[extropy-chat] RE: Poxy old computers

David Lubkin extropy at unreasonable.com
Tue Feb 3 00:18:21 UTC 2004

At 09:20 AM 2/3/2004 +1030, Emlyn O'regan wrote:

>You can fix a lot of these kinds of problems, also, by only writing in C
>when there is absolutely no alternative. Which is really rather seldom.

Among the environments I write software for are PalmOS computers. My TRGpro 
clone of a Palm III has 2.5KB for system globals, a 4KB application stack, 
and 36KB available for application globals, dynamic applications, and 
static variables. And a fairly low memory total for the entire machine's 
applications and data.

The applications I've written for Palm would be far too large and too slow 
in anything other than C. Even in C, I've had to be pretty clever in data 
compression, to balance minimal space against access time. (It's been a fun 
exercise, using muscles I don't normally need.)

There may always be circumstances where it is essential to work close to 
the machine. Today it might be a PDA or cell phone -- 10^8 phones running 
J2ME is a pretty good market size. Tomorrow it might be processors inside 
nano-robots analyzing whether the cell they reside in has turned cancerous.

There are still uses for 4- or 8-bit processors, vacuum tubes, anvils, 
leeches, and buggy whips. And sometimes they're the best tool for the problem.

-- David Lubkin.

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