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Late 80s on a commodore64. I was sick of repeatedly estimating the number of tiles on a roof, and getting it wrong. The application reduced my error rate from about 20% to 5% and those were transposition errors because I had to write up the order manually.
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity
I learned in 1967, because I wanted to learn about those newfangled compputer machines. I started getting paid to program in 1972 when I took a job to pay for my university studies.I tutored and taught FORTRAN for several years, then worked for a research commision writing FORTRAN and Algol programs. I started a software business in 1990 after working as an engineer for 15 years.
CQ de W5ALT
Walt Fair, Jr., P. E. Comport Computing Specializing in Technical Engineering Software
Like you, I started in 1968 when I took a Fortran programming course at IIT. I went on to start writing programs at Argonne National Laboratory for nuclear reactor data collection and simulation. Data collection was done in assembly language for a HP 2115 mini-computer; simulation was done in PL/I on an IBM 360 Model 95 (the super-computer of the day).
When Tricky Dicky got elected, our budget was trashed, so I went to work at GTE writing factory automation software for the IBM 1800, Data General Nova, DEC PDP-11, and a few off-brands that nobody has ever heard of.
I found I had a knack for developing operating system software and communications systems. So I started my own software business in 1980. I learned that I liked sales, contract negotiation and writing, development, and a lot of other things -- except for people management! People management took me a looonnnnng time to learn and appreciate.
For me, learning a new language or system has always been a piece of cake which I attribute to a solid foundation in assembly language.
I still do a lot of development on both Windows and Linux systems. The hardest part for me nowadays is the circular definition that all too many people use in their documentation. E.g. "FunctionA -- Invokes FunctionA". Usually lacks any explanation of what FunctionA does, how it does it, what the parameters are, return values and conditions, etc.
To me, I want to know the internals so I can be effective and efficient. But that goes against many modern management and implementation models.
I could say a lot more...but I won't.
My only serious career regret is that I was writing an OS for the Intel 8080 at the same time Bill Gates was writing DOS. My system supported real-time, interrupt driven multi-tasking and multi-programming. I did mine under exclusive contract and did not retain rights of ownership -- Gate was smarter! The company subsequently went out of business. (I could have been rich!)
Because I needed a job and there was good money to be made in IT
I actually learned on the job (and in my spare time after I got my first job).
I liked it, it kind of stuck, and I've been doing it happily ever after
The year was 1992. It was DOS on a IBM386. My dad was a programmer back then, so I learned a few nifty things using his class notes...I ended up studying it in college after my hopes to pursue a career in aviation got crushed. But hey, 10 years into doing this for a living, no regrets!
Because this world needs more people doing good things to make a difference.
// ♫ 99 little bugs in the code,
// 99 bugs in the code
// We fix a bug, compile it again
// 101 little bugs in the code ♫
Tell your manager, while you code: "good, cheap or fast: pick two. "
I was 10y old. In primary school. My neighbor got a British made ZX Spectrum microcomputer. I consider the day he brought it to my place the luckiest in my life. That night, knowing only five BASIC commands - LET, INPUT, PRINT, GOTO (yes!), and IF - I wrote my first code. On paper, using graphite pencil, of course. And I knew this was what I wanted to do.
Why? Were you ever asked by your girlfriend or your wife (or both?) why you love her ( of course you were -- it's a standard let's have a fight trap ) Not an easy question to answer. I suppose it is the creation of new, the individual self- dependency, the freedom to do whatever you want and the responsibility to fix bugs, the adolescent loneliness, the instant gratification of software - simply a good match to our characters.
Later in life I met a lot of people who never found themselves. Never knew what they want to do in life. It lead to realization of how lucky I was. Life gives you many boons and bones. But it's all easier if you have passion for your work. We, who do, are the lucky ones. We are the privileged few.
When: In 1980, our high school was picked as one of the 'test' high schools in the province to have computers: 3 Commodore PETS - 16K models.
Pretty much self-taught on Commodore BASIC and then 6502 Assembler.
Why: I had taken a data processing course before where we studied the history of computers, then, in the last term, we wrote programs using mark-sense cards. That peaked my interest.
From there... it was college and over 30 years of professional work.
Last Visit: 31-Mar-20 6:00 Last Update: 31-Mar-20 6:00