August 12, 2011

On This Day

On August 12, 1980, IBM released the IBM PC. From the IBM achives:

Non-IBM personal computers were available as early as the mid-1970s, first as do-it-yourself kits and then as off-the-shelf products. They offered a few applications but none that justified widespread use.

Drawing on its pioneering SCAMP (Special Computer, APL Machine Portable) prototype of 1973, IBM's General Systems Division announced the IBM 5100 Portable Computer in September 1975. Weighing approximately 50 pounds, the 5100 desktop computer was comparable to the IBM 1130 in storage capacity and performance but almost as small and easy to use as an IBM Selectric Typewriter. It was followed by similar small computers such as the IBM 5110 and 5120.

IBM's own Personal Computer (IBM 5150) was introduced in August 1981, only a year after corporate executives gave the go-ahead to Bill Lowe, the lab director in the company's Boca Raton, Fla., facilities. He set up a task force that developed the proposal for the first IBM PC. Early studies had concluded that there were not enough applications to justify acceptance on a broad basis and the task force was fighting the idea that things couldn't be done quickly in IBM. One analyst was quoted as saying that "IBM bringing out a personal computer would be like teaching an elephant to tap dance." During a meeting with top executives in New York, Lowe claimed his group could develop a small, new computer within a year. The response: "You're on. Come back in two weeks with a proposal."

It sold for $1,565.
The system unit was powered by an Intel 8088 microprocessor operating at speeds measured in millionths of a second. It was the size of a portable typewriter and contained 40K of read-only memory and 16K of user memory, as well as a built-in speaker for generating music. Its five expansion slots could be used to connect such features as expanded memory, display and printing units and game "paddles." The unit also ran self-diagnostic checks.

Containing 83 keys, the keyboard was connected to the unit by a six-foot coiled cable, which meant users could rest it in their lap or on the desktop without moving the rest of the system. It also included such advanced functions for the times as a numeric keypad and 10 special keys that enabled users to write and edit text, figure accounts and store data.

Options included:

•A printer that could print in two directions at 80 characters per second in 12 different character styles, and also check itself for malfunctions and provide an out-of-paper signal.
•A color/graphics monitor with 16 foreground and background colors and 256 characters for text applications. Its graphics were in four colors.
•Multiple 32K and 64K memory cards that could be plugged into the option slots to increase memory to 256K.
Needing new channels to distribute these new computers, IBM turned to ComputerLand; Sears, Roebuck and Co.; and IBM Product Centers to make the IBM PC available to the broadest set of customers.

The response to the announcement was overwhelming. One dealer had 22 customers come in and put down $1,000 deposits on the machines for which he could not promise a delivery date. By the end of 1982, qualified retail outfits were signing on to sell the new machine at the rate of one-a-day as sales actually hit a system-a-minute every business day. Newsweek magazine called it "IBM's roaring success," and the New York Times said, "The speed and extent to which IBM has been successful has surprised many people, including IBM itself."
I can remember working on XT's (10 MB HDD) and AT's. The 286 was a screamer for just under $3,000. It came with a CGA monitor that by itself sold for $600 under state contract pricing. Without an operating system the PC booted directly into BASIC.

I can still remember my first 66 MB MFM HDD. Unattached to a PC, it was a deadly weapon if hurled at an unsuspecting head, it weighed more than a brick and took 45 minutes for a high level format.

August 10, 2011

Look At The English Riots and Then Thank God We Have The 2nd Amendment

Efforts to disarm the American public have been under way for decades. Citing public safety concerns over gun violence, members of congress, the media and special interests have made some inroads curtailing the possession of firearms by ordinary citizens. Other developments, most notably the recent Supreme Court decision in Heller v. District of Columbia, have withstood the attack of liberal encroachment and have reinforced the right for law biding citizens to bear arms.

Look at the antique firearms in the picture above. They were state-of-the-art weapons when the most powerful army in the world was defeated by relatively few professional soldiers and tens of thousands of farmers only 230 years ago. Bear this in mind, artillery is the King of Battle but Infantry is still Queen. A determined man with a rifle can take and hold land with devastating effect.

Recent developments in England have revealed that a disarmed citizenry is not only helpless against government excesses, but is also at a great disadvantage from mass thuggery. In a headline from the UK Daily Mail

Years of liberal dogma have spawned a generation of amoral, uneducated, welfare dependent, brutalised youngsters
A few weeks after the U.S. city of Detroit was ravaged by 1967 race riots in which 43 people died, I was shown around the wrecked areas by a black reporter named Joe Strickland.

He said: ‘Don’t you believe all that stuff people here are giving media folk about how sorry they are about what happened. When they talk to each other, they say: “It was a great fire, man!” ’

I am sure that is what many of the young rioters, black and white, who have burned and looted in England through the past few shocking nights think today.

It was fun. It made life interesting. It got people to notice them. As a girl looter told a BBC reporter, it showed ‘the rich’ and the police that ‘we can do what we like’.

For a mob, the perceived threat of harm is just as effective as actually being harmed. And if you think that the British riots cannot happen here, you are sadly mistaken. There are mini-riots that take place in American cities that you rarely ever hear about. Philadelphia is experiencing flash mob riots as are other cities where the motive is pure theft. If American handouts to the "poor" cannot be maintained at a level that satisfies them, be prepared for violence on a scale that may exceed England's current misery.

