Richard Harter’s World
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February 2009

Letters to the editor, February 2009

This a traditional letter column. You are encouraged to write a letter of comment on anything that you find worthy of comment. It will (may) be published in this column along with my reply. As editor I reserve the right to delete material; however I will not alter the undeleted material. E-mail to me that solely references the contents of this site will be assumed to be publishable mail. All other e-mail is assumed to be private. And, of course, anything marked not for publication is not for publication. Oh yes, letters of appreciation for the scholarly resources provided by this site will be handled very discreetly. This page contains the correspondence for February 2009.

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From: Jon Sunde
Date: 21 February 2009
Subj: Cow College

Hi Dick….A ghost from xmas past. Jon Sunde here, BSEE 1964 SDSU. I took a couple of math classes as electives while there and I know we were in a couple of the same classes….. However, the memorable one, and I am positive I am right, was a remedial or algebra for dummies taught by Anne Straw a recent EE grad for those folks not up to speed in college math. This course would have been the fall of 1958 in one of the original buildings, 2nd or 3rd floor. Anyway if memory serves me well you were in the class, we had a one hour test and you finished in about 12 minutes… I recall sitting there dumb founded wondering where I should start and I concluded you knew nothing about the subject so just quit. Next class session I learned I was wrong again, you had aced it and skewed that curve toward the end I wasn’t.. No regrets but thought worth passing on… Jon

It sounds like me at that time, but I don’t think it could have been. I showed up at Brookings for the winter quarter of 1959-60, with a flock of incompletes from the School of Mines. (I had studied Bridge, Chess, and Poker at Mines, classes optional.) I had Math credits but no English credits so I signed up for English I, a repeat course for people who didn’t make it through English I the first time through. I aced the first test and the instructor wanted to know why I was taking the course. It seems that I should have taken English I by examination when I started at SDSU, except that I couldn’t because I was on probation. (I may be the only student at SDSU who was on academic probation with straight A’s.) The first math course I took at SDSU was an intro to calculus course. If you were it that calc course that could have well been me. In those days I tended to regard math and physics as jock courses.
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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 18 February 2009
Subj: gonder (cont.)

Googlating at [_ konuda etmek _] I discovered that I was more or less in Turkey. The language is almost certainly Turkish. Finnish is at best a very distant cousin.

Finnish (as George would have told you, if he could) looks more like this:

Hakkonnen innikaatalappi ifnituittua opu lakonnenonen.

That’s not real Finnish. It merely looks plausible. And I didn’t put in any umlauts. Finns eat them for breakfast.

Turkish – of course. What a turkey I am not to know that.
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From: Garvis Frazier
Date: 6 February 2009

Dear quiz masters, I believe you are incorrect in your answer to this question:

If you overtake the last runner, what position are you in now?

Answer: If you answered second-last, once again you’re completely wrong. Think about it. How can you over take the person coming last? If you’re behind them then they can’t be last. The answer is impossible! It would appear that thinking is not one of your strong points.

Perhaps improbable, but not impossible, the first place runner has completely rounded the course and come up behind the last place runner, passing him and still being in first place. I could be wrong in my logic. I am 80 years old and am often wrong. Feel free to show me the error of my way.

P.S. — I really enjoy your web site. It is very mind-stimulating.

It all depends on precisely what means by “overtake”. Does it mean physically passing by a runner, or does it mean having covered more distance than the other runner. The quizmaster holds with the latter interpretation.

Thanks for writing and for the kind words.

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From: Anthony R. Lewis, PhD, FN
Date: 9 February 2009
Subj: More of relative geography

Mr Harter,

In addition to a relative in South Dakota, I have cousins who live in Ushaia, Tierra del Fuego. In the north I have cousins in Sweden. I have not yet found any Inuit nor Yupiat relatives farther north than that. I do, however, have Tlingit relatives who come from the Tongass Rain Forest (the world’s second largest).

Hang in there; Spring will come.

I knew that truth was relative but not that geography was. Cruises on ship lines that use post-modern cartography must be interesting.

Spring is a mirage in the winter of hope.

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From: gonder
Date: 16 February 2009
Subj: deneme

Merhabalar… web adresinde bulunan canl? s?zl??e ?ye olup, kelime girebilir, girilmi? kelimelere eklenti yapabilir ve kelimelerin anlamlar?n? okuyabilirsiniz.

Amac?m?z sizleri bu konuda bilgilendirmektir, asla rahats?z etmek gibi bir amac?m?z yoktur. Bundan dolay? ?z?r dileriz.

