Learned Fortran spring of '72. In '73 I was a junior, writing COBOL. What
fun, lugging around 500+ card decks in my backpack. I remember what a great
deal it was when we got buffered card punches. If you made a typo you
didn't have to start all over with a new card.
On topic - I'm getting ready to buy new rims for the '93. I can get C6
replicas at Tire Rack for a pretty decent price. Is that like sacrilegious
'93 Ruby coupe, 6 sp (both tops)
Yeah, current crop of folk have no clue about
good 'tight code.' Cut my teeth on a
Burroughs B300. Lots of 12AU7 flip-flops.
Scratchpad" memory was a drum with beaucoups
heads. I/O was punch tape. Ran the tape thru
a Flexowriter to get a printout. Then we a
got a "wow" upgrade to mag tape and
Chief mathematician was driving a white '53
'vette. She offered it to me for $ 3K.
Cluelessly looked down my nose at a 6cyl
engine and Powerslide. Bought an used '61
instead -- ah, the "wisdom" of youth!
Did a human fertility experiment and had to
swap the '61 for something that would
accommodate offspring. Graduated to a UYK-5
with an assembler. Hog heaven! (save for the
'joys' of the CRPI.) Finally learned how to
spell 'diskpack' in '74.
As early as 1989, I was working with CAD and the system required a second
chip (math co-processor).
I recall having a computer with a "turbo" button (to get something like 20
MHz)! The harddrive was less than 40 megs and I was the envy
of all others in the company. Now my kid complaints that her MP3 player only
holds about 200 songs with 1 gig!
I'm laughing about how similar backgrounds so many of us had. The first
computer experience I had was a time share teletype-like terminal with a
paper tape drive. We would dial in to a server, run the tape, and then get
the results of our program. It was in this new modern language called
Later, for engineering classes, we used a small computer to run engineering
programs. I can't remember what it was, but I want to say it was a 1600 or
something. I know IBM had a 1600 series, but it seems like this was an RCA
or something. The highlight I do remember is that we could play Star Trek on
it. However, you have to be beyond geek to do so because it was so slow to
play that game, making chess look like a speed sport. Also, by small, I
mean it fit in one room, only had three boxes each about the size of a
medium kitchen table the card reader, the printer, and the processor.
Then with work, there were the PDP 11 computers, DITMCO (built by Drive In
Theater Manufacturing Co. or something like that and ran electronic test
gear), VM-100 (?) and so on. The VM-100 (?) could be programmed by 8 inch
floppies or you could do it manually in Assembly by hand from the switches
on the front panel. The highlight was it had 64 kb of memory. I looked at
a TRS-40 (?) at the time, and the guy was proud to announced that while it
started with 4kb or 8 kb (I forget), you could expand to 16 kb and there was
going to be a 32 kb expansion soon. He told me I was nuts when I told him
the one I had (VM-100) had 64 kb. He said there was no computers around with
Through this time, there was Fortran 4, Fortran 77, and PASCAL but I missed
COBOL somehow. Remember $ job cards? I managed to mispunch one once that
would shut the school computer down. It became the most valuable card ever,
when you were getting close to a project deadline and needed an extra day to
figure out why yours wasn't working. You could shut the computer down, it
would take them a day to get it back up and running, no one in class could
get their jobs done, and the prof would have to extend the deadline a couple
of days. I used it several times until they finally returned it to me
ripped instead of simply marked.
My first computer was a Sinclair Z80. These were later built as a Timex 1000
I think. Mine had something ridiculously small (now) like 4 kb but I think
it could be doubled with an add-on to 8 kb. I might have that wrong, it
might have been 2 kb and 4 kb.
The first real PC I had was an AT&T. It came as the 2 floppy drive model.
The options were an expensive 10 MB hard drive and an incredibly new 20 MB
hard drive, huge compared to the first IBM PC with a 5 MB and soon 10 MB
drives. It was also extremely fast, with its 8 MHz 8086 processor compared
to the PC with a 4.88 MHz 8088.
I scanned all the computer magazines to get a hard drive, and found the hard
drive cards so I didn't lose my two floppies, which were very important to
"obtaining" new software. :-) I found this 30 MB hard drive card that most
around told me I would never ever need that much space and I was wasting my
money buying something so big that I could never use.
Now most of us carry around 40GB to 100 GB in a 5 to 7 lb black slap about
the size of two or three spiral notebooks that operate at 500 GHz and up.
And some have ones that are simply limited in smallness due to the need of a
keyboard. What an incredible history we have gone through.
Welcome to the winblows generation.
So-called "visual" development systems have spoiled developers (I don't call
that type true programmers).
I remember writing a lot of stuff in assembler and getting some truly
efficient code, even for it's day. (640k DOS systems w/10mb hard disk) AFAIK,
some of it is still in use with the public school system in toronto.
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