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Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by SixPapaCharlie, Feb 26, 2019.
I see what you did there!
(Abacab was my first Genesis album. Can't beat Three Sides Live, though ).
Very cool! Just downloaded it.
My first home computer was an Atari 400 with cassette (most fun game on tape I had was SCRAM), but what I really enjoyed was playing the cartridge version of Star Raiders. No telling how many hundreds of hours I spent playing Star Raiders.
After that it was an Apple //e - most fun games on that one I remember were Wizardry (my first game on disk I ever bought), Aztec, Lode Runner, and RPGs like the "gold box" games (Pool of Radiance, Curse of the Azure Bonds, etc), Baldur's Gate, and Might & Magic.
Then it was a Zenith IBM PC clone, followed by God knows how many PCs after that (I remember one I bought from USA Flex) before I started assembling my own. My current PC is probably 4 or 5 years old and due to be replaced. When I build one, I buy top-shelf parts so they last a few years.
Nowadays I play PUBG with friends, but our twitch reflexes aren't good enough to keep up with these young whippersnappers, but we still have fun.
Ah, the good ol' Apple ][ days... Somewhere, I do think I still have a working one, maybe... Along with a 5 1/4" floppy disk with my favorite game, Moon Patrol!
(That, only without the color monitor.)
I used to play Sneakers on the Apple ][
In the 70s I took some college classes where you keyed your program on punched cards, which were later driven to a card reader that read them and sent them through an IBM 370 that area colleges bought time on. Eventually you picked up a green bar listing that showed your results (errors). It was frustrating. Later they got put a terminal in the back of the library that used dial up with phone and a cradle. If you wanted to save your work it would output a punched tape that could be read back in later (never saw punched tape before or since).
In the early 80s I bought a Commodore VIC20 which I still have in the original box. I would have been insanely jealous of you Commodore 64 guys!
Doesn’t seem to have enabled the programming function. f PRGM doesn’t put it into program mode for me.
Still have my college 15C 30 years later.
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When I took CoBOL (the wordiest programming language ever) it was over a compressed 4-week January term. We used punched cards, and with CoBOL the decks were huge, as you can imagine. The keypunch machines were in the math & science building, and the reader was with the computer (a Xerox/Honeywell mainframe) over in the admin building. I spent much of January punching cards in one building, trudging across campus in freezing temperatures and occasional snow to the admin building, waiting an hour or two until they got around to compiling my program, then trudging back to the keypunch to fix the errors, and so on and so on....
I never expected programming to be so dangerous; I was at serious risk of frostbite. But I learned to be very careful to avoid errors, and after dropping my deck once I also learned to always number my bloody cards!
Strange, works great on my phone, just wrote a quick program to verify.
Ah, programs are not saved between sessions. Close the app and the program goes poof!
This one’s for you Bill
Wow... you were allowed calculators in school..??? We weren't even allowed to count on our fingers. We were warned that if we were seen counting on our fingers during a math test that our paper would be taken up and we would get an ''F''.
I still use my HP 11C every day, I think I got it back in the 80's and it is on it's third set of batteries. It is a real workhorse and because of the Reverse Polar Notation no one ever borrows it. the first thing they look for is the clear button and there isn't one.
I also had a TI 50 in college
Well, that, and no = key. "Hey, where's the equals key?" "Doesn't need one!" "Huh?"
Do the pictures from Eman mean he can only count to three?
I'm young enough that I never had to use punch cards. But old enough to have taken COBOL in HS and college and even used it for 5 years on the job here.
I was griping one day about having to wait half an hour or so for a job to compile when an old timer started in with the "you whippersnappers today..." I have to admit that it hurt my feelings a little when we hired a kid from college back then and he said he couldn't believe we were still using COBOL since they haven't taught it in college in ten years. And that was twenty years ago.
Yep. One of the problems with the Y2K issue (are you old enough to remember that?) was that most of the old programs that were of concern were written in CoBOL and there weren't many people still around who could program in it.
In 1975 we were stuck with Fortran 4 and liked it!
I had to take a course in Fortran 4 to get my business degree. That was information that I never used in my career.
Me 2 and 64 also a franklin 1000 ---Wanted the kids not to miss out on the new computer thing --- Bought all new, flight sim on the franklin
Yeah, we replaced a lot of software with newer stuff because of that.
Well, I had to learn Fortran 77 in 93...
