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Author Topic:   Operating system preferences survey
xongsmith
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Posts: 2092
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 5.1


(1)
Message 16 of 40 (889199)
11-10-2021 12:54 AM
Reply to: Message 15 by dwise1
11-09-2021 10:25 PM


dwise1 writes:
and in nearly four decades of working as a software engineer I never did pick up more than a couple dozen ASCII character codes, if even that many.

i hope that you did catch what the ASCII code for '*' was from the Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy series when the computer answered "What's Life and The Universe and Everything?" with "42".

My first "computer" was a TI-50. You could program up to 50 steps into a program and run it. It also had the usual side scientific calculator keys. But one of the possible program steps was "NOP" which did nothing (No Operation). With the Fisher-Spassky World Title fresh in my mind then, I programmed a chess clock that showed the seconds left for each player, separated by a decimal point in the display. The second was made by a certain number of NOP steps in a row that took time to do nothing, then, according to who's turn it was, decrement the display by 0001.0000 or by 0000.0001. There were other distractions on that little machine.


"I'm the Grim Reaper now, Mitch. Step aside."

- xongsmith, 5.7d


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nwr
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Posts: 5833
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 17 of 40 (889200)
11-10-2021 1:28 AM


My first computing was on an IBM 370 mainframe.

My first home computer was a Heathkit -- I don't remember the model number. That was around 1979. I indulged in a IBM PC/AT when those first came out (maybe 1982). It was quite expensive at the time.

For software -- mostly I used IBM 370, either MVS or VM. That Heathkit used HDOS, with a FAT12 file system. I think Heathkit bought that from the same small developer that Microsoft used for its early software. Later I went to CPM (on the Heathkit). After that it was mostly IBM 370 at work and MSDOS at home, until around 1995, when I started to play with linux -- initially slackware. I was also using a Sun Solaris system at work at that time. I joined evcforum at around the time I was moving from Sun Solaris to openSUSE (well, to SUSE 10.1, before openSUSE existed).


Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

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AZPaul3
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Posts: 6083
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 4.4


(1)
Message 18 of 40 (889201)
11-10-2021 1:49 AM


Good Gawd look at these responses. We're all just a bunch of nerds. Glorious nerds.

Eschew obfuscation. Habituate elucidation.

  
dwise1
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Posts: 4740
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.5


(1)
Message 19 of 40 (889202)
11-10-2021 2:58 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by xongsmith
11-10-2021 12:54 AM


i hope that you did catch what the ASCII code for '*' was from the Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy series when the computer answered "What's Life and The Universe and Everything?" with "42".

We would never think of ASCII codes in decimal, but rather in hex since that's what we would always see in hex dumps. OK, I almost seem to recall that the chr() function in BASIC would use the decimal ASCII value, but in C we would just perform arithmetic on characters (eg, to convert a character for a digit into binary, we'd write something like n = ch - '0';, which would subtract the ASCII for zero ('0') from the character).

'*' == 42 == 0x2A, but 'B' == 0x42 == 66

Thinking of ASCII in hex is actually more useful, since the base values are consistent:

0x30 == '0' == 48
0x41 == 'A' == 65
0x61 == 'a' == 97

See? The ranges for digits, capital letters, and lower-case letters are more consistent and easier to remember in hexadecimal than in decimal.

EBCDIC (Extended Binary Coded Decimal Information Code) also has its own logic in hex. The two 4-bit nybbles that make up the 8-bit byte (each nybble represented by a hex digit ranging from 0 to 9, A-F) can be treated as if they were a Hollerith code (which I personally think EBCDIC was based on) with the higher order hex digit being the zone and the lower one the numeric. As in Hollerith, the numerics for letters were divided up into three groups based on the Navy DP mnemonic, "A J Squared away", with each group having a different zone (12, 11, 0 on a punch card); eg:

C1 = A, C2 = B, C9 = I
D1 = J, D2 = K, D9 = R
E2 = S, E3 = T, E9 = Z
F0 = 0, F1 = 1, F9 = 9
81 = a, 82 = b, 89 = i
91 = j, 92 = k, 99 = r
A2 = s, A3 = t, A9 = z

As you can see, the digits are easy to remember and to read. There's no value for A1 or E1 since it follows Hollerith code in which punching two holes one right on top of another (eg, 0 and 1) might threaten the physical integrity of the card (I would guess). And as with ASCII, punctuation marks and control characters go elsewhere with little sense of a pattern.

My first "computer" was a TI-50.

My TI-58 was my first programmable. Actually, my first programmable was an Hp 16C, their reverse-Polish programmer's calculator. It was programmable, but I never used it for that purpose, whereas I did play with programming the TI-58. Our first numeric methods homework was the problem of the infinite series of 1/x converging in the math, but not when you program it. So I programmed that into my calculator and let it run the entire weekend to verify that.

When I first heard of scientific calculators in 1971, they cost about $250. Of course, the first 4-bangers cost $300 back in 1968, but then rapidly became so cheap that they were literally giving them away. I bought my first scientific calculator in 1973 for a reasonable price (it was in W. Germany, so I forget how many Mark it was) -- I forget the brand name, only that it was made in Cupertino, Calif.

