DaemonForums  

Go Back   DaemonForums > Miscellaneous > Off-Topic

Off-Topic Everything else.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 5th August 2008
DrJ DrJ is offline
ISO Quartermaster
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Gold Country, CA
Posts: 506
Thanked 39 Times in 39 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by roddierod View Post
They always bring back memories of looking through Byte(when it was thick as a phone book)...
Yeah, Byte was great. So was the newspaper form of Infoworld (it has changed format and target audience many, many times) and Dr. Dobbs Journal.

In many ways the move from cards to terminals was a big a deal as the move from terminals to PCs. I hinted at how dreadful card punches were; I can go on but man they were klunky.

They had other odd downsides. The main computing facility at Berkeley was open 24 hours a day (computer people have always kept odd schedules). I was there once in the middle of the night, looking over an input deck, when in wandered a homeless person. Berkeley has a real problem with the homeless; most have pretty severe mental or substance abuse problems (or both). They came to know that you could always warm up in the computer center for about an hour until security chased them away.

In any event, this fellow wandered over to my table, and started ranting some far-out screed about aliens. I decided the better part of valor was simply to leave and call security, who showed up pretty promptly. Upon returning to my table, I found my input deck, as well as the contents of my card box (which held maybe 1000 cards) was scattered all over the floor.

I had the foresight to use a different color on the card tops for this set of programs (they came in a veritable rainbow so that you could distinguish one batch from another); the rubber bands around others were not disturbed. Still, this meant going through the cards one by one, pulling the program out from others, and then resorting them. Some cards had line numbers (it was FORTRAN), but others did not. So the whole deck had to be reconstructed from the flow sheet, and yes, I made a few errors in the sorting.

At least you got good turn-around times when you submitted the jobs to the job desk at those times.
Reply With Quote
Old 5th August 2008
DrJ DrJ is offline
ISO Quartermaster
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Gold Country, CA
Posts: 506
Thanked 39 Times in 39 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpetsmoker View Post
... (a good) laser printer is better [than a dot matrix printer], but dot matrix printers are pretty good too, and much, MUCH better than inkjet printers.
Depends, I suppose. The early ones only had eight pins (namely, low resolution), and they made in incredible racket. Once they got 24 pins and more quiet, they are OK. They are still used for really high-volume printing jobs, like corporate invoices and large check runs. They operate at speeds that look almost brutal.

Consumer ink jets I agree are terrible. Good ones cost quite a bit of money. I stick with a very old HP postscript laser, which is not fast, but it is utterly reliable and produces very nice quality print. And don't get me started on CUPS.
Reply With Quote
Old 6th August 2008
unicyclist unicyclist is offline
Fdisk Soldier
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 54
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Default

Started on the Commodore 64 & 128 around '86 or maybe '87?
Then bought my Amiga 500. Also have a 4000. I still use them to this day. 64/128 is sitting on old dining table that isn't used, A500 on a coffee table and the 4000 is sitting on a old aquarium shelf. I am a devout CBM product fan
Started FreeBSD with 2.21-Release, started OpenBSD with 3.0, and linux with Slackware 3.0. Also have and use OS/2 Warp (have 3 & 4).
Taught myself Commodore basic and wrote a couple of personal use programs. Started teaching myself rexx, but saw so many programs being written I stopped.
Like most others, I build my own machines to get what I want.
Reply With Quote
Old 8th August 2008
ai-danno's Avatar
ai-danno ai-danno is offline
Spam Deminer
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Boca Raton, Florida
Posts: 284
Thanked 35 Times in 31 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BSDfan666 View Post
Am I the only person who thought DrJ's story was awesome?
No.
__________________
Network Firefighter
Reply With Quote
Old 8th August 2008
BSDfan666 BSDfan666 is offline
Real Name: N/A, this is the interweb.
Helpful companion
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 2,223
Thanked 193 Times in 184 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ai-danno View Post
No.
That question was rhetorical.
Reply With Quote
Old 9th August 2008
ninjatux's Avatar
ninjatux ninjatux is offline
Real Name: Baqir Majlisi
Spam Deminer
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Antarctica
Posts: 293
Thanked 15 Times in 15 Posts
Default

