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Hey, taking a whole millisecond to do an addition, that was a sophisticated machine. My first was an Elliott 903 - the baby one. Write program(me) in Elliott Algol, punch same onto paper tape. Feed it into machine with the interpreter loaded. Receive miles of paper tape containing the machine code version (IF there were no mistakes in your Algol code of course). Then stuff that in, enter your data on more tape and out comes the tape containing the data processed. No CRT's no direct data entry - that was computing in the 60's!
I came into computing slightly after that. My first program's were written in Basic, but typed into a teletype terminal connected by acoustic cup modem to the nearest college, that had a mainframe. Output was only to printed paper, and programs could be listed to punched paper tape for reloading later.
For small edits, there was a clear Perspex block with indexing pins and guide holes, so you could use a tool to punch individual holes into tape to correct errors. Splicing a small piece containing a single line of code into a longer piece holding the rest of the program was common practice.
After that it was Research Machines Link 480Z machines connected by something called Thin-net to a Link 380Z acting as a file/print server. No hard disks, the 380Z had twin 8" floppy drives, one containing executables for itself and the 480Z's, the other containing students' projects.
At home I also started with a Sinclair ZX-81, followed by Atari 600XL and 130XE, with tape drive, floppy drive and printer.
Built my first PC in about 1988, 286 at 12MHz... Wow! I had a few hand-me-down PCs after that.
Went onto Macs after that jelly mould iMac, then PowerBook G4, now MacBook Pro, iPad and iPhone.
It still astounds the level of changes, and I work with this stuff everyday!
Above: a microSDHC card that stores about 8 billion bytes. Below: magnetic-core memory, used until the 1970s, that stores eight bytes using 64 cores.
When I worked for IBM, before driving 'planes, we had boxes of ferrite core RAM lying around the place.
People like Jack Tramiel lived in 'interesting times' and not 'interesting amusing' either I was speaking to a guy in Australia who was, as a child during WW2, shunted around Europe. I didn't ask if he was a Jew; I'm guessing not as he was probably too young to work and he wouldn't have survived.
Last edited by Basil; 30th Dec 2012 at 15:05.
Reason: To mention the man we are remembering.
mixture, The first computer I used was an English Electric KDF9 with 32k of ferrite-core memory. Enough power for a whole universtity!
Similar here - except 16k which filled a whole Terrapin building. The soon-to-be-MrsJim (and all the female programmers & operators) were barred from the computing suite because they were said to be jinxed: the machine kept falling over whenever they entered. Turns out that the multi-layer petticoats they wore (No, this wasn't 1859 it was 1959!) were causing so much static that the console circuits were detecting the sparks as well as the (presumably weakish) signals from the paper tape readers.