Wednesday, June 09
The ticket machine at the station this morning had an unusual problem: On the display, all the Os were turned into Fs, and all the Ns were turned into Es. I couldn't work out how this could happen; certainly no single-bit error (a broken pin in a connector, say) could do that. Not if it's ASCII, at least.
A niggling suspicion and a quick Google gave me the answer: The machines are using EBCDIC. EBCDIC! In 2004! Anyway, this handy chart shows that an O in EBCDIC is binary 11010110, whereas an F is 11000110. So if that fourth line is broken, Os turn into Fs.
Now, the display normally alternates between OPEN and NO CONCESSIONS when it's not actually in use, so instead this morning it read FPEG and FG CGFCESSIGFS.
This brightened my day immeasurably.
Friday, June 04
Good: I wandered into Kinokuniya on the way home, and there at the entrance, instead of the usual pile of Michael Moore's latest crapulation, was a pile of P. J. O'Rourke's Peace Kills. Which I bought.
Not Quite So Good: My latest disk failure seems to have taken with it the only complete copy of Penny Anti in the world. I do have a partial backup, and printouts of almost everything, so I should be able to put it back together. It wasn't that far along anyway, so it's really just a pain rather than a disaster. But I think I've lost one of the villains for good.
(If, like 99.9999999% of the world's population, you have no idea what I am talking about, you can confuse yourself further here.)
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