I've been using computers since I was three years old back in 1993. It's the only memory I have from that time period; I was sitting in front of our computer with a clock speed of 66 MHz, which was very high-end at that time playing some educational game. My interest in computers developed from watching my dad who has been using them, since the '70s. Anyway, I started getting extremely frustrated with Windows in the early 2000s. Windows 98 had that nasty shutdown bug, Windows ME was a bug, and Windows XP killed four hard drives in a row on the same computer. By this time, my old Dell Dimension with an Intel Celery 800 MHz was dying. In 2003, I started using Mandrake Linux. Two days later, I kicked Windows off the PC and delved into the process known as "distro jumping". Eventually, I ended up using Gentoo for three years (three years too long). The only reason I even stuck with Linux and didn't touch other Unixes was because a lot of Linux did and still have the impression that BSD and SysV-based Unixes are too arcane in comparison to Linux. I just let the stereotype get to me, but eventually I tried Solaris and found those claims to be untrue. In March, 2008, I just got fed up with the recurring cycle of breakage on Gentoo and moved over to FreeBSD. I had used FreeBSD on and off with Linux since version 5.3. I also bought a MacBook Pro for college in May after researching Mac OS X thoroughly and being happy with the BSD roots.

That's part of my journey through computers. When I started using Linux, I became interested in shell scripting, so I learned Bash scripting. I still have two scripts to right, but I just don't have the time. I also took a Java-based AP Computer Science class at my high school last year. I'm teaching myself C and hope to move onto C++, once that's done. I'm pretty acquainted with Perl and have to reacquaint myself with Awk when I get a chance. I never needed those two heavily.
__________________
"UNIX is basically a simple operating system, but you have to be a genius to understand the simplicity."
MacBook Pro (Darwin 9), iMac (Darwin 9), iPod Touch (Darwin 9), Dell Optiplex GX620 (FreeBSD 7.1-STABLE)

Last edited by ninjatux; 9th August 2008 at 09:26 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old 10th August 2008
18Googol2's Avatar
18Googol2 18Googol2 is offline
Real Name: whoami
Spam Deminer
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: pwd
Posts: 283
Thanked 20 Times in 18 Posts
Default

You guys have known computer for long time. I myself started using computer just 2 years ago, sometimes I feel like taking an intensive CS course
Reply With Quote
Old 13th August 2008
eine's Avatar
eine eine is offline
Real Name: Hendri Sugiarto
Port Guard
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Bandung, West Java
Posts: 19
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

First of all, i'm sorry i haven't been in the forum since 08-08-08..my sister's married and i just don't have the opportunity to touch the computer..i just feel sorry because i was the TS...so, sorry..

Quote:
Originally Posted by ninjatux View Post
In 2003, I started using Mandrake Linux.
Quote:
Eventually, I ended up using Gentoo for three years (three years too long)
Quote:
In March, 2008, I just got fed up with the recurring cycle of breakage on Gentoo and moved over to FreeBSD. I had used FreeBSD on and off with Linux since version 5.3.
I don't get it...if you start using Linux from 2003, and ended up with gentoo for 3 years, that means 2006...what did u use from 2006 to 2008?

and when you start to used FreeBSD in march 2008, why do you used the FreeBSD 5.3, since there is FreeBSD 7.0 release announcement on 27 February 2008?

please enlightenment me
__________________
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. -- Soren Kierkegaard
Reply With Quote
Old 14th August 2008
ninjatux's Avatar
ninjatux ninjatux is offline
Real Name: Baqir Majlisi
Spam Deminer
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Antarctica
Posts: 293
Thanked 15 Times in 15 Posts
Default

You missed the "Eventually" in "Eventually, I ended up using Gentoo for three years (three years too long)." I didn't start using Gentoo until June of 2005. I migrated my desktop to FreeBSD in March, 2008. I still kept Gentoo installed in a virtual machine until June, 2008. I don't have Linux installed on any of my systems anymore.

You misunderstood the statement "I had used FreeBSD on and off with Linux since version 5.3." That means that I had FreeBSD installed alongside Linux on my desktop starting with version 5.3.
__________________
"UNIX is basically a simple operating system, but you have to be a genius to understand the simplicity."
MacBook Pro (Darwin 9), iMac (Darwin 9), iPod Touch (Darwin 9), Dell Optiplex GX620 (FreeBSD 7.1-STABLE)
Reply With Quote
Old 14th August 2008
drhowarddrfine drhowarddrfine is offline
VPN Cryptographer
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 358
Thanked 9 Times in 8 Posts
Default

I don't know how I missed this thread.

