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Max The Magnificent
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Re: Welcome to progress
Max The Magnificent   8/6/2013 12:30:51 PM
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@DMcCunney: All this talk about libraries and indexes makes me think about "A Fire Upon the Deep" by Vernor Vinge ... that starts with a company of archaeologist programmers on a desolate planet at the very ourskirts of our galaxy trying to access the contents of an aeons-old library ... .which wakes up...

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Welcome to progress
Max The Magnificent   8/6/2013 12:24:06 PM
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@DmcCunney: ...the issue becomes one Hal Draper explored in a story called "MS Fnd in a Lbry"...

I hadn't heard about this before, but I just did a search on Google and found the Wikipedia Entry and the Full Text (it's a very short story). Very interesting -- thanks for sharing.

There were a series of Asimov stories about a world wide computer and the problems of interfacing with it. I can't remember their names, but there was one where the computer predicted that there would be a murder and the police arrested the man whose name they were given and the chances of the murder increased ... it turned out to be his son and the computer was trying to get the son to kill the computer...

Another one was where there were special folks who knew how t opose questions to the computer -- and one was asking about the origins of humor -- and when he got the answer everything stopped being funny...

Re Project Gutenberg ... I think it's come along just in time ... but I still think we may have lost a lot of knowledge already ... and, as you say, the real trick may lay in rooting out the nuggets of useful information from the haystack of data...

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Secrets of the Masters
Max The Magnificent   8/6/2013 11:11:52 AM
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@JackGrat2: If you don't manufacture anything, you will lose those skills.

That's one of the things that scares me the most -- the fact that once we (the USA and the UK) had such a wealth of manufacturing skills and capabilities -- the big engineering companies had apprentiship programs -- you didn't have to be achademically inclined -- you could learn a trade and become a skilled (and respected) craftsman...

...as an aside ... as as part of my university degree I went through a fast-track version of such a program at Rolls Royce where we learned lathes, mills, drills, grinders, welding (oxyacetylene, electric arc, argon arc...) and a bunch of other stuff) but we digress...

... I strongly believe that "real wealth" (in terms of countries) comes from someone digging something out of the ground (e.g. metal ore) and someone else converting it into a useful form and someone else fabricating it into something that someone else wants and will pay for. I am inherently suspicious of what I think of as "pseudo-wealth" generated by moving money around between banks and suchlike.

But what do I know? :-)

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Saving our Technical Heritage
Max The Magnificent   8/6/2013 11:00:50 AM
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@Denniswingo: One of the things that really needs to be done is to do oral histories of the early age of silicon valley, the time when Varian, Ampex, Fairchild, and Ford Aerospace were the coin of the realm. 

   YES!!! I totally agree!!!


This could be a project of EE Times, to preserve the lives and the technolgies that made this valley great!

   I will convey your thoughts to those who stride the corridors of power!

Max The Magnificent
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Re: What about Radio Shack?
Max The Magnificent   8/6/2013 10:57:26 AM
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@bert22306: What about Radio Shack? What about Heathkit?

In the glory days of Heathkit it was possible to make something (up to and including a color television) for substantially less than you could buy the equivalent unit in the stores ... now the price of a new "thing" is much cheaper than you could build one ... so this does have some effect.

Radio Shack? Is that the one whose tagline is "You've got questions and we don't have a clue?" LOL

One thing that does give me hope is the success of SparkFun (www.sparkfun.com) who are doing lots of interesting things with regard to providing educational kits and stuff -- they also give classes in everything from soldering to programming microcontrollers.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: The Feeling of Power
Max The Magnificent   8/6/2013 10:49:13 AM
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@Betajet: Isaac Asimov shows why this matters in his brilliant story The Feeling of Power" (1958), which probably seemed preposterous when it was first published...


I remember reading that story (I'm pretty sure I've read all of Asimov's science fiction, plus a lot of his other fiction like the "Black Widowers Mysteries" plus a bunch of his science books).

Do you remember that story about everyone using "Doors" with a capital "D" and when one breaks down the kid in the house goes outside through the "door" with the lowercase 'd' (I think it wa sin a collection called "Through a Glass Clearly")?

betajet
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"The Machine Stops"
betajet   8/5/2013 4:04:50 PM
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My favorite work on this theme is E. M. Forster's The Machine Stops (1909), which is all about the Internet and Social Networking and what we can expect when the infrastructure starts to collapse.

betajet
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Radio-Electronics
betajet   8/5/2013 3:56:32 PM
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I remember when Radio-Electronics had the tag line For Men with Ideas in Electronics.  I also remember when it saw the error of its ways and changed to "The Magazine for New Ideas in Electronics" :-)

mhrackin
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Re: Anyone remember this publisher?
mhrackin   8/5/2013 3:02:05 PM
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I remember him quite well! I was about 11 when I first subscribed to several magaizines: Popular Electronics, Radio/TV News (which became Electronics World some years later), and Radio Electronics.  When I was in college studying EE, one of the part-time jobs I had was working as a counter saleperson in a major electronic parts distributor.  One evening, an older gentleman came in and asked to speak to someone who could help him with recommendations.  I was asked to help him.  After we had finished picking out the parts he needed, he paid and left.  One of the senior salesmen came over to me and said, "Do you know who that was?"  I said "No, but he was really nice to me."  The response was "That was Hugo Gernsback!"   He came back several times and asked for me, and I enjoyed talking to him and "helping' him select parts!

Of course I was also a huge SF fan (and a radio ham), so I knew him as a major factor there as well.

 

gurista974
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Losing the secrets of the Masters
gurista974   8/5/2013 1:48:01 PM
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I design circuits using radio chips and microprocessors just the same way as lots of other people and like the majority of the people who use the parts designed by somebody else, I don't know how to design a radio from discrete parts and I worry that the people who designed the cores of the parts we all use will be gone nad if we run into a problem, the masters that made the original circuits will not be there to fix the problems.  We only see far because we are standing on the shoulders of giants but most of the giants are dead or will soon be dead and then we might not be able to see quite as far.

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