Algol vs Fortran was RE: VHDL vs Verilog
ethan.dicks at gmail.com
Tue Feb 9 19:18:22 CST 2010
On Tue, Feb 9, 2010 at 6:44 PM, Russ Bartlett <arcbe2001 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> The comments are wide of the mark. I started programming in the 1960's.
As has already been mentioned, I was referring to a generation or two
_before_ you. *They* would have complained of your use of compilers
and assembers. By your era, that argument was long stale.
> 3) Anyone appreciating earlier data processing challenges would also be aware that storage came at a price. Also there was a limitation as to what would fit onto a 80 column card (punched card). Disc storage wasn't cheap...
11 years ago, I pointed this very fact out to "journalists" who were
convinced that Y2K was all a scam to pad IT budgets because "nobody
would have gone to that much trouble to save 4 bits (00-99 fits in 7
bits, 2000 fits in 11 bits) even in the 1950s.
I pointed out that a) it was two characters, not 4 bits (BCD or EBCDIC
or later ASCII), and b) a metropolitan utility company that just kept
*only* two dates per customer would have millions of extra copies of
"19" to keep track of, load, process, store, print, save, etc., and c)
that one of the most easily exhausted resources was 80 columns on a
punch card. If you encode the due-date of a utility bill onto the
card for later processing, that's two columns less you have for
account number or other pertinent information (I don't recall what
punch-card bills specifically had on them - I only saw my parents pay
them). Even the extra reels of tape from millions of copies of "19"
will add up after a while.
> and all this needed to be weighed against the belief that a system written in 1965 would not be used by Y2K.
That's certainly true enough - who would have forecast that so much
code was still running in one form or another after so many decades?
> Maybe someone would like to explain to my why my Quick Books purchase in 1996 (C#) wasn't Y2K compliant. I found a lot of the computer article written prior to the Y2K switch laughable being written by people by people that really hadn't a clue as to why the systems had been written that way in the first place.
It seems to me that any code written after 1980 _should_ have been
written with 4-digit dates, but not enough of it was. We Americans
were all too much in the habit of writing our dates as MM/DD/YY to get
"far off" things to change. I personally made the switch in my own
writing by the late 1980s, but I blame VMS and traveling in Europe for
that (when is 01/02/03, as if 02/04/88 isn't bad enough? It all
depends on where you are and where your audience is from.)
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