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When I started, the first project I was on used a Honeywell 200, a Four Phase mini, a Perkin-Elmer (later Interdata) 8/32 and an IBM 370/158, with languages including Assembler (3 different flavors), Cobol, Fortran, PL/I and RPG, plus MVS JCL. Somewhere around here I still have the textbooks and manuals for the IBM side of things; the others have all thankfully vanished into the mists of time.
By 'eck lad, you 'ad it easy! When I started we had to punch the 'oles into leather straps with our teeth, then walk 500 miles to feed it by 'and through t'reader, and output was by electric shock!
No but seriously, hand-punched cards (eventually we got one of these[^]) using a hand-held thingy. It was a chunk of metal with 12 square holes in it, and a square "poker" thing you used to push individual chads out, having looked up the hole pattern for the character you wanted. Then you sent the card deck off by post (from the Post Office) to the University, and a couple of weeks later you got your punching errors back. You re-punched, sent it off, and if you were lucky got your compilation errors back. Eventually you got "Hello World" or the equivalent, and jumped for joy! That was at school...
But yes, once graduated and working in London, initially we wrote out Cobol coding sheets by hand, sent them down to the girls in the punchroom (you were supposed to leave them in the tray outside, but going in was too much temptation for some). The next day you'd take your cards down to the ops room; we had both ICL1904 machines with George III (and a teletype interface too!) or the faster IBM 360 machine. Remember "the well" on the ICL machines - effectively a queue of waiting jobs, but a prioritised one where, as a junior programmer doing testing, your jobs were being constantly overtaken by production work. Some jobs, those needing significant resources (like more than 32kwords), might sit in the well for days... then oh! the Joy of a VDU screen with TSO!
As kids, we used to draw on these manilla coloured cards with little rectangles missing. Always different to each other and seemingly nonsense patterns.
Years later, found out they all belonged to a single program which had been scattered when Mum tripped over crossing the road at Uni one day.
I still miss the HP calculator Dad used to borrow from work sometimes that took little sticks with magnetic tape on em for storing programs. (Perhaps a HP29C) Playing that moon-lander simulation was teh best!
"I have no idea what I did, but I'm taking full credit for it." - ThisOldTony
"Common sense is so rare these days, it should be classified as a super power" - Random T-shirt
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Ok, so this subject has probably been done to death in the past but things are always moving on... New job means new laptop, new boss says tell me what you need and we'll get it for you - I'm in R&D working on test software generally, a lot of number crunching maths, data processing and apps for embedded applications. Graphics are typically light. Do I go for something off the shelf or spec me up something special?
Laptops ARE off the shelf.
1, Most important question as far as I'm concerned if whether you're going to lug it around on a daily basis or not.
If so, make sure it's small and light, otherwise you can go for a "foldable desktop".
2, make sure it has a large enough SSD-drive.
3, Get a docking station, can't stress enough how important proper monitors and keyboard is for productivity
I will have to lug it around, good point, largest SSD - for sure and I always use external keyboard, mouse, monitors at my desk - surely nobody ever does any real work with a laptop keyboard and mouse pad? Never found one useable yet...
Been there, done that... At one point I was (mistakenly) given free hands in choosing a new laptop. So I thought to myself: "A 17" screen must be good for software development. The more screen space, the better".
Yeah, right! So I wound up with a "forcibly moveable laptop". The power adapter alone weighed around 3 kilos.
No need to work out for a couple of years...
Anything that is unrelated to elephants is irrelephant Anonymous - The problem with quotes on the internet is that you can never tell if they're genuine Winston Churchill, 1944 - Never argue with a fool. Onlookers may not be able to tell the difference. Mark Twain
If you are testing software, my recommendation would be to get 2 test machines:
1. The hottest hopped up laptop with the most modern expensive options, lots of memory and large disks
2. The oldest wimpiest crappy laptop that you support for the software with the smallest memory and disk that are reasonable to use with it. Make sure it has Windows Vista.
You'll be seen as the smartest tester in the group.
If pigs could fly, just imagine how good their wings would taste!
Microsoft won't allow you to install Windows Vista on a new machine. My test machine died and I tried to re-install Windows Vista and it went to the MS website to validate the software, but the URL was no longer active. The oldest OS you can install (before Vista) is XP.
I bought a low-level Acer Aspire V17 Nitro gaming laptop (7?) years ago, and have been really happy with it. You might check out something by them, like the Predator Helios 300. I have no idea if they are still good, but the reviews seem nice. Just an idea, but not a guarantee as others probably know of better options.
However, if you can handle luggable, I used a Dell Precision Workstation at a job a few years back and it was incredible. Biggest problem, besides its weight and it got really hot when on your actual lap, was that the 17 inch screen wouldn't fully open on a plane tray.
If your software supports it, an i7 processor that provides AVX-512 (e.g. Intel 1065G7 or above) may be useful for number-crunching. Otherwise, any mainstream processor that supports AVX2 (don't they all these days?) will suffice for numeric programming. I don't know if AMD has support for AVX-512 in any of its laptop processors.
If you deal with large datasets, you may wish to ensure that the computer has additional memory. 16GB is the absolute minimum, with 32GB recommended and 64GB for really large sets.
Other than that, a large SSD disk and light weight never go amiss. The screen size should be something you are comfortable with; it should be large enough to work with, but small enough to open on a airplane seat tray. Personally I find a 14" screen to be ample for anything that I need to do on the road.
A docking station or some such is essential for when you are at the office; working on a small screen is possible, but why suffer?
Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.
-- 6079 Smith W.
Last Visit: 31-Dec-99 18:00 Last Update: 4-Aug-21 21:35