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Author Topic: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread  (Read 9637 times)

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2014, 04:39:28 PM »
Let's see now...


IBM S/360 model 25. 64K of memory and a couple of 2311 disk drives (7.5MB but the disk packs were about the size of a large cake carrier.) That system ran a major college's business office.

IBM S/360 model 65. 2MB of memory; 1MB on board and 1MB in a separate box, 6'x3'x4'. Banks of 2314 disk drives (8 drives, 29MB per bank.)

Several more generations of S/360 & S/370 (and clones.) I was an IBM systems programmer for many years.


Apple ][e with 64K of memory, plus a printer card with a 64k buffer (so twice the size of that mainframe above.) 4 5" floppy drives.

Mac 128K (one of the first); Lisa (with a 5MB hard drive for Mac development); Mac 512K.  Macintosh II. PowerMac 3G; PowerMac 4G (still have this one); MacPro (dual quad 3.1Ghz); a couple of MacBooks (work and my son's)

Many PCs. Toshiba laptop, IBM laptop, Lenovo laptop. My current work and home machines are home-builds with Asus motherboards, solid state drives and big processors.

Oddities: Data General minicomputer; Unisys mainframe (forgot the model); CDC mainframe (again, forgot the model.) Did some work with a PDP-11 while in college. I've seen, but not used, an IBM 1620 and an IBM 650.  I've used punch cards in sorters and other unit record equipment.

Yes, I am a dinosaur. I started in 1970 at the age of 12 and was working part time in a data center by the time I was 15. I am soooo ready to retire.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.


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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2014, 04:55:04 PM »
I saw the first digital calculator that my math professor had bought for the math department at the university. $$$$. It had a few trig functions on it.

FIL was a physics prof, bought one for $$$. More geometry and trig functions on it - late 70s?

Then the TI came out with a handheld for $$ in the 80s. They were soon required for the physics courses, like slide rules were in the early 60s - and long before that!

Then we got free credit card sized calculators with % and memory functions along with the adding machine capabilities when we opened a bank account or even responded to an insurance company information request. Free!

I didn't even mention the fingers and charts we used before all that - as well as gray matter and pencils.


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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2014, 05:02:44 PM »
My high school computer science class circa 1978.  We did flow charts and typed commands at terminals, our sessions printed out on rolls of paper.  The computer was in another room.  It took up the whole room.  BASIC and COBOL anyone?


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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2014, 05:06:36 PM »
First thing that went through my mind is "we had to use Floppy Disks to go through Oregon Trail!  Not this fancy FB game you have now". 

As for my first computer... it was DOS based but I have no clue what kind it was.  It was donated from Mom's work, used DOS, and was mostly used for spelling and math games.  After that, Macs showed up at school for different educational things (and Oregon Trail ;D ), but I always had a PC at home.  I know how to use both, to a point, but I like having Windows.  It's amazing how I've gone, in my lifetime (32 years, take with grain of salt), from having this big computer that took up half of the desk, to my 17.5 inch laptop, Surface Pro 2, and Kindle Fire, plus the Droid phone.


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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2014, 05:08:01 PM »
Ah, good times: Do not fold, spindle or mutilate.


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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2014, 05:32:26 PM »
Ah, good times: Do not fold, spindle or mutilate.

I always wondered what spindling was.

Edited for spelling.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2014, 02:28:31 PM by Ms_Cellany »
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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2014, 05:36:34 PM »
When the small floppies came out in NZ they cost an arm and a leg.  We used to holiday in Hawaii and come back with a bag full of boxes of these. 
We would sell them to friends and workmates for half the local price and made enough money to pay for our Hawaiian hire care for a week. 


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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2014, 07:08:21 PM »
My dad built the first computers we had when I was a teenager.  The first one had no hard drive (you had to insert the DOS floppy every time you powered up), and two low-density 5-1/4 floppy drives (so you could run WordStar and save the documents to another floppy without having to juggle).

Then, too, I also remember my dad's slide rule and abacus.  Never understood either, but he did.


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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2014, 11:55:25 PM »
I started teaching in 1977. That year or the next, I bought a 4 function calculator that was small enough to fit in my purse to average grades on! (You have no idea how wonderful that was!)

In 1980, I got my first classroom computer, a 32K Commodore Pet with a cassette drive, and a book called Training Your Pet. I taught myself BASIC programming, and took every workshop the school district offered on using a computer. The next year, I had my first computer lab, with 25 16k Pets.*

When Texas decided that every 8th grader needed a computer literacy class (part of HB72, which most people remember for No Pass, No Play) we had 1 summer to plan and implement a curriculum. The problem was that because the class had never been offered before there were no teachers certified to teach it. They offered a test, and I was one of the first teachers in Texas certified to
teach Computer Literacy at the middle school level.