Then I had bought a TI-35 in the exchange in 1977 at a very good price ($30, I think). I'd gone through a few calculators, including one that was solar powered and had mixed-fraction functions. In the past year, I pulled my HP-20S programmable out of a briefcase (I had bought it in the late 90's) and I've been using it while writing my page on getting a feel for metric measurements.

The second was made by a certain number of NOP steps in a row that took time to do nothing ...

Timed delay loops. At one company we had sensors and control devices that communicated serially with RS232. But the EE decided to be extra cheap and didn't supply the board with a UART to handle the signal. So instead he implemented the RS232 signal processing in the microprocessor's code. Basically some delay loops, but mainly we had to ensure that each path in the code took the same number of machine cycles. Good thing it was a simple processor (8048, what IBM decided to use in the PC's keyboard).


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jar
Member
Posts: 33496
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 20 of 40 (889203)
11-10-2021 6:58 AM


my first computer
The first computer that I actually owned was a portable, not so much as a lap top but rather the whole lap. It was a twin floppy drive TeleVideo about the size and weight of a Singer Portable Sewing Machine.

Spreadsheets were nice but my true love was relational databases.

Edited by jar, : +t


My Website: My Website

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Phat
Member
Posts: 15709
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003


Message 21 of 40 (889205)
11-10-2021 1:09 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by jar
11-08-2021 2:22 PM


Although im not a nerd....
I currently use either a Windows 10 or an android 5G smartphone i could never fix anything if it broke. Im a perfect customer...so i try and get lots of warranties.

"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain "
***
“…far from science having buried God, not only do the results of science point towards his existence, but the scientific enterprise itself is validated by his existence.”- Dr.John Lennox

“The whole war between the atheist and the theist comes down to this: the atheist believes a 'what' created the universe; the theist believes a 'who' created the universe.”
- Criss Jami, Killo

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.” — Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God is Within You
(1894).


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dwise1
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Posts: 4740
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.5


Message 22 of 40 (889219)
11-10-2021 10:25 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by jar
11-10-2021 6:58 AM


Re: my first computer
One job I had was to support a computerized greenhouse control system. Most people might think that almost silly, but it is a most serious industry. Especially regarding when certain flowers can come to market. Most extremely important.

A few times I had to go to a major customer's site with a then "portable" but rather what I called a "luggable." The unit was the size and about twice the weight of a piece of luggage. I think it was a ComPaq, complete with a built-in CRT (cathrode-ray-tube display). Whether it had an XT hard drive, I do not remember.

That "portable", I would refer to as a "luggage". Something that was like a piece of luggaqe.


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jar
Member
Posts: 33496
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 23 of 40 (889220)
11-10-2021 11:10 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by dwise1
11-10-2021 10:25 PM


Re: my first computer
My Televideo was like this one.


My Website: My Website

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 Message 22 by dwise1, posted 11-10-2021 10:25 PM dwise1 has responded

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Minnemooseus
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Posts: 3860
From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
Member Rating: 5.9


Message 24 of 40 (889221)
11-10-2021 11:26 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by nwr
11-10-2021 1:28 AM


My first home computer was a Heathkit -- I don't remember the model number. That was around 1979. I indulged in a IBM PC/AT when those first came out (maybe 1982). It was quite expensive at the time.

I have a Heathkit, which hasn't been run at all since somewhere around 1990. I had bought it from a friend somewhere about 1987, and a few years later replaced it a clock-doubled to 66 MHz (IIRC) Gateway 486. I think about 2 weeks later, the Pentiums started coming out.

Anyway, I think the Heathkit originally was clocked at 4 MHz, but had been souped up to 8 MHz. The CPU is a 8088 (not 8086) and it has a 10 MB hard drive. I added a math co-processor to it so it could run AutoCAD version 9. You could just about take a coffee break during screen refreshes.

I still have it, but it's been stored in non-climate controlled conditions, so I'd be very surprised if it at all ran anymore.

Moose


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nwr
Member
Posts: 5833
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 25 of 40 (889222)
11-10-2021 11:54 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by Minnemooseus
11-10-2021 11:26 PM


I don't remember the clock rate for the Heathkit.

The CPU is a 8088 (not 8086) and it has a 10 MB hard drive.

My Heathkit used the Z80 processor, which supports a superset of the 8080 instruction set. It did not have a hard drive. It used 5 1/4 floppies.

I sent to recycling (or maybe just as regular landfill) long ago. It was showing its age. The foam plastic was turning to a tar-like substance. That didn't affect its function, but made it messy to use.


Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

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dwise1
Member
Posts: 4740
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.5


Message 26 of 40 (889232)
11-11-2021 5:23 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by jar
11-10-2021 11:10 PM


Re: my first computer
Pretty much it, except ours was an XT so it had one floppy drive and a hard drive (10 MB, I think). I didn't have to find desk space for it, but instead just stood it up on one end next to my chair (the keyboard was on a cord).

