sledracr

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About sledracr

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    PNW, ex-SoCal

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  1. sledracr

    Gary W Mull

    what a great photo!
  2. sledracr

    Neighbors

    Does your municipality have a noise ordinance? Most towns do. Where I live, the ordinance says something along the lines that we're not to make noise likely to disturb the neighborhood before 9am, or after 9pm. If your town has something similar, that might be a good thing to include on the note....
  3. sledracr

    Tiger drives into the rough

    I react the same anytime there is a firearms accident and someone says "the gun just went off". Guns don't just "go off".
  4. Heh. I was curious which 70 it is on the other side of Warpath.
  5. sledracr

    Suggestions for MF/HF Radio

    Yeah. I'm a "ham", and have HF stuff at home and will probably put my old SSB on the boat. Some day. Its a fun hobby and it's an interesting thing to bounce signals off the ionosphere to somewhere else in the world. ....but if I really wanted to reach out and get someone's attention, like my life depended on it, I'd reach for a satphone.
  6. sledracr

    Racism in Mathematics?

    Yeah. And in far too many cases, people don't appreciate the impact of them being "not around". Not all that many years ago, I worked for a retailer on some middleware integration stuff. Needed to connect an e-commerce website to back-end fulfillment and distribution systems run by our parent company. Kept asking for info (data flows, interface points, batch windows, whatever), and got absolutely stonewalled. Finally got frustrated and got on an airplane to go haunt the people until I got an answer. Finally got a meeting with the person who "owned" those systems. He pointed at a stack of blue-line printout about 5 feet tall in the corner of his office. And then said "that's the source code for the systems you're trying to access. The guy who wrote it retired 10 years ago. None of us know how it works, so our whole goal is to NEVER TOUCH IT and hope it just keeps running."
  7. sledracr

    Racism in Mathematics?

    Yup. In general, the design of a program was structured around flow charts. You'd build a table of logic, a table of inputs and variables, and then work through program code (branches, loops), usually all on paper. If you were really fancy you had "coding forms". Then you'd take your code to a keypunch machine and produce your cards - one card for each line of code (limited to 80 chars). syntax was ridiculously rigid - a missing semicolon or extra space could keep your program from running. When you had a complete deck (all your code, plus header cards to initiate the job, and footer cards to end the job gracefully), you'd hand the deck to an operator who would feed them into a card-reader. The resulting code either went into a compiler and produced object code or, if the computer was really fancy, ran in an interpreter. Either way, you didn't know if your program ran until it came back from the sysops. You either got a dump showing error conditions, or you got a set of output.
  8. sledracr

    Retro Boat - Oddities

    Heh. I did a cabo race on one of the early ones. Was sitting in the companionway at one point just sorta watching things as the boat took off down a wave. You could literally see the forward third of the boat torque as the bow dug in, and then feel the rest of the boat snap back into line when the stern broke free. Very disconcerting. I'm told later models had additional stiffening. No personal knowledge, I never set foot on another one after that trip.
  9. sledracr

    Racism in Mathematics?

    Yeah. In 1981 I was a shiny new engineer, tasked with doing the structural calcs for "pipe sleepers" (load-bearing concrete supports to hold pipeline up off the sand over the 30 miles from the refinery to the port). thousands and thousands of these things, each requiring its own load calcs, its own bill of materials, its own drawings.... If you were really cranking you could do a one completed drawing (calcs, dimensions and bill of materials for 20 sleepers) per day. bored the living shit out of me. I programmed my HP-41 to automate the calcs, and that helped. Put in the dimensions of the pipes, press the button and I'd (at least) have the numbers to plug into the drawing. Now I could do maybe 2 or three sheets per day. But then I discovered that the piping group had a CAD system they used to do layouts and check interferences, and it was "free" at night (OK, well, the CAD room door wasn't locked and technically nobody ever told me I wasn't allowed to sit down at a terminal without authorization, but whatever. I think the statute of limitations is up on that). Over the course of a month of evenings, figured out how to program the CAD system (FORTRAN plus Intergraph's "DMRS" entity-management stuff) to do the calcs and produce the drawings automatically. I could input the locations/dimensions/loads into a DMRS table, link the table, start a job, and the next morning pick up a STACK of drawings from the plotter room. Didn't take long to decide software was a whole lot more interesting than engineering.
  10. sledracr

    Racism in Mathematics?

