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What are you "old enough to remember" in software development?

ben profile image Ben Halpern ・1 min read

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Javier Guerra

10 print "Hello World"
20 goto 10

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Rick Calder

My God thank you! I was reading these replies thinking "these people are all kids" lol

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Vincent Grovestine

//nod// Save+load from cassette, hoping dearly that you started at the correct counter position and had the tape recorder volume loud enough (but not too loud), then wait...10 minutes...to play Wumpus!

...And there was also the cursed temperamental 16K RAM pack plugged into my ZX81 which would cause the computer to crash if you jostled the thing even slightly--like typing!!

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calder12 profile image
Rick Calder

For me it was a Commodore 64 or a Vic 20 which was what our first computer classes in grade 11 used.

I still remember the joy of walking up to a demo computer in a store and doing the 20 goto 10 thing :D

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alohci profile image
Nicholas Stimpson

You young whippersnapper! I was at school at a time when the school didn't have any computers. Its entire computing facility consisted of a single teletype terminal that could be connected via acoustic coupler to a mainframe across town. Paper tape was the local storage medium.

It didn't matter. I was hooked.

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Joe Buckle

I only recently joined this community and I'm happy to see more of us 'oldies' here

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Nikhil

My school had BASIC when I was 10 years old! Every alternate IT period (Computer period) was a lab session where 30mins was programming and 10mins games. We had to draw a rectangle using BASIC and I used to wonder... HUH! Why can't we just draw it on a paper?! I am not sure whether this comes under "Old enough to remember"... but damn that was long time ago!

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Mohammed Ismail Ansari

Completely agree. I've been through the same thing. They skipped a very important step: explain why we need to write tens of lines code for something that could be done in less than a couple of seconds on a sheet of paper.

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Javier Guerra

If you like to revisit BASIC from a culture and humanities perspective check out 10print.org/
It is a beautiful book

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unsungnovelty profile image
Nikhil

Hey, Thanks! I will check it out. It would be a cool to check how much I remember.

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Jarret Minkler

BASIC or Logo?

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unsungnovelty profile image
Nikhil

It was BASIC.

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Thomas H Jones II

And how brilliant GOSUB was.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

I'm old enough to remember Java applets 😄

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Bhupesh Varshney 👾

Damn it
I have to write applet for exam today 😪

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Ben Lovy

My first calculator was a Java applet!

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Forest Hoffman

One of the first projects I ever completed was a Java applet with physics simulation, and a bouncing ball.

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Phil Nash

Professionally: the double margin float bug in Internet Explorer 6 and hoping for the demise of IE5.

Also, I was aware of IE5 for Mac (different bugs to regular IE5) but never had a Mac at the time to try it out. Now we have Edge for Mac, so what goes around comes around, I guess.

My first web experience: all elements in capital letters and no CSS. Yay for <FONT> and <CENTER> and of course <BLINK> and <MARQUEE>.

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Yaser Al-Najjar

The marquee days... I still remember those websites were full of GIF ads 😂

This gif was a thing at those times:

under-construction

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Phil Nash

So much of the web was under construction!

Under construction

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ben profile image
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&y H. Golang (he/him)

FLAMINGTEXT! I miss hokey 00s web stuff!

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Victor Aremu

cooltext.com 😀

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Byron

!!!! amazing..

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Josh

Entire site layout done in tables.

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Thomas H Jones II

Nested tables

...with some CSS thown in that rendered completely differentely in IE than in Phoenix/Firebird/Firefox.

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philnash profile image
Phil Nash

Styling MySpace pages! Which were just nested tables with no class names or ids. So all the CSS had to look like

table table table table p { ... }
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Byron

omg yes!!! lmao

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Daryn St. Pierre

I had the (dis)pleasure of using IE on a Mac once. If you thought the bugs were bad on IE for Windows... holy crap. That browser was so half-baked.

I still remember DHTML menus and all that stuff.

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David Cantrell

IE on Solaris was quite a lot better, mostly because they didn’t even try to implement half of it.

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Thomas H Jones II

Yeah. It was great, alright. Especially when you worked for a company that was Windows based but the only thing on your desktop was a Solaris box because you were in Unix Operations. "You need to do a daily timecard ...but the timecard system only works under IE" (and the IE for Solaris didn't quiiiiiiiiiiite render the page correctly).

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Cécile Lebleu

That sounds horrible!

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Yechiel Kalmenson

My mother kicking me off AOL because she was expecting a phone call!

