Feb 7, 2015

Web Comic #3

I still have trouble believing that this is popular enough to keep it going... It seems the trip back in time is interesting to people. But, the good folks at ReadWrite keep them coming.

This time we are mostly talking about the effects of Moore's Law. You need to remember that there was a time when we had computers, but typewriters were still mechanical and programmers punched cards:

One of the ideas I had hoped to get across is that before an idea can become reality, it must first be acceptable as fiction. Even in science fiction some ideas can't be used because even science fiction fans can only giggle at them. The other idea I wanted to get across is that things are changing so fast that even science fiction isn't keeping up with reality.


  1. Funny stuff. I'm not a programmer now, but I was back in the 1980s
    I can relate to your 'older programmer' humor.
    so YES, there is an audience for this. Keep it coming!

  2. Love these historical stories and humor. Please, more!

  3. Why in my day we didn't have all these zeros and ones. Most days we only had zeros!

    1. Oh yeah, unary numbers. I used those a lot back in the '70s.

      Seriously, this is no joke, in unary you only use one digit and by convention the first digit is zero. So, yes I wrote add, subtract, multiply, and divide for unary numbers and used them in some very weird code. Mostly just to show off to some school friends who got the humor of doing weird things like that. Using a binary computer to do unary arithmetic is rather hilarious.

  4. Re dropping your deck, we drew diagonal lines on the top so we could put them back together. I learned this the hard way when I tried to count how many cards were in my program by running them through a sorter with the column selector place between 2 columns. The vibration of running made it drop onto one of the columns and it sorted my program using it. Took 10 seconds to ruin the deck and about 2 hours to reconstruct it. (no current printout)

    Worse than dropping was getting the cards damp. Didn't have to be wet, just damp and cards could swell and jam in the reader.

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