Apple switching to its own modems

Yoused

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In '85, I was using a 300 baud modem to hit local bbs's after the family had gone to bed. Good times!
When I was in HS, the ASR TTY (upper-case only) was connected to the school district HP2000C mainframe by a 110 baud modem. We were supposed to do our programs offline, onto the paper tape drive, or the pencil-mark Hollerith cards for the card reader, but we always preferred to do the stuff online. There was a nice dot-matrix terminal with a 300baud modem, but that was in the school office, so we almost never got to use it.
 

jbailey

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When I was in HS, the ASR TTY (upper-case only) was connected to the school district HP2000C mainframe by a 110 baud modem. We were supposed to do our programs offline, onto the paper tape drive, or the pencil-mark Hollerith cards for the card reader, but we always preferred to do the stuff online. There was a nice dot-matrix terminal with a 300baud modem, but that was in the school office, so we almost never got to use it.
Sounds familiar including the HP2000. We had a decwriter though and the teacher who ran the computer room knew his stuff. Eventually he replaced the 110 baud phone coupler with a modem the size of small filing cabinet that was always connected. I think it was 1200 baud which in 1979 was very impressive. My senior year in HS we got two CP/M microcomputers from Northstar. That was when I decided I wanted to be software engineer.
 

Yoused

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My senior year in HS we got two CP/M microcomputers from Northstar. That was when I decided I wanted to be software engineer.
CP/M made you want to be a software engineer? Really? Sheesh. That is almost, but not quite, like saying I was inspired to become a programmer after learning C***L.
 
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Cmaier

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CP/M made you want to be a software engineer? Really? Sheesh. That is almost, but not quite, like saying I was inspired to become a programmer after learning C***L.

TRS-80 Model I - our school had exactly one, and only 7 or 8 of us were permitted to come in early 2 days a week to use it - propelled me toward my career as a … Oh, shit. Forgot. I‘m a lawyer now.

Well, you get the point.
 

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For me it was a book on BASIC in the 8th grade. I didn't actually have access to a computer. But I read that book cover to cover multiple times. Probably 3-4 times throughout the year.

The following year, my 9th grade science teacher had a Commodore Pet. I retained everything from the book I'd read the previous year and hit the ground running.

Then a year or two later, I was around for the very first computer science class at our school using TRS-80's.

So I've been at this since the 8th grade.
 

citypix

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For me it started with an IMSAI 8080 computer kit, which cost $400. A pretty good deal since buying an 8080 cpu in singles was $400 back then. I designed and wire-wrapped my own video card which drove a surplus Ball display. I converted a Friden Flexowriter that was never meant to be a printer, to a printer. A little later bought an old Kleinshmidt drum printer, the real deal - pretty amazing technology.

Purchasing a 4K memory card kit I was soon living large. After that a Northstar floppy disk (double sided - 360 kbytes!) meant I could load and run BASIC. I worked for a company (ESL Inc) which encouraged people to have personal projects and could use their test equipment - as long as it was on your own time, so it was set up and running there. You could even sign out equipment over the weekend to take home. An outstanding place to work. I still have my IMSAI 8080 and Northstar floppy disk - it's been underneath the house in a box for a long time. So...that's how I learned to program, though I'm not really a programmer, rather a hardware and systems engineer.

I also attended loads of Homebrew Computer Club meetings at Stanford's linear accelerator (SLAC) complex. Loads of small companies would show their wares and programs.
 

Yoused

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I am not sure I ever saw an actual Imsai, but I did see several Altairs. First time I ever played with a personal computer, the owner had a game on it called "chasing the bit" which ran on the binary input display and you tried to flip the switch as the scanning bit passed over the position but propagated more scanning bits if you missed. Then some while later I was briefly able to use a keyboard and big TV on someone else's Altair after he loaded basic (probably the MS Basic that caused such a kerfuffle) into it from a paper tape drive. Good times.
 

citypix

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I am not sure I ever saw an actual Imsai, but I did see several Altairs. First time I ever played with a personal computer, the owner had a game on it called "chasing the bit" which ran on the binary input display and you tried to flip the switch as the scanning bit passed over the position but propagated more scanning bits if you missed. Then some while later I was briefly able to use a keyboard and big TV on someone else's Altair after he loaded basic (probably the MS Basic that caused such a kerfuffle) into it from a paper tape drive. Good times.

Whoa! I remember chasing the bit now that you mentioned it. And the MITS Altair 8800, the original 8080 computer, that got the ball rolling with the S-100 Bus. The IMSAI was kind of a knockoff of that, and a bit less money, IIRC.
 
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Whoa! I remember chasing the bit now that you mentioned it. And the MITS Altair 8800, the original 8080 computer, that got the ball rolling with the S-100 Bus. The IMSAI was kind of a knockoff of that, and a bit less money, IIRC.

