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Old 10-27-2014, 05:44 PM   #61
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Started working in data processing in 1975 when as an Army private I lost my license to drive bus and they sent me to key punch department. Wrote Sircus programs (Army system like cobol for reports). The did development on IBM DOS, and had to come in after midnight to compile/link/go moly programs. The operators would bring out my cards and a stack of paper with compile errors, I'd look through, re-punch error cards, and send back in. All night long. I was so surprised to work on TRS 80, rather than scheduling time, I had 3 boxes waiting for me all day long 😄 man, I was cooking with gas.
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Old 10-27-2014, 06:21 PM   #62
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Aside from punch card fortran programs and analog computers, I started school with a Keuffel and Esser slide rule and graduated with an HP35 calculator.
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Old 10-27-2014, 06:25 PM   #63
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I still have my K&E slide rule but don't now if I remember how to use it. I don't think I will bother trying to use it again.
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:05 AM   #64
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I still have my K&E slide rule but don't now if I remember how to use it. I don't think I will bother trying to use it again.
+1, I can't remember much of anything from engineering school. Maybe I need a refresher at Kahn Academy.
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:23 AM   #65
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Started out in high school taking "Computer Math", programming FORTRAN on an IBM 1130. It was an elective and I had a choice of taking that or a 3rd year of French, where I had been a straight A student. After taking Computer math I was never good in French again .

It was meant to be a one year elective, but about 8 of us did so well that the teacher asked if he got it approved, would we be interested in a second year. So a core of us got a second year, where we did such exciting things (at the time) as writing and reading data from disk. WEEEEE!

My first personal computer was the original IBM PC model in 1982. I paid over $4000 for it - not a LBYM move at the time, that is what one does when one is 24, single and not yet thinking about retirement. The first weekend I had it I did not sleep, I stayed up learning and programming it and coming up with ideas that I ended up taking to Megacorp about potential uses in our office. I upgraded it with memory/hardf dirve/storage and used it through the late 1990s. I have had in packed in its original boxes since then. This thread is inspiring me to break it out for nostalgia's sake.

The first Megacorp clients I worked with in the late 70s and early 80s had IBM 3033 and 3033MP mainframes at the time. Incredible to think that I have enough computers in the house now that could probably support 2 dozen large corporations back then.
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:31 AM   #66
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Wow, I thought I could go back a ways.

I graduated college in 1981. I went to work for a state agency working on an old for the time IBM 360 writing COBOL programs. Then, a friend came to me about 1 year later and asked if I would be interested in going in with him to form a software company. I bought one of the first IBM PCs with 64k of memory and a single sided floppy drive. It had a monochrome monitor. All for $3,100.00.

The software company worked out and we sold it a few years later.
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:37 AM   #67
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I had a couple of "toy computers" prior to getting a PC XT clone made by Mitsubishi in 1985, a "Turbo" model as it ran at 1.5X the speed of the IBM's 4.77 MHz. I bought the math coprocessor 8087 for it. I was elated to be able to run MS Fortran compiler, Version 1.0. No more amateurish Basic.

I upgraded quite often to keep up with technology, and the 2nd PC in 1990 was a 386SX model, for which I also bought the expensive math coprocessor 387SX. The Whetstone benchmark showed that its floating point speed exceeded that of the VAX 11/780 that the department at megacorp was still using. Whooeeee!

Then came the 486, the Pentium, dual core, quad core... I still have all the machines out of nostalgia. I do not plan to downsize my home, so have plenty of space for them. And I also have the machines from the failed business.
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Old 10-28-2014, 09:09 AM   #68
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This talk of punched card wreaths got me thinking...

You know, punched cards are easily readable. Heck, a lot of the key punch machines would print at the top too, for human consumption. And I knew people who could READ punch cards with their eyes like someone would decode braille. I even learned to easily read the numbers 0-9.

Can you say "Identity Theft?" I know, I know. It was different in the 60's and 70's. SS # were widely distributed. But still, I could see easy abuse from a stack of payroll punch cards -- if nothing more than for the rumor factor. Imagine going to a friends Christmas party and while there, you could read everyone's weekly salary as you stare at the folds on the wreathe.

I guess we were all just more innocent back then.
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Old 10-28-2014, 09:30 AM   #69
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First class was on a Comadore 64 using basic. Really didn't sink in to well. Then they put us on an old IBM 360, learning assembly, after a couple of weeks it all started to make sense. We were the first class that didn't get to use cards, instead we had to code a short program in machine language. Later in my career that would be a big advantage, the group I was in all read and altered machine code, when needed. Learned COBOL RPG, C..too many others to mention....

My first paying job, working on a stock transfer distribution system written in S370 assembly. I didn't know what a stock or distribution was at that time. Blessed to have many great mentors, they all freely shared knowledge. Good way to learn about investments, from the bottom up.

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Old 10-28-2014, 09:33 AM   #70
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The experience with the Brendix G-15 got me into computers. At the time there was not a Computer Science college degree so after college I went to a programming school in Minneapolis. They taught RPG, Assembler, and COBOL. Shortly after I finished that the Government sued a number of those schools saying they were not getting graduates jobs. The Government won, the schools disappeared, and colleges began offering Computer Science degrees. The Government was probably right in that the school I went to did not get me a job but after many applications I was hired by Dayton Hudson Corp for their corporate data center.
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Early Computer Memories
Old 10-28-2014, 09:59 AM   #71
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Early Computer Memories

My early computer memories were from the early to mid 80s. And it consisted of "this fad will pass too". What a colossal curmudgeon mistake from a young adult. I played catch up my whole life and mostly just relied on my secretary to do it. Never form an opinion on something you don't know what the hell you are talking about!


