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Arsenic Lupin
Apr 11, 2012

This particularly rapid unintelligible patter isn't generally heard, and if it is, it doesn't matter.





I wonder what happens when those hot-water-meltable plates resolidify in the drains?

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porktree
Mar 23, 2002

You just fucked with the wrong Mexican.


All talk no tech.



And it still 'works'.

Douche Wolf 89
Dec 9, 2010



Groke posted:

Flexus.

I find this super interesting because I now work with my own regions failing transit ticket system, Presto.

Basically, the Greater Toronto/Hamilton area has a government run bus and train system that they recently tried to overhaul by going from a ticket system to a pre-paid card system. This could be great if the card was easy to top-up and use, but putting money on your card online isn't instantaneous, and can take days, weeks, or just not go through. Until recently, registering the cards required you to go online, then finish the process in person, when it should really just be one or the other. Both of these were hampered by the fact that the Presto site was (it's gotten a bit better) incredibly slow and prone to crashing sever-wide.

Working with the system is worse on the other side of the counter. Go has changed their mind on whether we're supposed to charge for the card or not multiple times, and explaining how to navigate their labyrinthian website or why the card is necessary when the previous system worked fantastically make customer service a tiring endeavour. The software and hardware of the new Presto machines are terribly designed, as they crash constantly, most often on Fridays when ticket sales are high. They're blaming the additional $700 million they've had to spend on the system on phasing out the "outdated" machines, which is funny because they are built like tanks and actually work.

I wish we didn't have to spend money on brand new systems just because a previous system, which worked perfectly, didn't look Web 2.0 enough.

Groke
Jul 27, 2007
New Adventures In Mom Strength

Douche Wolf 89 posted:

I find this super interesting because I now work with my own regions failing transit ticket system, Presto.

Har. Seems like building an electronic ticket system that isn't total poo poo is a difficult problem everywhere.

nocal
Mar 7, 2007


Groke posted:

Har. Seems like building an electronic ticket system that isn't total poo poo is a difficult problem everywhere.

San Francisco more or less transitioned to RFID tech, and had relatively few bumps in the road. At least, considering the amount of money involved.

EZ Pass is a plastic block that you stick to your car windshield, in order to drive over the Golden Gate bridge without stopping to pay the toll in cash. Slowing down is considerably faster and more efficient than stopping, so many toll taker jobs were eliminated (unfortunate, maybe). Similarly, there is a card called the Clipper that is basically a thick credit-card-size plastic card with RFID inside that allows you to ride the ferry, the bus, and possibly BART (light rail). Dunno about the train inside the city (caltrain), because I think I have never even met a person that has used it. The card and EZ Pass can be set up to automatically reload from a bank account or charge card or online; the card can also be refilled at stations in the ferry and bus terminals.

If you're not familiar with the city, it's extremely expensive and land-locked (it's a peninsula), meaning tons of people commute. The system seems, to the casual observer, to be slightly faster and easier than any cash-based system. In fact, they announced that the bridge won't accept cash at some point in the future that I can't recall.

So...there's one? Possibly more successful because more people drive than use public transportation.

I'd like to nominate power intensive processors to the ranks of obsolete tech. When even Intel is making cell phone processors -- likely at a loss, due to the utter and complete dominance of ARM -- you know that there's finally a shift. I have an i5 laptop when I don't game; all I want is zero lag when I do basic work and web-browsing, yet my battery barely squeaks out 5 hours. In the near future, due to how well cell phones work, we'll have laptops that consume less power; boot faster; and cost less than ever.

minato
Jun 7, 2004

cutty cain't hang, say 7-up.

Taco Defender

Groke posted:

Har. Seems like building an electronic ticket system that isn't total poo poo is a difficult problem everywhere.

Hell no - Tokyo's is awesome. And not only can you use the RFID "Suica" it to pay for train tickets, but you can use it at many vending machines (of which there are millions everywhere) and convenience stores. It's built into some phones, so you don't have to carry a separate card, just swipe your phone (which is often in your hand anyway if you live in Tokyo), and when the balance gets low it can automatically phone home to recharge it.

