John Mann's Weblog (on sng)

String around my finger
A 'blog to remember things I found.
Tie a string around your finger
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I work for NIS ITS Monash University Australia.



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    Thu, 15 Mar 2007


    Back in 197x, I played with several Monrobot Mark XI computers at Scotch College Melbourne. The "Computer Club" had a room in an old Army-style building with 2 Monrobot XI computers.

    We started with one such computer, but when it broke down, we went looking for spare parts, manuals, expertise etc, and eventually collected 5 computers, another complete set of circuit cards and maintenance manuals.

    We had a grand time, writing code in "sexadecimal", typing it in on the electric typewriter, saving programs to/from paper tape, repairing paper tape, playing blackjack and other games.

    There was a higher-level language QUIKOMP and a Nmemonic Assembler, but it was generally simpler to just type in the Hex.

    The Character set was based around the puched card data format " ",1-9 0 A-I J-R "/",S-Z Sexadecimal I/O used the characters 0-9, S, T, U, V, W, X (easy to map from punced card to 0-15).

    Graham ??? tried to "network" two Monrobots together by cross-connecting I/O channels though a interconnect box that recognised certain characters as "push button X on the control pannel".

    Our systems had extra half-cabinters on the end holding large 240V to 110V transformers. Internally the 110V AC was rectified and then fed to valves used to drive the parallel output devices.

    The electric typewriters had extra mechanical soloenoids and combs underneath, which If you e.g. pressed a key while trying to unjam an electric typewriter, you could get ~150V DC through your fingers!

    				BRL 1961, MONROBOT XI, start page 0672


    Monroe Calculating Machine Mark XI MANUFACTURER Litton Industries Monroe Calculating Machine Division Photo by Monroe Calculating Machine Division APPLICATIONS The Monrobot Mark XI is a stored-program, general purpose electronic business computer capable of operation with a wide variety of input-output equip- ment. PROGRAMMING AND NUMERICAL SYSTEM Internal number system Binary Binary digits/word 32 including sign Binary digits/instruction 16 Instructions/word 2 Instructions decoded 27 Instructions used 27 Arithmetic system Fixed point; programmed floating point Instruction type One address Number range 0 to 231 - 1 or 0 to +- 109 or 0 to +- 2, 147, 483, 647 Instruction word format +---------------+-----------------+ | 16 11 | 10 1 | +---------------+-----------------+ | Instruction | Address | +---------------+-----------------+ ARITHMETIC UNIT Incl. Stor. Access Exclud. Stor. Access Microsec Microsec Add 9,000 3,000 Mult 34,000 28,000 Div 500,000 500,000 Division is programmed. Construction (Arithmetic unit only) Transistors 190 Diodes 1,675 Arithmetic mode Serial Timing Synchronous Operation Sequential STORAGE No. of No. of Average Access Medium Words Digits Microsec Magnetic Drum 1,024 32,768 6,000 INPUT Media Speed Punched Paper Tape 20 char/sec Electric typewriter 10 char/sec 16-key numeric keyboard 10 char/sec 80-column card 16 col/sec Teletypewriter 10 char/sec The machine can accomodate any three of the above input devices simultaneously. Punched paper tape may be any code, 5 to 8 level. Quoted input and output speeds include conversion to and from binary as well as translation of any tape language to machine code. Higher speeds are possible using pure binary input and output. OUTPUT Media Speed Punched Paper Tape 20 char/sec Electric Typewriter 10 char/sec 80-column Card 16 col/sec Teletypewriter 10 char/sec The machine can accomodate any three of the above output devices simultaneously. Punched paper tape may be any code, 5 to 8 level. CIRCUIT ELEMENTS OF ENTIRE SYSTEM Type Quantity Tubes 5727 10 - 30 (10 tubes/output device) Diodes Primarily 1N636 2,300 Transistors Primarily 2N412 383 CHECKING FEATURES Parity check on input and output. Parity may be omitted. Action taken on parity failure depends upon program. With Teletype or other parity-less codes, parity is not used. POWER, SPACE, WEIGHT, AND SITE PREPARATION Power, computer 0.850 Kw 0.940 KVA 0.9 pf Volume, computer 48 cu ft Area, computer 15 sq ft Room size 10 ft x 10 ft Floor loading 30 lbs/sq ft 100 lbs concen max Weight, computer 375 lbs System requires 15 amp, 110 volt, AC, 60 cps line. PRODUCTION RECORD Number produced to date 7 Number in current operation 6 Time required for delivery 6 - 9 months COST, PRICE AND RENTAL RATES Cost of computer with operator desk, 1 typewriter, 1 tape reader, and 1 tape punch $24,500 Additional Equipment 16-key numeric keyboard 300 Tape Reader 1,250 Tape Punch 700 Typewriter 2,350 Buffer for third device 600 Above prices are approximate. Monthly rental of computer with operator desk, 1 typewriter, 1 tape reader, and 1 tape punch, including service $700 Maintenance contracting is $1,200/year after 90-day service guarantee. PERSONNEL REQUIREMENTS Manufacturer makes a programmers' school available to users. One operator is required for each 8-hour shift. Virtually no operator training is required. RELIABILITY, OPERATING EXPERIENCE, AND TIME AVAILABILITY Conservative solid-state design assures long life and wide margins under all but the most extreme operating conditions. Pluggable printed circuit boards provide trouble-free operation as well as ease of maintenance. Monrobot XI operates with full +-25% voltage margins at 110oF ambient. ADDITIONAL FEATURES AND REMARKS The Monrobot Mark XI accepts alpha-numeric information in any code from up to three independent input devices and can output information to any combination of three independent devices. System can simultaneously prepare independent output documents in any format, and can merge transaction and unit record input tapes in any format.


