Friday, October 5, 2018

Ben Daglish passed away

The Commodore 64 community mourns Ben Daglish who passed away October 1st 2018.

Ben was well known to many who spent their teens in front of their 8bit computer as composer from video games. Tunes like Last Ninja, Auf Wiedersehen Monty, Bombo or Bulldog remain classics to this day. You can download many of his music in original C64 format my SID download web page.

He was born in London in England and later moved to Sheffield. Besides the breadbox he also composed music on other computers from the 1980s, including the Amstrad CPC and the Sinclair Spectrum. He was 52 years old.

Ben's famous Trap demo which blew away many Commodore 64 users in 1986.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Plane crashes in aviation history

Definition of a plane crash

An air accident, also known as "plane crash", is an event related to the operation of an aircraft that results in the death or serious injury to one or more persons and often irreparable damage to the body shell of the aircraft. An event involving flight safety without serious consequences is considered an air incident. The term air disaster is used by the media, especially for accidents involving an airliner. In most accidents is only one plane involved. Mid-air collisions of two planes are rare. The attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) 9/11 are not considered air accidents.

States may establish an authority to ensure flight safety and accident investigation. These agencies, as well as a few non-governmental organizations, maintain databases whose purpose is to advance security. All American airlines, be it Delta Air Lines or United Airlines experienced fatal crashes.

The main reason is bad weather in combination with human error misjudging the thunderstorm in front. Other problems of human errors include not to communicate in the cockpit. Problems leading to structural damage include design flaws, material fatigue or mistakes in maintenance of an airplane.

The development of statistics groups air accidents according to various criteria, thus makes it possible to raise the awareness of manufacturers, operators, crew, air traffic controllers, maintenance personal and others by identifying the primary or secondary causes of accidents.

  • Destruction of the plane in flight: collision between two planes, major structural defect, fire, terrorist attack, interception by the Air Defense of the country overflown
  • Destruction of the structure on impact with the ground, better known as "crash": navigation error and striking an obstacle, serious mechanical incident forcing the pilot to attempt an emergency landing
  • Ground accidents: collision between a plane in take-off or landing with another aircraft that has entered the runway

The vast majority of accidents concern general aviation but the media and the public are mainly interested in accidents involving airliners.

The International Civil Aviation Organization - ICAO

The ICAO definitions and the resulting statistics relate to motorized aircraft used by organizations or civil companies. States relying on ICAO recommendations to establish an investigative agency may, however, extend the scope of the jurisdiction to include non-motorized aircraft accidents, unmanned aircraft on board and military uses, but excluding related cases.

Aim of the ICAO is the recommendation of an accident analysis process to investigate the causes and to derive actions to improve safety. The accident report establishes the primary cause and, often, the sequence of secondary causes that contributed to the problem. These conclusions are of interest to manufacturers and equipment manufacturers, airlines or operators, crews, navigation controllers and maintenance services. The determination of responsibilities does not fall within the scope of investigations.

The term "disaster" does not appear in the official texts but appears in the media when the accident concerns the commercial air transport of passengers. The notion of "catastrophe" is also changing in relation to the increase in traffic and the increase in the size of aircraft.

General aviation and, in particular, light aviation generate far more accidents than air transport, but they are rarely the subject of media coverage at the national level. Air accidents related to military activities, training and missions outside conflict, are rarely the subject of a report made public that could reveal classified information.

Aircraft accident investigations aim to improve flight safety. An accident rarely has a single cause. Unofficial reports or databases compiling accidents most often identify a determining cause, but the report of the investigative office looks for the causes that generate or participate in the determining cause as well as the errors of perception or action that did not allow corrections or palliatives. The report is used by the Official Services to modify the standards and by the manufacturers, operators, crews, air traffic control service and maintenance workshops to modify the procedures. In principle, the report of the investigative office does not determine the responsibilities but is an essential element for any legal action.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Stingray underrated

There is a movie from 2019 called Stingray, also known as Raymond, starring Joel Edgerton, Jon Bernthal and Anthony Hayes. I wonder if this is a sequel to the series by the same name which was originally aired in two seasons from 1985 to 1987 with a pilot of 90 minutes from 1984, featuring Canadian Actor Nick Mancuso, which I want to talk about.

