Talk:Halt and Catch Fire (TV series)

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Extract & Defend / Kali[edit]

The episode Kali implied that Extract & Defend is actually the game Rush'n Attack(America) and Green Beret(Japan). Please delete this comment when the wiki is updated.


This site has different note on ratings for ep. 2: 1.3 instead 0.97

Do we know where that site get's it's info for the chart? Because the two major sites used for Wikipedia is TVBTN and TFC and they are conflicting for this episode. Encmetalhead (talk) 21:14, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

Series title[edit]

Halt and Catch Fire (HCF) was actually an instruction on Motorola processors. BasementTrix (talk) 11:05, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

It was one of many undocumented i8085 op codes which were discovered by third parties, which actually did something, like the 'Store Immediate' STI (ultimate in self modifying code). 'Halt and Catch Fire' HCF halted the processor, and continually toggled all the output pins (hence 'catch fire'). I actually tested these in 1982. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:47, 2 November 2018 (UTC)

Yes, and as can be clearly understood from the article you mention (i.e., Halt and Catch Fire), the definition displayed at the beginning of the first episode is wildly exaggerated, to the point of being false: "HALT AND CATCH FIRE (HCF): An early computer command that sent the machine into a race condition, forcing all instructions to compete for superiority at once. Control of the computer could not be regained." Let's see: Racing, false. All instructions, false (It was basically a single instruction, when it finally did exist and was no longer just a joke, ca. 1974 (though instructions to halt or idle the machine were around in the 1950s)). Competing for superiority (as if autonomous intelligent agents), big, fat, False. Actually, even control of the computer could be regained, in only the very worst case via a hard reset, so that's false too. This Fake Historical Justification business is highly reminiscent of the fictitious explanation at the beginning of S1/E1 of Mad Men, where they tell you in white text on a black background: "MAD MEN | A term coined in the late 1950s to describe the advertising executives of Madison Avenue. They coined it." People have widely believed that false etymology. However, culture columnist Thomas Frank at did a very thorough job of debunking AMC's artistic overreach (See this Salon article, 3rd section, 1st two paragraphs). →Of course I understand it's all just artistic license; the "HCF" definition lays out an obvious metaphor for the "race condition", forced competition, and loss of control that not the commands on any early computer could ever possibly have sent the machine into, but rather which the nature & behavior of people sent the whole IBM-compatible personal computer industry into. Which is fine, for what it is; but imho people shouldn't be misled like that, even for the sake of Art, and I'm hoping the present article will soon properly dispel that intelligence-insulting, ignorance-fostering "definition". (Okay, done venting...)--IfYouDoIfYouDon't (talk) 10:15, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

Actually, HCF being taken to mean Halt And Catch Fire was an early computer JOKE. And it's an obvious one to those who have written assembler code. It's not a real instruction that does anything. All info on the net you've found for it is wrong. (talk) 05:25, 24 May 2015 (UTC)

BIOS Source Code[edit]

They go through a ton of trouble to "reverse engineer" the BIOS, when IBM had actually published the 8088 source code, with comments, in their Technical Reference Manuals for PC, PC Jr, XT and AT. At minimum, rather than a hardware break-out box, they could've used the DOS DEBUG utility and disassembled starting at address F000:0000, dumping the results to a file. Other than that, the show seems close to what we did at Phoenix including "clean" engineers. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Robertkeller (talkcontribs) 00:57, June 11, 2014‎ (UTC)

