Author Topic: April 1st Contest, why not?  (Read 1456 times)

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Offline DenCraw

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April 1st Contest, why not?
« on: March 26, 2021, 08:17:26 am »
Hi all.
There must be a lot of people here, who have been on the internet for more than 20 years
or who were on BBS! and that you still have white papers that you could share.
The winner could receive an item from Dave's dumpster. just an idea.

|  __O
(*)/ (*)  --->  old school


Offline Algoma

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Re: April 1st Contest, why not?
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2021, 04:15:12 pm »
BBS .. Need to go further back, over 30 years to start hitting the real BBS user years. 20 years ago was already getting pretty modern in the chat messenger apps (ICQ, AOL, MSN Messenger) IRC and newsgroups.

Offline DenzilPenberthy

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Re: April 1st Contest, why not?
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2021, 04:29:01 pm »
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Offline DenzilPenberthy

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Re: April 1st Contest, why not?
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2021, 04:30:39 pm »
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Offline themadhippy

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Re: April 1st Contest, why not?
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2021, 04:38:01 pm »
From the BBC
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Offline joeqsmith

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Re: April 1st Contest, why not?
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2021, 05:10:19 pm »
First BBS I looked onto I was using an acoustic modem made by CAT.  Actually, doing a search a picture of it on the top right!   :-DD

It was slow enough I could use a tape recorder on the phone line to record session and play it back into the terminal software.   

I still have my 300 BAUD Hayes Smart Modem that you could auto dial.  Eventually it seems all the BBSs that were of any size started using the USR HST.   I saved that crazy modem as well.  My memory may be going but I think that was about $1000 back then!  I think it has a TMS320 and some other nice parts.   :-DD 

All that aside, what does it have to do with whitepapers and a contest?   Do you want me to send you whitepapers using the HST?   Maybe setup a BBS and we can all dial in and upload them? 
How electrically robust is your meter??
Software, documentation and test reports for the low cost NanoVNA & V2 Plus 4 may be found here:

Offline DenCraw

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Re: April 1st Contest, why not?
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2021, 11:59:53 am »
For those of you who do not get the embedded muse.....
  A Story For April Fool's Day
  The blue light of the TV flickered on the blank wall, but it went
  unnoticed by me as I slumped in my old armchair.
  It had been a bad week. She left on Monday, screaming that she
  couldn't take all of the equipment piled everywhere. Me, I thought
  that old Tek 545 was a collector's item, an antique. Sure, the dust
  was pretty bad, but you can bet we were the only couple in town with
  a living room populated by old scopes and CP/M machines.
  Women - I'll never understand them. Like, that time my homebrew
  furnace controller burped and drove the house to 115 degrees when we
  were gone for the weekend. Hey, I never liked those pets anyway, and
  the smell did eventually come out of the carpets. Pretty much. I
  mean, it was just a little software bug; we all have those!
  And she never forgave me for the fire. Yeah, next time I'll put a
  bigger heat sink on the power supply. I admit it - I learned a
  lesson. The scorch marks on her dresses don't really look all that
  bad. Jeez, you'd think she'd be a bit more understanding!
  I reached for another bag of chips as the chair groaned a bit more.
  One of these days I'm gonna have to work off some of the excess
  pounds. A decade spent in the lab drinking Jolt and munching fries
  had taken its toll. Despite the flab I still know calculus and can
  program in C; surely a dream dude for any discerning woman. I bet I
  could wow them at the local watering hole with my great stories about TCP/IP!
  Well, this is Silicon Valley after all, where relationships, jobs and
  careers are measured in milliseconds and loyalty doled out by the
  microgram. Electronics is a dog-eat-dog business and I'm an old hand
  at crawling out from the wreckage. Like that last startup I worked
  for. I told 'em we'd get that product out the door, eventually
  anyway. We woulda survived if that idiot president just got another
  couple of mil of venture capital. For a while at least.
  Ya know, maybe it was losing that job that ticked her off. I figure,
  what's the big deal? She should be used to this by now. Check out my
  resume - it shows lots of experience at lots of places. No one can beat this!
  I picked up the phone but heard only the accusing silence of a
  non-payment disconnection. No matter. Time to find another company
  looking for my embedded expertise. There's a startup a minute here,
  pigeons ripe for picking.
  I clumped out of the trailer's front door and found Big Al, the usual
  wild look in his eyes, mouth working hard on this morning's sugar
  raised, the white powder spotting his beard. "Al, buddy, you're outa
  work too, huh? How's the wife and kids?"
  "Kids? Kids? Yeah, come to think of it I did notice some little
  people living with me. I wonder where they came from? Check this
  out." With that he shoved a coffee-stained fragment of the San Jose
  Mercury News into my hands. I quickly took in the circled want ad.
  "ENGINEERs - microprocessor savvy designers and programmers needed.
  C, FPGAs, PLDs, assembly a plus. Exciting opportunity for a motivated
  developers in a new high-growth company."
  A slow smile spread across my face. Here was our pigeon; I was
  already mentally spending the signing bonus.
  That afternoon, T-shirts cleaned and pressed, with most of the donut
  detritus wiped from Al's beard, we met with the president of Galaxar
  Enterprises. Yep, just as usual, this man was the typical harried
  executive desperate for people, so desperate he had neither the time
  nor resources to do much of a background check. Not that my
  background is so terrible; it's just that there's so much of it.
  "You know C? Schematic capture? What's the last project you worked
  on?" he mumbled, looking at his watch while the beeper pinged an urgent tune.
  "We did that Internet Cappuccino maker for Kitchen Services; you must
  have read about it in the press. Yep, that puppy had a MIPs based
  coffee engine with 64 megs of RAM."
  "Didn't they go Chapter 7?", he interrupted, interested now.
  "Trust me on this. The boss was an idiot. He just didn't understand
  how much compute power we needed to blend the perfect cuppa joe. That
  sucker could crank some coffee, believe me. If they hadn't been so
  stuck on the cost of goods we coulda cleaned up the Cappuccino
  market. We were practically done with development when the SEC raided us."
  "OK, OK, look, when can you start? Now? Don't you guys ever shave?
  Heck, just sit here and Bob will tell you what to do."
  Bob, engineering VP, was one of those snotty-nosed brats with a
  degree and an attitude. "We're building a new marine VHF radio for
  the recreational boating market. That means there are three main
  design parameters. First, the unit must be totally sealed to insure
  it's waterproof. Second, the sell price can't exceed $250. And
  obviously the unit must be simple enough that even the most casual
  boater can use it."
  He went on to tell us how we were going to design the product. Us!
  Can you imagine? As if I don't understand project planning,
  structured design, discipline design, and all of that utter crap. Me,
  I prefer to skip all of that non-productive nonsense and just bang it out.
  I zoned out, the drone of Bob's voice barely noticeable, nodding at
  the right time while planning my next move. Clearly it was time for
  the old end-run. Saturday night Al and I marched into the president's
  office. "Herb," I started, "we know you're running out of venture
  money and an IPO is at least a year away. Bob's planning to spend
  another three months just doing preliminary design. Whatdoya want, a
  design or a product? Trust me on this - we can pound out a design in
  a week, max, and then get the radio done in no time."
  Herb's eyes gleamed. It seems that he, too, was frustrated by Bob's
  methodical approach to engineering. This valley is the land of Steve
  Jobs, where unbridled passion and hope fuels the dream of tomorrow's
  big score. Discipline? Bah. Just lemme at a problem and I'll get it
  done. With a bit more prodding Herb agreed that this project was so
  important he'd give it skunk-works treatment, get Bob off of our
  backs, and let us report directly to his president's office.
  The week sped by like a read from cache memory. Al slouched into my
  cubicle, let out a long, satisfying-sounding belch, and asked "didn't
  we promise Herb a spec or something?" Right! Never let the boss,
  down, that's my motto. Unless there's a good reason, of course.
  "Sure, look, just grab those header files we've been working on and
  edit a bit of descriptive stuff at the beginning. They'll never read
  it all anyway. If he complains we'll tell 'em not only is the spec
  done, we've incorporated it into the firmware. How can he get upset
  if he sees we're already coding?"
  Herb swallowed our header files hook, line and sinker. He's thrilled
  that we're already cranking out software, and giddily reported our