ChickenOfTomorrow
Nov 11, 2012

god damn it, you've got to be kind





nocal posted:

In fact, they announced that the bridge won't accept cash at some point in the future that I can't recall.

The Golden Gate Bridge is all electronic tolling now - no cash. You can pay by FasTrak, or set up an account linked to your license plate for $1 more per toll. The Bay Bridge still allows cash tolls, IIRC.

Chillbro Baggins
Oct 8, 2004
Bad Angus! Bad!


nocal posted:

cell phone processors

This post made me mentally compare my Snapdragon-powered phone to the Crays that Jurassic Park made such a big deal of 20 years ago.

And that got me thinking about how cool it would be to build a Beowulf cluster out of HTC Evos -- it would fit in a single standard ATX case and run on a single mains power outlet, especially if you strip them to the motherboards. Seems feasible; Android is Linux-based, so the software's already mostly written, right?

Then I started thinking about the other end of the scale. The singularity is here, all it'll take to push it over the edge and have the machines rise up and murder us all is for Google to swap out the OS on their servers.

And when the Terminators come for us, they will most likely be doing the Gangnam Style dance. Because with 1.75 billion views, there's gotta be the equivalent of an entire airplane hangar full of servers dedicated to that video.

atomicthumbs
Dec 26, 2010


We're in the business of extending man's senses.


nocal posted:

When even Intel is making cell phone processors

you mean like StrongARM and XScale?

Lowen SoDium
Jun 5, 2003

Highen Fiber


Clapping Larry

atomicthumbs posted:

you mean like StrongARM and XScale?

He meant the SoC Atoms chips that are targeting Cell Phones, but you are right. Intel has made ARM chips before.

Groda
Mar 17, 2005



Hair Elf

Delivery McGee posted:

This post made me mentally compare my Snapdragon-powered phone to the Crays that Jurassic Park made such a big deal of 20 years ago.
Those were Thinking Machines.

EDIT: Okay, well, they were Crays in the novel, it looks like.

Base Emitter
Apr 1, 2012

?


Yeah, about those Cray supercomputers: http://hackaday.com/2010/09/29/tiny...esy-of-an-fpga/

For the non-EE-nerd, an FPGA is basically a programmable chip with lots of logic cells that you can arrange into any digital logic that'll fit. They're often used for high-speed logic if you don't think you'll need enough to justify designing a new chip from scratch, and they also used for prototyping. There's a fair number of hobbyists resurrecting old computer architectures on these devices.

DrBouvenstein
Feb 28, 2007

I think I'm a doctor, but that doesn't make me a doctor. This fancy avatar does.


Base Emitter posted:

Yeah, about those Cray supercomputers: http://hackaday.com/2010/09/29/tiny...esy-of-an-fpga/

For the non-EE-nerd, an FPGA is basically a programmable chip with lots of logic cells that you can arrange into any digital logic that'll fit. They're often used for high-speed logic if you don't think you'll need enough to justify designing a new chip from scratch, and they also used for prototyping. There's a fair number of hobbyists resurrecting old computer architectures on these devices.

drat, that poo poo is Cray-Cray.

I'm so sorry.

BattleMaster
Aug 14, 2000


Avast!

Pham Nuwen posted:

I was just pointing out that the radiation from cell phones and wifi is incredibly harmless compared to actual ionizing radiation. All the cell phone will do is potentially warm your body very very slightly when in use.

I'm a nuclear engineering student and I've taken three courses on radiation and dosimetry. We don't even cover radio, microwave, and other non-ionizing radiation because they pose no danger and studying them is completely pointless from a protection and dosimetry point of view.

Vindolanda
Feb 13, 2012

It's just like him too, y'know?


Groke posted:

Har. Seems like building an electronic ticket system that isn't total poo poo is a difficult problem everywhere.

The Oyster system in London works really well, but it's annoying that I can't use it on buses in Scotland - even though contactless readers are installed for OAP bus passes.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Delivery McGee posted:

And that got me thinking about how cool it would be to build a Beowulf cluster out of HTC Evos -- it would fit in a single standard ATX case and run on a single mains power outlet, especially if you strip them to the motherboards. Seems feasible; Android is Linux-based, so the software's already mostly written, right?

