Re: My national tabloid love affair with a computer

From: KPJ (
Date: Sun Apr 15 2001 - 14:01:54 MDT

It appears as if Samantha Atkins <> wrote:
|My first computer was a breadboard beast built around an 1802 chip I
|ripped out of an ancient TV Pong game with a keypad for entering hex to
|get it to do anything. Eventually a simple tape-recorder was hacked in
|to actually do primitive secondary storage. Later I graduated to an Elf

Yes, RCA 1802 COSMAC, a nice little processor. I wrote some data capture,
barcode reading, modem communications, and a BCD arithmetic package for
it in assembler. Our hardware had no UART, so the modem code consisted
mostly of timing loops, and the barcode reader could only return 0 for
black and 1 for white. The rest was software.

|that a friend helped me hack an old iron ferrite memory core to. Then a
|Trash 80, some early integrated system with the huge old actually floppy
|floppy drive. Then a job on ancient CDC hardware hacking Fortran.

Control Data Compass, CD-8090, or something else?

|Many years before all that I was pulled into this elite kid computer
|training thing on some antique IBM iron. Input was only punched cards.
|The sick bastards only taught us Cobol! And the turn-around on a deck
|averaged 2 days. I didn't want anything to with computers after that
|until the first micro computer chips became available.

Well it depends.. I wrote a disassembler fos OS/360 in COBOL. The COBOL-68
had excellent file, buffer, and data control. I wrote the Ackermann function
in COBOL (had to add a stack in software, since PERFORM stacks could only
handle a stack depth of 9 addresses), and first used LISP (INTERLISP) through
punched cards.

The high tech of yesteryear become the junk of tomorrow. For some time, I had
27 SUN-3's stacked in my living room. Today I mostly have SPARCs, DECs, and
obsolescent PCs. The Singularity cometh...

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