Good Ideas Always Resurface

     A long, long time ago, back when there was music on AM radio and I was a wee proto-engineer who spent his days correcting other people’s errors in Fortran (Fortran-66, mind you), a colleague commenting on a promotion we in the Computing Center were attempting urged us all to “Think visual.” He exhorted us to unite our promotion with images that would catch people’s attention and remain in their minds. And he, being a practitioner of what he preached, came up with several that impressed the hell out of us.

     These days, no one “thinks visual” better than the widely and justly celebrated Chris Muir, cartoonist extraordinaire. His offering of this morning is one of his best ever:

     I trust that the significance will not be lost on the Gentle Readers of Liberty’s Torch. And with that I must leave you, as I’m still trying to complete Saturday’s chores. So do have a nice day.


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    • John Fisher on April 19, 2021 at 6:09 AM

    I’ll see your Fortran 66 and raise with using paper tape as a storage medium.

    1. Paper tape! One of my greatest curses, back in the days when the ASR-33 teletype was the principal method of input to a NOVA-1200 minicomputer. But there’s worse, you know. I was once introduced to a submarine dive simulator that was programmed entirely through a patch panel. The guy responsible for maintaining it was a lot older than anyone else in the shop. I asked him how he saved the state of his program. He smiled, pointed to his head, and ambled away…

    • John Fisher on April 19, 2021 at 7:06 AM

    The HP 2116 that ran the RF test equipment I worked on had an ASR-33,  a high speed tape punch and reader. It could also be programmed from the front panel switches. I never actually programmed using the switches but I occasionally modified a program that crashed to see if I could sort out the mess. Loved the magnetic core storage; having the machine hold its state through a power cycle was useful.

    • Daniel K Day on April 19, 2021 at 9:58 AM

    Maybe I’m not “visual” enough. I can not make head or tail of what the speaker’s finger is on in the first panel.

    1. It’s an item from bygone days, Daniel…thankfully bygone. It’s a four-barrel carburetor, the sort of device that regulated fuel/air flow in the days before electronic fuel injection became ubiquitous. Great God in heaven, the hours and hours I spent cleaning and rebuilding carburetors back then!

      1. @Francis W. Porretto:Not bygone enough Fran. My daughter rebuilt my then 20 year old sports car about 25 years ago. Not satisfied with its power, among other things she changed cam and valves to handle two downdraft weber carbs. It still runs today and is a beauty.

    • Grandpa on April 19, 2021 at 4:45 PM

    Looks like a Holley double pumper, maybe 750-850 cfm, ha ha. Between those, and Rochester Quadra-jets; I must have built/rebuilt a 100 or so over the years. Of course, this was back when being a mechanic required you to be a mechanic, not a computer programmer. Nothing against computer programmers, but back in the day, a mechanic did work as much by sight and sound then anything else. And I believe engines ran cleaner and better than now. Almost as if the mandated smog equipment made things worse…

    • bowman on April 19, 2021 at 9:11 PM

    Thankfully I’m not losing it. All I could see was a 4 barrel carb but I couldn’t figure out how it fit in. Downdraft?

    1. @bowman:
      I’ve not followed Chris Muir for some time, but IIRC, Samantha is an engineer turned mechanic who keeps her late 60s emerald green hemi-powered Charger in top shape. Muir often pictures her fingering a carb or other component (he often recycles cartoon panels) as she speaks. So it’s likely only a coincidence she is speaking of a draft document in that panel, no downdraft pun intended.

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