Super Typhoon Haiyan hits the Philippines

A massive super typhoon hit the Philippines on Friday, leaving hundreds, possibly thousands dead. The brunt of the storm, named Super Typhoon Haiyan, seems to have concentrated on the island of Leyte. The Philippines is a country comprised of thousands of islands. This is a photo of Super Typhoon Haiyan taken from space:

Typhoon_Haiyan_from_space

Photos taken on the ground of the carnage left in the storm’s wake aren’t nearly so beautiful. In fact, they’re pretty terrible. As a general rule, things normally look better from space.

I spent three years in the Philippines, from 1985 to 1988, while serving in the Air Force. I was stationed at Clark Air Base. I remember Super Typhoon Dot in 1985. I don’t remember it killing a lot of people, but I do remember it leaving a lot of people without homes. Mostly this was because some people living near the air base lived in little more than plywood shacks. In the Philippines, people would build shacks wherever they wanted, with whatever materials they had, whether they had any legal claim to the land or not. The house I was living in was made from solid concrete. although that construction method made it nearly impossible to hang anything on the walls, it made for a very secure dwelling, especially during a super typhoon.

The Philippine Red Cross is accepting donations online.

Jack Tramiel, father of the Commodore 64, has died

Jack Tramiel, the father of the Commodore 64 home computer, died Sunday. He was 83.

Tramiel founded Commodore International in 1955. Tramiel wanted a military-style name for his new company, and the words General and Admiral were already taken, so Tramiel settled on the word Commodore.

The Commodore 64 was released in 1982 and went on to become the best-selling home computer of all time with over 17 million sold. It was the first computer I ever owned. I purchased my first Commodore 64 in 1985 while in the Air Force stationed in the Philippines. I had a Commodore 64 with two 1541 floppy drives and a 1702 monitor. It was awesome.

Jack Tramiel was a great man. He will be missed.