Site Map - skip to main content

Hacker Public Radio

Your ideas, projects, opinions - podcasted.

New episodes Monday through Friday.

hpr3594 :: Peely-wally in Edinburgh

MrX and Dave Morriss chatting about this and that

<< First, < Previous, , Latest >>

Thumbnail of Dave Morriss
Hosted by Dave Morriss on 2022-05-12 is flagged as Explicit and is released under a CC-BY-SA license.
conversation,Scots language,swither,peely-wally. 4.

Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. Play now:

Duration: 01:07:37




We recorded this on Sunday April 24th 2022. This is effectively a continuation of the last show, since we found we had lots more to talk about!

Note on the title: again we spoke about the Scots language on the show, so it seemed like a good idea to include more of it in the notes and so on.

Topics discussed

  • Dampers (in relation to coal fires), a topic we discussed last time:
  • PC issues:
    • Dave’s home-built desktop PC had another disk problem
    • Running a SMART daemon (under SystemD) gives warnings of imminent disk problems
    • HP Proliant MicroServer - an AMD-based machine sold in the 2010’s (?) by HP with a substantial discount. (Prices cited in the audio are probably not reliable!)
    • Regarding the failed PSU mentioned last time, there was speculation about whether turning off at the mains every day is a good idea. MrX is inclined to think that it is not.
  • Remote-controlled plugs:
    • Dave used a set of Brennenstuhl plugs for a while until several of them were destroyed!
    • Now has two Sonoff plugs which can be flashed with firmware and controlled with MQTT as part of a Smart Home
  • Programming:
    • MrX has recently been writing a Bash script, and found it difficult to get back into it.
    • Dave had written in DEC Pascal on a VAXCluster for many years, but can’t remember any of it any more.
    • Discussion of Delphi, Borland C++
    • Neither MrX nor Dave has used C very much
  • Difficulty of producing HPR shows:
    • Pandemic effects on motivation
    • Complications of working from home
    • Happily the rate of contributions to HPR has been increasing in the past few months
    • Adding pictures to shows still needs documentation
  • Smart speakers:
    • MrX already had two Google Home devices and got a free Amazon Echo (with Alexa software) from his ISP.
    • The Echo didn’t prove to be very useful as a means of listening to BBC radio, and the sign-up was intrusive.
    • The Google Home devices are preferable; they give easier access to BBC Radio as well as services like Spotify.
    • Dave is avoiding all such devices!
  • Old computing equipment:
    • Dave has an old 132-column Anadex matrix printer with a Centronics interface in his attic - found recently when clearing it out.
    • MrX remembered removable Diablo disks.
    • Dave reminisced about writing software in Coral66 on a CTL Modular 1 computer in the 1970s, which also had removable disks.
  • Being back at work again:
    • MrX is now in the office twice a week
    • The Scotland mask mandate has ended but many people are still wearing them
    • People are catching SARS-CoV-2 at work, and particularly from children who are back at school, but vaccination means the effects tend to be milder.
  • Hayfever (seasonal allergies):
    • MrX is taking a 30C remedy (a remedy labeled 30C has been serially diluted 1:100 thirty times, so is extremely dilute)
    • Dave still suffers from hayfever and takes Cetirizine through spring and summer
    • Dave thinks he developed hayfever in the hot summer and drought of 1976 on a field course in Gloucestershire. (BBC News story: Could the ladybird plague of 1976 happen again?)
  • Medical issues:
    • Rheumatoid arthritis - auto-immune origins
    • Trigger finger (also known as stenosing tenosynovitis)

Scots vocabulary

noun: A state of indecision or doubt, a pondering, hesitation, uncertainty.
verb: To be in a state of uncertainty of purpose, to be perplexed about what to do or choose, be in two minds, to doubt, hesitate, dither.

peely-wally (or peelie-wallie or peelie-wally)
adjective: pale, wan and off-colour; insipid and colourless.


Subscribe to the comments RSS feed.

Comment #1 posted on 2022-05-19 17:00:50 by brian-in-ohio

great show

Glad to hear you guys ar "Still Game". Trying to picture which one of you is Jack and which one is Victor. Love the banter. Keep it up
Comment #2 posted on 2022-05-20 09:50:19 by Beeza


You discussed Borland Pascal, which was marketed as "Delphi". You may be interested to know that it lives on, well sort of, in the Lazarus IDE which is backwardly compatible with Delphi code. It's still under very active development. Take at look at their website. I believe the default language on VAX hardware - in as much as there was one - was Fortran rather than Pascal. I rather enjoyed my years using VAX clusters. They were rock solid reliable in my experience, and I'll never forget the bookcases full of those huge orange folders containing the printed manuals.
Comment #3 posted on 2022-05-20 19:04:44 by Dave

Thanks Brian

Glad you enjoyed the show. We both have fun doing these and are delighted that there's an audience that gets pleasure from them as well!
Comment #4 posted on 2022-05-20 19:26:50 by Dave Morriss

Regarding Pascal

Hi Beeza, I have tinkered with Lazarus a long time ago, and actually wrote a simple program to query a PostgreSQL database. I keep meaning to get deeper into it but haven't yet. I'm surprised to hear that VAX Fortran was the recommended language. We took delivery of a two node cluster (both 8700's I think) in 1987. This came with a fair bit of training in Reading and West Gorton (in Manchester), and we had some consultancy available to us to get us started doing the stuff we needed to do. The cluster came with VAX/VMS version 4.x I think. One of the consultants recommended DEC Pascal for our system-level projects, and wrote us some example code to get us up and running. That's where I got the impression that Pascal was their most complete language at the time (other than low level stuff like BLISS, which we hadn't bought). We did use Fortran too, and I drew the short straw and ended up teaching it to various students - we ran service courses in the early days. Just as an aside, one of the then Digital consultants lives a few doors away from me. I have tried to get him to record a chat with me about the DEC times, but I haven't convinced him yet! Ah, the manuals! I remember someone telling me "Dave, your manuals have arrived", and I went to the loading bay to find an entire pallet of them waiting there! They were really good though.

Leave Comment

Note to Verbose Commenters
If you can't fit everything you want to say in the comment below then you really should record a response show instead.

Note to Spammers
All comments are moderated. All links are checked by humans. We strip out all html. Feel free to record a show about yourself, or your industry, or any other topic we may find interesting. We also check shows for spam :).

Provide feedback
Your Name/Handle:
Anti Spam Question: What does the P in HPR stand for ?