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It was Christmas of '82 or '83 (can't remember) and my parents bought my brothers and I a TI-99/4a. My brothers were only interested in the games, but I quickly discovered that it could do more. I learned enough BASIC to write small programs to solve my HS algebra and geometry homework.
A few years later I went to uni as a CS major but quit when I got kicked out of the lab for refusing to yield a terminal to an upperclassman. 10 years later, tired of factory work, I went back and finished. I got my first programming job a year before I graduated and am still working here 20 years later.
The TI 99/4A was also my first computer. I taught myself BASIC and Extended BASIC. Then I moved on to Assembler. That got me hooked on programming. I even remember the interesting quirk of the graphics abilities on that computer. Each row was divided into blocks of 8 pixels which could have only 2 colors. I still have that computer somewhere in the basement.
That reminds me of when we would get on the teletype to MIT over the ARPANET (pre-internet) and play ZORK! I think I still have some of the output! It was written in MUDDLE, a friend analyzed it and found some cheat like "Send for mail" which would get you a brochure in the mailbox and one point!
Keying in instructions on the front panel of a LEO/III (see below) in 1966, and then moving to creating self loading programs on paper tape. Worked on various different systems and languages in the intervening years.
Depends. First program was written for the HP-67 on magnetic strip to run analysis of gas chromatography data.
Second was PDP-11 assembly to analyse data from Inductively Coupled Argon Plasma Spectrophotomer for elemental analysis
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, navigate a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects! - Lazarus Long
1964. First year science at Monash Uni. Punch FORTRAN II cards on an IBM 026, submit to the CDC 3200.
The next year we did all sorts of devious things, based on fixed load locations and lack of array bounds checking.
Software rusts. Simon Stephenson, ca 1994. So does this signature. me, 2012
Do those turtle things that run around the floor count?
If not, then I think 2000. Some Turbo C++ thing in which I wrote the biggest switch statement of my life... you enter an album track number, and it prints out the lyrics for that song. The album was Slipknot (self-entitled).
1984 I took my first programming class, BASIC. I absolutely hated it, the immediate spaghettification of any 'code' I wrote was very off putting, unreadable and near impossible to debug. I mostly blame the instructor for condoning poor coding practices. My next class was FORTRAN 77, and the opposite happened, I loved it. Since I was in the EE program, I didn't concentrate on programming in school. Only once I started working did I need to know assembler, c, c++.
"the debugger doesn't tell me anything because this code compiles just fine" - random QA comment
"Facebook is where you tell lies to your friends. Twitter is where you tell the truth to strangers." - chriselst
"I don't drink any more... then again, I don't drink any less." - Mike Mullikins uncle
Besides making a TI-994a say naughty things in an endless basic loop, my first real programming experience was on a pdp-11/23 running SCO unix, a cc compiler and the K&R book. That was in the late 70s if I recall. vi was the editor. Better than edlin though.
1971 university - IBM 360 Fortran IV on punch cards. I still remember the 026 and 029 card punches. Designing algorithms for the Universal Turing machine and using Facit machines to design number crunching programs. First time I got paid for a program was December 1971 as an assistant to a PhD candidate who needed some programs. Today, 48 years later, I am still earning my living writing programs. Gone through all the languages. Fortran, PL/1, Assembler, Cobol, Basic in numerous flavours, C, C#, php, CLipper with DBIV and probably a whole lot of others that I don't remeber. I am currently learning Python. It's been a wonderful journey and I wouldn't change it for anything.
1968, in final year of high school, I did a Fortran IV course at University of NSW (over university radio). Submitted coding sheets by mail which were punched, run and the printout returned. So one batch turn-around per week!
1969 I started uni and graduated in Computer Science after 4 years.
Spent next 45 years programming.