Author Topic: What did computer geeks do before computers?  (Read 2356 times)

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Offline james_s

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Re: What did computer geeks do before computers?
« Reply #50 on: August 12, 2018, 06:38:53 am »
The IBM PC came out in 1981, that was 3 years before the Macintosh. What mass produced computer at the time didn't use an "old fashioned" command line? In 1981 I would say a command line interface on a CRT was quite modern.
 

Offline bsfeechannel

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Re: What did computer geeks do before computers?
« Reply #51 on: August 12, 2018, 08:14:25 am »
However the Mac and the Lisa were both well under development at that point and they used graphical interfaces. For Apple, CLI was already seen as an obsolete technology.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: What did computer geeks do before computers?
« Reply #52 on: August 12, 2018, 08:18:53 am »
That's still not really a fair comparison, when did development of the PC start? If it came out 3 years earlier, then the research and development probably started ~3 years earlier. Apple themselves continued selling the II line up through 1993 and it still used ProDOS. The command line interface remained prominent much later than that, and even today this "obsolete" interface is still widely used. At the time the IBM PC came out, the command line was a perfectly reasonable and modern way to interact with a computer.

A GUI is good for beginners but many things are far slower and more cumbersome to do that way. Fortunately today most computers have both. 
 

Offline bsfeechannel

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Re: What did computer geeks do before computers?
« Reply #53 on: August 12, 2018, 09:31:27 am »
That's precisely what the text I quoted is about: Apple's myopia at the time.

Apple became cocky, not realizing that corporate technology managers might feel more comfortable buying from an established company like IBM rather than one named after a piece of fruit. Bill Gates happened to be visiting Apple headquarters for a meeting on the day the IBM PC was announced. "They didn't seem to care", he said. "It took them a year to realize what had happened".

What took a year to be realized, that Gates had already? Corporate technology managers wanted a PC from an established company like IBM, not a (perceived by them) newcomer like Apple.

The assessment that the IBM PC had a CLI was really irrelevant.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2018, 10:08:05 am by bsfeechannel »
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: What did computer geeks do before computers?
« Reply #54 on: August 13, 2018, 02:07:47 am »
Geeks have always had outlets.  Dog breeding.  Hawking.   Brewing.  Cheese making.   Anything that requires great attention to detail and focus on controllable things rather than people.  And there have always been a range of people from the full on geek through semi-geeks to the full social animals.  Most of us aren't on either extreme.
 

Online Johnny10

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Re: What did computer geeks do before computers?
« Reply #55 on: August 13, 2018, 02:54:10 am »
They were kit builders.
Heathkit
Eico, etc.
Hi-fi kits.
Test equipment kits.
Kits, Kits, everywhere were kits in the Electronics mags.

And before digital computers in the early 60's I knew an engineer that built himself an analog computer.

HP 3561A, Tektronix 2465A, HP8903B, DSA602A, Tektronix 7854,  HP3457A, Tektronix 575, 576,577, Datron 4000A, Fluke 181 Nanovoltmeter, Dos4Ever uTracer, Tek TDS7104 S, HP5335A, EIP534B 20GHz Frequency Counter, Ephratom M-110 Rubidium, Sencore LC102, Tek TG 506, 501 Calibrators
 

Offline JacobPilsen

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Re: What did computer geeks do before computers?
« Reply #56 on: August 13, 2018, 04:40:56 am »
The IBM PC came out in 1981, that was 3 years before the Macintosh.
That was 4 years after the Apple II.
 

Online donotdespisethesnake

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Re: What did computer geeks do before computers?
« Reply #57 on: August 13, 2018, 04:44:53 am »
What did explaining computers do in cave man times?

Inventing the wheel, of course :)
Bob
"All you said is just a bunch of opinions."
 

Offline james_s

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Re: What did computer geeks do before computers?
« Reply #58 on: August 13, 2018, 06:45:23 am »
The IBM PC came out in 1981, that was 3 years before the Macintosh.
That was 4 years after the Apple II.

Yes, and the Apple II was an even more primitive machine that also used a CLI. It was arguably more elegant than the IBM PC in many ways, but it was significantly less powerful.
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: What did computer geeks do before computers?
« Reply #59 on: August 13, 2018, 07:47:51 am »
Winners in the early PC wars were only peripherally driven by technical characteristics.  Marketing and market forces dominated.  Once IBM came out with their machine it legitimized the desktop computer for businesses.  Other big players aided that legitimacy, such as DEC with their Rainbow near clone.  When Apple went full on into the corporate world with the Apple III, Lisa and finally Macintosh they were only marginally big enough and stable enough to get a toe in that door.  Meanwhile, either through luck or good planning, IBM had left their device open and clones came in.  Rapidly that side of the market got enough scale to deliver lower cost at similar and sometimes better performance levels.  That carried on until Apple finally threw in the towel on the 68000.   Design and development costs were just too high for Motorola, IBM and anyone else pushing the 68000 chips.  Intel, and to a lesser extent AMD had a market large enough to continue paying those costs building performance and/or dropping cost.  And while arguments have persisted to this day about the relative merits of the chip families, the truth is that both would do the jobs that the vast majority of desktop users needed, so cost won out.
 

