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MailBITS/08-Apr-91

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Michael Hart of Project Gutenberg (a project to provide free electronic texts to the world) writes:

Are you an April fool if you believe:

  • Hard disk storage can be bought for $.25 per megabyte.
  • The same drives can be used on DOS, MAC and UNIX machines.
  • 9600 baud modems are available at $169.
  • IBM spelled out the letters IBM with individual xenon atoms.
  • AT&T did theirs with one atom eight years earlier.
  • The AT&T people used IBM-invented equipment.
  • The first Project Gutenberg text was net posted 20 years ago.
  • 10,000 ASCII etexts will be posted by the end of year 2001.
  • The storage space, machine, and drives already fit on a desktop.

Robert Minich muses on the subject of the Apple/Microsoft suit, "I'm no lawyer (!) but I think the title [of our article in TidBITS-047] should have been "Apple 0.5, MS 0.5, The Rest Of Us 1.0" as I felt what the judge ruled included these major items: 1) Apple does have a basis to protect the Mac OS and GUI 2) "Original work" in copyright law is apparently best translated as being easily distinguishable. More subtle implications seem apparent to me, though they may seem arbitrary to you. The above points seem to imply that since the Mac GUI isn't a copy of Star/Smalltalk, MS Windows isn't likely to be in too much danger. I wish I could find a Star to play with and judge for myself the validity of the judge's claim. <sigh> It also seems to me that MS screwed up in entering into its original agreement with Apple since it seems that they have implicitly accepted Apple's right to the Mac GUI. I also found the agreement itself rather interesting in that Apple and MS were in a way bedfellows. Is it a fatal attraction?"

Ted Weverka kindly let us know about the real terms for some huge numbers.

     10^-12 = pico
     10^-15 = fempto
     10^-18 = atto
         and
     10^12 = tera
     10^15 = peta
     10^18 = exa (this is the one we were looking for with megatera
                  and gigagiga)

He writes, "We are starting to see more frequent use of peta in the sciences. The high power lasers for inertial confinement fusion are approaching a megajoule in a nanosecond for a petaWatt. These are all I know, and all I believe exist (i.e. there is no 10^21 or 10^-21). I found these some years ago (and memorized them) in the back of the Hewlett Packard manuals for programming the HP9836 in BASIC."

Information from:
Michael S. Hart -- hart@vmd.cso.uiuc.edu
Robert Minich -- minich@d.cs.okstate.edu
Ted Weverka -- weverka@sashimi.Colorado.EDU

 

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