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Why is the year '1970'?


Chel
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Hi all, I just went to the last page of most topics, and found some posts, and when I read the dates, they were 'January 1, 1970'. Obviously, the internet didn't exist in 1970. KSP didn't exist. The creator of KSP didn't exist, either. So, how can there be posts from 1970? The first post was from HarvestR, or Felipe Falanghe (The glorious man who gave us this great game), and it's dated on January 1, 1970. But then, if the internet, KSP, Felipe, and 'computers' (computers that had screens and inputs, like the late 1980s and 1990s), then how come there's several posts from the 1st of Jan 1970? Could someone explain this to me??? :/

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15 minutes ago, The_Cat_In_Space said:

how come there's several posts from the 1st of Jan 1970? Could someone explain this to me?

Someone got a little crazy and got the forum up to 88 miles per hour.

 

 

16 minutes ago, The_Cat_In_Space said:

(computers that had screens and inputs, like the late 1980s and 1990s)

...
Words fail me.  You must be quite young.

Spoiler

Spacewar_screenshot.jpg

 

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10 minutes ago, razark said:

Someone got a little crazy and got the forum up to 88 miles per hour.

 

 

...
Words fail me.  You must be quite young.

  Hide contents

Spacewar_screenshot.jpg

 

Isn't that computer like one of the first to have a screen or something? Wasn't it in a lab, when they were first making computers? And I mean 'commercially available' computers, that people could buy from stores.

28 minutes ago, HebaruSan said:

The timestamps in the database probably got reset to 0 or were never imported in the first place. Unix time starts on Jan 1 1970.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unix_time

Ok, thanks. So that's why the posts are on Jan 1 1970. Thanks!

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2 minutes ago, The_Cat_In_Space said:

Isn't that computer like one of the first to have a screen or something? Wasn't it in a lab, when they were first making computers?

Probably not, but I can't be certain right now.  It's a PDP-1, first produced in 1959.  It's about 15 years after the first electronic computers.  It was not uncommon in labs, but mostly because the labs purchased them.

 

5 minutes ago, The_Cat_In_Space said:

And I mean 'commercially available' computers, that people could buy from stores.

Well, "stores" is a bit loose of a term, but computers were commercially available in the 1950s.

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10 hours ago, razark said:

Well, "stores" is a bit loose of a term, but computers were commercially available in the 1950s.

Of course, there was still the cost.  DEC launched the PDP-7 in 1965 for $72k, and Steve Wozniak was excited by its "low price" [this might have been even later after a price drop*].  When his father informed him that the thing still cost more than his house, the Woz would have to go and build his own computer.  For something people could buy in a store you would have to wait until about 1977 for the release of the Apple 2 and the TRS-80 (radio shack special.  Not recommended).  The TRS-80 came with a [blocky-black and white] screen, the Apple plugged into your TV.

Not that these were the absolute earliest, but considering how famous the 1975 MITS Altair 8800 was (that you had to solder together, input was manual switches and there was no output screen) at $400, I'm comfortable claiming that the "personal/home" computer era started in 1977.  If you just wanted the screen and didn't need to own the computer, hackers had spent at least a decade earlier hacking through the night hours on single-user (no punch card) machines.

* My parents bought a house outside of Washington DC around 1972.  It was still cheaper than the PDP-7.

Edited by wumpus
added comment about price of PDP-7, 2nd spelling
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1 hour ago, wumpus said:

...I'm comfortable claiming that the "personal/home" computer era started in 1977...

Seems fair.  Wikipedia supports that with "The introduction of three computers aimed at personal users in 1977, the Radio Shack TRS-80, Apple II, and Commodore PET, significantly changed the market and led to the home computer revolution"

Commodore Pet was my own object of desire and the RM 380Z the first "micro-computer" I actually used (also released 1977).  Apple II was the first I used professionally, starting work in computing in 1980.

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The personal computer revolution being irrelevant, the point still stands that "computers that had screens and inputs" well predate the "late 1980s".

 

4 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

Also, the PDP-1 was used to play one of the first ever video games, Spacewar! which is my favorite "Old" video game.

One of the reasons I used the screenshot I did.

 

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possible explanations, starting from the mundane and getting increasingly fantasic.

- jan 1, 1970 is Unix zero time. the related post date/time field in the forum db has been set to zero/null and the software is interpreting it as best it can

- the forum has been hacked and some data changed.

- quantum

- the game and the forums have been in existence that long. what you are seeing are simply transcriptions of the old corkboard discussions. Which is where the modern usage of boards comes from.

- Illuminati

- They are actually posts from the future and the time field has simply overflowed.

- Kebals

- quantum

- time traveling Kerbals

- quantum

- [Redacted by order of O-5 [expunged]]

 

 

 

 

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Moving to Science & Spaceflight, since this conversation has turned out to be pretty much entirely about computers, their history, and Unix timestamps.

(Conceivably could go into Kerbal Network, since the OP did ask a question about timestamps on the forum... except that the discussion has entirely been about computers in general, and even the OP did ask why specifically January 1, 1970.  So Science & Spaceflight seems like a more natural home for it.)

And yes,

2 hours ago, razark said:

The personal computer revolution being irrelevant, the point still stands that "computers that had screens and inputs" well predate the "late 1980s".

