Doonesbury's Personal Digital Assistant plot line started with the August 23, 1993 comic. The "Egg freckles?" gag was August 27, 1993. Was Mike actually using a Newton? It looks more like a Palm Pilot.I cannot believe I've never seen that before. But... I've never seen that before!
Very cool Easter egg. I will have to find a Newton somewhere and try that out.
I also bought the Palm, which was a more practical, affordable, and compact alternative to the Newton that actually worked. I also liked it a lot and learned Graffiti quickly, but the hardware failed after a while for me (not being abused, either), which was a disappointment after investing time entering data (mostly contacts - it made a great address book).... Loved that thing. Can still write in Graffiti...
You should be able to replace the button cell in a pre-MessagePad 2x000 without much trouble, and that would allow at least a little bit of a cushion for the device if the AA batteries are fully drained and it is not plugged in to a power outlet. It was ok to leave it plugged in while replacing the button battery (Apple's repair manual even recommended it), though who knows how robust the electronics are all these years later.I keep my MessagePad plugged in all the time. What would happen if I didn't? There are four AA batteries and a button cell. If it completely loses power, would it lose everything in the internal storage?
No. My personal Newtons from the 1990s are still part of my "old computers" collection, and I only put batteries in them when I'm showing them or playing with them. They've all retained their internal data on flash memory; considering their age, it's likely SLC flash, too, which is the most reliable type.... I keep my MessagePad plugged in all the time. What would happen if I didn't? There are four AA batteries and a button cell. If it completely loses power, would it lose everything in the internal storage?
One of the best sets of games I had on my Newtons was a Z-Machine emulator that let me run things like Planetfall, ZORK!, and HHGG. Man, those were some fun games.You'd be surprised what old tech stuff is collectable. I've been unloading old gear on eBay, including a Zip drive, a Mac version of the Hitchhiker's Guide text game, and an audiotape Guided Tour to MacWrite and MacPaint that came with my 512K Mac.
I've never achieved the speed and accuracy I had with Graffiti using any other hand-writing recognition app on any device. I frankly was more satisfied with my Palm and Razr than I am with my iPhone SE.Got really good at Graffiti (I almost wish someone would bring it to the iPhone).
Had the same! For what it is worth, if you have the game files, then they're still playable using a Z-Machine emulator on current platforms. On iOS, that's Frotz. On macOS, there are several to choose from, including Gargoyle.One of the best sets of games I had on my Newtons was a Z-Machine emulator that let me run things like Planetfall, ZORK!, and HHGG. Man, those were some fun games.
Gosh, that takes us back. Little did we know, in the early 1970s, my wife (then girlfriend) and I, both full-time students, would work at the local print shop. I was self-taught, operating a couple of offset-litho machines (Rotaprint SRA3 and Gestetner A4. I recall). My wife typeset and pasted-up using an IBM golfball machine and rubber cement.
For those folks on the west coast, it may be worth checking with the International Printing Museum in Carson, CA. The curator, Mark Barbour, is a really nice guy. I don't know if they focus on things as late as DTP, but they certainly have some phototypesetting equipment and the like.Via TidBITS, I expect some folks here might find this interesting, as I certainly did:
The Museum of Printing is dedicated to preserving the rich history of the graphic arts, printing and typesetting technology, and printing craftsmanship.In addition to many special collections and small exhibits, the Museum contains hundreds of antique printing, typesetting, and bindery machines, as well as a library of books and printing-related documents.
I'm certain I have them somewhere. If nothing else, on the linear flash card in my 2100. Those flash chips were damned near indestructable, so it should still read fine. I'll have to dig out the Newton and find out.Had the same! For what it is worth, if you have the game files, then they're still playable using a Z-Machine emulator on current platforms. On iOS, that's Frotz. On macOS, there are several to choose from, including Gargoyle. The whole collection was actually available as a reasonably priced App Store app from Activision (who own the titles now), but sadly it was never ported to 64-bit. If you don't have the game files, some judicious searching will usually turn them up, and there are a ton of fan-community created games on ifarchive.org.
Ars Technica said:Gears of war: When mechanical analog computers ruled the waves
... So why did the Navy never follow through with digitizing the battleship’s big guns? I asked retired Navy Captain David Boslaugh, former director of the Navy Tactical Embedded Computer Program Office, that question. And if anyone would know, it's Boslaugh. He played a role in the development of the Navy Tactical Data System—the forerunner to today’s Aegis systems, the mother of all digital sensor and fire control systems.
“At one time, my office was asked to do a study regarding upgrading the Iowa-class battleship fire control systems from analog to digital computers,” Boslaugh replied. “We found that digitizing the computer would improve neither the reliability nor the accuracy of the system and recommended, ‘Don't bother.’” Even without digital computers, the Iowa could fire 2,700-pound “dumb” shells nearly 30 miles inland with deadly accuracy, within a circle of probable error of around 80 meters. Some of its shells had circles of destruction larger than that.
Just how can a box of gears, cams, racks, and pins handle ballistics calculations based on differential equations with dozens of variables in real time? How does it manage to put a hunk of metal weighing as much as a Volkswagen Beetle on top of a target over the horizon in the first place? And how did this metal and grease out-calculate digital systems for so long? Let's start with a little bit of a history on battleship ballistics—complete with vintage Navy training films to show precisely how mechanical analog computing works.
When I worked at GE in the 1980's, we used an analog computer called Transient Network Analyzer to simulate transmission lines and other kinds of power lines and connections. For example, if you wanted to know what the inrush current on a 300-mile 500 kV transmission line circuit breaker would be, you could make the measurements. The analog computer had all kinds of items for building the model. On a plywood board there would be inductors, capacitors, and resistors to model a section of transmission line. The Bonneville Power Administration was working on a digital program named EMTP for making such calculations and more. The analog computer worked just fine for such calculations.
The Norden bomb sight was an analog computer in US bombers like the B-17, B-24 and B-29. The B-29 also had analog computers for defensive machine guns, which were remotely controlled except for the tail guns.
Maybe not...Would analog computers be immune from EMP?
Quora said:Do any modern aircrafts use vacuum tubes? - Quora
Vacuum tubed early radar systems were replaced by electronic versions in the mid-1990's. While it is true, early generation vacuum tubes can survive an EMP, in 99% of the tests the Russian's carried out, the electronic board the vacuum tubes were attached were fused (short circuited) and severely damaged. The only way to increase the odds of its survival is to turn off any device during the EMP event (and it is not guaranteed to work), which means its weapons sensors are turned off, something pilots are not going to do and how would they know when to turn it off. EMP effects occur 1/1,000,000th of a second after they occur.
Garrett Fuller said:AT&T Long Lines – A Forgotten System
The era spawning from the 1950s throughout the 1980s can be considered the golden era of telecommunication. While computers were expanding from items consuming entire rooms to something that could fit on a person’s desk, so was the way we communicate. Televisions went from being a luxury item to being in every home. Telephone systems were not only used for voice, but to transfer data from one location to another almost instantaneously. The inventions and innovations from this period have led to technologies we rely on every day: the internet, satellite television, fiber-optics, cell phones, and et cetera. But it’s often forgotten how we’ve arrived where we are.
The AT&T Long Lines system is one of the systems that transformed communication systems but is nearly forgotten about. Without relying on vulnerable, expensive, and high-maintenance wired systems in a time where satellite communications and fiber optics did not exist, the Long Lines system allowed people to connect from all over the country.
Although the Long Lines service was abandoned a long time ago, the use of microwave transmission for situations where wires or optical fibers are not appropriate is still quite alive and well.
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