User avatar
Posts: 2198
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:30 pm
Location: Susanville CA.
Contact: Website

Re: Fond memories

Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:30 pm

Line numbers
$ = string yes
512MB version 2.0 as WordPress Server
Motorola Lapdock with Pi2B
Modded Rev 1.0 with pin headers at USB
(RS)Allied ships old stock to reward its Customers for long wait!

User avatar
Gert van Loo
Posts: 2486
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:27 am
Contact: Website

Re: Fond memories

Sun Aug 28, 2011 8:02 pm

Ahh... the days of "goto (x*10+y-z)". Nobody but you knew where you ended up.

Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2011 8:03 pm
Contact: Website

Re: Fond memories

Sun Aug 28, 2011 9:40 pm

No doubt if petrol was set to £1.35 a litre, it'd do the same... :) ROFL :)

We all look back fondly to our computer history (mine started with a ZX80 I made, going on to ZX81, Spectrums (3 of them), CBM+4, Atari ST, then the world of PCs). Used TRS-80 and BBC when I was in school, and ran a BBS way back then...

One of my odd purchases was the Amstrad Notepad (NC-10 / NC100?) which has a LCD screen, and ran BBC Basic - great fun. With all this "visual" programming, I'd jump back to the old stuff any day :)

Posts: 267
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:17 pm

Re: Fond memories

Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:17 am

How about this for a school computer? :D

User avatar
Raspberry Pi Foundation Employee & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Foundation Employee & Forum Moderator
Posts: 5202
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:22 pm
Contact: Website

Re: Fond memories

Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:05 am

Fan-bloody-tastic! God, we've come a long way.

I'm reminded of a conversation I had with the old lady next door when Eben and I were just about to get married. She came round for a cup of tea looking very serious, and said: "You know, dear, it's very important for a woman marrying a computer scientist to have patience. You mustn't be angry when he has to get up in the night to go to the lab and feed water into the coolers."

I looked blank for a second before I remembered that her husband had worked on EDSAC. There's nothing quite like living in Cambridge.
Director of Communications, Raspberry Pi

Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:16 am
Contact: Website

Re: Fond memories

Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:47 am

I first learned to program in BBC BASIC with a bunch of DFS/NFS Model B's that my father brought home from one of the schools he taught at, when they were getting rid of them to upgrade (Circa '92). I wasted many a childhood year writing programs that either never worked or did completely useless things in a very complicated way.

Posts: 167
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 4:20 pm
Contact: Website

Re: Fond memories

Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:33 pm

I dont really have fond memories, all I did was build a robot for GCSE systems and control but always tinkered with electronics from being a child. I took my first VCR apart when I was five, and had a blank look on my face when my Grandad asked me to put it back together lol.

I am basically a php programmer, looking to learn from using the R-Pi, netherless I know more than the average user about computers, but alot being dicussed on here is either the limit of what I know or is something new. R-Pi and This Community will be my Fond Memories in 20 or so years. BTW only 23 years old, so I missed the BBC model B by a long way.

User avatar
Posts: 310
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:47 am

Re: Fond memories

Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:33 am

We had a ZX Spectrum when I was about 7 or 8 and I started programming on that, just making text menus and adventure style "games". No graphical stuff. We weren't allowed to touch either of the two BBC Micros at middle school. I moved onto consoles and kinda stopped programming until high school when were actually allowed to do our own thing on the Micros after school and I'd do a bit of programming (mainly copying the code samples from computer magazines, spending hours debugging it, and realising the game they'd written was crap) but mostly just winding up other users with a remote program I aquired nefariously that worked over the Winchester.

Didn't get back into coding until VB3 came out, and I just wrote some basic stuff. When my plans to cure cancer after my pharmacology degree didn't work out I got a job as a web manager for a university and got into Perl & VB6. Then I got a the Microsoft MVP (which I only held for two years) and got a load of vouchers to do free MS exams, so I went ahead and got an MCSD in .NET. We were then taught Java because the Uni was moving to use quite a complex CMS system, but I ducked out and got a job with another company as a .NET developer, and have stayed in that field ever since, although lately I've been doing some Android development (mainly games).

So that's my dull story. The interesting point is that we weren't allowed to go anywhere near the computers at middle school. If we had a load of $25 machines we could freely play with then I think I probably would own my own popular game company by now because I was completely obsessed but didn't have the tools available to me.

Posts: 51
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:53 pm

Re: Fond memories

Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:31 pm

Quote from hordecore on August 14, 2011, 02:09
My earliest might have been the toshiba MSX, before i eventually got an Amstrad CPC464 green screen. (Oh Dizzy, why haven't you been remade yet!). Mostly typing listings from magazines etc but i vaguely recall getting a sprite to move around on screen with a joystick all on my lonesome and wanting to make games with a friend of mine. haven't really been involved at all over last 16 years :(

I believe that the current closed systems of tablet/phones have to change and that having the ability/confidence to alter everything to your particular needs is important. Ever read David Brin's Earth. That's what I want for an internet!

