Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby masinick » May 11th, '11, 04:15

Nice to hear from you, Banjo! FINALLY someone here who may actually be older than me! I was 12 in 1968 and I did not get a chance to use a computer until I was in eleventh grade in high school in 1973. I think I *saw* my first UNIX system, a PDP-11/45 in a lab at the university in 1976, but I did not actually start working with or using UNIX systems until 1982, when I got a hold of some UNIX systems as part of an advanced development project in the Software Engineering department of an IT organization at General Motors Corporation at the GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan. A couple of years later, that experience helped me to move on to Digital Equipment Corporation, where I did a lot of work to integrate communications software between the proprietary Digital flagship OS, VMS, and the virtually unknown Digital ULTRIX and the private work Digital did with AT&T customers on VAX UNIX System V. That work, in turn, led me to join the Digital UNIX Engineering group in the middle nineties, where I remained until I left the company. It was while working on Digital UNIX that I overheard fellow engineers talking about Linux. I had already read about it and had some interest, but when I heard that they were also interested and had been using it, I went out and bought my first PC, a Micron P100 (100 MHz) unit. Ran Slackware on it in November 1995 and that was my move from UNIX to Linux. Once I left Digital, I have used much more Linux than UNIX software since that time,
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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby Germ » May 11th, '11, 13:25

masinick wrote:FINALLY someone here who may actually be older than me! I was 12 in 1968...


Got me beat by one year. I was 11 in '68. :D
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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby oldcodger » May 11th, '11, 13:40

Germ wrote:
masinick wrote:FINALLY someone here who may actually be older than me! I was 12 in 1968...


Got me beat by one year. I was 11 in '68. :D


I was already 12 when masinick was born. :lol:
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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby saptech » May 11th, '11, 14:27

oldcodger wrote:
Germ wrote:
masinick wrote:FINALLY someone here who may actually be older than me! I was 12 in 1968...


Got me beat by one year. I was 11 in '68. :D


I was already 12 when masinick was born. :lol:

Hmmm, I was 13 in '68...
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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby masinick » May 11th, '11, 15:10

Germ wrote:
masinick wrote:FINALLY someone here who may actually be older than me! I was 12 in 1968...


Got me beat by one year. I was 11 in '68. :D


Germ, all this time I thought you were "just a kid" - and you are my sister's age! ;-) BTW, how is your "new family" working out? Have not had the chance to ask recently. All is well I presume?
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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby isadora » May 11th, '11, 16:16

Germ wrote:
masinick wrote:FINALLY someone here who may actually be older than me! I was 12 in 1968...


Got me beat by one year. I was 11 in '68. :D

Great year, 1957!!!! ;-)
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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby masinick » May 11th, '11, 16:24

saptech wrote:
oldcodger wrote:
Germ wrote:
masinick wrote:FINALLY someone here who may actually be older than me! I was 12 in 1968...


Got me beat by one year. I was 11 in '68. :D


I was already 12 when masinick was born. :lol:

Hmmm, I was 13 in '68...


Cool! At least two of you older than me, but the "oldcodger" seems to have most, if not all of us beat! :D One thing we can say about him, "He oughta know better by now! :lol:
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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby oldcodger » May 11th, '11, 18:18

Well it seems I was born before you guys which puts me at a disadvantage. Computers were just making their way through the education system when I had already left and joined the common workforce. I think it was the early '80s when I got my hands on the Sinclair ZX81. All self taught from there on. Still learning, and never got fed up with it.
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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby masinick » May 11th, '11, 18:48

oldcodger wrote:Well it seems I was born before you guys which puts me at a disadvantage. Computers were just making their way through the education system when I had already left and joined the common workforce. I think it was the early '80s when I got my hands on the Sinclair ZX81. All self taught from there on. Still learning, and never got fed up with it.


You are modest; it sounds as though you have had many wonderful experiences throughout your career, and your presence here certainly demonstrates that you look at new and different things.

At my age, i have become more and more of a historian. Maybe that is the title I should place upon myself during the final decade or so of my professional career! :-)
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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby Germ » May 11th, '11, 21:10

masinick wrote:BTW, how is your "new family" working out? Have not had the chance to ask recently. All is well I presume?


Absolutely fantastic. :D I'm happier than I have ever been in my life.
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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby juergen_harms » May 11th, '11, 21:39

Yet another candidate for the oldies club here - when I went to university, my first contact to computers was a machine with a drum memory, the updates to the Fortran 2 compiler came on a patch panel; some generations later I saw maintenance engineers disappear inside the machine, hiding from angry users (hardware problems at that time often took several days to get fixed).
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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby banjo » May 12th, '11, 04:27

The first computer I got my hands on, back in '68, had real core memory in it.... you know... that stuff you read about in the history books that was made of little magnetic donuts. The error codes were displayed in hex on Nixie tubes.... (Google it). When I started computing there wasn't a terabyte of data in the whole world, and now terabyte drives are standard in cheap computers bought at the Big Box stores.