The BIOS code was protected by copyright (see Apple v. Franklin for precedence), which is exactly why they had to go through that trouble. It doesn't matter how they acquire the code, the entire BIOS had to be rewritten in a manner that shows it wasn't based on IBMs work, hence the clean room design. The plot is loosely based in part on what happened at Phoenix. -- (talk) 09:49, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
"They go through a ton of trouble to 'reverse engineer' the BIOS, when IBM had actually published the 8088 source code, with comments, in their Technical Reference Manuals for PC, PC Jr, XT and AT."
When did IBM do this? The AT and PC Jr. both still lay in the future when the events of episodes one through four take place; I doubt that even the XT had been introduced yet. (I thought that the original PC was the only IBM PC on the scene so far. Aren't we still in 1982 or late 1981?) Was a Technical Reference Manual for the original PC — including its BIOS — publicly available when our story takes place?
Of course, even without a published BIOS and specs, DEBUG was still available if you wanted to peek at IBM's code. And even with DEBUG, you still had to use a clean-room approach if you wanted to steer clear of copyright infringement, and be able to prove in court if necessary that you had not copied IBM's code.
"The BIOS code was protected by copyright (see Apple v. Franklin for precedence [sic]), which is exactly why they had to go through that trouble."
No one contests the clean-room, reverse-engineering aspect of the story. Even though he said "reverse engineer" in his first sentence, I think Robertkeller was only objecting to all the hoops they had to jump through on the show to get a copy of IBM's code. (His third and final sentence makes this clear.) He was pointing out that a copy of IBM's code (for whatever such might be worth, given the undiminished need for a clean-room implementation) could be had much more easily, without the need for fancy electronic forensics.
"The plot is loosely based in part on what happened at Phoenix."
The show and our protagonists' efforts appear to be based — albeit very loosely — more on Compaq, who reverse-engineered the BIOS for its own use, rather than Phoenix, who reverse-engineered the BIOS in order to license their substitute to others. (Also, Compaq originally produced portable computers, just as our protagonists plan to. They mention Compaq once in passing, but that fact does not diminish the parallels between Compaq and Cardiff.) If memory serves, Compaq was the first company to do this, followed closely by Phoenix Technologies. BIOSes from other companies, like Award and AMI/American Megatrends, came along a bit later.
Just in passing, would the BIOS actually be written in assembly language, or in 8086/8088 machine language?
2001:5B0:24FF:3CF0:0:0:0:30 (talk) 15:07, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
"Aren't we still in 1982 or late 1981?"
Actually, we're somewhere in 1983 — just where, I do not know.
Oh, and apparently IBM released the PC's Technical Reference manual at the same time as the PC itself! (Or else very shortly thereafter.) See, e.g., Gregg Williams, "A Closer Look at the IBM Personal Computer," BYTE, Vol. 07, No. 1 (January 1982), pp. 36-68, at p. 56 [1]; Norman McEntire, "The Key to the PC," PC Magazine (June/July 1982), pp. 139-40 [2]. (The First Edition of the Technical Reference manual for the PC XT is dated January 1983 — two months before the computer itself was released! [3] See p. ii.) Just as Robertkeller reported above, these manuals contained "a complete, thoroughly commented source listing of the BIOS. That's right, no more disassembling ROMs to decode the I/O routines; they are already listed for you." [4] Making ridiculous what Joe and Gordon spent a large portion of episode one doing, which was Robertkeller's point.
2001:5B0:24FF:3CF0:0:0:0:37 (talk) 20:32, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
You are confusing two separate things. Reverse-engineering is not the same as clean-room technology. In this context, clean-room technology implies no access to the IBM code, right? Robertkeller is describing what they did initially. Initially they reverse-engineered the BIOS using a very labor-intensive process to get the code from the ROM that could have been done much more easily. I know that when I saw that part of the show I was thinking it was stupid. Since they used IBM's code, it was not a clean-room process, right? Later they used a clean-room process for the device for sale.

The terms assembly language and machine language are nearly always used synonymously. Usually if someone wants to refer to the opcode (such as 11110100 for HLT) then they say opcode. For example [8086 opcodes with full instruction set]( asks for opcodes. Sam Tomato (talk) 05:42, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

Original poster Robert Keller adds: 1) The original IBM Technical Reference manual was generally available at the nearby ComputerLand in late summer 1981. I bought it then and still have it as part of my collection. It's a blue hard-cover, three-ring binder about 9 inches tall and 1.5 inches thick. They sell for about ten dollars on eBay. As some of the more knowledgeable people here say, it does indeed list the complete BIOS 8088 assembler source code with comments. I'm surprised this fact is in dispute. Thus my critique above that the characters went through of ton of unnecessary reverse-engineering trouble remains. 2) I actually first worked at Quadtel, which was later acquired by Phoenix. Before and after the acquistion, we hired "clean" engineers to work on BIOS code. During my initial interview, Ken asked me, "have you ever seen the IBM BIOS code?" Of course I had, so even though I was fluent in x86 assembler I couldn't contribute to the BIOS code base, so I worked on PCMCIA drivers and such. Hope that clarifies.

