Life the universe and HP



#23

Sorry if this is old ground but...

D Adams wrote a little book called 'The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy' in which the answer to life the universe and everything was '42'. Which was more a problem with the meaning of the question than it's answer. (Although the numbers 6 and 9 came into it).

The answer was generated by a huge super computer and took many 1000's of years to compute so even those with a brain the size of a planet may need a few seconds to think about this one.

Many theories have been put forward, withdrawn, forgotten, put forward again etc etc about how he chose '42' (including the use of base 13 - which he denied)

All HP fans know the HP42 is THE calculating answer to life the universe and everything but was Mr Adams aware of the HP42 or was Mr Hewlett or Packard or some other underling a fan of the books???

Very sadly Douglas Adams died recently in middle age (whilst living in the USA) so the real answer may never be known but does anyone here know of a connection?

PS If you havent already read the books (ace) listened to the BBC radio series (faaaannnntastic) or seen the BBC's TV series (a bit naff) then do so - I'm sure you will enjoy them.


#24

G'Day Tom
Hope you haven't spent to long pondering this one! Doug was a pretty entertaining Man. Fortunately for you, before he hitched a ride out of this life,he did give a interveiw within the last two or three years. Don't quote me, but what I do remember from that interveiw was 42 was the most boring number he could think of, and nothing more in it than that. What you must understand he was writing a humorous yarn, a bloody good one at that. Hope this hasn't unravelled any cosmic theories but it was a nice idear Tom.
Best Wishes Scotty.

#25

I'm not sure but I think the Hitch Hiker's Guide predates the HP42s. But regardless of Douglas Adams' intentions, I think parallels can be drawn. Here is a quick attempt:

1. HP is the ultimate computer that Deep Thought built.
2. Market Pressures, interpreted by Marketing People, led things astray. The marketing people undoubtedly carpool to work in the B Ark.
3. We are the apes.

#26

Tom:


...read the books (ace) listened to the BBC radio series (faaaannnntastic) or seen the BBC's TV series (a bit naff)...

"ace" and "naff"...I love that 'cross-the-pond' lingo!

"Naff"...I have to figure out a way to work that into a conversation soon!

;-)

Bruce (just another 'Yank').


#27

What does "naff" mean? I watch a lot of British shows on our public TV stations (we have two here in Dallas-Fort Worth) and I've heard this a lot but haven't "sussed" (?) the meaning. I understand it is not a complement.

Regarding the Hitch Hiker's Guide, I've watched the TV series and read the books including the ones that go beyond the series (I remember one is subtitled 'the fifth volume in the increasingly misnamed trilogy ...') and also a couple of "Dirk Gently" mystery stories by Douglas Adams that were very enjoyable. I never heard the radio series although my brother told me it was broadcast on our public radio station. From a preface in one of the books, I understand that the radio series was made without the copyright clearances that are required to publish a work as a recording, so that the recording of the radio series that is available commercially is yet another edition of the story. A couple of years ago I was corresponding with someone in the UK who needed an HP manual (this was before the MOHPC CDs) and he was going to send me copies of his off-the-air recording of the radio series but it never transpired. I won't go any further because I don't want to violate Dave's website policy.


#28

Naf - The closest equivalent in modern slang is uncool. Something that lacks style and sophistocation. For example a cheap watch calculator is naf. To coin a phrase; "Naf is in the eye of the beholder".

The HHG was first written as a radio play. It was then rewritten (I think the book came next) twice, once for the book and again for the TV series. Each media production produced a different version.

I was lucky enough recently to get a copy on audio CD of the radio play.


#29

Is your CD of the radio show a commercial product or did someone burn you a CD from an off-the-air recording? It is my understanding that the commercial version of the radio show had to be changed a little because of copyright clearances. I learned this from a preface in a recent volume that combined all the books in one. You can play copyrighted material for broadcast without permission (to a limited degree) but a recording of the broadcast can't be pubished in its own right until you get permission from the copyright holders of the material you incorporated. The difference in the two versions of the radio show is probably minor, probably some music from a record that the copyright holders wanted an outrageous amount of money in exchange for the use of. Some years ago when the company I worked for was putting together a sampler CD for our first multimedia PC (ca. Windows 3.1) the software developers wanted to include a few seconds of music everyone would recognize. They wanted to use a bit of the theme to "I Love Lucy" but the copyright holders wanted $50,000. So instead, a co-worker who was a decent Irish tenor got together with a friend who had a MIDI synthesizer and they made a pretty good impression of an opera singer accompanied by an orchestra. For a video clip, they found a few seconds of "The Great Train Robbery" that had been used in a US Army training film and was therefore in the public domain.


