15 Unix based

Spin balance cover picture

Unix based


 Your drives are Unix based

Which is good news because

The Unix operating system

Can work on many platforms



 English Danny?



 The hard drive will be done soon

And then we can work with it



 Was that so hard to say?



 The bad news is that often times

Unix needs a mount password

Before it lets you open the drive



 You’re my password D



 True that


 But it may take a while

To get past the gate


 First let’s see

If someone left the door open


 (The imaged Unix system starts up


 Boot - s


 A system prompt appears

Daniel enters




 Actually I lied to you L


 We don’t need a password

I booted from my CD

Into ‘Maintenance mode’


 (Daniel smiles)


 It’s a single user shell

That uses Unix commands

From my boot CD

Instead of those on the disk


 That way if the disk contains traps

They won’t execute




Did I not tell you to speak English?



 Sorry L


 Basically we can look at the drive

We can check it for security traps

And disable any we find


 After that the drive belongs to us

And it’s safe to use



 And when will that take place?




Since we’re there now


 I just need to capture the boot files

Move them some place safe

Replace them with safe ones

And reboot



 Yes, well you do that Daniel

All that stuff you just said

And let’s see what’s on the drive




Paleontology - Jurassic Era


 Exploring the contents of the drive


 From what I’m seeing L

There are programs and archives

Data files


 I’m not familiar with the programs

Some are likely interdependent

They may work together

It’s hard to say


 But these archives are curious

They’re like museums or libraries

All filled with text files

Records really

To preserve history perhaps


 Much like an archeological find


 Old bones depicting com files

Compiled files

That organized assembly code


 Com files were 64k or less

Executable Exe files were


 Never mind

You don’t need to know all this


 The text files seem to describe

How to prepare compiler code

For different uses


 It’s before my time L


 Someone was describing

Code from the past

Like ancient data technology

In the era of tape and drum drives

Programs on punch cards


 It’s like using a cell phone

To document a butter press

Or a covered wagon


 But it doesn’t make any sense

Unless they were trying to upgrade

Or migrate to newer technology


 Like eight track tapes to cassettes

Cassettes to CD ROM and then DVDs


 But this stuff

Would be older than vinyl records


 More like metal recordings


 If we want to know more

We need to bring in a metal-head

A hieroglyph expert


 We need Phil Sanders


 He’s an administrator now

But he knows his stuff




Phillip Sanders


Before the tablet PC

Audio-Video streaming

Mobile text


Before email

And LCD television


Before the Supercomputer

Known as Cray with its COS

Cray Operating System


A young Phillip Sanders stood

Barefoot in tributary waters

Leading to the Internet


An era of ones and zeros


Room filling relay banks

Machine generated

Machine language code


Water cooled processors


From machine code

Came assembly language

Streams of machine code

An abbreviated list

Of computer commands


From these commands

Compiled programs were born



Evolving to mask programs

Windows OS2 Macintosh

Automation software

Process control



On and on


Ultimately like everything

Phil’s cutting-edge presence

Was cut from the edge


Eventually we move

From mainstream current

To back-water quiescence


For Phillip Robert Sanders

Quiescence meant







"FORTRAN mostly"


 Formula Translation



 Lydia, I give you Phillip Sanders

Phillip Sanders meet Lydia Carnegie



 Mr. Sanders, I'm pleased to meet you



 My God Daniel, she’s a lovely girl!


 Young lady what are you doing

Digging around in old ruins?


 That must be why you came to me




Lydia worked with Jonathan Warbel



 Ah yes another old ruin, Warbel


 Great man

I admired his work


 A man from a time long past

When people took pride


 A very great man indeed


 So what can I do for you Daniel?



 We need to identify some files


 I’m afraid it’s beyond my depth

But not beyond yours



 Watch this guy young lady


 He’s always liberal with a compliment

When he needs something from you



 (Lydia smiles graciously)

I’ve noticed!



