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My first real computer job was data entry typing punched cards for an IBM system.

Then I started working at several colleges with those "ghastly" PDP/11 systems. One was the core for a large computer center with large tape units, and one was just a stand alone system with a drive platter and all of those dump terminals. That "stand alone" PDP/11 system is where I had to write/code/etc. a full general ledger accounting system using COBOL. Have you even tried to write a data entry system for an accounting system, so people could not type in the wrong info/data - like Feb 29th for a non-leap year or an account number that is not created, or other values that are not within the proper any of the data ranges. That was 3 time the coding size than all of the rest of the system, including the account query/search system and report generating systems.

Yes, I remember those data cassette tape drive computers, before you could afford a dual floppy IBM PC/AT/XT clone. Then there were those 10 MEG hard drives.

I saw the introduction of the PC based
Hard Drive
CD ROM drive, then burner

Real Graphics above 640 by 480

I saw the introduction of the Bulletin board system that was interconnected so you had a primitive email address - mine was almost 80 characters long.

I saw the start of the WWW part of the Internet, which is what is now "THE Internet", since most of the other parts [terminal based mostly] have either "died" or been converted to use a browser. Of course there are still parts that run via the terminal which I still use from time to time - mostly local to server communications.

The domain I use for this email address - I own - was first created in the early '90, when you only had 14.4 dialup for most areas of the US, and has gone from one domain service to another, and my hosting service from one to another, till I finally settled on the one[s] I have been using for many years now.

Yes I have seen the wireless phone go from the "big brick" technology through to the introduction of the smart phone technology. I now use a LG base model Android phone, since I do not need all of the wow-wee stuff. I do not need to use it for my every "computer" need, like some are touted.

I have bought 3 Android tablets over the years. I still use 2 of them. And no, I do not like the hype of not needing a larger system - laptop or desktop - since a Android, IOSx, or MS OS claims it will do everything you will need. My desktop I am typing this from is an old 4 core running Linux Mint 16 with 4 hard drives internal, 1 OS and 3 data drives - adding up to 6.25 TB - with 3 external 2 TB drives for backup. I use to have 4 backup, till an internal 2TB drive failed and I needed my spare to replace it.

I really wonder how you could get a tablet to have 6 TB of data storage. I also like to see these tablets find printer drivers to run the USB or network printing. I have enough trouble tryng to find a working Linux [.deb] printer driver for my newer printers, and I have not been able to get any of my android tablets to access any of my colored printers - just a "older" HP laser printer. I now look for Linux drivers BEFORE I decide to buy the printers.

I have gone from punched card data entry to web-based data entry screens.
I have gone from cassette tapes, through to floppies, internal/external hard drives, USB flash drives and SD cards. I have seen mainframe computers the size of a bedroom, down to a refrigerator.
I have seen the IBM PC come out to the modern 4/6/8/16 core desktops.
I have use "portable" computers that were 30+ pounds down to the ultra thing, ultra light multi-core tablets.

I have "retired" from the "computer field" - as they use to call it - after 3 computer related degrees and many computer related jobs. Then I had to get "permanently and 100% disabled" working as a substitute teacher by a student who should have been locked up in a mental ward.

On 07/21/2015 07:15 AM, Gary Collins wrote:
On 07/18/2015 09:25 PM, James E Lang wrote:
The big discussion of Linux over the past 24+ hours has me wondering: What operating environment(s) 
do other members of this list use at home and at work? What factors influence the choice?

My first home computer was a BBC micro (anyone remember those?) That was back in the days when 
programming had to be really tight, only had 32Kb (yes, Kb) of RAM; long term storage was all 
external on cassette tapes, eventually upgraded to floppy disk drive (and the disks really were 
floppy). I've still got that computer and AFAIK it still works!
My next machine was Acorn Archimedes, followed by RISC PC. It's a great shame that the marketing 
for those machines was so poor, leading to collapse of the company. The ARM chips had a great 
architecture and instruction set.
After that, I got my first laptop, a Sony Vaio running windows XP. When I upgraded, which I was 
forced to do due to a machine failure, I got a laptop running Windows 7 - which is still my current 
machine. A better Windows, once I'd got used to it, but it had a real downer - couldn't get driver 
for my flatbed scanner - Canon didn't produce one.
At work, in my first job I used a computer called a PDP 11 (ghastly thing); can't remember what the 
OS was called.
In my second job I think we started off with some sort of mainframe, the details of which are hazy 
now. Later we migrated to Sun Spark workstations.
In my last real job, used PCs running windows, I think it was XP at that time.
Now in my office based voluntary work I use PCs with Windows 7. Did have a play with Win 8 on a 
laptop, but hated it. It might be OK for tablets, I don't know, but it was horrible to use with 
normal PC input devices.
I have thought about upgrading to Linux but have never got around to it. This is mainly because of 
familiarity with certain software packages, especially Photoshop. I know there is GIMP for Linux, but it's 
not a patch - for one thing, it doesn't have the concept of adjustment layers; and that means that all my 
working files, which tend to be saved as TIFF with layer compression, can't be properly loaded and edited in 
GIMP.I also make use of a video editor (not free but fairly inexpensive) which can edit MPEG2 files without 
reencoding unchanged parts of the video, which makes it quite fast and doesn't lose quality. Something like 
that probably does exist for Linux but I haven't got around to looking, and familiarity is a big part of the 
story.Another thing is the convenience of plug and play when it comes to hardware - I don't think I've ever 
had to manually load a driver, everything seems to work "out of the box" and that's a very good 
thing, saves a lot of time and effort. I'm not sure what Linux is like in that respect, as I've had no 
On my phone I have android and I tend to get on reasonably well with that.
I'm not sure what I will do if I ever need to change computer again.

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