This goes back a few decades but I mostly associated Macs with desktop
publishing and other artsy endeavors. One quirk I remember as a C
programmer is the Apple II needed some sort of keyboard tweak to handle
C. There was some character it didn't have natively, possibly curly and
square brackets. I don't think it had ~ or ^ but those aren't real
Dunno. I only played with 68K Macs as servers of various types
(WWW/FTP/DNS/TFTP/etc.). As such, usually running headless and
"talking " to them over a telnet connection.
Trigraphs would handle that. But, from a telnet session, not an issue.
MacOS got *one* thing right, though -- putting the "menubar" for the
"active window" at the top of the screen... instead of wasting all that
screen real-estate drawing menu bars in EVERY application window
(even those without the focus!)
Trigraphs remind me of the Escape Meta Alt Control Shift thing that
plays Go, tells your fortune, feeds the cat, and is customizable if
you're fluent in Martian.
Funny, that came up in a conversation yesterday when I told another
programmer about APL. That required digraphs on most keyboards and I
mentioned trigraphs. He asked what you'd use those for and when I said
emacs, he shuddered.
One CS professor at my university called APL TPL (THE programming
language). He also hosted weekly gatherings at the campus pub, which
were dubbed APL (alcoholic programmers league). It was interesting to
read comments on his obituary page regarding APL
I had a Trendata 1200 (aka "Selectric I/O") with an APL typeball.
Not the sort of thing folks were comfortable "reading over your shoulder"
(why does that key generate that weird upside down triangle??")
On Wed, 30 Sep 2015 05:48:01 -0400, "Robert Green"
I worked for 5 years for a small high-end clone mfg here in Canada -
the first PCs to be sold with a 3 year warranty.
They were really good machines, at a very competetive price, until a
beancounter took over the company with the help of a socalled "Harvard
MBA" - between the 2 they killed the quality and bled the company into
backrupsy within about 3 years. (I was gone in about 1 1/2)
Those same bean counters ran through my old employer's company destroying
value while alleging to make us more efficient. I think they're soon to
collapse with the coming changes in government contracting.
Compatibility-wise, I think the clones (good ones, anyway) really helped
move the PC revolution along. My first *real* IBM PC cost over $5,000 (this
is when full height diskette drives were also about $600). The clones
helped force prices of all peripherals out of the IBM stratosphere and into
the real world. Eventually I was buying the surplus IBM half-height
diskette drives (from the botched PC JR) for $40 - quite a drop from $600.
Some of the clones offered options that even IBM didn't. One board I bought
had 8 sockets for BIOS chips. That really fascinated my friend who liked to
program in assembler.
Another AT clone had a CPU that wasn't artificially prevented from running
at 8MHz like the IBM AT was for a while.
IIRC, the ultimate test of a PC's compatibility was:
"Can it run flight simulator?"
My first products were i4004 and i8080/8085 based.
I spent a *lot* of time with the Z80 -- I suspect I
could still "hand assemble" machine code (i.e., 16r01xxxx,
16r11xxxx, 16r21xxxx are the "LXI" opcodes (LD BC/DE/HL),
16r76 is HLT, etc.)
Zilog's most coloosal blunder was in not leveraging their Z80
successes (Z280, Z8000, Z80000, Z380, etc.) effectively.
They had to rely on Hitachi to breathe continued life into
the family with the '180 devices...
I always miss Z80 vs. i8080. Got tired of wire wrapping and
bought a battery powered wrap gun. At times I found Gardener Denver's
mis-wiring trouble-shooting back panels later on. Tracing wiring was
not that difficult, all the wiring complex was available in micro fiche.
I was one man crew, so having a boss was just that. My rank was higher
than his on company pay grade. Any way I never put him in any kinda jam
on technical issues causing customer irritation.
A friend bought me an electric GD gun as a bday gift. I also
had a "cut and strip" bit (feed kynar wire through hole in
bottom of bit, pull out through an opening in the outer sleeve,
pull trigger and wire is cut to length, stripped and wrapped
in one shot)
A small crochet hook was indispensible for fishing wires out of the
"rats nest". I worked on large 2 ft x 6 ft panels (military work)
where you were dealing with *thousands* of components on a single
panel (power supplied by 3/4" square -- cross sectional -- copper
"buss bars" running the length of the panels).
We used paper tape or indented puch card knocking off holes
to program machine code instead toggling buttons of swwitches
on control panel. Good old days. Biggest PSU was +5V Ault unit
which puts out 150A. Some big system needed more than few.
I worked on a discrete ECL processor ("ALU", no memory) that
drew 100A @ -5.2VDC. 600 (six hundred) bit data words.
7ns cycle time. (not bad for 30+ years ago!)
You took off all "jewelry" (belt buckles, rings, watches,
metal framed eyeglasses) when you worked on it as a "slip"
would quickly bring the item to cherry red *without*
blowing the power supply fuse/protector!
We had a dedicated 440V service installed just to power the
instrument (used to test the *core* memory in certain aircraft)
Square D, the industrial controls manufacturer, entered the solid state
fray with NORPAK. They were modules a little smaller than a VHS
cartridge that you mounted on a backplane and interconnected with taper
pine jumpers. Each module had a number of discrete gates. As the name
suggests, most of them were NORs with a few NANDs and NOTs for good measure.
Theoretically you can do anything given enough NORs. You can also run up
a hell of a bar tab trying to restore your brain to normal operation
after doing so.
There was a logic family (for sea of gates implementations) called STL.
Basically, single transistors (inverters!) that you would wire together
(on the die) to form gates. Tying collectors together ("wired-or"),
inverting inputs/outputs, etc.
It was grossly inefficient -- but very versatile.
There's nothing more important than keeping the customer satisfied. Even if
you've got a jerk of a boss that doesn't understand how important customer
satisfaction is, you can't lose sight of it. I had a boss who inherited me
(didn't hire me and came along long after I was hired) and really worked
hard to get me to leave.
Fortunately one of my clients knew his direct supervisor and told him how
happy they were with my work. I had converted a system of nearly 100 complex
Lotus spreadsheets to dBaseIII database that didn't mix data with formulas.
In huge spreadsheets people were always inserting rows and columns and
deleting or seriously compromising formulas linked to those cells. I don't
think a single sheet came with any sort of comments or documentation. It
took quite some time to figure out what was happening. It had evolved over
5 years and the original "designers" were nowhere to be found.
Converting spreadsheet "systems" to databases was a lucrative business for a
long time because so many small companies started out using spreadsheets
when they should have set up databases. They all reached a point where the
puny PCs of the time just ran out of memory. That spurred a lot of people
to change over from Lotus 123 to dBaseIII.
Then dBaseIV came out, got killed by FoxPro which was eventually chopped up,
folded into Access and killed. *Despite* MS's frequent promises to FoxPro
user groups not to kill it. I still have quite a few FoxPro installations
still running smoothly.
On 10/1/2015 12:56 PM, email@example.com wrote:
6809 was considerably more capable than the 8080 and 4004.
The 6800 was more on a par with the 8080. The i4004 would
almost be physically painful coding for -- esp today.
Back then, we counted ram in "dozens of bytes" -- I can
recall 256 bytes being A LOT!!!
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