HomeRoast Digest


Topic: ancient computers and the people who remember them. (31 msgs / 696 lines)
1) From: Jim Mitchell
IBM 1420, SNOBOL, JPL
And my 'umble contribution to computer ill-literacy everywhere:http://209.16.139.138/howl/HOWL.htmCheers - I'll go back to flipping switches on my Altair/Cromemco/IMSAI now 
...
Jim

2) From: Brett Mason
Jim, that is phenomenal!  Brought back many memories, and thoughts of
scenarios too distant - I was sorry to miss them.
Very glad that Gary got to surf.  His invention didn't fly at JPL, but
that little bit of code used to host and control it seemed to get a
lot of yards.
A great read, everybody!
Brett
On 3/2/06, Jim Mitchell  wrote:
<Snip>
w
<Snip>
ribes) go tohttp://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings<Snip>
--
Regards,
Brett Mason
 HomeRoast
      __]_
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!

3) From: Michael Wascher
OK, who can come up with the most obscure language?
Anybody use APPL? It ran on a STARAN computer, of which a total of 4 were
made.
I spent many years working with bit-slice machines. Develop the algorithm,
design an instruction set to efficiently implement the algorithm, build a
bit-slice machine to implement the instruction set, port from APPL to
microcode.
--MikeW
On 3/2/06, Jim Mitchell  wrote:
<Snip>
w
<Snip>
--
"Life is just one damned thing after another."
  - Elbert Hubbard

4) From: Brett Mason
AWK.
I wrote a two line program which parsed a county traffic ticket
database to identify the color of vehicles receiving tickets, and
determine the percentage issued by color.
I am sure there are other more obscure, but I have yet to meet anyone
else to program in AWK...
Brett
On 3/2/06, Michael Wascher  wrote:
<Snip>
,
<Snip>
now
<Snip>
--
Regards,
Brett Mason
 HomeRoast
      __]_
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!

5) From: Derek Bradford
On 3/2/06, Brett Mason  wrote:
<Snip>
As in awk, grep, and sed?  Surely you jest...  I can't think of a more
efficient way of moving around a Linux box...  I'd never claim to program i=
n
awk, but I've used it plenty.
But then again, maybe we're talking about different awks.
--
The Uglyroast 3! Coffee Roaster.  ...Now 85% less ugly!http://uglyroast.atspace.com

6) From: Tara Kollas
Commodor 128 - still have the "ESP tester" my dad wrote for it.
Tara
On 3/2/06, Derek Bradford  wrote:
<Snip>
 in
<Snip>

7) From: Justin Marquez
On 3/2/06, Brett Mason  wrote:
<Snip>
Inquiring minds want to know!
Safe Journeys and Sweet Music
Justin Marquez (Snyder, TX)http://www.justinandlinda.com

8) From: Jim Mitchell
At the Lazy B we used to refer to any bunch of Unix types as an:
'Awk of Greppers'
and the individuals within as:
'SSUP's' {Scum Sucking Unix Pukes)
but those days are past and that particular argument long over ...
Jim

9) From: Zara Haimo
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
<Snip>
Gotran which was the first language I learned to program in circa 1962 - =
anyone else remember it?

10) From: J.W.Bullfrog
Zara Haimo wrote:
<Snip>
PLM-86 realtime on a 286 laptop. Sure was a step foward from development 
on the IRMX system.
-- 
There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers 
exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will 
instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more 
bizarre and inexplicable.
There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

11) From: Michael Wascher
Intel was pushing PLM-86 as a "higher level" language for their micros. Lot=
s
of hype, they had some free classes, but it never took off.
Gotran got brief consideration on a project I worked on. The guy who had th=
e
most clout (the guy who would write the compiler) decided on RATFOR instead=
.
On 3/2/06, J.W.Bullfrog  wrote:
<Snip>
--
"Life is just one damned thing after another."
  - Elbert Hubbard

12) From: tom ulmer
I wasn't going to get involved with this one, but since I was just learning
the alphabet in 1962...
I spent hours programming a brand new TI SR-52 for a first year physics exam
only to be forced to hand it over in trade for a slide rule as I walked into
class. 
	Zara Haimo wrote:
	
	> > OK, who can come up with the most obscure language?
	>
	> Gotran which was the first language I learned to program in circa
1962
	> - anyone else remember it?