 Yes well let’s have a look

Ah u-huh


 What you have here Daniel

Is FORTRAN mostly

Hence file extensions ‘.F’ and ‘.FOR’


 Some compilers too and data


 It’s an impressive collection

Of useless antiquity


 Not to say it wasn’t top in its day


 It was the significant contribution

Of one Mr. John Backus


 FORTRAN itself is the heavyweight

For all calculations mathematical


 Used for weather prediction

Computational fluid dynamics

Finite element analysis

Comp physics and chemistry


 The life blood format

Of the world’s fastest computers

And the benchmark standard

By which they were measured



 But you said, ‘useless antiquity’?



 Yes Daniel

Useless not unworthy


 These text files

Are how-to instructions


 Heath kit projects if you will

Used to demonstrate compilers

For various purposes


 Much of the data

Has to do with locations


 Geographic coordinates

Vectors and magnitudes

Constellation mapping and such


 These things might be used

To teach real-world application



 God’s slide rule


 I suspect some programs

Were early transfer attempts

Punch cards to computer drives


 It all suggests academic application


 Teaching materials from the infancy

Of the FORTRAN language


 Later applications had

Extensions of F90 or F95


 As FORTRAN approached its apex

Atop the calculation world

Of science and engineering


 But what you have here

Is the child giant in its youth


 Punch card applications

Ran from the mid to late fifty’s

Of the twentieth century




What if we have

The punch cards?


 Lydia asks



 Punch cards?


 If they were made by a key punch


 That is to say if they were Interpreted

Then there’s print across the top

It corresponds to the data

That’s punched in the holes


 You can just read them



 Yes but what if there is no printing

And there are thousands of cards?



 (Phillip smiles)


 Computer generated cards?


 Well then

That changes everything


 You would need a time machine

So you could go back to a time

Where there was a card reader


 Finding a 2-ton IBM card reader

That still works today?


 That’s a really good trick!


 But that's not the only trick

You also need a miracle


 Someone with the know-how

And the will to build a driver


 To allow the card reader

And a computer that lives today

To talk to each other



 (Lydia smiles)







 (Daniel laughs)


 You know I will try L

But that doesn’t give us the reader



 (Lydia smiles at Phillip)




 Are you going to do this for me?



 What makes you think I can?




Who else could?



 I suppose it’s possible


 Someone’s probably done it

Or someone probably does it


 We might find a data recovery outlet

That can transfer the cards



 Would they have the clearance?

I think they might need one



 A security clearance

You think the cards hold secrets?




We don’t know


 That’s the point

Can we afford the risk?



 Point taken Miss Lydia

But someone’s got to know


 Even locating a machine

Someone’s going to ask



 Let them ask and we’ll figure it out


 I think we need to keep it in house

As much as we can anyway





 Let me make some calls

See if I can find a reader


 But I still think it’s academic


 Daniel what did you get me into?



 (Lydia smiles)






 (an email sent)


 Hello this is Phillip Sanders


 We have some data punch cards

And they are not interpreted


 There's a substantial number of them

And we need them transferred


 Confidentiality is a concern

Is that something you can do?


 And if so, what are our options?









 (email response)


 Greetings Mr. Sanders!


 This is Liamsi Malles at Vintage Tech

There are many options available


 Several voting districts

Still use punch cards

Even after the Florida voting debacle


 Much to do about hanging 'Chad'? lol


 Seriously though Vintage Tech

Has a reputation to protect


 Confidentiality is important to us


 So we have our own options:


 1 You could rent equipment from us


 2 Build your own reader, we can help


 3 If you wish us to do the work

You could:


 Provide your own PC for the transfer

Even oversee the transfer process


 Aside from that

You would have to trust us

To protect any information

That flashed up during the write


 I hope this helps


 On another note Mr. Sanders

Have we ever met?


 I was surprised

When your email arrived


 Because I’ve heard

Your name before


 Repeated several times in a dream

As if circling in a whirlpool


 Also a name Carnegie


 And two people on a bench

Facing opposite ways



There was a sun and stone steps

Another man who seemed crucial


 Could be he was Carnegie


 And then your email came

As though I should have expected it


 Gave me a bit of a chill to be honest

Very strange!


 Thank you for your interest,






Implicit memory


 By the way

Nice touch with the mobile



 Yes, that was amusing wasn’t it?


 Aside from that pesky

All mighty interference

Tit for tat and all of that


 God it’s annoying!



 Rules will be rules