Difference between revisions of "Talk:2324: Old Days 2"

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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"For example, out of 256 possible identifiers for partition type shared between all operating systems running on IBM PC compatible hardware, 65 entries are allocated to miscellaneous variants of FAT and NTFS systems, 38 of them originating from Microsoft itself - including esoteric variants like "Corrupted fault-tolerant FAT16B mirrored master volume."" ? This doesn't really seem to be pertinent. A private listing of numbers used internally by Microsoft and IBM, where Microsoft uses 15%? (Surely how many other people used is irrelevant.)--[[User:Prosfilaes|Prosfilaes]] ([[User talk:Prosfilaes|talk]]) 01:52, 29 June 2020 (UTC)
 
"For example, out of 256 possible identifiers for partition type shared between all operating systems running on IBM PC compatible hardware, 65 entries are allocated to miscellaneous variants of FAT and NTFS systems, 38 of them originating from Microsoft itself - including esoteric variants like "Corrupted fault-tolerant FAT16B mirrored master volume."" ? This doesn't really seem to be pertinent. A private listing of numbers used internally by Microsoft and IBM, where Microsoft uses 15%? (Surely how many other people used is irrelevant.)--[[User:Prosfilaes|Prosfilaes]] ([[User talk:Prosfilaes|talk]]) 01:52, 29 June 2020 (UTC)
 +
: It isn't just "private listing used internally", it's the standard PC partition table, used by ''all'' operating systems that run on PC. "Surely how many other people used is irrelevant" is exactly this sort of Microsoft arrogance that earned them so much hate in the IT community, treating other operating systems as unimportant and irrelevant (e.g. happily overwriting the MBR with a bootloader that only allows booting Windows, making any co-existing OS inaccessible until you fix the MBR manually, being the only OS family on PC that didn't dual-boot out-of-the-box). [[Special:Contributions/172.68.182.158|172.68.182.158]] 08:06, 29 June 2020 (UTC)

Latest revision as of 08:06, 29 June 2020


I've gotta try that, see how the ice cream truck guy reacts. Wonder where I can find an ice cream truck though? 172.69.71.16 23:42, 24 June 2020 (UTC)

The above is me, wasn't logged in, would I get in trouble for fixing the signature? Mikemk (talk) 23:44, 24 June 2020 (UTC)

(@Mikemk, I recon you sorted it by adding what you did. If you'd have just changed things, probably no crime if you explained it in the edit Summary. But I'm just an IP Address, so no authority.) Anyway. The bit about a phone-call stopping all electronic business is obviously rooted in dial-up needing exclusive use of a POTS line, something that only went out with broadband piggy-backing alongside voice-calls, the respective carrier-signals now microfiltered at each end of the house-to-exchange copper cabling to let them coexist over the same circuit without blocking/overwhelming each other. Though, in this comic, it's hyperbole, overly fuzzy memory, leg-pulling and/or an alternate-history being described. 141.101.98.130 02:06, 25 June 2020 (UTC)

I would just have deleted the auto signature and put in the correct after login in. Great you signed it correctly. As there is already a discussion opn this I will not correct it. Had no one answered you I would have just put your signature where the special contribution signature is and deleted your second line... ;-) --Kynde (talk) 17:24, 25 June 2020 (UTC)


In the early days (of the ARPAnet) there was actually something that today would be classed as a "cloud service" (before the term was invented) although limited. It was a computer (in Cambridge, MA) funded by ARPA with massive amounts of storage and anybody on the ARPAnet could use it for storage (primary access was through FTP). So, cloud storage but not cloud computing. If you wanted to do something with the data you had to copy the whole file to your local disk, edit it there, and then send it back. The actual bits were stored on magnetic tape and there was an elaborate X/Y mechanism to select a tape and mount it on a tape drive, and later return it to its cubby. MAP (talk) 02:38, 25 June 2020 (UTC)

"State landline" is reminiscent of the old sailing joke where you'd ask a n00b to bring you 100 feet of shoreline. -- brad

Hm, I'd think that "state landline" is a pun on "state line". Gvanrossum (talk) 04:19, 25 June 2020 (UTC)

Also, while mainframes didn't exactly knit sweaters when they ran your code, they *did* produce physical artifacts -- reams of line printer paper. Gvanrossum (talk) 04:21, 25 June 2020 (UTC)

Kniting a sweater out of all teletyp tapes (5 holes width could work) that where common in releationship to mainframe landline interfaces 09:08, 26 June 2020 (UTC)Knitter

"It's not even likely that any punch patterns used in computer coding would be interpretable as valid sweater-creating instructions." Is anyone up to the challenge? Barmar (talk) 05:04, 25 June 2020 (UTC)

I actually very much doubt that it couldn't be interpreted. The loom will probably work just fine. It's not like those cards started with a header our CRC. It will probably not produce a meaningful pattern, but it will produce something. 162.158.158.249 10:30, 27 June 2020 (UTC)

