I had a very powerful experience recently. I found my love of jazz again. Here’s the recording that did it: Simon Phillips & Protocol + Ndugu Chancler + Billy Ward: Biplane to Bermuda.
And the latest revision: Things Every Hacker Once Knew. This time: The Break key. uuencode/uudecode. Why older Internet protocols only assume a 7-bit link. The original meanings of SO/SI. WRU and station ID on teletypes. BITNET and other pre-Internets. There is one respect in which working on this is changing my historical perspective. The section… Continue reading Things Every Hacker Once Knew: 1.10
I’ve been thinking a lot about language design lately. Part of this comes from my quite successful acquisition of Go and my mostly failed attempt to learn Rust. These languages make me question premises I’ve held for a long time, and that questioning has borne some fruit. In the remainder of this posting I will… Continue reading The simplest possible method syntax in C
I’ve shipped another revision of Things Every Hacker Once Knew The pace of suggested additions and corrections has slowed down a lot; I think this thing is stabilizing. I gave in and added the one bit of paper-tape lore people have been bugging me to include, about why DEL is 0xb1111111. Learning that the NSA… Continue reading Things Every Hacker Once Knew: 1.9
Heritage games. The legacy of all-uppercase terminals. Where README came from. What “core” is. The ARPANET. Monitoring your computer with a radio. And more… Things Every Hacker Once Knew The response to this document has been nothing short of astonishing. More than half of my non-spam mail over the last three weeks has been people… Continue reading Things Every Hacker Once Knew: 1.8
Here’s my first new project in a while – loccount, inspired by David A. Wheeler’s sloccount tool but much faster and with broader language coverage. I actually wrote this as a learning exercise in the Go language. You can find more details in my NTPsec blog post on Grappling With Go. If you like it,… Continue reading loccount: A faster SLOC utility
Did I say Things Every Hacker Once Knew was stabilizing? Silly me… Here’s the 1.7 version. Substantial new material on the BBS scene – this is my answer to the people who have been bugging me to at least mention XMODEM/YMODEM/ZMODEM. The expository approach I’m taking is to bin all of UUCP, the BBS scene,… Continue reading Things Every Hacker Once Knew: 1.7
The newest version is here. I think it’s stabilizing. The rate of comments and submissions has been dropping. Changelog: How VDTs explain some heritage programs, and how bitmapped displays eventually obsolesced them. Explain why the ADM-3 was called “dumb” even though it was smart. There’s also a mention of RS-323 on network gear. Still nothing… Continue reading Things Every Hacker Once Knew: 1.6
The work on NTPsec is going very well. Unfortunately, since we lost our CII funding in September, my personal situation isn’t.
The 1.5 revision of Things Every Hacker Once Knew is out. Alas, I had to drop the reference to the Space Cadet keyboard. Turns out it shipped a 32-bit status word and this had nothing to do with 9-bit bytes at all. The indirect reference to the SAIL extended ASCII keyboard is still in. Patrick… Continue reading Things Every Hacker Once Knew: 1.5
One of my regular commenters on A&D, Random832, wrote the following in response to my inclusion criteria for Things Every Hacker Once Knew. On “common knowledge at the time”, I think the problem with dismissing things as “fascinating but obscure trivia” means too much exclusion of the real facts behind things that were already forgotten… Continue reading In defense of recording folk history
New version 1.4 at: http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/things-every-hacker-once-knew/ New content in this one is an expanded section about outboard modems, their descendants in today’s technology, and the curious survival of the Hayes AT command set. I had actually received a couple of previous requests to add material on the Hayes AT convention, but rejected them on the grounds… Continue reading Things Every Hacker Once Knew: 1.4