I still use my 41CX that i upgraded to from a 41C back in 1984 . . . It lives in my desk at work, last used today. I also have apps on my phone [RPN Calculator] and tablet [go41c], both free from Google Play. The latter is an exact copy of the 41C, while the other one has an endless stack and relocated many functions.
It's fun sometimes having a calculator older than the coworkers wbo ask to borrow it. Then they can't figure out how to work it. When they turn it on, it says "HOWDY"; they can't find the "Clear" button and don't know to just start punching buttons. Then there's the "missing" Equals button . . . .
There were a few things that really irked me about that.
1. We worked our tails off for several years in preparation. It was top priority. And come 2000 the number of idiots who said, "see, I told you it was all a big nothing."
2. They pulled a lot of us from our regular domain and put us in areas we were unfamiliar with. One that landed on my lap was the payroll system. I'd rather see how hot dogs were made. To this day there are still people I can't pass in the hall without my blood pressure rising. A lot of people who struggle tying their shoes who pull down some serious coin took a toll on my motivation. Until then I was the kind of guy who came into the office whistling and smiling every day.
Yeah. I spent several years on the Y2K issue as well, and it was pretty good for my business... And having seen what I saw, I went down to visit a friend in Savannah, GA for new years just to be sure, because it gets awful cold in Wisconsin if somebody screwed up at the power company.
People wouldn't believe some of the stupid, trivial-sounding aspects of the Y2K issue that caused massive, fatal failures when tested. And while we weren't doing COBOL programming, we did completely replace numerous systems that had been in place at various clients. I suppose if nothing else, it forced them to finally get a long-delayed upgrade done. One client was still running a file server that was so old it didn't even have a hard drive.
I think they just call them "filing cabinets" at that point.
No, this was an actual computer. It had a 286! The clients were all 8086-based. The whole thing was running on Novell NetWare 1.0, which was 17 years old at that point.
It's amazing how little some companies want to invest in keeping their technology current. A much more recent client of mine hired us to develop a system to take over the automated billing that was required for them to do business with their largest client, because the CIO was afraid that if the existing system quit, nobody around knew how to do anything about it. We went through a spec written by their client that was very poorly written and didn't cover all of the cases in the data we were seeing, so we began poring through source code (in a different language) on the existing system to figure out how it handled those situations. The existing source code was already over 15 years old.
Throughout the project, we had been told that there was this older system that was once part of everything, but no longer existed... The source code proved that that was not the case, that the older system was gone. However, we found that the code was still successfully passing transactions to the older-generation system, and getting an answer! It still existed...
... And nobody could find it. Most of their production servers had been moved off-site by that point, but they still had a small data center in house. But it wasn't there. It was on their network, but nobody could physically find the machine, which by that point was likely pushing 25-30 years old. The CIO suspended the project, because it was costing money and we couldn't make progress without knowing how the sausage was made in that older machine... And then he found himself a new job.
At some point, that old box is finally going to release the magic smoke, and that company is going to be in big trouble, since the client billing that system is for represents probably 40% of their business. And we're not talking a tiny mom-and-pop shop either, we're talking a company that has several hundred employees and is owned (indirectly) by Berkshire Hathaway.
What these companies don't realize is how much time people spend waiting on old tech, severely impacting productivity. A college friend of mine worked in IT for a design firm that was notoriously cheap, and basically kept running old computers until they died. He then got a job as the first full-time IT guy at a new firm, which let him spend money as he deemed appropriate. Within the first eight months, he had replaced every computer in the new place... And in the following year, they made double the revenue of the old place, with 1/3 of the employees. (For reference, the amount spent on new tech was about what one employee would have cost.)
Moral of the story: Letting your tech get behind does not save you money. It merely kills productivity and then costs even more money to bring up to date when your hand is forced.
Man, that is sad. It really makes you wonder how they ever get to be the lead shoe-tier.
I'll chime in. 1971, Cooper Union, NYC. My first encounter with a computer and it was addiction at first sight (site?). Taught myself Fortran IV and made friends with the computer operators (in those days, you handed your punch cards through a window to the operator, I got to go inside and run my own stuff.) Wrote complex programs to generate computer "art" and less complex programs to play 3-D tic-tac-toe with the computer, an IBM 1130 IIRC. Cooper also had time on NYU's IBM 360. I was hooked
For better or worse, I dropped out of Cooper and forgot about computers until around 1988, when I bought a Tandy 1000 SX. Big upgrade for that was going from 364K RAM to 640K. K as in Kilobytes. Probably about $150 to make that jump.