David Brin wrote a piece for the Salon
that matches the idea behind the 'Pi.

I thought "The Practice Effect" is a good metaphor for programming !

Posts: 76
Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2011 6:32 pm
Contact: Website

Re: Fond memories

Thu Oct 20, 2011 7:27 am

I dont really have fond memories, all I did was build a robot for GCSE systems and control but always tinkered with electronics from being a child.

You made a ROBOT at GCSE level? Woah! As if my school would have let me do that. Not that we got offered systems and control (which I would have leapt on).

Someone earlier mentioned a turtle robot that was probably lying in cupboards all of the country, no one having any idea what to do with them. This pretty much covers my earliest fond memories, of the "Roma" that we were allowed to program once, ever. And that was at a very low level of primary school - once we got past year 3, it was MS Office all the way.

Perhaps a pre-raspi warm up for schools could involve people here putting together some teaching materials for them to get these things going and getting kids using them? As far as I remember, everyone loved using it, and was sad when we went back to MS Office.


Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:25 pm

Re: Fond memories

Sun Oct 30, 2011 2:00 pm

My first program was on a wire wrapped Intel 4004 with toggle switches for program entry.
Moved up to a Kim board later, then to a Processor Technology SOL-20, and then the first IBM PC using basic and a tape recorder for program storage.
Now playing with Beagle Board, and Ardruino's and typing this on a Genesi ARM desktop computer. So think the Raspberry Pi will be a very interesting addition to the collection. You really have pulled a lot out of the hat to hit the 25 dollar price point. Good Luck with the launch.

User avatar
Posts: 945
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:18 pm
Location: The Mountains
Contact: Website

Re: Fond memories

Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:08 am

Earliest experience (early USA high school) was on a DEC LINC-8, a version of the PDP-8. Main programming language was FOCAL (FOrmula CALculator), a DEC language somewhere between FORTRAN and BASIC. All communication was via 10 CPS teletype. Later I used a real PDP-8, and even tried to do some assembly language programming on it. One nifty feature of the PDP-8 is that it had core memory, so it remembered everything when you turned off the power. Mass storage was paper tape.

Bootstrapping was interesting. If the machine was totally screwed up, you had to load the most primitive loader (the RIM loader) via the front panel toggle switches. With practice you could toggle in the RIM loader very fast indeed. The RIM loader loaded the BIN loader from paper tape. The BIN format was more sophisticated and more efficent than the RIM loader, but you wouldn't want to toggle in the BIN loader hence the two-step process. The RIM and BIN loaders were in high memory, which you could protect with a front panel switch. This obviously didn't work all the time, or you wouldn't get so good a reloading RIM and BIN.

Once you had the BIN loader, you could load a real program like the FOCAL interpreter or the assembler. This took a while from paper tape, but remember that the core memory would remember FOCAL when you shut off power. The assembler was two pass, so you had to run the paper tape of your program through twice. It would punch the object code on the second pass.

In my undergrad days I did lots and lots of punched cards, mostly PDP-11 assembly language. The really great thing about paper tape and particularly punched cards is that it was impractical to write huge programs, so you kept programs small and efficient. Two boxes of punched cards (2000 cards per box) was as much as you could comfortably carry. I typically kept all source code on punched cards and used 8" floppy disks for object code so I only had to lug around the source code I was working on.

IIRC, Niklaus Wirth wrote about the advantages of punched cards and batch processing as the best way to teach good programming practices. If you wouldn't see the results of your program for two hours, it was worth while to think about what you were doing instead of hacking away until the program seemed to work. It's fine to use interactive programming once you've learned good programming practices, but if you first learn programming with systems that allow sloppy programming and sloppy thinking, you're liable to learn bad habits. I'm quite glad I got to experience the Old Ways before the microprocessor revolution, and had a lot of fun watching the microprocessor revolution happen. It was like living through the barnstorming days of aviation, before the suits took over and took away the fun.

Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:16 am
Contact: Website

Re: Fond memories

Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:48 am

You guys make me feel really old. My first computer experience was on an IBM 370 main farme programming in Fortran using punch cards in Glasgow after school hours. Getting the average of 5 numbers could take all night.
1st personal computer was an Acorn Atom kit (4K RAM) followed by a TI99/4A and then building the ETI Powertran Cortex kit.
I still have a BBC-B in use today - runs part of a CNC machine, and also a Tatung Einstein which runs part of a wafer prober for IC Failure Analysis (dont ask!). There is an Amiga 1200 running linux but it is currently not in use - never did like the Amiga as I could not attack it with a soldering iron.
Also have a Sinclair QL which is currently helping me reverse engineer an HP4145 semiconductor parametric analyser because I want to rip out its MC6801 processor and replace it with a SBC.
Mostly use linux now on home built PCs - but now the cost of laptops in Tesco are far cheaper than building your own PC! Its just not the same fun anymore...!
I still program in assembly language still, even for windows 7 x64. At least they cannot take that away from me.

