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PICList Thread
'I am this age'
1999\01\27@232319 by Matthew Ballinger

picon face
       I'm almost 23. I started using PIC's about 3 years ago after designing a
remote car start for my car using digital logic and analog ICs (15 in all). I
never attempted to build it thinking there must be a better way. Now its done
using 1 PIC. I haven't used a 555 or inverter gate since.
       I'm half way through the Navy's Nuclear Power school. We went through a
digital class learning the 8080 inside and out. Wow! All I could think of was
how much faster my HP48 was. Oh well, after that jumped straight to a the
VMEbus mastered by 133 Pentiums. What a change. The Navy's replacing about 150
cabinets on board ships with a single VBEbus rack for the reactor safety
systems.
Matt B.

1999\01\28@094533 by Mark Griebel

picon face
---Matthew Ballinger <spam_OUTMattBeckTakeThisOuTspamAOL.COM> wrote:
>
>         I'm almost 23. I started using PIC's about 3 years ago after
designing a
> remote car start for my car using digital logic and analog ICs (15
in all). I
> never attempted to build it thinking there must be a better way. Now
its done
> using 1 PIC. I haven't used a 555 or inverter gate since.
>         I'm half way through the Navy's Nuclear Power school. We
went through a
> digital class learning the 8080 inside and out. Wow! All I could
think of was
> how much faster my HP48 was. Oh well, after that jumped straight to
a the
> VMEbus mastered by 133 Pentiums. What a change. The Navy's replacing
about 150
> cabinets on board ships with a single VBEbus rack for the reactor
safety
> systems.
> Matt B.
>

A single rack for reactor safety systems? How about a little
redundancy? Just how safe am I here in land-locked Minnesota? ;^)
-mark-
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1999\01\28@120232 by mwalsh

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It wasn't really all that long ago that those 150 cabinets were the state of
the art in electronics.

My first encounter with digital electronics was in the late 60's on a piece
of crypto equipment that the US Navy used.  It used nothing but vacuum
tubes.  They were little 5 pin glass tubes (peanut tubes)  that soldered
directly to a PC board.  They were so much fun to work on that I got
hooked on digital and spent less and less time on radar and receiver/
transmitter type electronics.

I started seeing some solid-state equipment, but all of the digital circuits
were still built up from discrete devices.  At my first job interview in
1974, I was asked if I was familiar with T squared L devices.  I had
no idea what he was talking about until called them TTL.  I knew about
the 7400 logic that I had been buying from ads in the back of the hobby
magazines, but he wanted "real" experience.

My first experience with a micro came on the 6800.  We built a dedicated
ATE that tested DVM chip sets.  It had a boot PROM that would talk to
a TTY machine.  The programs were on paper tape and the TTY could
be used for data logging as well.

At that time all of our calibration schedules were on two boxes of punched
cards.  Every week I had to kiss the asses of the "gods" who ran the
data processing department before I could get our job run.  When they
were late running it, I would end up with 20 techs standing around with
no idea what needed to be done next.  We built an 8080 computer and
tied it to a card reader and naturally a TTY machine.  The monopoly
that the DP jerks had was broken.  Thank God almighty--free at last.
Free at last.  I swore I would never be held hostage by a data
processing department again.

Now I keep hearing people say that all software should be kept at central
sites and run across the internet.  It brings back visions of the old days
when we were at the mercy of those DP twerps in there little white coats.
I don't know about anyone else, but they'll have to pry my PC running its
dedicated software out of my cold dead fingers.  I'll never again let them
gain that kind of control over me.

We were involved in a revolution, breaking the back of the old guard, and
we didn't even know it.  Now we have students working away in their
basements, engineers at companies large and small working in their
cubby holes at new projects.  We are all part of a new revolution, and
we don't even know it.

DOWN WITH THE OLD GUARD

Mark Walsh

P.S.  I'll be 50 this year (part of the old guard)




Matthew Ballinger wrote:

{Quote hidden}

1999\01\30@050901 by paulb

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face
Mark A. Walsh wrote:

> It used nothing but vacuum tubes.  They were little 5 pin glass tubes
> (peanut tubes)  that soldered directly to a PC board.

 They were really neat.  Were they indirectly-heated triodes?  Must
have been I suppose.  OC71s with heaters, presumably operated at about
24 volts.  I suspect relatively reliable (indeed, quite comparable with
OC71s, only used more power).

> I knew about the 7400 logic that I had been buying from ads in the
> back of the hobby magazines, but he wanted "real" experience.

 Hmmmm.  Maybe he was short-sighted.

> Every week I had to kiss the asses of the "gods" who ran the data
> processing department before I could get our job run.  ...  The
> monopoly that the DP jerks had was broken. ...  I swore I would never
> be held hostage by a data processing department again.

 Well, as a student (a prolonged one actually!), one did that.  Of
course I've been back to the computer rooms 15 years down the track and
... they've gone!  Well, the big machines in the glass rooms have gone,
but the room has been broken up into a cube farm.

