good old times

2

Comments

  • chrisschellchrisschell Posts: 129
    edited December 1969

    Anyone else feeling old now like I am?... lmao

  • LeatherGryphonLeatherGryphon Posts: 1,728
    edited September 2012

    namffuak said:
    OK - OF here.

    My first 'puter was an IBM 7094 Mod II at Purdue ...

    Professionally, much the same thing - IBM to Burroughs to Honeywell to IBM and then IBM - 360-DOS to MCP-V to GCOS-3 to MVS ...

    with side trips trough Raytheon PTS-1200 key-to-disk and Honeywell DPS-6 running GCOS-6 (almost exactly 100% not quite UNIX); dial-up lines to leased lines to statistical multiplexers and X.25 packet-switching, SNA, and finally TCP/IP on high-speed leased lines.

    And now that I've retired I look back at all that and wonder - just what was so bad about pointed sticks and clay slabs? :-)

    Yep, I may not have worked on all those but I remember those names and was around them, some still at the Kennedy Space Center during the mid-70s.

    You said "Raytheon", not many people even know that Raytheon was in the computer game for a while. I managed the "Special Measurements Division" computers on the 2nd floor of the Launch Control Center at KSC from 1974 to 1979. We had two Raytheons. a Raytheon-706 with 8K core memory and an RDS-500 with 16K. We did the special (non launch critical) stuff. Monitoring electrical field strength around the whole space center. Experimenting with lightning detection and ranging (LDAR). Measuring rainfall density to determine it's effect on future Shuttle landing strip automated radar system. Measuring stresses on the Shuttle's Tail Service Mast flame bonnet as it slammed shut seconds before the rocket rose. I was a young boy with a million dollars of grown up toys! (*cool*)

    I had to write my own floating point arithmetic algorithms. I had to write my own device drivers for hard drives & graphic printers & displays. I had to write my own graphics display algorithms from scratch even for straight lines from point A to point B. No software came pre-packaged except the assembler and FORTRAN compiler. And forget networking. In order to get my two machines to talk to each other I had to read the schematics and solder wires onto the backplane of each machine and then I had to invent the data transmission protocol too. All this in 8K and 16K memory machines that were each doing real-time multi-tasking too. It was like cramming 5 pounds of Crisco into a 3 pound can. 8-o

    This was back when there were few standards. Engineers of our era were the ones who created the implementations on which the first standards were based.

    And of course I had to walk up hill both ways going to and from school.

    Post edited by LeatherGryphon on
  • JOdelJOdel Posts: 2,080
    edited December 1969

    Ah, the smell of hot wax in the morning... Not to mention stalking the halls with scraps of zipatone stuck on my elbows. And spray mount? I do not miss spray mount or rubber cement (or the Bestine used to thin it) At All.

    The Department wouldn't let us get a computer until 1990. "You're the Graphics Section. What would *you* do with a computer?"

    As it turned out; typesetting, because there was only one computer for 14 of us, and even at that it was a great improvement.

    It was a Mac. We were the Graphics Section. In fact, it was a MacIIci, which was fairly high end at the time. We used it for years until it finally just couldn't handle the work we were needing to produce. Took us a decade before we had enough computers to go around. (And by then there were only 6 of us, and produced as much work as the whole crew had the decade earlier.)

  • IppotamusIppotamus Posts: 1,223
    edited December 1969

    10 INPUT "What is your name: ", U$
    20 PRINT "Hello "; U$
    30 INPUT "How many cookies do you want: ", N
    40 S$ = ""
    50 FOR I = 1 TO N
    60 S$ = S$ + "Yummy Cookies 8() "
    70 NEXT I
    80 PRINT S$
    90 INPUT "Do you want more cookies? ", A$
    100 IF LEN(A$) = 0 THEN GOTO 90
    110 A$ = LEFT$(A$, 1)
    120 IF A$ = "Y" OR A$ = "y" THEN GOTO 30
    130 PRINT "Goodbye "; U$
    140 END

  • Kendall SearsKendall Sears Posts: 1,882
    edited December 1969

    When "Cut-n-paste" meant scissors cutting sections of paper tape, and paste meant using paste to adhere the sections together so that the reader wouldn't jam.