    [ /misc | # ]

    Wed, 23 Nov 2005


    Article in Melbourne Weelky Magazine recommendation claymation for kids.

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    Fri, 05 Aug 2005

    Memo to mainstream media: You don't get to blog

    The DNA of blogging is a complicated matter that touches on being outside voices and taking personal control of the media. But at minimum the DNA of blogging has to do with distributing the conversation. Contrary to that, the DNA of mainstream media to date is all about dominating the conversation.
    ... in the pure sense a big part of blogging involves the voices of people who don't have a publishing/broadcasting aparatus at their disposal and don't have the institutional restraints of a media company.

    [ /misc | # ]

    What Business Can Learn from Open Source

    Another interesting Paul Graham essay, about blogging, "amateurs" + aggregators v. "professionals" + channels, startup investor-founder relationships v. paternalistic employer-employee relationships.

    So these, I think, are the three big lessons open source and blogging have to teach business: (1) that people work harder on stuff they like, (2) that the standard office environment is very unproductive, and (3) that bottom-up often works better than top-down.

    [ /misc | # ]

    Thu, 23 Jun 2005


    A website that explains what Sudoku is all about, and gives a how to solve tutorial.

    But, why stress your brain, when you have a "mind expanding" computer to help? (Someone wrote a paper/talk on this, but I forget who. Keith?)

    Sudoku Solver by logic has a Free Javascript solver that runs in your Web browser. I love the step-by-step solver that shows you what it is doing and why, and the Save/Load start grid numbers as Cookie or text string, e.g.


    Lots of other goodies like popular grids, top 30 all time most popular grids etc

    [ /misc | # ]

    Thu, 09 Jun 2005

    Telstra Webnotes

    An easy way to send SMS messages from a Web page.

    A moderately painless registration process, even if you do have to "Register to become a member, then login and register for WebNotes."

    A membership also gives you Telstra WebMail login.

    Email Alerts says it only SMS's the From: and Subject: headers sent to Telstra WebMail but when tested did also send a small amount of text. Primitive filters for what does get forwarded to SMS.

    [ /misc | # ]

    Wed, 08 Jun 2005

    Sharpie Removal

    Super Sharpie
    One evening, during dinner, my son wanted to show us how his teacher drew people (as outlines). So, he reached across to the pen-holder cup, grabbed a blue Super Sharpie Permanent Marker and drew a picture on his paper napkin.

    Guess what! The ink went straight through onto the polished wood dining room table!

    Quick! How does remove 3mm wide Sharpie marks??

    The Internet is your Friend!

    While the computer was booting we tried:

    Windex -- didn't move it.

    Eucalyptus Oil
    Goanna brand Eucalyptus Oil -- didn't move it.

    The Sharpie FAQ wasn't helpful:

    General Rules:
    1) Treat stains as soon as possible. Fresh stains can be removed more easily than old ones.
    * Also try AMODEX STAIN REMOVER for permanent ink: Amodex Products, P.O. Box 3332, Bridgeport, CT 06605, Phone:(203) 335-1255

    Googling for remove sharpie table turned up Permanent marker on dining room table.

