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A 'Robotic' Version of FTN95 ... on the Horizon ?
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John-Silver



Joined: 30 Jul 2013
Posts: 1112
Location: Aerospace Valley

PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:53 am    Post subject: A 'Robotic' Version of FTN95 ... on the Horizon ? Reply with quote

I was looking at some tablet's the other day (I personally haven't taken the plunge in that direction yet, but everyone seems to have one, don't they ?).

Android of course is dominant.

I was wondering if there were any short/medium/long term plans to develop a version of ftn85 to run on the blighters ?

I haven't got a clue what is involved except I think the programming for these devilish devices is all in C++ isn't it ?

What are the likely timescales and potential stumbling blocks to Silverfrost undertaking such a logical development project ?

Even an initial F77 edition would be a marketing bonus for SF I would have thought.

You could call it ftn77/95 MARVIN Smile
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''Computers (HAL and MARVIN excepted) are incredibly rigid. They question nothing. Especially input data.Human beings are incredibly trusting of computers and don't check input data. Together cocking up even the simplest calculation ... Smile "
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LitusSaxonicum



Joined: 23 Aug 2005
Posts: 1987
Location: Yateley, Hants, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm I wonder what happened to my reply, but perhaps I didn't submit it. I've noticed that following the last Windows update it has got even more picky about where I click on an icon, or maybe I got distracted and closed the window.

Android tablets are pretty good - much better in tablet mode than a Windows tablet. For example, my Kindle Fire 7" with a customised version of Android is usable, whereas my Windows tablet isn't. Part of the reason is that the Fire has a better interface, partly because it has onboard Bluetooth and works with an external keyboard and mouse, even though it doesn't have to. The Windows tablet has a micro usb port that can be used, but not simultaneously with charging. The Fire will charge off a much lighter device than a laptop. (No doubt a M$ Surface has everything, but at the price, it ought to. I'm not paying that much - airports have destroyed several of my laptops over the years)

Many Windows small format laptops with SSDs have too small capacity (32Gb) to permit Windows 10 updates - you need at least 64Gb.

As I get older I look for lighter gadgets, and if I had FTN95 on an Android tablet, whether it was a Fire or something else, with a miniature keyboard, then it might prove easier to carry. Some years ago I saw an FTN95 app running under Wine, and that, rather than a custom version of FTN95, is probably the answer.

The Android apps are as good as M$ Office for general use, and they do save compatible files.

I'd still use a powerful desktop for choice.

Eddie
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Robert



Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Posts: 267
Location: Manchester

PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not much chance I am afraid -- they don't run Intel x86 or 64-bit instructions.
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LitusSaxonicum



Joined: 23 Aug 2005
Posts: 1987
Location: Yateley, Hants, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, that's a pity, but not unexpected. So an Android tablet or laptop probably beats Windows in every other respect than that it doesn't run FTN95.

Eddie
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John-Silver



Joined: 30 Jul 2013
Posts: 1112
Location: Aerospace Valley

PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert,
It seems that it's not entirely true that there are no android tablets that can run x86-x64 apps :-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Atom

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/devices-systems/tablets/android-tablets.html

Just need to be careful with the selection of the processor model no. to avoid a few that don't support x32-x64 ,


Apart from 'Wine' that Eddie mentions there appear to be other claims that for example Windows can actually be installed on an Android machine.

Interesting (and changing) times and interesting possibilities for forward planning ftn95 world dominaton.

Sil-ver-frost is the lea-ding for-tran com-pi-ler
Ex-pe-ri-ment ! Ex-pe-ri-ment !

Quick , Back to the tardis doctor.
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Robert



Joined: 29 Nov 2006
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Location: Manchester

PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are other issues with tablets - they usually have quite limited RAM and storage space. Would you really develop on a tablet - writing emails can be enough of a challenge. People who write Android/ipad applications don't write them on the tablet themselves.
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LitusSaxonicum



Joined: 23 Aug 2005
Posts: 1987
Location: Yateley, Hants, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert,

Just a note that most of what I wanted to do in the past I could do relatively easily on a mainframe with 64k words! It was a squeeze, and by the time I'd gone from 8086 via 80286 and 80386, to an 80486 with 16Mb, I was better provided in my study at home than many leading Universities' mainframes! (Using Salford FTN77 and MS Fortran in those days).

