Month: December 2019

Some adverts from 1930’s and 1940’s Argosy pulp magazines

December 29, 2019 Incoherent ramblings ,

I have a whole pile of 1930’s and 40’s era pulp fiction magazines that I bought when I was a kid.  I’d read all the Tarzan books and was also raised in a Scientology household where LRH was revered, so I hoped to buy some of the original Argosy pulp fiction mags that I understood featured both these authors.

I asked at my local used bookstore if they had any such magazines and was told yes, but “If you want them, you buy the whole box.”  The bookstore owner didn’t want to haul the box out of the back storage room, have me flip through them, not find what I was interested in, and then have to put them all back.  I basically had to buy the whole lot sight unseen.  For $15 I ended up with a giant box that had a whole bunch of Argosy magazines as well as a whole bunch of “Blue Book” (a “magazine for boys and men”.)  I didn’t score the Burroughs nor the LRH that I was hoping for, but they were pretty neat nonetheless.  Plus there were a couple 1910’s era magazines that I also scored, which I thought were worth the $15 just by themselves.

Despite how cool I thought these mags were, the bulk of them have languished in boxes (kept from degrading in comic book bags), for years in various basements.  When my latest move was pending, I thought it was time to get rid of some of them.  They didn’t move on kijji nor facebook-marketplace, but I gave a few away to people who came by the house, and have now also started sprinkling some of these around various Toronto “Little Free Libraries” in the new neighbourhood.

The aspect of these magazines that I like the best are the ads.  Here are the ads from two 1936 issues and one 194x issue (both of which now live in a neighborhood little free library.)

Amazon’s kindle-direct now has Canadian manufacturing

December 14, 2019 Geometric Algebra for Electrical Engineers , ,

As a “kdp” author, I got an email about new Canadian manufacturing for kindle-direct orders (i.e. my Geometric Algebra book and various UofT physics and engineering class notes compilations.)

Here’s a fragment of that email:

“We’re excited to announce paperback manufacturing in Canada! This enables new features for KDP authors, including:

    • Faster shipping to your readers in Canada. Manufacturing in Canada enables FREE Two-Day Shipping for Prime Members.

Please note that, as of today, proof copies and author orders for authors in Canada will still be printed and shipped from the US.”

With the low price that I set my book prices at, paying just the US shipping for an “author proof” has been about the same as ordering a normal copy, so now there will really be no point to ordering proofs anymore.

Interesting z/OS (clang based) compiler release notes.

December 13, 2019 C/C++ development and debugging. , , , ,

The release notes for the latest z/OS C/C++ compiler are interesting.  When I was at IBM they were working on “clangtana”, a clang frontend melded with the legacy TOBY backend.  This really surprised me, but was consistent with the fact that the IBM compiler guys kept saying that they were continually losing their internal funding — that project was a clever way to do more with less resources.  I think they’d made the clangtana switch for zLinux by the time I left, with AIX to follow once they had resolved some ABI incompatibility issues.  At the time, I didn’t know (nor care) about the status of that project on z/OS.

Well, years later, it looks like they’ve now switched to a clang based compiler frontend on z/OS too.  This major change appears to have a number of side effects that I can imagine will be undesirable to existing mainframe customers:

  • Compiler now requires POSIX(ON) and Unix System Services.  No more compilation using JCL.
  • Compiler support for 31-bit applications appears to be dropped (64-bit only!)
  • Support for C, FASTLINK, and OS linkage conventions has been dropped (XPLINK only.)
  • Only ibm-1047 is supported for both source and runtime character set encoding.
  • C89 support appears to have been dropped.
  • Hex floating support has been dropped.
  • No decimal floating point support.
  • SIMD support isn’t implemented.
  • Metal C support has been dropped.

i.e. if you want C++14, you have to be willing to give up a lot to get it.  They must be using an older clang, because this “new” compiler doesn’t include C++17 support.  I’m surprised that they didn’t even manage multiple character set support for this first compiler release.

It is interesting that they’ve also dropped IPA and PDF support, and that the optimization options have changed.  Does that mean that they’ve actually not only dropped the old Montana frontend, but also gutted the whole backend, switching to clang exclusively?