User:Nikevich

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Username[edit]

A mildly-corrupted Slavic form; my father was Nicholas Bessaraboff [later, N.B. Bodley]. For some reason, his name is misspelled "Nicolas" in several Google hits. I also try to use "Nicabod" (or "nicabod"; no "h") in other places. Quite informal names include "yodadadude", from the Spanish for "iodized", chosen only for its spelling, not meaning.

Concise biographical notes[edit]

Retired electronic technician and electromechanical technician; occasional photographer (all my life), lapsed amateur musician (duct flutes). Former country dancer (NYC; CDSS; played recorder for dances). Associate Editor, Electronic Design magazine, 1977-1979. Internet author (most is for the Howthingswork list at YahooGroups, but have written for Wikipedia, as well).
U.S. Navy, Oct '54 to Sept '58 (active duty). Pacific Fleet, '55 to '58, FTA2; U.S.S. Eversole, DD-789, US home port: Long Beach, Calif. Would have been FTA1 if I'd re-enlisted. Midnight hacker, BMEWS, Colorado Springs, 1960, with RCA Service Co. and NORAD approval. (Computer was ready to go, ahead of schedule.) One of the first eight electronic desktop calculator technicians in the USA (Friden EC-130).

It's best to describe my interests, of which there are many; here, I stop being concise. (^_^)

Lots of interests, with embedded commentary and more biographical material[edit]

  • Mechanical calculators (I used to subscribe to CALCLIST-L, hosted at Technion, also (used to sub. to) oldcalculatoforum@googlegroups.com). Alas, have lost immediate interest, although am still amazed by Marchants. Have probably learned all the basic calculating mechanisms, about ten, and hope to make a consistent set of illustrations, but, alas², probably will not.

[Update, 20120719: For the first time since I joined CALCLIST, I'm not following calculator e-mail, sad to say.]

  • Mechanical analog computers, especially for fire control and related applications. Also electronic and hybrid analog computers
  • Mechanisms of "twisty" ("rotary") puzzles, such as Rubik's Cube. They're 3-D jigsaw puzzles, in a sense.
  • Inventions of M. Oskar van Deventer
  • Activities of Tatjana van Vark
  • Linguistics -- Dilettante linguist; speak/read/write quite-basic Spanish [Update, 20160904: Am gaining unexpected fluency with little effort, maybe because of my age.] My term is "linglang", from "linguistics" and "language".

At long last (beginning about 70 years ago) have just about mastered Cyrillic, and am experiencing the mysterious transition from letter-at-a-time to recognizing words as whole entities. {The horror of Whole Word teaching is that it idiotically attempts to bypass the phonetic underpinnings of alphabetic script, treating it as logographic, with disastrous effects on literacy and serious impairment of ability to learn correct spellings and to recognize misspellings. More, later.}.

  • Writing systems and i18n (former subscriber to Qalam at YahooGroups) (Unicode hobbyist, so to speak, as well)
  • Typography, especially type styles and typeface design
  • Keyboard layouts; adopted Dvorak maybe 25(?) years ago, and only recently discovered its alternate-hands aspect. Colemak is easier for tte rare soul who wants to be rid of QWERTY.

For tablets and smartphones, FITALY™ seems vastly better than only three or four rows. FITALY is essentially a square matrix layout, arranged so that the next letter is a minimal distance away.

