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Easter Egg from Anu #72599
06/12/02 05:53 PM
06/12/02 05:53 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,523
Virginia, USA
TheFallibleFiend Offline OP
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TheFallibleFiend  Offline OP
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Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,523
Virginia, USA

I just noticed the article about the "xyzzy" Easter Egg in the win minesweeper game. xyzzy was a magic word in one of the first computer adventure games (perhaps the first) called, appropriately enough, "Adventure." Typing xyzzy in a certain place would take you out of the dungeon and into a safe place to save your treasures, if I recall correctly.


k



Big/Little Endian Holy Wars #72600
06/13/02 12:44 PM
06/13/02 12:44 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,523
Virginia, USA
TheFallibleFiend Offline OP
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TheFallibleFiend  Offline OP
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Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,523
Virginia, USA


More comments on Anu's article. I met Danny several times (author of the "Holy War" article in the link) some years ago at distributed simulation conferences. He was a pretty vocal fellow, but one of the most respected in attendance. The big/little endian thing may have been resolved for network traffic, but not in the general case. Last year one of my first tasks on a new project was to write code that would allow the existing program to use the same files across big/little endian platforms. Swift's characters were hysterically driven to argue a meaningless point with the greatest ferocity and indignation, but the question of big-endian vs little-endian is pretty important in computer land - just one in an endless stream of compatibility issues ("English" vs metric, meters vs cm, ebcdic vs ascii, and on and on, and these don't even get into the higher issues like databases and file formats, etc). If you have a PC its a little endian machine (regardless of whether you are running linux or windows) and if you have a Mac it's a big endian machine (I've heard PowerPC can do bi-endian - that they can be configured as either one or the other, but I'm not sure how that's supposed to work). For the higher end stuff, SGIs are big endian, while Suns are little-endian.


For the record, in the realm of networks, data is sent MSB or most significant byte first, so the Big-Endians won out on that front! Didn't really matter who won - only that they agreed one way or the other!

Swift seems eerily prophetic. You wouldn't think a bunch of otherwise intelligent (many of them brilliant) people gathered in a big room could possibly argue so vehemently about something so silly. But it happened (in fact, it dragged on a very long time, much more than one meeting).


k




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