I didn't watch it then. May be I thought it's another series with a talking car full of electronics. I thought of Knight Rider's K.I.T.T. Also Street Hawk, the series with an experimental super bike, came to my mind so I just ignored it.

Recently someone on Youtube showed a video composed of 1980s intros of shows loved by us teens then. Stingray was among them. I was instantly hooked by the musical score. Sounded to me like straight from Miami Vice and Jan Hammer on the keyboard. Instead it was done by Mike Post, Pete Carpenter, and Walter Murphy. Amazing!

I ordered a DVD set and enjoyed this short lived US series. "Ray", as he was called by others, is untouchable and almost always has full control of any situation. Even when it seemed he now takes some beating or was betrayed he will come out on top instead. Then he vanishes silently and without a trace like he appeared. He only revealed his real name once by whispering into the ear of somebody so the audience wouldn't know.

The series was well underrated. May be the move to the filming location in Vancouver in Canada, with its bad weather conditions in the second season and thus bad plots, led to the series cancellation. Too bad. If it would had stayed in sunny California it would had deserved a third season in my opinion.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

CP/M, the first operating system

The operating system CP/M

CP/M, the acronym for Control Program/Monitor or Microcomputer, is an operating system created in the year 1974 by Gary Kildall, founder of Digital Research. It is used on 8-bit Amstrad CPC and Amstrad PCW, Commodore 128, TRS-80, Osborne 1, BBC Micro, ZX Spectrum. It also found use on PCs, including the standard Amstrad PC-1512 in addition to MS-DOS and GEM.

For the Apple II, Microsoft created in 1980 the Z-80 Soft Card expansion card that allowed the use of the operating system of Digital Research. Early versions of MS-DOS were largely inspired, if not copied by CP/M.

Organization of memory

The memory of a computer under CP/M is divided into four parts:

  • BIOS: The Basic Input Output System for serial peripherals. It handles peripherals, floppy disks, monitor printers, etc. Usually, the BIOS occupies the "high" part of the memory.
  • BDOS: The basic disk operating system primitives. It contains the operating system. Usually, the BDOS is under the BIOS.
  • CCP (console command processor): Usually, the CCP is under the BDOS. This part of the CP/M corresponds to the user interface.
  • TPA (transient program area): This part of the memory starts at 100 (hexadecimal address). It is intended for user programs.

The different types of files

CP/M system stores files on floppy disks according to a specific logical organization, which has not been taken over by MS-DOS and can fill the disks. CP/M can also handle hard disks. In fact, as the BIOS is open, as clearly described in the documentation that Digital Research provided with some of its software, so it is possible to adapt any particular CP/M system to any available mass memory and devices available. Some computers running CP/M were originally sold with hard drives. Altos is one example.

Each file has a name and an extension.

  • ASM: assembler source file
  • PRN: assembler listing file
  • HEX: Machine language presented as a series of hexadecimal octets in Intel format
  • BAS: BASIC source file
  • INT: intermediate basic file
  • COM: command file, memory dump file, starting at address 100 hexadecimal under CP/M. Executable files always have the extension .COM
  • SUB: a file with a sequence of commands to be processed in batch mode by the command SUBMIT.
  • BAK: backup file is often used by word processing programs
  • $$$: temporary file, used for example by SUBMIT
  • LBR: archive file

Different orders of CP/M

CP/M commands can be internal or external, as was subsequently the case with MS-DOS. For the user under CP/M there is no difference between launching an internal command, such as DIR as *. * or an External like STAT as *. *. Or any other program.

Under CP/M, the shortest program needs only one byte, which returns to the System. On the other hand, it must be saved as an executable file using a .com extension, whose minimum size is one sector with a 128 bytes minimum.