#30

Comercial recording. I do not know wether it differed from the origonal. I have only heard the origonal once and that was twenty years ago when it was first broadcast in Australia. I think the music is origonal - it seems to sound familiar. A friend has the CDs at the moment. I will check it out.

If anybody is interested I can post the details.


#31

If you've heard the original and like the commercial version, I'll take that as a good recommendation and start looking for the CDs.

#32

The Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Gallery.

Six CD set Cat # BBCCD 6001.

There is no indication that the recordings differ from the origonal broadcasts.


#33

Even better! Thanks for posting the info.

BTW, what do you think of my first comment in this thread, which I reproduce below:

I'm not sure but I think the Hitch Hiker's Guide predates the HP42s. But regardless of Douglas Adams' intentions, I think parallels can be drawn. Here is a quick attempt:

1. HP is the ultimate computer that Deep Thought built. 2. Market Pressures, interpreted by Marketing People, led things astray. The marketing people undoubtedly carpool to work in the B Ark. 3. We are the apes.


#34

HHG certainly predated the 42S by more than five years.

1. Interesting proposition

2. If you recall, the demise of the people who launched the B ark there was a strange twist. We all need the lower forms of life - such as marketing people and telephone sanitisers. If only to make us look good. :-)

3. Yes that was the theory.


#35

Maybe I'm being to subtle. I mean we HP RPN users are the apes. We were working on the question, but someone took our calculators away!


#36

Ha ha!

We could invent a game that tries to work out the type of B ark ancestor a person has. Carly for instance! But according to your theory that game could not be applied to us.

BTW Do you think that HP RPN users automaticaly qualify for membership to DNRC? (This is a sly trick to try to get back on topic.)


#37

Don't tell me what DNRC is, I'm going to work on it. But in an effort to stay off topic a little longer, and explain my idea a little more:

Carly is a first-generation B-Arker (Oh my God! might Bea Arthur be a B-Arker?) We are ape species. The time is now! Is it not in our time that the choice of the keyboard legend colors was changed from functional to aesthetic (or????)?

#38

I heard (from an Australian, I think -- not exactly the UK) the word "chuffed" as in, "... actually I'm rather chuffed that you'd confide in me . . ."

I took it to be rather complimentary, as in "pleased" or "pleasantly surprised" (but I may have misinterpretad the sentiment!)


#39

my favorite britishism is the verb "to wank". they conjugate it SO many ways. and it is very useful as a qualifer too, such as "toss faced wankpot". it's the bee's knees.


#40

I remembered this one : I was in London with a friend and we decided to go to the restaurant.

French people usually like their meat rare. But in French, you say "saignant", which litterally meeans "bleeding".

So my friend asked... a bloody steak ! I was expecting the waiter, typically british, not to loose his temper and answer... "Certainly Sir ! and I'll bring you some fu**ing potatoes !" :-)


Another one, well broadcasted by a French actor who authentified the story, is the one of a Frenchmen in London doing some shopping for his kids in London. He saw a donkey teddy in the display and asked, with a very marked French accent to the saleswoman "Would you please show me your asne on the window"?


#41

Thibauld wrote:
He saw a donkey teddy in the display and asked, with a very marked French accent to the saleswoman "Would you please show me your asne
on the window"?

Donkey Teddy? I had to think about that one, as
Teddy (US English) refers to a certain type of
woman's apparel ( a skimpy pajama ). Just go to
victoriassecret.com and do a lookup on teddy
(though I've never actually been to there website!).

Then I realized you WERE talking about a stuffed animal toy,
right?


#42

Yes that's right, a stufed animal toy...

#43

The very proper lady of the house finished signing me in and asked "And what time shall I knock you up?"

And I just stared for awhile and finally managed to say "Excuse me?"


#44

Right. I've an associate (female) who was surprised with the "knock you up" phrase while visiting Rolls-Royce. Add to that being taken aback when told where in the office to get "rubbers" (erasers), and you can imagine her introduction to UK lingo was a shocking one, indeed!


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