The good old days (20 Aug, 2020)

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The good old days (20 Aug, 2020)

Postby aardvark_admin » Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:07 am

This column is archived at: https://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2020/0820.shtml

Ah, the good old days.

Who else has fond memories of those early "pre-internet" days when groups of computer enthusiasts would actually meet face-to-face and show off their latest hardware and coding triumphs?

I wonder where those people are now?

And FidoNet was a great precursor to "the internet". I met some wonderful people back in the FidoNet days and it was such fun being a part of that brief period of technological evolution.

How ironic is it that it has taken broadband and the internet to bring the concept of "face to face" meetings back into the mainstream -- albeit virtually.

Were you there in those early days?
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Re: The good old days (20 Aug, 2020)

Postby goosemoose » Thu Aug 20, 2020 6:40 am

I was a kid back then. ZX81, Colour Genie, Amstrad and Sega were the models the ol' man and I decided upon. He was a school teacher at the time and used the bring home the school TRS-80 and an Osbourne "portable". It was great fun, getting all those magazines and typing in the programs, saving them to cassette only for the cassette to fail to read next time! Set me up for a career in IT.

Still got the ZX81 complete with RAM pack, displayed proudly in the China cabinet!
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Re: The good old days (20 Aug, 2020)

Postby Necrotic Kingdom » Thu Aug 20, 2020 7:17 am

When I was a nipper my dad bought a Commodore PET. We spent hours typing in programs from listings in magazines, and even longer going through them trying to find our errors that caused the dreaded "syntax error".
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Re: The good old days (20 Aug, 2020)

Postby GSVNoFixedAbode » Thu Aug 20, 2020 9:46 am

I came in 'late' to those early days: drooled over the ZX80/81/Spectrum, then bought a BBC B in '84. Looking back, it's rather impressive that two banks of 32Kb (not Mb, let alone Gb) could happily run a spreadsheet or wordprocessor back then. The biggest change over the next 10-15 years was more to do with the GUI than the functionality of the code.
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Re: The good old days (20 Aug, 2020)

Postby Fast Eddie » Thu Aug 20, 2020 1:52 pm

That was a great column, Bruce. Nice to get an insight as to how things were in the early days. I'm old enough to have experienced a fair bit of history (machine code on the 6502... and yes I mean machine code - no assembler!) but you still have a good number of years on me :)
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Re: The good old days (20 Aug, 2020)

Postby A Bradford » Thu Aug 20, 2020 4:08 pm

My first computer interactions in those early days were with a simple monitor (mono-green screen) and keyboard in an office in Hamilton in about 1980. The memory is vague but I think we referred to it as “the terminal” and it was shared by about 20 people. It was connected to the “mainframe” in a computer room nearby, complete with people in white coats, and to the main Wellington computer. The Wellington computer was said to be the largest computer in New Zealand at the time. It was used to crunch numbers for designing roads and other stuff. You would enter instructions as per a book that lived next to the monitor, much like DOS as I remember it, and someone in their white coat in Wellington would change a giant reel of magnetic tape when necessary (I thought that was cool) and off it would run, your numbers would get crunched and you would then receive a box of paper, A3 size, with the holes down the sides, which could be many inches thick. It didn’t get a lot of use, but it sure saved a lot of calculating by hand when it was. Many of the guys still used “slide-rules” in those days. As I remember it none of us were strong computer enthusiasts and we didn’t twig that we were on the cusp of what was about to happen in computing. There was very little interest in The Terminal for its own sake.
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Re: The good old days (20 Aug, 2020)

Postby roygbiv » Fri Aug 21, 2020 7:27 am

Those halcyon days, I subscribed to the BBC micro magazine and even bought a 5.25 floppy disk drive so I could load programs in seconds instead of decades with a cassette player ;)
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Re: The good old days (20 Aug, 2020)

Postby paulw » Fri Aug 21, 2020 11:08 am

roygbiv wrote:Those halcyon days, I subscribed to the BBC micro magazine and even bought a 5.25 floppy disk drive so I could load programs in seconds instead of decades with a cassette player ;)


Oh those nasty cassette decks. I had a Sega SC3000 computer with one . Hit and miss saving and loading programs. Couldn't afford the "Super Control Station which cost in 1987 $800 with a 3.5" floppy disk drive.
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Re: The good old days (20 Aug, 2020)

Postby aardvark_admin » Fri Aug 21, 2020 11:13 am

To all those who used to use cassette tapes as a storage medium I only have two things to say:

"Checksum error"
"CRC error"

:lol:
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