What else do you remember about old-school computers?

How old can it be?

I spent a few afternoons with a TR440. In order to create a file for a C program, for example, you couldn’t just start an editor and get started, but first of all you had to tell the operating system the desire for a new text file and give a whole lot of options along the way. A little over-injected, it looked like this:

Hello dear calculator, make me a text file and call this test.c I want about 80 characters/line but variable and a CR/LF at the end of the line; the number of lines should also be free and allowed to grow and start with 1kb file length

The TR440, however, was already at that time rather a museum piece and was scrapped during my time at university.

Then there is the data center, which had a few CDC Cyber 175 mainframes. As a student, we were told to use up the scrap and that’s why we were instructed during the FOTRAN internship to put our programs on one of the – abundant – punch cardsand then hand over the punch card stack for execution.A data center employee then started the job and after some time (at the latest the next day) you could pick up again with the printouts of program run. (But there may also have been a dedicated punch card reader for the students to queue their jobs themselves – don’t know, 1980 is forever :-))

Speaking of printers, the data center had a line printer at the time; This is such a cupboard-sized part, in which on a large roll 120 (or there were 150) rings were threaded with the letters (of course only capital letters), numbers and sentence/special characters imprinted on the outside on the perimeter of the ring.The rings turned like stupid and every time the right letter flew past in a column, then a hammer hit the ring from the inside, which then skinned the letter on the paper. During the normal expression this was already loud enough, but in the end one jobt the computer outputs a line O followed by 1 line X followed by a Zeil O’s. D.H. just in a row it was three times quite horrible: RUMS – RUMS – RUMS. And the whole building knew: Aha did a arithmetic job again.

Man, it was modern at home: a CP/M computer (Z80 CPU so around the 4 MHz with 64 MByte RAM (of course with bank switching) 2 3.5″ floppy s) and at some point a 10 MByte hard drive) of course with monitor (of course Orange Phosphor – green was SO Establishment).Not quite so fast but just much more comfortable.

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