Reminiscing about the olden days

I casually mentioned in another thread that I may still have copies of C compilers I used with the Atari ST which resulted in some fun discussion that warranted its own conversation.

I’ll kick it off: My first computer was an Atari 400. I learned to program on it with Atari Basic and Pascal. I upgraded to an Atari ST when I started college and primarily used Pascal, C and some GFA BASIC with it. I even sold some shareware for it back in the day. Eventually I upgraded it to 4MB RAM and a 105MB (yes, MB) hard drive to it for something crazy like $400 or so.

I still have most of that old software in a folder on my Mac Pro. I can actually run it using the NoSTalgia emulator!

I moved from a TI-99/4A where I learned Basic, to the original Mac on its release in '84. I desperately wanted to program on it so I ended up learning some Pascal. The Mac 512k and then to the Mac Plus were huge upgrades over the next couple of years. :slight_smile:

I bought my first computer about a year after I graduated college… It was an Atari 800

I thought Atari basic was rather limited so i bought the cartridge based BasicXE from Optimized system Software OSS). It was lot better than Atari Basic.

I also got the language Action! from them.

It combined some of the features of BASIC, Pascal and C… so introduced me to more advanced programing concepts

The first desktop machine I coded on was long before that, I was when I was an undergrad working for the army on a Co-op job and was the HP-9830 ‘calculator’.

It had 7616 BYTES of free Ram for code , was programed in BASIC, and had a random access tape drive. We had a number of optional ROMS installed, and besides what is pictured we also had an X,Y plotter and a digitizer.

I started learning BASIC in 1975 on a shared Wang 2200B computer the College I went to had. it had a whole 4K of memory

During this time a friend and I built a IMSAI 8080 that had 48K of memory and a 22amp (yes AMP as in 2400watt) powesupply… it dimmed the lights when you turned it on… Took us 6 months of long nights of soldering to get it built… S-100 anyone?

I then went to a TRS-80 which I ultimately upgraded to 48K and dual disk drives!!! (and did NOT dim the lights :slight_smile: )
Wrote the first commercial lunar lander program in 4K, sold by Kilobaud magazine…

Soon after I too went to the Atari ST-1040 which was actually a very nice machine… also running GFA-Basic… there are still one or two of my early programs floating on the net.

Then was years of various models of PC’s running everything from Windows 3.0 to XP.
When Microsoft came out with Vista, I abandoned that genre and move exclusively to the Mac and OSX

It has been a long trip from that 48K IMSAI at 4mhz in 1975 to my current Apple iMac with 8GIG running at 3.4GHZ in 2013.
that is an amazing 174,762 times more memory, and 850 times faster… Wow (not to mention the 38 years :frowning:

I, also, started on an Imsai 8080 but with a crippled 16K memory and a Baudot paper tape reader (manual - pull the tape through by hand!). I got to be a master at flipping the front panel switches to hand-load the tape’s boot loader.

From there, I “graduated” to an Apple II --> Apple II+ --> Apple IIc --> Apple /// --> Lisa --> Mac --> Mac+ …and so on. The only reason I left the Mac world was some software I needed wasn’t available on the Mac platform (still isn’t!). My next machine may well be back in the Mac world with support for the few Windows apps I still need.

I still have an antique 4K magnetic core board from an old mainframe I worked on around somewhere.

Ha! We too had a Baudot paper tape reader… We booted the machine by tieing a lead weight to one end of the tape and throwing it across the apartment :slight_smile:

I was also quite fond of my Atari 400, which eventually was upgraded to an 800XL. Here’s a game I wrote in BASIC back in the day:

You dropped bombs from the “helicopter” to break up the rocks to find an escape passage that you could then lower the helicopter into to get to the next level.

This is running in the Atari800MacX emulator.

I started in 1969 with that platform-independent language… Fortran

My first microcomputer was a Sinclair ZX-81. I thought is was only a toy, but after two weeks of intense Basic and machine language programming, I had also added about one foot of extensions on the back of it. Soon after I added a mechanical keyboard and bought a case looking vaguely like an Apple II.

One year later, I went wild and bought an Apple //e. Then another year later a Panasonic PC-compatible so called “portable” big as a house.

Round late 80’s I created a software publishing house and started offering shareware compilations for PC, Mac and Atari ST.

Time flies …

With a 6 month certificate course at The Chubb Institute for Computer Technology I landed a job at a major bank in Manhattan. At that time, 1980, you had to have two qualities to get a job - a mirror had to fog when placed under your nose and your eyes had to flicker in recognition when they said COBOL. Wall St. was desperate for people that could work the big iron. The ride lasted for 24 years from IBM mainframe to VAX/VMS. Then, they realized they could get it done cheaper in India… Now it’s all for fun on the Mac.

Ah. The zx-81.

Rom packs sticking out the back. If someone breathed on it they would crash.

My first ibm was an Epson Equity. 640k 5 1/4 floppy. Ms Dos 3 green screen. Gwbasic

I remember upgrading to dos 5 and having to buy a 3 1/2 floppy drive. It was about 100 ukp!!

Wrote some good stuff though, considering.

Then i had a machine with 2mb ram and an ega screen.
Wrote a whole payroll system. the dbms (paradox) AND my code fitted on one floppy!

My dad bought an Apple ][+ around 1980 (give or take) and I was hooked. Two 5" floppy drives, and the native BASIC. If you started it without booting from the floppy, started coding without realizing, you were out of luck. You had to reboot and start again just so you could save the program.

Bought my first Mac, an SE/30, around 1990, and I specifically got it with an external hard drive so I could upgrade it easily if I wanted. That 105 MB(!) drive cost $700. I learned an object-oriented Pascal (Borland?), but then moved on to Prograph, which still might be my favorite language ever, and created Freddie, the first full-featured QWK mail app for the Mac. (If you were part of any Usenet BBS’s, you needed to deal with QWK to read/reply to mail offline.) Looking back, I did so many things wrong in that app, it’s almost embarrassing. :slight_smile:

By the way, you know how in current mail apps, you can highlight text, press reply, and just the highlighted text will be quoted in the reply? I’m pretty sure I came up with that first in Freddie. :slight_smile:

Ah. The BBS. Id forgotten about them! ANSI graphics. 14,400 modems. It seems so long ago.

Plus ca change.

My first modem was a 1,200 baud in the Apple ][+ when everyone else was using 300 baud. The losers.

LOL… and here 35 years later… I managed to parlay those two qualties into a 6 figure paycheck :smiley:

Being a lot younger than you lot I was lucky. I started out on the ZX spectrum 48k powerhouse with cassette recorder. Punched paper pffft, dinosaurs.

I tell you what folks these were a thing of the future. Those who know them, forget your predictive text, you only had to press one key and you had a keyword on the screen. L = Load, G = Gosub, R = Run etc etc. Coding was a blast and to think auto complete and predictive text are now sold as features. Sinclair ruled the day.

It’s funny you mentioned that. I just remembered that I learned Fortran on punch cards in high school. I would take the problem home, write the program in BASIC to test it, then translate that to Fortran. When I told my teacher, he seemed a bit amazed.

My first exposure to both FORTRAN (IV to be exact) and BASIC were on a mainframe using punch cards in college . That was before assembled home computers were sold… I hated keypunching!

I started with one of these guys when I was 8 or 9… learned some EDU-BASIC

I remember when we upgraded to a C-64. That was a very merry xmas!