The external commands of the CP/M or MP/M called programs of the same name which had the extension .COM or .PRL (only in the case of MP/M). Additional information: the MP/M was similar to CP/M but with a multi-user functionality.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Gaps between primes

Everyone has probably learned in mathematics at school what primes are. They are numbers that are divisible only by 1 and themselves. So all the numbers that are divisible by 2 are missing.

While many primes are still close together for small numbers, separated by "even numbers", this becomes rarer as the number grows. For example, numbers less than 10 contain quite a few primes "side by side" (separated from even numbers). Like 2, 3, 5, and 7. The bigger the number, the less likely it is. For example, between 400 and 410, there are only the primes 401 and 409.

Cryptography uses primes to encrypt files and other data. For this large primes are used. Powerful computers are set to find ever larger primes, which turns out to be more and more difficult.

On the other hand, the question arises as to whether it is probable that, according to the currently largest prime number found, there are numbers that follow (after an even number) two prime numbers. Since there are an infinite number of numbers, I suspect that will eventually apply. Or maybe not? Nobody will have an answer for that until proven.

Or has any reader here an answer? Please comment.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Lucifer season 4

According to TV Line the series Lucifer was renewed for season 4, starring Tom Ellis, picked up by Netflix.

I liked the show. Wasn't my favorite show though but entertaining. But with season final of season 3 when Lucifer showed his devil face to Chloe Decker all the magic has gone. Because the show was all about others than God's children not knowing that Lucifer is indeed the devil. The show should in my opinion have ended there.

Then there were the two bonus episodes. Boo Normal which followed the timeline after his face was revealed but Chloe went on with business as usual, only briefly mentioning she saw much stranger things than what Ella reported to her. Okay, he is the devil, so what.... And Ella now revealed her personal ghost which actually also was an angel. I was afraid she would deal in about every future episode with that, making her a main character rather than a supporting cast member. While Once Upon a Time took place in an alternate timeline. This was rather boring and didn't fit well into a possible season 4 episode, especially after the cliffhanger with Lucifer revealing his devil face.

I wonder how they deal with these things in season 4. In my opinion they should have tied up loose ends and cancel the series for good after that.

Monday, June 11, 2018

The General Data Protection Regulation

Regulation No 2016/679, known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), is a regulation of the European Union which constitutes the reference text for the protection of data. personal data. It strengthens and unifies data protection for individuals in the European Union.


After four years of legislative negotiations, this regulation was definitively adopted by the European Parliament on 14 April 2016. Its provisions are directly applicable in all 28 Member States of the European Union as of 25 May 2018. This regulation replaces the directive on the protection of personal data adopted in 1995 (Article 94 of the Regulation); contrary to the directives, the regulations do not imply that Member States adopt a transposition law to be applicable.

Main objectives

The main objectives of the RGPD are to increase both the protection of the persons concerned by the processing of their personal data and the accountability of those involved in this processing. These principles can be applied by increasing the power of the regulatory authorities.


In January 2012, the European Commission proposed a comprehensive reform of the rules on the protection of personal data in the European Union. This reform has two components:

  • the updating and modernization of the principles set out in the 1995 European Data Protection Directive, in the form of this General Data Protection Regulation
  • the drafting of a new Directive on the protection of personal data in the context of police and judicial activities

The purpose of this new regulation is to give citizens control over their personal data, while simplifying the regulatory environment for businesses.

The European Parliament amended this regulation and adopted it on 12th of March 2014 at first reading. Negotiations continued between the delegations of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union and ended on 15th of December 2015. The draft Regulation was passed in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. Home Affairs (LIBE) on 17th of December 2015. The European Regulation was published on 4th of May 2016 in the Official Journal of the European Union and enters into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication. This Regulation applicable from 25th of May 2018 is binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States. The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, around the recovery and analysis of data for electoral purposes, bursts shortly before its implementation.