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Danielle

My friend coming round my house to play Habbo Hotel because her Dad put child restrictions on their AOL

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Yechiel Kalmenson

OMG it was cat and mouse with us! I was finding workarounds to my parents' parental controls as fast as they could find new ones 😂

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Ryan Smith

FTPing into the server and making live edits. YOLO.

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Michael Kohl
  • Basic and 6502 assembly on a C64 (1991)
  • The Borland Turbo Pascal and Turbo C IDEs (started using them in 1993)
  • Being excited when the first Netscape Navigator came out (end of 1994)
  • Switching to Firefox when it was still called Phoenix (version 0.5, 2002).
  • Having to add a ZAxisMapping option to the X config if you wanted the mouse wheel to work on Linux (switched to Linux in 1999).
  • The Usenet as main information source (still miss it)
  • JS being so new that DHTML (Dynamic HTML) was a term 😂
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Daniel Albuschat

I experienced the switch from X11 to Xorg... and writing the configs for both was the biiiiiigest pita in computer history

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André Jacques

Remember LILO?

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citizen428 profile image
Michael Kohl

Of course. I also remember how nervous I was when I first switched to GRUB. 😂

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Thomas H Jones II

But did you ever burn a mark into your monitor's phosphors when the config file your wrote was close to correct, but just not quite right?

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Michael Kohl

Haha, yes I was totally talking about X11 above. The early days of Linux were quite painful but fun at the same time.

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ferricoxide profile image
Thomas H Jones II

Nothing quite like waiting two days for the kernel to re-compile only to discover that you left the sd driver out.

The move away from the monolithic kernel was such a vast improvement in maintainability.

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Clive Da

snap ! (on 6502) also Z80

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Michael Kohl

You may like this: eater.net/6502

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ben profile image
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Carneiro

Wait! We are not supposed to use that anymore??

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Glenn Stovall

We just call it “grid” now

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MetaDave 🇪🇺

Another couple of years and it'll be back.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

If high-waisted jeans could make a comeback, surely table layouts can!

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Gert Sønderby

I mean, table elements are good for, well, laying out tables.

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Anton Frattaroli

The position: absolute revolution

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Valerie Woolard

Editing HTML in Notepad!

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David Müllerchen

Pro Version was Notepad++

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Valerie Woolard

Notepad++ was the first time I had syntax highlighting and it blew my mind.

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Phil Nash

I used Notepad2 and it changed my life.

Editing Java files for university coursework in Notepad was one of the reasons I still hold an irrational hatred for Java in my heart.

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Vuild

I stil do this

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darkain profile image
Vincent Milum Jr

When the "console", "terminal" or "command prompt" was really just this thing called "DOS"

And it had QBasic. And QBasic was a godsend for learning how the computer actually worked!

Speaking of learning how things worked... Drawing graphics in QBasic? You interacted directly with the video card. There were no drivers. You would have to manually setup which VGA mode you wanted, such as 320x240 pixel with 16 colors. And then very single dot had to be manually plotted on the screen! There were a few libraries for drawing primitives, but these literally did the same thing, CPU based drawing to a generic frame buffer.

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Dian Fay

Having to choose between 640x480 with 16 colors or 320x200 with 256 was agonizing back in the day!

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Vincent Milum Jr

Color, or resolution... PICK ONE!

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Erik Pischel

Color! Plus 320x200x256 was easy to address because every pixel was a byte in an array.

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Vincent Milum Jr

MOSTLY YES! But there was also some odd-ball hardware that was 16-bit transfers instead of 8-bit. So to draw a single pixel, you had to read two bytes, replace one, then write two bytes back. HOWEVER though, this also meant that just raw performance of painting was twice as fast, as you could draw two pixels in a single operation, if you already knew what both were going to be! (like copying frame buffer for example)

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phlash909 profile image
Phil Ashby

For those who get a kick out of wrangling old hardware to do things it was never designed to.. this back in 2015 blew me away when I found it: int10h.org/blog/2015/04/cga-in-102...

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Thomas H Jones II

But damn the plaids were great. :p

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ferricoxide profile image
Thomas H Jones II

But did you ever have to engage int he joy that was "shape tables"?

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Nina

Professionally, nothing.

Unprofessionally: Geocities. My sailor moon character had her own website and I loved it.

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Ben Halpern Author

Geocities ❤️

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David J Eddy

My first public web project was on Geocities. Spent countless hours figuring out how to z-index over the adverts...

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Valentin Baca

Love it.

I had a Metallica Fan site on Geocities

Red text on a black background in "Viner Hand ITC" font everywhere

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Mike Bybee

Ah, good ol' red on black, like every goth and industrial website.