Back then, each bit was so big it had its own handle just to carry it around.... OK... I made that one up. :roll:

We've come a long way, baby.

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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby masinick » May 12th, '11, 04:56

When I was attending Michigan Technological University in the mid to late seventies, I think we had gotten past ferrite core technology. I believe the UNIVAC 1108 used ferrite core, but the UNIVAC 1110 that we had as the main campus computer had some fancy followup to that technology. But within a few years, I was using minicomputers, and by my senior year, I was using microcomputers. These things did not have the erratic job schedulers or the large workload (and backlog) of the mainframe computer.

Then when I became a professional at General Motors Corporation in 1979, it was BACK to the mainframe, this time an IBM mainframe. But once again, the small computers came to the rescue. When the IBM PC was introduced in 1981 there was great interest, hoping that these PCs (still pretty expensive at that point - between $3000-5000, depending on the hardware, software, and extras needed) would offload the $1-2 Million mainframe systems. But only a couple of years later, we were looking at BOTH minicomputer AND microcomputer (now called PC) systems. Two operating systems, UNIX for the minicomputer, and MS/DOS for the PC, were being evaluated. For the individual, the PCs took off. In those early days, only programmers and number crunching "knowledge workers" got their own PC, but most people in the technology organization I was in at least had access to the computer, but it was usually shared, one computer terminal to every two person office, with a few extra terminals in some common spaces.

It wasn't long, however, that we got more terminals, and some of those "terminals" were practically computers. I got my own PC sometime between 1983 and 1984, but by then, I was already managing an advanced development lab with multiple NCR Tower systems, each containing a minicomputer implementation of UNIX, running on a Motorola 68000 based system. My office PC had an Intel 80186 chipset and it was an Altos system running XENIX (then owned by Microsoft, later sold to SCO. It wasn't quite as powerful as the NCR implementation, but this was a single user system, and it was cool because I could connect to the mainframe systems and also to the UNIX systems in my lab, even from my office, if we got the right adapters and connections. No big deal today, but that was ground breaking before 1985 - this was 83 and 84 that I was prototyping some three tier network ideas that we had.

My first touch of computers were actually minicomputers, too - HP minicomputers. Those systems were cool, but what I had to connect with them wasn't - I had an AT&T ASR-33 - a low speed teletype device with hard copy output, a typewriter, paper tape to store output results, and an acoustic coupler, which I used to connect a telephone set, dialed to the remote minicomputer in order to access it. That was 1973, about ten years earlier. By the eighties, we had coaxial cable and some telephony connections that we were already testing, and within a few years, we were even testing fiber, which in my next job at Digital in the late eighties, we started getting. There, we used coaxial cable Ethernet, vastly faster than the stuff I had been using earlier. By the nineties, we had thin wire office connections to Ethernet with a 100 MB fiber backbone. Of course, another ten years later, I was in offices with a Gigabit broadband backbone, 100 MB to the desk, at least 100 MB even in the wide area network (expensive, but there, and the incredible Gigabit wide area backbone for the highest traffic areas of the wide area network! VERY EXPENSIVE, needed for high volume financial services networks. I suspect some of those things have also come down in price.

So I've seen clunky teletypes, paper tape readers, punch card readers, 8" floppy disks, 5 1/4" floppy disks - and oh yes, on those mainframe systems, IBM used to have 14" "Winchester" disk technology! How far we have come! :-)
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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby oldcodger » May 12th, '11, 08:11

Very interesting stories gents. My life took a very different path, only fleeting touches with technology. My first real encounter with 'proper computers', the ones you used, came in the form of a course of Cobol Programming. No computer to work on, it was all done by paper and post. I did gain my first level certificate in the language, but due to the cost of the courses I had to leave it at that and carry on with my ZX81 and 6502 and later 68000 machine code. As you rightly say 'How far we have come'.
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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby banjo » May 12th, '11, 13:37

Ah, yes! Paper tape into the ASR-33. Dial up the phone number; listen for the modem squeal; stuff the handset into the muffs. 300 Baud connection. Joy.

I got my Masters degree talking to the UNIVAC 1108. While I was doing that, they upgraded the system.... they swapped out the 026 card punches for the newer 029's. High tech! :lol:

There was an interesting anachronism, though. The card readers had Intel 8080's running them. 8-) I still have my old Altair 8800 that I built back in '76. It has the 8080 in it. It doesn't work, but I think that it is a power supply problem. The chip is probably still good.

