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    Proposed tag: ‘classic’

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      From the submission guidelines:

      When the story being submitted is more than a year or so old, please add the year the story was written to the post title in parentheses.

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        Ah, thanks for pointing that out. This particular story is from 2002. I still love reading it every time.

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          “historical” might apply. I had no idea this was published that long ago, and I had never seen it before!

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        The very word in my mind as I clicked comments.

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        I’ve read this story many, many times (possible as far back as the original post?) but this is the first time I noticed the “units” unix CLI tool. I can’t believe I’ve never come across this command before. It’s awesome.

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          If you like units, you should give frink a try! It’s a full programming language specialized for manipulating units. For example:

          corn_on_sale := 0.25 USD
          // If we had a living wage, how many ears/corn 
          // could you buy with one days labor?
          15 USD/hour * 8 hours- > "corn_on_sale"
          480. corn_on_sale
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            Download using Java Web Start


            nah I’ll stick to stuff like NaSC (Soulver-like libqalculate-based GTK thing) :)

            There’s also insect (and it was forked into binsect for bitwise ops and stuff).

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              There’s also insect

                Unknown identifier: kilofeet

              I’ll stick with Frink ;)

              (Funny coincidence, I’m going to upload an essay on Frink in the next half hour or so.)

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          Somewhat similar story that’s not really on-topic on Lobsters as such, but still interesting enough to share in the comments here: Vital Signs: The Woman Who Needed to Be Upside-Down

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            This was fantastic, thank you for sharing! Amazing how simple engineering decisions can lead to the wackiest of symptoms!

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            Sad thing is I remember that there was quite a treasure trove of old humorous things under the https://web.mit.edu/jemorris/humor URI, but it seems that the access to browse the directories has vanished with some update on MIT side.

            For what it’s worth here are some of the other links I could find when it was still possible:

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                You may want to look at https://archive.org/ and also archive existing stuff.

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                I telnetted into the SMTP port.

                The virtue of plain text protocols…

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                  you can still do this, but you have to use openssl s_client -connect host:port

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                  1311 units, 63 prefixes?! My Mac only comes with 586 units, 56 prefixes and millilightseconds isn’t among them. How do I get more?

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                    Trey Harris (in response to a similar question at the time) explained: “I used to populate my units.dat file with tons of extra prefixes and units.” In any case, lightseconds (and therefore millilightseconds) is in the standard definitions.units file on Linux these days, so perhaps you could grab a better definitions.units out of https://www.gnu.org/software/units/ if nothing else. (On my machine, the standard units starts up with 2919 units, 109 prefixes, and 88 nonlinear units.)

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                      brew install gnu-units && gunit

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                        3460 units, 109 prefixes, 109 nonlinear units

                        Thanks Owen!

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                        Speaking of funny stories, I remember reading av IRC log where a presumably early teenager is trying out Linux. But the user is afraid of hackers, and upon learning that the passwords are in the shaddow file delete that file so that no hackers can see it, against all the users in the channel telling him/her down. Think I read it around 2000, but have been looking for that story without luck. Don’t remember if it was in English or swedish.

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                          Sounds like something from bash.org; this reminds me of the guy posting his password because the channel convinced him they’d see it as asterisks, hunter2 iirc. Classic stuff

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                            Yes, lobster have the same function! You can hunter2 my hunter2! All I see is asterisks 😉

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                            When I was still on IRC years ago we were discussing resource limits and the like, and I posted a fork bomb as a matter of illustration on why these things matter. 30 seconds later several people’s connections timed out and came back several minutes later with “WTF WAS THAT?!”

                            I didn’t expect anyone to actually run that (I had assumed most were already familiar with it) and felt kinda bad about it. But I guess a few people learned that copy/pasting commands you don’t understand in your shell is perhaps not the best of ideas 😅

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                              And yes, he/she logs in a bit later on the same channel with nick_win and want help to fix the installation as he/she can’t log in again.

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                              An odd feature of our campus network at the time was that it was 100% switched.

                              Ah, those days. :-)