    Does anyone know a safe way to remove permanent black marker (sharpie) from a wooden dining room table? I have read that nail polish remover works but worry that it will destroy the finish on the table. Thanks!
    Well, i was watching my little sister and she colored all over her self and my older sisters desk with BLUE permanent marker, and i took it off Easly with TOOTHPASTE and a wash cloth. I'm Not kidding i thought my mom would kill me, but i used the toothpaste and i scrubed hard!! wow i love that! DIDNT RUIN DESK!

    (It also had a few othe suggestions like M30 Stain Remover, hair spray, Goo Gone, and anti-bacterial hand gel that we didn't try.)

    Anyway, Toothpaste, on a damp paper napkin removed the marks from the table just fine. Didn't scratch the surface. There must be a fine abrasive in toothpaste.

    [ /misc | # ]

    Mon, 16 May 2005

    Info Sharks Sig PNG

    I was surfing the netdimes forum when I came across a message with an interesting signature.

    It was actually

    <img src="" border="0" />

    which returned an image/png, captured here statically as:

    [ /misc | # ]

    Thu, 12 May 2005 is a web community designed for individuals with Asperger's Syndrome, Autism, and other PDDs. ...
    Asperger's Syndrome is a form of autism. People with Asperger's Syndrome usually have normal or above normal IQ's. It is described as an inability to understand how to interact socially.

    Discovered due to a social not technical interview of Bram Cohen: Creator of BitTorrent

    [ /misc | # ]

    Sat, 26 Mar 2005


    Using BlogMap you can geo-code your blog, browse already geo-coded blogs and search for blogs. Once geo-coded, you can get your own BlogMap location using a simple url!

    The GeoURL ICBM Address Server

    GeoURL is a location-to-URL reverse directory. This will allow you to find URLs by their proximity to a given location. Find your neighbor's blog, perhaps, or the web page of the restaurants near you. GeoURL is listing 162,831 sites.

    Geotagging geotags Search the world -- "The system is too busy to complete this request at this time"

    Found my decimal Latitude and Longitude using maporama.

    Added the required ICBM, DC.title and geo.* tags to the <head> section of blosxom's head.html, and submitted them with geourl ping and BlogMap update.

    Next I added the GeoURL and My BlogMap! links to the left column (near the bottom of blosxom's head.html).

    [ /misc | # ]

    Tue, 15 Mar 2005

    hugh "cartoons drawn on the back of business cards" macleod is a creative director who writes about the new, happy, fun, grim meathook realities of marketing and advertising.

    Check out e.g. good for you? (linked from Doc Searls Weblog)

    Or the hughtrain or how to be creative (book outline)

    [ /misc | # ]

    Paul Graham

    How to Start a Startup

    "You need three things to create a successful startup: to start with good people, to make something customers actually want, and to spend as little money as possible."

    Lots of good advice here about software projects, innovation etc.

    The Other Road Ahead

    "This article explains why much of the next generation of software may be server-based, what that will mean for programmers, and why this new kind of software is a great opportunity for startups."

    The history of Viaweb / Yahoo Store. Lots of interesting ideas about Web-based software, rapid releases, listening and reacting to customers etc.

    Topics: The Next Thing?, The Win for Users, City of Code, Releases, Bugs, Support, Morale, Brooks in Reverse, Watching Users, Money, Customers, Son of Server, Microsoft, Startups but More So, Just Good Enough, Why Not?, Notes, Thanks,

    [ /misc | # ]

    Sun, 21 Nov 2004

    [ /misc | # ]

    Plugins 2

    Automaticly wraps blocks in HTML tags, including paragraph, code, and blockquotes.

    Actually hiding at

    • Ignores most existing blocks
    • Formats paragraphs separated with blank lines
    • Formats code-blocks preceeded by a :: found on a blank line
    • Formats block-quotes indented with spaces

    Edit a Blosxom blog wiki-style, from right in the browser. Plays nicely with wikiwordish, tiki, and textile plug-ins. Features: password protection, ip-based protection, and preservation of last modified date/time stamp -- all optional, of course. [**EXPERIMENTAL FOR NOW**]

    Needed to tweak a little bit to remove carriage-returns from saved file.

