Tag history

Things I have in common with Bill Gates…

…well, for one thing, apparently we both learnt to program at one of these.

scary thought

The irony is, most of the kids making games now probably never used the computers that kickstarted our industry, a 16 year old for instance, wouldn’t have even been born when Commodore imploded, taking the Amiga with it…

Good grief.

From an interview at the Dyson site (the game, not the hoovers, and if you haven’t played it, do so.)


Via Alec, two bits of news on this venerable and insane operating system, which ran on GEC mainframes back from the late 70’s through to the turn of the century, and was a part of UK Internet history.

Firstly, he’s managed to get hold of an emulation of the bloody thing; and secondly, the Wikipedia page is under threat of deletion for non-notability. As Alec says, poppycock.

Although I never really poked around inside it, I recall its bizarre directory structure and its awesome command syntax: everything you did sounded like it was a command to launch the nuclear weapons from some 80’s hacker movie. FCOPY USER SINK TRACE DESTROY for example, to delete all a users files (IIRC).

Miss Tilly’s Orifice

Today I think I’ll tell the story of Miss Shilling’s Orifice.

Back in the Second World War, during the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire fighters with their powerful Merlin engines and their elliptical, highly-maneuverable wings did marvellous things above the skies of England. Unfortunately, there was a wee problemette with those engines: they had old-fashioned carburettors instead of fuel injection, relying on gravity to pull fuel into the engine – so if you went into a steep dive, the fuel supply to the engine would briefly cut out. Not good. If you carried on in your chosen maneuver, the engine would then be flooded. Very not good.

Enter Beatrice ‘Tilly’ Shilling, a young engineer (and motorcyclist) who had the clever idea of popping a little metal disc with a hole in the middle into the carburettor, to restrict and regulate the fuel flow and stop the flooding. It worked like a charm, and those mustachioed fly-boys soon dubbed it ”Miss Shilling’s Orifice”. Or just the Tilly Orifice. It’s official name, incidentally, was Miss Tilly’s Diaphragm.


oh, those french

Yes, it’s a Vespa with a great big fuck-off gun. An M20 75mm recoilless rifle, in fact. How many kinds of awesome is that?

It’s a ACMA Troupes Aeról Portées Mle. 56. There are more pictures at that link.

It seems the French didn’t have a great deal of defence cash to spare after WWII, but Vespas were dirt cheap – about $500 – and the 75mm recoilless rifle was surplus. So with typically French inventiveness and flair, they came up with this little beauty. About 800 of these were deployed in Indochina and Algeria. No recoil, so you could actually fire the thing from the Vespa. On the move.

Why haven’t they got these in HalfLife 2?

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