Lexikon's History of Computing
Old Time Computer Communication
By John Woodall
In 1964, I communicated with anIBM 1401 mainframe via punched cards. Actually, I punched the cards and a grad student ran the deck. Took about a week to find that you had a syntax error. Took about 6 weeks to get a program that would run. Fortran II was the language of choice.
In 1967, I communicated with an IBM 1620 mainframe still using punch cards. Now I could run the deck myself-- if I came to the computer center after midnight. I could debug a program in a single night! Fortran II-D was the language.
In 1969, I communicated with anIBM 360 mainframe via teletype (twix). This was a quantum leap in programming speed! And no more punch cards. BASIC was the new language. This was a government installation and I had (almost) unlimited computer time.
In 1976, I communicated with Computer Associates Minis via Teletype and Perforated Paper Tape. This was an industrial environment and different levels of computing existed simultaneously in the same workshop.
In 1980 I communicated with Computer Automation equipment via a keyboard and 8 inch floppy disks! Finally a direct interface!
In 1982 I astounded my employer, (a facility of 900 employees), by producing the very first monthly report via personal computer. Armed with my income tax refund I had purchased an Apple IIe, an Apple ImageWriter Printer, Quark Word Juggler and PFS Graph.
My report was a thing of rare beauty. The facility manager vowed that ALL of his managers would submit reports in this format. This resulted in the purchase of severalIBM PC systems for about $10,000 each. This included CPU, Monitor, Printer and software.
My communication with a computer was now immediate, personal and complete.
I had participated in the computer communication evolution, and I had made an impact in my small universe!
John Woodall can be contacted through Vintage Micros, Inc. (www.VintageMicros.com)
Copyright © 1982-2002, Lexikon Services "History of Computing" ISBN 0-944601-78-2