Back when this mistake was made, There was only one Phone Company, because they hadn't been broken up yet. Ted Bundy was still on the loose. Babe Ruth's home run record was about to fall.
You could do neat things with it like copy data off the serial port into a text file, or print a textfile right from the command line!
You can get infinite zeros from /dev/zero, random bytes from /dev/random, etc!
So directories? you don't need 'em. Instead of directories, you just use different disks.
So they're just "everywhere", effectively.
So if you have FOO.TXT and need to print it, you can do "PIP LST:=FOO.TXT" which copies foo.txt to the "file" LST, which is the printer.
but what about extensions? Here's the problem: programs like to name their files with the right extension.
but the program might try to put .TXT on the end of your filename! LST.TXT isn't the printer, right?
Eh. It's a hack, but it works, and this is just on some little microcomputers with 4k of ram, who cares?
But it was big, so naturally IBM wanted it for some "PC" project they were doing in early 1980
MS purchased Tim Paterson's project and developed it into PC-DOS (which later became MS-DOS, if you're not aware)
It was definitely inspired by CP/M, in a lot of ways.
So QDOS and PC-DOS 1.0 have AUX, PRN, CON, LPT, etc, too!
You need them to keep your massive 10mb hard drive organized, obviously!
with directories, Microsoft could now make a C:\DEV folder... but they didn't.
Special files are in EVERY DIRECTORY with EVERY EXTENSION.
So your "DIR > LPT" trick to print the directory listing doesn't break because you're in C:\DOS instead of A:\
And when Windows 95 was released, it was built on top of DOS. So it naturally inherited this behavior. (Windows 1/2/3 similarly did, but Win95 was much more an OS than they were)
But Windows NT wanted compatibility with DOS/Windows programs. And XP merged the two lines.
So these special files still work, FORTY FOUR FUCKING YEARS LATER
it'll tell you NOPE
CON, PRN, AUX, NUL, COM1, COM2, COM3, COM4, COM5, COM6, COM7, COM8, COM9, LPT1, LPT2, LPT3, LPT4, LPT5, LPT6, LPT7, LPT8, and LPT9
These special-device names are implemented at the OS level, rather than the filesystem level. So they're perfectly valid NTFS filenames, and I was using an NTFS drive in linux.
A couple follow ups:
1. The CP/M inventor's name is "Gary Kildall", not "Gary Kiddal".
Sorry, I posted this at 5am after being in the hospital for like... 8 hours?
It actually required them to be followed by a colon, as if they were a drive name.
So PRN: is the printer, PRN is not.
I didn't mean to imply CP/M did, just DOS, but I don't think I made this clear
PC DOS 1 did support copying to/from special files though, so my general point was correct, even if my example was confusing
It's like you're living on a space station and get trampled by a horse.
More from foone
So this is a FISK ... thing.
It's a floppy disk fax machine! You can fax floppies to other people who have these things.
Apparently you can connect it to external drives, computers, or printers?
So I'm gonna do more research into this thing and how it works, but while I'm here, some of the other stuff I got today. Some 3.5" floppy disks. Single sided, double density ones! These were some of the very first 3.5" disks and basically nothing used them.
I also got this book: AutoSim, the Marketing Laboratory.
It's some software to help you sell cars, apparently! it was weird and cheap, so I got it. I'll of course image it.
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Here is why 👇
Startups fixed the problem of innovation, that corporations lack.
In big, slow corporations, innovation is a RISK and distraction from the core $$$ profitable business.
Agile startups could launch, iterate fast and eventually stumble upon new growing market opportunities.
When a startup reaches product-market-fit, it has to 🚀 "grow at all costs" and reach market dominance before some giant corporation can replicate their new product and distribute it to their existing giant customer base.
Startup's "growth at all costs" often means growth at the expense of charging customers $$$ money.
Hence, to be sustainable, startups have to constantly chase investor money.
Startup teams spend more time finding and pleasing investors, than finding and pleasing customers.
95% of startups die because they run out of (investor) money + no business model + crazy investor expectations.
Same way corporations die, when unable to adjust to new technology and market shifts.
That's exploiting young unattached engineers and spinning it as "team culture."
That's not something to aspire to. That's not good management. If you're working sustained 70+ hrweeks, somebody is taking advantage of you.
We have fetishized the overworked engineer. It's toxic but so pervasive that Mr. Ng (and others) feel it's ok to advertise as a positive.
Having this as "culture" breeds a monoculture of unattached, young engineers. Not good for them & not good for your company long term.
It's not good for them because their first job burns them out and physically wears them down. This happened to me and many of my coworkers.
We're basically fucked.
The tech world has gotten so huge, self-reinforcing, and insulated from reality they can no longer even vaguely look at themselves (and their actions) as others do. They just live on a different planet than most people.
Conversely, the average tech consumer doesn't understand the technology that has slowly taken over their lives, and their designated emissaries to figure it out--politicians, pundits, regulators, journalists--understand it barely better than they do, and have their own agendas.
To say more than generalities for a moment, here's what I think is likely the core problem.
Techies take weird, improbable visions, and make them realities: some BS pitch deck to a VC, mixed with money and people, really does turn into some novel thing.
Most people work inside a legacy industry that's evolved that way over time (usually for good reasons), and they think about the future via some analogy with their present (which is a function of a long-ago past). The interruption that tech will introduce is often hard to grasp.
As a dean of a major academic institution, I could not have said this. But I will now. Requiring such statements in applications for appointments and promotions is an affront to academic freedom, and diminishes the true value of diversity, equity of inclusion by trivializing it. https://t.co/NfcI5VLODi— Jeffrey Flier (@jflier) November 10, 2018
We know that elite institutions like the one Flier was in (partial) charge of rely on irrelevant status markers like private school education, whiteness, legacy, and ability to charm an old white guy at an interview.
Harvard's discriminatory policies are becoming increasingly well known, across the political spectrum (see, e.g., the recent lawsuit on discrimination against East Asian applications.)
It's refreshing to hear a senior administrator admits to personally opposing policies that attempt to remedy these basic flaws. These are flaws that harm his institution's ability to do cutting-edge research and to serve the public.
Harvard is being eclipsed by institutions that have different ideas about how to run a 21st Century institution. Stanford, for one; the UC system; the "public Ivys".