I also have a IBM Technical Reference Manual that lists the BIOS source code, except mine is for the IBM PC XT/286 so much later. I know I was very surprised the first time I saw the BIOS source code, I sure thought at the time that the source code had not been available to the public. Sam Tomato (talk) 06:00, 16 March 2017 (UTC)


"...but Joe later seduces LouLu's husband into kissing him and reveals it to her."

Well, they did more than just "kiss" -- Joe took off his coat, and got down on his knees for Pete's sake! (talk) 19:59, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

But the guy was not her husband, was he? I've already deleted the episode, but I thought he was a younger, kept boyfriend — perhaps even a gigolo — whom she was clearly keeping, and that there was even a brief exchange between her and Toby Huss's character that made reference to where her (presumably much older) husband was and what he was up to these days. The implication was that she's now getting sex from this youngster 'cause she can no longer get it from her husband, due to his age; that he is perfectly well aware of this, and it's fine with him; and that this arrangement was all kind-of an "open secret." I forget whether they said explicitly whether her husband, or personal inheritance in her own right, was the source of her wealth, but it seemed like a situation where she had married a much older man for his money (which she was now spending and investing) was implied. 2001:5B0:24FF:3CF0:0:0:0:30 (talk) 14:01, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

Doherty Threshold[edit]

(Ep4) So is the Doherty Threshold/Doherty threshold a real thing? That a response time threshold is thought about in UI design is a given, but is it called "Doherty", and if it is, then do we (Wikipedia) have an article on that? -- (talk) 08:38, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Here's the article from, which references a 1982 article by Doherty, so *yes* ArtDent (talk) 05:31, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

Fictional (mythical) instruction[edit]

I add "mythical" to the page, it was reverted. I made it "fictional" and gave the reason, it was reverted. "Halt and Catch Fire" is, as shown on the Wikipedia page, a bit of fiction: 'The expression "catch fire" is intended as a joke; the CPU does not literally catch fire, but it does stop functioning.'.

There are several computer instruction codes that fall into the category of HCF, but no such instruction actually exists. Presenting this as 'fact' is wrong. My edit should be un-reverted. Joeinwap (talk) 00:18, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Absent a reliable source for the characterization of the instruction as "fictional" or the like, in the context of this show, our labeling it as "mythical" or "fictional" is WP:OR, and should not be included. Discussions of the instruction outside of the context of the show title are off-topic for the article. They're perfectly appropriate in the article for the instruction, where an interested reader would click to, anyway. TJRC (talk) 20:36, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
Here is the Reliable Source: Joeinwap (talk) 00:45, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
" Wikipedia articles (or Wikipedia mirrors) are not reliable sources for any purpose." WP:WPNOTRS. TJRC (talk) 19:37, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
There has never been a processor made with an instruction documented as "Halt And Catch Fire". Therefore it is impossible to cite a reliable source. If we must have a reliable source saying that something does not exist then Unicorns should not be called legendary creatures. Sam Tomato (talk) 04:33, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

Season 2 start date[edit]

Any info on season 2 start date?-- (talk) 20:08, 24 March 2015 (UTC)

Request for balance in representation of reviews[edit]

The fact that Metacritic presents an approx. 70% positive metric suggests that 1 in every 3 or 4 reviewers reported a less than positive critical response to this series. In an encyclopedia, these negative reviews should be reflected in that section. (If 3-4 positive reviews can be quoted, an informative negative review should also be similarly excerpted.) Please, introduce balance, and so encyclopedic tone, to the paragraphs on s01 and s02 critical responses. Otherwise, readers who seek balance will go direct to the sources, and not read this, since we have failed to provide reasons that some readers may not like the series. (talk) 06:56, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

Does Mutiny = Confinity?[edit]

Does Mutiny = Confinity? and therefore, does Mutiny = PayPal?--2600:8800:FF04:C00:4C61:46F5:F7F2:F9EF (talk) 08:25, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

Online sales is what eBay did and does. Cameron was so reluctant to do the financial transactions by Mutiny that she was even reluctant to process credit cards. Sam Tomato (talk) 04:21, 16 March 2017 (UTC)


I invite the IP user to discuss their concerns here. 331dot (talk) 03:05, 5 December 2017 (UTC)