  • Literacy, and reasons for the epidemic of sub-literacy (Lots of adults can't even spell "off" correctly!). Have come to realize that a popular dialect-by-consensus is displacing literate English. [Update, 201609:] {"Whole Word" is simply sabotage, no less, and has done a lot of damage. It's set us back by about five millennia, to a time before the invention of alphabets. It teaches our written/printed language as logographic (Chinese is logographic), which seems to work until our soft limit on the number of recognizable images (roughly 2,000)* has been reached. What seems to be a recent trend is arbitrary transpositions of letters, as in "goelogy", which are ludicrous, phonetically, but logographically, don't change their graphic appearance all that much. Omitted syllables, e.g. "inconvience", are logographic simplifications, but also ludicrous, phonetically. *Witness subsets of hanzi/hanja/kanji (Chinese characters) in Japan and China, recommended for daily use.}
  • Technology, both historic ("histech") and contemporary
  • Materials science -- it has become very interesting. If I hadn't become hooked by the MIT Radiation Lab. Series in high school, Mat. Sci. might have become my career choice.
  • Linux, and Android tablets, especially Nexus 7, the latter as a user
  • Politics and related topics -- we live in The Age of Exalted Greed. (Update, 20160904): Donald Trump is a genius for articulating the serious fears and disappointments of some of the former middle class, but is a dangerous saboteur who gives power to the worst of our country. He's a student of Mussolini, and a potential dictator. A list of his business failures is notable.


  • Other interests include early music, also classical, folk, and world music; fine art, calligraphy (Including Arabic!), architecture, and museums.
  • Also: Analog music synthesizers; in a sense, I sold the first ARP. Free-lance synth tech. in NYC, until polyphonic synths. arrived. Knew Bob Moog personally, although not well. Splendidly free of any conceit... Was synth. technician for the First Moog Quartet, although had no problems.

First hearing of "Switched-On Bach" was one of the major events in my life, and joyous.

  • Along with the first hearing just mentioned, other fantastic experiences included seeing what I'd just spoken appear on-screen as text, error-free, via Dragon Naturally Speaking™. Still others were Google Earth Compass Mode (very sadly, discontinued, but, it's living on in the Star Chart {infinity} Android app; also, first few viewings via HDEV of high-res real-time views of Earth.


  • Past e-mail addresses* have included nbodley@world.std.com, nbodley@theworld.com (maybe!), nbodley@tiac.net, and nbodley@speakeasy.net. All are discontinued. * "e-ddresses", as Richard Lederer tried to get us to call them

Updates[edit]

2012-07-19, again 2015-04-13; again², 2016 09-04. At this update, I'm 80 (yay!), and still slowing down a bit every year. It's interesting to have witnessed many changes over the decades.]

Residence[edit]

New England, suburban; quite-nice, motel-like rent-sub/low-income apartment complex. Truly fortunate. Near to a major city, some miles inland from the Atlantic coast. [Edited 20120719; still true, 2015-04-13]

Humor and related[edit]

  • Engrish.com (sometimes off-color; I hesitate to recommend it to woman friends, but that might be conservative). (Update: Haven't been there for years!)
  • Used to be fond of User Friendly (online comics) -- Illiad, the creator, had a rough spot some time back, but nevertheless he probably can be therapeutically funny.
  • Doonesbury
  • Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, really liked, but have no practical access to TV.

Updated 2015-04-13


Computers[edit]

Major changes; some older info. retained.