OK, it's easier with more RAM, but we got by.

My Android smartphone appears to have 3Gb RAM(bigger than my 2Gb travel laptop with Win 10) and 32Gb of ssd, which on a Windows tablet is more than enough to run FTN95 and most of the apps I've ever created with it. There's not much apart from idleness that stops me putting in a 256Gb memory card.

I have a 7" Kindle Fire device that has a 32 Gb SD card, 8Gb internal SSD and 1Gb RAM. That's quite enough to allow the Fire version of Android to update seamlessly in the background, and to store all the apps and files I need to, whereas a 1Gb RAM Windows 9" tablet is barely usable with more ssd and the same RAM, although it will run FTN95 and all but one of my apps compiled with it. The Fire is almost 'instant on', and connects to WiFi that my travel laptop struggles with.

Incidentally, writing e mails on the phone is a chore, and is much easier on my desktop PC with a full size keyboard. It's not so good on the Fire, which in any case is only 7", but it is doable, which it's impossible on my 9" Windows tablet.

All the devices have dual core cpus at about 1.3 GHz.

The touch interface in Android is usable in a way that Windows isn't; the OS is far more compact, and the storage requirements are less.

You may be right that developers prefer desktops - I think you are - but that's a function of having a decent screen size and a keyboard/mouse rather than the intrinsic capabilities of the computer part. That issue goes away with an Android laptop.

It may be that the ideal compromise is to allow cross compilation, with apps that are developed on a desktop but run under Android.

As an aside, I developed a small field survey app, which ran OK on the Windows tablet, but you couldn't put the tablet in your pocket in between recording data. My Fire has a lid on the case that suspends activity when it is closed, and is completely pocketable.

Eddie
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DanRRight



Joined: 10 Mar 2008
Posts: 1969
Location: South Pole, Antarctica

PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd ask Polyhedron probably if they see the clear trend - which versions are sold more often, Windows or Linux. Windows slowly losing on all fronts. There is no supercomputers working on Windows anymore, almost no tablets (i have ultraportable PC/tablet Lenovo Yoga but do not use it) and no phones. So may be the trend in scientific and engineering is also slowly goes in favor of Linux/Unix/Android.

Personally if there was Linux version of FTN95 i'd move from Windows long ago. The only what Windows is still good for are games and Word/Powerpoint and due to that larger users base than with Linux.


Last edited by DanRRight on Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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LitusSaxonicum



Joined: 23 Aug 2005
Posts: 1987
Location: Yateley, Hants, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You cannot see a trend towards something that doesn't exist. I've never actually seen a Linux system in use in the sort of engineering consultancies I work with, except maybe in fileserver systems. Certainly never on a desktop, and absolutely never on a laptop. Windows is just too convenient, too ubiquitous, and bizarre as it may seem, too undemanding of in-depth knowledge. I know people who have Macs, but they aren't programming them from scratch, just using applications.

Dan, you probably don't go to shops, but I've lost count of the assistants who told me: "You're the hundredth person I've told today that we don't stock it because there's no call for it."

Android works because it's very similar to Windows, and therefore easy for users to recognise the basics, but is tailored to a touch screen, not mangled from a desktop. There's something about the pricing, too, that has caused its triumph over the Windows phone.

Eddie
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DanRRight



Joined: 10 Mar 2008
Posts: 1969
Location: South Pole, Antarctica

PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eddie, In US and UK most probably all, especially kids and novices, use Windows and Apple but as to Fortran and engineering crowd - who knows lately. So i'd look at who buys what in Fortran world, this probably also strongly depends on the country, since trends may slowly changed the numbers and eroded Windows usage in the rest of the world.
Linux people also may learned finally how to make user-friendly installations, before they were notoriously dumb at that. Due to that I have not try Linux during last 10 years at least. But we are slowly approaching home supercomputer world and Windows clearly gave up with this. We would be already there if not Intel monopoly. They charge for their processors probably 50x the production cost and it became clear only now when everyone saw even more advanced processors for cellphones with almost 10 billion transistors just for $25. Intel charges arm and leg for that. When ARM will realize that and will step into server and supercomputer business, there will be huge jump ahead. AMD for example kicked Intel into the balls recently introducing 12 and 16-core processors for $499 and $750, around 2.5x cheaper than Intel.


