Thursday: Hili dialogue

by Grania

Good morning and welcome to the new day.

Today was the debut of Sesame Street in 1969.


Today also saw the first presentation of Windows 1 to the public in 1983, although it wasn’t released for another 2 years. The few of us that used or had computers back in the day tended to use DOS rather than Windows, and did so for years to come as Windows functioned as a cutesy shell for DOS and didn’t do much more to justify its existence at the time.


Today is also the birthday of rapper Eve (1978). Cautionary note for readers who haven’t heard of her:  this is rapping, rather than singing.

We have a lament from Poland. It is a conundrum, alas poor Hili!

Hili: This bowl is empty.
A: We have different opinions about the amount of food a cat needs.
In Polish:
Hili: Ta miska jest pusta.
Ja: Mamy odmienne poglądy na to ile jedzenia potrzebuje kot.

Carol sent us a new photo of Gus, who is clearly unperturbed about the concerns of humans. We should all strive to be Gus for at least 15 minutes a day.



  1. koseighty
    Posted November 10, 2016 at 6:49 am | Permalink


    • Carol
      Posted November 10, 2016 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      Haha! 🙂

  2. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted November 10, 2016 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    The advent of Windoze and its hungriness for expensive memory caused Microsoft to launch that horror Drivespace (or was it Doublespace?) – whereby it compressed everything before putting it on disk, thereby making a bit more room for Windoze. (And, of course, unpacking everything as it came off the disk).

    To truly appreciate the horror you had to buy, as my father did, a PC with insufficient RAM. Trying to jump to another page in MSWord would result in the PC bogging down completely as the disk drive thrashed wildly and text appeared at slow typewriter speed, letter by letter, on the page. What I think was happening was this: as compressed text came off the disk, it had to be uncompressed, which took RAM. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough RAM so it cached some of it to swap space on – you’ve guessed it – disk. The result was, the poor thing tied itself in knots of logic.

    Many computer users of those days used to regard Microsoft in the same way many people currently regard The Donald. 😦


    • darrelle
      Posted November 10, 2016 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Never used Windows in the ’80s. Started out on a TI-16 then moved up to a TRS-80. Did some work on main frame driven work stations, mostly Fortran 77. To do work on those kinds of computers in those days you started by writing a program. I kind of miss that, but of course today’s hardware & software is orders of magnitude better in every way.

      I first used windows in the early ’90s, though I did do some work on a Fat Mac in the mid ’80s. It was about like your recollection of working on early MSWord. I was composing a presentation for a timing system for telemetry tagging. Couldn’t have been more than about 20 pages. That took several floppies, switching around between them, back and forth. It would have been faster to use a type writer and hand drawn diagrams.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 10, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        At my first work (a local government department) they had just switched from using typed stencils for ‘printed’ specification pages, to using the council’s mainframe computer. You would log in, type in your pages of specifications, in the most primitive editor, add in formatting tags (with about the same error rate as HTML tags in WordPress), then run it through some formatting program then send it to the mainframe for batch processing. Then a day later (if you were lucky) you rang up Accounts, who had a printer, to ask if your input had come out in their pile. If you were lucky and something coherent had emerged, you could feed it through the company’s Xerox machine.

        When the department got its first IBM PC with dot matrix printer attached, intended for engineering calculations, I think I was the first to see its potential. I typed in a specification in ‘ed’, printed it, confirmed that the Xerox could read it, and promptly went to the hated mainframe terminal, selected ‘change password’, shut my eyes and banged in a dozen random keys, thereby locking myself out of the hated mainframe forever. Freedom!

        Of course a few years later networks emerged, and the authoritarian apparatus of IT with its technocratic high priests and apparatchiks resurged more strongly than ever.


        • Posted November 11, 2016 at 2:36 am | Permalink

          I like very much this random password. Could be included in some sci-fi plot.

        • darrelle
          Posted November 11, 2016 at 7:21 am | Permalink

          “Then a day later (if you were lucky) you rang up Accounts, who had a printer, to ask if your input had come out in their pile.”

          Oh yeah, that was a pain. But, I’m sort of nostalgic about having spent hours a day for several days composing a program, sending it into the queue to be run, queuing up in line to wait for your print out, then sorting through the giant stack of accordian paper looking for your stuff, hoping nobody else took it, only to find you made some trivial mistake that you could fix in 5 minutes, but it will instead take a day or more.

    • Posted November 10, 2016 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      In the mid-1990s, my office computer (we were actually three on this machine) slowed down to turtle speed. I was instructed in such cases to look for junk files and delete them to free disk space. I saw a huge file that looked like 100% junk and deleted it. Then the damn thing blocked altogether. I called expert help, and it turned out I’d deleted Drivespace with all its content! Happily, they undeleted it.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 10, 2016 at 5:13 pm | Permalink


        The Wiki page on Drivespace mentions exactly that possibility.


        • Posted November 11, 2016 at 2:39 am | Permalink

          I’m glad that I haven’t been the only fool in the world to do this!

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted November 11, 2016 at 4:54 am | Permalink

            I think we’ve all done that sort of thing from time to time. ‘An accident waiting to happen’ would be an appropriate description.


  3. Posted November 10, 2016 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Gus saves the day.

  4. Christopher
    Posted November 10, 2016 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    If Gus wasn’t a cat, I’d say he was dealing with depression. At least that’s why I slept away my entire afternoon and evening.

    and in the cold comfort dept., which may be the only comfort we get for a great long while, Hillary did in fact win the popular vote. Screwed by the electoral college again.