Former desktop was a nice eMachines T6532 refurb. -- Athlon 64, 2.2 GHz, 1 GB RAM, 200 GB HD, NVidia graphics and sound on mainboard. Three external drives (but not RAID): best (only one in recent use) is a WD 1 TB "enterprise grade" inside a Rosewill RX-358-S fan-cooled box.
A serious and detrimental, discouraging life change happened when this machine became unbootable, and I apparently misdiagnosed the problem as catastrophic failure of the motherboard. More likely, it was a disabled boot sector. I sadly recycled all but the m.b. Needed to realize I'd lost my ability to diagnose some problems. Loss of this machine was a lasting and major blow to morale, and I failed to redefine many links to online friends.
Current desktop is a Wintergreen, quite-obscure make, 1 GHz Sempron, 1 GB RAM, and SiS graphics, hopeless for current video.
However, current main computer is a 16 GB Nexus 7 (2013) tablet, using WiFi, kept updated.
I use the Dvorak layout (Key swap + keymap change), in a Key Tronic E03601P1 heavy-duty keyboard (it's excellent, and will outlast me!)
Monitor: Curb-find DEC VRC-21WA (Divine blessing? Thanks heaps to friends B and C!) Have no a/c, so when it's hot, I tried using a 17-in. HP LCD panel, although summer 2010 and later years, I simply aimed a "floor" fan at the underside vents. DEC gets hot (and produces roughly 250 W of heat). Update: CRT brightness has declined significantly; hope to donate to the Computer History Museum.
Apartment is well insulated, so in summer, I manage by drawing in cool night air and closing up for the day.
'Net connection: Verizon FiOS, 25Mbit/s (updated to 50) symmetrical (and affordable!); changed from Speakeasy ADSL 12 April 2010. Speakeasy is very good, but their cost for modest bandwidth was relatively steep. Speakeasy was bought by Megapath, which apparently was bought by yet another company.
OS: Android Marshmallow in Nexus, Mint Linux in desktop, currently ver. 15, but 18 likely, soon
Hopes: Try to restore munged partitions on temporarily-retired HDs, or budget for professional restoration. Also, get an up-to-date dual-boot Mint Linux/Win machine, and keep a lower-power-drain older machine for simple tasks.
No Web site, nor blog, yet. Getting more interested in having one (or both), though. No Facebook, but have Twitter that I (still) don't yet use.

• Please note that while I used to have a fixed IP address, I now have FiOS, which uses DHCP; for that reason, I'm more likely to include my username into edit descriptions. ID'ing me by IP could be useless or misleading.

Updated 2015-04-13, again (few changes) 2016-09-04


Various other personal topics[edit]

Almost never watched TV other than the Boston Marathon; no cable, naturally (even though there's some worthy content; our society has no lack of such for those who seek it.) As of mid-January 2011, haven't bought a digital converter, and probably won't. Am considering Verizon FiOS TV, with a TVOne Model 1T-V1280HD converter* to go between the "set-top" box and my 21" DEC monitor (no computer!) Secret is "RGBHV", which the monitor accepts, apparently "VGA" by another name, in effect. (!) *Tricky little fella to find, indeed. Time will tell.

Clutter addict, unfortunately. Could be worse, but not much. Have had, and might again have, professional help with straightening out my place. Freecycle is great, but worries (by others) about security made me unsubscribe. For giving stuff away, [Vietnam Vets. Of America] is great! See what they will pick up (most things) before arranging. <www.vva.org> Have been a fan of Steve Colbert and Keith Olbermann, but don't see them often enough. (Hope Keith returns!) Online subscriber to The Nation., but aware that it's not necessarily Received Truth. Also, more recently, The New Yorker (paper; lived on W. 108th st, 10025, for 23 years). Keeps the mind active, and is a challenge to keep up with! (201101: Haven't subscribed, recently.)

Have been quite reclusive, but since 200705, was more outgoing. Mildly depressed. (200803: Recluse, again, even sleeping days and doing too many all-nighters.)(201001: Some hope; keeping more-sensible hours, at least sometimes.)(201008: Still reclusive, even when we have lovely weather. Yup, still so, 201101.)(201207: Doing a bit better, long-term.)(Format of this series looks a tad comical, perhaps!)

Politics: According to some dictionary definitions of "liberal", I fit. "Progressive/disappointed Democrat" is a more-popular description.
Bush administration was Fascist Lite, although the 2006 elections and its consequences have trimmed its sails some. Obama seemed so hopeful, but he's become more centrist; count me disappointed. Democracy is endangered in the USA. (To read: Chalmers Johnson.) This country is a demonstration of the principle, used in WW II, that if you keep the population scared, you can do as you darned please, even setting up concentration camps. (We don't have any, but secret renditions to other countries in order to torture suspects are beyond a disgrace.) However, the USA is waking up.
(Added 200711, minor edit 200908: I'm afraid the USA has gone past its peak, and is starting a long downhill slide. I still have faith in our ability to recover, but we [had] (sort of) elected a disastrous Executive, and Congress isn't doing at all well.) Asked a long-time friend (B), somewhat rhetorically, "Is the USA a sinking ship, and if so, are the rats leaving, yet?" -- she quickly replied, "They'd have nowhere to go." Update, 20100831: The USA is sliding downhill. In several respects, we are a third-world country, and evidence of that is accumulating. The USA, while hardly angelic, is too good a country to trash, but not enough people understand nor care. Furthermore, we're seeing the consequences of several generations of dumbing down our kids. I haven't lost hope, though. 201101: A little more hopeful? Some seemingly-wise person said that the USA has a remarkable ability to rebound. I do hope we'll not emulate Japan for the next decade or more.