Ok allow me to for a moment. The term "Beowulf cluster" is bullshit. It just refers to a bunch of networked Linux machines running an MPI program.

ARM is not an especially great processor for HPC. We've built a cluster from Gumstix ARM devices, 49 to a little plastic box, but they just don't have a lot of power. The main thing in HPC these days is a good network interconnect and really good floating point capabilities. ARM isn't known for either.

You could probably get some Android phones running an MPI program, but it wouldn't be cost-effective or speedy. You'd be better off running the single-node version on a decent i7.

Geoj
May 28, 2008

BITTER POOR PERSON


Delivery McGee posted:

And that got me thinking about how cool it would be to build a Beowulf cluster out of HTC Evos -- it would fit in a single standard ATX case and run on a single mains power outlet, especially if you strip them to the motherboards. Seems feasible; Android is Linux-based, so the software's already mostly written, right?

HP is doing something similar to this with their Moonshot program. The TL;DR is by using low power processing (currently using Intel Atom CPUs) they are able to pack 45 "cartridge servers" into a 4.3U enclosure:

Ishmael
May 31, 2006


HP states they're running their HP website using moonshot. I am incredibly curious to see how far this technology goes.

http://www.businessinsider.com/hp-s...-website-2013-6

OK, enough derails. I love crays, I especially love the supercomputer era where instead of massive arrays of intel or AMD systems, Cray and others built these highly custom systems.



These days, most supercomputers are just massive arrays of Intel Xeon processors.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Ishmael posted:

HP states they're running their HP website using moonshot. I am incredibly curious to see how far this technology goes.

http://www.businessinsider.com/hp-s...-website-2013-6

OK, enough derails. I love crays, I especially love the supercomputer era where instead of massive arrays of intel or AMD systems, Cray and others built these highly custom systems.



These days, most supercomputers are just massive arrays of Intel Xeon processors.

Seymour Cray was a brilliant computer designer but he was convinced that having many processors isn't as useful as having a single fast processor. He would hand-design these machines, the shape of the system often a result of the wire-length constraints (electricity travels about 1 foot per nanosecond, so you have to keep that in mind when designing). This eventually proved untenable and he created a company to make a massively parallel computer, but died before it could be completed.

These days, Cray sells "just" arrays of Xeon processors. Here's what they really have to offer:

1. Custom, fast interconnect. This is the most important thing.
2. Libraries and kernels for their hardware
3. A fully-integrated supercomputer that they can just roll into your facility. After you install sufficient power and cooling.

Brother Jonathan
Jun 23, 2008


Pham Nuwen posted:

Seymour Cray was a brilliant computer designer but he was convinced that having many processors isn't as useful as having a single fast processor.

He is supposed to have once said, "If you were plowing a field, which would you rather use: Two strong oxen or 1024 chickens?"

kastein
Aug 31, 2011

Moderator at http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/and soon to be mod of AI. MAKE AI GREAT AGAIN. Motronic for VP.


Groda posted:

Those were Thinking Machines.

EDIT: Okay, well, they were Crays in the novel, it looks like.

Thinking Machines as a whole is a perfect fit for this thread. It's like the british rail story, but reborn in the computer industry with the US federal government during the cold war as its sugar daddy.

http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/Thinking-Machines.aspx

ol qwerty bastard
Dec 13, 2005

If you want something done, do it yourself!

I do love the tale of when they had Richard Feynman working for them: http://longnow.org/essays/richard-f...ection-machine/

Germstore
Oct 17, 2012

A Serious Candidate For a Serious Time


Brother Jonathan posted:

He is supposed to have once said, "If you were plowing a field, which would you rather use: Two strong oxen or 1024 chickens?"

He's not entirely wrong. It's just now the quote would be between two godzilla or 1024 oxen.

twosideddice
Jan 7, 2009



Brother Jonathan posted:

He is supposed to have once said, "If you were plowing a field, which would you rather use: Two strong oxen or 1024 chickens?"

Yeah, that made me chuckle, that quote is in the opening chapter of a book on game physics along with other classics like:

"640k ought to be enough for anybody" from Bill Gates.

