[cryptome] Re: Buying a A New Laptop? - coreboot

  • From: "Douglas Rankine" <douglasrankine2001@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <cryptome@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 19 Mar 2015 13:29:52 -0000

Dear John,

In the "good old days", (1950's 60's speak); when I were a lad, you would
get a lump of wood about 6" square, harf a dozen screws, a toilet roll,
around 3 metres of enamelled copper wire, 32 gauge thick, a reel of covered
copper wire and some crocodile clips, a fixed value capacitor (how much
puff, I can't remember...:-)) a tuning capacitor (again, the puff escapes
me...:-)) a "cats whisker" or a germanium diode (depending on your age) and
a soldering iron and some solder...if you could be bothered or afford them,
and a pair of earphones.  The capacitors, the earphones, the wire, the diode
and the crocodile clips came from the local radiospares shop (or you could
find an old electricity meter and use the wire out of that or go to an army
surplus store for the other stuff).

  You then screwed the screws to the four corners of the wood, connected up
the various bits with wire and soldered them, making sure that you had the
correct amount of turns of enamelled copper wire around the toilet roll,
with various "taps" on it which allowed you to vary the standing resonating
frequency. You connected the variable capacitor across the coil on the
toilet roll, and the one side of the earphones to earth and the other side
to the diode (making sure that you had either "tickled" the cats whisker or
connected the diode the right way round).

You then made an aerial out of some of the covered wire (I have forgotten
the length, but it was suitable for the medium wave band, a quarter of the
wavelength, I think it was, around 40 metres, strung it up as high into the
ether as you could, connected one end to the top of the tuned circuit and
then connected an earth lead to the other end...and BINGO!!! If you had
built it right, and were within reach of the radio waves transmitted from
the BBC aerial mast, the analogue sound, the ambient resonant frequency of
the voice of the presenter of the BBC Home Service, or the pop melody of the
BBC Light Programme, or the music of Beethoven from the BBC Third programme
would, like a miracle, enter into ones ears, tickle ones cochlea and be
transmitted through ones nerves deeper into the neural networks and turned
into enjoyment by your mind and emotions, depending on what frequency you
tuned the resonant circuit to, and the time of day.  Failing that, a rewire,
a tinker, an oath and even a prayer, might just do the trick!  

  The thing was, that the electrical theory was all wrong, yet it still
worked! Electricity travelled from positive to negative, from up to down,
like water falling over a dam, in those days; none of this fancy electronic
theory which became current when transistors arrived, when atomic electronic
theory took over and little electrons travelled backwards and jumped from
one atom to the other in a negative way, whilst protons travelled in the
same way positively and depending on the pressure, bounced otherwise stable
electrons and protons on to the next atom.  (or is this vision of mine still
afflicted with the effects of too much puff...:-)). Who would ever imagine
the water in a dam climbing up the wall?

The benefits... A crystal set was cheap and reliable, one could buy it in
kit form. Nuffink much could go wrong. It was value for money, didn't need a
lot of brains or physical skills to build it. It could be listened to under
the bed covers, ones parents didn't have a clue what one had built.  Free
listening, free electricity, free music to ones ears, free communication.
It was all one way direct communication of course, the feedback, positive or
negative was via other channels, indirect or direct anonymous or indirect or
direct open communication, importantly, one had the choice.   Request
programmes abounded.  All that entertainment, all that learning and all for
nuffink. No serialised components, no spy listening in, no monitoring or
surveilling then, hard to detect. And at that time, even if it was
detectable, it wasn't worth the expense.   

The disadvantages... The weather could affect the transmission.  The sound
was a bit tinny and not in stereo.  It wasn't very loud. It wasn't very
portable on account of the long aerial. You could only share with one other
person. There was other stuff on the market, superhets and such like, but
they were expensive and unreliable and used mains electricity or batteries
and the adults hogged the stations...apart from "Listen with Mother"...

