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Registered at last.

Posted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:36 pm
by Chaise Murphy
Chaise Murphy here. Old white male, resident of New Zealand. I used to be a computer programmer in the era of punch cards and COBOL. That's a bit like being proficient in Sumerian nowadays, so I earn my living as a temp labourer until I can qualify for the Superannuation benefit. This leaves me plenty of time to read books, listen to music, and cruise the net.

Wapsi Square is one of my top three favourite webcomics, the others being Girl Genius and Grrl Power. Think maybe I have a thing for strong female characters? I've been reading Science Fiction since I moved on from Captain Kitty, and James Schmitz's Telzey Amberdon was one of my first hero(ine)s.

Gonna go lurk a bit now. Rest assured, though, I'll comment if I have anything to say. I look forward to joining the WS community.

Re: Registered at last.

Posted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:31 pm
by Just Old Al
Welcome, welcome mate. Plenty of us here of the age you describe, so you hardly need feel alone.

Do come out and play - comments, thoughts, reasoning (and reasoned) arguments all welcome.

Al Richer

Re: Registered at last.

Posted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:38 pm
by GlytchMeister
Welcome! :D

Looks like you'll fit right in.

Feel free to lurk or post, just remember to have a gander of the rules.

Full disclosure, I'm one of the fanfic authors, so I may be a bit biased, but I would like to invite you to the "Fan Art" section and have a look around there.

For an index to know what story comes first, I believe the currently most complete iteration is here. Do note there may be some missing, and also note that wiki I linked is something of a temporary stopgap while we sort some stuff out.

Feel free to ask for assistance, either out here or in PM's. Most of us don't bite, I think, and those of us that do will most likely ask about a safeword first :twisted: .

Again, welcome, and I hope you like it here :)

Re: Registered at last.

Posted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:23 pm
by jwhouk
Welcome to the forums! Read the rules, mind the gap, keep Bellisario's Maxim firmly in mind, and watch for melting lug wrenches!


...oh, wait, wrong forums, sorry.


Hi! We're all deranged here.


...dammit, still wrong forums.


Uhm, yeah. Okay, here's the situation: some of us came for the boobs, stayed for the story, and even tried writing a few ourselves. Just remember that when Pablo (that's the pet name for our Author In Chief) drops the transmission on the storyline as he commits a bootlegger's reverse with the strip, he does so to make you remember an off-hand comment from about ten years ago.

Also, some of us have actually been to Wapsi Square. But no one's actually opened up a Library portal, nor have we gone to Tina's. (Cue Taz's lonely cry in the dark.)

Re: Registered at last.

Posted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:43 pm
by TazManiac
Yes I have, but I can't talk about it...

PS- What they said. Welcome.

Re: Registered at last.

Posted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:45 pm
by Dave
Welcome, Chaise! Glad you made it!

Ah, yes, Telzey... and Trigger Argee, and Goth and The Leewit. Schmitz certainly did have a way of introducing us to women with strong personalities and interesting abilities! To drag up a common fan-meme: I wonder how a battle between Monica and Telzey would work out... whose powers would trump the other's? Monica might be more showy, Telzey might be more subtle and sneakier... it would be an interesting match to watch, from a great and safe distance!

I too am old enough to have had punchcard and oily-paper-tape chad in my hair, in the days of my youth, and I once help port a COBOL compiler and its runtime interpreter to a new host platform so we could use it to implement an interactive business-forms system (sort of a precursor to today's Web-based data entry). We both seem to have been lucky - a lot of the developers who were familiar with COBOL were dragged out of retirement to help prepare for Y2K, and then rounded up, drugged, and put into cryogenic suspension so they'll be available when Y10K rolls around. I guess The Powers That Be realized that a lot of those old COBOL business-rules systems will still be running then :)

Re: Registered at last.

Posted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:46 pm
by Chaise Murphy
Thanks for the welcomes.

GlytchMeister, I checked out the Fan Art section, but suffered a severe attack of TL;DR when looking at the fanfics. Might check them out when I have a day to spare sometime. I downloaded some of the art, though. Only sad that the pictures of Jay-Em's statue of Nudge seem to be in a format that my antique copy of Photo Gallery doesn't recognise. It's kind of inspirational. I might even try my hand at making a plasticine model myself. Be warned, it won't be nearly as good.
Update: While typing the above I got annoyed at not having those pics, and fiddled around a bit. Copy_Image, then Paste into Paint and Save_As [...] works. Yay!

Hmm. I wonder if you can get into the Library through L-Space?

Re: Registered at last.

Posted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:19 am
by Chaise Murphy
Hi Dave. Our posts overlapped, but I just had to respond.

The Witches of Karres is one of my all-time favourite comfort reads, up there with Courtship Rite by Donald Kingsbury and A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge. I suspect a Monica/Telzey fight would be like a gunfight - all down to initiative. Telzey could fry Monica's brain, Monica could poit Telzey into a volcano, and neither has a reasonable defense against the other except getting in first.

I was otherwise occupied for Y2K: testing forecourt software in C++ (didn't have to write any software, except some DB tweaks using Lotus Notes). That was my last IT job, and a soul-destroying experience it was. I got reprimanded once for "being negative." Given that the project was already five years overdue and was still not live six years later, they might have done better to take me seriously. At least I got to say "I told you so."

Re: Registered at last.

Posted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:33 am
by Atomic
Welcome aboard from another peep who remembers booting systems by flipping switches then hitting the Load Register button, then repeat x10 times to get the l'il beastie going.

Have fun or something like it!

Re: Registered at last.

Posted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:25 am
by Just Old Al
Atomic wrote:Welcome aboard from another peep who remembers booting systems by flipping switches then hitting the Load Register button, then repeat x10 times to get the l'il beastie going.

