Digital Research – Pacific Grove, California

Gary Kildall and his company Digital Research played a pivotal part in the history of the development of the IBM PC. IBM approached Bill Gates and Paul Allen to provide a number of programming languages for the original IBM PC, and later returned to Microsoft to ask if they could also provide the operating system. Not having anything available at the time, Gates suggested they talk with Gary Kildall at Digital Research, who had developed the CP/M operating system for 8080 based computers at the time.

The history of exactly what happened during the meeting with IBM and Gary’s wife at Digital Research may never be clear, but for whatever reason, Kildall was unavailable to discuss with IBM. When IBM returned to Gates and Allen, they decided to go talk with Rod Brock and Tim Patterson at Seattle Computer Products (SCP) and licensed their QDOS operating system for the 8086 for $10,000 and $15,000 for each company that licensed the product from Microsoft. This became the basis for MS-DOS, The rest, is history.

(If you’re interested, I highly recommend the book Fire in the Valley, a great book which covers the story of the IBM PC in detail, as well as earlier and later history)

The original location of Digital Research is at 801 Lighthouse Ave, in Pacific Grove, California. The building is now a private residence. On a vacation to Pacific Grove earlier this month, I looked up the location where the office was, and as it was only a couple of blocks from where we were staying, so we stopped by:




This IEEE have installed a plaque on the sidewalk outside the building to commemorate the contributions of Gary Kildall, Digital Research and the CP/M operating system:


Unit testing React components with Jest

Jest is a unit test framework for testing React apps. The Getting Started guide is pretty much all you need to get started. If you’ve created your project using create-react-app then you’re already setup, just run ‘npm test’ and a runner will test up that repeatedly runs your tests as you make code or test changes.

create-react-app also creates a sample test for the sample App.js component. This is a good starting point to follow for other tests:

import React from 'react';
import ReactDOM from 'react-dom';
import App from './App';

it('renders without crashing', () => {
  const div = document.createElement('div');
  ReactDOM.render(<App/>, div);

To test the results of rendering a component, the enzyme library allows you to easily capture the output from a render, and then query the results. For example:

import React from 'react';
import ReactDOM from 'react-dom';
import {shallow, mount} from 'enzyme';
import Calculator from '../Components/CalculatorComponent';
it('renders with result 3', () => {
    const result = mount(<Calculator value1="1" value2="2" />);
    const buttonResult = result.find("#result").first();

The CalculatorComponent I’m testing here is the one from my previous React post.

Remember the Motorola Atrix in 2011 with its Webtop mode?

One of the rumors about Samsung’s upcoming S8 is that they are going to introduce a desktop mode supporting an external monitor and keyboard/mouse.

Not so long ago Microsoft were trying to convince us about Continuum and how we’d all be plugging our phones into desktop monitors and keyboards.

Let’s not forget that Microsoft was not the first to try this – several years before Continuum, Motorola tried out something similar on their Atrix phone back in 2011 (and a number of Motorola phones that followed?) where it supported a dual boot mode that could be booted into a Ubuntu Linux based desktop mode when connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse.

Motorola apparently discontinued the feature because base features in Android starting supporting HDMI and attaching USB devices such as USB external drives, keyboards, mice etc to your phone via a USB OTG connector. Not many people are aware that your Android phone may already support connecting to a monitor, keyboard and mouse, if you so want to. Take a look on the box or in your manual for the ‘USB on-the-go’ logo and you might have these features already.

Packet Radio: Checking in to the Central California Sunday Packet Net using Linpac and Direwolf

I didn’t think it was year ago that I last checked to the Central California Packet Sunday night net, but looking for notes on how to send packet unproto frames from Linpac, this post was today exactly last year. Apparently January 15th is my favorite day for doing some packet radio.

This is using ax25, Direwolf and Linpac setup on Debian that I posted about a few days back. I did a screen recording of the net checkins so you can see what a packet net looks like. It’s not exactly fast paced, and in the middle there’s some WinLink email inbox checking going on, but you can see Ben KG6BNL running Net Control, and then check-ins that follow.

In the screencapture I’m ssh’d from my Mac into my desktop upstairs which has a Rigblaster Plug n Play connected to my Icom 880h. The top session is Direwolf, so you can see it’s decoding all the packets it hears. The bottom session is Linpac, where I’m using :unproto to send my check-in.