"I think there is a market for maybe five computers" By a former chairman of IBM

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home" Ken Olsen

It just makes me laugh that these aren't people who are just looking at computers and not understanding their potential. These are the people who were supposed to be championing computers and yet they still got it so wrong.

Old James
Nov 20, 2003

Wait a sec. I don't know an Old James!



twosideddice posted:

Yeah, that made me chuckle, that quote is in the opening chapter of a book on game physics along with other classics like:

"640k ought to be enough for anybody" from Bill Gates.

"I think there is a market for maybe five computers" By a former chairman of IBM

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home" Ken Olsen

It just makes me laugh that these aren't people who are just looking at computers and not understanding their potential. These are the people who were supposed to be championing computers and yet they still got it so wrong.

Now it may be lacking context, but I see nothing wrong with these statements if they were talking about computing needs as they existed at the time they said them (they are all in present tense and so are not projecting future need).

longview
Dec 25, 2006

heh.


To be fair, most of those people had only seen computers do batch processing jobs like payroll, I can't think of many homes that need a batch processing computer to run their payroll system.
IIRC the statement about five computers in the world was made in like 1947, when electrical computers didn't even do payroll, I'm not even sure if they supported punched card input then, and the transistor was a brand new invention.

Also the amount of miniaturization that we've seen in computers has been more or less unprecedented, most inventions are more or less the same size as when they started (like petrol engines, mechanical watches hit their size limitations pretty quickly, most other electrical devices that aren't computers in fact).

I don't want to be all negative so here's a pretty interesting video about a computer that was obsolete by the time it started, Whirlwind

First off let's get some background from our friend wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whirlwind_I posted:

Whirlwind I was a Cold War air defense computer system developed by the MIT Servomechanisms Laboratory for the U.S. Navy's "Whirlwind Program".[2] It is the first computer that operated in real-time,[3] used video displays for output, and the first that was not simply an electronic replacement of older mechanical systems. Its development led directly to the Whirlwind II design used as the basis for the United States Air Force SAGE air defense system, and indirectly to almost all business computers and minicomputers in the 1960s.

IIRC it was initially proposed to run a flight simulator training software for bombers, after their attempts at an analog computer to do the same failed miserably (earlier in this thread a set of videos about mechanical computers was posted, an analog computer works like this but with electrical circuits to accomplish tasks). This program was simply massive and in the video Jay Forrester goes into much greater detail about all the problems they had to deal with, which were later taken for granted.
For example, for computer memory mercury delay lines were used, but this was rightly considered to be too slow and unreliable (Alan Turing is said to have suggested Gin as a suitable delay line compound).

So, after looking around, they decided to use the brand new Selectron tube (one of my favourite tube-based names), but this proved to be pretty terrible and barely worked at all. Not to be deterred, they simply invented core memory to make their computer work. There's all sorts of great detail in the video so I'll refer to that now:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZLpbhsE72I

This computer was later further developed and used in the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment, another great story that I'm not sure I'm qualified to talk about, but it's worth noting that the operator's consoles had integral ash trays. So why is it obsolete? When development started the only feasible attack strategy against the US was to use bomber planes, SAGE would have worked very well to protect against these. Except by the time it was ready for use, ICBMs had completely changed the threat image.

longview has a new favorite as of 12:31 on Jul 20, 2013

BogDew
Jun 14, 2006

E:\FILES>quickfli clown.fli

twosideddice posted:

"I think there is a market for maybe five computers" By a former chairman of IBM
That's a famous misquote of Thomas J Watson. In context was he was discussing the fact that at the time (1943) there were enough computers in the country (and possibly the world) to cover all the computational requirements we'd need. He was questioning about the cost of building more, as back then computers were horrifically expensive calculators that took up whole buildings.

The same with the Gates quote, he's always denied he said that. It's been a much cited urban legend for years that works as it encapsulated the massive surge of personal computers during the 90's. It crops up in an article in Wired back in 1997 where they had a competition for software and received dozens of self-assured variations of the quote.

The Ken Olsen quote, while correct is removed from context. At the time, 1977, he was a big proponent of the home PC, which was still in it's infancy. In that instance he was actually talking about having computers that run the entire household automatically and the complexities that would place on daily life.