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 10, 2016 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      I hear ya. Wonder if it’s possible to sleep away the next 4 years?

      Yeah, I do NOT understand why we have not yet deep-sixed the electoral college; in what universe does it make sense to deny the popular vote? It’s obvious the EC will always favor the Republicans!

      • darrelle
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 7:48 am | Permalink

        Yeah, it’s all about money and power. That’s the reason. Getting rid of the EC any time soon is not likely. It might be more likely that more states would change to proportional allocation of their EC votes. But, even at that level (state rather than federal) the Republican Party has many states gerrymandered so well that that isn’t so likely either. Maybe the first thing to do is go after gerrymandering. Some few states recently have, but not enough to make a real difference at the national level yet.

        Gerrymandering is, as I’m sure you already know, why the Republican Party has been so dominant in the House for so long. It is so readily visible and so blatantly gaming the system, it is ridiculous. A reason that it hasn’t gotten more push-back to date is that the Democratic Party does it too and while they haven’t done it to the extreme degree the RP has the DP is reluctant to let go of areas they have gerrymandered with some apparent success for fear that they will lose seats.

        • Diane G.
          Posted November 11, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

          Yes, that too, absolutely!

  5. somer
    Posted November 10, 2016 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    The US system is too much designed to thwart the majority …and then occasionally you get the Orange Durian. But then in Oz we don’t have your stresses or global responsibilities either.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 10, 2016 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Going back to the dawn of the computer in a box days, I recall in 1984 or 85, somewhere in there, the company I worked for installed their own email system. Don’t know if others had it but this one was called Emc2. We thought it was really great as it allowed us to talk to people in the company all over the country and eventually all over the world. Telephone and regular mail use began to fall.

  7. Dave
    Posted November 10, 2016 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    As I recollect from the early eighties, dos and its various competitors were pretty much hobbyist stuff. All the cool kids were using HPBASIC on those awesome (but pricey) 9800 series workstations. No OS required.

    • Diane Garlick
      Posted November 10, 2016 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

      I was using Atari Basic. 🙂

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 10, 2016 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

        In those early computers, Basic incorporated the operating system, or at least those functions accessible by the user. e.g. Apple II, BBC Model B, Commodore C-64 etc. So it included did what DOS did on PC’s.

        Not so sure about the HP 9800, which was more a programmable calculator – it may have had the OS hard-wired into custom chips or similar.

        I encountered one of those – an Olivetti Programma 101. Cost $3000(!). Had, IIRC, 10 registers and a whopping 120 program steps. Output on paper tape. On my one encounter with it, I managed to program it into a loop and there it sat, chattering away and spewing paper unstoppably – I eventually pulled the plug in panic. Nobody saw me and I never told anybody, I was afraid I might have ruined it.


        • darrelle
          Posted November 11, 2016 at 7:50 am | Permalink


  8. Marta
    Posted November 10, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    “One thing that does ring true is that the demonization of the Other Side by the Left (prime example: the Huffington Post) was not only divisive, but promoted a Trump victory.”

    My head is pounding and my heart is racing. It must be time for a personal anecdote.

    My Republican friend has an extra fridge in her garage, on which is affixed a bumper sticker with a picture of Hillary Clinton, with the words “Cunt. In Jail. Or Dead.”

    No one, except me, various service people, and her lover are in her garage. I have to assume that the service people are irrelevant, and that her lover already knows she hates Clinton. Thus, I conclude that the bumper sticker is for me, her closest friend–a Democrat. In the many, many months that sticker has been on her fridge, I have not–not even once–remarked on it, even obliquely.

    I have used many, many colorful words to describe Donald Trump, almost all of them as vulgar and obscene as I could make them (of course, the most obscene of all is “president”, but that one didn’t occur to me.)

    I’m finding it rather remarkable that not two weeks ago you were asking if it wasn’t time to leave poor Donald alone, because Clinton was a shoe-in, and look at all those anti-Trump Huffington Post and Salon headlines (so unfair!!!)

    • Marta
      Posted November 10, 2016 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      I’m damned if I know how this post wound up here, but since I’m baffled by everything today, this is not surprising.

      • Diane Garlick
        Posted November 10, 2016 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

        Wherever your posts appear they’re always a real blast of fresh (acerbic, irreverent, gut-busting) air. Wish you’d drop by more often.

        I have a wonderful friend who’s sadly a committed Catholic. Tho this friend is liberal on all other matters, the church was threatening all their sheep that if you vote for Clinton you’ll go to hell. I’m almost more upset about the crooked Catholic hierarchy cackling over their victory and plotting to make the entire SCOTUS Catholic than I am about Trump himself.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted November 10, 2016 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

          “I’m almost more upset about the crooked Catholic hierarchy cackling over their victory and plotting to make the entire SCOTUS Catholic than I am about Trump himself.”

          I certainly would be. In a sense, you can’t blame Trump for being who he is. But you can most certainly blame the ‘Christians’ who cynically pushed to interfere in the electoral process and get someone elected who they would normally condemn, all in order to interfere with other people’s lives.


          • Diane Garlick
            Posted November 11, 2016 at 2:57 am | Permalink

            Yes! That’s exactly how I see it!

      • somer
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 3:38 am | Permalink

        I feel for you copping this nasty treatment from a friend.

  9. somer
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    Hilli is enjoying some joke we don’t get, but I’ll take the cat licks and rubs from the medieval cat.

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