Last edited by DanRRight on Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:07 am; edited 2 times in total
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LitusSaxonicum



Joined: 23 Aug 2005
Posts: 1987
Location: Yateley, Hants, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Dan,

AMD's market share is a fraction of Intel's - a bit like Bombardier v. Boeing. You know that the larger will try to crush the smaller, because that's easier than competing. What kills the larger is its own arrogance and stupidity, rather like the MCAS scandal.

I've used AMD since the latter days of the Pentium (in self-built machines), but know that single core performance is the key factor, not how many cores there are, for what I do. I also know that many apps simply don't require addressable memory in the 64 bit league. The point of my interest in Android is small and cheap, which is what I want when travelling. I'm happy with large, heavy, expensive but powerful on the desktop.

Eddie
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John-Silver



Joined: 30 Jul 2013
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Location: Aerospace Valley

PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What kills the larger is its own arrogance and stupidity, rather like the MCAS scandal.


... or NASA and the O-ring seal scandal, I mean how did they get away with that for goodness sake !!!

My experience with liasing with NASA is limited to a series of telecons in 2001 when I worked in Italy.

In one teleconference I pointed out to them that we'd discovered that their FE model of a subsystem gave a fundamental frequency of half (50 PER CENT) of the real frequency measured on test.

When asked when they were going to correlate tthe model ....

The reply was 'we're not ... we're confident there'll be no problem'.

Needless to say this was not descendants of the Apollo generation engineers speaking but some bull-shitting manager.

I lost all respect for the organisation that day.

I could go into the A380 near-disaster-misses and how they are known about, but you really don't want to know, just don't fly on an A380 is my considered advice.
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alex21



Joined: 20 Apr 2011
Posts: 65
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:45 am    Post subject: Re: Reply with quote

Robert wrote:
Not much chance I am afraid -- they don't run Intel x86 or 64-bit instructions.


Since you can compile to .NET with it.

It might be possible to then compile to WebAssembly byte code and run the resulting FTN in the browser... possibly on a tablet or mobile device... but why would you bother lol
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LitusSaxonicum



Joined: 23 Aug 2005
Posts: 1987
Location: Yateley, Hants, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alex,

Why bother? Well, certainly why bother to learn .NET stuff, because at my age, and given the small proportion f my daily life I could devote to it, I'd expect to be dead before I mastered it. the NET stuff was supposed to allow programming for different hardware - fat chance.

Why the interest in Android? It's not a great interest, except ...

I travel a lot by air. Airports ruin laptops. There is a risk of dropping the thing at security during unpacking and repacking. If they turn a laptop on, and close the clamshell, it will probably overheat if you didn't notice and put it in your bag. I lost one that way. I lost another when a Japanese stewardess - the size of a 7 year old European child - picked up my bag, and promptly dropped it. There have been other incidents. I occasionally need to run applications I have written while away on a trip. Occasionally I need to program something. My ambition is to have a device that is small and light - and also cheap - just to travel with.

Windows tablets are rubbish, I found that out by buying one. Android tablets work much better. I found that out by buying one. They do everything that a Windows laptop will do (while being light and small, and also cheap) except run my applications.

I have a Kindle Fire (sort-of-Android). It has a huge plus: when you close the cover, it goes to sleep. That means you can stop what you are doing and put it in your pocket, without going through the Windows shut down rigmarole, and when you take it out of your pocket and open the cover, it's almost instant on. My (Android) phone works like that too. That means that you can use it when you sometimes need both hands free. It wouldn't matter if I had more than 2 hands, say 4, but unfortunately, the human race didn't evolve that way.

That's why I'd bother.

Eddie
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alex21



Joined: 20 Apr 2011
Posts: 65
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:20 am    Post subject: Re: Reply with quote

LitusSaxonicum wrote:
That's why I'd bother.

Eddie


I just meant it would be more difficult then its worth, but like I said it might be possible but if you just get a tablet that runs Windows (non-tablet version) then you could run all the FTN you want on it compiled to Win32 right?
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