My uncle bought this computer, used it for a while, then gave it to my family when I was in high school (I think). It was our very first computer.

Continue reading “Texas Instruments 99/4A Computer”

# Month: September 2014

## Treasure Hunt Thursday

Last Thursday, I bought three mainline Hot Wheels. One of them was a regular Treasure Hunt version of La Fasta (I blogged about it here) and the other two were in plastic bags with “collector’s booklets.” When I opened the bags, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they were also Treasure Hunts. One was a regular Treasure Hunt version of 16 Angels. (A Super Treasure Hunt version of 16 Angels also exists.) The other was a regular Treasure Hunt version of Ratbomb. (A Super Treasure Hunt version of Ratbomb also exists.)

The “TH” symbol appears on the sides and at the back of the Ratbomb.

## La Fasta

Last Thursday, I passed by the toy store where I usually get Hot Wheels. It had been more than a week since I last passed by; there were some new models but I wasn’t that interested in them. One of the last items I looked at was this La Fasta. As you can see below, it is a regular Treasure Hunt.

As I was about to leave the shop, I saw a few Hot Wheels enclosed in plastic bags together with a “collector’s booklet.” The price (around 180 pesos) was almost twice the price of a mainline Hot Wheels (around 100 pesos).

I don’t think the booklet was worth 80 pesos, but I still looked at the bags because I had not seen some of the models before. The one on the left below had a metal base and seemed to have a metal body too because it was quite heavy. I bought it because I had never seen it before and because a mainline metal/metal is always a good buy.

The one on the right above had a symbol that looked like a “T” over an “H.” I had never seen this symbol before (usually a Super Treasure Hunt would have the letters written separately as “TH”). I bought it because there was a small chance it was indeed a Super Treasure Hunt. I’ll continue the story in a future blog post.

## The Extremist #1 (platinum edition)

In the early 1990’s, when comic book collecting became extremely popular, publishers would sometimes create special versions of certain issues as *collector’s editions*. Sometimes these had special colors, like gold or silver. Vertigo had what they called platinum editions.

Continue reading “The Extremist #1 (platinum edition)”

## ACM ICPC Bicol 2014

I was a problem setter and judge for the ACM ICPC Philippines 2014 National Programming Contest held last September 6, 2014 at the Ateneo de Naga University. (I was also a problem setter and judge in last year’s multi-provincial programming contest.)

There were 31 teams from 13 schools. The winning team was from Ateneo de Manila University. It solved all 10 problems in a little less than 2 hours. (The teams were given 5 hours.) The detailed results are here.

I provided two problems: “B” (Scrabble) and “H” (Boggle). My Scrabble problem was one of the easiest (26 teams answered it correctly) and my Boggle problem was one of the hardest (7 teams answered it correctly).

## First-order LSEs with constant coefficients: Repeated roots (continued)

In an earlier blog post, I showed the solution to a first-order linear system of two (ordinary) differential equations with constant coefficients for the case where the characteristic equation of the (constant coefficient) square matrix has repeated roots. In particular, I considered the system , where are real constants and are real variables, for the case where and . Now I look at the case where . Continue reading “First-order LSEs with constant coefficients: Repeated roots (continued)”

## Action Comics #1 CGC 9.0

I just learned through Fine Books & Collections that one of the Certified Guaranty Company‘s two highest graded copies of Action Comics #1 (the one with white pages) was sold on eBay last August 24, 2014 for US$ 3,207,852. (The other CGC 9.0 Action Comics #1 (with off-white pages) was sold in 2011 for US$ 2,161,000.)

I seriously doubt that there would be any other comic book more expensive than this one. (Click on the image to see where I got it from.)