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Old School Geeks

 
Rancher
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I shamelessly steal his from a conversation somewhere else, but what do you have?

Sadly most of my truely old geek toys have fallen to multiple house moves over the years. I think I still have an old programmable Texas Instruments calculator with the wire-and-globe type display before liquid crystals became common.

Anyone still hoarding an old Mac, Apple, AT or some punch cards?
 
author and iconoclast
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The old toy I miss most of all is my trusty TI 99/4A "home computer." It had the most marvelous assembly language. The processor had no general-purpose registers -- just a "workspace pointer" that magically transformed some arbitrary spot in core into a set of 16 registers. The main control instruction was "Branch and Load Workspace Pointer", and the mnemonic was "BLWP", which I still pronounce in my head as "blowup." When a program would "blowup", this was a perfectly normal thing!

But it's been gone for years, victim, as you say, to too many house moves.
 
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I've still got an HP-15C lying around somewhere. On rare occasions when I feel like doing Real Math™, I track it down and use it rather than the overly-verbose Java Math functions. Hurm... we really need a new language that supports RPN, complex numbers and matrices as the default.
[ June 01, 2006: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
 
Trailboss
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Somewhere I might still have a five meg hard disk drive platter.
 
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
I've still got an HP-15C lying around somewhere. On rare occasions when I feel like doing Real Math™, I track it down and use it rather than the overly-verbose Java Math functions.



In my case those occasions aren't that rare and I do next to no Real Math™. Operation is just so much more succint than your average mainstream calculator - and nobody will want to borrow it.

Hewlett-Packard HP-15C
My old Casio FX-602P and Texas Instruments TI-57 are kicking around in a box that I haven't looked at for the past 10 years (or longer).
[ June 02, 2006: Message edited by: Peer Reynders ]
 
lowercase baba
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pfff!!! calculators... what a bunch of slackers.

I carry a slide rule with me. THAT'S how you do math...
[ June 02, 2006: Message edited by: fred rosenberger ]
 
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The oldest item that I may still have (that relates to this topic) is my HP-41C calculator.

Items like my TI-58C, TI-59, Commodore 64, IBM XT, Atari 2600, and collection of slide rules, have all disappeared years ago.

Henry
 
Peer Reynders
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Originally posted by fred rosenberger:
I carry a slide rule with me. THAT'S how you do math...


And how do you program that thing?

When I learned to use one, I got a loaner, as these precision tools could get pretty expensive (nothing more frustating than using a cheap/shoody slide rule).
While the power requirements are extremely attractive, most people will find the system requirements a bit steep - a trained brain.


Reasons Why A Slide Rule (And Paper Pad) Is Better Than An X-Workstation:

  • A Slide Rule doesn't shut down abruptly when it gets too hot.
  • One hundred people all using Slide Rules and Paper Pads do not start wailing and screaming due to a single-point failure.
  • A Slide Rule doesn't smoke whenever the power supply hiccups.
  • A Slide Rule doesn't care if you smoke, or hiccup.
  • You can spill coffee on a Slide Rule; you can use a Slide Rule while completely submerged in coffee.
  • You never get nasty system messages about filling up your entire paper quota with pointless GIF pictures for the root window.
  • A Slide Rule and Paper Pad fit in a briefcase with space left over for lunch or a change of underwear.
  • A properly used Slide Rule can perform pipelined and parallel operations. (Okay, you need a guru for this.)
  • You don't get junk mail offering pricey software upgrades that fix current floating point errors while introducing new ones.
  • A Slide Rule doesn't need scheduled hardware maintenance.
  • A Paper Pad supports text and graphics images easily, and can be easily upgraded from monochrome to color.
  • Slide Rules are designed to a standardized, open architecture.
  • You can hold a Slide Rule at arm's length, to hit the obnoxious person at the next seat over.
  • A Slide Rule is immune to viruses, worms, and other depredations from hostile adolescents with telephones.
  • Additional Paper Pads can be integrated into the system seamlessly and without needing to reconfigure everything.
  • Nobody will make you feel bad by introducing a smaller, faster, cheaper slide rule next month.

  • posted by Fred Kiesche
    http://theeternalgoldenbraid.blogspot.com/2003_01_01_theeternalgoldenbraid_archive.html



    Okay, where are the abacus people?
     
    fred rosenberger
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    i have an abacus, too.
     
    Henry Wong
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    Originally posted by fred rosenberger:
    i have an abacus, too.



    I had one too... My father every tried to teach me some of the songs for it, but my chinese is terrible...

    Henry
     
    Marshal
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    Seated atop the monitor in my office (along with Dust Puppy) is a box of "Computer De-Stress Tea". I guess I keep it there as a sort of "break glass in case of emergency".



    The interesting part is that it is billed as an "Ancient Healing Forumla".

    So I imagine that it was once "Abacus De-Stress Tea".
     
    Sheriff
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    Originally posted by fred rosenberger:
    ...I carry a slide rule with me. THAT'S how you do math...


    Okay, you asked for this...

     
    marc weber
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    Seeing as how I'm not a true geek, the best I can offer is a Comp IV game, circa 1977...



    (Oh, and I do have a four-foot slide rule being shipped to me.)
    [ June 02, 2006: Message edited by: marc weber ]
     
    Marshal
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    I've got an 8-inch floppy disk on my shelf at home.

    Oh, and I also have a jar of Squirrel Peanut Butter labelled "You could win an ADAM the ColecoVision Family Computer" which came as part of the furnishings when we bought a log cabin about 10 years ago. I don't dare to eat the contents.
    [ June 02, 2006: Message edited by: Paul Clapham ]
     
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    still got me old Ti-81 programmable calculator.
    Must also have a ruler marked in 6 different dimension systems somewhere, a navigation plotter, a book of logarithm tables, etc. etc.

    Threw out an old Ti-68 last year which had stopped to function (and new batteries didn't revive it, and it was well out of warranty).

    And for the real geek: 6 editions of the Lord of the Rings, and 2 of the HHGTTG.
     
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    I have my dad's HP 35 and 45 (work fine on AC), a bunch of slide rules including two circular, and a Curta coffee grinder (busted, damn.) Gotta get some good photos and put them on EBay I guess. I saved one roll of paper tape from the Nova computer and one magnetic card from an HP desktop unit, too. Oh and two silicon wafers of IBM 360 CPUs. My mom let the Apple ][ and IIE go for the cost of shipping to a collector. He had one of those 6-foot slide rules for teaching, but I think it went to the incinerator. Bummer.
    [ June 02, 2006: Message edited by: Stan James ]
     
    marc weber
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    Originally posted by marc weber:
    ... (Oh, and I do have a four-foot slide rule being shipped to me.)


    It just arrived! Now I am a geek!
     
    Desperado
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    Well, in the spirit of participation, how's programming in BINARY (professionally) sound?

    I don't know how it sounds but here's what it looked like in the summer of 1975.



    Description: Datacraft "mini" (24-bit big endian). Programmer (me) entering bootstrap sequence read from the paper pasted to the front panel (about 15 binary instructions). Lever up = 1; lever level, = 0).

    Photo taken at the (still) largest single-dish radio-radar observatory, in Arecibo, Puerto Rico (operated by Cornell University).
     
    What a stench! Central nervous system shutting down. Save yourself tiny ad!
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