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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby wobo » May 15th, '11, 13:56

masinick wrote:
oldcodger wrote:I was already 12 when masinick was born. :lol:

Cool! At least two of you older than me, but the "oldcodger" seems to have most, if not all of us beat! :D One thing we can say about him, "He oughta know better by now! :lol:

Hmm, I was 10 when masinick was born :) With 22 I wrote my first "Hello world!" in Assembler, punched holes in cards which were devoured by a IBM 360, putting out "Hello world!" on a tiny monochrome screen.
As for networking I used the handset and the muffs, later the asynchronous modem for German BTX in the 80ies. We used to play text adventures on the net - for the young ones: those were the equivalents to WoW et al but without images! You described a world and your actions with your words and the images were not on the screen but in your brain, not dictated by a game artwork designer and consumed by the players, they were created in your own phantasy. The better the descrption the better the scenery! Each player was able to extend the world everybody was acting in. IMHO far superior to todays consumer games.

Do I qualify for the "Grey Panthers"? :)
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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby oldcodger » May 15th, '11, 14:21

You are definitely in there Wobo.
I wonder how many of the wizards out there could read a punch tape and understand what it does? I would struggle now, but given a little time I think I would be back up to speed.
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Arpanet

Postby saptech » May 15th, '11, 15:58

I'm sure you guys remember the net 25 years ago? I didn't get involved with computers myself, until around 1990, using DOS. I did have a shell account at one point and that's how I learned unix commands.

Telehack Re-Creates the Internet of 25 Years Ago

Interesting site to bring back some memories.
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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby nlsthzn » May 20th, '11, 20:01

Hi everyone...

I have just downloaded the RC and I am planning to try it out once I get home in Virtualbox as I have never used any distro in this branch of the GNU/Linux tree... I am a chronic distro-hopper starting to get disillusioned with changing my OS sometimes 3 times a day (yes, it is that bad). I can't say I will be using Mageia for long... then again, I might be using it for ever after today... what ever I decide I will assist in the community I finally end up in (which has been Ubuntu for a few years now) and will happily fly the FOSS flag no-matter my personal choice :)


Cheers
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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby masinick » May 20th, '11, 20:17

nlsthzn wrote:Hi everyone...

I have just downloaded the RC and I am planning to try it out once I get home in Virtualbox as I have never used any distro in this branch of the GNU/Linux tree... I am a chronic distro-hopper starting to get disillusioned with changing my OS sometimes 3 times a day (yes, it is that bad). I can't say I will be using Mageia for long... then again, I might be using it for ever after today... what ever I decide I will assist in the community I finally end up in (which has been Ubuntu for a few years now) and will happily fly the FOSS flag no-matter my personal choice :)


Cheers
Neil


Welcome to the community Neil! I downloaded the RC yesterday, installed it, and I am pleased to report that it is coming along really well, and it looks like we are very close to the release. In my installation, I did not encounter any issues, nor did I discover any new defects in the time that I've used it since the installation, so as I mentioned, it is looking good.
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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby juergen_harms » May 20th, '11, 20:30

nlsthzn wrote:I am a chronic distro-hopper starting to get disillusioned with changing my OS sometimes 3 times a day (yes, it is that bad)

My condolence - happy to see that you have time left to post :o For me the time when I (unavowedly to myself) gave up on Mandriva and tried to find an alternative "decent" distro was interesting, but exhausting - glad that Mageia "happened", long may it live!
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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby nlsthzn » May 20th, '11, 20:36

masinick wrote:Welcome to the community Neil! I downloaded the RC yesterday, installed it, and I am pleased to report that it is coming along really well, and it looks like we are very close to the release. In my installation, I did not encounter any issues, nor did I discover any new defects in the time that I've used it since the installation, so as I mentioned, it is looking good.


Thanks for the welcome... The community really seems in the beginning phase and that for one makes it very exciting to be part of it (or possibly part of it) :)


juergen_harms wrote:My condolence - happy to see that you have time left to post :o For me the time when I (unavowedly to myself) gave up on Mandriva and tried to find an alternative "decent" distro was interesting, but exhausting - glad that Mageia "happened", long may it live!


:D Thank goodness for working shifts and being stuck on night shift... that is why I haven't tried Mageia yet, have to wait till I get home :p (For the record I have jumped between just about every distro on the distrowatch top twenty over the last couple of years... but I have no idea what to expect from Mageia...)


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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby Glenn » May 21st, '11, 12:31

Hello to everyone. I'm a veteran Linux user trying out Mageia. I need something new to play with and wanted to see what's going on with this new distribution. Typically I'm a Fedora / CentOS / Redhat / SL user.
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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby masinick » May 21st, '11, 17:01

Welcome Glenn! Hope you enjoy using Mageia. It should be pretty easy to give it a try, and I'll rhyme just for fun: Glad you stopped by! :-)
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Re: Welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself

Postby Glenn » May 21st, '11, 17:20

Thank you Brian. Actually, I was a Mandriva / Mandrake user several years ago. Mandrake was probably one of my first distributions, after Calderra that is. Then I discovered Fedora and fell head over heals for it. Don't take that to mean that I think Fedora is better than any other distro, it is just the distro that feel most comfortable with. So far though, Mageia looks and feels pretty good. It's been working so well on the laptop that I haven't booted any other distro yet today!
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