    Subroutines were categorized on a cork board. Real "object oriented" programming. Go to the board, pull the tack, select your "object" (paper tape strip), put the rest back on the board (or make copies if only 1 was left). Programming done in Forth.

    4096 bytes was the allowed quota for exe size, and CPU time was charged by the CPU second.

    Kendall

  • Kendall SearsKendall Sears Posts: 1,882
    edited December 1969

    Ippotamus said:
    10 INPUT "What is your name: ", U$
    20 PRINT "Hello "; U$
    30 INPUT "How many cookies do you want: ", N
    40 S$ = ""
    50 FOR I = 1 TO N
    60 S$ = S$ + "Yummy Cookies 8() "
    70 NEXT I
    80 PRINT S$
    90 INPUT "Do you want more cookies? ", A$
    100 IF LEN(A$) = 0 THEN GOTO 90
    110 A$ = LEFT$(A$, 1)
    120 IF A$ = "Y" OR A$ = "y" THEN GOTO 30
    130 PRINT "Goodbye "; U$
    140 END

    Come on now.... real BASIC required PEEK and POKE to do anything useful. :-) Also, there's not near enough GOTOs in that example. (Paraphrase from SNL) If it ain't Italian, it's CRAAAAAPPPP!

    Kendall

  • ZaarinZaarin Posts: 385
    edited December 1969

    Anyone else feeling old now like I am?... lmao

    No, actually, I'm feeling terribly young. :P

  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 15,732
    edited December 1969

    ...so I wonder what the real theme of this thread was supposed to be. I just threw out one possible bone.

  • SimonJMSimonJM Posts: 2,893
    edited December 1969

    First home computer I owned was a BBC Model B.
    First home computer I used was, probably, the TRS-80 of an acquaintance, followed by a Sinclair ZX-80 of someone I worked with.
    First work computer I used (and actually ended programming on) was an ICL 1904 mainframe (with 6 bit bytes) using a DEC teletype. When I became a programmer (and moved to London) still had the DECs, but one room had three Elbit monochrome VDUs which were eagerly pounced upon when they became free.
    Used various computers, in passing, a Dragon 32, Commodore 64, Commodore +4, an Apple Pet, Atari 520 STe, IBM PC XT (4.77 MHz 8086 processor, 10MB HDD, 2 x 360KB 51/4" floppies). Somewhere toward the beginning there was a CP/M computer with 8" floppies, but I cannot recall what it was and there was an ealy 'luggable' that was, I think, owned by one of our bosses (which could have been the CP/M computer).
    First 'telecomms' was via an acoustic coupler at 300 baud, followed by comms via coax plugged into an 'Irma board' in the IBM PCs we had at work, to communicate with the IBM mainframe (a 3081) that the ICL got upgraded to.

    I still have a level of fondness for the ICL 1904, with it's George III OS. Lovely command language ... WE COMERR, RP FB,CM ... (if memory serves!) being a good opening line to set error reporting levels (whenever command error, report full but commands). Thems were the days! :)

  • TjohnTjohn Posts: 7,393
    edited December 1969

    Ah the Commodore 64, and the sweet melodious sound of a dot-matrix printer. A page of low res graphics in living B&W in only 3-5 minutes...good times.

  • JaderailJaderail Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    I feel like I got started late. C=64 with dataset (SP? cassette), 8bit 6400 chip set in basic. With a little bitty flip book for a manual.

  • FixmypcmikeFixmypcmike Posts: 11,620
    edited December 1969

    Jaderail said:
    I feel like I got started late. C=64 with dataset (SP? cassette), 8bit 6400 chip set in basic. With a little bitty flip book for a manual.

    That's because it was easier to do animation with a little bitty flip book than with a personal computer...

