0000-00-00: Computers

Computers have been a part of my life since 1965. The very first computer I ever saw was the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE). This was part of the air defense network to protect the U.S. from the Soviet Union’s nuclear-armed bombers. In 1965, my high-school class visited the installation at Norton AFB in San Bernardino, California. The computer was based on bulky and hot vacuum tubes, in racks occupying two floors of a very large concrete cube on the base. We actually walked among the racks, which towered over our heads. An off-hand remark by our guide alarmed us, when we were told the computer occasionally “crashed”. In 1965, the meaning of that word involved large pieces of stuff colliding or falling over. It made us very nervous. Wikipedia has an article about SAGE. A Google image search shows many pictures of the computer and building.

The list below is in approximately the order I was exposed to various kinds of computers; (W) indicates a work computer and (P) indicates a personal computer.

  • IBM 1401 (W)
  • IBM 7094 (W)
  • IBM 360/65 (W)
  • Univac 1108 (W)
  • DEC PDP-1 (W)
  • IBM 360/55 (W)
  • Varian ? (W)
  • Data General Nova (W)
  • MOS Technology KIM-1 (W)
  • Univac 3760 (W)
  • microcoded ? (W)
  • Univac 494 (W)
  • TI Explorer (W)
  • Sperry PC (P, W)
  • Unisys 2200 (W)
  • Apple Macintosh II (W)
  • Apple Macintosh IIfx (P)
  • Atari 400 (P)
  • Apple PowerBook 1400c (P)
  • Apple PowerBook G3 (P)
  • Apple PowerBook G4 (P)
  • Apple MacBook Pro (15″ late-2008) (P)
  • Apple MacBook Pro (15″ mid-2012) (P)
  • Apple MacBook Pro (15″ Retina mid-2015) (P)
  • Apple iPod Touch (P)
  • Apple iPhone 3GS GB (2 P)
  • Apple iPhone 4s 16 GB (2 P)
  • Apple iPhone 5s 32GB (2 P)
  • Apple iPad (P)
  • Amazon Kindle (models? P)
  • Hewlett Packard ProBook 6450b (also earlier model) (W)

A lot of my work has involved programming in a variety of languages. The list below doesn’t include languages used only in programming classes, such as Algol 60, Macsyma, and SNOBOL.

  • Fortran
  • IBM JCL
  • Univac 1100 Assembler
  • PDP-1 machine language and assembler
  • Varian ? machine language and assembler
  • Data General Nova assembler
  • KIM-1 assembler and 6502 machine language
  • 494 Assembler
  • Univac MASM (meta-assembler)
  • 3760 Assembler (MASM)
  • microcode Assembler and machine language (MASM)
  • PASCAL
  • Common Lisp
  • Knowledge Engineering Environment (KEE)
  • Golden Common Lisp
  • Basic
  • JavaScript
  • Visual Basic for Applications
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