November 11th, 2005

Computers

Fixed, sort of

While I was in the Cities yesterday at a seminar, vakkotaur enjoyed an afternoon off, in part, by watching the technician from Qualxserv try to fix the noisy fan in my G5.

Turns out the problem wasn't the fan at all, but something in the fan mounting. It's temporarily fixed by removing the fan from its mounting bracket and just sitting it in the case. They're ordered a whole new case, and will come out to install it (more correctly, to move everything from the old case to the new one) after I get back from Madrid.

Now, that's weird. Still, it's quiet once again, and nothing's complaining (and, in fact, the drive temperature has dropped from 115 to 85 degrees F), I can live with it until they come out and fix it right.
  • Current Music
    The Cars - Let's Go
Computers

Contributing to the world's insanity

Once upon a time, there was a language called INTERCAL. It was originally written in 1972, in SPITBOL (a dialect of the SNOBOL4 programming language) on OS/360 at Princeton, by a couple of programmers who are, supposedly, still trying to live it down. They thought they'd succeeded in the early 1990s, until hacker extraordinaire Eric Raymond revived it by writing a C compiler for it (rather appropriately named ick). INTERCAL has gained a small but devoted following of sick, twisted individuals.

Even so, being an old mainframe hacker, I longed to bring the original Princeton compiler back to life, as the Hercules community has done with OS/360 and MVS. This was spurred on when SPITBOL/360 was released under the GPL. All of the pieces were present to recreate the original environment - except for the compiler itself.

It appears that the missing piece - INTERCAL itself - may become available. There exists a complete set of listings on paper, although there does not appear to be a copy on tape. Even so, this compiler is historically important enough to warrant folks sitting down with paper listings and typing their fingers to the bone to resurrect it.

I hope that, one day, INTERCAL will become a standard part of the Turnkey MVS distribution. That way, interested programmers can experience the ...joy... of INTERCAL in as close to the original environment as possible. (Unfortunately, I doubt we can recreate the experience of using an 029 keypunch...)
  • Current Music
    Supertramp - Cannonball