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Cheating?

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Re: Cheating?

Postby x9200 » Mon, 01 May 2017 8:04 am

Strong Eagle wrote:
x9200 wrote:
PNGMK wrote:this was for constant 500 G linear acceleration though... not just a single impulse.

I think it is something different:
1) not angular
2) linear over a fixed period - when a car accelerates, it's roughly linear, but deceleration (e.g. during crash) is almost never linear (could be exponential or worse).


The point that PNGMK is trying to make is that a car crash, linear deceleration or not, is of a very short duration... .5 to just a few milliseconds.

But, a constant 500g acceleration is something altogether different. A 500g acceleration from rest would have you at traveling about 25,000 meters per second after only 5 seconds of acceleration at that rate.

Agree. I missed the word "continuous" in the picture.

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Re: Cheating?

Postby Sporkin » Mon, 01 May 2017 8:47 am

Things are taking a turn for the pedestrian, anti imperialistic propaganda arty and hypno bear spies are way more fun angles

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Re: Cheating?

Postby PNGMK » Mon, 01 May 2017 5:01 pm

In the mid 90's I was designing real time control systems for ROV's in Singapore. We needed an update rate of 30Hz (human eye sight runs at around that speed) and achieved it on 8 bit Z80 architecture. One of the people we hired who has passed away now was Dr WCH. He was infamous in Singapore for his work in copying the VAX and Mini VAX supercomputers for a few east block governments. He told me the story of his arrest. He was picked up off the street and taken into the ISD. They told him what he was accused of. He tried denying it. Then they started listing everything he had done for the last year. Even in the 80's without the aid of personal borne and provisioned surveillance devices (aka Cell phones) they knew every conversation and every meeting and every movement. He immediately confessed and somehow escaped punishment but of course stopped making copies of Vax's for the XX government... One of the things he did for us was similar. He reverse engineered the ROM's of a competitors ROV and dis-assembled the code. He then broke down and commented the code (i.e. worked out how it functioned), broke the communications protocol (which was partly published) and then helped us develop in a blind room (i.e. not exposed to source materials and using different programmers) a protocol compatible code set. We wanted the protocol to be similar so we could swap top sides and vehicles and more importantly replace the Surface Control Units which were based on some UK hobby Z80 computer (and I mean hobby - there were maybe 100 in existence which was unsustainable for a commercial system). Good times. We'd never do that now (the Intellectual property situation was fuzzy even then and now the law would be against us) but the experience was a real learning curve. The comms protocol was a thing of beauty - full XYZ axis real time control in a 16 word package at 9600 BPS - I've never seen anything like it since actually. The original company we were competing with actually ended up buying spare SCU's from us in the end as our fully engineered system was far more reliable than something made in a Brit's garden shed.

One of the more interesting snippets of that conversation I have never been able to verify is that WCH told me that in the same cell were Tamil Tiger supporters arrested in Singapore for smuggling arms via Singapore to the TTT. He swore they were never going to be released and may still be locked up.

About a year later after we produced our own system I was asked to look into the original code by users of the competitor's ROV. People were reporting that the original ROV's would lose control under auto-pilot (heading). I remember counting every push and pop (stack commands) in that code and eventually discovered that the auto head subroutine had too many pushes and not enough pops (i.e. the stack would overflow). That was without the original source code.

That sort of work led to one of my more famous personal successes in the 90's in Australia that had me named the 'comms guru' - in one case I sat in front of a comms protocol viewer watching the protocol run in real time for days (fortunately only 9600BPS I think). The company I worked for then were complaining that a particular PLC would lock up and they had worked out if only happened when communicating. I volunteered to fix it. It was like the matrix - watching streams of hex characters. Eventually I realized that the code for the protocol driver was reading and writing to a scratch pad area in the PLC memory - (as a test I assumed) - and at that point the PLC would corrupt. The test read/write was not documented in the protocol driver code from the SCADA company but it was documented in the GE FANUC manual. So I set up a test of my own and tried writing and reading to the scratch pad area and sure enough - the PLC would hang. I rang GE FANUC local rep and he said "oh yeah - we thought that might be the case". Anyways I got the SCADA company to stop their unnecessary test read/write and that system run perfectly after. A couple other similar episodes later (PLC programmers are great LL but terrible at comms it seems) and the tag of comms guru stuck. It's not so easy now with TCP/IP and Ethernet but can still be done.
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Re: Cheating?

Postby PNGMK » Mon, 01 May 2017 5:29 pm

I'm 52 and now all I do is sell boring equipment. Sorry for the purge.
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Re: Cheating?

Postby Strong Eagle » Mon, 01 May 2017 9:22 pm

Shades of assembly language programming on a stack machine!!! Fun stuff. And an interesting story... quite believable, particularly as the security aspects of code weren't nearly as sophisticated.

Kind of like the bank where I had my first computer operator job... the computer room was prominently displayed, big sign, big glass doors... little realizing that the nerve center of their operations would one day become a target.

And wasn't it the Cray that built the computer with seats so everyone could sit around on the world's fastest computer, having a coffee?
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Re: Cheating?

Postby Strong Eagle » Mon, 01 May 2017 9:35 pm

PNGMK wrote:I'm 52 and now all I do is sell boring equipment. Sorry for the purge.


