atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#1541: 5.25" disk drive

The Commodore 1541 was the first floppy drive I ever owned. It was a half-height, single-sided, single density 5.25" floppy drive in a case about seven inches wide, five high, and fifteen long. It weighed several pounds thanks to the huge transformer for the power supply; it was a "smart" serial device with its own on-board processor. It cost $200 in the summer of 1983.

It stored 170k. Not "meg" or "gig"--K. As in kilobytes--and there was no DOS. Want to load a file? You typed:

LOAD"FILENAME",8

All C-64 users are familiar--to this day--with the ubiquitous:

LOAD"*",8,1

which was used to load most commercial software.

You typed the ",8" to tell the computer's BASIC interpreter that you wanted it to load the file from serial device 8; if you had a second floppy drive it had to be set to be device 9 or you'd have a bus collision and neither drive would work. (There were two ways: in software, which went away every time you shut the drive off; or you could cut a trace on the PC board inside the drive.) You added the ",1" if the file had to be loaded into a specific part of the computer's memory.

At the height of my C-64 career I had two 1541 drives and a 1581 (3.5") hooked up to the thing; the 1581 used DIP switches to set the device number--ah, the advancement of technology! And not long afterwards I ended up with the Atari 520 ST, and a scant two years after that I had my first DOS machine.

To save a file you replaced "load" with "save". And forget a discussion of advanced file operations such as random or sequential files. I mucked about with sequential files in 1984 but never went very far with it, because--to be honest--it wasn't really all that useful, and it took a ton of code to read and write even a small sequential file.

* * *

Pepsi Throwback FTW.

It's Pepsi made the right damn way: with sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. It is how Pepsi is supposed to taste; it's more mellow and less harsh than the stuff with the corn sweetener.

I'm betting that PepsiCo will quash this stuff pretty quickly. I should try the Mountain Dew Throwback before it goes away.

* * *

Amateur Hour at the White House: 100 days, 100 mistakes. Heh.

* * *

Yes, I read it all before adding more to this post.

* * *

Hold onto your hats! Here comes the ceiling! GM is falling apart, and if Delphi can't supply GM with the parts it needs to build cars, GM can't build cars--and GM makes no money.

So there's a 9-week shutdown scheduled for this summer. We had all better hope that GM can weather all this BS--the Obama administration interference, the non-bankruptcy bankruptcy, the continuation of the failed (and ruinous) union contracts, etc, etc--because if GM can't, there's going to be a fuck-ton of people out of work. Not just all the GM employees, but the employees of all the companies which supply GM with parts and materials.

Look, in 1991 I did a speech for my speech class which discussed why it was better to buy American cars, and I researched it extensively. One interesting thing that came up in my research was how much of the US economy depended on American auto manufacturers. (Not Japanese transplants, like the various Honda and Toyota plants.) It turned out to be quite a chunk in 1991, and I'm not sure it's all that much smaller now. (I would gladly provide you with actual numbers if I had them. The numbers are on a hard drive which is...somewhere...in the basement. Owing to the fact that the idiotic backup software that came with the 500 GB Seagate external drive was shitty and annoying, all my Professional Write files failed to be backed up, and I lost the on-line copies when the 500 GB internal failed. I have them, but they're not accessbile without about an hour's worth of work. Or more, if you include searching that morasse for the correct hard drive.) (And I'm too lazy to go Google-diving for that information.) Suffice it to say that American auto manufacturing accounts for a good chunk of our GDP.

GM is big enough that it should be able to enter Chapter 11, reorganize, and come out strong enough to survive...if it is allowed to. Right now the Obama administration is not letting it do that, because the Obama administration wants to keep the unions happy, and that is a lot more important to Obama than GM and its associated suppliers.

* * *

I was thinking about the issues Joseph Farah discusses here, and it occurred to me:

Whenever a government forces you into service, that is conscription: whether it's for military or "civil" service, if you are forced to give up your time to the government for an extended period, it's conscription. It's a draft.

If government forces you to "volunteer", it's drafting you. It's common for judges to issue people a certain number of hours of "community service" as a punishment; why then is government-mandated "volunteer service" anything other than a draft or a punishment? What else could it be?

As described by its proponents, this "civilian national security force" would require all citizens to serve a hitch, one way or another.

This is a draft.

Has this occurred to anyone other than me? A "volunteer" in the "civilian national security force" would probably not face as much risk of bodily injury or death as a soldier does, but he'd still be forced to go do something he might not want to do for pay that would be vastly below what he could earn in the private sector.

This is a draft.

Only a Democrat could use the government's power to tell you, "You have to go do this or else we'll put you in jail and ruin your life!" and then have the gall to call you a "volunteer".

* * *

So, after being at work last night, I came home, had a shower, ate some food, and collapsed. I slept most of the day. Got up, ate dinner, blogged...and now I expect to go watch my car shows.

Surprisingly I don't hurt as much as I had the last few days I was at work, and I actually felt pretty good at work last night, too. So all told it wasn't--for once--a bad night at work, and I actually felt good enough after work that I could sleep pretty decently.

Of course, I drank 85% of a wine cooler before bed. I expect that helped me sleep. I have such a horrible alcohol habit that this was the fourth and final bottle of a four-pack of wine coolers which was purchased, I believe, in the summer of 2007, and which resided in the fridge for most of the intervening 20 months. That makes for an average of one bottle consumed every five months, which also nicely fits my drinking average. (About two adult beverages per year.)

Since it seems I must regularly have booze, I guess that means I'm an alcoholic.

* * *

....wouldn't that be fun? Go to an AA meeting?

Me: Hi, I'm Ed, and I'm an alcoholic.
Moderator: Welcome to the group, Ed.
Everyone: Hi, Ed.
Moderator: Since you're new here, why don't you tell us about why you're here?
Ed: Well, I realized that I'm an alcoholic after I discovered I was drinking regularly.
Moderator: And how often is that?
Ed: Erm....
Moderator: You're among friends, Ed; don't be shy. Everyone here has a similar tale to tell.
Ed: O...okay. You see, I realized that I had to have a drink about every six months or so. Like clockwork! Every six months I end up drinking a wine cooler or a mai tai or a margerita.
Moderator: I see, and then you go on a binge?
Ed: Erm...no. No, I just have the one drink.
Moderator: ...
Ed: But it's uncanny! I can't seem to get away from it. I can't help myself! So I realized I needed help, and...why are you turning red?
Moderator: Get the fuck out of here.

* * *

I guess I'm just out of control.
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