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  • #21
    University of Canterbury - 1965 Fortran IBM something everything including the OS and supporting programs were on punch cards which all had to be fed in everytime you turned it on (may have been 1964!)
    [I]I made a coding error once - but fortunately I fixed it before anyone noticed[/I]
    Kerry Farmer

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    • #22
      Thanks for making me feel like a youngster Kerry and Michael. I was at school in 1976 and was fortunate enough to be selected as a trial for "Computer Studies" using the department of education computer down town from the school. We were issued with a nice blue flow chart stencil and taught Algol and FORTRAN, but the best was using punch cards to get the line printer to create a calendar using different characters to make a picture. Problem was if the card stack was dropped or you were "accidentally on purpose" bumped by your mate it was all over. Only seniors were allowed to use ticker tape as a more permanent storage medium.

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      • #23
        Originally posted by Kerry Farmer View Post
        I remember those days. Programmers were men and people were scared

        [sorry ladies, but when I started programmers WERE men!]
        As the movie Hidden Figures points out, there might br more ladies than the-power-that-be did let us know about.

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        • #24
          Originally posted by Kerry Farmer View Post
          I remember those days. Programmers were men and people were scared

          [sorry ladies, but when I started programmers WERE men!]
          Alike Knuth, I have to object. Ever heard about about Ada Lovelace or Grace Hopper?
          „Let the machine do the dirty work.“
          The Elements of Programming Style, Brian W. Kernighan, P. J. Plauger 1978

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          • #25
            I stand by my statement

            I acknowledge the first programmer Ada Lovelace

            I knew about and highly respected Grace Hopper when I was learning and using Cobol in 1968.

            I may have written the first commercial program using Cobol in New Zealand. The program produced the rate demands (local tax statements for you foreigners!) for Christchurch City. I had my picture in the paper with the Mayor looking at the rate demands being printed. I was in the background. I remember my Mother (rest her soul) saying what did I actually do while the rate demands were being printed. I said, 'well we played some chess!' The printing took quite some hours on a 600 line a minute printer.

            The program name was RC04. RC01 was the edit (from paper tape), RC02 sorted the data into the right order. RC03 updated the master file. RC04 printed the demands.

            What nobody knows - and here is the revelation of the century - is that after the Mayor left we stopped the program. And the next night when we restarted the program, it got into a loop and bombed out!!!!

            However, there were no female programmers in our establishment, or as far as I know, anywhere else in New Zealand at that time or for some time after - maybe 5 or 6 years. This is a statement of fact - not of prejudice. The world was less than PC in those days. I have since met and been impressed by female programmers.

            Anyway, if you can't be old and prejudiced when you are 71, when can you be?

            [MCM does that count as an interesting old computer story?]
            Last edited by Kerry Farmer; 3 Feb 2017, 09:21 AM.
            [I]I made a coding error once - but fortunately I fixed it before anyone noticed[/I]
            Kerry Farmer

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            • #26
              Actually, I was "hooked" the first time my punch card FORTRAN II program (find the roots of a quadratic equation) compiled and ran correctly in 1967. . Wow, I give it some commands and the machine does all the work! What a deal! What a feeling of power! Master of the Universe time!

              When I went to MSOE to study mechanical engineering, our assignments included numerous requirements for "charts" and "graphs" and the instructors were really picky about neatness... a trait I quickly learned I did not possess.

              But the instructors did not require said neatness .....IF you created those charts and graphs using the available computer systems.. And thus was born the marriage of "computers" and "non-neatness" which I believe forms the basis for geekdom.
              Michael Mattias
              Tal Systems Inc.
              Racine WI USA
              mmattias@talsystems.com
              http://www.talsystems.com

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              • #27
                Originally posted by Kerry Farmer View Post
                I stand by my statement

                I acknowledge the first programmer Ada Lovelace

                I knew about and highly respected Grace Hopper when I was learning and using Cobol in 1968.
                I know what you meant to say. And unfortunately still these days it's mostly a male profession. I just wanted to pont out that perhaps even back then, more women (if still few) might have been doing the job than were publicaly acknowledged, due to how societies/role models were back than were.

