Sunday, January 19, 2020

Yea! I know what AI isn't ...

Happy New year! The University of Helsinki, Finland, has an online course called Elements of AI. Since I've been interested in what AI can do for the smart home, I signed up with the hope of actually learning something that points me in the correct direction. Instead of being blitz by marketing hype like I am now. The very first class attempts to define AI and concludes that we can't yet. But what we can do is define it's characteristics and that some of the Suitcase words Cool! That's a useful distinction like smart, intelligence and learning don't quite have the same meaning as they do for a human. So AI and ML won't replace a human's intelligence or learning. They're just more tools in the toolbox. AI and ML will make us more efficient and accelerate our jobs. That's still pretty scary as whole fields of jobs can disappear. Is anyone still doing human computing?

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Microware OS-9 lives

This weekend (2018/12/01) was VCF's Festivus, the museum had a "make a donation, get a gift". They had a lot of things I was interesting in but decided not to go nuts. But there was this one poor computer, a Radio Shack CoCo I that someone didn't love. It was battered and abused and decided to adopt it. I've now tested it and it works (yea) so now I have a CoCo 1, 2 and 3 (and a few other 6809 systems). Which also got me thinking about OS-9 (OS-9 ran on the CoCo).

One of my first jobs working as a EET was at Micro-comm. I loved that job, the people and I learned a lot. I was introduced to one of my favorite OSs there; OS-9. They had OS-9 Level II running on a Gimix Ghost with a 20M disk, 2M of RAM, 8 serial ports and 2 parallel ports. Yes, there were 7 people using that system for development. Today this sounds simple, but this was run on a 2MHz 6809 processor (an 8 bit processor which can only access 64K of RAM). Also this was at a time when only mainframes, mini's, Unix systems and a few other real time systems had multiuser/multitasking. This was around the time the IBM PC arrived on the scene (single user, single tasking). I later started using various computers and took a liking to Linux because it was multiuser/multitasking. Advance to the early 20-teens, I'm cleaning up around the house and finding more and more vintage systems. One of those systems is the ST2900 and suddenly I recall booting the system to OS-9. While poking around it looked like OS-9 no longer existed. A short time later I found NitrOS-9. Well today on CoCoTalk and found out that OS-9 is in business and the current NitrOS-9 is okay with Microware (yea!). Microware LTD (their new name) is selling an OS-9 product for new processors and is still real time. To find out more details: CoCoTalk! #085, "The OS-9 Edition" (Youtube).