And with that in mind, be prepared to defend yourself with the thoughtful provision of a firearm made possible by our Founding Fathers. The liberals will cry and moan about this but all they have good intentions and an empty promise from police officials that they will control the streets. Good luck with that.

August 9, 2011

Things To Come

By all appearances, it really does appear that everything is going to hell in a handbasket. Riots, economic doom and ruin and military set backs scream at us from the headlines and blogs. I have never witnessed such times in my sixty plus years.

This truly is similar to when WWII was building up a head of steam in the late thirties. And I imagine it will only get worse. Many people thought Hitler was the antichrist and probably some think Obama is. Whatever you may think, these events are God's way of reminding us that there is no safety or security outside of Him.

History is replete with examples of stormy passages with fleeting periods of calm in between. This is no different as we enter the end times. We see the signs of growing moral turpitude and the indifference of so called churches to sin, particularly homesexuality. Even the growing numbers of vegans is nothing but a signal that time for mankind is growing short.

II Timothy 3:1-5,7 "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of god; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."

I Timothy 4:1-3 "But the spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. By means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth."
Sometimes I am troubled by the turmoil that grows stronger every day and enraged by the incompetence and venality of our government. But yet, I am comforted by the realization that all of this has been foretold and there is nothing that can defeat the will and intent of God.

Christ, not the US government, is my Savior. Obama, Soros and the all the forces of Hell cannot triumph.

British Parliament Recalled

Cameron has just announced that Parliament will be recalled on Thursday so it can debate the riots.

Apologists for the riots are still looking for what they call "the root causes"; everything from closure of youth clubs, libraries and the changes to the Educational Maintenance Allowance have been blamed. I say it's government policies, lack of parental discipline, lousy state education and a failing judiciary. By rights the government should resign and there should be a General Election but there's no point, Labour would only be voted back in to continue the failed policies. Voters don't seem to have the courage to look outside the Big 3 LibLabCon con, which is a shame. Real change, a good change, could come to this country if the smaller Parties could get their acts together and attract more votes.

These nasty little criminals are filling police cells to overflowing, so much so that they're being shared out to other forces before they're put in front of a judge and slapped on their wrists.  Homes and businesses have been burned out; people made homeless and jobless; a 60yr old woman woke to find her front door staved in and a looter standing in her bedroom; passers-by have had the clothes taken from their backs.  Yes, I'm sure it's all down to withdrawal of the EMA.

From the window I can see smoke still rising from the south-east - somewhere towards Stoke Newington/Tottenham way - and sirens are wailing again.  Theresa May has emerged to say that the cuts in police numbers have little to do with it; Ken Livingstone made political capital by implying that they wouldn't have happened if he had been Mayor and the BBC continue to link events to the death of Mark Duggan, drug dealer and man-about-town who carried a gun.

One anonymous policeman phoned into LBC this morning.  He said that 80-90% of the rioters were black.  He also said that a Sikh colleague of his who wore a turban with his uniform was greeted by members of the Hindu/Sikh community with a smile and a wave whereas he, a black officer, was spat at and derided by black youths.  Digest that.

Ken Clarke's been quiet.  Perhaps he's reading up on the Civil Contingencies Act or on the phone to N.Ireland arranging for the water cannons.  Whatever the outcome of Thursday's debate in Parliament England will be the worse for it as more restrictions are imposed on the majority because of the action of the minority.  Once again: These are our streets., not theirs.  Well done to the hundred or so Turkish men with baseball bats who apparently chased rioters down Stoke Newington High Street last night.

The scenes have been incredibly saddening and shocking to see.  The parents of these moronic scumbags should be ashamed of themselves for raising children who have no sense of morality and they should be frogmarching them and their stolen loot to the nearest police station this morning.  The State, the apparatus of government, should also be ashamed, but it won't be, it will just introduce more repressive measures and increase its stranglehold while continuing to mouth platitudes, as Cameron and May did this morning.

My poor, beautiful old England, sold out for perks, honours, cash and a glittering career in politics.

Mr Biber, surveys the damage to his barber shop.

England hotspots

UPDATE(s): The other side of England

(1) Pic: Tea and riot shields
(2) Pic: Sweeping them off the streets
(3) Clean-up time

August 8, 2011

Does this look at all familiar?

1932 Chicago Tribune Cartoon. 
Click on it for a better view.

August 7, 2011

Pray For Their Families

Absolutely horrific news from Aghanistan. Many of the Seal Team 6 members who eliminated Bin Laden have been shot down in a helicopter. It is estimated that as many as 30 American Special Forces and seven Aghani soldiers have been lost.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- An Afghan official says there is fighting in the area where the Taliban shot down a U.S. Army Chinook helicopter, killing 38 people, including 30 American troops.

Wardak provincial spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said Sunday that a joint operation was taking place in the Tangi Joy Zarin area of Sayd Abad district where the large transport helicopter went down late Saturday. He says there were reports of Taliban casualties overnight, but had no additional information.

NATO says it has begun an operation to recover the remains of the helicopter.

The deaths marked the deadliest single loss for American forces in the decade-old war.

Right Click states that the Seals were not involved in the crash. Right now there is mixed news from the web-based media on whether or not members of a Seal Team were involved in the crash.

The loss of life is still mourned and their families are in our prayers.