    Also tweaked to pre-calculate password prompt field in plugin for passing on to footer for display.

    Also, if creating new page, set remembered last-modified time to 'now'.

    [ /misc | # ]

    Fri, 12 Nov 2004

    Blosxom Enhancements

    Static Rendering
    Since /cgi-bin/ is listed in robots.txt, my normal dynamic (on-the-fly) weblog won't be indexed by any search engines. Therefore, I have setup a static mirror of the weblog. Mostly works, except that the find plugin needs to use the live url.

    Creates 'Next' and 'Previous' links when there are more entries than allowed on a page (as determined by the Blosxom config variable $num_entries). This doesn't affect date-style urls, since Blosxom ignores $num_entries for date urls. Great for search results (tested with 'find' plugin). Also provides template variables for showing which posts numbers are being displayed, etc.

    NOTE: This version is NOT compatible with Static rendering due to the use of self_url() (which will lead to 'http://localhost/its/user8/j/johnm/WWW/cgi-bin/weblog?-password=xxx' in the generated html).

    Show a tree style list of categories with blog counts.

    NOTE: Use the Blosxom v2 categorytree version rather than the Blosxom v3 version.

    A classic weblog calendar with days linked to archived postings.

    Our www-cgi server doesn't have Storable installed, so no caching of calendar information.

    [ /misc | # ]

    Mon, 08 Nov 2004

    Lands Department Interactive Map
    Stephen Dart discovered a site that shows property boundaries.

    Plug in the address and search or drill down from LEO (zoom function on tool bar). Coordinates are on the browser status bar.

    Wireless link

    [ /misc | # ]

    Tue, 28 Sep 2004

    DIY Warriors Saluted And Sought
    "I have found some really inspiring pages out there by folks who are hacking together amazingly cool low-cost hardware/software/etc projects (reminiscent of the old homebrew computer club days). With the cost of IC's, sensors, microcontrollers, and PC's falling through the floor, we've entered a time where the barriers to entry on hacking neat projects are lower than they've ever been."

    O'Reilly Make magazine

    Howtoons are one-page cartoons showing 5-to-15 year-old kids "How To" build things. Each illustrated episode is a stand-alone fun adventure accessible to all, including the pre-literate. Our Howtoons are designed to encourage children to be active participants in discovering the world through Play-that-Matters -- fun, creative, and inventive -- and to rely a lot less on mass-consumable entertainment.

    Each episode is furthermore in the extremely photocopyable -- and hence mass deployable -- 8.5" x 11" or A4 formats with supporting web links for more information, including translations into a growing number of world-languages, step-by-step photos, action-videos, and other relevant info.

    [ /misc | # ]

    Thu, 16 Sep 2004

    Blosxom Plugin Registry

    Using find - Provides search capabilities for your web site

    Installed magiclink - Featureful HTML link generator, based on a simple/natural syntax. Useful for easily linking to sites, searches (google, terms), and online store items (amazon with pics). Several targets are pre-configured, and others can be added. Unfortunately, this swallows up blank lines / paragraph breaks.

    [ /misc | # ]

    "On August 7, 2000, deviantART was launched to provide a central location for graphical artists to display their creations for feedback and exposure. ... From humble beginnings as primarily a static image file gallery, deviantART is now proud to host poetry, photography, flash exhibits, cell phone art, as well as an enormous Indy art and wallpaper sections and skins for 105+ applications."

    Hand-drawn, rendered, modified, ... download or buy prints.

    [ /misc | # ]

    Sat, 11 Sep 2004

    Get enough SPAM lately? Have you ever gone to a website that asks for your email address for no reason (other than they are going to sell it to the highest bidder so you get spam forever)?

    Perhaps you need an e-mail address that will work just long enough to be sent a password so you can read some site.

    Welcome to Mailinator(tm) - Its no signup, instant anti-spam service.

    • Make up a address.
    • Give out this address
    • Later, check if any e-mail has been sent to that address
    • Note: any/everybody can read these messages
    • Messages are automatically deleted after 4 hours
    For example: e-mail for me

    [ /misc | # ]

    Wed, 01 Sep 2004


    [ /misc | # ]

    Wed, 16 Jun 2004

    Typical Post

    Your typical Blosxom post consists of a required title on the first line and any manner of text and HTML markup in the body.

    [ /misc | # ]