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Re: dictionary

P: n/a

Steven D'Aprano <ste...-this-cybersource.com.auwrote:
>On Fri, 24 Oct 2008 14:53:19 +0000, Peter Pearson wrote:
>On 24 Oct 2008 13:17:45 GMT, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
>>>
What are programmers coming to these days? When I was their age, we
were expected to *read* the error messages our compilers gave us, not
turn to the Interwebs for help as soon there was the tiniest problem.

Yes, and what's more, the text of the error message was "IEH208". After
reading it several times, one looked it up in a big fat set of books,
where one found the explanation:

IEH208: Your program contains an error. Correct the error and resubmit
your job.

An excellent system for purging the world of the weak and timid.

You had reference books? You were lucky! When I was lad, we couldn't
afford reference books. If we wanted to know what an error code meant, we
had to rummage through the bins outside of compiler vendors' offices
looking for discarded documentation.
eee! You were Lucky!

You had Compilers!
You had Compiler Vendors!

When I was lad, we had nowt but raw hardware.
We had to sit in cold room, ears deafened by
whine of fan, clicking switches to load our
octal in computer. We just had error light...

- Hendrik
Oct 25 '08 #1
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7 Replies


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in 86949 20081024 205720 "Hendrik van Rooyen" <ma**@microcorp.co.zawrote:
>Steven D'Aprano <ste...-this-cybersource.com.auwrote:
>>On Fri, 24 Oct 2008 14:53:19 +0000, Peter Pearson wrote:
>>On 24 Oct 2008 13:17:45 GMT, Steven D'Aprano wrote:

What are programmers coming to these days? When I was their age, we
were expected to *read* the error messages our compilers gave us, not
turn to the Interwebs for help as soon there was the tiniest problem.

Yes, and what's more, the text of the error message was "IEH208". After
reading it several times, one looked it up in a big fat set of books,
where one found the explanation:

IEH208: Your program contains an error. Correct the error and resubmit
your job.

An excellent system for purging the world of the weak and timid.

You had reference books? You were lucky! When I was lad, we couldn't
afford reference books. If we wanted to know what an error code meant, we
had to rummage through the bins outside of compiler vendors' offices
looking for discarded documentation.

eee! You were Lucky!

You had Compilers!
You had Compiler Vendors!

When I was lad, we had nowt but raw hardware.
We had to sit in cold room, ears deafened by
whine of fan, clicking switches to load our
octal in computer. We just had error light...

- Hendrik
Computers? you had computers?
Oct 26 '08 #2

P: n/a
Hendrik van Rooyen wrote:
...

You had Compilers!
You had Compiler Vendors!

When I was lad, we had nowt but raw hardware.
We had to sit in cold room, ears deafened by
whine of fan, clicking switches to load our
octal in computer. We just had error light...
You had octal! We just had oscilloscope traces shifting up and down.
If there wasn't a metal mask over the oscilloscope with marks where
the bits were, we'd have been in a world of hurt.

--Scott David Daniels
Sc***********@Acm.Org

Oct 27 '08 #3

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Scott David Daniels wrote:
Hendrik van Rooyen wrote:
>...

You had Compilers!
You had Compiler Vendors!

When I was lad, we had nowt but raw hardware.
We had to sit in cold room, ears deafened by
whine of fan, clicking switches to load our
octal in computer. We just had error light...

You had octal! We just had oscilloscope traces shifting up and down.
If there wasn't a metal mask over the oscilloscope with marks where
the bits were, we'd have been in a world of hurt.
You were lucky! We had to imagine where the bits would have been if we'd
had them. We only use to see real bits on Easter Sundays, if we'd been
good all year. T'rest o' t'time we 'ad ter make do wi' pieces of stone.

