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2017-01-06
  • The original Colossus  249 and Luminary 131 scanned material which we started with, way back in 2003, as well as the improved replacement Colossus 249 scan we made of Fred Martin's program listing, has been completely restructured so that it conforms to the same pattern as all of the other scanned AGC program listings: i.e., it now consists entirely of PNG files, one per each page numbered by the original assembler, and no PDF files at all.  A side benefit is that while the original print/scan quality has naturally not improved, the quality of the images we're providing has nevertheless improved anyway, whilst decreasing the actual file sizes.  At the same time, page-number references in the Colossus 249 and Luminary 131 transcribed source-code files, which previously corresponded to the PDF page-numbers in the gigantic now-irrelevant all-in-one PDF files downloaded from the now-defunct History of Recent Technology website, have been changed so that (like all other AGC source-code listings) they correspond to the page markings on the original printed pages of the program listings.  My motivation for all of these changes is that I intend to begin proofing the comment text in the Colossus 249 and Luminary 131 source-code files by cross-comparing them with similar AGC versions like Colossus 237, Comanche 55, and Luminary 99; that kind of cross-checkout would have been greatly hampered without the changes.  Moreover, if we manage to get Don Eyle's Luminary 131 listing (which we don't yet have a sponsor for, by the way), the checking that that scan would enable would also have been hampered.  However, even without such motivations, the overall effect of the changes is still to make the Colossus 249 and Luminary 131 material better and more accessible.
  • I guess I've forgotten to mention any of the newspaper, magazine, or online articles in 2016 in which our Virtual AGC project played an important role.  Of course, I don't necessarily know about all of them, since I don't spend a lot of time scouring the web for news about the project or about myself.  The best-known is probably the article titled "BURN, BABY! BURN! The code that took America to the moon was just published to GitHub, and it’s like a 1960s time capsule" at Quartz.  That one was fun for me, because various people stopped me or telephoned me to say "hey, is that you?"  But for my taste, the article which has just appeared in the current issue of the U.K.'s Delayed Gratification magazine, called "Houston, we have a program", is a lot more fun, for a number of reasons.  Not least is that the article is really about our Virtual AGC project, rather than being primarily about Apollo 11 or the AGC software for Apollo 11.  But also, I think the article is extremely well-structured and entertaining, much more so than the endless, detailed blathering I output by the ton here at our website, so it's a fun read.  I congratulate the writer, Chris Bourn, for the care he took, and the results he achieved.  You may notice I've provided no link to the article, though.  That's because Delayed Gratification is a print-only magazine, supported by subscribers rather than ads.  They only put a handful of sample articles online; perhaps ours will some day be one of those (I hope!), but perhaps not.  The magazine itself has a very intriguing concept: it is a proponent of something called "slow journalism", which is basically a throwback to the old days when journalists were supposed to do thorough fact checking, editors were supposed to edit, and so on, as opposed to today's situation, in which articles are thrown together as quickly as possible (probably by cutting-and-pasting unsubstantiated material), in order to maximize online ad revenue.  In contrast, Delayed Gratification boasts that it is the last to break a story, rather than the first to do so. There's also an interesting TED talk about the concept of slow journalism:


2017-01-02
Colossus 237's source-code's comment text has now been completely proofed, and its proofing data published online, should you choose to do a proofing pass on it yourself.

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Last modified by Ronald Burkey

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