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Old 2nd August 2008
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Default Oldies..come here, let's nostalgia ;)

I'm a little bit young in FreeBSD world, but i want to know why, how, and when did you first know and using Computer?

Ok, let's start nostalging about everything..

I forgot when the exact year. about 14 years ago, I played my first game on my friend's computer : Prince of Persia...on DOS.. in 1997, I have my own computer, Pentium 2 if I wasn't wrong, and I played porn-games for the first time in my life in that computer...of course I didn't know that the game was embedded by virus that would make my windows 98 'freeze' after i shut the game. That day, i try to reinstall windows 98 just to have another round of porn-games... For Heaven's sake...That's the root of everything.Porn.

in 2005, I have my own computer, and start using Linux Slackware.. my friend gave it to me and said that I should try it. He said that Slackware is the most easy linux ever..first thing i know is that i need 3 days neglecting my college just to make myself success executing 'startx'. i start looking other distro's. I tried SuSE but was so slow..tried Mandriva,Fedora, but none of i like..especially Ubuntu, i just hate the log-on sound

The reason why i used Linux is simple : i need OS that immune to virus, so that i could worry-not about viruses in my flash disk and could lend my flashdisk to my friend with light-hearted and smile..The other reason, i don't want other people touching my computer. And since there's only almost 10 people out of 800 person in my Faculty running Linux, i'd be safe..

in 2007, i forced to sell my laptops for my college fee, and i start to work part-time. There. my Senior told me to try FreeBSD. My limitations make me harder to install mainstream Linux, so that i tried FreeBSD..it's been almost a year now, and i think i'll stick with it...

you know what's the best part of Unix-like Systems? virtual desktop...in one desktop you could watch porn, or play games...but in one keystroke, you could be 'Good-worker-that-never-playing-around-while-worktime'...exactly what i need

So, what's your story?
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Old 2nd August 2008
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Is there an absolute age limit to this thread, on the lower end I mean?
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Old 2nd August 2008
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My first time sitting down to use a computer was in 1966 or so; as I recall I was using a 110-baud ASR 33 terminal.

My first programming class was in 1971. I was taught BASIC. My first program solved quadratic equations.

My first experience with Multics (a precursor to Unix) was in 1979. I think my first use of Unix was around 1981 or 1982.
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Old 5th August 2008
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@mousesack, nope, the title said "oldies" just beacuse to attract people .. besides..maybe i'm the youngest one here..

Quote:
My first time sitting down to use a computer was in 1966 or so; as I recall I was using a 110-baud ASR 33 terminal.

My first programming class was in 1971. I was taught BASIC. My first program solved quadratic equations.

My first experience with Multics (a precursor to Unix) was in 1979. I think my first use of Unix was around 1981 or 1982.
my God...i hadn't even born yet...So to say, you've seen the computer from it's early age till now..ok, maybe this is stupid question, but i have to ask this : what did you di back then with the ASR-33? Do you still have it?

i think it's pretty cool to show ASR-33 to your grandson later
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Old 5th August 2008
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Nope, my mistake. The ASR33s were used in my programming classes -- the class had four of them: two which were offline only, used to create/edit paper tapes of the programs, and two which could connect to the HP minicomputer across town, via modem.

The first terminal I used was a Teletype 35ASR.

You need to understand, eine -- none of this stuff was "personal computing" by any stretch of the imagination. So no, I don't have any of this equipment; it wasn't mine.

The first personal computer I owned was in the 70s -- A Zylog Z-80 (Intel 8080 clone plus some additional capability) with 8K of main memory. I remember swapping out the 8x1K chips for 8x2K chips to double the memory, and was astonished that memory prices had come down enough for me to afford the upgrade -- US$90.00.

Last edited by jggimi; 5th August 2008 at 09:30 AM. Reason: clarity
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Old 5th August 2008
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I got started in 1985 on a Franklin Ace 100 writing little programs in BASIC. That machine was actually a couple years old at the time and there wasn't much available in terms of upgrades. I did some work in PASCAL on an Amiga 500 later on. I was pretty happy with the Amiga until the Pentium-class stuff became available and I was given a Packard-Bell which was the most temperamental and poorly designed machine I have used to date. I can't remember the model, but I think it was a Pentium 100 MHz processor. Thus began a very long and very dark period of disassembling the PC and rebuilding it - and we have come so far.
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Old 5th August 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jggimi View Post
You need to understand, eine -- none of this stuff was "personal computing" by any stretch of the imagination.
This is probably one thing forgotten by those who have used computers only in the last 20 years or so. Early computers and their IO were terribly expensive, so they were always shared resources. The IT departments who managed them were rather despised, because they guarded the computer temple as high priests, and they let the commoners know it.

