+44 0330 223 3428
Call Us
+44 0330 223 3428

Matt: Xerox Alto Zero-Day

Matt: Xerox Alto Zero-Day

Next to the very real news of the Spectre and Meltdown CPU issues, it was lovely to come across Ken Shirriff’s story of getting past password protection on some old Xerox Alta disk packs from the 1970s.

As further proof for why 2018 is going to be the year of blogging, two of the comments are from people who actually know about the old disks!

“I designed chips at PARC as a summer intern. You have a couple of disks from Doug Fairbairn, who was also in Lynn Conway’s group.”

and

I’m flabbergasted. That’s my Alto disk you broke into!
>

The APL stuff is surely related to some work I did with Leo Guibas, showing why lazy evaluation would be a really good idea for implementing APL: see Compilation and delayed evaluation in APL, published January 1978. (That paper gives me an enviable Erdős number of 3, since Leo is a 2.) I’m sure it’s not a complete APL implementation, just a proof of concept. It happens that my very first part-time job at PARC, in 1973, involved writing decision analysis software in APL — on a timesharing system!
>

Given the AATFDAFD hint, I’d guess the real password is ADDATADFAD. This derives from a project I did with Jef Raskin at UCSD in 1974. (He mentioned it in this interview.) The Data General Nova we were working with produced some garbled message with ADDATADFAD where it should have said ADDITIONAL, and it was a running joke ever after. Strange, the things that occupy some brain cells for over 40 years.
>

Thanks for an amusing blast from the past.
>

— Doug Wyatt (Xerox PARC 1973-1994)



Source: WordPress

Related Post
WPTavern: Upcase Developer Learning Platform is Now Free

WPTavern: Upcase Developer Learning Platform is Now Free Upcase, a subscription learning platform for developers, is now free and open to the public. The content, which includes workshops, videos, flash cards, and coding exercises, was built by thoughtbot, a design and development consultancy. “We’ve loved building Upcase, both as a business and as a way […]

Read more
WPTavern: Polldaddy Rebrands to Crowdsignal

WPTavern: Polldaddy Rebrands to Crowdsignal Polldaddy was founded in 2006 by David Lenehan in Sligo, Ireland and was acquired by Automattic in 2008. Polldaddy is a platform agnostic service providing users with the ability to create polls and surveys. Crowdsignal Logo Today, 12 years later, Automattic is retiring the Polldaddy name and replacing it with Crowdsignal. […]

Read more
WPTavern: Genesis Framework and StudioPress Themes Add Gutenberg Compatibility, More Gutenberg Features Coming Soon

WPTavern: Genesis Framework and StudioPress Themes Add Gutenberg Compatibility, More Gutenberg Features Coming Soon After WP Engine acquired StudioPress in June, the company began investing in expanding the Genesis team. WP Engine is hiring new people to work on the framework and expand support and community activities. On the latest episode of the newly revived […]

Read more