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Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 7:57 AM
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I don’t see how this list could be complete without mentioning COBOL.

From the 1960s until about 1990 it was the language of choice for business programming with implementations on every major OS.

There are tremendous number of applications written in COBOL still running.

It might not be flashy, sexy, object-oriented, etc. but it continues to be a workhorse.



Post #1423078
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 8:14 AM
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The program that inspired me was Collosal Cave. I ended up writing a similar Star Trek environment adventure gave on punch tape for a college project. I bought a TRS-80, got into basic programming, and created "Dr. Livingston, I Presume" adventure game that got published in a magazine. My first real programming class was in Fortran. I'm still programming today, not in Fortran of course.
Post #1423087
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 8:16 AM


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Great article Steve!

My first program was in Fortran on punch-cards during my senior year of high school.

In the early 80's I got a Vic 20 and a Sargon chess game cartridge. I wrote a blackjack program for it and then turned my interest toward business. I remember walking into my company with a black and white TV, the Vic20, and a cassette tape recorder storage device with my product pricing program ready to go. I demo'ed it for the CEO and chairman of the board and they loved it. They threw a few different products and scenarios at it and the price was accurate to the penny every time. They purchased an IBM PC XT along with the PFS database and word processing software and my career in IT began.

It's been an incredible 3 decades. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!
Post #1423088
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 8:19 AM


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I saw in 1984 the first computer ever, it was a MSX Panasonic, one of those big black keyboards that plugged in on b/w televisors. I still remind the instruction to recover whatever you had on memory after a quick switch off/on POKE -62536 Later I remind using cassttes to upload programs and copying them on double cassetes recorders at "high speed"

After a couple of years a NEC with EGA monitor, 5 1/4 inch floppy disc drive... WHHAOOO!! But I didn't had acces to it. I waiting about a couple more years I met a friend with an IBM XT at home with orange/black monitor and 2 floppy drives. GWBasic installed on ROM, MS-DOS 3 as SO and playing lot of Digger and Moonbugs.

First software that caught my attention was one for desing called "Inset", I was amazed by how you could draw, how can it be done? I told myself, let's try it and then DRAW instruction and then using functions to create funny "3D" drawings using sin, cos and alike.
Post #1423091
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 8:54 AM


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Paulo A. Nascimento (2/22/2013)
No doubt, the BASIC interpreter that came with my first 8-bit home computer, the Atari 800 XL.


Atari 800XL - w00t! This was the first computer that my family owned. I had gotten hooked on computers with the Apple II series, but there was no way I could have convinced my folks to shell out the big bucks for one of those. I was so excited when they brought home the 800XL with a data cassette drive and a flywheel printer that I was happy to overlook the goofiness of "TV\Computer" switch that connected it to the 12-inch black-and-white TV that served as a monitor.

It's interesting to remember how quickly the wait for programs to load and save from cassette tape began to annoy me, though!


Jason Wolfkill
Blog: SQLSouth
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Post #1423107
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 9:17 AM


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I think the average age for database developers and sysadmins must be like 40. Maybe a few years more for sysadmins.


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Post #1423123
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 9:22 AM


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Eric M Russell (2/22/2013)
I think the average age for database developers and sysadmins must be like 40. Maybe a few years more for sysadmins.


I hear you. It seems like they just keep getting younger and younger...
Post #1423125
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 9:24 AM


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Dave62 (2/22/2013)
Eric M Russell (2/22/2013)
I think the average age for database developers and sysadmins must be like 40. Maybe a few years more for sysadmins.


I hear you. It seems like they just keep getting younger and younger...


Hold up...I need to adjust my hearing aids.

In my defense - this whole "IT" thing was a second career for me.
Post #1423127
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 9:28 AM


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for as long as I remember, I have always liked to tinker and build things.
I have found that working with computers is just a natural extention of this.
The first computers I had encountered where a trs 80 in high school and Burroughs equipment in college. But what really inpired me was building my 1st application for job tracking (in Basic on an IBM PC running P-CODE) and it was usable and helped people work more efficiently.

I sometime wish the days were still that simple


-- Optimist with experience and still learning
Post #1423129
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 9:53 AM


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Bill Wehnert - The Tom Swift books (I had a set, too) weren't written by Asimov. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Swift

I've been a gadget-geek all my life, since I was a little kid, dismantling mom's vacuum cleaner to see what made all the noise (and then getting in trouble for not putting it back together - once I learned what was inside, I was no longer interested). My first experience with computing hardware was mechanical Marchant calculators, in the university physics labs where my father taught. Then came an electronic calculator with a CRT display a couple of inches square, about the size of a large typewriter and weighing considerably more. It could add, subtract, multiply, divide and remember one number. No square root. The first experience with real programming was a beginning Fortran course, at the university again, after a Vietnam-era tour in the Marine Corps. Univac 9300, 32KB of magnetic core memory, punched 80-column card input - the university's sole computer. Everything in the school ran on it, and students were given one run per day, in the evening, to hand in their deck of cards. Next morning, you could pick up your card deck and however many sheets of paper your job had generated, and go troubleshoot it. That evening, you could try again. If there was too much stuff for the operator to fit it all in, you had to wait until the next day. Sometimes, if the operator was feeling generous and the workload was light, you could persuade him to run a few things during lunch hour.

Even under such primitive conditions, once I discovered what those machines could do, I was hooked and have been at it ever since.
Post #1423140
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