Author: steeleweed

Tales of IBM

   I joined IBM in 1963 and began working on Unit Record installations (punch card equipment). I found the work sometimes challenging but always enjoyable, as I’ve noted elsewhere in this thread. I moved from a sales office to a datacenter in the TimeLife building in NYC. In addition to the datacenter, IBM had an education center and part of Systems Development Division. In the datacenter, I learned the 1401, 1460, 7090, 7044 and 7044/94 Directly Coupled System which used the 7044 as a front-end for I/O and job scheduling and let the 7094 devote itself to number crunching.
   When the System /360 was announced in April 1964, we were all given a day’s “training” but only the senior Systems Engineers really got their hands on the new system initially. I recall all of us being puzzled about how the /360 could have 16 Condition Codes expressed with only two bits. It took awhile to get our heads around that and it still confuses people new to the hardware. Continue reading

Legalize Marijuana – and hemp

Uses for hemp

Paper
Printing – Specialty paper – Filter – Newsprint – Cardboard

Textiles
Twine – Rope – Nets – Canvas – Tarps – Carpets – Agrifiber – Clutch/brake lining – Caulking – Apparel – Diapers – Fabrics – Handbags – Denim – Shoes

Building
Fiberboard – Insulation – Cement – Fiberglass substitute – Stucco/Mortar

Foods
Salad oil – Margarine – Supplements – Cooking oil

Industrial
Oil paints – Varnishes – Printing inks – Solvents – Lubricants – Putty – Coatings

Hygiene
Soap – Shampoo – Bath gel – Lotions/balms – Cosmetics

Animal food

Fuel

Medicine

Agriculture
Weed suppression – Reduce pesticides – Soil erosion – Soil improvement (via rotation)


    Hemp is a farmer’s dream crop – robust, hardy, fast-growing, reduced or no pesticides or herbicides. Unlike marijuana, it is not psychoactive. You cannot get high on hemp.

    It was falsely equated to marijuana and marijuana was then demonized by Harry Anslinger and J. Edgar Hoover. This conflation of hemp with marijuana was deliberate. Why?
Take a guess.

Hemp’s competition
Georgia Pacific – Humboldts Redwood – Weyerhaeuser – International Paper – International Forest Products – Koch Industries – Mendocino Redwood – Domtar – Universal Forest Products – Dupont – Eastman – Rhodia – Ashland – Dow – BASF – Bayer – Nufarm – Monsanto – Makhteshim – Bristol-Myers Squib – Lilly – Forest Laboratories – Pfizer – Johnson & Johnson – Novartis – Allegan – Watson – Celgene – Abbott – Merck – Sanofi – Mylan – Cargill – Pernod Ricard – Altria – Philip Morris – Anheuser Busch – Brown Forman – Fortune Brands – Diageo – Reynolds American – Constellation – MillerCoors – Archer Daniels Midland – Bunge – Syngenta – Unilever – Colgate Palmolive – Proctor & Gamble – Nestle – L’Oreal – Occidental Petroleum – ConocoPhillips – Exxon Mobile – Marathon Oil – Sunoco – Hess – Tesoro – Valero – British Petroleum – Chevron – HollyFrontier – Lubrizol – Sherwin Williams – Celanese – PPG Coatings – Valspar – Allegheny Technologies – Dynamics – US Steel

Grandmother – A Life


    My mother, Betty (Steele) Wallace, wore many hats over the years – reporter, Clerk of the County Court, columnist & de facto editor, high school English teacher and author. Born on a small ranch in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, of pioneer stock and into a world of ranching, mining and timbering, she had a deep understanding and keen appreciation of those who migrated to the area and built the communities. Some of those communities faded into ghost towns, some continue to prosper. The people who built that part of Colorado are long gone, but Betty had known a good many of them, went to school with their children and knew every family in the Gunnison Valley – their history, virtues, faults and quirks. For several years, she wrote a weekly column in the Gunnison News-Champion, telling the stories of the area’s early citizens. She called it her ‘pioneer series’ – interviews of the original settlers or their children; ranchers, saloonkeepers, miners, storekeepers, prostitutes, preachers and politicians.
    One of the people she interviewed and wrote about was her mother, Cynthia (Weed) Steele. This is mother’s column on my grandmother, published in the News-Champion, April 6th, 1950.
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Songs

Songs

Somebody calls and you never really know who,
hidden in the night wind blowing over you.
Teach yourself to kiss a dream going by
and grab the earth and a little bit of sky.
    Stand or fall, it doesn't matter much.
    The blossom is too fragile for your touch.
Now and then when you find you're growing old,
wear the Past to keep away the Cold.
Learn the name of every passing minute
and try to live the happiness that's in it.
    Hang on or let go, it's all the same.
    Love be soon or late, it's just a name.
Scream for Sun! Cry rhapsodies of phantom pain,
to recompense the Rainbow for the glory-rain.
Turn your deaf ears in for second-hand
and settle it all for the price of a wedding band.
    Love what you hope is him, what your think is her,
    for what-you-feel is more than you know-for-sure.
Somewhere in the darkness that will never dawn
you'll look back down the road you traveled lonely on.
At every fork in the road, sing out your choice,
but, Babe, don't hold your breath til you hear your voice.
    You'll walk the road by the charm of blood and bone.
    It's up to you if you walk the road alone. Continue reading 

Motivation

  In April 1964, IBM announced the System /360, an entirely new line of mainframes. It was a complete replacement for their existing hardware and all mainframe users were expected to move to the new platform. To ease the transition, they implemented various emulators but it was still a massive undertaking for both IBM and their customers.
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Mainframe Software

  I spent about 50 years working on IBM mainframes and I wish the Wintel world were as easy to master as the mainframe world. Today’s CISC mainframes have a much larger instruction set than Intel systems. This means there’s a lot more to learn but it also allows the code to be much cleaner, elegant and coherent and by reducing the number of instructions, reduces the logical complexity of programs and thus reduces errors. Coding in Assembler does require a knowledge of the hardware as well as the principles of programming and logic. I’d venture to say that if all the people coding high-level or scripting languages had to understand their hardware at the instruction level, most would be doing something else for a living.
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