- Writing the Owner's Manual for the Symmetric 375 Computer system
Lynne speaks - "The Symmetric 375 was a very
unique computer. Based on the NS32000 microprocessor,
it was a portable no wait state computer with virtual memory, hardware floating point, large processor
main memory, and ethernet. Unlike PCs, it supported 4 users easily with a host of compilers,
debuggers, tools and utilities, and applications. It ran a custom version of
Berkeley Unix (4.1BSD, 4.2BSD, 4.3BSD) called Symmetrix. Later versions offered a configurable kernel
software package for device drivers and SCSI support. Much of this work influenced work later done
in 386BSD. I wrote the "The Symmetric 375 and Symmetrix Owner's Manual" for it.
One of the most interesting aspects of this manual was that it did not follow the typical
"Unix Man command" style. Instead of offering a printed command manual with some hardware pages as was the
common approach, the 375 came with an online man function (early UNIX boxes often didn't do this to preserve disk space).
- Lynne's Take on Tech - Robotics and the Next Generation
Went to the 2004 First Robotics Regional Competition in Silicon Valley, held at San Jose State University. And it was awesome to see all these kids running their "bots" through the paces. Got some great footage, even though Los Gatos High School's robot broke midway through competition.
Seeing the excitement, the fun, and the high-tech hijinks reminded me of the days when we were putting together workstati ...
- Lynne's Take on Tech - Remember when "design" meant "reliable"
Dennis Rockstroh of ActionLine in the Merc attempted to handle the frustration of a Sony Vaio user recently. Turns out the poor man continually had the power just blit out on him while working on his laptop. Back and forth to the factory it went, never seeming to get any better. Dennis helped the gentleman get a replacement laptop from the factory, but no one seemed to understand why such a problem was occurring and why it required a complete replacement to rectify. Sony didn't wish to ...
- Lynne's Take on Tech - Free Culture and the Internet by Lynne Jolitz in Dr. Dobbs Journal
Well, my book review Free Culture And the Internet discussing Larry Lessig's latest book is now on the newstand in Dr. Dobbs Journal. After I had Coffee with Larry Lessig back in April of this year, he kindly had a copy sent to me.
My background in this area is most extensive - in fact, it predates Dr. Lessig's professional interest by a bit. ...
- Lynne's Take on Tech - A Wandering through the Vintage Computer Faire
The Vintage Computer Faire was held last weekend at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View last weekend. Sellam Ismail, VCF Coordinator and vintage computer collector, was kind enough to send me a couple of passes. Unlike the cozy NASA-Ames location of several years ago, the Vintage Computer Faire, typically home of games, small computers like t ...
- Lynne's Take on Tech - Mompreneurs and Tech
OK, most people think that startups are done by 20-something guys who sleep on the floor, talk really fast and don't use deoderent. Well, that was kind of true 20 years ago, and that is the type of guy who some VCs like to fund thinking "Wow, they'll work day and night and all I have to do is pay their parking tickets". But what about those "moms" who are also "entrepreneurs"? Well, according to Marianne Costantinou of the San Francisco Chronicle, a women who has kids and wants to run a busin ...
- Lynne's Take on Tech - Fun Friday - Homer's Illiad to be "Improved" for Silicon Valley
Well, given the egos in Silicon Valley, it comes as no surprise that a press release like this would appear. It was so inaccurate that the Wall Street Journal got fooled and then had to reverse themselves and say Bill Joy is not a "venture partner" after all. Steve Lohr of the NY Times commen ...
- Lynne's Take on Tech - Sure We're Open Source - Not
Alas, apparently that silly press release last week has totally confused the writing fraternity into thinking the 1990's were actually the 1980's (see Fun Friday - Homer's Illiad to be "Improved" for Silicon Valley). Aside from the fact that Clinton and Reagan were both absolutely adored by the American people, I don't think the 1980's were really enough like the 1990's to easily confuse the two decades, do you?
In this < ...
- Lynne's Take on Tech - Would You Like Your Disk Drive with Extra Aggregate?
Matt Marshall mentioned an old defunct company that I was rather fond of - Miniscribe. Now, Miniscribe in the 1980's went from nothing to making and selling quite reliable 85 MByte drives (full size) at what was then a really great price (around $850 in quantity). It was the
- Lynne's Take on Tech - Checksums - Don't Leave the Server Without Them
Lloyd Wood commenting on an e2e post recently was asked why UDP has an end-to-end checksum on the packet since it doesn't do retransmissions, and should it be turned off. Lloyd noted UDP "could have the checksum turned off, which proved disastrous for a number of applications, subtly corrupted filing systems which didn't have higher-level end2end checks". Lloyd is exactly right here. But why would someone turn off UDP checksums in the first place - it doesn't seem to make sense, does it? ...
- Lynne's Take on Tech - Checksums and Rethinking Old Optimization Habits
More war stories on checksum failures over the years. Craig Partridge recalls "some part of BBN" experienced an NFS checksum issue and that it "took a while for the corruption of the filesystem to become visible...errors are infrequent enough that NIC (or switch, or whatever, ...) testing doesn't typically catch them. So bit rot is slow and subtle -- and when you find it, much has been trashed (especially if one ignores early warning signs, such as large compilations occasionally failing wit ...
- Lynne's Take on Tech - Open Source - The Times They Are A Changing
Three very interesting little open source stories passed my desk recently that I found shone facets on open source issues.
Last week, the Industrial Commercial Bank of China has signed a deal with Unix-clone Turbolinux to run open-source software in all of the bank's operations. "Linux deployment is growing in China, with software makers targeting segments such as banking, insurance and wireless applications. Intel last year began a program to boost sales in China of desktop computers ...
- Lynne's Take on Tech - Sun Pats Rump SCO - Tarantella Cashes Out After Lots of Agony
A teeny tiny acquisition announcement brought back a lot of memories today.
Remember Santa Cruz Operation - no, not the SCO you read about fighting IBM and Novell, but the "old SCO"? Bob Greenberg and friends did a very brain-damaged version of Unix for the PC (originally derived from Version 7 and System 3) way back in the dark ages. Bob had done a Version 6 Unix derivative ...