From: CRC <>
Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2005 14:19:58 +0000

Nico de Jong mused:

>> It could be interesting to know the age"spread" of thist list
>> contributors, and how long we've had the computer virus under
>> our skin.

Age: around 1700 fortnights...

First glimpse of the deamon occurred relatively late in life (as
measured by this crowd) when working on an Army missile project in '65
which was the first to use PERT. Shoved in cards and got back reams of
paper. The following year learned patch-panel programming on a punch
card system in the jungle.

The real bug was caught in grad school when our department got a PDP-8.
Spent one night with the beast and taught myself FOCAL. Shortly after,
our group got a Nova 1200 attached to a pulse-height analyzer which one
programmed by reading in tapes on a clunk-clunk and punching out
results (editor in -> program out, compiler in-> program in-> assembly
out, assembler in -> assembly code in-> object out, object in-> run
program -- one did not make a mistake). Language was the Algol (with
which DG wrote RTOS and RDOS).

And then along came a PDP-9 with 3 DEC tapes and 8 kwords of memory and
my invention of the operating system - that is until I found out that
the box came with one. Wrote my first GUI program in FORTRAN 4 on that
box - a background fitting affair that used a light pen on the
displayed data (can you say Chain...?). Read in the data from the Nova
and printed a graph of the result. Beat feeding cards to the CDC6400
and waiting a day to get back results.

Went on to gin up a data collection system on a Modcomp which we took
on tour around the US collecting data from a U2 flying a laser.
Subsequent work on a disertation used the system to feed data to a
DEC10 which front-ended a Cyber on which I churned through many CPU
hours (and $) crunching the data.

Escaped from academia and started a company in which we developed a
automation controller using the National 32016 using a VAX730 as the
development tool. That VAX ran 7 years with a down time of less than a
week... Brought the beast home when the company folded, but adopted it
out to a list member when I realized that I could only run it on winter
nights with the doors open.

My first personal computer was a LISA. Real multi-tasking with a real
GUI - (Oh Steve why did you stray from the true path....).

Current project is designing passive filters using a genetic algorithm
(gasp!!) - the fitness function is fuzzy :-P

My current collection consists of a smattering of Macs of various
vintage, a VAX3540 (used to be two 3520s), Sun 1000E, and an Alfa
server which isn't up and running yet.

Hey, the game is still fun and I'm not about to quit.

Received on Sat Feb 26 2005 - 14:19:57 GMT

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