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Dark mode is so EXCITING Upload Images   Link   Email  
Thomas Gonder       
2 months ago
Forty years ago, I was so ahead of the times with my dark mode UI device.
Thomas Gonder       
2 months ago

Thomas Gonder       
2 months ago
No, my young whipper snappers, that is not a thin desktop PC (IBM PCs weren't even invented yet; calculators and digital watches were all the tech rage for consumers). It's what we called a dumb terminal in the 1970s, although we thought they were pretty smart at the time. It sure beat creating punch-cards. On the mini or mainframe, you would command "print" at a location on the screen and then tell the host programatically what character to put there. When you needed to input data to the host from the terminal's keyboard, you typed in a character, it went up an RS-232 cable to the mainframe where it was processed and sent back down the wire to be displayed on the screen. The O/S and db were all levels above the basic hardware I/O protocols.
Richard Rost             
2 months ago
The first computer I worked on had a dark mode too...
Richard Rost             
2 months ago

Richard Rost             
2 months ago
Then the first one I had at home had this funky green shit for a background... WORST ever on the eyes. I don't know what engineer came up with this, but if I had a DeLorean, I'd travel back to 1985 and kick him square in the nuts...
Richard Rost             
2 months ago

Matt Hall         
2 months ago
Wow.  I have had the same thought with other products like the CFL's, wind generators, intentionally un-repairable (throw-away) products, plastic grocery sacks, and a couple of cars that I had the misfortune of working on.  If you ever get your hands on the DeLorean, I call "Shotgun!"
Thomas Gonder       
2 months ago
In highschool I had a few friends whose dads worked on computers. Most were at the big secret, war think-tanks in Goleta, California during the Vietnam war. I got to see (no touch) a Q1 I think it was called, costing close to $US 100,000 for a "personal computer".

Another friend, his dad repaired computers for Singer, which made and installed computers in Sears, although those weren't "personal". He brought home the dud parts for us to inspect and recycle.

In my last year of university, the lab got a couple of Trash-80s. I wanted one bad! But it was way beyond my budget as a college student, as was the first Apple model. Luckily, the computer lab was open 24/7.
Richard Rost             
2 months ago
Loved my Trash-80. :)
Thomas Gonder       
2 months ago
@ Richard. Most of our geeks were busy programming a Star Trek game on the Trash-80s. I had to fight them for time to port my stock options analysis program from my TI-58C calculator.  Which then cost me a fortune in brokerage commissions. You would have to call the brokerage house (on a landline), place your order, and wait two days for a call back for confirmation (which later came on paper in the post). Round trip for a single otions (100 shares) was about $50.
Richard Rost             
2 months ago
Damn. So much easier today.
Timothy Smith          
31 days ago
A couple of companies I worked for used the WYSE terminals well in to the early 2000s. Each of the terminals were old, but worked. Not sure but I think we had them hooked up to an AS400 server.  I could be wrong, the was 20+ years ago.
Richard Rost             
27 days ago
I remember AS400. My high-school computer lab had a bunch of dumb terminals on an AS400. I bet my teacher I could crash the system by lunch one day. He said "you're on." The idiot forgot to set up a disk quota for users (which I already knew). Wrote a program to create an endless number of 1k files with random filenames. This was 1st period. By 3rd period I got called down to the office. LOL. Had to spend my lunch hour cleaning up my mess, but it was totally worth it. LOL
Richard Rost             
27 days ago
Now I can't remember if it was an AS400 or a VAX. Oh the memories....
Sami Shamma              
27 days ago
Boy that brings back memories.

I worked on the VAX and the Pdp11 in Houston,
and I actually paid 60k+ for an AS400 in the UK
Richard Rost             
27 days ago
I believe it. Those were stupid expensive. That's like $150k in today's dollars too.
Sami Shamma              
27 days ago
On top of that, the AS400 ran like a dog. It was slower than those days' PCs.
Timothy Smith          
27 days ago
Man I am feeling old now.
Alex Hedley             
27 days ago
Let's do some AS400 tutorials :-)
Thomas Gonder       
27 days ago
@ Richard You want to talk about school? I spoofed the logon screen for our forty or so computer lab terminals (came in early each morning and started my program on each) shelling them to their account after gaining their credentials. Swiped all the logon hours for all the students that used the lab during the day or until a mainframe reboot, for the rest of the semester. Our professor was previously impressed with total lab hours in addition to the work done. No one noticed until it was time for the administrator to print the hours used report of each student. I got called to the dean's office. My professor was there with his pipe, so I thought I was in serious trouble. The dean was pissed, but my favorite professor chimed in, and said, "I'm sure he was smart enough to keep a real log for each student." I stupidly replied, "along with their passwords sir." A year later that same professor got me my first job, at a pretty decent software company.
Richard Rost             
27 days ago
Impressive
Thomas Gonder       
26 days ago
Sounds impressive, but it was even more involved. At a previous school, the data center guy that fed the punch cards into the Burroughs mainframe let a friend and I "review" the system's manual. That's where I learned about "spawning" a task and a few other control commands and workspaces.

At the next university, they wouldn't even tell us what the lab terminals were connected to, just login and do your work. Even the lab assistant didn't know. So, it took me several long days to try hundreds of guesses of how to hack-elevate my user level (whatever system it was, it stupidly let us get to the memory debugger from a program abort), get basic account information and chain to a spawned process. After all that, I still wasn't sure if the system was going to give me credit for the hours of the spawned task since it was under new credentials.
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