It covers my early years as a Knucklehead Programmer which was kind of like Wolf of Wall Street minus the money, blow, and hookers.
Shawn and I do have a darned good time talking about programming in the 70s/80s (APL, big iron, life before PCs and RDMS), people who changed our lives, and what we can do to nurture the developer community.
Go subscribe to Shawn’s series so you can listen to a great cast of developer characters talk about how they got started in this game.
I wonder if Shawn will interview himself :-)
Extra linksShawn included a few links on his page but I thought you might like a few more with my memories attached.
Steve DunwellSteve Dunwell, the IBM Fellow, lead architect and manager on the pioneering STRETCH computer is remembered in this article, “Return of the prodigal son: the rehabilitation of Steve Dunwell”. His passion for educational computing made my introduction to computing possible at a time when “computers in the schools” was almost inconceivable.
APL – A Programming LanguageAPL, my first programming language and my source of income for two decades. Here is Conway’s Game of Life in a single line of “write once, read never” APL: Look Ma! No Loops!
We loved it. We owned our own 16Kb slice of an IBM/360. No overseers. No types, No compiler. Cult language. We rocked.
My first “computer” was actually an IBM/360 connected by a private telephone line and acoustic coupler to this 2741 terminal, a modified Selectric typewriter.
The Selectric Typewriter printed with a typesphere that rotated and tilted for each letter before striking a ribbon and the paper behind it (see video). IBM made a special typesphere to print those weird APL characters: My first green screen terminal was a 3270 display. It was roughly the size of a foot locker and must have weighed more than 50 pounds. The manual was over 100 pages. The character set was IBM’s own EBCDIC; ASCII was an option but I don’t remember seeing ASCII actually installed. A bigger, heavier color version arrived with the 3279 some years later: