Especially for those of us who have been in it for said haul.
Just to date myself, I learned how to program via punched and mark sense cards. A program wan’t just as assembly of instructions or blocks; it was an assembly of these cards. Debugging was much more of a challenge. Not only did you have to find whatever bug was causing you grief but then you had to create a new card (or erase the coded in bubble) and then replace the one causing you problem in the deck. There was a great deal of pressure to get it right the first time through to avoid this process.
Of course, things changed; I ended up taking courses with terminals (yay, no cards) and then the personal home computer revolution came along. This really was a change in things. From my first TRS-80 computer to Windows PCs, I’ve written programs on them all. You really had to know your machine and I’ve often said that these were the last times that I really understood computers.
A big change was coming with the concept of windows running on a computer. Originally from the XEROX Parc, the whole notion of user interface being more than just text on a screen really took off. As we know, Apple was the first to adopt this. It was about this time that knowing all the ins and outs of a computer became less important. In fact, the way that things were tightly controlled led to comments like:
A Macintosh is a computer with training wheels that don’t come off
But usability and functionality really took off and Microsoft followed with its own take of a windowed environment. It’s a far cry from today; it was more like text occupying its own window that you could resize. Windows 1 seems so distant from Windows 10 of today.
For a step back in time, I enjoyed this video. It’s claim is that it’s the first “Hello World” program for Windows.
If you’re a programmer, you know that “Hello World” programs are the ultimate proof of concept that you could write and then run a program in whatever language you’re using.
This little video brought back so many memories including the one big advantage that Microsoft had over Apple. You could have coloured windows. Sadly, I remember using this colour combination at one point. Maybe it wasn’t such a big advantage after all. Colours in windows today is a little more subdued and Apple continues with its plain jane windows frames.
35 years seems like an eternity and it is in the computer world.
But, with all of our love for nostalgia, I can’t see anyone ever longing for a return to this world.