I became quite proficient on the 029 card punch.
I worked for ibm late 70’s to early 80’s and used to repair everything from 029’s thru huge 3890 cheque sorters and 390 H multi cpu water cooled mainframes. Some machines I worked on still had valves in them!!! I remember installing a 4K upgrade to the 3148 mainframe it cost thousands of dollars back then. The good ol’ days. Before the IBM PC was released…I saw one of the first units of PC when it was released. We have come a long way since those days. I’m still in IT today.
I worked for HP for 26 years, http://www.hpmuseum.net/index.php provides an interesting look at hardware spec and cost back in the day.
Back in the 90s, my school offered voluntary computer science lessons. In the classroom we had couple Euro PCs: 640k RAM, 3.5 inch floppy, no (!) harddisk, amber on black screens. The teacher had to boot each and every single machine with his master boot disk at the beginning of the lesson, and every time one of the pupils crashed the machine with our first coding experiments. We learned to code simple programs in GW Basic.
Everything virtually useless, but fascinating enough for me to become a software developer and architect. Working in this area up to now, today with the newest tech shit you can imagine. Still fascinating, and I wonder how things will look like in another 25 years.
I feel the urge to join in … I qualify.
I built my first computer in '82. An Acorn Atom. I sold that and bought a BBC Micro model B and upgraded it to the model A with floppy drive. I also had an Apple IIe, but sold that to fund my first PC: 286, 1MB and a Rodime 3.5" hard disk. That cost the equivalent of £7k today.
Of course I do not qualify, so I will say nothing!
Are you telling pork-pies and a bag of trout?
Ah English for the advanced…had to look that one up. Anyways, my first computer experience was peek & poke on a commodore 64.
Ok you got me, “bag of trout”?
Trout … snout, i.e. Pinocchio.
This topic isn’t doing my age illusions any good, it took me a while but eventually I remembered an IBM AT 80286 arriving on my desk, PC DOS 1.0 (eventually replaced by Windows 2.1), twin 5.25” floppy drives, 512KB memory & a massive 20MB drive!
Amazingly office lunchtimes were spent playing “fly.exe” the best flying game ever
I had to review the IBM PC for the company I was working for back in the early 80s. I spent a lot of the time in a maze of twisty little passages hearing a hollow voice saying “PLUGH!”
My first exposure to computing was the school’s Research Machines 380Z, then my parents bought me a Sinclair ZX81 for Christmas '81 - I was hooked…
First job in 1984 was developing FORTRAN 77 on a DEC VAX-11/780.
The VAX! Wonderful machine. BLISS-32 was aptly named.
Unfortunately, I was writing in FORTRAN IV on temperamental but fast PDP-11/60.
I had some experience of the PDP-11/44, but most of my work was on the HP 9000 236 during the 1980s. High-echelon metrology and ATE development.
Sinclair ZX81 for my childhood first computer. Saved up all year for the 16K memory expansion pack that went in the expansion slot and velcro’d to the back of the machine. It meant very slightly higher res graphics with a frame rate from memory of something super-smooth like one frame every 2-3 seconds. Flight sim was, er, pretty unusable as you can imagine. Upgraded to a Tandy after that.
By the time I worked in CGI in London we had access to SGI machines at about £20-30k a pop. More like 50-60 by the time you’d added disks and software. The server/renderer Onyx was about 1/4 million from memory , and had 2 GB of RAM. No one believed me - at the time it was so huge it seemed impossible. Post places regularly had vans driven through the glass frontages so thieves could steal RAM from machines. The 384MB that maxed out the workstations was pretty expensive back then!
I miss the days of so many smaller startups and different hardware and new ideas. Today it’s pretty boring, albeit far more useful and cost effective!
Ah the good old PDPs. As well as the IBM mainframes I also worked supporting a PDP 11/70 running RSTS/E in the mid to late 70s. Fine machine it was too.
I ran a couple of projects in the 90s moving applications from an IBM mainframe to System/390 and subsequently porting to Solaris. Tried to give the S/390 to a university, but couldn’t make that happen before I left the job. Today I have two big boxes each with 2TB RAM to dispose. Nothing really changes.