We've both endeavored to discuss on his/her talk page to no result. Let's hope we can get some discussion going here. Meanwhile, I'm off to AN3. ----Dr.Margi 04:43, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
I hope that this is the correct way/place to discuss this issue—I’ve never done this before, and I find the process a bit baffling. Briefly, the actress playing Sara was intended to continue as a series regular, but that changed midway through season two, and she only appeared in nine episodes. She is in no way part of the main cast, which has always been Joe, Gordon, Cameron, Donna, and Bos. She was simply a recurring character in an early season. Just because she was listed as a series regular for her season does not make her part of the main cast; that’s a technical result of negotiation by her agent. Nobody connected with the show considers her anything more than a recurring character from season two. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:55, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for coming here- although you reverted again(which is your 4th) and here you threaten to continually edit war- both of which can be taken as violations of WP:3RR and is grounds to report you(as Drmargi has suggested they will do). Being correct if you are is not a defense to edit warring. That said, the credits in articles about a show are displayed as they appear in the show and as such are not subject to change. Any explanations about cast changes are likely valid content, but that doesn't change how the credits appeared in the show. 331dot (talk) 11:31, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
I would encourage you to self-revert as typically a disputed page is returned to the status quo before the disputed content was changed. 331dot (talk) 11:45, 5 December 2017 (UTC)

It's fairly simple, she was credited as a series regular during season 2, and that's why she listed under main cast. I suggest reading guidelines at MOS:TV; because this is one of those guidelines. I understand your reasoning, but we don't remove actors based on personal opinion or beliefs. I suggest you cease your editing warring over this, because it won't end well. Thank you. Drovethrughosts (talk) 13:46, 5 December 2017 (UTC)

I looked at what you cited, and I couldn’t find any statement equating “series regular during a particular season” with “main cast.” Could you please quote that statement here, since it’s the critical basis of our point of disagreement? Thanks! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:31, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
"Series regular" = "main cast" (or "starring"), it's just another phrase for the same thing. "Main cast" is generally the name that is used for it on Wikipedia articles. Any cast member credited in the opening credits is a "main" cast member, and Aleksa Palladino receives that credit for season 2. While obviously she's not as important as the main five characters, she still received that credit; we can't rewrite history. This is how it is done on 100% of TV articles (if they're following the guidelines). We follow what the credits say, we can't just pick and choose who we think is important or not. Now hopefully you won't revert again. Drovethrughosts (talk) 15:44, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
And that's where we disagree--"series regular" in a single season does not mean "main cast." I see that you haven't quoted a statement to that effect from the guidelines. I believe that there's some means of arbitration on Wikipedia, so I'm going to investigate that. Meanwhile, now that I know that I'm not allowed to revert edits more than three times in a twenty-four hour period, I will abide by that. But just because you've taken it upon yourself to maintain a lot of television pages does not give you the right to claim hegemony over those pages. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:01, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
Dispute resolution measures are listed on this page. I would also point out that while 3RR is a bright line in terms of violating policy on edit warring, it is still considered edit warring if you revert disruptively outside of 3RR(i.e. if you revert after 25 hours). Retracting your threat to continually revert would go a long way towards indicating you will not do so.331dot (talk) 16:05, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
And you are now blocked for reverting again. I reverted myself upon realizing I was at 3. 331dot (talk) 16:17, 5 December 2017 (UTC)

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who takes issue with this edit warrior's edits; I apologize for not completing my AN3 filing, but real life got in the way. Mwanwhile, IP, you've got 31 hours to bring yourself up to speed on wiki policy. Not only does the MOS:TV policy noted earlier apply, but the basic editorial policies requiring a reliable source to support an edit, particularly a controversial one such as this, are critical, so that the content is verifiable. Your contention that the inclusion of Alexa Palladino in the main cast, which has stood since the beginning of season 2, is somehow wrong, that I'm the only editor who wants it that way (which should be abundantly clear is far from the case), and that the showrunners are unhappy with the edit based on your word alone simply doesn't meet our basic editorial standards. Your word that things are other than what is in the credits simply will not hold up. Moreover, the semantic hair split that main cast and series regular are somehow other than the same thing is nonsense. I suggest that, once your block is over, that you abide by these policies when editing, or your blocks will simply become longer and longer. Meanwhile, I have restored the article to the stable version long in place before you began editing it. ----Dr.Margi 16:49, 5 December 2017 (UTC)