For example, your account was limited to a certain total cost, unless you wanted to buy more. This was a way to manage the limited resource, but computing time was very expensive. In graduate school one fellow did not debug a big computational (finite element) program with enough care, and it had an endless loop. He drained the computer budget for the entire lab of a dozen people for that semester. We could not afford to purchase more. This is not an unusual story; everyone from that era has their own similar tale.

That changed with the IBM PC. While Apple and many others had computers earlier, it is the IBM blessing that caused business to move to PCs. They could do many of the simple things that people did (and the killer application was Visicalc, a spreadsheet), but the motivation was largely to get rid of the restrictions forced on users by the centralized IT hierarchy.

The rest is history, as they say.
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A Zylog Z-80 (Intel 8080 clone plus some additional capability)
The last I checked these were still made and used for embedded applications. They are/were decent CPUs.
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Old 5th August 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dk_netsvil View Post
... I was given a Packard-Bell which was the most temperamental and poorly designed machine I have used to date. I can't remember the model, but I think it was a Pentium 100 MHz processor. Thus began a very long and very dark period of disassembling the PC and rebuilding it - and we have come so far.
My first 3 PC machines were Packard Bells starting with an XT turbo 8088 and ending with a Pentium 66Mhz. If it was for the Packard Bell's design I would never would have learned so much about PC internals. I was kind of sad when the went under. Then I was given a Compaq...now their proprietary internals used to drive me crazy!!
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Old 5th August 2008
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I started on a MSX, not well known in the U.S., but pretty popular in Japan, Spain, and Netherlands.
It had a Z80 chip, IIRC we had an expensive version with 256Kb of RAM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJ
The last I checked these were still made and used for embedded applications. They are/were decent CPUs.
Yeah, they're still being made:
http://www.zilog.com/products/family.asp?fam=220
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Old 5th August 2008
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I had friends who invested in IMSAI and KIM computers, which were 8080 based. I'd used those, and I was working on a research project that included some professional microcomputers, whose names have long escaped me, as well as some of the consumer-based products of the time, such as the Pet (6502) and the CompuColor (no recollection ). I can't even recall the make/model of my early Z-80; it might have been an Atari.

Around 1979 or so, I purchased a turn-key word processor for the home; I enjoyed having it because it also came with CP/M -- the precursur to what became PC-DOS/MS-DOS.

Years later, I purchased a "PC" for the family; as I recall that was a Compaq brand 486.

---

Most of my IT career has, when focused on tech, been involved with computing that would be considered "large systems" -- rather than personal or small stuff.
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Old 5th August 2008
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I enjoyed having it because it also came with CP/M -- the precursur to what became PC-DOS/MS-DOS.
That not really quite true. CP/M was Gary Kildall's baby (through his company Digital Research); the tale of how he snubbed the IBM contingent when they were looking for an operating system for their new computer is well known (he was allegedly out flying his airplane).

MS-DOS came from QDOS ("quick and dirty operating system) from Seattle Computer Products (mainly S-100 bus based); they were more receptive to IBM than Kildall was, and a commercial arrangement was reached.

I still have copies of CP/M-80, -86 and MP/M 8-16 on the shelf with complete documentation.
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Old 5th August 2008
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Quote:
...That not really quite true....
And I knew that. I should have said "...a precursor..." or "one of the precursors."
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Old 5th August 2008
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Fair enough. QDOS was sort of a CP/M 86 knockoff.
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Old 5th August 2008
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Well I can't top these guys, but-

Atari 2600 (I still have one, and it still works.)
Atari 400, 800
TI-99 4/A
Apple II, IIe, IIc
IBM PS/2 Model 386 (which ironically contained a 286 processor )
... And on into 'modern' PC's.


To relate to another OT thread about getting kids interested in IT, it was my massive waste of time playing games on the 2600 that got me into computing, not having a complex yet archaic system dropped in my lap with expectations that I would master it easily and enjoyably. Ah, the good ole days!
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Old 5th August 2008
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I'll try to keep this brief; let's see if I succeed.

I started programming in 1975; it was a rudimentary FORTRAN course required of all engineers and optional for scientists (they could also choose Algol-W). We used punched cards to feed an Amdahl mainframe, probably the first IBM-compatible, though this one was compatible with the IBM 360. Card punches are terribly unreliable, and often the ribbons would lose ink (and not print the statement at the top of the card) so when you found a decent card punch you tended to return to it.

