On Mon, 25 Nov 2019, Murray McCullough via cctalk wrote:
Things we historians talk about are ?firsts? and
?facts?. If we go to
original source(s) maybe then we will get things right. I guess the best
that can be said is we agree to disagree. A sad commentary in this age of
what my ?facts? and your ?facts? are, are not the same but we historians
should do our best to state ?firsts? and ?facts? are indeed that to the
best of our knowledge. The 60 yrs. as noted was a math error and here I
spent years as a BASIC, C and C++ programmer as isn?t mathematics the basis
for all programming languages? Let's indeed toast to all micro-computing
progenitors for making our hobby possible.
If we didn't make arithmetic errors, we couldn't prove that we are human
(a variation/enhancement of a Turing test?)
"Facts" need to be checked for prior corruption of the stories, but are
"Firsts" bother me, as they always seem to glorify a famous early guy, and
ignore all those who came before, even if they had already done the
supposed "first" activity. Hence we get the "Jobs invented computers;
Gates invented operating systems" nonsense. So, I prefer "important"
events, rather than "FIRST".
I?ve been a hobbyist and experimenter since the 1970s
though I worked on
mini-computers(PDP-8/11) in the 1960s. I got to work on them in high
school; I know we were rather privileged.
For microcomputers it began in April 1978 when I built the Heathkit
H8($2500 Cdn.) a computer based on the PDP-11 with 4K(B) of an 8K(B) card;
now $2500 will buy a truly powerful home computer with 16/32GB of memory.
My second, the Coleco ADAM, computer was Aug. 1984. A bit more powerful and
more useful to be sure. Finally in 1989 I moved into the IBM PC world ? the
Compaq Deskpro 386 which ran DOS, Lotus 1-2-3 and Windows 2 that could run
Word and Excel. Wow! Notebooks followed.
And now(well Aug. 2019 to be precise) I built my own custom Mini-ITX PC
from parts sourced here and there for $750 Cdn. This makes me nostalgic for
the old days of computing we talk about on cctalk.
Rather similar backgrounds.
My father had taught me adding machines, keypunching, sorting machine,
etc., and always had low-paying work for me to do.
On May 24, 1965, he called me from out of town and told me, "LEARN
FORTRAN." He had just had a bad experience with "professional" data
processing by IBM (CBS "National Drivers Test"), and was going to
IMMEDIATELY switch over to doing his own computer work.
So, we learned some FORTRAN.
I did keypunching and EAM work while in college, and was a data technician
at Goddard Space Flight Center 1970-1972 (APL, FORTRAN, plotting
Aerospace was collapsing, and I got out, but we were hearing about the
coming "micro processor", so I declared that I would get back into
computers "in about five years, when tabletop computers programmable in
FORTRAN come out and get cheap enough for me." (it turned out to be
BASIC instead, and "tabletop" was not the name)
I built and ran an auto repair shop, until TRS80/PET/Apple caame out.
Even wrote a book on Honda car repair.
I got the first TRS80 available, and sold my auto shop to two of my
employees. They're still doing it, almost 40 years later.
I built and ran a small microcomputer business (small peripherals such as
memory and disk drives, commercial software, and my software) and began
community college teaching.
When IBM announced the PC, I said, "Whether it is good or bad, it is going
to DOMINATE the market, and in only a few years, all microcomputers will
be Imitations-of-IBM-PC, and 'all others'." So, I got the first one that
I could (end of 1981). I ran my business, and taught full-time for over
30 years. And put in enough work at UCBerkeley to get an MLIS and
Seven years ago, I was completely overwhelmed having to take care of my
mother 24 hours a day, along with serious health problems of my own.
So, no more business; no more teaching, for 4 years.
I started to write a textbook on Information Science.
I don't know what I'll do now. I can't do the amount of stuff that I did
Grumpy Ol' Fred cisin at xenosoft.com