Inside Out!!

Inside Out!!Quirky stories, bon mots, jokes and funny things that happened on the way to the Web … Prospects for high-tech look bad if the share transactions of insiders are anything to go by.
Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen sold 25 per cent of his holding, newly appointed Intel CEO, Craig Barrett, sold his first chunk of shares since 1993, and top men at go-go companies such as Yahoo! Sun and America On-Line, among others, all made disposals.
At Compaq, nine insiders, including chairman Ben Rosen, flogged a collective 1.2m Compaq shares last month just before the announcement of financial trouble. The company’s lawyer stated: “They still have a lot of confidence in the company.” Well, ain’t that nice?” Ever lost important data files on a PC? Silly question, so here are a few suggested Haiku error messages intended to create a more tranquil approach to the problem of crashing PCs. Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams. The code was willing,
It considered your request,
But the chips were weak. Everything is gone;
Your life’s work is destroyed.
Squeeze trigger (yes/no)? Three things are certain:
Death, taxes, and lost data.
Guess which has occurred. It’s National Sleep awareness week in the US and the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) has singled out Web surfing and TV watching as major contributors to millions of sleep-deprived Americans. The NSF wants Americans to be tucked in their beds with a hot mug of Ovaltine getting at least eight hours of sleep. More than 64 per cent get less than eight hours sleep and 32 per cent get by on six hours or less. An NSF survey showed that over half of the men and 42 per cent of women would go to bed earlier if they weren’t watching TV or waiting for a Web page to download. Microsoft didn’t show up at Sun Microsystems’ JavaOne conference last week in San Francisco, and for good reason, since it has earned the ire of Sun with attempts to customise Java for the Windows platform. But it wasn’t completely absent. It hired local artists to scrawl messages about its J++ development tool on pavements all around the conference site proclaiming it to be the “real brew”. HUSH, HUSH… At last we have come across a company which is supplying some of the electronics to go inside the Millennium Dome. “Don’t get too excited, it is not a very big bit,” said the company, adding: “We cannot tell you about it, anyway.” What is going on here? Is everyone involved in supplying the Dome with electronics sworn to secrecy? What are they worried about? Surely this is the biggest PR exercise UK electronics has ever had, so why the reluctance to tell the world about it? Never fear the Dome Electronics search continues with renewed vigour. The time machine… 1967: Sir Francis buzzed Sir Francis Chichester’s hazardous journey through the stormy waters off Capre Horn was no doubt punctuated from time to time by what The Times recently referred to as “a hideous noise” – that was the buzzer of a Kelvin Hughes safety device rigged above his bunk. The device takes the form of an off-course alarm which operates a loud buzzer if the wind direction changes by 45 degrees. Sir Francis has long been associated with the company as in the early part of the war he was at the Hainault factory advising on astro-navigation. The system consists of a compass designed to give an audible warning if the ship veers more than 10 degrees off course. This was too tight for Sir Francis, who requested that the permissible deviation be set to 45 degrees. Even he could not have withstood that much “hideous” buzzing coming from the little box just above his head as he slept.
Electronics Weekly, March 29 1967 One of the first commercial trials of a system to provide Internet access over the mains electricity wires is being pioneered by Nortel and Norweb Communications at the Seymour Park Primary School in Manchester. Norweb calls its technology Digital PowerLine and says it is ten times quicker than ISDN (presumably 1.5Mbit/sec). Moreover, the technology has been licensed to various electricity supply companies in Germany, Scandinavia, Singapore and elsewhere. Could it be that the real threat to the world’s anxious telcos is not from the whizzy newcomers – the cellular and satellite mobile phone networks – but from the staidest old grannies in the entire electrical industry – the electricity supply companies? Steve Bush’s invention of the week
In 1901, Frank Hornby (of model railway fame) patented Meccano. As well as individual parts he produced kits and in 1923 Hornby released the RS2 ‘Crystal Receiving Set’ – the first electronic toy. All of the components in the kit were assembled from the familiar Meccano perforated strips and plates, the only exceptions being the inductor and the ‘Meccolite Crystal Detector’. The original advert claims: ‘With a good aerial this set will receive telephony up to about 25 miles from a broadcasting station, and Morse signals up to a distance exceeding 100 miles. Price was 25 shillings, but it could only be used after a 15 shilling ‘constructors licence’ had been obtained from the Post Office. My thanks to MW Models, otherwise known as Everything Meccano, for helping me with this one (Tel: 01491 572 436).


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