?nternette birden ?ok email adresinize ayn? email geliyorsa bunlar?n hepsinin size ait oldu?unu bilmedi?imiz i?in ?z?r dileriz.

E?er bizden bir daha email almak istemiyorsan?z;

[email protected] email adresine g?ndermi? oldu?umuz emaili geri g?nderiniz.

I give up, is this Finnish? It certainly finnished me.
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From: hr
Date: 16 February 2009
Subj: Job offer from Coca Cola!

Coca Cola is becoming the world’s second largest company.

January, 2009

We are hiring!

Are you out of job?
Your current job isn’t paying enough?
You don’t have proper eductaion for high positions?

At Coca Cola everything is possible! We have the budget to hire anyone from any country where our company is present. All you need to do is fill out the form we have attached and get ready to bring your career to the next level and triple your current salary!

Our company offers excellent benefits such as 60 days paid vacation, company car, health insurance for you and for your family, option to work from home and friendly work environment.

We have open positions in Sales, Marketing, Information Technology, Accounting, Logistics, Engineering, Quality Assurance and much more. None of the positions require any kind of education or work experience!

Wow! What an opportunity! What could possibly go wrong? Nothing, I think, unless I were to make the mistake of opening the attached job application form.

They do come up with all sorts of gimmicks, don’t they?

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From: Lee R. Piazza
Date: 2 February 2009

Surely you’re not out repairing fences in this weather. What could traverse those frozen desolate plains that you would want to fence in(or out)? Time to sit down with a hot drink(chocolate of course) and put out the February Edition.

P.S. It’s 71F here in Santa Cruz and surf’s up.

You are a very cruel man. We are doing subzero weather here. As for the February edition I’m working on it. It should be out sometime today (for a suitable today).
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From: Karen Doucett
Date: 20 January 2009
Subj: Bill Wolf

I just came upon your website while searching for the Whirlwind computer.  I worked at Wolf R & D in Concord, MA from 1969 until it was “sold” to EG&G; in Bedford, where we all moved.  I see you worked there before “my time”, but wonder if you remember Dan Rosenburg, Mort Kane, Kay Adler?  It was certainly a long time ago (now 40 years!), and those are all the names I can remember.  I was 18 at the time.  I remember having to chose between working for Bill Wolf or Digital Equipment in Maynard – at the time, just an old mill building.

I guess all good things come to an end, don’t they?  I remember when they taught the Whirlwind to play chess, and also when they “dismantled” it.  Eccentric as it may have been, I am glad to see, in a small way, that it was a part of history.

Thanks for bringing up the memories! 

The names sound vaguely familiar. Was Dan a VP or am I thinking of someone else. I’m envious – I would have liked to have seen it play chess. I really liked the Whirlwind. I even used to have dreams about owning a computer that looked suspiciously like the Whirlwind. I don’t even want to begin to speculate about what that says about me.

There is something deliciously minimal about a computer with only 16 instructions and something deeply satisfying about programming down to the bare iron. Besides, all those switches and displays are what one expects from a real (TM) computer.

I suppose those of us who used to program the Whirlwind are getting to be a small club. I wonder if there is a Whirlwind emulater available somewhere on the web. I suppose there must be – I know there is one for the PDP-11.

Oh well, I suppose one shouldn’t spend too much time examining old memories. They might start examining you back.

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From: Big Will
Date: 19 January 2009
Subj: ??????

Send me email.

Okay, I can do that. What kind would you like? I have a large stock of Nigerian scam letters; would you like one of those? I have some promotional offers from Marks and Spencer that I can’t use. If you’re going to be in England this weekend that might come in handy. Could you use some stuff from a Barrel Racing magazine? Just let me know what your requirements are and I will see what I can do about filling them.
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From: Anthony R. Lewis, PhD, FN
Date: 17 January 2009
Subj: Relatives

I also have a fourth cousin who lives in Sioux Falls–so there.

Using your relatives to invade South Dakota is the least I expect from you.
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From: Mr.Herman H. Daniel
Date: 30 January 2009

Good Day,

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Mr.Herman H. Daniel
Liberty Trust Lenders.
[email protected]

Well you certainly sound reputable to me, and your terms and conditions are outstanding. I gather that the world credit crunch hasn’t reached Estonia yet.

You folks seem like the sort of people I’ve been looking for. Sadly, my requirments don’t meet your minimum standards. Your minimum loan is $5000.00 and I only need $4999.99. If you ever come with a small loans program, let me know.

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This page was last updated February 22, 2009.

Richard Harter’s World
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February 2009