Halt and Catch Fire

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Christian 2 years, 10 months ago.

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    There’s a new show on AMC called Halt and Catch Fire, which is supposed to be about the development of the IBM PC. The episodes are also watchable for a few weeks from AMC’s website.




    Actually, it’s about making a PC clone. If you’re knowledgeable, you sort of have to put your intellect to sleep while you watch it though.

    some examples:

    A soldering iron might be hot, but it’s not nearly hot enough to cut through a beverage can (aluminium).

    Why in the world would you physically remove a BIOS ROM in order to read it? Why would you hand-transcribe its contents onto paper? It’d be far more expediant to dump it, or even disassemble it, directly on the PC.

    The IBM PC doesn’t have (only its successors such as the PS/2) a processor with I/O privilege level or nested task bits in its flags register, but these are depicted on a whiteboard. (wellllll….OK, it is possible part of their competition strategy was to use ‘286 chips instead of 8086s or 8088s)

    The speed gain obtainable through BIOS code optimization is not likely to be anywhere near a factor of 2.



    I finally got around to watching the first episode. I like it a lot!

    Unfortunately AMC only lets you watch the first episode unless you also have AMC through your TV service. I’m hoping it’s only temporary and further into the season they’ll make more episodes free.

    I’m going to try running squid on my parents PC (who have cable) and see if I can proxy my connection to AMC.



    Apparently Direct TV isn’t supported in a lot of these IP based auth mechanisms so it didn’t work. But I did learn yet another use for ssh. You can create a simple SOCKS proxy on a remote computer by using the -D switch.
    ssh -N -D 8123 user@remote-computer
    opens up port 8123 on the remote computer to act as a proxy server. I used that in combination with the browser plugin FoxyProxy which lets you route HTTP requests over different proxies based on URL patterns. Since the site that does the actual IP check is entitlement.auth.adobe.com, I simply created a rule for that. No need for the extra overhead of proxying the video itself. I think it would have worked too except AMC expects you to get your TV and internet from the same provider, so Direct TV isn’t on their list.

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