  • JaderailJaderail Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    Jaderail said:
    I feel like I got started late. C=64 with dataset (SP? cassette), 8bit 6400 chip set in basic. With a little bitty flip book for a manual.

    That's because it was easier to do animation with a little bitty flip book than with a personal computer...

    LOL!! True, sprites on the 64 with that mid screen interrupt got me my first week.

  • PennamePenname Posts: 224
    edited December 1969

    Oooh, Commodore 64 for me, typing in pages of numbers to make the simplest game function. I think the first graphic image was a little balloon you could move across the screen. . . But back in the office, in a law firm, IBM Selectric and literal cut and paste lengthy agreements - for years until IBM mag cards. Faxes on a drum. Oh, how I love technology and all the fun we have with it.

  • SlimerJSpudSlimerJSpud Posts: 845
    edited December 1969

    First computer I did any programming on was an IBM 1620. I was a high school intern doing some work at an X-ray Crystallography lab. They wanted me to modify one of their programs to crunch the data they were generating. The program converted atomic coordinates from crystal unit cell coordinates to X-Y-Z coordinates. I worked at a different Crystallography lab a year later getting paid to do some similar number crunching and then to construct a 3D model of the molecule from the data. How did I construct the model? The X and Y coordinates of the atoms were marked on two thick sheets of plastic. Holes were drilled at those locations. The plastic sheets were separated with spacers corresponding to the unit cell size. Strings of monofilament fishing line were strung between the sheets at each X-Y location. A little color coded ball of styrofoam was glued to each string at the Z coordinate of the particular atom. That was how physical chemistry scientists were visualizing molecular structures in 1971...

    First computer I had at home was an Ohio Scientific (OSI) C2 OEM with a 6502 processor and a dumb terminal on RS-232, 8" floppy disks that were one sided, but you could flip them over and write on the other side. My first home computer game was a TTY based Star Trek game. The next was "Adventure" which was also called Colossal Cave, "Advent" and so on (You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike). There were no graphics. Around the same time, I had a Synertek Systems SYM-1 single board computer which used a cassette interface.

    The first "real" computer I had at home was an IBM AT. It was a cast-off loaner machine from work that nobody wanted anymore. This wasn't just any ordinary PC AT. This was an IBM 3270 AT/GX. This was a monster only IBM could build. The 19" monitor alone weighed 75 lbs, and had a warning label on it about the weight! The chassis was an AT, with two hard drives, a video adapter that connected to an external chassis that held the video Ram and a monstrous cable connecting the AT chassis to the video chassis. The monitor had 4 twin-ax cables on it. But wait! There's more! The AT also had an Opus card with a National NS-32 processor on it that booted System V Unix and ran a schematic program called Valid GED. In full graphics mode, the monitor would do 1024x1024x16 colors. In DOS mode, it would only do CGA, or 640x200x16 colors. The wife learned Lotus 123 on it. I used it for flight simulators F-14, and Chuck Yaeger's Flight Trainer. In 2000, I hauled this monster along with 3 large boxes of manuals to the Vintage Computer Festival and won Best in Class, Best presentation (completeness), and Best of Show. I never used the machine in 3270 mode as a mainframe terminal, not even at work. The last punch line with this machine is that in one of the ton of original IBM manuals there is a disk labeled (drum roll) Master Control Program. :gulp:

    I still have the IBM, the OSI, and the SYM, but haven't booted any of them up in years.

  • vrba79vrba79 Posts: 58
    edited September 2012

    My first computer was a Tandy Coco 2. I loved that old computer so much, that I eventually came up with the "tan" character for it, "Coco" a Brazilian girl wearing a tacky(or rather trashy) looking outfit sporting the TRS-80 colors and logo.
    It had a tape deck, because the disk drive addon was too expensive, and aside from the games I made in basic, my first computer game was Dungeons of Daggorath.