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Samuel Abreu

Had a Dragon Ball fan site on geocities, unfortunately, never found in any archive site :(

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Nina

Yeah I know what you mean. What I'd give for those to have been archived, but it seems like it's not the case.

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Ady Ngom
  • Floppy disk to compile my C++ code
  • Tortoise SVN
  • Notepad (no syntax highlighting)
  • Netscape as a browser and IE6
  • Barnes & Nobles was Stack overflow
  • Circuit City was were the cool kids hung out and got their gears
  • Tables were the only way to control layout in HTML with some horrible CSS
  • Dreamweaver was the coolest shit since slice bread
  • ActionScript was how nerds did Flash
  • Flash
  • Napster (I don't want to get in trouble) let's say it was the premise for never ending playlists
  • The AOL DSL jingle and the famous "You've got mail"
  • Books
  • Java was the language of the web
  • CSS sprites when they first gained mainstream
  • YUI
  • Blogger
  • Google waves
  • Yahoo pipes
  • Hotmail - my first 'professional' email lol
  • Zend Framework for serious PHP dev
  • Phonegap as the first true HTML to mobile platform
  • jQuery mobile

Man plenty more I'm sure - it crazy going down the memory lane :)

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Vincent Milum Jr

Tortoise SVN is still a thing! And now we have Tortoise Git, which I use daily. I actually find it faster to do merge conflict resolution and file diffing with Tortoise compared to the command line. :)

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Ady Ngom

Yes indeed but back then it was the only thing. I think it had one off the best diff tools associated with it. I just can’t remember the name.

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darkain profile image
Vincent Milum Jr

Tortoise Merge is their diff utility. And yeah, I absolutely love it. Still use it on pretty much every single commit just to verify file changes.

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Petar Petrov

TortoiseHG is my life saviour.

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David J Eddy

YUI - OMG, someone else remembers that!

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Ady Ngom

Yup way before Bootstrap and the likes

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Tanya

A shoebox of punch cards with my Fortran programs on them. The output was printed on paper with green and white bars. What do I win?

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Gert Sønderby

The epithets of "venerable" and "inscrutable", certainly.

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Phil Ashby

Nice - I experienced the 3 week run/debug cycle for a year or so while still in school, then the Maths dept got a Pet - also welcome to dev.to :)

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david howard

don't drop the box (or at least configure the punch machine to print sequence numbers)

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Xavey Aguarez

Vivid memory of my boss putting a box of punched cards on top of his car to drive to a customer and forgetting to put them in the car. First turn cards flew off, still ribbed him about it for years

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Marc Grabanski 🏙💻
  • First wrote code on a TI83 calculator
  • Table layouts and spacer gifs — no one coded CSS
  • "DHTML" was a term for JS + HTML
  • Wrote things like getElementsByClassName with walking DOM nodes because jQuery didn't exist yet
  • Firebug changed everything
  • Coding pixel perfect layouts IE6 was HARD
  • XMLHttpRequest — original Ajax blew my mind
  • Flash intros 😂
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Dan Sherman

Oh, man. Spacer gifs are the one I thought of when I saw this topic. And I remember what a miracle Firebug was when it was released.

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Byron

flash intros.... 😂

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Patrick Minton

Wrote things like getElementsByClassName with walking DOM nodes because jQuery didn't exist yet

This is what we do now, though, because jQuery is bloated and uncool. Time is a flat circle :)

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1marc profile image
Marc Grabanski 🏙💻

Well, now we can use querySelectorAll and it does everything for us.

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Nick Taylor (he/him)

Programming in Basic on a VIC 20 and playing video games on my friend's Commodore 64 that were on audio cassettes.

Also, programing in Logo in elementary school.

Mickey Mouse playing piano

Old school. 💪

Side note: Years later at a job, I discovered that one of my peers, much older than me, helped build the Logo programming language. 🤯

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Phil Nash

I did some Logo back in primary school. Those were the days, just pushing the turtle around the screen and making sweet graphics.

That's kind of amazing you got to work with one of the creators!

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Nick Taylor (he/him)

It was such a fun way to program in elementary school. And of course, someone ported it to JS, because Atwood's Law.

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Shreyas Minocha

I'm technically a minor and I remember both Logo and BASIC from elementary school. And <font>.

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Byron

I was between saying logo and dhtml but went for cgi-scripts instead 😂

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Stefan Wuthrich

have a look on my first ever page i did:
web.archive.org/web/19970124165936...