*One of my favorite stories of teaching with computers came from that year. We had a program for students with special needs. One of the programs (DOS based) that we had was to teach how to make change for $100, the old-fashioned way, by counting out pennies, nickels, dimes, etc. Even with calculators and play money, none of the students could count the correct amount. I rewrote the program, limiting it to $10, and we tried again. Those kids came in once a week, for one 55 minute class period. By the end of the year, every one of them could made change for $10 in their heads, as fast as they could type the numbers, and more than half could go to $100. I was absolutely hooked on the power of computers in education from then on.
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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2014, 01:33:57 AM »
My first computing experience was with a friend's Sinclaire, my parents' Amstrad PCW and the school's (brand new at the time!) BBC Basic.

This experience taught me how to type, how to control a sprite with O P, A, Z and space bar to fire, and the correct sequence for going to the castle, the lake  and the forest...
Ah, the Acorn BBC. 32K of memory, an old portable TV, and floppy discs that waggled. Software installed by opening the computer up and plugging the little chip in while praying you didn't break anything. Such fond memories... I still have mine somewhere (and I still have an emulator on the PC. Those games were good!).

My first - I guess we're talking 1982 ish here? - was a Dragon 32. I admit (shamefully) to being extremely ungrateful for it, because it was a bit uncool and the games weren't very good, but that didn't stop me holing myself up to play on it for hours (days) on end even though I really wanted a BBC or a Commodore 64. It was also rubbish at loading - you'd get all the way to the end of the tape and it'd ping up having done nothing with the loading screen still there.

My friend had a Vic 20 - which wasn't quite the coveted C64 but it had to do - and used to bring it round and plug it into my TV and we'd play Ghostbusters on it. 

I finally - as an adult - got my Commodore 64 years later at a car boot sale for about 20 and was absolutely delighted even though I was well into my 20s by then :)

I remember being blown away by the Atari 520 and the Amiga when they came out.


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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #25 on: June 14, 2014, 03:38:40 AM »
I remember having a Pong machine when I was a kid. I think it might have been a gift? Then, in 3rd grade, I saved up my money and bought an Atari 2600. Mom bought me Pac-Man to go with it, then stayed up late every night playing it. Took me forever to figure out how she kept beating me so badly. :-)
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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2014, 05:53:01 AM »
Remember Print Shop, where you could make your own cards and banners? The pixels used for the graphics were chunky, and even chunkier if you wanted it bigger.

Our school had the program on floppies for the Apple IIc, and if you wanted to use it you had to request it from the teacher and hope there wasn't too long of a wait.

We kids talked our parents into getting it for our Apple IIc. We burned through a lot of paper, back when you had to use the kind connected in a large continuous roll with feeder holes on the sides.
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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2014, 06:48:20 AM »
My first exposure to computers was an Apple II, it would have been 1990. It was mostly used for word processing and I learned my first lesson how fragile those floppy disks, where a warped floppy disk lost a whole semester's work. luckily the work was easy and i redid the work in a week.

In 1991 I got my own home pc, it was an xt that came from an insurance office when they were upgrading. It had no hard drive and all my programs were loaded up manually from floppy disks. I had a word processing program (i think it was word perfect) and a bowling game. I had a very noisy dot matrics  printer that went with it.

Fast forward a few years (it's now 1994) when I was introduced to the Amiga by dbf (later to become hubby) and newsgroups.  all sorts of star trek boards lovely ones like alt. wesley crusher.die.die.die. I remember spending one day with dbf going from shop to shop looking for a gig hard drive. most shops were surprised that they made them that big.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2014, 06:50:37 AM by dawnfire »
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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2014, 07:38:04 AM »
At my first job (1984) we had a teletype machine to send info to the head office. 

In college, I learned Frotran and we used the school computer (with punch cards and dot matrix printer).

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #29 on: June 14, 2014, 08:20:35 AM »
In HS, in the 80's, we were required to take typing.

The typewriters were electric, so if the class got loud and rowdy, the instructor would flip the master switch to off so we could not make clackity-clack sounds anymore and it was quieter.

Cue a few weeks into the course, and we got...computers!!!   

It took forever to get them ready to go for our basic typing programs, and it was the last class of the day, so we were still sometimes loud and rowdy.  The teacher had several classes before ours, and all were tired.

So, the instructor would  flip the master switch to off.

And it took several class periods for him to finally understand that his flipping the switch meant that we had to start all over again, jsut waiting, and thus...getting loud and rowdy. 

Fear is temporary...Regret is forever.