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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.
Fortran at school, cards sent to the Town Hall for processing but completely forgotten.
Then at the end of the 80s a ZX81 with Basic which swiftly proved to be so limiting so I moved rapidly on to z80, 6809, 6510, 68000 and 8080 assembler (actually with z80 and 6809 it was initially pure hand written machine code). 2 games published on the Dragon and Commodore 64 together with sound and speech hardware addons.
the book was in German, useless to me.
10 PRINT "YOUR NAME";
20 GOTO 10
i wanted to do something colorful with graphics. i used to peek and poke it's memory and found out the screen map at address 1024-2023 and the color ram at address 55296-56295.
c64 had a terrible basic. as soon as possible i moved to machine language.
i don't know what was my first program, but i'll always remember my effort to move a sprite from left to right on the screen in assembly.
it took me about 10 careful rechecks and restarts of the program to realize that it is working correctly and that it is moving the sprite soooo fast that i am unable to see it. it only appeared at the final coordinate.
for comparison, in basic to increase the X coordinate of a sprite in a tight loop as fast as possible would crawl the sprite from left to right.
assembly language was the kind of revelation you see in 2001: A Space Odyssey, when the monkey faces the monolith.
Many years ago, I bought my first computer, a Commodore VIC 20.
Shortly thereafter, my dad bought a Commodore 64, but when he realised it was harder to use a computer (at that time, before Windows and Internet) than he had thought, he swapped me for my VIC 20, because he thought that I'd have a better use for the powerful Commodore 64, and he could make do with the less powerful VIC 20.
Anything that is unrelated to elephants is irrelephant Anonymous - The problem with quotes on the internet is that you can never tell if they're genuine Winston Churchill, 1944 - Never argue with a fool. Onlookers may not be able to tell the difference. Mark Twain
When I was a teenager, I first had a Sinclair ZX-81, came with 1k RAM< expanded to 16k I wrote a few simple little basic programs on that, but nothing close to any production material. It could be done, even with it's sh*tty graphics; I had a cassette loading version of the popular game Frogger.
I upgraded to a ZX Spectrum about a year later, and also only really fooled around with it's BASIC. Typed in lots of machine code hex listings from magazines thought, for some pretty cool little games.
"'Do what thou wilt...' is to bid Stars to shine, Vines to bear grapes, Water to seek its level; man is the only being in Nature that has striven to set himself at odds with himself."
In 1975(?) I took a Saturday morning course for high school students at the local community college in FORTRAN on a Burroughs minicomputer. As I recall, I never did get a program to work. My first working programs were in Tiny BASIC on my stepdad's COSMAC ELF-II[^] single board computer, based on the RCA 1802 microprocessor. I also wrote a lot of programs for the TI-59[^] programmable calculator my parents bought me for high school graduation.
My first professional programming in 1980 was on an HP 1000[^] series minicomputer in FORTRAN 66. I was a sophomore in college and was paid the whopping sum of $6.00 per hour.
TRS-80 Model 1 level 2 BASIC. Was barely in 1st grade. My dad had built and modded a second one so I got the first one with a cassette player, some games, and a library or magazines to "play". I managed to code a couple really simple games, choose your adventure, and a failed attempt at a Pong like game. (Graphical programming was hard for my 8 year old brain) One program I had was a menu for programs on a cassette. Menu program was at beginning of tape and had a directory of the apps and their tape counter location. Fast forward the tape to counter nnn and CLOAD.
Fast forward 5 or so years and I got a 2nd hand 286 IBM compatible PC. Played around with GW-BASIC and actually started digging into Batch scripting. During high school I tinkered with QuickBASIC and DBASE (yes i consider it a programming language) but had found that all i would do is make menu and UI shells for the batch utils i made. I took more to the hardware/networking side of things.
It wasn't until a few years out of college that I got my first professional opportunity. VB6 and Office VBA migration to .NET solutions. And here I am.
Its sorta funny how I find myself doing the same sorts of things over a 30 year span.. Like little scripts and utilities and then building simple menu based UIs to navigate those utils.
My high school in the early 80s had these TRS-80s from Radio Shack. There was one course offered, BASIC.
We saved our homework on cassette tapes. Each of the four or so computers had an old-style cassette tape recorder connected to it somehow. I remember a friend of mine and I were curious about what would happen if we played them as audio. I think it was just kind of random static.
Off to college, various courses, starting with Fortran and assembler on a VAX 11/780.
First professional experience was in EDL on an old IBM Series/1. This was very much like assembler; to debug, you'd get a printout of your program, on the left-hand side of which was the compiled machine language. Setting breakpoints at addresses, inspecting memory directly, etc.
I feel like that was a good experience, made it easier to understand how software is actually executed by seeing some of the under-the-hood post-compilation results.
1969, FORTRAN via punch cards on an IBM 370. The procedure was:
1. Punch cards
2. Submit deck
3. Wait somewhere between 5 minutes and several hours
4. Pickup output listing
5. Find typo or logic error
I think the program had something to do with using Simpson's Rule.
Later on I did a lot of programming on a HP 2100 mini-computer via paper tape on a teletype machine. I remember trying to get something working late on day and out of frustration I randomly typed 'why' at the prompt. The computer responded with 'Why not'.
HP published all the details on the machine, include the assembly language source code for the OS. I decided to figure out where the 'Why not' was coming from. It was extremely well disguised so it took a couple of hours to find it. It's pretty easy to disguise stuff in assembly language.
Back in the 70's I got this educational thingy called "CARDIAC". Was a cardboard tool to demonstrate the workings of a computer. Had sections for memory and registers, and you would write in with pencil your program, and execute the instructions, etc. Very simple, but showed me enough to get me hooked.
High school we had access to an old HP computer. Had a 80 character, single line LED display, card reader, plotter, thermal printer, and 4K of core RAM. Lots of fun doing plots and such. Also the school had an 1802 kit that I would do assembler coding on.
First real computer was a TRS-80, and first computer job was during the summer when I was 15, writing some office software on a UCSD Pascal system. And I haven't stopped since 😉
Lots of interesting replies. Here's mine. We had a Computer Club at my grammar school in 1966 run by one of the science teachers. We learnt about binary numbers & how computers (at that time) worked. We had some type of primitive system that was collectively programmed to solve simple math/logic problems and show the answers in binary using lights on or off. My first real programming experience was learning Fortran at the end of 2nd year Civ. Eng. degree in 1969. For some unknown reason, after the exams we had a 2 week course each morning waiting for exam results to be published. Needless to say, we spent most of our time partying & so often had less than clear heads in the morning. For the first couple of days of the Fortran course I couldn't make any sense of it. How could i = i + 1? Then it suddenly clicked & I was hooked. The next year I did my 3rd year project programming a simulation of a water resources system to optimize withdrawals from different sources to meet the demand from a nearby city. It was punched cards which were delivered to the Computer Dept. on the other side of campus. If you submitted by 11am, you got your print out the next day. If not you had to wait until the day after. From there I moved to Canada to do a Masters including a thesis developing/programming a deterministic conceptual hydrologic model. This led to a 40+ year career as a water resources consulting engineer doing computer modelling. At first, we did lots of programming but eventually pre-packaged models took over so I kept up my interest as a recreational programmer with a C64, etc. learning various languages, etc. continuing up to today.
Wow. In all my years of programming (since 1974), I never had a problem with I=I+1. Maybe it was the way it was taught - as an assignment, not as a mathematical identity. When I read your post, my first reaction was, why didn’t that bother me at the time? Not enough imagination, I guess.