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Odd Lots


  1. Carrington Dixon says:

    Years ago, I worked at a company where one of the women in the accounting department still used something that looked exactly like the first Monroe High Speed Adding Calculator in the Vintage Calculator link. When she retired, they gave her the calculator!

  2. Tom R. says:

    Back in the late 1960’s the standard “calculator” for an engineering student was the slide rule, but when I had to take some courses in statistics I bought one of the metal pocket “adding machines” which I used when I couldn’t get time in the calculator lab in the department. They had a number of Wang calculators with Nixie tube displays with key pads that plugged into a suitcase sized electronics package under the tables. When we learned that those things could keep the sum AND sum of the squares in two separate registers with each entry we thought we were in heaven.

    Latter, in the early 1970’s, while in the Air Force working in a high tech windowless vault at Wright Patterson there were some of the large Monroe mechanical calculators still in use sitting near the vector graphics terminals driven by the PDP-10 in the back room.

  3. Alex Dillard says:

    In regard to the free space situation on Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet, part of the issue is that the tablet has followed the recent trend of having a recovery partition instead of separate recovery media. Basically, Windows 8 is installed on the tablet twice. That aside, it’s not really the fault of the tablet that Windows 8 is a seriously large piece of software. A clean install of Windows 8 needs ~16 GB of hard drive space for the 32-bit version and ~20 GB for the 64-bit version (the space needs of Windows 7 are similar). It’s not like Windows 8 is designed to do finite element simulation or some other exceptionally intricate activity. I mean, really, why are Windows 7 and Windows 8 made up of so much data? Flashy GUI elements might be a piece of it, but I can’t see how that accounts for most of the data increase over previous Windows versions. Executable libraries which have been expanded over previous versions might also be a factor. But, 10 GB – 15 GB of run-time libraries for a consumer PC seems excessive to me. For reference Windows XP 32-bit takes up ~2 GB of hard drive space, Windows 2000 32-bit needs about 700 MB of hard drive space and Windows NT 32-bit only needs slightly over 100 MB. How could 10-15 GB of executable code ever be properly optimized or secured fully? I feel like it would be a humanly impossible task.

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