Imagemaps, IE3 Enhanced, 3D Buttons, Fireworks Shadows, FrameSets....
CGI-Scripts, Nervous animated Gifs
:-)

Today looks a bit better: fullstackjob.com

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Alex Mourer

The entire layout for a website being a big ass table.

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Danielle

Haha. Ass table

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Anna Rankin

Oh man, creating rounded edges on elements using a 9-slice grid and four separate rounded-corner-top-right.gif/left etc images was fun. Using DOS, I suppose. Jill of the Jungle!!

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Ben Halpern Author

I knowwwww.

The weird thing is that we were obsessed with doing it in the first place. Did we really need rounded corners that badly? 😵

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Anna Rankin

Looking back, I think it was the challenge of the idea - an element that broke out of the square ✨⬜✨

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@jarxg

Jill of the Jungle is free on gog.com an works perfectly in modern computers :D

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Anna Rankin

😍😍😍😍😍

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squidbe

I got to know the Adobe suite much better than I wanted to.

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Cully Larson

In the early days of the language, the creators of PHP used to hang out in the #php channel on efnet. They would answer Stack Overflow-type questions (I mean the "why am I getting this parse error" kind). I remember being amazed when Rasmus Lerdorf once talked about a calendar app he'd written on a flight across the country. How could you write something like that in a few hours?! I learned web development hanging out in that channel.

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flamangoes

Rubber keys with programming key words like "goto" and "poke" in red and yellow accessed via different key combinations.

Typing in code from magazines and then having to debug it because of printing errors.

Only having 32k of memory.

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Thomas H Jones II

32K?? Big spender. I remember when my dad brought home a tube of insect-looking memory-chips to install into our Apple ][ so it would finally have "enough" memory to run some of the more recent programs. Eventually maxed it out at like 48K?

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Dan Sherman

Does anyone remember spacer gifs? Invisible gifs used to get your layout just right back when positioning was a total pain. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spacer_GIF

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Dan Silcox

Then of course invisible GIFs became ad tracker GIFs :(

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Yaser Al-Najjar

Writing keygens for software in Assembly language... found this code in my old folders (still wondering how I managed to write such lines 😂)

This was written on a Win XP machine 😆

assembly

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Robert Myers

I've done a bunch of assembly (x86, PPC and ARM professionally, 6502 and Z80 for the heck of it) and I'm not crazy enough to try raw Windows programming in it. My hat's off to you.

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John Best

QBasic under DOS 5.

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Andre Goncalves

Learning QBasic, then opening gorilla.bas and being like "I'm not there yet" lol

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Dian Fay

Learning QBasic by opening gorilla.bas and tripling the explosion radius....

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John Best

I was 6-7 then and it was awesome. My mom was like :O.

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Eddy Ernesto del Valle Pino

To insert lines in a basic program you create a line with an intermediate number.

10 SCREEN 2
20 CIRCLE (128, 100), 50

to insert a line there you do

15 REM Draw a circle

and use RENUM to re-enumerate in tens again... and create more "interlines", it would fix all the goto references automatically... that was amazing

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Charles Reace

Yep, you always started out counting by tens, and hoped you never got to the point where you had to start renumbering due to needing to insert more than 9 lines. 😁

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Robert Myers

In no particular order:

  • Dozens of floppies to install a compiler (Hello Borland C)
  • VB (note lack of .Net)
  • Writing a DOS device driver so I could edit config.sys on bootup
  • Being at a dev conference where the presenter quickly wrote a C# program on the board "Oh, sorry, that's not C#, that's Java", changes the case of a few things "Now it's C#"
  • Turning on a computer with no storage and have it work (The Vic-20 and C-64 mentioned elsewhere here)
  • OS/2. Would've flunked college without this, I had neural nets running for weeks and could still write papers.
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Thomas H Jones II

Dozens of floppies to install a compiler (Hello Borland C)

Spending 20+ straight hours in the Sun lab to download Linux from MIT's TSX mirror ...then using rawrite to put it all on a stack of floppies. And, doing all that because the university's Sun lab was connected to NSFnet and its blazing 56Kbps "backbone".

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Phil Ashby

+1 for DOS device driver authoring, that was always fun:

dev.to/phlashgbg/comment/2okc

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Danielle

My fav game back then, Sim Ant was installed from floppy!

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Robert Myers

I think I still have my SimEarth floppies somewhere.

I want to see someone join all the games together. Zoom into SimEarth, get SimCity. Zoom into SimCity, get SimTower or SimAnt depending on how built up the area was.

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Ken Horovatin

I feel absolutely ancient reading these replies.