  progress to the venture capitalists. I think they're already mentally
  spending their IPO profits. Bob is muttering vague threats, but he's
  been squeezed into the user-interface group. He wants Al and me to
  take on that new college grad, Marty. We're supposed to show him how
  to get projects done. It's not all bad; the kid has a car so can get
  us beers and carry-out.
  The secret to success in this business is to look busy, keep a
  prototype in a state that looks like it has some level of
  functionality, and always agree with the boss. And you can't act
  like you have a personal life when battling a schedule! Heck, after
  just three days on the job Marty asked if he could leave at 5 to
  celebrate his first anniversary. I straightened him out. "Kid, trust
  me on this. We all go through one or two starter marriages, you know,
  no kids, no property, no regrets. Don't take it too seriously. Now
  let's order a pizza and get back to work." It was probably a good
  thing that I turned off the switchboard that night, so he wouldn't
  get distracted by all of those frantic calls from home.
  And that kid did need some attention. I caught him late one night
  doing a spell check on his comments! Somehow he missed the fact that
  a ship date loomed; comments are always the first thing to go. "Kid,
  trust me on this. Never include a comment that will help someone else
  understand your code. If they understand it, they don't need you." I
  think he gets the picture now.
  As time moved on we started having trouble fitting the binary image
  into the CPU's 64k address space. "This always happens", I reassured
  Herb, "them 8 bitters just can't handle the sort of code we're
  cranking out for you. Look, we'll just stuff a bigger part in there
  this afternoon. No problemo; I've done this a million times."
  Big Al's eyes lit up when I suggested we look into a 32 bit
  processor. "I've got just the ticket. There's one I've been itching
  to try; it's totally reconfigurable, you can even define your own
  instruction set. Man, this is gonna look great on my resume!"
  Ah, resume fodder, the grease of the industry. Herb didn't seem to
  concerned about the increased cost of goods - at least he wasn't
  asking any questions - so I set out trying to find some way to cool
  the sucker. With luck a big old heat sink and decent-sized fan might
  be adequate. Jeez, maybe I'll use the next size up; those burnt
  dresses still haunt me at times.
  We optimized the instruction set on the CPU to play DoomStar III at
  awesome speeds. The best part of using a custom architecture was that
  I got to port the entire GNU toolchain to our chip. That compiler
  sure is tricky! First time I'd ever fiddled with a code generator, so
  it naturally took a bit longer than planned to get working - mostly - tools.
  As the weeks passed Herb got noticeably more antsy, checking on our
  progress on a daily, and then hourly, basis. This always happens, and
  is a sign that the old cash reserve is evaporating. I started running
  to the bank the minute paychecks came out. No one's gonna stick me
  with bouncing paper! Been there, done that.
  Bob - remember Bob? - strolled into the lab one afternoon to check on
  our progress. It seems the fool had actually invested his own money
  into the company! He's correspondingly annoying about what we do,
  even though my end-run had gotten him off the project months before.
  Oddly, he seemed upset about the cooling fan. "This thing has got to
  be totally sealed, so no water gets in!" he whined.
  "Yeah, yeah, just mount it in a dry place or something", I replied.
  "I can't be bothered with that sort of stuff. You know how much power
  this sucker uses?" These company men are all stress puppies. Not me;
  I'll be going strong when he suffers his first mid-30s myocardial infarction.
  Christmas rolled around - or was it Easter? I dunno, we were plenty
  busy chasing down bugs and making feature changes. Bob's paycheck
  bounced. I knew that Herb had been doing some fancy footwork to keep
  things afloat, but when everyone in accounting quit, complaining
  about insolvency or something, the standard exodus began. As usual,
  engineering remained untouched by the various rounds of layoffs. They
  needed the products we make to survive. I love this field!
  This seemed like a great time for a two week vacation, though Marty
  seemed almost hysterical that I'd take off now. "Kid, trust me on
  this. Never complete a project on time. If you do, they will think it
  was easy and anyone can do it and they don't need you. Now I'm outa
  here for a while. Look busy and we'll sort it all out when I get back."
  I got back, more or less sober but feeling great, to find the front
  door padlocked and a sheriff standing guard. Marty, skulking in a
  dark corner, grabbed my arm and moaned that he couldn't build the
  code at all while I was away. It seems he had trouble locating all of
  the source.
  "Kid, trust me on this. Never archive all the sources necessary to
  build a binary. Always hide a few on your own disk. If they can build
  your binary, they don't need you. What do they teach you in college, anyway?"
  He said the creditors got fed up and were demanding their money. Half
  the employees were suing because their paychecks bounced. A satisfied
  grin spread across my face as I recalled beating the rest of those
  idiots to the bank.
  Marty shrieked that Herb was suing all of us in engineering for not
  meeting promised dates, specs, or features. "Kid, trust me on this.
  They always sue. That's why I own nothing. What do they think they'll
  get, my trailer? The bank owns that!"
  Well, it seems my two week holiday might extend itself a bit. No
  worries there! After such a tough project I needed a break. It's time
  to sleep in for a while, build up those reserves.
  Days later an awful booming interrupted my sleep. "My god, it's not
  even noon!" I shouted, "Go away". The door banged open and Big Al
  loomed over me. "Check this out." He unwrapped the newspaper from
  around his BLT and handed me a section from the want ads. Yep, old Al
  was right on top of things again. Another startup, as usual desperate
  for a pair of gurus like us, no doubt willing to hire at any price.
  A harried president briefly interviewed the two of us, asking lots of
  questions about our most recent experience. We gave them the scoop on
  the VHF radio, but had to parry his request for references. "Sorry -
  they went out of business. Shame, that. There's no one there you can
  call. But we built a heck of a radio for those guys. It's too bad
  management was so screwed up they folded. Hey, it happens all the
  time in this industry."
  "But trust me on this - you need a graybeard like me to mentor your
  young engineers, and to get this project out now! I'm ready to start
  coding today. What is it we're building?"


Offline floobydust

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Re: April 1st Contest, why not?
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2021, 02:31:21 am »
My favorite April 1st circuit. Gravity Wave Detector - it really works:

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