Create a backup of your data NOW!

Do yourself a favour today and create backups of everything important you have. Today. Now!

I have probably just had the few most horrible minutes of my life or so. My laptop went down with a loud bang, the fuse for my living room was burnt through (oh, I removed the batteries from my laptop long ago, so this means 'no power == no laptop' for me) and my last backup was done way too long ago.
Fortunately (or I would not be writing this), my laptop is still alive and well (it seems), but now there's one thing I'll need to do right now: MAKE BACKUPS!

Your garbage can is spying on you!

Yes, 1984 seems a lot like a reality. Nowadays even your garbage cans spy on you.

IsNot Operator Patent

I can't believe this is true. Microsoft tries to patent a programming function to determine if two variables point to the same location in memory, i.e. the IsNot (or != or <> or neq) operator. Quick, head over to You know what to do.

(via Heise (German)).

Vintage Computer dead - Display Panels at Dortmund Railroad Station dead

The WDR (a German TV channel) reports that a Commodore C64 has died (German article) after 20 years of doing its job - running the display panels of the Dortmund railroad station. The display panels are all dead now, the train station employees "manually" guide the people to their trains.

Heise reports (German again, sorry) that the old Intel-310 system with an 80286 processor running Xenix (first erroneously reported to be a C64) doesn't run anymore because the harddisk is dead. They still have the software, but even if they could get a working harddisk, they couldn't reinstall the software on it (I'm not sure why).

Some more facts:

  • The company who originally installed the system in the 80ies is out of business since more than 15 years.
  • A completely new display panel system would cost 3 million Euros.
  • They don't want to spend that money, as the train station is to be reconstructed soon, anyways.
  • Several people have called them and offered help and old C64s (which they don't need, as it's really an 80286).
  • Some technicians now try (as a workaround) to write software for a standard-PC to let them at least control the display panels manually.

I can't decide whether to laugh or to cry. Honestly.

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