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Old 18th November 2014, 19:09   #46
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Default Re: Nostalgia: Computing in the 20th century

And anyone remember ZX Spectrum Plus computer with Chess games on audio cassettes?
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Old 18th November 2014, 19:47   #47
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Default Re: Nostalgia: Computing in the 20th century

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And anyone remember ZX Spectrum Plus computer with Chess games on audio cassettes?
Yes. I had one and another Sinclaire Quantum Leap (with 32bit processor as the computers at that time used Zilog Z80 - 8 bit CPU). Sinclaire QL used micro cartridges and came with powerful software - roughly the equivalent of the MS Office. I cut my teeth into computing in the 80s using these micro computers.

The ZX Spectrum + despite its diminutive size of RAM of 48k could play great Chess and other games. I used it to add titles and simple sprite graphics entirely programming in machine language. You needed an Audio cassette to record and load software. You could use any TV as these micro computers gave out a composite Video output. The eccentric Sir Clive Sinclaire who designed these computers also came up with electric bikes amongst other inventions.
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Old 18th November 2014, 20:26   #48
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Don't jump to conclusion, we only look young. We have two mods who were born in the 50s and 3 more more born in the 60s.
But what is their exposure to computers!?

Don't forget the D's!
Learning
IBM 1130 + 1132 + 1403 +1442 + manually swapable disk packs. Programming on punch cards (also called Hollerith cards).

Various Processor cards: Kim1, SDK85, MEK6800, etc. Including a bit slice board.

Work
CP/M on various machines. From 48K RAM to 128K bank switched.

Specialised version of Unix (TNIX) running on proprietery hardware.

PC XT (ST225 20MB HDD) + Hercules card onwards.

Hobby/ personal
Homebrew.
Sinclair ZX80
Sinclair spectrum
Commodore 64

Various laptops, starting with a Sharp lunchbox.

Odds and ends used.
8", 5.25", 3.5" floppies.
Zip drives (100MB)
Cartridge tape drives

Laser Printers costing 1 lac +
CD writers costing 25K +
19" colour monitor costing close to a lac.

2114, 6116 SRams
4116 DRams.
(Interestingly, for its 32K bank, the Sinclair spectrum used defective 64K chips. Sourced cheaply. these were actually 64K chips in which there was a defect in one half of it.)

Lots more actually. But this being a car forum, let it go at that.

And I'm not a programmer. And computers aren't my favourite subject.

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 18th November 2014, 20:32   #49
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But what is their exposure to computers!?
One of them who is also a grandfather, is a software pro with 30+ years of experience.
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Old 19th November 2014, 11:18   #50
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And anyone remember ZX Spectrum Plus computer with Chess games on audio cassettes?
Spectrum was fun time for me while growing up. Games like Attic Attack, Jetpack et all were just amazing for a kid like me

The loading screens were tripping psychedelic

PCs with black and white screens playing prince of persia, digger, pac man [was that there then?]

Then got my very own pc in 95. pentium 60 processor, 500mb hard disk, 16mb ram.

Playing doom, heretic, raptor. Oh man those were good times. Simple times but good times.
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Old 19th November 2014, 16:07   #51
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I started in 1975 with PDP8 and no storage or I/O devices (for some reason college didn't get them). It had magnetic core memory, switches for input and neon lamps for output. Set switches for address and data, push Load, repeat till all instructions and data were fed in. Then run till output shows up on lamps. Then formal FORTRAN for some time, and some BASIC. Made a VT100-type terminal using a TV and a self-made qwerty keyboard as college project (we also made our own linear motor and broke the lab wall ).

Hacked CP/M to make it show up in Hindi (involved changing the char set PROM). Wrote our own C compilers (this became a fashion later; for us it was subsistence). Wrote Real Time OS to run on micros. Made India's first microprocessor based Control Systems (Power Station and Industrial Controls).