Posts: 211
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:22 am

Re: Fond memories

Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:44 pm

My first 'interaction' with a computer was writing report code for an NCR8250.

The first time I had to 'maintain' a computer was with an ACT Sirius 1 that ran Wordstar and Dbase II. I had to install the maths co-processor; RAM increase and DOS upgarde as well as ensuring that applications continued to work correctly.

Connectivity in those days, was about running a VT100 emulation over a 1200/75 acoustic coupler dial up connection (Press the button and put the hanset in the coupler).

We connected to a VAX 11/750 which took up a datacenter and the computing power of that system is now available in a mobile phone.

Later, I remember the first time I bought a disk bigger than 1Gb (1.2Gb) (for the company). It was for a VAX 6510 and was a 'big' device (memory serves as 30cm x 30cm x 150cm)

This was about the same time that Linux was released and I remember downloading disk images of the 'A' set and having to learn about 'dd' to copy the images to a set of 1.44Mb floppies.

X windows? I played around with using a DEC VaxStation where it was all about WWII flight sims using wireframes aircraft fuselages.

Okay, I'm a dinosaur! But I was around at the start of the revolution.

I can honestly state that the concept of Raspberry Pi has actually got me excited again and am looking forward to see what the initiative can accomplish.

Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:58 pm

Re: Fond memories

Wed Nov 02, 2011 10:30 pm

Like lot of people here I was lucky enough to start with the BBC Micro. For Christmas an aunt purchased, Interfacing Projects for the BBC Micro by Bruce Smith by mistake. That book opened whole new world to me (my dad was a welder and my mum worked on the production line in a local factory), then A levels, follow by Uni.

The C64 demo scene helped and for inspiration Max Headroom.

Quote from L_J_S_23 on July 31, 2011, 07:36
At Secondary School the computer studies dept got an Acorn Archimedes as soon as they were available. I still remember a huge crowd of us spending our lunchbreaks huddled around it playing Zarch and thinking it was the most incredilble thing we'd ever seen.

That a tough thing to recreate today.

Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2011 6:27 pm
Contact: Website

Re: Fond memories

Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:10 pm

Started programming in Fortran on a CDC 6400 serious mathematics and dynamic fluid flow stuff.

I taught BASIC and Fortran to year 9 and sixth form pupils with dial up access to Ford Motor Companies mainframe and had access in a local college to the mini computer that booted up from paper tapes.

I went onto using HP1000 and PDP11 but also programmed Apple IIe and CP/M S100 computers for spreadsheets, word processing and databases. I then moved to Cambridge and worked on various micro computers including the RiscIX project at Acorn. This was the time all the companies went bust, including Acorn (BBC Model B, BBC Master and Archimedes).

In a start up company we build a laptop that used the early form of PCMCIA RAM cards. Ran ZRDOS for over 4 hours on a small battery pack. The board was eventually only used for bespoke control applications.

I worked on the software that enabled English with a Swedish accent to be taught to telephone engineers in Mozambique via their second language of Portuguese. It was used elsewhere but this was the proof off concept. The Z80 micro controlled the play back and recording of a cassette tape recorder. Not exactly networked - but the automated re-distribution of software was included using one computer to record the new programmes to a dozen tape recorders at the same time!

I also maintained class rooms of computers and taught Computer Science before it became ICT.

I worked with training systems and Laser discs using TenCore and 10 years later using Visual Basic to programme training courses for IBM with heavy video and grapical content.

Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:59 pm
Location: USA
Contact: Website

Re: Fond memories

Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:46 pm

liz wrote:We've been looking back at the learning materials we used back in the early 80s on our school computers (in my case, the BBC Micro) and reminiscing. What were the resources you remember with real fondness? I guess my real introduction came at home rather than at my girls' school, where home economics was considered much more important than IT. Fortunately, I had brilliant parents, got my hands on my own BBC Model B from WH Smiths, and became hooked as soon as I sat down with the Welcome disc and accompanying User Guide.

The brilliant (and surprisingly educational) text adventure L a Mathemagical Adventure led me to find Peter Killworth's book How to Write Adventure Games at the library - we have our own copy at home now for reasons of nostalgia - and to devote altogether too much time to typing out reams of BASIC from other library books which were meant to result in working games. They seldom worked because I was a rubbish typist back in 1984. Micro User magazine was a fantastic resource - and off the top of my head, I think it was where Eben had his first publication as a very young teenager! (Correct me if I'm wrong, Eben.)

There were other bits of educational software kicking about in those days whose usefulness I still simply can't get my head around. What was Granny's Garden actually for? Why did my IT teacher use up whole lessons getting the entire class to cluster around one monitor and argue about what to do next on The Oregon Trail?
I put The Oregon Trail (via DosBox) on the Pi for my kids to play with. They seem to think it is just as fun as I did. - personal blog

User avatar
Posts: 100
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 8:32 am
Location: Richmond & Surrey BC Canada
Contact: Website

Re: Fond memories

Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:33 am

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. ... 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. ... mouse-said

Return to “Staffroom, classroom and projects”