The first computer I owned was a Compupro, an S-100 bus computer on which I ran MP/M 8-16; I bought it in 1980. It had dual processors (8085 and 8088), 256K of fast static RAM, two 8" floppies (1.2MB each) and a slew of serial ports. The dual floppies actually worked pretty well: you could put your OS and all your applications on one, and use the other as a working disk for your files. Input was from a serial terminal, and output was to an infernal dot matrix printer. God those things were awful.

I had a friend in the department at Berkeley who wrote bits and pieces of the OS for Compupro, and they gave the department a damn good deal. They were also located physically a few miles away (near the Oakland, CA airport, FWIW).

My first exposure to Unix was at Berkeley in the height of the BSD era. It was just hard to avoid. I remember well the day we got our first terminal in the lab (a Televideo 925 -- yuck!) and it was shared between about a dozen of us. Most people used the IBM mainframe (or earlier one of the CDC mainframes); much work was done on a lab Compupro, with some of us slowly migrating over the Unix. I learned much of that using the program "learn" in the bowels of Gilman Hall, a registered national monument in which plutonium and some other transuranic elements were discovered. Work for two Nobel prizes was conducted there. "Learn" is pretty easy to port, and is available on Kernighan's web site.

Over they years I have programmed on nearly every OS: the early Apple ones and OS7 (was there one of those?), IBM's VM/CMS, DEC's VMS, HP's RTE-A, MS-DOS, Windows, and of course Unix. There were interludes with the Pet (as mentioned above), on which we wrote finite-difference heat conduction code (that thing was terribly slow) and a Tektronics graphics computer using their extended BASIC. I designed a solvent-recovery system for an Ibuprofen plant on the latter.

It truly is amazing how much faster computers are today than they were in the old days, and that brings up an interesting story. Some years ago I wanted to pull some papers out of my thesis, which I had stored on a standard tape in tar format (in 1988). I found a fellow who still had such an old tape drive, and he transferred it to a CD for me -- over 15 years later. No issues at all with data longevity.

My thesis was in troff, and it ran through groff without a hitch. Try that with a modern word processor.

For kicks, I took the code that I used for one of the larger calculations in the thesis. I ran it on the Compupro, and it took about 8 hours to execute. On a 500MHz PIII it took a few tenths of a second. On a modern computer you get into round-off error if you use a shell timing routine. That is much faster than the mainframes of the era; even the VAX 8600s of the day took about 5 minutes to execute the thing. Remember that this VAX was the hot box of the day, and it routinely supported well over a hundred users.

Many more stories, of course, but I'll end here for now. I still have the Compupro, BTW, and it works as well as it always did.

So much for keeping it short.

Last edited by DrJ; 5th August 2008 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 5th August 2008
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When I was 9 my parents bought me a TI 99 4/a, a friend a few years later got a Commadore 64 and they had cooler games. So I started programming so I could make cool games for my TI!
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Old 5th August 2008
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Am I the only person who thought DrJ's story was awesome?
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Old 5th August 2008
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The first "PC" I sat infront was a Schneider PC (I don't know which one exactly) in school but I was not allowed to use it frequently becaus eI was to young....
My brother had a C64 before my dad bought a PC with an Intel Pentium 60MHz.
I messed the System so many times so he had to pay a lot of money to get it repaired.
A few weeks later I knew that they just reinstalled windows --- I was young and clueless
But I'm I am just a newbie to thge computerbusiness with my age of 25.

Where are the old guys that spend thousands of $ to their hobby?
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Old 5th August 2008
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Quote:
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Am I the only person who thought DrJ's story was awesome?
I love when DrJ tells his stories. They always bring back memories of looking through Byte(when it was thick as a phone book) in the 80, dreaming of Vax machines and saving money to upgrade to floppy from my cassette tape drive...
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Old 5th August 2008
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Quote:
and output was to an infernal dot matrix printer. God those things were awful.
I have a dot matrix printer, it's a Philips from 1984 (I was born in 1985, so it's older than I am), and it works like a charm.
It's reliable, cheap, reliable, simple, and did I mention reliable?

I always have to smile when I see people messing around with cups, a2ps and who knows what else, to print I just use:
# cat file.txt > /dev/lpt0

And the best part is, it will always print, unlike those inkjet printers from HP, Canon, etc., which are notoriously unreliable, break down fast, and use expensive cartridges.

Ok, it's not perfect, and (a good) laser printer is better, but dot matrix printers are pretty good too, and much, MUCH better than inkjet printers.
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