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Evolution of Microcomputers: Personal Histories

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raslaje
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Re: Punch Cards
raslaje   3/6/2017 4:27:02 PM
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"He also predates the abacus, but don't tell anyone."

But he looks too young in his photo. Why's that?

Maybe he took it with a Kodak?

TonyTib
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Re: Personal history
TonyTib   3/6/2017 2:15:40 PM
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Some family notes:

My father used the IBM 1620 in college.  Somewhere, I still have a 1620 manual (I'm not getting rid of it).

My brother designed and built an 8080 system in the 1980's, hand assembled assembly language, and then entered it into the EPROM using a DIP switches (he made his own EPROM programmer) - and only made a few mistakes!

My first computer was the Atari 520ST.  I still have it lying around  - I need to fire it up and show my kids; I think they'd enjoy some of the old games (I had a lot of fun playing Rampage -- need to find a couple joysticks for it).

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Punch Cards
MeasurementBlues   3/6/2017 10:33:26 AM
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Max wrote "I predate EDA as we know it"

He also predates the abacus, but don't tell anyone.

traneus
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Personal history
traneus   3/5/2017 7:35:50 PM
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1966 Fortran II punched cards on IBM 1620 at university.

1974 Homebrew DRAM-based text dumb terminal via 300-baud modem to Xerox Sigma-6 timesharing system.

1977 Added homebrew 8080 processor to dumb terminal, using high-speed cassette-tape storage.

1987 Heathkit clone of IBM 8088 PC using MS-DOS. I still use this machine for text editing.

1991 Started using Unix workstations in graduate school.

1994 Upgraded to Pentium 90 running MS-DOS for transient analysis of analog/digital circuits.

1995 Upgraded to Slackware Linux.

2001 Upgraded internet access to cable modem.

2005 After hardware failures, upgraded to AMD Athlon 64-bit processor. I still use this machine for most work, now running 64-bit Slackware using 1 GB of DRAM.

traneus
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Pre-NT and pre-OSX multitasking
traneus   3/3/2017 5:03:48 PM
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I hardly used pre-NT Windows, and I never used pre-OSX Macintoshes, so I thank those who corrected my recollections. Both NT and OSX (which is Unix at its core) are true pre-emptive mutitasking, and complete rewrites from their predecessors.

perl_geek
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Practical queueing theory
perl_geek   3/3/2017 3:07:33 PM
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@Elizabeth "We had a slightly different system..."

Did the administration use the system as a case study in the behaviour of systems with multiple queues? It's actually surprising how many things can be modelled that way, especially in OSs.

(And as a footnote, did you notice that "queueing" has five vowels in succession. There can't  be many words with that count or higher.)

Karnaugh maps and Boolean algebra still have a role, if you're trying to get to the essentials of logic. Even when circuits are cheap and microscopic, hence not worth optimising in themselves, it's worthwhile to boil a problem down to its essentials.

 

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Punch Cards
Max The Magnificent   3/3/2017 12:24:26 PM
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@Elizabeth: ...you remember using Karnaugh Maps and Boolean Algebra to get to the minimum possible gate count....

You betcha -- did you see my column on Karnaugh Maps?  And Reed-Muller Logic? And Gray Codes? And Positive vs Negative Logic? And Assertion-Level Logic? And LFSRs?

Phew -- I'm tired just listing them all LOL

elizabethsimon
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Re: Punch Cards
elizabethsimon   3/3/2017 11:27:45 AM
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@ raslaje

That was pretty efficient compared to my school.

Yes it was pretty efficient for that day and got even more efficient when I discoverd that the wait times were significanlty reduced if you came in at 7 or 8 AM instead of PM

elizabethsimon
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Re: Punch Cards
elizabethsimon   3/3/2017 11:16:19 AM
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@ max

And I'd guess that you remember using Karnaugh Maps and Boolean Algebra to get to the minimum possible gate count.

I was never involved in ASIC design so I missed that part of the fun. I did spend a lot of time trying to fit logic designs into the leftover gates in a package so that we wouldn't have to add another part. I was wishing I could use one of the new-fangled programmable logic devices but they used too much power for our design.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Punch Cards
Max The Magnificent   3/3/2017 10:02:49 AM
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@raslaje: ...What I really learned is to appreciate what we have today...

Oh so true -- I predate EDA as we know it -- my first ASIC designs were in pencil and paper at the gate/register level -- timing analysis involved you adding all the gate and track delays by hand -- functional verification involved your peers looking at your schematics and saying ""looks good" -- you could tell circuit board designers by the fact that they never wore wool sweaters (because they didn't want any fibers falling on the laminate and causing shorts in the finished board)... I could go on for hours LOL

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