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by Knuth Konrad View Post

                  I know what you meant to say. And unfortunately still these days it's mostly a male profession. I just wanted to pont out that perhaps even back then, more women (if still few) might have been doing the job than were publicaly acknowledged, due to how societies/role models were back than were.
                  I can accept the wisdom of that statement

                  For the PC brigade - Are you supposed to lie about history to accede to your correct ideas?
                  [I]I made a coding error once - but fortunately I fixed it before anyone noticed[/I]
                  Kerry Farmer

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Michael Mattias View Post
                    Actually, I was "hooked" the first time my punch card FORTRAN II program (find the roots of a quadratic equation) compiled and ran correctly in 1967. . Wow, I give it some commands and the machine does all the work! What a deal! What a feeling of power! Master of the Universe time!
                    .
                    I can totally relate to this. My first program was homework from my university course and was finding the answer to a formula (I forget which formula)

                    Interestingly enough, I was a science mathematics student. There were no courses called 'computer courses'. The course I was doing was called 'numerical analysis'. And there were no science lecturers (ie professors) who took those courses. We had to go to the engineering department. The lecturer was a bit odd actually - he seriously advocated that we should change the numbering system to duodecimal - ie based on 12. Change it for everyone that is! And a year or two later when I was a full time professional programmer, I used the octal number system to a point where I had to think twice about counting in tens.

                    And for the first few years of programming, we were the masters of the universe. Everyone looked on us a 'gods' who would one day control the world. It was a real fear.

                    [I]I made a coding error once - but fortunately I fixed it before anyone noticed[/I]
                    Kerry Farmer

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by Kerry Farmer View Post

                      I can totally relate to this. My first program was homework from my university course and was finding the answer to a formula (I forget which formula)

                      Interestingly enough, I was a science mathematics student. There were no courses called 'computer courses'. The course I was doing was called 'numerical analysis'.
                      1967 Auckland Uni for me doing the same. Was your primary text a grey covered book called "Numerical Analysis and Fortran Programming"? I think I've still got my copy in storage somewhere
                      --
                      [URL="http://www.camcopng.com"]CAMCo - Applications Development & ICT Consultancy[/URL][URL="http://www.hostingpng.com"]
                      PNG Domain Hosting[/URL]

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                      • #31
                        Originally posted by Stuart McLachlan View Post

                        1967 Auckland Uni for me doing the same. Was your primary text a grey covered book called "Numerical Analysis and Fortran Programming"? I think I've still got my copy in storage somewhere
                        I do not think so

                        I think the text book was only called 'numerical analysis'

                        I had to sell my textbooks every year so I could afford to buy new ones the next year!

                        We were programming in Fortran - was there any option at that time? Only a year or two later I helped someone debug an Algol program and then everyone was programming in assembler (or Plan in my case) and then Cobol came along - complete with some lookalikes (do I remember Snobol?)

                        This was not the first time I thought about programming. In about 1954 at a trade fair (we called it the Christchurch Winter Show), I saw an automatic device which played noughts and crosses (tic tac toe). It must gave used some switching arrangement. But I was absolutely fascinated. I went home and spent some days designing a 'program' (can I call it that?) for doing the logic. I was about 9 years old. I think that experience lead me to become a computer programmer.
                        [I]I made a coding error once - but fortunately I fixed it before anyone noticed[/I]
                        Kerry Farmer

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                        • #32
                          And for the first few years of programming, we were the masters of the universe. Everyone looked on us a 'gods' who would one day control the world.It was a real fear.
                          Funny, I saw it as a real HOPE.

                          Michael Mattias
                          Tal Systems Inc.
                          Racine WI USA
                          mmattias@talsystems.com
                          http://www.talsystems.com

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by Michael Mattias View Post

                            Funny, I saw it as a real HOPE.
                            All depends on your point of view

                            The fear was palpable

                            People would say to me ' we can always just pull the plug and the computer would be useless' but computers permeate our society so much that this is just not true

                            Imagine back in the late sixties suggesting that cyber warfare was an issue!
                            [I]I made a coding error once - but fortunately I fixed it before anyone noticed[/I]
                            Kerry Farmer

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Well, I only got to play with punch cards for a couple of weeks at University, but in my final year of Chemical Engineering, we were modelling a chemical plant. Each time we ran the simulation it took nearly a week to complete on a Vax 10 mainframe. About 10 years later, when the same software came out on a PC (one of the first pentiums if I remember correctly), our plant simulation was completed in less than 5 minutes. Now the software and hardware has progressed that it solves everything steady state pretty much in real time.

                              One of my lecturers used to say 'The computer does the hard work, you do the thinking'.
                              --------------
                              andrew dot lindsay at westnet dot com dot au

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                              • #35
                                Originally posted by Andrew Lindsay View Post

                                One of my lecturers used to say 'The computer does the hard work, you do the thinking'.
                                Do you think that is still true?

                                [I]I made a coding error once - but fortunately I fixed it before anyone noticed[/I]
                                Kerry Farmer

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  > One of my lecturers used to say 'The computer does the hard work, you do the thinking'.



                                  Do you think that is still true
                                  I certainly do... so I came up with my own way of saying it:

                                  "Computers don't 'do the math.' People do the math. Computers do the arithmetic. "


                                  MCM


                                  Michael Mattias
                                  Tal Systems Inc.
                                  Racine WI USA
                                  mmattias@talsystems.com
                                  http://www.talsystems.com

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