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Discussion in 'Forum Rules' started by clarinetgirlandswimmer, Jan 9, 2010.
I was happy until I found out I have ESL.
LOL, that's exactly what went through my head when I read it!
All right - enough with the TLAs*.
* Three Letter Acronyms
(Go To Your Room!)
Nicely hidden definition. GTYR was a new acronym for me. Only found it in the Urban Slang site.
I wasn't going to ask - I didn't get it either. Google kept coming up with Yamaha motorcycle exhaust systems.
At least we are also NEOSesnot English-only speakers...
I remember and used acoustic coupled modems when I was 11 or 12. I think I've used every modem speed from 30 baud on up.
BBS systems were great fun to play with in the 80's.
OK, as long as we are reminiscing, let's talk about some really early computing stuff:
1. Teletype terminals with yellow paper punch tape. You typed up your program offline, then dialed in to the computer (acoustic coupler) and ran your tape through the reader. Wait a few minutes, and your output (or an error message) would print out.
2. Good old fashioned IBM 026 card punch machines. You typed up your program a step at a time on 80 column punch cards, then took it to the operator window and dropped it in the box. Don't forget the pre-punched orange 6789 card at the back to signal the computer that the job was ended. The operator ran your card deck through the card reader which uploaded it to the mainframe through an interpreter. Wait a few minutes (or longer), and you got your output at another window all printed up on greenbar paper.
3. IBM 370 mainframe terminals with a light pen. You clicked on various things like this: < > to navigate through the screens.
4. One of the earliest computer games - Hunt The Wumpus. IIRC, it ran on a PDP-11 or a CDC-6400.
5. IBM 3380 series disk drives. Capacity of 1 Gb. Size about the same as your kitchen refrigerator. Oh, by the way, you needed a disk controller too. It was bigger than the drive. Price when new for a 9Gb array with controller >$300,000.
I am an old f@rt!
The first stored-program computer I programmed was an IBM 650. That was in '59 as I recall. 1K Drum memory. Vacuum tube logic. The programming language was called SOAP II, which was an assembly language. I still have the programmer's manual and the operator's guides.
My punch card story...
This may have been related before, but it bears unearthing a second time:
Backup Your Data
A Cautionary Tale Of Love, Musical Magic, And Computer Programming Done The Old Way
Terry L. Stibal
Ah, Hollerith cards. Don't get me started about Hollerith cards. You young whippersnappers with yer magnetic tape and yer cathode ray tubes
In my day, you sat at a keypunch machine for five hours, punching and re-punching the cards that contained the programming until you got it right, or so you thought. Then it was down to the room with the counter where you stood until one of the operator geeks deigned to notice you and take your handiwork. Then it was only the matter of a couple of hours until somebody delivered a sixty page printout that would help you sort out your five one-letter syntax errors. And they wonder what took us so long to get color computers...
Gather around my children, wait for me to fill my (metaphoric) pipe (tap, tap, tap...flash...puff, puff, puff), and listen to a moving tale of musical and computer madness and young love from a time long ago:
I once had a huge program (designed to sort out probable duplicate veteran claims following the great NPRC fire in 1973) that took up the better part of a box of the damnd things. Id work on it at work during the slack time at the then-VA during the day, compiling and testing as I went, then them one or two nights a week to the university where I was in attendance (where I had computer system privileges) to do the same during the middle of the night.
Being young and running flush with hormones, I was attempting to combine the rather bizarre cycles involved with compiling and debugging a pretty complicated computer program written in a weak programming language (RPG, to be specific) with an active second job as a musician and a social agenda that could best be described as a juggling act. (But, I hasten to add, it was a programming concept that won me a sizeable cash award from a Federal agency notorious for being as tight as a drum.)
In any event, it was not something you attempt to do lightly, but I was young and restless, and the first stages of a glorious autumn were in the air. And, as might be expected, mistakes were made.
There I was, heading out to the amusement park for the laughingly named afternoon shift (which ran from five oclock until closing) In the bed of my pickup truck (an unusual ride for anyone back in the early Seventies, despite what you see these days) were my five horns (I played the Reed IV book in the pit orchestra in the theater where they put on the musical shows, and I had to provide a wide variety of woodwind instruments as my tools of the trade), my late, thresherman-sized "lunch" (two sandwiches, two Hostess snacks, two pieces of fruit, and a Styrofoam cooler with four bottles of Coke, in the then-rare sixteen ounce size), and my big box of Hollerith cards.
Up in the cab with your correspondent was a young lady (one Barbie F.) who had just replaced one of the good singers/dancers when the A list crowd had gone back to college. While not much in the talent department (although she had appeared on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour once, or so her mother told me), she had a number of attributes that interested me, most of which were displayed to good effect when she did the bob and twirl routine to the strains of It's Such A Pretty World Today, tricked out in a 1890s outfit that suited her youthful willowy figure just so.
For those who have never spent any time in a orchestra pit, its hard to realize what it is like to look at well-displayed beauty, orbiting by just over your head, seven to eight times a day. You develop a sort of rhythm to it all, knowing just when to tilt your head up from the part and the conductor, memorizing a few bars of music and following the drums rather than the baton, just because you know that at that point in the number, shell be making a star turn only inches away. With Barbie, I would actually lengthen the peg on the bottom of my bass clarinet a couple of inches before the number in question, just so I could continue to play the part in the best American Federation of Musicians traditions of excellence, yet get a good clear view of the stage without moving my head...
Oops...drifted off for a second there...now, where was I?