Never got to play any computer games. Analyzing how the old games worked in the CP/M and DOS days took away the fun - I still can't play games on the computer. I had a portable computer in 1983 - an Otrona Attache with 5" green CRT screen and 2x 5.25" double sided floppy drives, running CP/M. My first HDD came in 1984 - a royal 10MB. The next one was a 40MB drive - and I thought I will never be able to fill it in my life.

8" floppies? I still have a couple of drives and a couple of boxes of SS and DS floppies. And lots of other left over stuff from that and the next 6 generations of computers as well. Maybe I will donate them to a museum some day (will please my wife no end).

Last edited by DerAlte : 19th November 2014 at 16:12.
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Old 19th November 2014, 16:14   #52
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I started in 1975 with PDP8 *SNIP*. Maybe I will donate them to a museum some day (will please my wife no end).
*bowing repeatedly* All hail the Master

Mensch, du bist wirklich der Alte

Cheers
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Old 19th November 2014, 18:07   #53
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Default Re: Nostalgia: Computing in the 20th century

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I started in 1975 with PDP8 and no storage or I/O devices (for some reason college didn't get them). It had magnetic core memory, switches for input and neon lamps for output. Set switches for address and data, push Load, repeat till all instructions and data were fed in. Then run till output shows up on lamps. Then formal FORTRAN for some time, and some BASIC. Made a VT100-type terminal using a TV and a self-made qwerty keyboard as college project (we also made our own linear motor and broke the lab wall ).
...
.
WOW thats long long ago.

It would be interesting to see how our current day developers using IDE and google for development would fare on the PDPs.

How do you manage to store bits and pieces from 6 generations ?
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Old 19th November 2014, 22:14   #54
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Default Re: Nostalgia: Computing in the 20th century

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Originally Posted by DerAlte View Post
I started in 1975 with PDP8 and no storage or I/O devices (for some reason college didn't get them). It had magnetic core memory, switches for input and neon lamps for output. Set switches for address and data, push Load, repeat till all instructions and data were fed in. Then run till output shows up on lamps.
I always wondered what sort of stuff could be done on a machine like that?

The thing that surprises me now is that people still quote age as an excuse for computer illiteracy --- when we are three or four generations in, and those who were the real pioneers that made everything we do today possible, like Dennis Ritchie, have now been swapped out!
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Old 19th November 2014, 22:27   #55
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And anyone remember ZX Spectrum Plus computer with Chess games on audio cassettes?
Yep, it made such a screeching noise when reading and writing.

Also typing out programs in the 128 bit mode was extremely fast due to the keywords mapped to keyboard keys and a very intelligent system of forcing you to enter the correct elements. For e.g. if you typed Print, the next word would automatically be a string.
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Old 20th November 2014, 13:47   #56
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Default Re: Nostalgia: Computing in the 20th century

What is amazing is - We didn't have to have an internet connection to spend hours on a computer. There were times when I spent 8 to 9 hours continuously staring at the black and white monitor of an SX386 computer and doing stuff that I loved.

Does anyone remember Bubba Majilikutty? (Those who played Prince of Persia arcade game would know)

Today, give me a computer that doesn't connect to the internet for an hour and I have no idea what to do with it. :(

Back then, my favorite games were Prince, Dave, Aladdin, King's Quest, Rayman...

And DBase - creating tables and writing SQL queries to retrieve that data - It was a wonderful experience.
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Old 15th December 2014, 18:46   #57
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Default Re: Nostalgia: Computing in the 20th century

Visited my old office after 7 years. Was pleasantly surprised to see a billing program written by me on foxbase in 1988 still in active use.

I also remember being asked to stay back in office at night on 31st Dec 1999 for the Y2K scare. The then power to be , not having much exposure to computers were expecting a serious failure of computers that night in spite of all our assurances to the contrary. As expected Y2K just appeared at the stroke of midnight and to the pleasant surprise of most, skipped over to the next century without a whimper.
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