Sunday, October 5, 2008

Computers: In Our Family For 47 Years, Part 2

: What’s the first sign of old age in a computer?

Famous Last Words:
Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons. -Popular Mechanics, 1949

I think there is a world market for maybe five computers. --Chairman of IBM, 1943

"So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' And they said, 'No.' So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you. You haven't got through college yet.'" ~ Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs, on attempts to get Atari and HP interested in his personal computer.

Definition: Personal Computer -- Man's best friend for the post-canine era: a gentle, undemanding companion who demonstrates infinite patience with our mental limitations, never criticizes us, asks only that we provide it with a table, an electrical outlet and every so often, a major project to eat.

If at first you don't succeed, blame your computer.

Photo: Grampy and S, 1993

Olden Times
Grampy says: This was found on the Internet as a joke, but it’s so true:

The Old Programmer's Guide to Past Computer Languages
Task: Shoot yourself in the foot.
C: You shoot yourself in the foot.
C++: You accidentally create a dozen instances of yourself and shoot them all in the foot. Providing emergency medical assistance is impossible since you can't tell which are bitwise copies and which are just pointing at others and saying, "That's me, over there."
FORTRAN: You shoot yourself in each toe until you run out of toes, then you read in the next foot and repeat. If you run out of bullets, you continue with the attempts to shoot yourself anyway because you have no exception-handling capability.
PASCAL: The compiler won't let you shoot yourself in the foot.
ADA: After correctly packing your foot, you attempt to concurrently load the gun, pull the trigger, scream, and shoot yourself in the foot. When you try, however, you discover you can't because your foot is of the wrong type.
COBOL: Using a COLT 45 HANDGUN, AIM gun at LEG.FOOT, THEN place ARM.HAND.FINGER on HANDGUN.TRIGGER and SQUEEZE. THEN return HANDGUN to HOLSTER. CHECK whether shoelace needs to be re-tied.
LISP: You shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun with which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun with which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun with which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun with which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds...
FORTH: Foot in yourself shoot.
PROLOG: You tell your program that you want to be shot in the foot. The program figures out how to do it,
but the syntax doesn't permit it to explain it to you.
BASIC: Shoot yourself in the foot with a water pistol. On large systems, continue until entire lower body is wet.
VISUAL BASIC: You'll really only appear to have shot yourself in the foot, but you'll have had so much fun doing it that you won't care.
HYPERTALK: Put the first bullet of gun into foot left of leg of you. Answer the result.
MOTIF: You spend days writing a UIL description of your foot, the bullet, its trajectory, and the intricate scrollwork on the ivory handles of the gun. When you finally get around to pulling the trigger, the gun jams.
APL: You shoot yourself in the foot, then spend all day figuring out how to do it in fewer characters.
SNOBOL: If you succeed, shoot yourself in the left foot. If you fail, shoot yourself in the right foot.
UNIX: % ls foot.c foot.h foot.o toe.c toe.o % rm * .o rm:.o no such file or directory % ls %
CONCURRENT EUCLID: You shoot yourself in somebody else's foot.
370 JCL: You send your foot down to MIS and include a 400-page document explaining exactly how you want it to be shot. Three years later, your foot comes back deep-fried.
PARADOX: Not only can you shoot yourself in the foot, your users can, too.
ACCESS: You try to point the gun at your foot, but it shoots holes in all your Borland distribution diskettes instead.
REVELATION: You're sure you're going to be able to shoot yourself in the foot, just as soon as you figure out what all these nifty little bullet-thingies are for.
ASSEMBLER: You try to shoot yourself in the foot, only to discover you must first invent the gun, the bullet, the trigger, and your foot.
MODULA2: After realizing that you can't actually accomplish anything in this language, you shoot yourself.

Photo: an IBM punch card

The Old Days
21st Century Grandma (author unknown)
In the not too distant past, I remember very well,
Grandmas tended to their knitting, and their cookies tasted swell.
They were always at the ready when you needed some advice,
And their sewing I can tell you was available and nice.
Well, Grandma's not deserted you, she dearly loves you still,
You just won't find her cooking, but she's right there at the till.
She thinks about you daily, you haven't been forsook,
Your photos are quite handy, in her Pentium notebook.
She scans your art work now and combines it with cool sounds
To make electronic greetings. she prints pictures by the pound.
She's right there when you need her, you really aren't alone,
She's out with her computer pals, but she took her new cell phone.
You can leave a message on her answering machine
Or call her at the meeting, she's been there since 8:15.
Yes, the world's a very different place, there is no doubt of that,
So e-mail her on her web page, or join her in a chat.
She's joined the electronic age, and it really seems to suit her,
So don't expect the same old gal, cause Grandma's gone ‘Computer‘.

Yesterday (with apologies to Sir Paul) author unknown
Yesterday, all those backups seemed a waste of pay.
Now my database has gone away. Oh, I believe in yesterday.
Suddenly, there's not half the files there used to be,
There's a deadline hanging over me, the system crashed so suddenly.

I pushed something wrong, what it was I could not say.
Now my data's gone and I long for yesterday-ay-ay-ay.
Yesterday, the need for backups seemed so far away.
I knew my data was all here to stay, now I believe in yesterday.

Riddle answer: Loss of memory

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Some times frustrating, but many wonderful things have been accomplished
by trial and error until you get the results you want.
Oh oh, this sounds like one of the definitions of insanity - trying the
same thing over and over, expecting different results - it can crive
you dazy. It is really only perseverance. Well done!