 ($11,400 in 2013 dollars) for a Pascal compiler seems a bit mad.

Also, while reading in software via a giant spool of bar code is pretty weird, it is not the crazy method I teased earlier. That’s coming next week.

What if you choose HP products to enhance your productivity?

For example: PASCAL/1000, a modern computer language that makes programs simple to write, easy to debug, and inexpensive to maintain.

Pascal/1000 is Hewlett-Packard’s new, high-level, structured programming language for HP 1000 computers. By “structured,” we mean that a Pascal program is written in modules in much the same way that a building is put together with standard building blocks.

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Just how simple do word processors have to get before you begin using one? (Mar, 1988)

Just how simple do word processors have to get before you begin using one?

Even simpler than your old typewriter?

No problem. Because we’ve made one that eliminates all the intimidating things you’ve always associated with word processors.

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HOW TO HIT A SUPERSONIC MISSILE in flight? (Jul, 1954)

I’m not certain, but I’d guess that if the question is “How do you shoot down a missile going 1,200 miles per hour with a gun, in 1954?” the answer is: you don’t.

HOW TO HIT A SUPERSONIC MISSILE in flight?

An enemy guided missile comes winging towards our task force … at speeds of up to 20 miles a minute. What kind of computer can predict and compute the necessary data fast enough to shoot down the missile… and be reliable every time? That was the problem posed to Ford Instrument Company engineers… and in cooperation with the Navy, they found the answer. Compact equipment, housed in easy-to-service units… that stand at the front line of our defense.

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Macintosh – Patronizing the Naive User (Jul, 1984)

The complaints in articles about Apple seem strangely timeless.

Patronizing the Naive User

There is a lot of talk now about the naive user, what the naive user doesn’t want, and the hazards from which the naive user must be protected. Unfortunately, some of the steps that computer companies take on behalf of the naive user show a misunderstanding of what “naive” means in this context.

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World’s smallest what? (Apr, 1980)

In 1982 (two years after this article was published) the Cray-XMP was one of, if not the, most powerful computers in the world. It had 16 MB of ram and in a dual processor configuration could hit 400 MFLOPS. It also occupied something like 50 square feet, used an ungodly amount of power and cost around $32,000,000 in today’s dollars.

By comparison, the Apple A6 processor used in the iPhone 5 is built using a 32nm process, so smaller than the lines in that picture. It has 1GB, or 64 times as much memory and the setting aside the dual core CPUs, the graphics cores alone hit about 25 GFLOPS or about 60 times the performance of the Cray. The A6 is about 97 square millimeters in area and costs around $17.50. And of course, it does this all with out Josephson Junctions or a cryostat.

If you want to see what a modern supercomputer looks like, check out the Cray Titan.

World’s smallest what?

I haven’t checked, but somehow I don’t think the Guinness Book of Records has this one. Scientists at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center claim they have made the world’s smallest experimental circuit elements.

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DESIGN a voice command system with the Siliconix CODEC & WIN an Apple! (Jul, 1978)

DESIGN a voice command system with the Siliconix CODEC & WIN an Apple!

Enter the Siliconix CODEC Design Contest and win an Apple II — the world’s best-selling personal computer — or another great prize. All you have to do is use Siliconix’ CODEC to design a microprocessor-based system which responds to your spoken words (or talks back to you).

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INFOCOM – DEADLINE (May, 1982)

When I used to buy Infocom games in the 80′s I always loved how they came with all sorts of “props” in the box. Particularly the Microscopic Space Fleet in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Also, how crazy is it to see a video game ad that mentions availability for the PDP-11?

DEADLINE

Twelve hours to find the murderer. One false move, and he kills again.

You are about to investigate one of the deadliest plots in the annals of crime. A locked door. A dead man. And 12 hours to solve the murder. That’s where you begin. Ahead of you, a treacherous web of motives and suspicion. And only by bringing your utmost skills of logic and intuition into play can you successfully solve the case.

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