Smiling Jack
Dec 2, 2001

I sucked a dick for bus fare and then I walked home.



TFR, of all places, has a big write up on SAGE and WHIRLWIND which predictably spirals wildly out of control into a general airport thread.

http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...40&pagenumber=1

bavarian
Jun 30, 2007


Groke posted:

having the gates closed by default would also be a security hazard in case of an emergency situation that required evacuation
Why not allow them to be opened for exit any time, as handled (mechachnically even) in many other turnstile-systems?


Groke posted:

This is certainly one case where sticking with the decades-old previous system would have been preferable.
That appears to be common when introducing an electronic ticketing system just for the sake of having those fancy chipcards, without actually making use of potential benefits. Another Norwegian city, Bergen, has one where (in addition to reuseable cards for period passes and the like) passengers purchase disposable cardboard-chipcards for single rides. This is a doubtful improvement over paper tickets, both from a passenger convenience and cost/benefit perspective. At least they stopped handing out obligatory paper receipts for the disposable cards.

Lynxifer
Jan 2, 2005
Comedy "Buttsecks" Option

Vindolanda posted:

The Oyster system in London works really well, but it's annoying that I can't use it on buses in Scotland - even though contactless readers are installed for OAP bus passes.

On the back of this, here in the south east, train operators have been installing ITSO readers to start to "replace" the paper tickets. Cool, right?

Wrong.

Half the readers in the area are broken or defective because the turnstiles for them were installed years previously and never maintained, so you get the situation where the reader will cycle between "ITSO / Tickets" and "Please Wait" every few seconds. During the Please Wait phase, the reader is disabled and if you don't place your card on the pad at the right time, the system will shriek and just say "Seek Assistance".
But that's assuming you can even buy a ticket from the machines in the first place. More often than not, you'll go through the entire transaction, selecting first and last station, providing payment, and right as you try and add the ticket to the card, it'll tell you "There has been a problem. You have not been charged" and you're boned.
Oh, but you can use the website to purchase season tickets! Except until recently the site only worked correctly in IE8. During the purchasing attempt, when it came time to select where to load the ticket onto the card, the dropdown would not draw and you would be unable to progress.

Let's talk about those tickets for a moment, whilst that's the whole thing. Say you want to purchase a Weekly ticket between Falmer and Lewes, two normal stations with readers. If you manage to buy it, you'll tap on, tap off and it'll all be fine. But, what about if you want to purchase a ticket between Brighton and Lewes. It's only three stations ahead of Falmer and the price increase is negligible and it would allow unlimited travel between the stations regardless of where you board.
With a standard paper ticket, the barriers understand this. The brainless "conductors" understand this. The ITSO readers, do not. You cannot break your journey with a ITSO card, despite it being a valid action.

At this point, it seems stupid to use the ITSO system. It doesn't work anywhere near as well as the paper system, the conductors rarely have a reader and some even threaten to have you ejected from the train since "you might be lying", but it does not stop the constant adverts touting it as "the best thing since tits themselves".

ANGRY

Arsenic Lupin
Apr 11, 2012

This particularly rapid unintelligible patter isn't generally heard, and if it is, it doesn't matter.






Known, for obvious reasons, as "the million-dollar loveseat".

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010





This picture highlights another form of obsolete technology: the removable disk pack.

See those black-and-white boxes on the left side of the picture? Each one is a hard disk drive. But they weren't like today's hard drives, all sealed up nice with a cable coming out the back. Walk up to one of those beasts and...



Holy poo poo I just opened the lid on this washing machine-looking bastard! Check out the disk platters in there. Those are entirely replaceable. The platter packs are stored like this:



(That's a CDC pack, Control Data Corporation being Seymour Cray's employer before he moved on to create Cray)

You grab the handle, stick it into the empty drive, and twist to lock it in and release the handle. Reverse the process to pull the disks back out.

Eventually, they realized you could make things smaller and keep it cleaner if you just seal the whole thing at the factory, and thus we come eventually to the drives of today.

Chillbro Baggins
Oct 8, 2004
Bad Angus! Bad!


