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Early Software Expand / Collapse
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Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 11:33 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Early Software






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Post #1422888
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 12:04 AM
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first modern pc i saw was in '90 ('91 or '92) at my mother's work place. i was 10-12 years old maybe. it was a 286 or 386 among the machines that punched paper cards. the pc had a color display and some ppl were playing prince of persia, at a time when i had black and white tv a home. it was sooo cool! so amazing! i just saw it, not use it, but since then i decided to do what it takes to be around these machines with color screens. i took computer science classes in school, in high school, attended a programming club, learned to program in pascal, graduated mathematics and computer science university and now i work as a .net/sql programmer. it was a journey and it started with the pc with the colour screen that ran prince. i get emotional when i think about it! really!
tnx for the post, man!
Post #1422892
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 2:04 AM


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Nice to see the ol' Vic 20 again (my first computer too).

What inspired me to become a programmer was a general disdain for what was being achieved and how hard it was for me to achieve what I felt was a sub-par level. Software development at the time did not deliver what I thought it could and yet was a major challenge in both skills and effort. I still think that this holds true but that we are continually raising the bar.

My problem starting out in the early 80s was that games were all the rage and they didn't offer me the problems that I wanted to solve (or at least that's what I thought). I attempted to provide solutions to made up problems to satisfy my human desires. Of course, I have stopped that now. Some appear not to have done (this is not a subtle dig at innovative products but is a blindingly obvious dig at internal development teams who develop what they want then try to force it on users)


Gaz

-- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!
Post #1422919
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 4:31 AM
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I've always been fascinated with making mechanical / electrical things work the way you want them to by applying the right leverage / signal in the right location and at the right time. (Growing up around farm equipment can do that to you.)

The first program I saw written and executed was when my girlfriend's father assembled a series of PRINT statements to create a U.S. flag using asterisks on the green-screen of his Commodore PET computer (1981). My thought was, "Big deal, what's the point?"

A few months later, as a senior in high school, I watched other students solve math problems using BASIC programs they had written on a machine with a CP/M operating system that booted from a 5-1/4 floppy disk (no hard drive). I can still remember the first program I wrote:

10 A=2
20 B=1
30 A+B=C
40 A-B=D
50 PRINT C
60 PRINT D


It didn't work - syntax error. It took me two days to understand the assignments in lines 30 and 40 should have started "C=" and "D=". I fixed it, it ran and showed the correct results, and I was hooked.

I spent a lot of time on that computer that year, chose a different college, changed my major, and here I am 32 years later, still loving the technical challenges of making the computer do what you want it to do, given a set of finite instructions. Granted, the list of instructions from which to choose has greatly expanded!
Post #1422979
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 4:44 AM
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I remember having a speech synthesis program on my commodor 64 (named SAM I think). That got me hooked.
My brother and I would have graph paper everywhere plotting out sounds and graphics for data rows to peek and poke and wrote alot of BASIC applications to do different things.

I got hooked on SQL server when I was writing some reports and working on an in house inventory / project management system. I found solving challenges in sets very interesting.
Post #1422984
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 5:17 AM
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Commadore 64: I thought it was fun to make it scroll "[brother's name] is stinky!" over and over. I was 7, that stuff was funny at that age. ;)
Post #1422995
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 5:34 AM
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No doubt, the BASIC interpreter that came with my first 8-bit home computer, the Atari 800 XL.
Post #1423002
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 5:48 AM
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I'd already decided I wanted to work with computers because older cousins did and I liked what they described, but the first software I remember was on a three day school course at the then North Staffs polytechnic in the early seventies and we wrote basic using a teletype onto a mainframe which really convinced me that I enjoyed this and found it easy. I could beat it at noughts and crosses too!
I missed most of the Commodore Pet/BBC B/Apple/Sinclair era, considering them as toys as I was already a computing graduate working with DEC PDP11 all day. I did work on one business system on an Apple 2 where the works power kept tripping out every 10 minutes and I learned to save work very frequently!
Post #1423006
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 5:54 AM
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It wasn't software, specifically, that got me hooked. I was an auto mechanic in the late 70's/early 80's. I attended a Delco-Remy seminar on the first electronically controlled carburetors where they provided a fairly in-depth view of what was going on inside that chip. Electronic ignition systems becoming very popular at the time. The Ford EEC IV system was pretty impressive. It was used in Indy cars, with some programming tweaks but otherwise essentially stock. That was when it clicked what the combination of software and data could do since it was accurately managing firing each spark plug multiple times per minute at 9000+ rpm. Today, Formula 1 uses a Microsoft supplied ECU that can manage the same ignition control at upwards of 21,000 rpm.

The first hardware I used was also a CP/M-based machine. It had 2 8" 1mb floppy drives. I remember wondering how I would ever fill those disks. While I was using Wordstar for word processing, the first language I learned on it was BASIC. I was too lazy to roll my chair 4 feet to change the font settings on my Panasonic 24 pin LQ printer, so I wrote a BASIC program to do so. I always saw that as the epitome of laziness but I've also seen that a certain amount of laziness leads to automation of the mundane...a good thing.


------------
Buy the ticket, take the ride. -- Hunter S. Thompson
Post #1423008
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 6:01 AM


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I was working in the accounting department of a small steel broker and they decided to implement Solomon Accounting software. They put the product on three standalone IBM XT's and ran it via sneakernet. When I left that job to move on to another accounting position somewhere else, our reseller (E&Y) offered me a job based on the fact that I was able to operate the reporting module without much of their help.

That was 1989. I had just finished getting an accounting degree while working 2 and sometimes 3 jobs to make ends meet. I was totally unprepared for changing gears at that point - but was mesmerized by the thought that someone actually recruited me to a new position. I took the leap of faith and have never regretted it.

24 short years later and I'm still loving what I do.
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