Calibration Issues

I taught myself C programming on the Amiga. I loved those machines.


I went the other way… Assembly.
C was for filthy casuals…

Then 15 years later when i needed to learn C# quickly i discovered the error of my arrogance.


I started learning assembly on the C64 then went to C on the Amiga when I created my own version of the Citadel BBS software.

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Never owned an Amiga but I was paid to design some add on hardware for it. A real time clock cartridge called Forget Me Not Clock, which only had about 3 components, and a floppy disc duplicator that allowed you to copy from drive A to 32 drive B’s in parallel.

My first computer was a Sinclair Z81 with a few Kb of RAM and 8Kb add-on modules. Ugh. Next up, Apple IIe, then the first Apple Macintosh that had no HDD. That was roughing it.

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LOL, VIC 20 for my first!
My school had a networked system of BBC computers… but we learned programming basics on punch-cards!


Mine, too!

Though, the first computer I ever programmed was a PET.


I’m waiting for one of you oldsters to say you learned to program on an HP-65.

IBM 1401 :stuck_out_tongue:

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And I thought johnbooker was the old man here. :grinning:

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I was in high school. Amazing we even had one. :slightly_smiling_face:

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In high school, we learned on a Wang “Desktop Calculator”

This used manually punched (as in use a stylus to poke out the die-cut perforations) cards to store the program. The cards were clamped into “bed-of-nails” card readers. The displays were “nixie” tubes. We wrote out our programs, manually converted the operations to their two-digit octal opcodes and then punched the codes into the cards. We’d also do a manual checksum that we could compare to a checksum computed by the calculator so we’d know if there was an improperly punched (or more commonly a badly seated) card.

We also had ASR-33 teletypes that used 110 baud acoustic modems to connect to the district’s HP minicomputer.

We were stoked to finally get a Commodore PET!


The first computer I programmed as a professional programmer was the CDC-160A:

Or rather a Varian V-73 that was microcoded to emulate the CDC-160A. This was used as the primary “buffering and display” computer in the mission control centers for the Air Force when communicating with satellites. In the early days (when they were running actual CDC-160As) they printed the output on line printers, pointed a video camera at the printer, and projected that on a large screen. By the time I was working with it, they had a “virtual” line printer display–132-column color display. Instead of scrolling data up the screen (no one could read that), they would just keep overwriting the display with a couple of blank lines below the most recent line of output, wrapping from the bottom to the top.

The other system I worked on there was the system that was at the tracking stations, the Univac 1230mTc Tracking Computer. These had replaced a pair of CDC-160A computers that had been at each tracking station.

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Nope. Basic and a bit of Pascal on a PDP-1170 mini

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Punch cards are prior to my time, but a friend once slipped and fell while carrying his program and his card stack scattered. Not a good day.

I used paper tape on a teletype at school that was linked to an ICL 2900 mainframe in the town centre. At home I had already built my own computer that used cassette tape for storage, so it seemed a bit primitive. Then I went to university and used punch cards and learned about core stores while at home I was using DRAM.

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Me? Programmable abacus.


I banged the still cooling rocks together.


In the 70’s we used a DIT-MCO unit for verifying plane controls before they flew (which was a very good idea since we caught a lot of stuff). It had jumper board logic cards and was tedious as hell to program. This thing looked like two coffins glued together with gobs of cables dangling out the backside and had white board type diagrams on the sloped face to fast change options when different cards were installed.

One day in about 78, a breadbox sized unit came to our Electrical Tooling shop. It was a replacement for the DIT-MCO. Being the geeks we already were we popped the lid and saw that it was only that big to support all the cables trailing out of the back. One of the crew mentioned, “if we do not figure out what is going on in there, we will soon be out of a job”. He had a point, since the other one-off test boxes we made were not going to support the entire shops compliment.

Off I went to Heathkit to buy a computer starter pack for a few hundred dollars. It added, subtracted, multiplied, and divided. With the answer in hexadecimal on a string of LEDs. That hooked me and I tumbled down the computer rabbit hole.

Now you can get a free calculator that will do 99 other things when you open a bank account.
I was heavy into robotics when I retired, and I have to say it has been an amazing career.

edit: this needed an edit since a lot of people will not know what Heathkit was. You bought kits to solder and assemble. So yes, my first calculator was hand made. A step up from knocking rocks together lol. I think they still exist but have not seen a shop in forever.


Oh, how I miss the glory days of Heathkits.

In fact, the first laser I played with was a HeNe from Heathkit.