My first real computer was actually a toy computer that had little sliding racks on it for calculating logic. My dad bought it for some reason when I was about 8. My first sight of a real one was in 1970 when I went to college and the geologists next door had an IBM something with punch cards. I just didn't get it but I was a EE major and had no interest cause I was going into radio/tv.

After about 10 years of the radio/tv (and film) thing, I went to work for a company that made one of the first CAT scanners. It was a completely TTL system. My first exposure to a programming language was MUMPS.

The first computer I owned was one I built from the brand new 8085 that just came out, saving me the trouble of the extra chips involved with an 8080. Eventually I put together one using a Z80. Assembly language was the highest I ever went, sometimes just using switches and, in a few cases, touching wires together . Saving programs to a cassette recorder was bleeding edge but the damn tapes sometimes took two or three passes before the computer would reload properly; if at all.

That was all around 1980. I worked on 6801s, 6809s, 8051s. Intel was the only hardware we bought. And if you were reading Byte in the 1980s like roddierod then you read an article I wrote.

I was starting to work more on applications by 1985 but still in assembly. I selected the 68000 (I was now project manager) but my damn MIT big shot sob of a boss made us learn this thing called 'C'. There was more cussing than you would expect out of a professional office. Most of us only used it until it didn't work and then just used assembly. It was all done on a PDP-8 but the thing couldn't handle the load of our compiles (damn HLL POS). I got a few of us together and we pitched buying a mini-computer from some new company called Sun Microsystems. They ran up against Apollo Computers, which I favored.

I then moved to Pixar. They sold hardware then that ran Renderman. I remember riding the bus back to the airport after my interview with Ed Catmull who was messing with the rendering engine on the bus. Later, I went to Silicon Graphics and used to occasionally eat lunch with Jim Clark.

Things get pretty boring after that, computer-wise.
Reply With Quote
Old 14th August 2008
DrJ DrJ is offline
ISO Quartermaster
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Gold Country, CA
Posts: 506
Thanked 39 Times in 39 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by drhowarddrfine View Post
My first sight of a real one was in 1970 when I went to college...
Congrats! You are officially an old f*rt!
Quote:
...the geologists next door had an IBM something with punch cards. I just didn't get it
I had the same response when I first started using computers/punch cards. The use for a computer became apparent only later when the calculation became much more complex.
Quote:
...mini-computer from some new company called Sun Microsystems. They ran up against Apollo Computers, which I favored.
I remember those days well. I personally preferred the Sun (I had a 3/60) because it used standard Unix (BSD, in this case). Apollo ran their own Unix-like system, which was just enough different to be irritating. I forget all the details.
Quote:
Things get pretty boring after that, computer-wise.
I know you meant that you did not use computers in as interesting a manner, but I'll take the quote out-of-context and agree with you literally. The early days were wild and wooly, and interesting new things were coming out all the time. These days the computer scene is very uniform, and while the progress is still rapid, the software models and bundles are pretty well fixed. The real hardware innovation these days seems more to be in portable devices, like iPods and cell phones.
Reply With Quote
Old 14th August 2008
drhowarddrfine drhowarddrfine is offline
VPN Cryptographer
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 358
Thanked 9 Times in 8 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
I personally preferred the Sun (I had a 3/60) because it used standard Unix (BSD, in this case). Apollo ran their own Unix-like system, which was just enough different to be irritating. I forget all the details.
I don't remember why I preferred Apollo either but I was a hardware guy so it might have been I was more impressed with the hardware. Dunno.
Quote:
I know you meant that you did not use computers in as interesting a manner, but I'll take the quote out-of-context and agree with you literally. The early days were wild and wooly, and interesting new things were coming out all the time. These days the computer scene is very uniform, and while the progress is still rapid, the software models and bundles are pretty well fixed.
Exactly what I meant. Now I have to go take a nap.
Reply With Quote
Old 15th August 2008
roddierod's Avatar
roddierod roddierod is offline
Real Name: Rod Person
VPN Cryptographer
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Pittsburgh, Pa
Posts: 376
Thanked 13 Times in 13 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by drhowarddrfine View Post
My first real computer was actually a toy computer that had little sliding racks on it for calculating logic.
You not saying that your first computer was an Abacus or some form of Babbage's difference engine?
__________________
"The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words." -Philip K. Dick
Reply With Quote
Old 15th August 2008
bsdforlife bsdforlife is offline
Real Name: Ridge Allen
Port Guard
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: /dev/null
Posts: 10
Thanked 0 Times in 5 Posts
Default My first computer