13) From: Brett Mason
hmmm.  This was in 1991....
I think white (WHI) had highest, BLK did well, but I don't remember
which had the least.  We did identify the top 9 colors found, leading
to color rings on the numeric pad on a handheld pc.  This went to the
creation of a ticketing computer for police departments.  The color
rings meant a single touch to select color for the officer - in most
cases.
But it was AWK, the same interactive language shipped on most UNIX
systems in the late 80's...
awk is a programming language that gets its name from the 3 people who
invented it (Aho, Weinberger, and Kernighan). Because it was developed
on a Unix operating system, its name is usually printed in lower-case
("awk") instead of capitalized ("Awk"). awk is distributed as free
software, meaning that you don't have to pay anything for it and you
can get the source code to build awk yourself ...  Can you identify
what other language these folks wrote?
Brett
  ZASSIN
I suppose I did a little programming in my day...
On 3/2/06, Justin Marquez  wrote:
<Snip>
--
Regards,
Brett Mason
 HomeRoast
      __]_
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!

14) From: Jim Mitchell
Hmmm - without Googling - I'd say 'MUMPS' or possibly 'B' - the predecessor 
to 'C'...
Jim

15) From: Steven Van Dyke
Makes sense that most tickets would go to WHIte vehicles - it's the most
common color.  In part it's because of all the 'fleet / company' vehicles
that get decals / logos / signs slapped on over the basic white.
Enjoy!
Steve :->

16) From: Matt Henkel
On Thu, Mar 02, 2006 at 05:48:33PM -0800, Jim Mitchell wrote:
<Snip>
awk's a great language for scripting with CLI commands that give too
much data.  I work with some absolutely rediculous (why am I inclined to
say retarded?) applications that give bucket loads of data when I need
minute pieces.  SED & AWK have been my savior for developing scripts
that will run on relatively stripped SCO (not my choice!) boxes.
~/Matt
Cherishing the last of my Gicherori

17) From: B. Scott Harroff
Oh my...I used MUMPS and PASCAL to create a large significant portion of the
Cleveland Clinics lab systems...back in the '80's

18) From: jamesd buchanana
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Message: 21
Date: Thu, 02 Mar 2006 16:02:32 -0500
From: "J.W.Bullfrog" =
>
To: =
homeroast
Subject: Re: +Re: ancient computers and the people who remember them.
Reply-To: =
homeroast
Zara Haimo wrote:
<Snip>
<Snip>
PLM-86 realtime on a 286 laptop. Sure was a step foward from development =
on the IRMX system.
When I was in the Navy I got out of electronic school and was sent to =
Ilion, NY to the Univac factroy school for the 1004 card processor.  It =
used hard wired borad with wires to progam it.  It has 1K of memonry. 
We got an expansion an got 2k, and I wired up a borar to store the data =
on 1k and the progrm in the other 1k.  It used  a languale called SAAL =
(singe addres Assebler language) one of the two operaands for an =
operation was hard wired on the board the other was input the the beging =
and ending row and column in memory of werhe the data was, 
Each instrucion was 5 chareacter long, operation and row column begin =
and end.
It took three passes to get the source to object code.
Once compiled you loaded it to memory , so it was really great for adhoc =
request you did not have to wire a borad any more.
We though we were reaily hot stuff with 2k of memory.

19) From: Randolph Wilson
<Snip>
Jovial - Junior Officer's Version (of the) Incomprehensible Arithmetic Language
MUMPS - (which was something like Memphis University Medical 
Programming System best I can recall)

20) From: Thomas Pfau
Randolph Wilson wrote:
<Snip>
I believe MUMPS stands for  Massachusettes General Hospital Utility 
Multi-Programming System.  I tracked stats for a fantasy football league 
for a couple of years with a system I wrote in MUMPS.
-- 
tom_p
pfau --http://nbpfaus.net/~pfau/

21) From: David Springston
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Matt,
    Well I too am an old UNIX hack that wrote dozens of AWK and SED =
programs, even in today's environment there are times when I have log =
files that are not formatted the way I like, I turn to these very =
powerful tools.
Regards,
David

22) From: Randolph Wilson
<Snip>
Yeah, I was afraid my brain might be engaged in a little 
confabulation on that one - thanks for giving the corrected version - 
getting old is hell.

