100 FORMAT (11HHELLO WORLD)
Too tough to tinker
That awful attitude of letting the machine find the mistakes must have come about after my first encounters with a computer, when I would submit rolls of punched tape or, when it came to printing my thesis, boxes of punched cards, to the priesthood of the IBM 370 in the late afternoon, after a day at the clanking machine. And after I annointed myself into the priesthood of the PDP-12, which still needed punched tape and booking a time slot; you didn’t mess around under those circumstances. You proof-read your code and stepped through it on a piece of paper.
All of which is a boastful way of saying that I am at least a little bit familiar with fundamental aspects of computer programs, at least as they were 50 years ago.
So it must have started when I got my first personal computer, an Apple ][ E.
Yup, the rot set in then, and it has been downhill ever since. A while ago I did take a course to refresh my memory and solidify my understanding of PHP, and it was great, but even then, I never really got my head around constructs like
What I would absolutely love, and might even be prepared to pay for, would be to have a live human being explain some basic ideas to me. There are tons and tons of online tutorials, as I know, but most of them start from a point that is already beyond me. I’ve spent all my spare time over the past three weeks trying to get there from here, and I am finally prepared to admit I cannot do it.
Instead, I’ll devote some time to making the graphs themselves look a little better, in time for a new year of data.
Our punch card machines were definitely not in the same room — or even the same building — as the computer. The image is credited to f8 Imaging/Hulton Archive/Getty Images. I lifted it from ars technica.
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