My first computer was a ti-99 and then two years later I invested in a C64
those were the good old day's
Reply With Quote
Old 15th August 2008
drhowarddrfine drhowarddrfine is offline
VPN Cryptographer
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 358
Thanked 9 Times in 8 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by roddierod View Post
You not saying that your first computer was an Abacus or some form of Babbage's difference engine?
Neither. I saw someone post a picture of it last year, I think. It stood about six inches tall and about 9 inches long. There were tabs on the side and pulling/pushing them executed some sort of program put together with these plastic racks. The big deal then was solving the problem of talking to two aliens; one told the truth the other lies.

I never really figured out how to use it. I guess that's why I became a hardware guy.

Ooh! Ooh! Dr. J! Dr. J!!
Tell 'em about vector monitors!
Reply With Quote
Old 15th August 2008
drhowarddrfine drhowarddrfine is offline
VPN Cryptographer
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 358
Thanked 9 Times in 8 Posts
Default

Aha!! My first computer!
Reply With Quote
Old 15th August 2008
DrJ DrJ is offline
ISO Quartermaster
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Gold Country, CA
Posts: 506
Thanked 39 Times in 39 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by drhowarddrfine View Post
Ooh! Ooh! Dr. J! Dr. J!!
Tell 'em about vector monitors!
What, storage tubes like the Tek 4014? Oscilloscopes with keyboards? Pretty cool devices actually, but really expensive. I remember well the day we got a board that retrofitted out Zenith Z-29 so that it had a Tek-compatible mode.
Reply With Quote
Old 15th August 2008
drhowarddrfine drhowarddrfine is offline
VPN Cryptographer
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 358
Thanked 9 Times in 8 Posts
Default

That was when monitors were monitors and men were men.
Reply With Quote
Old 15th August 2008
jggimi's Avatar
jggimi jggimi is offline
More noise than signal
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 3,710
Thanked 214 Times in 189 Posts
Default

I used a 4014 -- 1976 or so. We had it connected to the mainframe via a newfangled Vadic modem that was four times faster than any other async modem available: 1200 baud when the others were all 110 or 300. It was blindingly fast, and worked well for graphic display. But you had to be careful with the modem:
  • If it got shut off, you had to turn it on and leave it on for 4 hours to heat stabilize before using it.
  • Never hold down the U key too long -- if it began auto-repeating, the modem would go nuts. (In ASCII, the "U" is 01010101.)
  • Never, ever move the modem or touch it or put anything on top of it.
I could tell you about the first 5.25" diskette drive I'd ever seen: Shugart brand. It worked, as long as you kept the cover off the drive so you could reach into it and move the head back to track 0 with your finger. (The first diskette I ever saw was in 1975, an 8" model used to program an IBM 2880 storage control unit.)
Reply With Quote
Old 15th August 2008
DrJ DrJ is offline
ISO Quartermaster
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Gold Country, CA
Posts: 506
Thanked 39 Times in 39 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jggimi View Post
I used a 4014 ... It was blindingly fast, and worked well for graphic display.
That they were, but pretty miserable for text. Each character had to be drawn individually by vectors. Let's say they weren't particularly aesthetic.
Quote:
The first diskette I ever saw was in 1975, an 8" model used to program an IBM 2880 storage control unit.
Those actually worked pretty well. Mine were IBM 3740 format, so somewhat newer. The early 5.25 drives were just awful.

Regarding your other comments, I did not see some of that personally. But the general message that computers had their quirks in those days certainly is right.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 08:29 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Content copyright © 2007-2010, the authors
Daemon image copyright ©1988, Marshall Kirk McKusick