Friday, January 8, 2010

Question of the Day

I saw a video last night that made me think of this question:

When was the first time you used a computer?

It was in 1967 when I was a freshman at boarding school. The school had been given a DEC PDP 8/S and my math class did a unit on programming in FORTRAN. It was the only time in my math studies that I got over a C. The computer was programmed with punch tape spit out by teletype machines, then fed through an optical reader. Our assignment was to program the computer to arrange a random set of numbers in ascending order.

A year later at another school we had a teletype machine that was linked over a phone modem to the mainframe at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and we took turns writing programs, including some rudimentary games. The teletype was located in one of my math teacher’s office and there was a sign-up sheet on his door to reserve time to use it.