Have fun or something like it!
Oh, yeah. BTDT and woe betide you if you keyed in a bum number in the middle of the sequence...

Re: Registered at last.

Posted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:46 am
by GlytchMeister
Chaise Murphy wrote:Thanks for the welcomes.

GlytchMeister, I checked out the Fan Art section, but suffered a severe attack of TL;DR when looking at the fanfics. Might check them out when I have a day to spare sometime. I downloaded some of the art, though. Only sad that the pictures of Jay-Em's statue of Nudge seem to be in a format that my antique copy of Photo Gallery doesn't recognise. It's kind of inspirational. I might even try my hand at making a plasticine model myself. Be warned, it won't be nearly as good.
Update: While typing the above I got annoyed at not having those pics, and fiddled around a bit. Copy_Image, then Paste into Paint and Save_As [...] works. Yay!

Hmm. I wonder if you can get into the Library through L-Space?
A-heh... yeah... there’s... a lot.

Some ten or so authors can have a high flow rate of output at times.

I think there are some short bite-sized ones mixed in there, though.

Re: Registered at last.

Posted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:57 pm
by Chaise Murphy
Just Old Al wrote:
Atomic wrote:Welcome aboard from another peep who remembers booting systems by flipping switches then hitting the Load Register button, then repeat x10 times to get the l'il beastie going.

Have fun or something like it!
Oh, yeah. BTDT and woe betide you if you keyed in a bum number in the middle of the sequence...
Heh. When I was at university, the Computer Science dept. had a PDP-11. Cool machine, about a zillion addressing modes, which meant that it was possible to write a one-word program that copied itself (backwards) all through the memory.

A favourite trick was to replace the last instruction of the absolute loader (normally STOP) with this little number. So, when (not if) the machine crashed, and you spent a minute or so getting out the paper tape holding the bootstrap loader and feeding it through the reader, you were left with a memory full of garbage and had to start toggling. Who says computer nerds have no sense of humour?

Re: Registered at last.

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:04 am
by Atomic
Chaise Murphy wrote:Heh. When I was at university, the Computer Science dept. had a PDP-11. Cool machine, about a zillion addressing modes, which meant that it was possible to write a one-word program that copied itself (backwards) all through the memory.
Sounds like Core Wars. The contest was to infest/infect/program a bounded area of the system memory with something that would establish itself and crowd out/destroy other programs. The winner was the dominant program after X number of cycles. The two that tended to "win" were:

1. A single bit command with moved 5 bytes and duplicated itself, repeat infinitely, and

2. A "Fort Apache" program which had "outposts" higher and lower in memory. If either outpost were corrupted or vanished, it would move 2x bytes past that outpost and duplicate itself. Lather, rinse, repeat. It wasn't dominant (occupying the most memory), but it was un-killable.

From somewhere in Scientific American, or maybe Byte, once upon a time.

Re: Registered at last.

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:56 am
by Dave
Some guys I worked with a few decades ago (one was Best Man at my wedding) once found a security problem in the operating system their site used... it would allow a normal program to escalate its privilege and then write into kernel memory.

They demonstrated this to Management by writing a nasty and subtle patch into the card reader's end-of-read interrupt handler. The patch simply inverted a bit in the I/O command code for the next read operation... the bit which told the card reader which stacker to feed the card into after it was read. So, the next time the system operator fed a card deck into the reader, the reader quite politely read the deck and divided it evenly in half, alternating cards between the two stackers, at a rate of about 500 cards a minute.

The really devilish part was the fact that stacker #2 was never used during normal operation, and there wasn't a stop-weight sitting in it. So, the card reader ended up spewing a fountain of loose cards across the room, the first time it was used after the hack patch was installed. :twisted:

Re: Registered at last.

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:54 pm
by Hansontoons
Punch cards?!? Sign of the Cross!!!!

And welcome to here!

Re: Registered at last.

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:30 pm
by lake_wrangler
GlytchMeister wrote:A-heh... yeah... there’s... a lot.

Some ten or so authors can have a high flow rate of output at times.

I think there are some short bite-sized ones mixed in there, though.
That, and you guys have been at it for several years, already...

Welcome to the forum, Chaise.

Re: Registered at last.

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:43 pm
by jwhouk
Some longer than others.

Re: Registered at last.

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:32 pm
by ShneekeyTheLost
Welcome to the forums...

Ahh yes, FORTRAN, where God is real, unless declared integer. And where you carefully marked your cards with a number in permanent marker in the corner and kept them in a shoebox because you didn't want to be *THAT* guy and use a rubber band to keep them organized which caused the card stock to bend and jam up the mainframe when it gets stuck. OR the other sort of That Guy who sneezed (or got "accidentally" bumped) and had to play fifty-two card pickup with un-numbered cards and now had to go back and re-sort the whole damn program before he could apply for a new time slot on the Mainframe.

Always did enjoy the Witches of Karres. You know, Baen came out with a re-write of the series, it's worth looking into. And if you like that series, you may also like the Warlock In Spite Of Himself series by Christopher Stasheff. His other series, starting with Her Majesty's Wizard, gets a bit too preachy in my opinion, but the Graymerie Warlock series is fun, and the spinoff series following the main character's oldest son is also a good read.

Welcome to our big, happy, slightly dysfunctional family.

Re: Registered at last.

Posted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:49 am
by Chaise Murphy
ShneekeyTheLost wrote:... you may also like the Warlock In Spite Of Himself series by Christopher Stasheff.
Welcome to our big, happy, slightly dysfunctional family.
Thanks for the welcome.

I read The Warlock In Spite Of Himself years ago, and liked it. I vaguely remember a sequel, but nothing about it. I'll keep an eye out.