23) From: Michael Wascher
And I believe JOVIAL was Jule's Own Version of IAL
On 3/2/06, Thomas Pfau  wrote:
<Snip>
--
"Life is just one damned thing after another."
  - Elbert Hubbard

24) From: Randolph Wilson
<Snip>
Now that is interesting, because as I indicated, I was unsure on the 
MUMPS, but JOVIAL came from an article I read a while back on just 
this topic (i.e. obscure languages).  I don't think I remembered that 
one wrong, so perhaps the article was wrong?
(google, google, google)
OK, I see you are correct, perhaps the article was using a revision 
of the acronym that was common among some of the military folks? 
That would make sense, it was a military language, and you know how 
military folks love to "enhance" acronyms.
Thanks, I stand corrected once again (sigh).  At least I can blame 
this one on whoever wrote the stupid article.  The other one was just 
my fault, no excuses on that one.  I think I'm going to start 
pre-googling everything I post.
Take Care,
Randy

25) From: Michael Wascher
Inventing acronyms & reinventing what an acronym stood for were common.
I remember when some of our suits came down to the R&D lab. We were both
amuzed by them & a bit ticked that they were getting in our way. They
decided we needed a cool acronym. We quickly came up with: Autonomous Fast
Undersea Communications Device-- they loved it until I said "Now we're
working on A-FUCD project".
I forget the acronym that was finally chosen. To us it was always A-FUCD.
On 3/3/06, Randolph Wilson  wrote:
<Snip>
--
"Life is just one damned thing after another."
  - Elbert Hubbard

26) From: Chuck the Coffee-Geek
I had some brief experience on a Honeywell Level 6.  Programming in 
Cobol for GE Lighting.
I believe the JPL you were referring to was Job Programming Language?
I might not be all that old (35), but I've still had some interesting 
experiences.  Like watching a 10MB Hard drive the size of a washing 
machine become unbalanced and destroy itself.  Man when those hard 
drives crashed, they walked across the room and literally crashed into 
things.  The computer operator back then told me he saw one  where the 
platters broke apart and embedded  itself in the wall.  I thought he was 
full of it, but he swore it happened.  I was a bit young then, and 
gulable was my middle name.
Chuck
Still wondering about that tall computer tale.
Jim Mitchell wrote:
<Snip>

27) From: Lawrence Fieman
On Mar 5, 2006, at 2:37 AM, Chuck the Coffee-Geek wrote:
<Snip>
I went to high school with one of the Honeywell kids, of computer  
fame.  The first computer I remember filled an entire room at MIT;   
the vacuum tubes gave a nice orange warm glow.  In those days,  
instant coffee was a labor saving product for those who didn't have  
the time or inclination to get the real thing from a percolator  --  
brewing up some Chock Full O' Nuts.  Several years later, I worked  
with computer punch cards; coffee came from a coin operated machine.   
Computers have come a long way.  Coin operated machine coffee awaits  
a breakthrough.  Who knows, maybe someone will set up a grind and  
brew coin operated coffee machine.
Regards,
LF

28) From: Aaron
It was written
The computer operator back then told me he saw one  where the platters
broke apart and embedded  itself in the wall.  I thought he was full of
it, but he swore it happened.
====
When you consider that the platters back then, some of them were about
the size of a trash can lid, and is spinning several thousand rpm's, the
centrifugal force on that thing would be rather intense.  Therefore, yes
if it developed stress cracks and broke apart it would almost be like a
gernade and would do significant damage with the shrapnel.  Needless to
say, you aint gonna recover any data off that one.  However on that,
some of that chalk board and etc materials used for building and
interior walls in offices etc, are not very hard to begin with, and some
of the walls were possibly coated with sound dampening materials or
insulation material to help with temperature control.  You could
probably throw a tablespoon at the wall and if it hit right, it'd stick,
so yes it very well might have happened.
Aaron

29) From: Michael Wascher
IBM 360 JCL (Job Control Language). During a software conference a few year=
s
ago there was a panel discussion of the worst computer language. The
audience then voted. I forget which language won, but an audience member
made an impassioned plea for IBM 360 JCL.
It lost, I think because most folks there never were inficted with IBM 360
JCL.
The guy who plead its case? It was the author of JCL.
On 3/5/06, Chuck the Coffee-Geek  wrote:
<Snip>
--
"Life is just one damned thing after another."
  - Elbert Hubbard

30) From: Steven Van Dyke
Way back in the mists of long ago I worked at a place with Univac 1106
systems.  One of them had a platter failure during a test run.  The site
engineer showed me the biggest remaining piece of the about 24" platter,
which was about the size of a 50 cent piece.
Enjoy!
Steve :->

31) From: Clifton
Old computers are still being used and are just now being phased out. =
Way
back in 1995 we used a DEC PDP-11 03 to test part of the Astro-2 payload =
at
the Kennedy Space Center. It had a big ole 8 inch hard sector floppy =
disk, a
paper tape reader, teletype and a card punch!
Clif - SomeWhere in Florida 
with Garfield the Tabby
Odie PWC at the Bridge 01/18/2006http://www.freewebs.com/aesk/inmemoriam.htm


HomeRoast Digest