I don't know that I'd have the patience to code anymore. The very first computer I ever programmed (besides the IBM 407, which one programmed by wiring up a large punch board - see image below) was the NCR 310. This was a punch paper tape machine... 16 bit.

Image

Programming involved writing out all the variables at the beginning of memory, the assembly language instructions to be used. Next, one converted the assembly language pneumonics into the digits representing the instruction, the computed all the offsets of all the variables and used them to fill out the instruction.

When done, and one line at a time, 16 flip switches (actually, I think it used 12 bit "slabs") on the console would be set to reflect the full numerical value of the assembly language instruction. Pressing a button cause the instruction to be punched out on paper tape. It could take a while to write and enter even a small program.

The NCR 310

Image

And I finally got to program a "real" computer, the NCR 315. It had a massive 10K of memory. We were overjoyed when it was upgraded to 20K... meant we didn't have to write so many overlays.

Image

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Re: Cheating?

Postby x9200 » Mon, 01 May 2017 9:56 pm

My first one was an ICT1900 series clone running Fortran programs from punch tapes, but some more extensive exposure I got only with the z80 era and small things like Sinclair ZX Spectrum.

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Re: Cheating?

Postby Sporkin » Tue, 02 May 2017 9:06 pm

Thanks for the insight x9200, didn't know espionage of that level happened in this neck of the woods. Though at that time he was probably already targeted for surveillance, there probably wasn't that many computer scientist types around SG. Now with tech, it's wider blanket with higher noise, hard to tell which era of surveillance had it easier

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Re: Cheating?

Postby PNGMK » Wed, 03 May 2017 7:52 am

Sporkin wrote:Thanks for the insight x9200, didn't know espionage of that level happened in this neck of the woods. Though at that time he was probably already targeted for surveillance, there probably wasn't that many computer scientist types around SG. Now with tech, it's wider blanket with higher noise, hard to tell which era of surveillance had it easier

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IF you're referring to WCH I'm sure the US government complained to the Singapore government about the matter (when copy VAX board started popping up in embargoed countries) and that's what triggered the investigation. WCH basically just literally copied the boards so presumably he had a source here in Singapore and the dots would have been easy to connect back then.
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Re: Cheating?

Postby bgd » Wed, 03 May 2017 11:34 am

Strong Eagle wrote:
I don't know that I'd have the patience to code anymore.


Things have moved on somewhat. :D

If you have any interest in coding then the current crop of high level languages (Ruby, Go, Python, etc) can be fun. But doing it as a job, no. Building from scratch would be fine, but fixing someone else's code, not so much.

I watched "Hidden Figures" recently. Really shows how far we have come, both technically and socially.

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Re: Cheating?

Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 03 May 2017 11:53 am

bgd wrote:
Strong Eagle wrote:
I don't know that I'd have the patience to code anymore.


Things have moved on somewhat. :D

If you have any interest in coding then the current crop of high level languages (Ruby, Go, Python, etc) can be fun. But doing it as a job, no. Building from scratch would be fine, but fixing someone else's code, not so much.

I watched "Hidden Figures" recently. Really shows how far we have come, both technically and socially.


I've programmed in a variety of languages from assembly to C, C#, C++, Object Pascal, VB and VBA, COBOL and PL1, Fortran, Python, and PHP (including in a couple of development frameworks). I've also done some programming in neural networks and fuzzy logic (I fergits the name of the language, though).

I've done business applications, GIS and mapping, 3D graphics rendering, robotics, and digital signal processing.

Now, I just want to play golf and dream up the ideas for other people to program.

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Re: Cheating?

Postby Sporkin » Wed, 03 May 2017 1:21 pm

PNGMK wrote:
Sporkin wrote:Thanks for the insight x9200, didn't know espionage of that level happened in this neck of the woods. Though at that time he was probably already targeted for surveillance, there probably wasn't that many computer scientist types around SG. Now with tech, it's wider blanket with higher noise, hard to tell which era of surveillance had it easier

Sent from my E6653 using Tapatalk


IF you're referring to WCH I'm sure the US government complained to the Singapore government about the matter (when copy VAX board started popping up in embargoed countries) and that's what triggered the investigation. WCH basically just literally copied the boards so presumably he had a source here in Singapore and the dots would have been easy to connect back then.

I couldn't actually find much details online regarding WCH and VAX, in fact this forum came up as the 2nd hit.

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Re: Cheating?

Postby PNGMK » Wed, 03 May 2017 1:32 pm

As WCH has passed on I am reluctant to provide his full name.

Another story he told me was how the family he was born into made their millions.

His father was a bureaucrat in the British run visa department here in Singapore ("Malaya") times. When WWII broke out there was a masssive back log of applications and Shell Brunei appealed to the department for help. Somehow his dad found out about this. His wife (WCH mother) said "This is your one chance to get rich in this life; don't stuff it up". He got hold of the visa stamp (how?) and "processed" all the Dutch and other nationality visas for Shell at a $1000 facilitation fee (cash). He made a LOT of money. Fortunately they managed to hang onto it through WWII. The interesting thing about that story is that it was the woman who saw the opportunity and had no moral qualms - in fact you could argue she saved the lives of hundreds of Dutch Shell employees!
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