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The lounge Relax, take a break from photo and camera talk - have a chat about something else for a change. Just keep it clean and polite!

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  #16  
Old 7th April 2015
BobS BobS is online now
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Re: Interesting series on Radio 4 this week

My dog (long passed gone to doggy heaven) gave his opinion of what he thought of Fortran..............he chewed through a long length of tape and left it in hundreds of bits on the floor!
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  #17  
Old 8th April 2015
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Re: Interesting series on Radio 4 this week

Ah yes, paper tape and punched card (and the girls in the prep room), I remember it well. I did a spot of fortran programming, & learnt cobol but never used it.
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  #18  
Old 8th April 2015
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Re: Interesting series on Radio 4 this week

Many thanks to Bikie John for posting that. I have just been listening to the COBOL episode.

Once upon a time (in the eighties) I was on the ANSI COBOL committee working on a revision to the language standard.

Pierre
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  #19  
Old 8th April 2015
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Re: Interesting series on Radio 4 this week

We learned using Ryan McFarland Cobol (on new fangled IBM PS2s), at a further education college. It had features that weren't on the Prime mini-computer, when I went to Uni. I guess having a proper, character mapped display helped (with Ryan McFarland, we were able to develop our own pull-down menus and so on). A friend graduated and did Cobol for ten years. It was good money. Fast forward to now? The only programming I do, these days, is shell scripting (with quite a bit of awk).

Edit: Best practical joke to play on a Cobol programmer? Go to the bottom of their program, press enter fifty times and enter the text "This is why your program isn't working"....
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  #20  
Old 8th April 2015
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Re: Interesting series on Radio 4 this week

Did some interesting programming using HPL, a RPN version of basic that had an excellent implied logic functionality.

Anyone else ever come across it
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  #21  
Old 8th April 2015
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Re: Interesting series on Radio 4 this week

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Originally Posted by Graham_of_Rainham View Post
Did some interesting programming using HPL, a RPN version of basic that had an excellent implied logic functionality.

Anyone else ever come across it
Tried Forth, as a teenager. Big mistake. RPN didn't really make sense to me, 'til later.
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  #22  
Old 9th April 2015
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Re: Interesting series on Radio 4 this week

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Originally Posted by Graham_of_Rainham View Post
I still have a 1" 8-hole paper tape splice/edit tool.

Working for the MOD, I was very fortunate to be in at the very start of many things in computing. I recall very clearly the visit by the Director General and his entourage to what was at the time the UKs first DEC PDP Multi-User installation that I had set up and was managing...

It had its own AC room, was the size of a 3 draw filing cabinet. 16Meg of 16bit(dual 8-bit) memory, twin 10Meg Hard Drives and twin 8" 256k floppies. A VT100 VDU, a VT125 Graphics Terminal and an A3 line printer.

Heady stuff.

...... Don't you just love progress...
I have never really got into programming, but was responsible for installing and commissioning some of the first paint spraying robots in the UK during the late 1970's.

The control console was the size of an American fridge freezer, and looked like something out of The Tardis!

Once installed the robots were 'trained' by an experienced spray hand using a dummy robot alongside, with each programme written in 64 KB of RAM. Backup was to 10" floppy disks!

I was particularly impressed when we were sent a programme by telephone from France, using a loudspeaker and microphone to couple with the telephone handset. I seem to remember it taking about quarter of an hour to transmit the 64 KB programme!

There was also a system called "Videospray", where a video camera was used to create simple images of items hanging on a conveyor, so a spray gun (fitted to a mechanical reciprocator) would switch on and off at just the right time, thereby reducing paint waste. Sometimes it worked.

