Author Topic: Happy birthday, modern computing.  (Read 1157 times)

Offline trdsf

Happy birthday, modern computing.
« on: June 21, 2018, 10:51:13 AM »
It was 70 years ago this day that You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login.  It had 1K of memory and ran at about 1KHz.

Now compare that to the speed and storage of the phone in your pocket.  Yikes.
Sir Terry Pratchett, on being told about the theory that the universe is a computer simulation: "If we all get out and in again, would it start to work properly this time?"

Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2018, 12:25:28 PM »
Meanwhile, Grace Hopper was looking for the bug in her Eniac computer.

We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Online Baruch

Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2018, 12:39:38 PM »
Technically, the Z3 being developed by the Germans was first ...

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Americans think they invent everything first, Ensign Checkov can correct that for you ;-)

Germans first, then the Brits, then the Americans.

You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login) by Konrad Zuse

You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login by Tommy Flowers (not Alan Turing ... who built the much more primitive Bombe)

You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login by John Mauchley and J Presper Eckert

All early computer work was funded secretly for the security and military services ... and still are.  Who is spending big bucks on quantum computing?  Guess who.
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Offline trdsf

Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2018, 12:45:09 PM »
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Meanwhile, Grace Hopper was looking for the bug in her Eniac computer.


Which actually You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login:

Sir Terry Pratchett, on being told about the theory that the universe is a computer simulation: "If we all get out and in again, would it start to work properly this time?"

Online Baruch

Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2018, 12:53:19 PM »
Much harder to debug modern computers, since the IC transistors are so tiny, compared to electro-mechanical relays ... very small moths, smaller than gnats ;-)
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Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2018, 01:22:10 PM »
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Which actually You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login:


I got to drive her one day when she came to San Diego to open the new super computer center there. She told me she never thought COBOL would out live her. It was supposed to be something to use until something better came along. Unfortunately, business types are conservative.
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Offline trdsf

Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2018, 02:46:05 PM »
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I got to drive her one day when she came to San Diego to open the new super computer center there. She told me she never thought COBOL would out live her. It was supposed to be something to use until something better came along. Unfortunately, business types are conservative.
I tried learning COBOL once and gave it up as a bad job.  Later, while visiting a friend in the engineering computing department at the University of Toledo, I commented that "COBOL isn't a language, it's a bug with syntax."  Next time I was up there, it had been printed out as a banner and hung on the wall, near the door leading to the business computing department.  :D

And I don't have enough green pixels to fully express my envy for having met Admiral Hopper.
Sir Terry Pratchett, on being told about the theory that the universe is a computer simulation: "If we all get out and in again, would it start to work properly this time?"

Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2018, 06:43:32 PM »
Cobol is a conversation with a compiler.

ETA: In 1998-99 the profs in the business computing department at Purdue were mostly reservists and they were spending their reserve time in DC, helping fix the country's COBOL problem.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2018, 06:45:34 PM by Gawdzilla Sama »
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Online Baruch

Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2018, 07:33:59 PM »
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I tried learning COBOL once and gave it up as a bad job.  Later, while visiting a friend in the engineering computing department at the University of Toledo, I commented that "COBOL isn't a language, it's a bug with syntax."  Next time I was up there, it had been printed out as a banner and hung on the wall, near the door leading to the business computing department.  :D

And I don't have enough green pixels to fully express my envy for having met Admiral Hopper.

Real men do Fortran!

Fortunately the year 2000 bug was a nothing burger ... well maybe because so much code got updated or retired.
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Online Cavebear

Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2018, 02:57:35 AM »
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I tried learning COBOL once and gave it up as a bad job.  Later, while visiting a friend in the engineering computing department at the University of Toledo, I commented that "COBOL isn't a language, it's a bug with syntax."  Next time I was up there, it had been printed out as a banner and hung on the wall, near the door leading to the business computing department.  :D

And I don't have enough green pixels to fully express my envy for having met Admiral Hopper.

After Fortran, I took COBOL and it was the damn dumbest thing I ever tackled.  Nothing made any logical sense, and it was like learning martian.  I even did well enough with that, but decided it wasn't my future.  But if I had gone to C instead of COBOL, I might a rich creep now.  Instead of a middle rich no-one.  LOL!
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2018, 05:35:05 AM »
NOthing complicated about COBOL, that's why they sold it to business easily. You just describe what you want to happen. You literally address every single space on the page. Tedious, but not rocket surgery until you get into the serious math modules. And most of them have already been written by now, with instructions on tweaking.

People were really excited when they started selling compilers for PCs. No more sending the program to the mainframe and waiting your turn to get the error messages back. A co-ed friend used to borrow my computer and do her homework naked. It was worth it.
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Online Baruch

Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2018, 06:59:11 AM »
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After Fortran, I took COBOL and it was the damn dumbest thing I ever tackled.  Nothing made any logical sense, and it was like learning martian.  I even did well enough with that, but decided it wasn't my future.  But if I had gone to C instead of COBOL, I might a rich creep now.  Instead of a middle rich no-one.  LOL!

C was for the next generation ... but you could have been a trendy European back then, done Algol or Pascal.  Oui?

C and other modern languages allow pointers and strings ... which are necessary to have a dynamic execution of the program.  Fortran and COBOL were static, meant for IBM punch cards.  But there is no free code.  Pointers and strings also allow all the dysfunction and hacking we now have.  There was no hacking Fortran or COBOL.  Fixed length arrays, and carefully specified floating point numbers.  Strings were just fixed labels for human convenience.
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Online Cavebear

Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2018, 09:01:00 AM »
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NOthing complicated about COBOL, that's why they sold it to business easily. You just describe what you want to happen. You literally address every single space on the page. Tedious, but not rocket surgery until you get into the serious math modules. And most of them have already been written by now, with instructions on tweaking.

People were really excited when they started selling compilers for PCs. No more sending the program to the mainframe and waiting your turn to get the error messages back. A co-ed friend used to borrow my computer and do her homework naked. It was worth it.

"JJ" from Doonesbury?

My point was that Fortran made positive sense in equation terms and Cobol was so highly structured and didn't make any specific sense reading it.  You could look at Fortran and understand in real terms what was going on.  Cobol needed so much structure that you couldn't follow the logic without a lot of work.  A comma out of place in Cobol didn't stand out.  Any symbol error in Fortran just jumped out at you. 
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2018, 10:21:46 AM »
Never did Fortran, so I can't comment on relatives.
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Online Baruch

Re: Happy birthday, modern computing.
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2018, 12:58:45 PM »
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Never did Fortran, so I can't comment on relatives.

There are two kinds of programmers, those who do binary and those who don't ;-)
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