Spacetraindriver

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There's a neat effect below -45C, when streetlights shining downwards have a column of light going straight up above them. Something to do with ice crystals falling in a flat orientation.

Ah, that wonderful feeling of stepping off a plane onto the tarmac in Ft St John in the winter, and the snot in your nose freezes solid...

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1 hour ago, Shpaget said:

May I poison your dreams with Curta?

Found out about Curtas via William Gibson, and I'm also in the "gosh maybe I could sell a kidney to buy one of those" camp.

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Spoiler

A Goa'uld wand.
They had no chance on this planet.

3 hours ago, DDE said:

Tlcn8SwgfxeXzsKI.file

 

 

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2 hours ago, stibbons said:

Found out about Curtas via William Gibson, and I'm also in the "gosh maybe I could sell a kidney to buy one of those" camp.

Ditto. I could buy one on EBay, but then my wife would probably beat me to death with it. :D

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17 minutes ago, TheSaint said:

Ditto. I could buy one on EBay, but then my wife would probably beat me to death with it. :D

That'd probably damage the calculator, which would be a shame.

 

Edited by qzgy

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You see, normally you can wipe the fog off of your glasses when you go outside, but when it's this cold it just freezes onto them and you can't really do anything except take them off because they're just sun shades now until you go back inside.

Edited by cubinator

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Think positive, gentlemen.
Now you can fuel your bottle rockets with liquid ammonia. Its boiling point is -33°C.

Edited by kerbiloid

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15 hours ago, cubinator said:

Minnesnowta. I've been wearing little less than a spacesuit to go outside. No class tomorrow, but I'll go outside in the morning just to experience it for a bit - maybe insta-freeze a cup of boiling water or something and evaluate whether I really want to go to the South Pole.

Hehe. I live there, and my heat isn't working... Pic related. The boiler sprung a leak, and has been slowly rotting the floor. Yesterday, it went from long soak to steady dripping and dropped pressure. Also, cause I grew up in Minnesota... I still went outside to catch some Pokemon on my phone.

dHOdizh.jpg

Edited by richfiles
I cooked tater tots in the oven... For warmth... They are already cold... Oh no... Guess I need to turn the oven on some more...

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On 1/30/2019 at 4:44 AM, Shpaget said:

May I poison your dreams with Curta?

Now THAT is a lovely piece of engineering!

They are not uncommon on ebay, but squarely out of my budget.

Oh, a Curta is definitely my second holy grail for mechanical calculating machines, mainly for it's elegance, size, and the incredible story of it's creator. The reason it's not at the top, is mainly cause they are not actually rare. A good many curtal were sold, and they are generally always available, if you have the cash to fork over for one.


As for my first choice of holy grail for a mechanical calculator... That would be the Friden SRW 10. This thing has one key press square root calculation, and is 100% mechanical. You enter your number on the main keyboard, then press a single key at the bottom row to indicate where the decimal point is, and it'll spit out a square root! If you are wondering how decimals are handled for other calculations... That's handled up at the top carriage. Really proficient users of these could take advantage of the fact that you could enter entire numbers simultaneously, using up to all 10 fingers at once, pressing multiple digits simultaneously.

srw.jpg

 

Needless to say, not many of these are around... They were rare when new, expensive when new, and so complex, that I think the Old Calculator Museum only knows of three working examples. I'll probably never have a chance to own one. :(

===

And to anyone curious about the machine I'd mentioned earlier, the HP 9100, this is it, with the printer accessory.
A broken version of this is what I saw on ebay right now. I want one so bad, but it's out of my league!

9100bqpl.jpg

This one is entirely electronic. CRT display, scientific functionality, programable, expandable, with magnetic card strip based data saving capacity. It allowed for self modifying programs, and was blackout safe... You could turn it off, even mid calculation, and when you turned it back on, it'd continue without a hitch, error free! It was released in 1968, when slide rules were still king. There is not ONE SINGLE DIGITAL CHIP inside of it! All the logic is done with transistor based flip-flops, and resistor-diode logic gates. The RAM is magnetic core memory (each bit is made from a single ferrite bead woven into a mesh of wires). The unit has two ROMs... The control ROM is 1.8k bits (64 29-bit words) and used a wire braid toroidal core design... Kinda like a non-rewritable core memory. The main ROM was 32K bits (512 64-bit words) and contained the main microcode program that allowed the calculator to function. Back in 1968, the traditional way to make a ROM was to use individual diodes, but a diode cost about 25 cents back then. Assuming an average of half ones and half zeroes, a 32Kbit ROM could take possibly 16000 diodes, or in other words, be physically massive and take possibly $4000 in diodes alone (in 1968 money), on top of the already high cost of the rest of the machine! The solution to this dilemma was genius! The program ROM was built on a 16 layer printed circuit board and achieved a density of 1000 bits per square inch. Pulses were sent down drive lines and were inductively coupled onto a differential pair of sense lines. Based on whether the drive wires "zigged" or "zagged", this produced either a 1 or 0 based on the polarity detected on the sense lines. 64 sense amplifier/latch circuits read the results and in turn drove the calculator's logic circuits. The engineers went from requiring an estimated 16000 diodes on a circuit board to requiring absolutely no components at all on the circuit board to store the 32-Kbits of data! The only components required are the line drivers and sense circuits at the edge of the ROM, reading it's componentless contents!

