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Computers

Being the old a fart that I am, I have had the privilege to witness the unbelievable progress in computing and computers over a period of about 40 years. I haven't seen it as an insider in information technology, but more or less from a perspective of an active user of computers. It's a long story, so hit back before you get bored! wink

First experiences of computers

The first time I used a computer was 1964, when I sent computation task to our company's computer department to be run with their Elliot 803 computer, which was acquired 3 years earlier. I got the results after a few days. lol

Only one person in turn could use Elliot and only one run in turn could be made. The input and output were done via a 5 channel punched paper tape. No mass storage was available. The results were punched to a paper tape and were then converted to paper via a teleprinter. The programming language was Algol. The computer used germanium transistors and had a ferrite core memory in 8192 words of 40 bits, 39 bits of data with parity.

teletypewriter At the beginning of 70's it was possible to use computers interactively with time-sharing, which was a big step forward. Our computer was a Honeywell Bull 6000 series computer and the user interface was provided by a Nokia teletypewriter terminal (left). In addition to time-sharing use, it was also possible to start batch jobs from the user terminals. Fortran and Basic were available for designers.

The terminal operated at a maximum speed of 10 characters per second, corresponding to a transmission speed of 110 bauds. It was equipped with a paper tape reader and punch, which operated at 10 characters per second.

punched paper tape At that time I was doing microwave frequency electronics design and calculated the circuit performance with the aid of self made Basic programs. The program had to be read to the computer from a paper tape and punched back to a tape after possible changes.One thing which I learnt well was line editing, because one had to change the program by replacing the character strings of one line in turn.

Those were the times!

Minicomputers Workstations and PC's My own computers Communication Programming