Retro Computing, Technology

70’s Computer running nuclear plants

On March 28th, 1970 Digital Equipment Corporation announced the PDP-11 one of if not the most successful computers in history. These computers were part of a second wave of computers that were a smaller version of the Mainframe called a minicomputer and are still operating today. A PDP-11 powers a robotic installation at GE Nuclear Plants and will run these systems until 2050. GE is finding it progressively more difficult to find both parts and technical people to support them. They are now resorting to purchasing used parts on eBay. The original PDP-11 expanded to its maximum memory held 248K of memory, a full 26K less than the amount of storage used in the photo of its front panel.


Cryptography, Technology

The power of powers

If you take a penny and put it into a jar, and double what you put in the jar every day, at the end of a month you would have more than $5 Million dollars. When numbers grow rapidly, we call this property exponential growth. It is hard to wrap your head around numbers of this type, but here I provide a point of reference for large numbers.


People, Technology

March 5 – Homebrew Computer Club

Who could have known that meeting a of 32 people in a bay area garage on a rainy night in 1975 could spark a revolution that would eventually affect your every life. On March 5th, 1975 a group of hobbyist’s  met in the Garage of Gordon French an engineer and did just that.


Deal with it, Technology

Changing Combinations

Combination Locks

When people have cables with combination locks for securing their laptops at their workstation, they always remember to turn the tumblers when they secure the laptop. But what happens when they unsecure the laptop?

Many people won’t turn the tumblers on the opened lock because it is much easier to lock the laptop later if the combination is already set. It is not uncommon for office laptops to be stolen by someone who came by when the laptops were not there and noted the combination. They can come back later when the laptops are there and re-use the combination they noted earlier.

Verdict: Deal with it
Deal with it, Technology

Dealing with Passwords

Everyone who uses the Internet eventually has to deal with passwords. It is simply unavoidable. If you know your passwords then you are already at a disadvantage. The fact is, if you do know your password you are using a weak password.

They say never use "BeefStew" as your password because it is not Stroganoff, but all kididng assigned, passwords you can remember or recognize, are weak passwords. Passwords should be pretty ugly and random, but then if they are how do you remember them? You need a tool to remember it for you.

Not only is it much easier to automate your passwords headaches, but it is safer and more secure to use a password manager than to not. Face it, you don't know how much work a webmaster is putting into protecting your passwords. If you are using the same password for Amazon, American Express and that new sketchy news site you are visiting, then you are  putting your financial accounts at risk.

Verdict: Deal with it