Bizarre though it may sound in this age of integrated circuits there
really was a storage device that used a cathode ray tube to store (IIRC)
a kilobit of information. It detected, by the use of a capacitance plate
on the front of the tube, whether the bits in each position were 1 or 0
by determining whether the beam was focused or defocused, since each had
a different effect on the charge of the plate. It was a dynamic device,
and only retained the information by writing back what was read
continuously, just like any other dynamic memory.

yorkshireman-ly y'rs - steve
--
Steve Holden +1 571 484 6266 +1 800 494 3119
Holden Web LLC http://www.holdenweb.com/

Oct 28 '08 #4

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D'Arcy J.M. Cain wrote:
On Tue, 28 Oct 2008 10:06:31 -0400
Steve Holden <st***@holdenweb.comwrote:
>Bizarre though it may sound in this age of integrated circuits there
really was a storage device that used a cathode ray tube to store (IIRC)
a kilobit of information. It detected, by the use of a capacitance plate

A kilobit? One tube would carry one bit. Imagine the size of today's
computers if we were still using them. In those days you were lucky to
get 4 Kbytes of core memory.

In those days they would have techs walking back and forth along
pathways inside the memory banks with shopping carts full of tubes
replacing them as they burned out. Programs had to be prepared to deal
with the fact that bits could go dead at any time and functions would
run multiple times and hold an election to determine the correct answer.
Sorry, you are thinking of bistable multivibrators. I was talking about
the Wiliams tube store:

http://ed-thelen.org/comp-hist/SEAC-...tube-desc.html

which I now see stored a half-kilobit in its SEAC implementation. They
built them to be cheaper and more compact than the single-tube bit store
(the single tube actually held two triodes in it), which would be used
for accumulators and the like - the fast stuff.

I don't ever remember programming to cope with equipment failure,
however. Did you make that bit up?

regards
Steve
--
Steve Holden +1 571 484 6266 +1 800 494 3119
Holden Web LLC http://www.holdenweb.com/

Oct 28 '08 #5

P: n/a
On Tue, 28 Oct 2008 10:06:31 -0400
Steve Holden <st***@holdenweb.comwrote:
Bizarre though it may sound in this age of integrated circuits there
really was a storage device that used a cathode ray tube to store (IIRC)
a kilobit of information. It detected, by the use of a capacitance plate
A kilobit? One tube would carry one bit. Imagine the size of today's
computers if we were still using them. In those days you were lucky to
get 4 Kbytes of core memory.

In those days they would have techs walking back and forth along
pathways inside the memory banks with shopping carts full of tubes
replacing them as they burned out. Programs had to be prepared to deal
with the fact that bits could go dead at any time and functions would
run multiple times and hold an election to determine the correct answer.

--
D'Arcy J.M. Cain <da***@druid.net | Democracy is three wolves
http://www.druid.net/darcy/ | and a sheep voting on
+1 416 425 1212 (DoD#0082) (eNTP) | what's for dinner.
Oct 28 '08 #6

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"Steve Holden" <st***@holdenweb.comwrote:
>
I don't ever remember programming to cope with equipment failure,
however. Did you make that bit up?
Not at the bit level in my case - but I do remember doing silly things
like multiplying after a divide (all integer arithmetic) to make sure the
answer was right.

And we routinely had a checksum record at the end of all files that one
would check when reading in - it was made by adding everything in every
record as a big binary number - almost a kind of vertical parity. And it
caught stuff out too. Then you would just re run, and the error would
often go away.

It has left me permanently scarred.

- Hendrik

Oct 28 '08 #7

P: n/a
On Tue, 28 Oct 2008 10:41:20 -0400
Steve Holden <st***@holdenweb.comwrote:
Sorry, you are thinking of bistable multivibrators. I was talking about
the Wiliams tube store:

http://ed-thelen.org/comp-hist/SEAC-...tube-desc.html
Very cool. Yes, I was thinking of something else. However, Williams'
first attempt at storing memory on a CRT (1946) stored only one bit.
I don't ever remember programming to cope with equipment failure,
however. Did you make that bit up?
No, I read it many years ago. However, I cannot find the reference
(try searching for anything computer related and "shopping cart.") so I
cannot check the story's veracity.

--
D'Arcy J.M. Cain <da***@druid.net | Democracy is three wolves
http://www.druid.net/darcy/ | and a sheep voting on
+1 416 425 1212 (DoD#0082) (eNTP) | what's for dinner.
Oct 28 '08 #8

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