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Mike McCarty - New Member
Mike McCarty - New Member –
Hello, just joined. A little about me:
Born in 1952, so I'm however old that makes me. I don't track trivial stuff like that.
Grew up in Texas, USA. First language Spanish, best language English, also
can get by a little in German (studied in the uni).
Have been a professional software developer and maintainer for over 20 years.
I also enjoy computer games :-), and have been a hacker (in the original MIT
good sense) for many a year. I got started with computers in about 1968 by
programming an IBM 1401 in machine language (yes, no assemblers, no
compilers, we "multi-punched IBM cards" to put the actual bits into the columns).
Actually, I take that back. The first "computer" I worked with was a small one
I built from a kit out of plastic moving parts. It was programmed by putting
small plastic straws (what one drinks with) onto pegs. I had forgotten about
that. That was in perhaps 1965.
The last 17 years or so of my career, I developed or maintained operating systems,
including one small RTOS I wrote in assembler for the INTEL 8085 (eight bit
successor to the 8080) in 1984 or so. Mostly, my time in telecomm was doing
device drivers, and operating system maintenance for real time systems. The last
biggish work I did was as technical lead of a 15 engineer team to develop a working
platform for telecomm apps. Then I went on to do the VOIP requirements and design for
Alcatel, both hardware and software components for the gateways and gatekeepers.
Current hobbies include restoring vintage (1930's - 1960's) radio receivers
to service, playing games (currently playing ChronoTrigger and FF4, love
Champions of Norrath, etc.), designing and flying kites. Happily, my
girl friend also enjoys these activities. We met by my being a user of
her Bulletin Board System (for those who are old enough to remember
those wonderful days).
So, I hope to contribute where I may, if I can.
Welcome Mike , that's some nice stuff you did ( though TBH I didn't understand half of them )
PS3 CechG04: 350GB INT , Rebug 4.41.2 LITE , MM 4.40.
RTOS = Real Time Operating System
IBM 1401 = very very (as in very) old 14 bit computer
Machine Language = bits, bits, and more bits. as in 1s and 0s, which the machine directly understands and can execute
Intel 8085 = relatively early microprocessor, successor to 8080, which was the successor to the 8008, which
(sort of) was a successor to the 4004 (a 4 bit processor)
VOIP = Voice Over Internet Protocol, like what Skype uses
IBM card = very heavy linen paper, something like a notecard, with little rectangular holes in them
You can find more (probably) by searching the web for "hollerith card", yep just checked, Wikipedia
has a nice article on them.
If you've ever used a Motorola Cell Phone, then you've used a computer in a cell switch which
is running some of my code. Likewise if you ever made a long distance call through MCI (now
defunct) you've used a computer running some of my code. I didn't work on the telephony
apps, but on the real time operating system which loaded and executed them, and device
drivers for them. I recall once when one of the switches I supported in the Phillipines was
having a problem, because there was a hurricane (or typhoon, if that's what they call them
there), and nobody could get to the switch. I was debugging it via a remote log in, and eventually
decided that a lightning strike had damaged the drivers for one of the memory cards, and placed
it OOS (out of service), manually, so the system wouldn't keep trying to use it, finding an error,
and testing it, then trying to use it, etc. I had them ship the board back., and it confirmed my
diagnosis. There was a stuck bit in one of the bus drivers.
Interesting work at the time, but it went bust. C'est la vie.
Welcome to the site. We are always looking for members with valuable experience. It seems like you have it in spades. I've always had the impression that I'm among the older members, but you have me beat by a couple decades. Anyway, like you said, it's a trivial thing. I'm a software developer myself and got my start on an 8088. I've never heard of a 14 bit machine. Thats so strange.
I forget just how much core it had, but it was only something like 1K (14 bit) words.
BTW, I DO mean CORE. One could pull open the drawer and see little magnetic
doughnuts. I was a freshman in high school at the time, so about 15 yrs old or
so. We also leaned how to program the old collating machines, using plugboards.
When I was in college, I used an old CDC Cyber 6000 which had a refridgerator
sized box full of little magnetic cores. That was my first introduction to FORTRAN.
I also used an IBM System/370 with APL, which was the first programming language
I really learned to use.
I've seen memory with cores before. Sometime in the 90's there was a computer shop with all kinds of old hardware on display. They had a sheet of hand woven memory there and you could see the magnet cores at each intersection. It held 1K if I recall correctly. How far we have come.
You know what? I made a mistake there. It must have been a 12 bit machine,
Originally Posted by indirect76
not 14. The Hollerith card had 12 zones, and we got one machine word per
(multi-punched) column. So, I misspoke. The punches were 0-9, X, and Y.
There was also the "Zed" punch, which was no holes punched at all. IIRC,
that machine used the very early card punch, even before the 026 and then
later 029 punch machines. I have a vague memory that the "multiply" opcode
was the same as the punch which showed up as a square with concave
sides, like an old color TV with "pincushion" problems.
Sorry 'bout that.
OK, but I've not heard of a 12 bit machine either, but it does make a little more sense using a nibble and a byte instead of a nibble a byte and two bits.
Originally Posted by Mike McCarty
Nah, earlier machines had whatever number of bits the designer chose.
Originally Posted by indirect76
Of course, the very early ones used relays.
The IBM 650 wasn't even strictly a binary machine. The first card read
was always a program to load the instruction set. It could be, and often
was, loaded up with instructions to do BCD rather than binary arithmetic,
since it was used a lot by banks. So, it was often really a decimal machine.
There was a Japanese machine which used base 3, and the individual
digits were called "trits", as in "trinary bits". It was never popular.
Welcome Mike! We're glad you joined us here. It looks like you have a lot of valuable experience and info that you could share. If you ever want to share any type of tutorials or guides or anything like that we'd love to see what you've got.