Nowadays, to purchase even a simple laptop requires much thought as to
specifications, what it is to be used for, how it is to be used, who is
going to be using it. Under what conditions is it to be used, aeroplanes,
underwater, outer space, extremes of heat and cold. What should it look
like, what colour should it be, what size, shape and weight.  What should it
be made of. What kind of hardware and software should it contain. Will it
work for the blind, or the deaf or otherwise disabled.  Will the graphical
user interface be simple to use for those with physical disabilities or
mental learning difficulties, like technophobics like my missus or motor
neuron disease? 

See url: http://common-phobias.com/Logizomechano/index.htm

How robust and rugged should it be. What type of battery and for how long
will it last. What kind of charger and adapter and plug. What should the
casing be made of, what components should it contain, what facilities should
it have, what potential for future development, in both hardware and
software upgrades. Does it have wireless, internet, browser, email system,
dvd/cd read/write, usb2,3, earphones, card slot, 3g or 4g slot,
compatibility with other computer hardware and software. Is it to be an SSD
or standard hard disk, sata or pata or tata, what size. Should it have a
detachable keyboard and/or touch screen. What size and speed and type of
cpu, motherboard, memory.  How many pixels and what size of screen, what
kind of graphics card HD compatible, what kind of screen, glossy or fuzzy.
Does it comply with international design, health and safety standards and
regulations  Penultimately, but not least of all, who can get access to it,
under what circumstances, what controls can be placed on it for security and
privacy protection. How reliable and repairable is it. Can I use it whilst
driving the car, or riding a bike And last of all...but most important for
most users, does it give value for money?

A tall order, for all of those guys at their benches and in smoke filled
rooms working on these problems to fulfil right enough.  But at least they
know about most of these things.  But what about us poor consumers though,
we don't know nuffink about nuffink when it comes to purchasing such stuff.
And our heads and minds get messed up with all the technicalities, with the
advertising and marketing, with keeping up with the Jones's or Xi Jinping's
or Putinovskis, with concerns about NSA Direct and GCHQ Indirect, till it
comes down to, in the end, what it is that tickles ones fancy and the
communication skills of the salesperson, and how much one can afford or is
prepared to pay. Abracadbra doesn't open the wallet so easily these days.

And then...after all is done, the choice is made...one has to read one
million pages on terms and conditions, FCC regs international law and
consumer rights, exception clauses and that whole plethora of literature
which has grown up to determine relations between consumer and manufacturer
and the state.  Finally, the operations manual rears its ugly head...or how
do I get the bloody thing to do as I tell it to, and not the other way

There's a lot still going for communications being carried out by crystal
sets... :-).

Them were the days....:-).  

P.S. And, please don't forget John Logie Baird's role in the perception and
management of visual perception in all of this.  To understand how the eye,
brain and mind could be deceived and use such knowledge to produce a moving
picture for consumption en masse, via a mechanical apparatus called a
television which sits in ones front room giving instant access to a new
world, is a great achievement, a wonderful marriage of wood, mechanics,
physics, psychology, sociology and physiology in my humble opinion...
See url: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Logie_Baird

-----Original Message-----
From: cryptome-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:cryptome-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of John Young
Sent: 18 March 2015 16:53
To: cryptome@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [cryptome] Re: Buying a A New Laptop? - coreboot

A little-known, little appreciated world of hard-earned and forever-fought
wisdom in this comment:

>Folks that are actually down in the trenches and working on these sorts 
>of things aren't usually the kind of personalities that seek out and 
>enjoy the spotlight. Â
>--- AÂ

To be sure the strutting, vainglorious Steve Jobs's of the overworld are
forever exploiting and plotting to cheat the underworld bent-backs, now why
does that sound like liver-plucking vulturine spyworld peddling its
tin-shiny devices to shiny combed-over baldings in shinetown legislatures
ill-knockered by reelection-rigging apps hot-lining user thumbings to
cloud-seeded central data LED-twinklers in meet-me rooms to divvy up
inflated, swapped, munged, syruped, urges to disease the Jobs's high-livers.

MT, need cuppa petrol. 

No virus found in this message.
Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
Version: 2015.0.5856 / Virus Database: 4306/9322 - Release Date: 03/17/15

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