40 Years!

I started my first programming class at ASU 40 years ago this week. There were about 400 people in the class, competing for the one computer on campus with all the other computer users.

That was the hottest summer on record in Phoenix (19 straight days over 110 degrees) and was at the peak of the ice age scare, right after Nixon resigned and not long after the worst tornado outbreak in US history.

I played on the ASU soccer team (club sport at that time) and we held practice at 3PM, typically in 104-107 degree temperatures. At midnight it was still 100 degrees, and we usually waited to play basketball in the parking lot until after midnight.

Dinner at the frat house was at 5PM, and we all gathered in the chapter house to watch Star Trek at 4PM. Everyone wanted to see which color of alien Kirk was going to “get his boots off” with this episode.

Fraternity New Row at ASU was an amazing place at that time – the center of life on campus. Progressives have completely wrecked the place since then, and now it looks more like Dresden after WWII.

About Tony Heller

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52 Responses to 40 Years!

  1. Steve I enjoy your posts …if you ever come to Frederick look me up Peter Kremers MD coloronthecreek.com 301 â??401- 5853

  2. Heh. We’re old. 1974, too. Fortran, punch cards. At minimum a one day cycle for the operators to run it and getting results back. Mostly a whole week.

    • stewart pid says:

      That is just what I’m thinking …. older than dirt … you guys were around when cars were like the ones Fred Flintstone drove 😉
      Just kidding – same vintage here … from the days when models were by Revell or were Twiggy but weren’t telling us how GLO-BULL warming works.

    • Anto says:

      Well, I’m not quite that old, but I do remember when Pong came out and everyone thought it was cool.

      • Anto says:

        I do remember programming in DBASEIV. Printer escape codes were the bane of my existence :O
        store esc+'[100 C’ to zppitch10
        store esc+’PzNcourier10.ISO_USA’+esc+’\’ to zpcour10
        store esc+'[1m’ to zpboldon
        store esc+'[22m’ to zpboldoff
        store esc+'[4m’ to zpunon
        store esc+'[21m’ to zpun2on
        store esc+'[24m’ to zpunoff
        Etc, etc, etc. for every separate damn printer brand.

      • philjourdan says:

        Yep. The first one I saw was in a Pizza Inn (they had them back then). We stopped there after work.

  3. Scarface says:

    Today we had the coldest augustus 19 in Holland since 1924: 15.9C,
    Average temp (1981-2010) is 22.4C for this time of year.
    I want my global warming back!

  4. Gamecock says:

    Sorry, Star Trek’s Five Year Mission ended in THREE years, 1969.


    But then I guess the reruns will never end.

  5. geran says:

    IBM 1620, anyone? Anyone?

    • inMAGICn says:

      360, 1969.

    • tom0mason says:

      With the line printer?

      • inMAGICn says:

        I was at UCSB. We gave the cards to the compiler and he ran it. we either got the output on the IBM paper or an error message that could be rather rude. I didn’t even see printers until a few years later in commercial use. IBM 1403, I think, whacking away like a subdued Vulcan cannon.

        • tom0mason says:

          We handed in our punched up cards, and two days later (sometimes later) you got a printed smear on very poor qulity paper, if you looked carefully you could just about see letters in that smear. Awful.
          Much later I did get to see that printer in action, an IBM something – the noisiest thing ever made, that’s why it was in its own room. The guys that kept it going were called magicians – with good reason.
          I had (have) no talent at programming so I baled out of that, and ended up doing chemistry.
          Now it seems like a thousand years ago.

      • philjourdan says:

        WOW! You had a line printer?

    • inMAGICn says:

      Our billing branch was comprised of XDS (Xerox Data System) Sigma 7. XDS went TU not long after I saw it working.

      • geran says:

        Okay, you guys asked for it. Funny story. I was in an advanced class, in those days it was called “machine language”. But, we shared the same computer with the “sub-humans” (next year students).

        The sub-humans only knew “FORGO”, which was a simplified version of FORTRAN. My level was learning the “machine language” that could actually address the computer’s “brain”.

        The FORGO students were trying to learn to program so that the !BM 1620 would accept and run their program. If they failed, the computer would print out a card that said “Program not accepted”.

        So, one day, feeling exceptionally mischievous, I ran a program in advance of the sub-human. When the sub-human ran his program, the computer printed out “Program not accepted, Stupid!”

        These days, I agree it was not fair, but maybe the student learned even more about computing than the school was teaching….

