Friday Four

Friday, January 17, 2014

1. A computer hobbyist, building a working one-tenth scale replica of a Cray supercomputer, has had a surprisingly hard time obtaining a copy of the operating system of the original. The story is more interesting than it sounds, and compares the old workhorses to modern tablets along the way:

Considering that an iPad packs far more computing power than a Cray-1, it wasn't difficult to find a board option that could handle emulating the original Cray computational architecture. Fenton settled on the $22 5 Spartan 3E-1600, which is tiny enough to fit in a drawer built into the bench. Considering the first Crays cost between $5 and 8 million, that's a pretty impressive bargain. [links in original]
And I bet the author didn't factor in inflaton...

2. One evening, I told my wife, "Love is an unnecessary Dora Band-Aid on the hairiest part of your arm". I'd gone in for a "check-up" with my daughter, who had been playing doctor that day.

3. I like soccer and football, but almost all of my limited sports viewing time goes to soccer. A comparison of the two as spectator sports goes a long way in explaining why I make the choice.
Fact: From the moment a soccer game kicks off until the full-time whistle, you will watch at least 90 minutes of play with, guaranteed, with just one interruption.

Noted earlier as one of the reasons soccer's commentary is superior to football's was the fact that actual play takes up only 11 minutes of the average football game, leaving about three hours for the network to fill with gibberish and commercials. Commercials account for about an hour of a given football broadcast, making it nearly impossible to just sit, watch and enjoy a single football game without doing something else at the same time...
Not having to sit through (or skip) commercials more than once is nice, but I never really thought about how much actual playing time there is.

4. Need to compare two blocks of text that are almost identical? I had to do that a mind-numbing number of times recently and found the Text Comparison website extremely helpful and easy to use.

-- CAV

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