My first software development memory is using toggle switches on the front of my friend's newly-assembled ALTAIR 8800 to enter individual machine opcodes into its 256 bytes of memory.

We had to hand-compile assembly code to get the opcodes.

It was exciting when we finally upgraded the memory and had Altair 4K BASIC (by "Micro-Soft") to write in a "high level language". Still had to hand-toggle the boot loader in before we could load the BASIC interpreter from cassette tape, though.

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Tom Fakes

XML databases
386max etc memory managers (necessary for non-US keyboard drivers so we could run the real software)
DOS windowing systems
“Xxxxx 2000” as the Next Big Thing (eg WordPerfect 2000, Wordstar 2000)
Forth
Structured Programming
Novell Netware (and MHS) - So Many Floppy Disks
IPX
Btrieve
Token Ring
OS/2
Paradox
dBase

Thanks Ben, you’ve made me feel very old

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ferricoxide profile image
Thomas H Jones II

Novell Netware (and MHS) - So Many Floppy Disks
IPX

No Banyan Vines? No Appletalk? None of the excruciating joy of making two or more of them work together?

Token Ring

Oh! And having to shut down an entire LAN to reset a stuck token!

Oh... And having to install Trumpet WinSock!

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craz8 profile image
Tom Fakes

Also:

Compuserve
Dial up bulletin boards - eg FidoNet
Default passwords on Prime OS systems across the world
UKs JANET network

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Nicholas Stimpson

So much YES. That list brings back so many memories.

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Ahmed Musallam

Using dreamweaver to edit HTML files over FTP.. in 2013..

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Danielle

I learned "web development" using Dreamweaver in University in 2010 🤷

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Matthew Adams

• Radio Shack TRS-80
• Apple II, IIe, III, etc
• My 386SX
• Graphics mode v. text mode
• The text editor called "Brief"
• FoxBase/FoxPro/dBase
• Booting the Mac 512e with a floppy disk
• IDL (Interactive Data Language, like Matlab)
• Emacs & Emacs Lisp, XEmacs
• Sun Sparcstation
• ftp.wustl.edu & others like it where you downloaded & compiled your open source stuff
• BBSs (bulletin board systems accessed via direct dial up)
• The first laser printer (at UCSD)
• Gould Modicon programmable controller

Ah, the good ol' days. Yep, I'm old, but not old enough to have ever had to use punch cards. :)

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André Jacques

My first computer was an Intel 80386SX @25MHz, 2MB RAM, 10MB of Hard Drive, Floppy 5¼" (B drive) and 3½" (A drive). Along with a Hercule display and a 9-dot dot matric printer (offering 4 different fonts! Yeah... The font where available ON THE printer, with a button to select which one). We had MS-DOS 5.0, Wordperfect 5.1, dBase 3.0, Lotus123, a Fighting Jet game (don't remember the name, was actually in 3D, couldn't make the damn plane land). I was 10 years old, and when I was like 13 my mother bought a Pentium 120MHz (without MMX), so she gave me the 386. I went to a computer store to ask what to do with it in order to play Diablo. They laugh at me so hard!!!

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Nicholas Stimpson

Ah Brief. I still miss Brief. Also the version control plug-in for it called Sourcerer's Apprentice

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Thomas H Jones II

EMACS. Killit with fire. Nothing like the first time you open EMACS and are left wondering, "how the hell do I exit this beast"?

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Trev

VIM: "Hold my beer"

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selbekk

I’m old enough to remember when mysql_query wasn’t deprecated.

I’m old enough to have put W3C validator badges on at least 10 web sites.

I’m old enough to have used table layouts

I’m old enough to have made a website in MS Publisher

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alohci profile image
Nicholas Stimpson

Never mind table layouts. Remember using multiple nested blockquotes for indentation?

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James Turner

Development Specific:

  • PHP4
  • Table layouts (though they really haven't gone away for those that do email templates)
  • IE6

Other things:

  • The prompt when you run a program on older versions of Windows that says it needs to boot into MS-DOS mode
  • "It's now safe to turn off your computer"
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David J Eddy

PHP4 represent!

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Charles Reace

I remember when the US DoD decreed that everything would now be written in Ada, and then every contractor started filing for exceptions. I remember printouts of project source code on fanfold paper hanging in binders on a rack in the terminal room. I remember disk drives the size of dishwashing machines and CPUs the size of refrigerators. Take that, all you youngsters talking about web-centric things -- Al Gore hadn't even invented the internet yet. 😉

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Phil Ashby

Ah Ada. My university (York, UK) was an Ada centre of excellence.. I never saw anyone ship anything in Ada in 4 years though :)

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