I like, and trust, Paul Krugman, Robert Reich, Frank Rich, Bob Herbert, as well as the late Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky, although regarding the latter two, I'm sure they are hardly all-wise. WZBC-FM has what seems to be the hidden, real stories not reported by any media most people have heard of.

Jim Wallis and The Sojourners are the best Christians I have ever been aware of. (Sad to say, I don't pay enough attention to them, yet.)

(Previous edit, before the 2008 elections:) Barack Obama represents a rare and special hope. May he live long. (201101: He's not as disappointing as he seemed a few months ago.)

The Republicans and hopeless [S. Colbert-redefined] truthiness fanatics are out of power currently (200908), and are misbehaving so badly that I do worry. (Update: The Senate and our President could block the worst excesses.) After all, the Rwandan genocide (typically 8,000 killed per day) was started by raving-maniac radio commentators, and some of our own seem to be inciting to assassination. (Their success with nut cases is scary; think of Gabrielle Giffords, for one.) Town-hall meetings are being sabotaged by paid vocal thugs, and at the moment, I don't know what will be done about it. The Koch brothers, billionaires, hijacked the Tea Party, and it seems that nearly all Tea Party people are close to clueless about what happened.

It seems that the USA suffers from an epidemic of retarded emotional development.

So-called "health care" (I much prefer "medical care") reform is being diluted by Exalted Greed, which still lives in some quarters. By all means, if you don't already know about what [Dr.] Atul Gawande has to say, you seriously ought to find out. I only rarely give such advice. The New Yorker magazine is a good place to start. Unnecessary medical "care" to increase profits is commonplace, it seems.


§§§ A perceived problem with Wikipedia's structure: There are some people like me who have a passionate desire to contribute and/or enhance Wikipedia text, but who don't have the psychological energy, nor the degree of required personal organization (I have neither!) to offer citations as substantiation. I do hope that there might be some other means to validate well-intentioned and well-informed contributions. Citations are in the province of the academic world. Worthy contributions are not necessarily only by academics!

I hope to attend a local Wikipedia Meetup, but, local attendance has been rather pathetically few. Nerd Fun meetups look more promising.

Revised 20110123 Needs some further editing, to be honest.

Scanned (hastily!) on 20120719:

Substantially the same, but some details have changed. At this typing, can't spare the time no fix this up, though! Currently using Mint Linux 11, but it's "corroding" a bit. (Sound works OK in Mint.) Hope Mint 13 will be better! Still no a/c for hot weather.

Bought ($88. plus tax, iirc) a Craig 738b Android tablet (and rooted it). Some functions work fine, but many that one would really want are almost impossibly-difficult to enable, or simply not provided. After a struggle, got wireless working, but it takes several minutes after booting to connect. Great way to browse without creating heat or finding a place for the flat-panel monitor. On the whole, it's really disappointing, one of the worst of the bunch. Regarded an a purchase of hardware alone (which isn't shabby), it was not a loss. (Am I starting a blog, here?)

Bought a Nikon Coolpix S3100 -- thin, very light, quite small, and I love it. The S3300 (irresponsible purchase!) has VR (image stab.) added, no increase in list price (loss leader?) Not quite as petite, but, I love it even more! Decent shot, 1 second, handheld -- to be verified.