Wouldn't a loom produce woven textiles rather than knit garments like sweaters? Seems like an additional layer of tall tales. 172.68.189.179 06:46, 25 June 2020 (UTC)

In fact, you can buy computer-programmable knitting machines - even consumer models have been around for quite a while. One short article: https://www.futurity.org/knitting-machines-software-1719232/ Cellocgw (talk) 14:08, 26 June 2020 (UTC)

It seems to me that the comic is having fun with false etymologies. There is especially one article that 'explains' a lot of idiom (in the sense of making up a fanciful story), which has been debunked by Snopes https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/life-in-the-1500s/ and the comics seems to allude to a similar situation in computer science, which is now old enough that early days are shrouded in a bit of mist out of which selective trivia is remembered (punch cards had something to do with looms) and then put together into a semi-coherent story that no longer reflects reality. (With part of the joke being that many people here will actually still know or even remember what it was really like in the 'early years', but the fewer those become, the more likely it will be that made-up 'origin stories' become accepted as true.

141.101.69.33 06:54, 25 June 2020 (UTC)

Is there a pun in the title text, regarding double meaning of driver? 172.68.226.26 07:59, 25 June 2020 (UTC) Eddy

The explanation about landlines needs to be reviewed. Landlines are still a thing, people are still using them, they're not a "stone age" technology.141.101.98.130 14:35, 25 June 2020 (UTC)

I disagree. The explanation does not claim landlines are a stone age technology. It instead says that Cueball, in this context, may associate them with an imagined stone age technology. In the same vein, it is the youngster Cueball who may believe that nobody today uses landlines for anything at all. JohnB (talk) 21:22, 25 June 2020 (UTC)

This comic is why we have children and encourage them to go into the same line of work as us: so we can tell them stories of the "good old days." My wife wants nothing to do with my stories of computers in the 70s and 80s, but my son - now also a developer like me - actually listens. Gbisaga (talk) 16:13, 25 June 2020 (UTC)

"Also it is unknown how it should know in which repo to create a pull request and whom to contact about it." I assumed it was akin to those USB dead drops. You give the disk to an ice cream man and hope that there is something interesting in the repo. Also the thrill is more in being one of the few insiders who know how to access it, not necessarily the value of the contents themselves.173.245.54.131 19:25, 25 June 2020 (UTC)

Removed - presumably the contents of the floppy disk would tell the truck driver which repo and whom to contact. Just as the requests you send over a network do now. 108.162.245.28 00:41, 26 June 2020 (UTC)
Git is a version control system, which employs and manages a centralized copy of a coding project to prevent and resolve conflicts from multiple people editing the project at once.

No. Git itself has no concept of "centralized copy". It is 100% distributed. Human developers often choose one of the copy and call it "main", "master", or whatever. But that’s only a convention humans can agree on when using this tool. 141.101.69.91 21:30, 25 June 2020 (UTC)

It might be notable that Git is while not first definitely version control system which popularized decentralized distributed version control systems. In old days, version control systems were centralized, with master copy on single server and developers fetching the code from it and then committing their changes back. -- Hkmaly (talk) 00:21, 26 June 2020 (UTC)

The circulating mag tape is very reminiscent of quotations such as this.

"Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway." — Andrew S. Tanenbaum

Related: Sneakernet and Delay-tolerant networking. In areas that are not served by communication lines/wireless communication, vehicles running on a regular route have been used as basis for network communications. 108.162.245.28 00:41, 26 June 2020 (UTC)


"And it's not likely that any punch patterns used in computer coding would be interpretable as a suitable pattern for a sweater." - Is that a CHALLENGE? 172.68.50.50 08:46, 26 June 2020 (UTC)

Sounds like it would make an interesting esolang. 172.69.63.125 13:45, 26 June 2020 (UTC)

"For example, out of 256 possible identifiers for partition type shared between all operating systems running on IBM PC compatible hardware, 65 entries are allocated to miscellaneous variants of FAT and NTFS systems, 38 of them originating from Microsoft itself - including esoteric variants like "Corrupted fault-tolerant FAT16B mirrored master volume."" ? This doesn't really seem to be pertinent. A private listing of numbers used internally by Microsoft and IBM, where Microsoft uses 15%? (Surely how many other people used is irrelevant.)--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:52, 29 June 2020 (UTC)

It isn't just "private listing used internally", it's the standard PC partition table, used by all operating systems that run on PC. "Surely how many other people used is irrelevant" is exactly this sort of Microsoft arrogance that earned them so much hate in the IT community, treating other operating systems as unimportant and irrelevant (e.g. happily overwriting the MBR with a bootloader that only allows booting Windows, making any co-existing OS inaccessible until you fix the MBR manually, being the only OS family on PC that didn't dual-boot out-of-the-box). 172.68.182.158 08:06, 29 June 2020 (UTC)