Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Computers

Little to report on the Cuba issue, so I turn to other things, at least until the World Baseball Cup starts on October 1st.

Giving instructions to a computer is more fun – and important – than giving instructions to your wife. The computer never complains. Your wife might do that, which can be the cause of innumerable problems.

That is the reason why in 1968 I chose to go into computers. At that time, it was a growing field.
The PC revolution was yet to come.

I was working for a man who was a typical Republican and who was very narrow minded. His business would eventually fail. I had a dead end job.

I started and self financed – at night – a 69 week course with a private Business College, after having found innumerable errors and mistakes in a correspondence course out of Chicago. 30 students started the course at the vocational school. We lost most of them when we got to binary numbers. I stuck with it. One night a light bulb went on on my brain, and I was able to grasp the new concept, which is central to any computer. I was one of only three who graduated “with honors.”

Back then we did not have desktop or laptop computers. My first job was with a small company. They had an IBM 360 Mod 20. It did not have hard disks. All the data was stored in 80 column punched cards. We had a large room with probably millions of those cards with all the data. If they had had a fire, the company would have lost all their data. Luckily, it never happened.

If I remember correctly, the memory on that computer was either 4K or 8K of CPU memory. Today we have USB memory sticks with 8 Gigabytes which you can buy for $10. Writing programs that would fit in the tiny computer memory was both a challenge and great fun at the time.

Eventually I would become a programmer-analyst. I spent 25 years doing that with various companies.

Now I am happily retired, in Florida. My first laptop was an IBM Thinkpad and my second a superb Acer. I learned how to program my PC's. I also have a removable disk drive that has 291 Gigabytes of storage. I will never run out of storage space. I taught myself C++ and write an occasional program. I do it for fun, not for money.

If is truly amazing the evolution that we have witnessed in computers after the advent of the PC. Man has evolved and so have computers. We control our own destiny.

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