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Reporters' Roundtable Friday at noon Pacific: Happy 30th birthday, PC! With +Michael Miller, former editor of PC Magazine, and Dr. Dave Bradley, inventor of ctrl-alt-delete. Should be fun, don't miss.

Advance research: Watch Dr. Dave piss off Bill Gates: http://cnettv.cnet.com/gates-control-alt-delete/9742-1_53-50002797.html (edited: link fixed)

Also, I'm having a hard time coping with the fact that many people I work with weren't born when the PC was introduced. God, I am old.
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Tom Sheppard's profile photoFulvio Gerardi's profile photoMike Goggin's profile photoRafe Needleman's profile photo
29 comments
 
My first was a CP/M. Most people I know don't have a clue what this is.

This looks like fun, I'll tune in. 
 
I was an old & jaded man working on CP/M when the PC came out. "How quaint, IBM wants in on the party too" was what I thought at the time. :/
 
We used Fortran in my senior computing class in high school
 
I learned assembly language on an 8080. It's why I have no concept of how simple apps these days can be such freaking memory pigs.
 
CP/M - Control Program for Micro computers ? Knowing this makes me feel really old :)
 
My dad was a mainframe "coder" back in the early 70s. All my scrap paper as a kid was green and white lines computer paper, and my flashcards were old punchcards.
 
Then there was UCSD-P and SB-86. And the hits keep coming ...
 
I had the Commodore 64, 128 and amiga before succumbing to the evil Intel/ Microsoft empire.
 
I came across a very strange phenomenon at work. Many of the younger employees who have grown up in the world dominated by computers have much less computer skills than us old folk who witnessed the birth of the PC.
 
+Clifford Hamblen Computers are too easy today, that's why. These young whippersnappers are coddled. Why, in my day, if we wanted to multitask, we had to install a daugtherboard and run DesqView. In the snow. Uphill. Both ways.
 
My first computer experience was with paper tape (PDP8) and punch cards (IBM 360) - think I have you all beat.
 
+Paula Jones I was a manager of a Burger King when I was 18 and the whole cash register system ran off a paper tape program. One night we lost power and I went to reload the program and the paper tape was crumpled and would not load. Had to drive to Headquarters to get another copy. Makes you appreciate being able to just reboot your PC.
 
I seee it's one of those "I remember when we had to write FORTRAN (or COBOL) programs with punch cards, that ran batch jobs, on a mainframe, built with tubes" kinda threads.
 
as in, "My first computer was _____________ "
 
My first program was flipping toggle switches on the front panel of a PDP8, 1 byte at a time, then load. Then flip run and hope it worked! My first home computer was a handbuilt CP/M machine. Now I carry an iPad. I am right there with you Rafe!
 
Don't feel bad... I worked with an IBM System 34 in 1978 & 1979 the size of a refrigerator.
 
First computer I remember using was a PDP-8, serial # 13(?) It was located in the Electrical Engineering building on the fourth floor right above the laser lab. Whenever they fired the laser they'd signal us not to do a transfer from tape to disk otherwise everything corrupted due to the EMP. I'll never forget writing a program on top of autoincrementing memory locations. Every time the instruction executed it was incremented to a different instruction. A tad difficult to debug. Had to single-cycle through each instruction.

First computer I owned, and still have in working condition, was the COSMAC VIP based on the first CMOS microprocessor, the RCA 1802.
http://oldcomputers.net/rca-cosmac-vip.html

Also worked on a refinery process control system called Advanced Control System (ACS) written by the same IBM programmers who worked on Apollo. 2.5 million lines of High Level Assembly Language. Ran SRTOS on top of OS/VS1 on an IBM 370/158. The stories I can tell …
 
I remember as part of my work experience loading punch cards into an IBM mainframe in '84 and making corrections for programmers by covering over a hole with tape.
It used to take 24 - 48 hours to see if your program had compiled... And you tell kids that today...... :)
 
First computer I used was a CPM machine with a FORTRAN interpreter (not compiler) somebody had cooked up at the local junior college. Later Dad bought me a Zenith pc clone with two 360 kb floppies and no hard disk. It had a turbo button to boost clock speed to 6 mhz from IBM's standard 4.77.
 
My first computer was a Cosmac Elf "KIT" that I found in the back of a science magazine of the time. I put it together myself with a soldering iron. It used the RCA 1802 processor and had 4K of memory.
 
+Michael Leftin Well darn. I thought I might be the oldest GPlusser here. I guess I am young at 70!
Since we seem to be playing "I remember when.."; my first puter was the IBM PS2, on which I BBSed with locals and made some great friends back in '90. (2 of whom are right here on G+, LOL). But my Master's thesis back in '72 was on punch cards.
 
+Michael Leftin OH goodie, lol. Like company!
So rambling on about people and assumptions.... The other day, while in the grocery store, my cell phone rang. (Well, it didn't actually ring... it played "Hey, Jude.." - Beatles - to signal an incoming text message).
So this high school stock boy came RUNNING over to show me how to answer the phone. LOL! I was already replying to a text from my daughter. His jaw fell open, and he said, "She can TEXT!!! Wow!!"
 
PDP-8's? You youngn's probably never saw a REAL computer! ICL 1904a, with 192k of Core memory, and not one, but two (yes, TWO.. count 'em) Megabytes of DRUM storage! High-speed paper tape readers that would blow operators across the room if the grounding straps came off, and 5 Mb disk packs in washing machine sized drives with plexiglass covers which brought new meaning to the concept of head crashes... shattered disks and heads buried in the suspended ceiling, no less!

Computing is nowhere NEAR as much fun nowadays. :)
 
Well, don't know about that... Unibody MBP dropped on bare toes can be hazardous to your health. ;)
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