Looking back these systems seem very crude by modern day standards, but I guess it was all part of the learning curve. We certainly had a lot of fun doing it.
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  #23  
Old 9th April 2015
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Re: Interesting series on Radio 4 this week

When I was at work, about 6 years ago, my then boss ordered a clear out. Some of us wanted to throw out the 10MB Winchester HDD (a 3 foot cube on wheels!) and we had a stack of boxes that together made up a computer - another desk full! - and he wouldn't let us, saying no, we'll be glad we kept it one day. He left shortly after. And guess what..... (We gave it to a museum, IIRC)

In my Jaguar days I remember a large "portable" HP running HP BASIC; storage? Two mini tape cassettes. I hated it, and kept well away from it. I learned to programme 6502s and 8080s in machine code, and then assembler. I was good at programming, but hated doing it, so I let others demonstrate their skill instead...
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  #24  
Old 9th April 2015
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Re: Interesting series on Radio 4 this week

When I worked for a well know Telcomms provider I and a few others were selected to train on a new switching system made by AT&T. Which was great as it was 16 weeks in the Netherlands (in the days when companies had money to burn).
A pre-cursor to that was we had to do Unix and c programing courses. I was OK with the UNIX but my head exploded when trying to learn C.
When we went on the switching training we didn't use it at all.

Drunk lot of beer though.
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  #25  
Old 9th April 2015
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Re: Interesting series on Radio 4 this week

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Originally Posted by andym View Post
When I worked for a well know Telcomms provider I and a few others were selected to train on a new switching system made by AT&T. Which was great as it was 16 weeks in the Netherlands (in the days when companies had money to burn).
A pre-cursor to that was we had to do Unix and c programing courses. I was OK with the UNIX but my head exploded when trying to learn C.
When we went on the switching training we didn't use it at all.

Drunk lot of beer though.
That's interesting! I know a fair bit about C (well, forgotten it lately) but never programmed in it. I hated high-level languages, never got on with them. I was involved in MISRA-C.
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  #26  
Old 9th April 2015
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Re: Interesting series on Radio 4 this week

There's more from Aleks Krotoski weekly on:

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/series/techweekly
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  #27  
Old 9th April 2015
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Re: Interesting series on Radio 4 this week

Oh dear me:

Fortran (yes, with punched cards)
DEC 8 assembler (with paper tape)
Basic (remember the Commodore PET) and Pascal (new fangled PC)
Assembler (8051 and PC)

Finally, in my sixties I am forcing myself to learn wretched C...

Pete
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  #28  
Old 9th April 2015
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Re: Interesting series on Radio 4 this week

Ah the 6502 and good old machine code and hexadecimal. Even used Sinclair with its peek and poking for control, then basic.
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  #29  
Old 10th April 2015
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Re: Interesting series on Radio 4 this week

I missed the FORTRAN program as I was ill but I'm listening to it now on iPlayer, thanks for the reminder

It was my first proper language, the few lines of Basic written at school really don't count. I started as a FORTRAN IV programmer working for the DHSS in 1977 on ICL 1900 mainframes running George 3. We were in London and the computers were in Blackpool and communication from our teletype (a TransData 206 80 char. wide thermal paper job IIRC) to the other end was via a 100 baud acoustic coupler and a standard telephone. We edited and compiled the code and submitted jobs, the results came back in a van overnight on green fanfold. We were modelling taxes and benefits and used to sit around the radio on budget day noting the changes and incorporating them into the model programmed in FORTRAN that we would run that night to see the effect of the Chancellor's speech We moved that model onto a Commodore Pet, the first "PC" I ever saw, the year after I started.

I also used ICL 1900 COBOL there and then went on to do a bit of PDP-11 assembler, FORTRAN coding and systems management on Perkin-Elmer minis, systems development on McDonnell-Douglas Reality minis running the Pick o/s (really weird, Pick ) and coding and systems management on Pr1me minis, all of which also involved a lot of scripting in various languages. Then came Sun workstations and servers running Unix, SunOS 4 then Solaris and, finally, exposure to various systems running Linux, AIX and HP-UX in my role as a sysadmin for an IT services company. On these I have done some C coding, a bit of SQL and PL/SQL, shell scripting and a lot of Perl, far and away the most effective language I've ever used for actually solving real problems in a useful timeframe

It has been fascinating reading other members' experiences in the field and they go to show just how wide and varied it is and from what weird angles people end up working in it. Having had three years of either boring or horrendous jobs after leaving school I chanced into programming through the agency of a sympathetic and helpful personnel manager and have had the immense good fortune to have enjoyed my work ever since

Cheers,

JohnGG
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