 I daresay every cube now contains greater computational capacity, RAM
and disk capacity than the machine I grovelled to use, but it doesn't
worry me, as I have the same at home, times over.

 Actually, it does worry me, because I *really* wish I had on one or
two (HD) floppies, a copy of my work stored on the hard drives of that
long-gone machine.

> Now I keep hearing people say that all software should be kept at
> central sites and run across the internet.

 ROTFL.  Who are these people?  You must have made a mistake.  I know
what you are thinking of - the "pay per view" entertainment industry
where Net-PCs are merely a merge Super Nintendo, interactive games and
cable TV with on-line shopping.

 No doubt that will happen, but let's not confuse "soma" for the
unemployed, consumer entertainment and the long-overdue electronic
telephone book with commercial/ scientific/ personal uses of computers.

 To me at least, the Internet is a marvellous repository of
information, but it falls into two categories; the ephemeral which I
browse and enjoy, and the "hard" data which I carefully file away.
While I hope certain sites remain a long while, there is *nothing* about
the Internet with the reliability I'd need to store important (personal)
data.
--
 Cheers,
       Paul B. (1200 in a week, albeit ternary)


'I am this age'
1999\02\01@042359 by Mark Willis
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Paul B. Webster VK2BZC wrote:
> Mark A. Walsh wrote:
> > <snipped old fun tech talk <G>>
> > Every week I had to kiss the asses of the "gods" who ran the data
> > processing department before I could get our job run.  ...  The
> > monopoly that the DP jerks had was broken. ...  I swore I would never
> > be held hostage by a data processing department again.
>
>   Well, as a student (a prolonged one actually!), one did that.  Of
> course I've been back to the computer rooms 15 years down the track and
> ... they've gone!  Well, the big machines in the glass rooms have gone,
> but the room has been broken up into a cube farm.

 Not just student, at work I was stuck against this mentality - and the
state of Washington still has a DP department that's affecting my life
far too much for my liking (Still mainframe-based, running COBOL
programs, I'm going to be laughing a LOT come next year when they aren't
working at all due to Y2K, I assume!)  The UW CDC systems were taken
apart, though, and parts given away (Wish I'd had a place to take the
old CDC 6400 to, what a fun toy <G>)

> > Now I keep hearing people say that all software should be kept at
> > central sites and run across the internet.
>
>   ROTFL.  Who are these people?  You must have made a mistake.  I know
> what you are thinking of - the "pay per view" entertainment industry
> where Net-PCs are merely a merge Super Nintendo, interactive games and
> cable TV with on-line shopping.

 I've heard Sun etc. saying that "Client/Server is the way of the
future".  That consumers don't need hard drives, they can pay
professionals to manage and store their data for them.  Yeah, we can
trust said people implicitly, too, not to accidentally lose anything
they disagree with or dislike <G>  Web-TV etc. are fine IMHO as an
OPTION, but not as our only option - I'm completely uninterested in
giving my choice of standalone computing up, ever.  (Easier for an
embedded systems type to implement this than for someone who cannot set
a VCR clock, heh!)

 Sorta hard for you or I to use PGP for privacy (for example), if we
have to submit our key to a company to request that that company encrypt
the data they hold for us.  Private from everyone but them, maybe, if
we're lucky?  (You could say I dislike the client-server ONLY scenario.
I love having Altavista and other search engines around - and using eBay
and other "server" applications - IMHO having that and being able to own
multiple personal machines, maximizes my choices here & empowers me more
<G>)

>   No doubt that will happen, but let's not confuse "soma" for the
> unemployed, consumer entertainment and the long-overdue electronic
> telephone book with commercial/ scientific/ personal uses of computers.

 It'll happen, and there'll be "some reasonable fee" for everything,
more likely.  And some would be priced out of the market.  A blind
friend uses an XT to read text to her - how would she access a "server",
would the client be accessible for her or for people like my girlfriend
who're functionally quadriplegics?

 Also, I've been trying (for example) to get the local Telco to make
their LATA table information freely available (i.e. which prefixes can
freely call which other prefixes) for years, for a network of local
BBS'es - only way I could do this is to gather the information manually
and type it in, out of phone books.  Expect companies to hold onto
information sources as tightly as they can, even if it'd be handy for
you and I if they made the info easily accessible (We were trying to
look at where to place additional backbone BBS'es for networking
purposes.  Would have meant more income for them.  Nowadays we just use
the Internet.  And BBS'es are becoming rarer.)

>   To me at least, the Internet is a marvellous repository of
> information, but it falls into two categories; the ephemeral which I
> browse and enjoy, and the "hard" data which I carefully file away.
> While I hope certain sites remain a long while, there is *nothing* about
> the Internet with the reliability I'd need to store important (personal)
> data.
> --
>   Cheers,
>         Paul B. (1200 in a week, albeit ternary)

 Definitely!  Mirroring on the web can be a good thing...

 Mark

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