By the time I graduated high school in 1979 I had not had access to any computers.
As an Electrical Engineering student at the University of Alberta (Canada) my first introduction to computers was on video display terminal connected to an amdahl mainframe which was on the other side of the campus. It was a FORTRAN course.
Next we had a course in MC6802 assembly and we actually got to touch the MC6802 boards and connect them to motors and things. Then I had a hardware course for which I wire wrapped my own MC6809 board. We used a cross assembler on the amdahl and burned the programs into an EPROM. We had a term project for which my partner and I built a data logger using one of our MC6909 boards as the embedded controller. No one had yet used the words structured programming in any of our courses
so there were many long long hours involved in bringing my spaghetti code and that of my partner together into a system that would work. The easiest time to get on a terminal was in the middle of the night so we had many sleepless nights.
In my first few jobs after university graduation I did not have significant access to a computer which kept me moving on until I started working at Kwantlen way back in 1987. In the early years I was a lab instructor in Electronics Technology and Automation Technology and it was there that I learned on the job about CPM, DOS, UNIX, Windows, PLCs, Linux, Pacal, C, FPGAs, HDLs, EDA, networking, HTML..... it never ends. New stuff is coming along all the time and I love it.
The Raspberry Pi is really kind of exciting stuff. I recall visiting an Alberta Research Council lab back when I was still an engineering student. It was the first time I saw a mini computer. I think it was a PDP11 running Unix and it was primarily being used for data acquisition. I can't help but think of that every time I look at this little Raspberry Pi running Linux and connected to a LAN which is connected to the internet. This tiny little computer that has so much more speed and memory than the old massive mini's for which Unix and C were developed.
When I see the Raspberry Pi, the goals behind it and community working on ways to use it I can't help but be reminded of Douglas Engelbart and his vision to use computers to foster collaborative work and thereby bootstrap solutions to the complex problems of the modern world.
http://www.dougengelbart.org/about/visi ... ights.html
I actually had not even heard of Engelbard before reading reviews and excerpts of the relatively recent book What the Dormouse Said.
That book should help people reminisce.
http://news.slashdot.org/story/05/05/02 ... mouse-said