II much II have expected

I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting this:

[Thursday], software developer John Brooks released what is clearly a work of pure love: the first update to an operating system for the Apple II computer family since 1993. ProDOS 2.4, released on the 30th anniversary of the introduction of the Apple II GS, brings the enhanced operating system to even older Apple II systems, including the original Apple II and II+.

Which is pretty remarkable, considering the Apple II and II+ don’t even support lower-case characters.

Bloat, as you might expect, is nonexistent:

You can test-drive ProDOS 2.4 in a Web-based emulator set up by computer historian Jason Scott on the Internet Archive. The release includes Bitsy Bye, a menu-driven program launcher that allows for navigation through files on multiple floppy (or hacked USB) drives. Bitsy Bye is an example of highly efficient code: it runs in less than 1 kilobyte of RAM. There’s also a boot utility that is under 400 bytes — taking up a single block of storage on a disk.

All the things you expect of an early-Nineties operating system are on hand:

[T]he ProDOS 2.4 “floppy” includes a collection of utilities, including a MiniBas tiny BASIC interpreter, disk imaging programs to move files from physical floppies to USB and other disk storage, file utilities, and the “Unshrink” expander for uncompressing files archived with Shrinkit (helpful for using Apple II archives scattered about the Internet). All of this fits onto a single 140k 5.25-inch disk image.

Ah, those were the days.

(Via Jeff Faria.)

Update, 19 September: Fark headline: “Still compatible with Leather Goddesses of Phobos”.

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Voluntary malparkage

Of late, I am becoming more irritated by this class of losers:

[T]he person taking up 2-3 parking spaces if it’s close to a store or business: that’s being an a-hole. Someone doing it at the tag-end of the lot where it doesn’t affect others’ ability to find a spot? I don’t care. Do what you will. I figure even with a new car eventually it’s going to get dinged so I have never worried about it, but I know some people do. Just, if you’re gonna straddle the line of a spot, do it somewhere far away so the poor guy trying to stop off on his way home to get the makings of mac and cheese for his three kids are home sick, or the woman who is trying to get her weekly shopping done before her evening meeting, doesn’t have to walk halfway to the moon and back because you took the only three close spots.

The stereotype holds that people occupying three spaces must be driving Big Freaking Trucks, but it’s possible to do this with a mid-sized sedan if you’re sufficiently dysmotivated.

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I always miss these things

But I suspect it was fun while it lasted:

MP Media has relaunched its recently acquired 105.1 WVWF Waverly TN and has begun stunting as “Trump 105.1.”

The station is running a brief loop of songs with a brief connection to Trump such as Gloria Estefan’s “Bad Boy” and Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall.” Sweepers include the predictable “Making Radio Great Again” and “Building A Wall Around Other Stations.”

The station is now imaging itself as 105.1 The Wolf. Still, I’m wondering how many songs one could associate with Donald Trump, besides the Beatles’ obvious “Baby You’re a Rich Man,” and your suggestions are welcomed.

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A surprisingly risky business

Peter “Bayou Renaissance Man” Green Grant, like me, put in some time in operations on an IBM System/370, but there’s something he remembers that I seem to have forgotten:

I recall banks of gas cylinders outside the computer room, designed to release fire-suppressing fumes into the data center whenever necessary. However, none of us ever considered the noise of the gas being released as a potential hazard to disk drives. The system was more likely to kill us! One of my not-so-fond memories of that computer room was when we had a fire security inspection. The inspector turned to the Operations Manager and asked whether he had replacement operators lined up and ready to go after a fire. Puzzled, the Ops Manager replied that he hadn’t — why did he ask? The inspector then pointed out that the “gas masks” provided for the operators were to prevent smoke inhalation only. They had no oxygen cylinder to provide fresh air — but the halon gas that the fire suppression system would inject would absorb all the oxygen in the air. The operators would be asphyxiated before they could get out.

Which, if nothing else, shows you how highly ops personnel are regarded, compared to everyone else in the department.

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A hell of a B-side

We’ll let rhythm guitarist Lennie Petze explain what happened when the Rondels covered the old standard “My Prayer” back in ’61:

Produced by Bugs Bower this track really got The Rondels very excited. It has such a great sound and style and unlike anything out in the market at the time we thought this could be huge. The reviews that it got were very positive but the other side of the record was called “Satan’s Theme” and it got the most attention and still does on YouTube.

“Satan’s Theme”? Seriously?

For realz, guys. Neither of these, however, was quite as successful as “Back Beat No. 1,” their first single as the Rondels, issued earlier in 1961, which actually made it to #66 in Billboard.

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And here’s to you, Mrs. Brooks

If you’re a Certain Age, this may be the most famous female leg in (your) history:

Mrs. Robinson is trying to seduce Benjamin

As it happens, Anne Bancroft was only six years older than Dustin Hoffman, and she was apparently of two minds about The Graduate: it was one of her signature roles, but she worried that it overshadowed the rest of her body of work.

Anne Bancroft gives you the stare

Anne Bancroft claims the love seat

Not that you can overshadow this. From somewhere around 1983, when Bancroft’s doting spouse Mel Brooks remade Ernst Lubitsch’s To Be Or Not To Be, a possibly impromptu song-and-dance number:

They’re doing it from Pole to Pole.

