Re: Slide Rules and Slipsticks - in the 1960's B.C. - i.e. (Before Computers)

M Hambrick

I was in chemical engineering at University of Houston for a couple years, then finished at Texas A&M. At UH we did our Fortran programs on the IBM 360, and punch cards were the only option. When we had finished punching our cards we would hand them over at the I/O desk where they would read them and compile our programs. Three hours later we could pick up the printout to see what the errors were. It was a very tedious process.

At Texas A&M they had built their own main frame. Wilbur they called it, and at that time (early 1980s) the engineering students had the option of using punch cards or desktop terminals. The desktop terminals at A&M were way faster for compiling our programs than the punch cards, but there were lots of problems with Wilbur, and he would crash without warning every couple months. There were many students who lost their 10 X 10 matrix inversion programs (or whatever) when Wilbur crashed and they had to type it in again from scratch. I never gave up using punch cards. 



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