HP_9100A_ROM_microphotograph.jpg

Now that's a stroke of genius! :cool:
...

And I CAN'T AFFORD even a BROKEN one!!! ;.;

Edited by richfiles

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49 minutes ago, richfiles said:

Oh, a Curta is definitely my second holy grail for mechanical calculating machines, mainly for it's elegance, size, and the incredible story of it's creator. The reason it's not at the top, is mainly cause they are not actually rare. A good many curtal were sold, and they are generally always available, if you have the cash to fork over for one.


As for my first choice of holy grail for a mechanical calculator... That would be the Friden SRW 10. This thing has one key press square root calculation, and is 100% mechanical. You enter your number on the main keyboard, then press a single key at the bottom row to indicate where the decimal point is, and it'll spit out a square root! If you are wondering how decimals are handled for other calculations... That's handled up at the top carriage. Really proficient users of these could take advantage of the fact that you could enter entire numbers simultaneously, using up to all 10 fingers at once, pressing multiple digits simultaneously.

srw.jpg

 

Needless to say, not many of these are around... They were rare when new, expensive when new, and so complex, that I think the Old Calculator Museum only knows of three working examples. I'll probably never have a chance to own one. :(

I would buy one and then be unable to resist the urge to take it apart to figure out how it works.

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1 hour ago, TheSaint said:

I would buy one and then be unable to resist the urge to take it apart to figure out how it works.

I've heard that taking it apart is an excellent way to (almost) permanently destroy Curta. Reassembly requires special custom tools.

A few years ago I was snooping around an abandoned building and found a mechanical desktop calculator (the type with a crank on the side). I rehomed it and as far as I've tested it, it functions perfectly.

It looks like this, only with more dirt and grime:

PICT1630.JPG

Edited by Shpaget

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Our townhouse complex is 20 years old. They’ve had to fix three broken pipes in  the last 18 months or so. Woke up this morning and had no water again.  I hope it’s back on when I get home from work...

Obviously they need to replace the whole water system in our complex. At least the strata has a healthy contingency fund, a product of high strata fees. Better that than being charged special levies for this sort of thing. The roofs were just done last year...

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January 31.

It’s raining in Moscow, and as a consequence

On 1/30/2019 at 3:45 PM, Barzon Kerman said:

I'm really ill.

 

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I installed OBS for video recording today, and it doesn't record very well for me.

KSP runs at about 37 fps with Scatterer, EVE and some other mods. OBS records at perhaps not even 20. Apparently this is a GPU related problem, where OBS simply can't render the frames fast enough.

Edited by Delay

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On 1/27/2019 at 8:56 PM, TheSaint said:

I went to boot camp, A school, and nuclear power school at the old Naval Training Center Orlando, so I was there for just over a year. When I flew home after A School (in July) and came back with my car and civilian clothes I made sure I brought a good winter coat. My roommates, who were from Tennessee and Missouri, and brought back nothing but shorts and T-shirts, laughed at me. "What are you bringing a winter coat to Florida for!" But I remembered all of those news stories I had seen over the years about farmers in Florida having it rough because surprise frosts had killed their citrus crops. On about the middle of January, my roommates weren't laughing anymore. 

Not so long after Katrina rolled though the Gulf Coast, I went down to Biloxi in January to help rebuild some homes.  I left from Columbus, OH, in the middle of a blizzard, fully expecting to enjoy the warm southern climes that the Gulf has to offer.  Boy was I mad when I had to spend my first few moments scraping ice off my rental car. 

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1 hour ago, Gargamel said:

Boy was I mad when I had to spend my first few moments scraping ice off my rental car. 

Did the rental have an ice scraper thrown in? Or was severe improvization involved?

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6 minutes ago, DDE said:

Did the rental have an ice scraper thrown in? Or was severe improvization involved?

I actually don't remember...  I'm thinking it was improvised.   I remember going to the beach and slipping on some ice during a lunch break.   I was so mad the whole time. 

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3 hours ago, DDE said:

Or was severe improvization involved?

Credit cards work great!