  6. Fred Harwood says:

    1975, Sys Analysis, Programmer, PDP 11-40, DEC BASIC, proprietary programming, mostly list maintenance, some time series, other texts.

  7. Fred Harwood says:

    And we elected for dual mag tapes. Dropped punch cards became a thing of the past.

  8. Maskull says:

    Cyber 760, Georgia Tech 1970s,
    FORTRAN was my foreign language

  9. philjourdan says:

    Lucky you! All we got was punch cards. I did not touch my first computer until 77, my Senior year of College.

    Remember those assembler decks? Got help the poor sap that dropped his!

  10. “competing for the one computer ”

    Ha. We didn’t even have a computer at my college in 1975. There was an IBM 360 at a business so we punched our cards, wrapped them in an elastic, wrote our name on them and put them in a box. At the end of the day the box was transported to that business and they ran the cards, wrapped a listing around them and put them back in the box which was picked up and delivered the next day.

  11. Yep, Progressives with their political correctness… raising the drinking age, neutering all the Frats and any fun on Campus…

    As if every school is allegedly only there for the strictest, the highest Academic Standard… screw that… they’ve been turned into institutions which churn out Progressive thought…. repressive to those who dare to disagree.

    Yea, yea, this is an over generalization… but holds a lot of truth…

  12. EternalOptimist says:

    there are some good stories here.
    i hope someone gets it all down before we oldies all pop off

  13. Rosco says:

    The other day I stumbled across another 40 year anniversary – only from 2005 this time.


    Here they claim the usual storyline like this other NASA site –

    “Greenhouse gases absorb some of the energy and trap it in the lower atmosphere. Less heat radiates into space, and Earth is warmer.”

    Then they produce a graph which shows that from 1979 to ~2004 the Earth is emitting significantly MORE to space than a zero anomaly line. ???

    The other interesting fact about this is what happened to the data from 1964 to 1979 ????

    This was the 40th anniversary after all and they simply discard a third of the data ???

  14. Mat Helm says:

    Actually my mind goes toward the fact that I was 10, and while we did have a 25in floor model color TV from Sears. We did not have AC. While you were playing midnight basketball, I was flipping my pillow over to the cool side and trying to figure out why it didn’t work when I stuck my head under it…

  15. Jim Jensen says:

    I don’t understand why anyone would brand certain people as “Progressives” as if they were Criminals or Radical Muslims. I don’t know what this means. What is a Progressive ? To me it sounds like someone has a very unhappy life and needs to express hatred for others in order to feel better. I feel sorry for the Progressive Hater.
    May you be at peace, at some time, before your final resting in peace.

    • Mat Helm says:

      I think communist would be a better analogy… So yes criminals, as in crimes against humanity. Google Stalin..

    • NoMoreGore says:

      Progressives are Neo-Marxists with a twist. Deeply fascist, they obsess over the control of others, down to minute detail, seeking to impose a world ruled by their bazaar fantasies, one of which is CAGW.

      Progressives are communitarianists who abhorre judgement. More specifically, they reject rational judgement, choosing irrational (and often the easy) decisions in protest. So, when ISIS beheads a journalist they just need understanding. But a Christian who doesn’t want to support full term abortion is a demon to be destroyed. There are many variants, and no description is absolute.

      I also observe that they magnify minutiae into imagined crises and ignore real crises as unimportant.

      It seems progressives choose subjective reasoning because objective reasoning is often at odds with their irrational obsessions. They are often very creative individuals for whom the line between their imaginings and the real world has blurred or disappeared.

      For decisions, they choose their imaginings because, in this place, what is true or just is precisely what they are thinking at that moment. There is no right or wrong. Only what serves their ideology at that moment.

      • Jim Jensen says:

        I think that very few people on planet earth fall within your definition of a progressive.
        How about stick to the facts and don’t waste your time trying to read the minds of other people. State the facts on climate science and let the psychiatrists deal with mental illness. Unless, of course, you are the one really in need of psychiatric assistance.

        • Gail Combs says:

          The word Progressive on this site refers to the sheeple who blindly follow the totalitarian wolves hiding under the sheepskin of ‘socialism’ or what ever name they are using now.

          Pascal Lamy, a French socialist, is one of these leaders. He was high-up in the EU and then two-term Director-General of the World Trade Organization. He has been tapped as possible head of the EU.

          This is what he has to say:

          Pascal Lamy: Whither Globalization?
          The reality is that, so far, we have largely failed to articulate a clear and compelling vision of why a new global order matters — and where the world should be headed. Half a century ago, those who designed the post-war system — the United Nations, the Bretton Woods system, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) — were deeply influenced by the shared lessons of history.