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The lure of a smiling beak

I suggest that it’s probably not a good idea to get romantically involved with a creature that might end up on your dinner table, whether or not there exists the potential for disease:

A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows an uptick in salmonella cases due to more and more people keeping and raising chickens. How do you get salmonella from a chicken, you ask? Take a wild guess.

An alarming number of people have apparently contracted it from kissing their fine fowl companions. According to the CDC’s research, 13% of the chicken-related salmonella cases they studied from 1990 to 2014 were due, in part, to some human-on-chicken smooching.

Of the cases they studied, the CDC says, “Most contact occurred at the patients’ home, and high-risk behaviors included keeping poultry inside the house and having close contact, such as holding, snuggling, or kissing poultry.”

I admit to being occasionally distracted by nice legs. Thighs, even. But I draw the line at making kissy-face with these peckerheads.

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Fobbed off

Kimberly Fobbs, you might infer from her yard signs, is running for Senate District 33:

Kimberly Fobbes yard sign, photo by Jameson Faught

“Republicans” being the third-largest word on the sign, you might think Fobbs is a member of the GOP. She isn’t; she’s the Democratic challenger to Republican incumbent Nathan Dahm.

Jamison Faught explains why this is happening:

In the 6th most Republican district (59.29% Republican to 27.82% Democrat), it’s not surprised that Democrats would try this.

In an era where a Democrat can actually win the Republican presidential nomination, I’m surprised we’ve seen so little of this sort of thing.

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Sweetening your life

This sandal showed up in my tweetstream:

DV by Dolce Vita Baina

Dolce Vita’s DV line used to feature “Baina” here, but it’s pretty much out of stock at your major retailers. (I checked Nordstrom Rack, where it was marked down from $79 to $50, or $36 in a nude-ish shade.) A one-inch platform doesn’t offset a 4.5-inch heel, and there’s a zipper up the back you can’t really see at this angle.

I noticed this shoe, though, because John Salmon remarked that Sandra Bullock could rock them. I looked through a few Sandra Bullock pictures, and didn’t find any instances of her wearing this particular shoe, but I’m not about to disagree.

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Spoofer fail

I blew off the call from 405-511-2897, because scumbags, but this is both scummier and stupider than I’d anticipated:

Caller ID said XXXXXXXXXX OK. I never answer unidentified calls. Rang 3 times and then stopped. Funny thing is the same thing happened yesterday except it was XXXXXXXXXX GA from phone no. 404-511-2897. So I guess they can make it look like the call is from any state?

If you happen to be Googling this number, you may be absolutely certain that they’re Up to No Good and you have no reason at all to talk to them.

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Country for young women

This looks like a pretty interesting show:

Have you ever wondered the story behind “Live Like You Were Dying” for Tim McGraw? Did you know that the songwriter of “Friends in Low Places” actually traded his ownership of that song to pay off a hefty beer tab at a local bar in Nashville before it became a worldwide hit for Garth Brooks?

Introducing, “Nashville Unplugged: The Story behind the Song”, a songwriter in the round show that brings the most successful hit songwriters from Nashville right to you. The intimacy of this all acoustic, impromptu show makes for a highly interactive connection between the songwriters and the audience. No show is ever the same because there is no script or band; just some truth-telling troubadours with guitars in their hands, telling the stories behind some of the world’s greatest songs that they happen to have written.

Thursday in Pasadena. And I never would have guessed the opening act:

Then again, RB is working hard to hone her songwriting chops, so why not?

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Watch ’em putt

This is the location:

Our facility boasts four full 18 hole miniature golf courses, a 7000 square foot video game arcade, a full pizzeria and restaurant, go-karts, batting cages, and now, a full-time event staff ready to make your special event at Cool Crest a truly wonderful experience!

Hey, I know these kids:

Laney, Jackson and Gunner at Cool Crest in Independence, Missouri

And you’ll note they’re not at the “7000 square foot video game arcade.”

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As inevitable as the holidays themselves

Due out this fall:

She and Him Christmas Party

And hey, it’s been five years since Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward put out a Christmas album. (Come to think of it, they’ve had only one non-Christmas album since then.)

Track 12, it says, is “Christmas Don’t Be Late.” Really? Zooey? Zooey? ZOOEY!

[awaiting response]

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No lesser evils here

You may not need this little cheat sheet, but just in case:

And thank you, Crawling Chaos.

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Checking in

Today was, apparently, the last follow-up by the surgical team following my back surgery in early July. I grumbled a bit, mostly because the robovoice calling me to remind me a couple of days ago made a point of telling me to bring a whole bunch of documentation that I knew damned well they already had. The receptionist said, yes, they did have it, but we do need you to fill out a third of a page on Current Conditions.

The doctor himself says that I probably have another month’s worth of work restrictions before they’ll be officially lifted. He did, however, seem impressed with spot-strength displays. (One such test: you raise the front of the foot, he forces it upward, and then you’re supposed to push it back to the floor. I may have scraped the guy’s knuckles.) Anyway, unless something dreadfully terrible happens fairly quickly, this book is now closed.

Downside: it was raining when I left the office, and I had to contort myself rather horribly to get into my car, something I don’t do well anyway, even when it’s dry. My right knee now hurts like a sonofabitch.

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Your 2016 State Questions

I can stand two of them, maybe. The other five, I want nothing to do with.

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