    Post edited by vrba79 on
  • StorytellerStoryteller Posts: 80
    edited December 1969

    c=64

    tons of games (CosmosGames!! 101)

    peek n poke to make the screen black and the font white.

    ginat external hard drive, tape drive, tv, staying up late copying games line by line from a book to play

    ah, those were the good ol days :)

    12 years ago, I was living on my own, had a nice crash pad, a 286, a 386, 2 486 and 3 pentiums lying around, a P2 as well... would run fractals on each to watch the differences in speed...

    my phone is faster than all of them now :)

    how far we have come...

  • T JaimanT Jaiman Posts: 540
    edited September 2012

    Anyone else remember being able to trade in an old computer, for a discount on the new one? (More, later).


    My first computer ran TI-Basic. 'Twas a TI-99/4A... A guy was moving, and figured I'd want this piece of garage junk. (He was right). Now, this could've been a pretty nice bit of old equipment if he had bought more than the bare model... But it was long gone from the market (or I would've tried to find the Star Trek game). (It never occurred to me to wonder if there was such a thing as a surplus electronics shop nearby).

    If it'd only had a manual, I might've got into programming... Sadly, TI-Basic didn't have enough in common with Basic (which I _could_ find a book for). A couple of programs worked, and trial-and-error translated a couple of commands. But without the acoustic coupler, for a cassette recorder, or an external 5.25 floppy, there didn't seem to be much point. (I did eventually use its TV output to title some VHS dubs edits. But, dubbing VHS was such a disappointment... and I found I didn't care to sit through text titles when I already knew what was on it).


    Sometime after, I let a Radio Shack guy (I didn't know any better) talk me into some old Tandy XT, which ran off the floppy drive, and displayed on a CGA. I think there might've been some kind of little apps. But all I remember is learning Dos, because there wasn't a whole lot else to do, (vs. the added cost of doing them, at least).

    Months later, the same guy recognized a sucker, and buttonholed me to buy a newer 286 model - with a hard drive, and VGA, and everything.

    "Will you give me a trade in on my old Tandy [whatever-it-was] system?"

    You could see it wouldn't be his first choice, but he really wanted that sale... :coolgrin:

    It came with some sort of Tandy answer to Windows. You could sit up in the GUI and launch one little app at a time. There was even a Paint. And Dos had added new commands!


    Well, then I started reading computer rags, and bought my 386 at a computer shop. For some reason, another customer wanted a new-ish Tandy, and mine would fit the bill. So there was another piece of trade-in action. (Too bad they didn't want the dot-matrix printer. I really should recycle that thing, unless there's some collector market...).

    Went into the Radio Shack, and there's that sales guy again. I got to break the news that I'd bought a computer which didn't need $$$ Tandy parts. :coolsmirk:

    Later on, that shop offered another trade in deal, towards getting a faster 386 with better upgradability. But then they started doing sales, setup, and repair to local businesses, and I became a low-priority customer. So I got a book, and started doing my own working in the guts, instead of waiting around for them to finish their meeting, and give me back my freakin' computer that'd been there for 3 days. Got that sucker up to 8 Megabytes of ram. Dual floppies. Finally got a computer game - Wolfenstein, with it's impossible realtime 3D!


    Next computer, I carefully selected the parts for a Gateway (I didn't know any better). But it came with cheapier substitutes. I called them, and got a rep whose bored, sarcastic, what-else-is-new voice let me know I was a fool. They made some empty promise to file a ticket. Later on, the computer rags let me know that it was SOP for most mail-order builders to do that, every month, and every system, leaning way too hard on the fine-print excuse of "if a component isn't available, a substitute...". But Windows 3.11 was kinda ok, and at some point, there were semi-affordable Windows art/photo proggies which didn't need a special driver to be written for each video card. And a 486 with some decent ram, could actually sortof run them. On the other hand, using them without an expensive, and ultimately-teensy graphics tablet was pretty much futile...

