[Beowulf] Parallel Development Tools
James.P.Lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Wed Oct 17 00:04:48 EDT 2007
At 05:34 PM 10/16/2007, Gerry Creager wrote:
>"Three things in life a man must do,
>Before his days are done.
>Write two lines of APL...
>And make the sucker run."
>OK, so it's not PL-I but APL was another interesting beast. A
>friend had written an entire StarTrek game, including a 3d universe,
>in APL and we wasted cycles waiting for long jobs on the Amdahl
>470v6 to complete that way...
Lest we forget...
the first portable personal computer, the IBM 5100 (predecessor of
the more familiar IBM 5150 Personal Computer) ran APL and BASIC as
its two native languages. And had core memory, to boot, so if you
just powered off instead of running the shutdown, it would remember
where you were.
I think IBM's first real "personal computer", as in one intended to
be used by a single person at a time, sitting at the typewriter
console, was probably the 1130 (although I understand that it really
was a version of their industrial 1800 machine)
>Ellis Wilson wrote:
>>Wow, PL-I, I'm learning about that in my language design
>>class. While it brought a bunch of new items to the computing
>>field, can't say I'm upset I didn't code in it :).
>>Sorry guys, I came into existence just about the time the internet
>>was opened up from just NSF to commercial interest, so punch cards
>>are a little out of my league. I must say though, this certainly
>>beats the heck out of a history of computing languages class any day!
You know... I pitched my last box of cards into the trash probably in
the early,mid-80s. So there I am, working for a special effects
company in 1997, and we get hired by the producer to do effects for
an Intel commercial. They want punched cards in the shot sort of
floating in the background on wires (a "practical" effect, as
opposed to CGI)... So one of the artists gets out some card stock and
an X-acto knife and starts to cut out a tab card AND HOLES... I walk
by after de-lidding some Pentiums for another shot, and say, surely
there's some place in Los Angeles where we can just buy a box of
cards and use a keypunch.
A day of phone calls later...
So yes, one CAN buy 80 column tab cards still (or 10 years ago you
could). Minimum order is a case, 5 boxes (10,000 cards).
But, even better, I found a place in the San Fernando Valley that did
key-to-disk and service bureau processing on legacy stuff. They said,
oh yeah, we have a keypunch to do JCL cards and such for various card
oriented processing jobs. (Interestingly, Ventura County still used
tab cards for ballots in elections until last year) I went over
there, and they gave me a bunch of cards and let me use their 029
keypunch back in the corner. Talk about a weird experience. I
hadn't even seen one since, probably, 1980. I sat down, reached
under to turn on the power, loaded the cards in the hopper, flipped
the switch that did the auto feed, and started punching. There's all
those sounds of the card coming down, moving across, etc., and then
the chunk,chunk,chunk as you punch. Talk about instinctive motor memory...
I think the guy at the service center was confident I knew what I was
doing when I knew how to turn on the power without looking..
Thank the gods I didn't have to build a drum card.
But now, I've fully confirmed I'm an old codger, and I'm not even 50 yet.
James Lux, P.E.
Spacecraft Radio Frequency Subsystems Group
Flight Communications Systems Section
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mail Stop 161-213
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena CA 91109
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