At my previous employer, it seems like just about every other year, some slice of some critical production application was found running on a old desktop in somebody’s cube. Who thinks this is a good idea, I’ll never know. What shortcuts, and other issues exist that they didn’t take it through the proper channels and get on the servers or at least into the data center, is likely a really good question.
My first exposure to computers was when I was in college 1972 - 1976. We programmed in Fortran IV, with WatFor. We had a choice of an IBM 360, or 1130. The 360 was faster, but turnaround was slower because you had to deal with the operators to get your cards read and program run. The 1130 was sitting out in the open where everyone could use it, but it wasn't popular because it was slow. I didn't care about internal technology, just getting the program debugged and running as soon as possible.
I used Tektronix computers at my first civilian job, as well as PDP-11s, and a DPD-515. We wrote in compiled BASIC, Forth, and Fortran.
I had an abortive attempt to build my own S-100 bus computer. You could get SRAM cards of 8K (wow) for about $200 a pop. I had a S-100 bus motherboard, and a dynamic RAM memory card. I made the mistake of soldering the RAM in w/o removing the controller with an ungrounded soldering iron. That took the wind out of my sails, and I never got my enthusiasm back.
I bought a IBM PC-2, with 340K RAM, and a color monitor, as well as a dot matrix printer with my company's interest free loan. I mostly played games on it, did signal processing homework, and did my taxes on it. I later added a 20 Meg disk drive to mostly replace the floppies, and I was in heaven. The drives cam in an expansion chassis, but they were too fast for the interconnecting cable, so I moved the drive to the main chassis, and the floppies to the expansion chassis. I replaced the original CPU with one that was about 4X faster when I was doing some independent signal processing research.
I have two HP RPN (Reverse Polish Notation) calculators. I had a TI something in college, but it died when it got shocked one extremely dry and cold Kansas morning. I replaced it with an HP calculator. (I first learned RPN at college; they had an old electric RPN calculator but no algebraic calculator.) As a side note, I'm finishing up an Algorithms and Data Structures class, and one of the homework was to write a program to parse an algebraic equation into RPN, then evaluate it. Mine mostly worked.)
Kid! I started programming in high school on a 360/67. FORTRAN using the WATFOR compiler (later the WATFIV compiler). Started in the fall of 1969 in senior math. Made the required FORTRAN course in college a few years later a rather easy A. That 360/67 was at Washington State University and I was a student at Pullman High School. We either used the teletype we had at the high school using the dial-up system and CRBE (Conversational Remote Batch Entry) system or went over to the computer center on campus and punched cards. It was nice having an account through the high school.
That brings back some OLD memories.
The Trash 80 is probably one of the key reasons I had the career I did in EMC. We bought one for the office when I worked for the Navy in the late 70s. Got a call from the Radio Shack store on a Friday afternoon that it was in. I told the boss that I would pick it up on my way home and bring it on Monday. Well, it didn't stay in the box over the weekend. But, when you turned it on it interfered with every radio or television service for which I had a receiver. It was a broadband radio transmitter masquerading as a computer. When we looked at it in the lab the question was, "Well, it's a radio transmitter. In which service should we apply for a license?" And the answer was "YES!" because it was in all of them.
You'll notice that Radio Shack quit selling them in September 1983. That's because the FCC Rules that implemented EMC requirements for digital devices required that anything that was first sold after October 1, 1981 had to be compliant before being sold and anything already on the market as of that date had to be brought into compliance or taken off the market by October 1, 1983. No way was that computer going to be brought into compliance.
I remember that Fry's Electronics store. A Silicon Valley original. Everything a computer nerd needed to survive. Chips and chips on adjacent isles. Computer chips and potato chips.
I still have my HP-41CV that I bought over 35 years ago. In fact, it's sitting next to me as I type this and I used it earlier today. Not my first pocket calculator, by any stretch, but the last one I bought. I love RPN. Far more efficient for programming and the algebraic language used by TI. I have a bunch of programs I wrote for it in a binder down in my home office. I still use the one I wrote for computing monthly payments for loans now and then. Now, if you really want to bug the younger people in your office, dig out your slide rule and use it. Yes, I had a class in college where we learned how to run a double-log slide rule. They revamped it thoroughly later on as the HP-35 came out my Junior year in engineering school.
What a trip down memory lane.