    But its nice comm software, and a free local computer newspaper got me to belatedly explore BBS's. My favorite was one run by a couple of brothers. When the younger hit 18, he shut it down and went to work for a small ISP. Told us the BBS scene was undergoing mass apoptosis because of this Internet thing that some members had been getting, and babbling about for the past few months... And yes, that would pretty much mean Windows95 on a newer computer... Windows 95 was a pleasant surprise, though. And 98b was so much better, until updates made networking buggy. And ME was so gawdawful. And XP was nice, and...

    So... 256 bytes RAM; 16? kiloBytes; 64? kB;2? MB; 4 MB, 8 MB; 8? MB...

    Post edited by T Jaiman on
  • JOdelJOdel Posts: 2,080
    edited December 1969

    The Graphics Section's Mac came with system 6.0.5. Like I say, we got into the electronics age late. But 6.0.5 was early enough that it didn't properly run in multifinder (and with only something like 8MB of RAM it didn't really have the power to run in multifinder). So that meant only one application would run at a time. And the Finder (i.e., the desktop) is an application. So is the print queue.

    System 7 came out within a few months, and that was a rocky transition. Seven was as much of a game changer as OS X, and close to as big a pain in the arse as Lion. But it ran in multifinder by default, and that was worth it.

    I missed the early days where the computer had no internal hard drive, and you had your OS on one floppy and your Applications on another -- and had to save your work onto a third. Computers handled their tiny little stores of memory much better in those days. They had to, or there would have been no point in bothering with them.

  • chrisschellchrisschell Posts: 129
    edited September 2012

    10 GOTO 20
    20 Print "hello my name is _____", then GOTO 30
    30 GOTO 10

    Had an ex that kept telling me I knew nothing about computers... did this simple little program on her comp in dos prompt, then sat back and watched her panic because I had, as she put, it "virused the computer"... I kept telling her to "hit the run break key"... she had no clue what it was... (Esc) lmao...

    *Edit* When she pulled out the discs to format her machine I calmly walked over and hit escape and shut the dos prompt down... it got the point across... lol

    Post edited by chrisschell on
  • SlimerJSpudSlimerJSpud Posts: 845
    edited December 1969

    Mac users will still look at me like I'm from some other planet when I bring up a command shell on their Mac and do something like:

    $ tar cf - . | ( cd somewhereElse ; tar xf - )

    This of course is the standard Unix method of recursively copying an entire folder to somewhere else. It used to be the only safe way to do it on Mac before they added folder merging...
    :)

  • DogzDogz Posts: 713
    edited September 2012

    Wow Im a late bloomer,
    My first ever - 'sort of' computer was Sega Megadrive (or Genesis) in 1992
    My first real computer was an Amd K6-2 500 Mhz, 128mb Ram, 13Gb HDD, and a voodo 3 - 3000 (16mb) running Win 98......and that was in 1999.
    I nearly went for a mac- until i realised that under its shiny casing and rather solid OS 9.... it had no bloody decent games to speak of, and that all the other software I wanted was on Windows anyway. When ever my mate bragged about his mac, i cut him down very quickly by reminding him that he was round my house almost every other day to play Red Alert 2 on the PC.

    I guess Computers only began to intreast me when they became a bit more capable in the visuals department.
    I remember experiencing computers in the 80's as a kid and thinking - cool, but rather limited, over complicated and too expensive for my parents modest income anyway.

    Post edited by Dogz on
  • Kendall SearsKendall Sears Posts: 1,882
    edited December 1969

    Mac users will still look at me like I'm from some other planet when I bring up a command shell on their Mac and do something like:

    $ tar cf - . | ( cd somewhereElse ; tar xf - )

    This of course is the standard Unix method of recursively copying an entire folder to somewhere else. It used to be the only safe way to do it on Mac before they added folder merging...
    :)

    Ummm. This is not standard Unix, this is a Mac workaround. There is WAAAYYY too much overhead in that command. Standard Unix would use "cp -rp", "cpio", or "find" for local recursive copying (depending on your "Unix", Posix is "cp -rp"). The use of "tar" for copying files was really only useful for network links (i.e. internet, modem) where moving multiple files was impractical. So, in those cases, one would use "tar -czf - . | rcp - user@destination:" and then one would untar at the remote end.