Anyway, she needed a ride to work, and I was needing something that she had, so it was only natural that we were soon paying a lot of attention to each other as we rolled to our respective musical destinies at 70 mph down the then-new interstate highway on the way to the park. And, I was happy that she chose to sit in the middle of the seat, close to the then svelte and muscular (and, dare I say it, attractive to the opposite sex) T. Stibal, instead of over on the shotgun side
a portent of what was yet to come, if you will.
Later, it was said that the genesis of our budding romance could be tracked by the windrow of punch cards deposited by the side of the highway as we sped through the afternoon sun on that fine fall day. It seems that someone forgot that the open tray-like box was not quite the container to be carrying small, flat paper objects at seventy per. (On previous trips, it had always sat on the seat next to me, right where her oh-so-shapely bottom was nestled up against my then-muscular thigh.)
(Despite the wonderful beginning, ours was a brief affair. She had to start carpooling with someone else after her two weeks of bliss with the all powerful and knowing stud muffin that was I in the early 1970s. For all I know she is still feeling the pain. However, it lasted just long enough for me, what with the impending arrival of the just as attractive and far more malleable Michelle)
Of the huge numbers of cards containing the program and the data set, only about two hundred of the data cards remained. The rest had fluttered out of the tray over the length of the twenty mile highway run, flipping up into the eddies in the slipstream coming off the roof of the cab as I blasted by other cars and trucks, and dribbled along the side of the highway.
All the while, I was distracted from the intermittent flutter behind me in the rearview mirror by flowing golden hair (undoubtedly fake; take my word for it) and the bluest eyes (real; this was well before tinted contacts came into vogue) into which I've ever had the privilege of staring. Distracted by a living doll, I was oblivious to the departure of my massive corpus of computer work, card by card. And, I was littering in the bargain...
On subsequent trips out to the park, I would occasionally see the telltale shape of a Hollerith card off in the verge of the highway right of way. I even stopped and retrieved one as a remembrance of the event, framing it as a reminder of the hours of labor it took to recreate the programming from the last printout (which providently had remained on my desk at work). Sort of a Paleolithic equivalent of a backup of your hard drive, if you will. For all I know, that weathered card is still sitting there framed on my old desk at the now-DVA, close to the massive ball of used staples that I removed over my tenure there.
Like Charles Foster Kanes assistant Bernstein, I can say with certitude that there's scarcely a day (well, a month maybe) that goes by that I don't think of that girl, even though I only knew her for what amounted to a moment of my life. All I have to do is to hear the first few bars of that song, and suddenly, I can see her twirling through her big moment on stage, spinning parasol over the right shoulder, hem of the white shirtwaist lifting just so to showcase her gorgeous gams, all this as she worked her way towards an imagined theatrical career that no doubt led to a secretarys job in New York City, secondwifedom with some silver fox of an ad executive on Madison Avenue, and a life in the Connecticut suburbs. And then, I start remembering Hollerith cards
Oh well, ships that pass in the night and all that...and certainly a cautionary tale about the hazards of not "backing things up". I wonder if she has ever figured out why I got so upset over what were (in her words at the time) just a bunch of cards?
Ah....the price of romance. Uh, Terry, I think you got that last phrase wrong. It's "STONES that pass in the night."
Nyuk nyuk nyuk.
Oh my, a story full of allegories if I ever heard one. Some how I think you should get 'truck' in the title though.
A Cautionary Tale Of Love, a truck, Musical Magic, And Computer Programming Done The Old Way
I've got a yaging headache
. . ."And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
YAGE, YAGE against the dying of the light."
(apologies to Dylan Thomas):geezer2:
I'm pretty much a micro computer guy. I started playing with computers when I was 10 or 12. Radio Shack TRS-80's. Growing up in the 80's it was all about TRS-80's, Commodore PETs, CBMs, Vic-20's, 64's, and 128's. I remember playing around with a Timex Sinclair.
My first computer was a TI99/4A.
I have used every version of DOS and at one point could tell you the enhancements made in the various releases.
me too .. except add the Apples and macs to the mix too.
My first real computer was an Apple //e with a yellow screen with a CP/M card
You need to flesh this out in a script for a movie, Terry. All the ingredients are there. You will have to do away with them cards and find a more up to date programming language (says the ignorant). You are writing software for the FBI to fend of hackers employed by Al-Qeada. There is a three way thing going on and Barbie's significant other, Ken, who is paid by an Al-Queda cell. Barbie is attached to Ken from her childhood and doesn't know what leg to stand on, or rather what bed to sleep in. Of course she ends up on your side, but at the same time in grave danger in the final scene, where you finish off Ken, now aggravated for both professional and personal reasons, in a tsunami of blood. There have obviously been several (bloody tsunamis) beforehand, including one with Al-Queda members trying to kill you in car chase that distinguishes itself from the hundreds of others by your truck being a hybrid, ...insert bullet-sprays, bombs, innocent casualties in the thousands, etc. etc. The really difficult decision obviously comes to how you will portray the sex scenes, because you want it to be PG-13 (no amount of blood-shed will prevent that), so somehow we have to be forced watching sex between adults with all, or at least most, of their clothes on. Always makes me wonder what impression it leaves on the less than 13 year old crowd, but is probably just higher pitched groans at the stupidity. Anyway, some producer in Hollywood will make this decision for you based on the his need for cash to finance his most recent divorce settlement.
Mine too as TI dumped them on the market when they decided making computers was not profitable. I got the Texas Instruments 99/4A, more RAM, and extended hard drive for the price of the computer the month before circa '82. Then I automated my reports in the military and spent more time outta the office.