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Old 10-28-2014, 10:38 AM   #72
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In 1977, Ken Olsen, the founder and CEO of Digital Equipment Corp. said that "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in the home".

At the time, the 32-bit superminis made by Digital were kicking ass, and they were eating the lunch of the mainframers like IBM, Univac, Burroughs, CDC, etc...

And guys like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs could see it coming. Bill dropped out of Harvard to found Microsoft, saying that it would be too late if he waited till he finished school.

Bill was lucky to be at the right time, but he put himself in the right place!
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Old 10-28-2014, 10:58 AM   #73
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Iposted earlier about the computers I used inthe 1970s and 1980s. Besides BASIC, I learned a bunch of programming laguages, too. Most of them were not very useful. I learned PL/1 in college but never programmed in it after the class ended although I did encounter one program in my working day in the 1990s written in it. I barely remembered PL/1 at that point more than 10 years later but I remembered enough of it to understand the program I was rewriting in SAS, the language I would learn in 1986 and use for the next 22 years of my working career. SAS had some character string functions which were like those in PL/1 which helped me understand how those worked.

I learned PASCAL in college which was easier than PL/1 but never used that language again. It was also somewhat similar to SAS. Never learned FORTRAN, though.

I also learned COBOL in college and wrote a few programs in COBOL in my early days of working until I learned SAS. It was amazing how a 500-line COBOL program became a 50-line SAS program I wrote in 15 minutes with little SAS experience at the time. But knowing COBOL, even though I never programmed in it again, came in very handy because our systems analysts wrote a lot in COBOL so I could understand COBOL code and COBOL record layouts when someone in my actuarial division wanted to know how a systems program worked.

I also learned CLIST which was a very cumbersome language but was relieved to learn REXX in the early 1990s which replaced CLIST and was far more user-friendly and flexible. I also learned JCL which, togehter with REXX, made a useful pair of little languiages to know.

I learned DYL-280 and SYNCSORT, 2 rather awkward but more efficient languages than SAS when it came to handling large data files.

SAS was the language which made my career. I wrote hundreds of programs in SAS for my division in my 23-year career. But as much as I liked wiriting SAS programs, I don't miss that favorite part of my job one bit.
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Old 10-28-2014, 11:00 AM   #74
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I still have my K&E slide rule but don't now if I remember how to use it. I don't think I will bother trying to use it again.
Still have my log log slide rule and still remember how to use most of the scales. Also have my grandfathers 20 inch slide rule (not log log however)
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Old 10-28-2014, 11:41 AM   #75
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This talk of punched card wreaths got me thinking...

You know, punched cards are easily readable. Heck, a lot of the key punch machines would print at the top too, for human consumption. And I knew people who could READ punch cards with their eyes like someone would decode braille. I even learned to easily read the numbers 0-9.

Can you say "Identity Theft?" I know, I know. It was different in the 60's and 70's. SS # were widely distributed. But still, I could see easy abuse from a stack of payroll punch cards -- if nothing more than for the rumor factor. Imagine going to a friends Christmas party and while there, you could read everyone's weekly salary as you stare at the folds on the wreathe.

I guess we were all just more innocent back then.
Yes, we were. My university posted grades by SS number because they figured that was less private than showing your name with your grade! When people complained about that, they "encrypted" the SS #s- by printing them backwards.
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Old 10-28-2014, 01:10 PM   #76
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In 1977, Ken Olsen, the founder and CEO of Digital Equipment Corp. said that "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in the home".

At the time, the 32-bit superminis made by Digital were kicking ass, and they were eating the lunch of the mainframers like IBM, Univac, Burroughs, CDC, etc...

And guys like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs could see it coming. Bill dropped out of Harvard to found Microsoft, saying that it would be too late if he waited till he finished school.

Bill was lucky to be at the right time, but he put himself in the right place!
Back in the early 80s, I was the Planning and Administration Manager for a large mega-corp's IT function. I had a big argument with my colleagues who had taken the position that PC's had no place in our IT infrastructure. I told them that if we do not support PC's the user community will go around us. They would not agree with me, but you know who won that argument in the end.
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Old 10-29-2014, 04:38 PM   #77
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More memories:

Formatting blank disks.

How about the tattered paper/laminated template that was at the top of 90% of keyboards. Usually it had the shortcuts for Wordstar, PeachText, or whatever other programs were most used there.

I think it's funny that the "save" icon in modern software is still usually a cartoon of a 3.5" diskette, something that some young users have probably never seen.
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Old 10-29-2014, 04:48 PM   #78
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Oh yes, floppies.

Doing data recovery for someone desperate to recover a report that they'd been working on for weeks to a single floppy and "lost" usually because they yanked it out of the computer before the drive had finished writing to the disk.

First thing was to copy the disk, including all unallocated space. That so if I screwed it up I could still make another copy from the original and start over.

I was usually able to recover the data or at least a reasonably recent previous version. That made our unit a hero to a lot of people.
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