Saturday, April 17, 2010



Here you will find a general rambling of my attempts to bring life back to old hardware and software.  I intend to write about these things from both a historical perspective and through the lens of today.  I don't have a set agenda - it will be wherever my fancy leads me, and whenever I have the time.  I will make use of both the real hardware and emulations of that hardware, and hopefully make comparisons where I have direct knowledge.

I expect that you will join me in this - I certainly don't know everything (or sometimes anything!) about these old machines, and would enjoy reading comments - just don't flame me if I screw up some fact about your favorite machine!  Just remind me that the foo-o-matic 2000 couldn't transmit greater than 9600 baud on more than four RS-232 lines simultaneously (or whatever), and we'll move on.  Accuracy is important, but not the most important thing.

I know I'm not unique here, but there seems to be enough interest around in this topic and it has been something that I enjoy, so I thought I'd share what I can, and in the process maybe learn something new through the rigor of writing about it.

My background is in software engineering, where I started as a "code slave" in 1985.  At that time I had been using micros at home for a number of years and some Digital Equipment Corporation machines at various institutions (PDP-11, Vax-11).  I was also the Sysop of the Science Fiction SIG on Portal, where I met many influential people in the microcomputer world, especially in the Amiga forums where I was especially fond of Harv Laser.  I was also eventually voted lead Sysop for Portal, which mostly involved holding internal meetings and presenting our point of view to Portal.
Later work took me around the country on various jobs, where I worked with many different machines and software and established myself as a "Big data" kind of programmer - databases, parallel programming, caching.   I wrote code for PDP-11's, Vax's, PC's, Unix workstations (Sun, MIPS, RS/6000, AT&T, HPUX, Dec Alpha), mainframes (GE, IBM), Macintosh, and Amigas.  Languages I have used professionally include C, C++, various assmebler architectures (Z80, 6502, 68000, VAX Macro), Basic, Java, and now Scala.

Today I am a principal software architect at Tracelink, Inc. where I am working with the new (to me) breed of functional programming with Scala and the Lift framework for a groundbreaking combination of cloud computing and enterprise level application.

Ok, enough "retro me" - next I will get started with a machine that is dear to me, and also readily available in hardware and emulation!

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