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I like playing rainbow 6 with my friends but don’t have a mic’ed headset and don’t wanna install discord on the family laptop. My mom wants the laptop to stay in the family room. At night I would take the laptop to my room and be in a discord voice chat on my phone and then be playing siege on the computer. Because I don’t have any two way adapters, I’m not using a ear buds or headphones. My mom has since been taking the computer into her room at night.

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12 hours ago, StrandedonEarth said:

Credit cards work great!

Probably they accept cash, too.
But anyway watch your wallet; and if they suggest you to buy the brick which they are holding in hands, better do it.

 

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A while back, I bought an 8 TB hard dive, cause I was running out of space (I have a lot of video on my machine, and have multiple 2 TB, two 3 TB, a 4 TB, and a 6 TB drive already full). Something about my hardware is just... NOT compatible with that drive, and the BIOS will hang right after post, when it starts looking for a boot drive, if I boot with it attached. I have to PHYSICALLY detach the SATA cable (which I have configured as eSATA to allow hot swapping), power up or reset the computer, let my Hackintosh boot loader load up (cause it hangs too, if the drive is plugged in), manually type in my "-v" and "nvda_drv=1" flags (cause I'm too much of a derp to figure out how to get them to be saved permanently), and once the boatloader has started booting from my Mac OS drive, THEN I can plug in the SATA cable, and the drive operates normally within the OS.

It's... Inconvenient and troubling... Enough that I hate restarting my computer. I'll go months between restarts... Unfortunately, my power went out yesterday.

Well, I derped... I grabbed the power cable, not the SATA cable, and went through that. Drive didn't mount. Went into my Disc Utilities software, saw the drive, but with no volume name, only the disc ID. Tried to mount... Nope. Tried to verify... Nope... Disc needs repairs. Tried to repair... NOPE! Disk Utility can not repair this disc. Backup files and reformat disc. :0.0: It was able to load the disc as Read Only, but at this point, I'd already figured something happened with the boot process... I hoped. Drive is already more full than not. I did a restart, this time pulling the SATA cable, and not the power cable. When the computer was booted again, the drive mounted properly, as a read/write drive, and I checked it with Disc Utility. It did detect some corruption in about a dozen files, and in part of the directory structure, but it was able to rebuild the directory. Really hate those unexpected power failures. Hate even more that "Oh God, did I just lose 4.1 TB!" feeling! :o

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Perhaps you could make an automated switch to "plug in" the drive after boot? Something like a timer that triggers 30 or so seconds after power up, flips the relays (SATA has 7 pins, but three are GND, so only 5 lines) and once your OS boots you run an automated script to do the -v and nvda_drv=1, whatever that means. I'm not sure if the PCB would need some shielding or special routing to preserve signal integrity, but why not try?

/Thinking out loud.

My powerline adapter (network over mains) is similarly stupid. If there is a period of a couple of minutes without some traffic, it shuts down and won't restart without plugging it out and back in again. So I have script that starts pinging the router as soon as the windows boot. Annoying, but adapter is otherwise functioning fine and I'm pretty happy about its performance.

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The boatloader runs immediately after the POST, when the BIOS starts loading a boot drive. It loads before the OS, to tell the OS that "Yeeeees... This is totally a legit an Apple machine... Honest! Just use these drivers, not your stock stuff, and run this kernel patch... okay, good, now you're a Mac". Then Mac OS starts up, once it's been tweaked enough that it'll run on stock standard PC hardware. Those flags are what boots me in verbose mode (text booting, rather than the "shiny" but uselessly uninformative grey apple logo with a progress bar), and loads my Nvidia drivers. I rather like my 980ti to NOT lock me to a single low resolution with no graphics acceleration. The driver's pretty important. All this happens before the OS itself loads.

I am very concerned about signal integrity and what feeding SATA data signals through a relay would do. SATA uses differential signaling, typically with two pairs of individually shielded conductors, often twin-axial, in good cables. Not having the appropriate shielding and electrical characteristics could allow noise to be introduced into the signal, reducing or preventing reliable transmission speeds or capacities, especially with higher speed SATA connections.

The issue with the machine, is it's not a real Mac, and the motherboard is from 2013. Something in the BIOS, even though the board has it's latest BIOS, or the SATA controller, just does not like some aspect of that 8 TB hard drive. I think the board may just be too old to be able to handle volumes of that size. Once it's passed the boot process, the OS has no problem dealing with it. I was planning on making this the year I replaced it, but with my job loss, that's not looking likely.

My HP color laser printer does the same network garbage... What's the point of having WiFi printing, if I have to turn it off, and then back on again to get it to work after 15 minutes! Ugh!

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6 hours ago, richfiles said:

What's the point of having WiFi printing, if I have to turn it off, and then back on again to get it to work after 15 minutes!

That big, fancy WiFi symbol on the box and the associated price hike.

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