My passion for and journey in the digital world started when I was about 9 or 10 (and that’s just about four decades ago!) and with a TV-Game console which, by today’s standards, looked very much like Don Chaffey’s One Million Years B.C. of 1966! It then evolved into a Commodore 64 and tape recorder for loading (and saving) programmes and games on compact cassettes, which used to create outer space alien-type noises if you ever wonder and dare playing them in conventional cassette players. My next stop was an Amiga 500, probably the grand-grand-…-grandfather of today’s computers! Along the way, I had a good trial of several mainstream and not-so-very-much mainstream gaming consoles and believe me the list is NOT short, so I spare you that!
After messing around with basic programming languages enough (or what I or rather my avant-garde and forward thinking parents thought was enough at the time), it was time to move into the real world of real computers, of course again with yet another attempt on programming! That journey though had another One Million Years B.C.-like start! My first “serious” attempt on programming which was a programme to draw a cone-shape spiral using Basic (and then GW-Basic) all started with a PDP “Micro-computer”; but do not hold your breath! It was rather a state-of-the-art of 1970s which looked like junk when I was doomed to work with it using punch cards (or rather punched cards) and whose “CPU” looked very much like this. The input device (what is normally a keyboard nowadays) for it was close enough to a today’s computer’s keyboard but the shock was felt when you failed to find a monitor to see what the h*** you were doing (or were supposed to do)! Your monitor was all on computer listing paper; probably not the most environmentally friendly option around especially considering that every single error has to be rectified and the whole programme was supposed to be printed on the paper using a dot-matrix printer style output device! Not cool at all (both literally and metaphorically).
I have seen several revolutions in my life, a couple of nasty political ones and a couple nicer non-political ones (no pun intended!). While I was in my first or second year of my long knowledge-seeking journey in university wrestling with the PDP-11 (see my previous post), one of those nice revolutions materialised! Overnight my university decided that enough is enough! We are not wasting talents like this guy (and yes, here I am referring to myself, very humbly of course!) and his likes! So, we are ridding of all our clunky “Micro-computers” (with their lovely punch card systems and listing papers) and replacing them all with brand new NCR PC6 “Personal-computers”, all with 8086 or 8088 processors and some even with 8087 co-processors! Going from computer listing paper as an input device to a monitor was revolutionary and more so, not having to print lines and lines of codes and commands on paper to then sit and carry on the daunting task of errors finding and rectifying and start the entire cycle again!
2 thoughts on “This journey all started 6 years ago, and it was all Simon’s fault!”