    Yeah. When I was in school (mid-70s), you'd hand the operator a run of cards through the top-half of a dutch door, go away and worry. Will it run? will it abend? will the operator drop the box all over the floor? Next day you'd get your box of cards back, along with a report of what it did. Always a great sign when they handed you back a roll of paper tape, too... that means it compiled and ran without errors, and you could store the cards and just use the tape to load the program from then on. Those were the days... <lol>
  11. sledracr

    California boaters card???

    Washington (state) has required this for some time. It's annoying but otherwise painless - 30 minutes in an online app and a card shows up in the mail. Have never been asked to present it, either by local authorities or Coast Guard. The thing that amuses (?) me is that.... it is perfectly possible to get a "safe boater" card without actually knowing anything about boating. The questions are about, for example, types of life-jackets, required equipment, carbon-monoxide dangers, etc. So... yeah, I might have a card in my pocket that says I'm a safe boater, but still be "that guy" who doesn't know anything about the operation of his 50-foot powerboat except "I turn on the motor and steer it like a car". Nothing about docking, anchoring, weather, seamanship....
  12. sledracr

    IOR landfills?

    Yeah. The best thing about IOR was that it let the owners (and designers and builders) play with things. you could have a 27-foot half-tonner or a 30-foot half-tonner, as long as they rated in they raced "level" and it was an interesting experiment. it led to explorations of obscure corners of performance vs. rating, which led to boats that were awkward to sail well, uncomfortable and ... whatever. On any given day, any given design could be inherently better than another, which led to lots of "if only" discussions at the bar. The worst thing about IOR was that it let the owners (and designers and builders) play with things. you could have a 27-foot half-tonner or a 30-foot half-tonner, as long as they rated in they raced "level" and it was an interesting experiment. it led to explorations of obscure corners of performance vs. rating, which led to boats that were awkward to sail well, uncomfortable and ... whatever. On any given day, any given design could be inherently better than another, which led to lots of "if only" discussions at the bar. One design was a lot more attractive if all you wanted to do was sail and see how you did. All the variables were removed except "you". Bonus points if you could sail the boat without sitting on weird-shaped coach-roofs and contorted into rule-bending trimmer pits.
  13. sledracr

    Racism in Mathematics?

    Random aside (but on the topic of genius math professors) I took one second-year math course from a guy named... let's call him Dr. Grant. Well respected teacher, popular class. As is (was?) normal, he did the lectures in a big lecture hall, probably seated 600-700 students, and most of the actual interaction was with TAs in the various study sections. The class was full when I initially wanted to enroll, but after a couple of weeks some number of kids had dropped the class so I "added" it, which (at the time) meant going to the front of the hall after lecture to get his signature on an "add card". Flash to a month or so later, he's reviewing stuff for a mid-term exam and asks if there are any questions. Encourages people to stand up and get clarity on things, because if "you" have that question it's probable others do as well. So I did. I stood up and he says "yes, [Sled]?" Huh? In a class of hundreds of students, with no assigned seating, etc... plus, I was kind of a ghost in college, usually sat somewhere in the back of the hall, didn't hang with a particular group. how the fuck did he know my name? The only interaction I'd ever had with him was the 5 seconds it took for me to shove an add-card onto his lectern and watch him sign it. I short-circuited - I was so surprised, I fumbled my question. Oh well Flash forward a couple of years. I'm walking around the outer loop on campus to get to the computer-science complex, and he's walking the opposite direction. As we pass I said "good morning, Dr. Grant".... and without batting an eye he said "good morning, [Sled]" To this day I have no idea how he knew my name. Did he know the name of *every* kid in *every* class he taught? And have the ability to pull it out on a moment's notice, forever? Dunno. But I know whatever it is, it's on his side. I'm not particularly remarkable. **I** barely remember my name. And yet if I were to cross paths with him again, some 40 years later, I think it's an even-money bet he'd greet me by name.
  14. sledracr

    Racism in Mathematics?

    Heh. Another one of my profs (I had some great, thoughtful and thought-provoking professors in college!).... 10 week computer-science course in compiler design. Each week had a project to illustrate one of the concepts. Had to check in working, syntactically-correct commented code for credit. Most of the kids did each assignment as a stand-alone problem - figure out what the right result was for that week's assignment, pound out some code that produced that result, and turn it in. easy-peasy. ....except, in the last week of the quarter, the professor announced that those 10 projects were 10 modules of a compiler, and you had to demonstrate a working compiler to him before he'd let you take the final. He would test it by running some source-code through it and if the resulting object-code ran, you got a ticket to the final. Maybe a third of the class made it through to the final. But we all passed, because we got there by actually learning the material instead of just solving the problems.