At Hughes Aircraft (c. 1986) we did most of our work on a VAX network, but we also used first-gen Macs to make presentation slides, used Paint to combine text and graphics. When Windows 1 came out, I bought it for Paint, but it didn't support my printer. For me it wasn't until Windows 3.0 that it became useful.

The Macs were diskette based, so we each got a system diskette and a data diskette. I labeled mine with my VAX username, dwise. When I got a second data diskette, I labeled it dwise2 and then added a "1" to the first one's label. Then one day a co-worker saw "dwise1" and laughed, so I sounded it out for the first time. When I got my AOL account I needed to come up with a screenname for the first time, so I used that. And that is the origin story of my username. When I was asking Kent Hovind for information about his solar-mass-loss claim, he tried twice to pick a fight with me over my username in order to avoid answering a simple question. Twice!

Also at Hughes Aircraft I saw my first IBM PC up close. It was a DEC Rainbow, a clone of the original IBM PC (ie, no hard drive, just two floppy drives). It came with two or three OSes: MS-DOS, CP/M, and I forget what the third was (or even whether there was a third). In the user's manual instructions for booting it up, it even said "Please disregard the loud grinding noises you hear."


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 4740
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.5


Message 27 of 40 (889233)
11-11-2021 5:41 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by Minnemooseus
11-10-2021 11:26 PM


Around 1986 I upgraded from my TI-99A to an XT clone by Zenith and Heathkit. Worked for years until memory went bad so I donated it to Goodwill.

It had a color CGA video board, 10 MB hard drive, and ran at Norton Factor 2 (ie, it was clocked at 8 MHz, twice the speed of a True Blue). And it ran MS-DOS 3.

Later I came across other Zenith PCs, but they seemed to be older models. Plus their OS was Z-DOS.


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Minnemooseus
Member
Posts: 3860
From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
Member Rating: 5.9


Message 28 of 40 (889236)
11-11-2021 7:29 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by dwise1
11-11-2021 5:41 PM


Your Zenith/Heathkit unit sounds to be the same as mine, except I only have monochrome video. Mine does have a Zenith name plate on it, but I thought that was something the previous owner tacked on - I didn't know that Zenith was actually involved.

Was there such a thing as an 8086 CPU being used in PC's? Like I said before, mine has a 8088.

Moose


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 4740
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.5


Message 29 of 40 (889239)
11-11-2021 8:10 PM
Reply to: Message 28 by Minnemooseus
11-11-2021 7:29 PM


As I recall, mine had a Zenith name plate, but then I would see Heathkit on the title page of the manuals.

I resorted to consulting with Wikipedia a few hours ago: Zenith Data Systems

quote:
Zenith Data Systems (ZDS) was a division of Zenith Electronics founded in 1979 after Zenith acquired Heathkit, which had entered the personal computer market in 1977. Headquartered in Benton Harbor, Michigan, Zenith sold personal computers under both the Heath/Zenith and Zenith Data Systems names.

So then basically ZDS was Heathkit or at least Heathkit's personal computer operations.

Was there such a thing as an 8086 CPU being used in PC's? Like I said before, mine has a 8088.

As I recall, the 8086 was the 16-bit version of the 8088, but since the original PC and the XT were 8-bit designs, they only used the 8088. The next PC, the AT, was based on the 80286.

In 1985, I worked on a project that used a 8086, as I recall. And then starting in the late 90's our projects used the 80186.


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Stile
Member
Posts: 4043
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


(1)
Message 30 of 40 (889245)
11-12-2021 10:52 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by jar
11-08-2021 2:22 PM


My Computer Life
My Dad had an Adam computer.
-I remember playing games like LadyBug and Zaxxon on cartridge
-and others like Buck Rogers and "the line game" (kind of like the modern "Snake Game" but for 2-players, no dots, a fixed area... and you created a line wherever you went, it didn't get shorter.. point was to box the other in.); these were on cassette tapes.

Then he got a 386.
-DOS operating system
-I remember manually setting up a basic ascii-art menu for various things

Then he got a 486.
-We had Windows by this point
-I used 3.1 and 95
-played games like Police Quest and King's Quest

Then he got a Pentium
-got the internet in there somewhere and I remember thinking chat-rooms were pretty cool
-I remember wondering why they were called Pentiums and not "586's"

Going away to college I got "my first" computer
-I remember buying a motherboard-pack and doing my own upgrades
-I remember thinking something like $100 for 64MB of RAM was really expensive - but I wanted it anyway
-Got Windows 98 in here somewhere

Completed College and was buying my own computers from this point on
-Moved into Windows XP - I liked it
-Hesitant from all the other horrible Windows offers, but finally moved into Windows 7 - I liked it, but should have moved into it sooner
-Hesitant from all the other horrible Windows offers, but finally moved into Windows 10 - Again I liked it, but should have moved into it sooner
-Still not sure if I should jump on Windows 11 sooner or let it settle... Microsoft really needs to work on it's trustability

Edited by Stile, : Forgot to mention the cassette tapes


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