Programming nostalgia

The war between wetware and hardware.
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Witness
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Programming nostalgia

Post by Witness » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:59 pm

Usborne books out of the 80ies:

Image

Perhaps somebody will shed a tear and download: https://usborne.com/browse-books/featur ... ing-books/

:P

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Abdul Alhazred
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Re: Programming nostalgia

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:06 am

FORTRAN in technical school. No nostalgia there for me.

A bit of self taught BASIC. Fun at the time but now meh.

But when I finally went to a real college ... Pascal :coolspecs:
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Re: Programming nostalgia

Post by ceptimus » Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:26 pm

I got an old PC down from the loft yesterday and powered it up. CMOS/clock battery dead, of course so it booted into the BIOS, It had the number of cylinders/sectors etc. for each of the two hard drives written inside the case so I was able to configure those in the BIOS (remember when we had to do that?) and default everything else. One of the hard drives was not spinning up, but a bit of shaking/twisting freed it up and then the PC booted into Windows 95. It's a 486DX with a whopping 8MB of RAM plus a 2MB graphics card. The two hard disks are 244 MB and 540 MB, and that's actually plenty of room with lots of free space - even though nowadays a Raspberry Pi has more RAM, than the total storage fitted in this PC! I think the processor is running at 66MHz, but I've forgotten how you check the processor speed on Windows 95 - maybe it's only a 33MHz chip.

So I checked the CMOS battery and, as expected, it was leaking and eating away the PCB - but not too bad. I stripped the thing down, removed the battery and cleaned up the PCB, then fitted an external battery (right now it has a 2200 mAh single LiPo cell, though I'll fit something more appropriate eventually).

It boots up surprisingly quickly and doesn't seem slow at all. It beat me handily at a couple of games of Scrabble, and I also played Doom 2 - both games were installed on one of the HDs. Then I found it has Borland Turbo C++ installed and spent a happy couple of hours writing some simple programs. Compile and link time is plenty fast - it makes you wonder how much we've really gained from multiple gigabytes of RAM, multi-core processors, solid state disk drives and such: modern PCs have hundreds of times the computing power and thousands of times the storage - but you wouldn't think that based on a simple comparison of what they can do compared to this 25+ year old tech.

It also has some Forth language thing installed - but I never got on all that well with Forth so I'm not going to look at that.

It doesn't have a network card, but I have a few of those somewhere. Problem with getting it on the internet would be finding a browser that can run under Windows 95 but still access modern web pages that will work with so little RAM. Maybe some tiny Linux distro would work okay, but I don't really want to sink much more time into it.

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Re: Programming nostalgia

Post by Doctor X » Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:49 pm

I have this Timex Sinclair but I cannot find my cassette deck.

What I get for upgrading my stereo.

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Re: Programming nostalgia

Post by Witness » Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:39 am

Abdul Alhazred wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:06 am
FORTRAN in technical school. No nostalgia there for me.

A bit of self taught BASIC. Fun at the time but now meh.

But when I finally went to a real college ... Pascal :coolspecs:
All these languages have now largely converged, apart from idiosyncrasies. Even Fortran (or, as you write to prove you're an old hand: FORTRAN) is now quite slick.

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Re: Programming nostalgia

Post by Rob Lister » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:32 am

In fortran, god is real unless otherwise declared as integer.