^ this.

I still have fond memories of my first personal computer, an Apple II+ I managed to cajole my parents into ponying up half the cost of in 1982.  Mowed a whole lot of lawns and babysat a lot of kids to make up my half of the cost.  Best thousand bucks I ever spent.  It's what eventually turned me into the professional computer nerd I am today.  :)

It had a monitor and a keyboard.  Ridiculously primitive by today's standards (no hard drive, 5.25" floppy drive, a whopping 48K of RAM!), but quite recognizable as a computer even by young folk today.

If you're not old enough to remember those days and would like to get a feel for what "computer game" meant then, here's an Apple II emulator running the "Taipan!" game on a web page.  I wasted many happy hours on this game.  It was fun, and state-of-the-art!  (I really had fun once I found an exploit.  You can borrow money, and get charged usurious compound interest for it.  Turns out the game has a bug that lets you borrow negative money, which means the player gets paid the usurious interest.  Which quickly leads to stupidly huge profits.  Ah, memories.)

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Oh, are we playing "who remembers the good old days" again ?

ZX81- rubber keys and a fried out 60cm black and white tv crt. That is 1,5cm/char :-)

Couldn't afford an Apple ][, but later one of the clones.

Edited by Green Baron
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I still have the ZX81 my father assembled in my desk drawer.  I'm missing the converter to hook it up to a TV.  And a TV that I could actually hook it to.  I even have a couple of cassette tapes with programs on them.

I recall the last time I tried to run it (10 years ago?) it didn't work.

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1 hour ago, Snark said:

I still have fond memories of my first personal computer, an Apple II+ I managed to cajole my parents into ponying up half the cost of in 1982.  Mowed a whole lot of lawns and babysat a lot of kids to make up my half of the cost.  Best thousand bucks I ever spent.  It's what eventually turned me into the professional computer nerd I am today.  :)

It had a monitor and a keyboard.  Ridiculously primitive by today's standards (no hard drive, 5.25" floppy drive, a whopping 48K of RAM!), but quite recognizable as a computer even by young folk today.

If you're not old enough to remember those days and would like to get a feel for what "computer game" meant then, here's an Apple II emulator running the "Taipan!" game on a web page.  I wasted many happy hours on this game.  It was fun, and state-of-the-art!  (I really had fun once I found an exploit.  You can borrow money, and get charged usurious compound interest for it.  Turns out the game has a bug that lets you borrow negative money, which means the player gets paid the usurious interest.  Which quickly leads to stupidly huge profits.  Ah, memories.)

Yep, our first computer was an Apple II+. Much like yours, except we couldn't afford a dedicated monitor so we had an old TV with an RF converter. I am still to this day impressed that my father, who had a third-grade education and could barely read and write, had the wisdom to see that computers were the future and spent what amounted to the price of a good used car for it.

When my brother graduated high school he got a job as a programmer (instead of going to college, much to my father's chagrin) and bought himself an Amiga 1000. After he moved out my parents surprised me with a Commodore 64 for my birthday gift. And then after I graduated high school I joined the Navy (instead of going to college, much to my father's chagrin) and when I finally settled at a duty station I bought myself an Amiga 500. Kept that one until I bought my first IBM-compatible in 1994.

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UNIX birthday, the "true" OS, the real thing.

I have found myself working and enjoying Solaris-powered (Unix-certified proprietary thing) PCs much more than Windows 2K at University, so switching from Windows XP to Linux the day Vista rolled out (after over 10 years using MS products) was a logical step.

The time in Unix is stored in seconds and the seconds are stored in 32-bit value, so 4GiB of seconds is the maximum. So, what happens when 4GiB runs out on 32bit "real thing"? Back to the future!

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Couple of years ago the forum crashed. And burned. Badly. A lot of accounts got wiped out (including my own original one), plenty of threads got annihilated. Recovering what could be recovered took like... months. I wouldn't be surprised if internal calendar took the chance to glitch hard and corrupt timestamps across the board.

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I don't remember the old System V but on linux that is too generalized. Not all the files actually have a representation on disc, but most do. In principle everything is a file and opening a socket means passing a file descriptor (but it is some time ago that i last crashed a pc offended the kernel doing such things ...)

man 7 socket

man 7 fifo

tty connections are definitely files. My x11 knowledge is too limited but i would be surprised if the connections were not represented through files, thinking of what nasty things one can do with them ...

Edit: tcp connections are files in /proc/net/tcp, i would be astonished if other protocols would get a special handling ... but i can be wrong.

I am wrong, only the queue handles are listed there ... i will probably soon be taught ... :-)

Edited by Green Baron
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@The_Cat_In_Space, when we take the content from one version of forum software and move it to a new one, some formatting and other details can be lost. What you are seeing are a few posts so old that their original posting dates got misplaced during forum transitions. The 1970 date is a default which arises from some arcane aspects of early software standards, and it was used (automatically) to fill in for missing data. 

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13 hours ago, Snark said:

Moving to Science & Spaceflight, since this conversation has turned out to be pretty much entirely about computers, their history, and Unix timestamps

Yes. What once was a simple question on the dates of some posts, has now become a topic for talking about the history of early computers... :rolleyes:

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