          All had lived through the chaos of the 1930s — when turning inwards led to economic depression, nationalism and war. All, including the defeated powers, agreed that the road to peace lay with building a new international order — and an approach to international relations that questioned the Westphalian, sacrosanct principle of sovereignty….

          He makes it clear in this article that he envisions an overarching government similar to the EU but with more teeth.

          I see four main challenges for global governance today.

          The first one is leadership, i.e. the capacity to embody a vision and inspire action, in order to create momentum….

          The second one is efficiency, i.e. the capacity to mobilize resources, to solve the problems in the international sphere, to bring about concrete and visible results for the benefit of the people. The main challenge here is that the Westphalian order gives a premium to “naysayers” who can block decisions, thereby impeding results. The ensuing viscosity of international decision-making puts into question the efficiency of the international system.

          The third one is coherence, for the international system is based on specialization. Each international organization focuses on a limited number of issues….

          The last challenge that I see is that of legitimacy — for legitimacy is intrinsically linked to proximity, to a sense of “togetherness”…..

          …There is one place where attempts to deal with these challenges have been made and where new forms of governance have been tested for the last 60 years: in Europe. The European construction is the most ambitious experiment in supranational governance ever attempted up to now. It is the story of a desired, delineated and organized interdependence between its Member States…

          First, on the question of efficiency, Europe scores in my view rather highly. Thanks to the primacy of EU law over national law. Thanks to the work of the European Court of Justice in ensuring enforcement and respect for the rule of law. And thanks to a clear articulation between the Commission, the Parliament, and the European Court of Justice. …..

          In other words the member STATES of the EU are no longer anymore sovereign that California or Utah. It is just that no one has bothered to tell the citizens of the UK, Spain or Germany that they may have won WWII but they lost their countries anyway. (The EU was originally sold as a TRADE organization just like the World Trade organization.)

          A very savvy Liberal lady who is a California bureaucrat. Draws a picture of our POST SUSTAINABLE FUTURE, which is the direction we are being herded.
          My independent research over several years agrees with what she is saying.

          E. M. Smith, an economist by training, gives a good explanation of why corporate CEOs LOVE socialism and dislike capitalism HERE. I suggest reading it before The other link so everything makes more sense.

        • rah says:

          The fact that you don’t like the subject doesn’t make it irrelevant. How about going back up and reading the last sentence of the subject post? Besides, who the hell made you subject and language arbiter here?

  16. Lou says:

    Funny. I started college in 1994 at Sam Houston State University. It wasn’t till 1996 that I had started learning how to use the internet and email exclusively. The modem off campus was so slow. Hard to believe that I’ll be getting ATT gigapower rate here in Spicewood soon which is a million times faster. That’s where I started to question federal gov’t over everything. I had thought they never do it right (didn’t matter which party at that time; I had no idea what I was… liberal, conservative, etc). I guess I ended up in Republican party camp now without doing anything to join it that I thought it sucked. Democrat Party is the worst I’ve had to seen.

  17. Andy Oz says:

    Used a Uni of NSW punch card computer in 1983. Then 1984 LOTUS 123 with spreadsheets came out on a IBM desktop. Thought I was in a Star Trek movie and had FF in time. Unbelievable advance that changed everything. Now an iPhone has more power than the entire Uni had in 1984.

    Meanwhile Australian science is going backwards with these idiots. Notice it’s under political news, not science.


  18. tom0mason says:

    So you’ll remember some of these –

    • cdquarles says:

      I remember a lot of those. I had a programmable TI in 1978, but never had anything with the older 8080/4004s. My first ‘personal’ computer was a 6502 Apple IIe. I remember Randall Hyde’s Assembly book for it. My first IBM clone had the 80286. My IIe cost $2K (you could buy a late model used car for that 🙂 ). My current system’s original custom built guts cost $1500. Its current guts came in at about $600. That $100 case is still going strong, though the PSU’s been replaced twice.

      • philjourdan says:

        PSUs are cheaply made – and cheaply bought. And fortunately not too hard to install. The reason is simple – it has nothing to do with the performance – UNTIL it dies.

  19. Tom says:

    A Progressive is not of this earth. One has to see them in the flesh to believe what they are like. Anything produced by them that is rational is an accident.

  20. chick20112011 says:

    As an Alum, I agree with you, ASU has gone downhill.

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