Pham Nuwen posted:

Ok allow me to for a moment. The term "Beowulf cluster" is bullshit. It just refers to a bunch of networked Linux machines running an MPI program.

ARM is not an especially great processor for HPC. We've built a cluster from Gumstix ARM devices, 49 to a little plastic box, but they just don't have a lot of power. The main thing in HPC these days is a good network interconnect and really good floating point capabilities. ARM isn't known for either.

You could probably get some Android phones running an MPI program, but it wouldn't be cost-effective or speedy. You'd be better off running the single-node version on a decent i7.

Dang.

Groda posted:

Those were Thinking Machines.

EDIT: Okay, well, they were Crays in the novel, it looks like.
Yeah, the Cray-1 even has a cameo in the JP:Trespasser videogame. I'm pretty sure the silly-rear end GUI shown in the movie was straight from the novel, though.

sleepy gary
Jan 11, 2006



Delivery McGee posted:

Dang.

Yeah, the Cray-1 even has a cameo in the JP:Trespasser videogame. I'm pretty sure the silly-rear end GUI shown in the movie was straight from the novel, though.

No that silly-rear end gui shown in the movie was from real life.

edit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fsn

Arsenic Lupin
Apr 11, 2012

This particularly rapid unintelligible patter isn't generally heard, and if it is, it doesn't matter.





Pham Nuwen posted:



Holy poo poo I just opened the lid on this washing machine-looking bastard! Check out the disk platters in there. Those are entirely replaceable.
That form factor of disk drive had more than you'd think in common with a washing machine. If the disks became unbalanced -- as, for instance, when part of the disk broke off -- the drives would walk across the room, very noisily indeed, until they came to the length of their cables. Merriment, by which I mean cursing, ensued. Head crashes were also quite audible.

Chillbro Baggins
Oct 8, 2004
Bad Angus! Bad!


DNova posted:

No that silly-rear end gui shown in the movie was from real life.

Yeah, like the Cray-1, it was cutting-edge real life tech that was glorified in the book. Crichton would cry if he could read this thread. He always picked the awesome tech that eventually lost.

Arsenic Lupin posted:

That form factor of disk drive had more than you'd think in common with a washing machine. If the disks became unbalanced -- as, for instance, when part of the disk broke off -- the drives would walk across the room, very noisily indeed, until they came to the length of their cables. Merriment, by which I mean cursing, ensued. Head crashes were also quite audible.
I forget if it was this thread or another, but I've read that if the programmers wanted to knock off early and hit the pub, they could run a program that flopped the read heads on those just so, and walk it far enough across the room to unplug itself. They got the rest of the day off while management called tech support to send a guy out to push it back to the wall.

Chillbro Baggins has a new favorite as of 20:09 on Jul 20, 2013

Arsenic Lupin
Apr 11, 2012

This particularly rapid unintelligible patter isn't generally heard, and if it is, it doesn't matter.





Delivery McGee posted:

Yeah, like the Cray-1, it was cutting-edge real life tech that was glorified in the book. Crichton would cry if he could read this thread. He always picked the awesome tech that eventually lost.
It's the computer industry. Every technology loses sooner or later.

3D Megadoodoo
Nov 25, 2010

BENIS


Germstore posted:

He's not entirely wrong. It's just now the quote would be between two godzilla or 1024 oxen.

1024 oxen with plows would plow a field a hell of a lot faster than two godzillas with plows though.

Oh, wait,

3D Megadoodoo
Nov 25, 2010

BENIS


Arsenic Lupin posted:

It's the computer industry. Every technology loses sooner or later.

For the past fifteen years I've been told the PC is dead every year, all of the year. Oh hey - it's my favourite obsolete and failed technology, it just still happens to be dominant but that's just a minor detail.

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kastein
Aug 31, 2011

Moderator at http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/and soon to be mod of AI. MAKE AI GREAT AGAIN. Motronic for VP.


^^ every year since what, 1993? has been the Year of the Linux Desktop.

I'm not saying linux on the desktop is bad, just that it's not mainstream. Hell, I was happy running FreeBSD on my desktop for years, and will probably go back to that soon.

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