    That's not to say that the above wouldn't work, but that method isn't really mainstream.

    Kendall

  • JOdelJOdel Posts: 2,080
    edited December 1969

    Mac users will still look at me like I'm from some other planet when I bring up a command shell on their Mac and do something like:

    $ tar cf - . | ( cd somewhereElse ; tar xf - )

    This of course is the standard Unix method of recursively copying an entire folder to somewhere else. It used to be the only safe way to do it on Mac before they added folder merging...
    :)

    When did they add folder merging. Is that something that they added to Lion?

  • Wiccan1Wiccan1 Posts: 165
    edited December 1969

    Pin fed printers were tons of fun to unjam.... NOT! :)

  • SlimerJSpudSlimerJSpud Posts: 845
    edited December 1969

    JOdel said:
    Mac users will still look at me like I'm from some other planet when I bring up a command shell on their Mac and do something like:

    $ tar cf - . | ( cd somewhereElse ; tar xf - )

    This of course is the standard Unix method of recursively copying an entire folder to somewhere else. It used to be the only safe way to do it on Mac before they added folder merging...
    :)

    When did they add folder merging. Is that something that they added to Lion?


    Yes. Saved people a lot of grief, I'm sure.

    @Kendall, the advantage of the tar command is that it copies the contents EXACTLY as is. The cp -pr approach copies links as their target files, not links. In Unix/Linux, there are a lot of symbolic links lying around. I never use cp -r, hence I call the tar command "standard." Besides, it's so cryptic, it looks like black magic to the Great Unwashed. :lol:

  • Kendall SearsKendall Sears Posts: 1,882
    edited December 1969

    JOdel said:
    Mac users will still look at me like I'm from some other planet when I bring up a command shell on their Mac and do something like:

    $ tar cf - . | ( cd somewhereElse ; tar xf - )

    This of course is the standard Unix method of recursively copying an entire folder to somewhere else. It used to be the only safe way to do it on Mac before they added folder merging...
    :)

    When did they add folder merging. Is that something that they added to Lion?


    Yes. Saved people a lot of grief, I'm sure.

    @Kendall, the advantage of the tar command is that it copies the contents EXACTLY as is. The cp -pr approach copies links as their target files, not links. In Unix/Linux, there are a lot of symbolic links lying around. I never use cp -r, hence I call the tar command "standard." Besides, it's so cryptic, it looks like black magic to the Great Unwashed. :lol:

    In which case adding -d to the cp will keep the cp from dereferencing the links, and will preserve the link. Of course, if using Posix compliant OS, "cp -a" will do everything you want, without the overhead of tar.

    Indeed, tar does look cryptic. :-) BTW, rsync would work better for that, and allow recovery if something interrupts the process.

    Kendall

  • Sean MartinSean Martin Posts: 72
    edited December 1969

    I used to have a friend (no longer with us sadly) who was working on his Master's at UCBerkeley, back in the day of shoeboxes of programming cards. Russell was religious about keeping those things in order, but one night while we were there, we heard this agonized scream from another room: this girl had dropped all three boxes of hers. Cards everywhere, hundreds, perhaps thousands of them. I dont even want to think what was needed to sort that mess out.

  • FixmypcmikeFixmypcmike Posts: 11,620
    edited December 1969

    Not to mention the practical jokers who would punch up a comment card and insert it into other people's stacks of punch cards.

  • LedheadLedhead Posts: 1,586
    edited December 1969

    I am completely amazed how you people can remember the names all of the old computers and the programs that you used. I can hardly remember when I got my first computer, just that it was in the mid to late 80's. Did I do way to many drugs in the 70's or what.


    I do remember playing Leisure Suit Larry and Wolfenstein 3D when they came out. Of course I can remember playing Pong way before that.


    What was the question?

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