Sunday, January 15, 2012

The first computer program I ever ran (1966)

This story is part of my permanent Web, but you are welcome to leave comments here.

At Texas Tech, I found a sympathetic staff member who said I could run my program. I was in ecstasy.

They had two computers then. One was an IBM 1620 with add-on core memory (persistent storage—a luxury of the day!) and a Flexowriter terminal. However, such was not for mere mortals, but I would be welcome to run it on their IBM 7044, the older and not so shiny system.

The first obstacle was learning how to use an IBM 026 keypunch. What a miserable excuse for a human-computer interface! Communicating with computers by punching holes in a piece of cardstock! If you made a mistake, you had to throw away the entire card and start over: once you punch a hole, you can't unpunch it.

(the full story)

1 comment:

Stephen John Smoogen said...

I was reading Gerald Weinberg's psychology of computing last week and was thinking about how terminals changed programmers and social stories.