My only experience with paper tapes came many years after nobody should have been dealing with paper tapes, in my undergraduate classes. Must have been 1991 or so - my weirdo professor (later my phd advisor) taught a class where we had to design and wire-wrap a interface for a paper tape drive to a PDP-8. He told me he liked it because when you look at the paper tape “you can see the bits.”
 

citypix

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My only experience with paper tapes came many years after nobody should have been dealing with paper tapes, in my undergraduate classes. Must have been 1991 or so - my weirdo professor (later my phd advisor) taught a class where we had to design and wire-wrap a interface for a paper tape drive to a PDP-8. He told me he liked it because when you look at the paper tape “you can see the bits.”

Ha - that's a good story!

Where I worked we developed a system that used a super fast HP optical tape reader. The tape would spool by the reader in a blur.

It was so fast, there was a solenoid driven tape brake that would clamp down on the tape stopping it instantly when needed for pauses. A resourceful programmer figured out how to control the brake independently, causing it to instantly clamp and release on command without running any tape through the reader.

He then wrote a program for the brake to clamp/unclamp at audio rates, and programed it to play music (Jingle Bells, Daisy, etc) as it hit a piece of cardboard scotched-tape slightly above surface underneath the brake, acting as a resonator.

Hopefully the time to figure that out wasn't billed to the customer on his time card. :)
 

jbailey

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CP/M made you want to be a software engineer? Really? Sheesh. That is almost, but not quite, like saying I was inspired to become a programmer after learning C***L.
Well it wasn't really CP/M, it was a CP/M clone called Northstar DOS but we could also run CP/M if needed since everything just booted off a 5.25" floppy anyway.

I was fascinated by the idea that I could have a computer on a desk that was a real computer. Micros were obviously going to revolutionize computing. I mostly wrote BASIC with a small amount of assembly but I also started to read BYTE magazine and the next August they had their Smalltalk issue and that made me realize that there was a whole spectrum of computer science that I had never heard of. I got the Smalltalk book from my local library and tried to make heads or tails of the language without a lot of success. It was humbling and fascinating.

My degree is Electrical Engineering but I always knew that I was going to write software. My fellow EEs thought that I was weird. I think there was one other person in my class of about 100 EEs that wanted to do the same thing.
 

jbailey

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I am not sure I ever saw an actual Imsai, but I did see several Altairs. First time I ever played with a personal computer, the owner had a game on it called "chasing the bit" which ran on the binary input display and you tried to flip the switch as the scanning bit passed over the position but propagated more scanning bits if you missed. Then some while later I was briefly able to use a keyboard and big TV on someone else's Altair after he loaded basic (probably the MS Basic that caused such a kerfuffle) into it from a paper tape drive. Good times.
My college had IMSAI 8080's in their embedded systems labs. They were obsolete by that time but the new computers (some weird not quite compatible Zenith 8088 PC clone with a second z80 CPU for CP/M-80 compatibility) weren't ready with any hardware support yet. I'm sure we were the last year to use the IMSAIs but they were cool and the S100 bus was easy to work with.
 

citypix

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Well it wasn't really CP/M, it was a CP/M clone called Northstar DOS but we could also run CP/M if needed since everything just booted off a 5.25" floppy anyway.

I was fascinated by the idea that I could have a computer on a desk that was a real computer. Micros were obviously going to revolutionize computing. I mostly wrote BASIC with a small amount of assembly but I also started to read BYTE magazine and the next August they had their Smalltalk issue and that made me realize that there was a whole spectrum of computer science that I had never heard of. I got the Smalltalk book from my local library and tried to make heads or tails of the language without a lot of success. It was humbling and fascinating.

My degree is Electrical Engineering but I always knew that I was going to write software. My fellow EEs thought that I was weird. I think there was one other person in my class of about 100 EEs that wanted to do the same thing.

Same here being an EE. But a lot of the hardware-based projects I've worked on over the years, for real work as well as my own, usually involved writing some software (assembler, BASIC, Pascal, Forth, APL, C, etc). There's no doubt in my mind a software engineer would put me to shame, but being a tinkerer, it was something I enjoyed.
 

Nycturne

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Same here being an EE. But a lot of the hardware-based projects I've worked on over the years, for real work as well as my own, usually involved writing some software (assembler, BASIC, Pascal, Forth, APL, C, etc). There's no doubt in my mind a software engineer would put me to shame, but being a tinkerer, it was something I enjoyed.
I started off as a CE, wound up in pure software roles, and let my EE skills rust over. I can just about design a simple PiHAT for certain projects myself, but that’s about it. So I kinda feel the same way, just about EE.
 
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