[vcf-midatlantic] My first computer memory was using a terminal

William Dudley wfdudley at gmail.com
Sat May 22 02:23:49 UTC 2021

As long as we're reminiscing . . .

Like Gregg, I had IBM exposure early.
As a freshman in high school, (so 1965-66), we had a field trip
to TJ Watson Research facility, in Yorktown Heights (only a bit north of
my town of Chappaqua) NY.  We were sat down at 2741 Selectric
I/O terminals, and given a login to an early version of APL running
on a 360.  Ken Iverson, the author of the APL book, worked at
TJ Watson.  During my junior year (so 1967-68) he taught a class
in APL to about 20 in my high school, myself included.  IBM had
this idea that they could get kids in middle school using APL and
have them all trained to use IBM hardware once they graduated.

When I got to Cornell University, and they offered a class in APL
my second year, I was all set.  The instructor was literally about
a chapter ahead of the class every week, whereas my roommate
and I, both graduates of Iverson's class in high school, could
*teach* the class.

I loved APL.  I even had a "tiny-APL" that ran under CPM at one point,
believe it or not.  I modified the terminal I had (now in the Info-Age
to show APL characters if the right escape sequences were sent to it.

Now I've got an open source APL, and I never use it.  It's too wierd
a language, without modern control structures or any libraries, so
it's just a historical curiosity now.

Bill Dudley

This email is free of malware because I run Linux.

On Fri, May 21, 2021 at 9:36 PM Gregg Levine via vcf-midatlantic <
vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:

> Hello!
> Bill I think I did just top that, but everyone read on.
> I'll top all of that, when I was in elementary school, I got a chance
> to participate in a program that IBM setup using their mainframe
> families, and the Selectric based terminals, probably the 2741, in a
> remote mode. I was granted a logon code, and could spend about half an
> hour doing exercises. By the time it did end I was even allowed to do
> that without one of the teachers being present.
> Years later when visiting the IBM Research facility that Yorktown
> Heights has, I met just such a terminal, and had a chance to do stuff.
> The fellow I was with, well his father was an IBM Fellow for many
> years.  To this day, when making use of Hercules to run an IBM OS, I
> think of that terminal when using telnet to talk to the emulator.
> Today, the people in my LUG, find my stories of such hardware to be
> odd. And think the IBM mainframe should be keeping the dinos in the
> museum in NYC and elsewhere company. In fact they refuse to believe
> that's what is managing their banking and credit card use, (still).
> -----
> Gregg C Levine gregg.drwho8 at gmail.com
> "This signature fought the Time Wars, time and again."
> On Fri, May 21, 2021 at 4:46 PM Bruce via vcf-midatlantic
> <vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:
> >
> > Man, you youngsters had it good!
> > Back before dirt, they gave us mechanical calculators in HS to learn on.
> > Marchant and Monroe are names that come to mind.  This training was *job*
> > training.  Knowing how to operate these calculators could have secured a
> HS
> > graduate of the era a position in a bank or accounting firm.
> > These behemoths were a step up from my Magic Brain stylus slide adder,
> > which itself was merely a mechanization of an abacus, which could add or
> > subtract and could multiply by repeated addition.  (I actually had an
> > abacus, but never really mastered it.  I did pretty well on the Magic
> > Brain.)
> > I distinctly remember entering college and longing for one of the
> > 4-function pocket calculators that had become available by then, but at
> > $150 (that's $1200 in 2021 dollars), that was out of the question.  So I
> > enrolled in computer classes and learned FORTRAN programming, which held
> me
> > in good stead through about 1983.
> > Along the way, I used a desk-sized Wang programmable calculator (vintage
> > about 1971 or so) and the HP-65 pocket calculator, the kind that NASA
> took
> > along to Apollo-Soyez.
> > Bruce
> > NJ
> >
> >
> > On Fri, May 21, 2021 at 4:06 PM Bill Degnan via vcf-midatlantic <
> > vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:
> >
> > > I vaguely remember when I was in elementary school in the 1970s in
> > > delaware some U of Delaware students or a teacher gave me access to a
> > > computer via a terminal.  It was a simple login prompt to connect to
> > > the library and look things up and play some kind of exercises that
> > > had conditional decisions to build a story.  It wasn't Plato or
> > > anything like that.
> > >
> > > That was my first memory of computers, but I must have been very young
> > > as I don't remember much else.  The thing that impressed me was how
> > > you could decide what to do next and it changed a story's outcome.   I
> > > think we had a picture book that went with it (?)
> > >
> > > I always wonder what that was all about.  It was a one-day thing and
> > > that was it.
> > > Many years later I heard about something called project Delta at the U
> > > of Del but I have no idea if that was the same thing or if it was just
> > > some U of Del student looking for nearby kids to experiment with.
> > >
> > > I remember going to the librarian in elementary school and asking to
> > > use the computer in the back office , maybe 5th grade, but there were
> > > no computers for kids to use.
> > >
> > > I started going to RadioShack and using their computers probably in
> > > 4th grade and the Hallmark had a Timex Sinclair on display there, but
> > > I did have a family computer until the later 80s.  I somehow knew
> > > BASIC, which makes me wonder if I was taught BASIC too.  I remember
> > > making the computer say "Bill is Cool" over and over and I thought
> > > that was really funny at the time.
> > >
> > > Bill
> > >

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