Online glarsson

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Re: What did computer geeks do before computers?
« Reply #60 on: August 13, 2018, 07:55:46 am »
The DEC Rainbow was far from an IBM clone. It was a weird dual processor design with two different processors.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: What did computer geeks do before computers?
« Reply #61 on: August 13, 2018, 09:04:32 am »
The Apple III is a strange machine, full of questionable design decisions, it has a feeling of being designed by committee. I have one and it's one of the least useful computers in my selection of vintage machines. For running Apple II software it is less capable than a real Apple II and very little software was ever written to take advantage of the new features. Steve Jobs' insistence on not having a fan results in an oversized, heavy, clunky design that runs way too hot, when they could have easily used a whisper quiet fan that would have resulted in a sleeker design with higher reliability.
 

Offline Eka

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Re: What did computer geeks do before computers?
« Reply #62 on: August 13, 2018, 11:27:39 am »
Recreational explosives.
Mixed ammonium nitrate and fuel oil. Then set off a nice strong concussion wave next to it...   Managed to launch my heaviest model rocket to date, but it only went up 20 feet or so. It had the rough mass of an tree with a 2.5' diameter trunk. For some reason a number of cops came and inspected the remains of my model rocket and it's launch site. There is now a McMansion on the launch site, but at the time the kids were able to fill in the hole and play soccer in the field.

My other hobbies included, but were not limited to, sewing, designing clothing, photography, astronomy astro photography, learning, painting, programming, digital electronics, computer logic design, trading stocks, reading, bugging professors trying to find out what to learn to do stuff, and listening to adults who were talking about stuff like banking and finance, what they were doing at the local research reactor, and stock trading methods. Basically anything a very precocious kid could do to pass the time and not think about how bad he was being treated by nearly everybody from town.

What did explaining computers do in cave man times?

Inventing the wheel, of course :)
Nah, knapped stone tools, slings, spears, blow tubes & darts, bows and arrows, etc.
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: What did computer geeks do before computers?
« Reply #63 on: August 13, 2018, 11:40:03 am »
The DEC Rainbow was far from an IBM clone. It was a weird dual processor design with two different processors.

Not a clone as in alternate and interchangeable, but in the sense that it was a similar form factor box, with similar targeted functions and aimed at the same market.  Endorsed by what was probably the number two computer company at the time.
 

Offline Beamin

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Re: What did computer geeks do before computers?
« Reply #64 on: August 18, 2018, 11:05:39 pm »
I didn't work for any of them. The first spreadsheet I saw being used in a company was Lotus 1-2-3, the killer app for the IBM PC. In the early 90s, everyone switched to Microsoft Excel.


Is that where all these stock price analysis tools came out like Bowlinger bands and MA's and the hundred other tools you can get for a 20.00 a month trading account? The firm that adopted those first must have had a huge advantage. Or at least lots of really technical harts to make it look complicated.
What happened to ODE TO SPOT by Data? Seriously I don't remember changing it.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: What did computer geeks do before computers?
« Reply #65 on: August 19, 2018, 03:50:30 am »
Mixed ammonium nitrate and fuel oil. Then set off a nice strong concussion wave next to it...   Managed to launch my heaviest model rocket to date, but it only went up 20 feet or so. It had the rough mass of an tree with a 2.5' diameter trunk. For some reason a number of cops came and inspected the remains of my model rocket and it's launch site. There is now a McMansion on the launch site, but at the time the kids were able to fill in the hole and play soccer in the field.

I remember when you could still buy that stuff and nobody went hysterical at the idea of blowing something up in the back yard. Terrorist jerks ruined the fun for everyone, ie they accomplished exactly what they wanted.

I remember my uncle telling me about the chemistry set he had as a teenager, back then they came with real chemicals and you could do real experiments, he managed to make a few different explosive compounds out in the shed. Went on to be a productive adult designing portions of nuclear power plants.
 

Offline bd139

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Re: What did computer geeks do before computers?
« Reply #66 on: August 19, 2018, 04:56:56 am »
Indeed. All the fun chemicals are gone now. I spent 2 hours driving around this morning trying to find some drain cleaner with hydrochloric acid in it. But alas the people chucking in people's faces ruined that  :--
 

Offline james_s

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Re: What did computer geeks do before computers?
« Reply #67 on: August 19, 2018, 01:26:03 pm »
I don't know about the UK, but a couple years ago I bought HCl at a concrete supply business.
 

Online Nusa

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Re: What did computer geeks do before computers?
« Reply #68 on: August 19, 2018, 03:38:19 pm »
I don't know about the UK, but a couple years ago I bought HCl at a concrete supply business.

It's all over the place, used for cleaning, etching, etc. You just have to learn to recognize the alternate names it's known as: Muriatic acid, Hydrogen chloride, Chlorhydric Acid, Spirits of salt, etc. Plus their equivalents in other languages.

In the USA, it's usually sold as Muriatic Acid for concentrations up to 32% Hydrochorlic Acid. Instructions for dilution by 3 or 4 for most tasks.

I hear Spirits of Salts is a name used in the UK, maybe elsewhere. Can't verify that personally.


 


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