Computing has been my profession for over 40 years. However, I never tell anyone that I have 40 years of computer experience. Due to the rapid changes in computer technology, I prefer to tell people that I have had a different year of experience 40 times.
Milestones in this career are:
1951 - Visited Remington-Rand factory and saw UNIVAC I, serial 1. Ran a demonstration program on serial 2.
1952 - Started using an IBM Card Programmed Calculator. It was less capable than a programmable pocket calculator of today.
1955 - Began programming an IBM 650 computer. This was my first programming experience with a computer (vs. programmable calculator.) The 650 had a cycle time of 100 microseconds. Furthermore, it took a minimum of 8 machine cycles to do an integer add. Primary storage was a rotating drum.
See a picture of an IBM650 and me.
1962 - Moved up to a GE 225 computer which had core memory and a cycle time of 18 microseconds. An integer add took only 2 cycles. Originally the machine had 20K bytes of RAM. Later it was upgraded to 40K. The 225 was less capable than an IBM XT.
1967 - Started using time-sharing computing on a remote computer at 110 baud. This was my first exposure to Dartmouth BASIC.
1970 - Began using a Honeywell 600 series computer. This machine was very fast, could handle multiple remote terminals while processing several large batch jobs.
1973 - Hayden Book Company published my book: "Computer Methods for Science and Engineering."
1976 - Took a microcomputer course from Gary Kildall (author of CP/M and founder of Digital Research.) Also started using a Digital Equipment Corporation 11/70 computer with the RSX-11 operating system.
1979 - Began using a microcomputer with the CP/M operating system.
1981 - Purchased a microcomputer for own business. It used the CP/M operating system, had an 8-bit processor (8080), 16K RAM, two 8-inch floppy drives.
1982 - Started using several DEC VAX computers with the VMS operating system.
1986 - Purchased an XT clone with two 5.25 inch floppy drives, a 20M hard drive, and a CGA color monitor.
1990 - Purchased a 20MHz 386DX machine with a 40M hard drive. This machine has been upgraded by adding RAM (total 9M), an 80M hard drive, 4 floppy drives (two 3.5" and two 5.25"), VGA, CD-ROM, Sound Blaster, Miracle keyboard.
1995 - Purchased a 90MHz pentium, 16M RAM, 850M hard drive, 28.8K modem, SVGA with a 15" monitor.
1999 - Purchased a 350MHz pentium, 64M RAM, 8.4Gb hard drive, 56K modem, SVGA with a 17" monitor
Also, during the 70's and 80's I taught BASIC and FORTRAN as an adjunct professor for Indiana University - Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI).
Since 1989 I have been a shareware author and have customers all over the world. If you would like a description of my products see: Castle Oaks Computer Services. Some of the programs are free and you may download them.
My most popular product is WORDFIND. It is a program that helps you solve word puzzles.
Another of my programs is HINT-HUNT(TM). HINT-HUNT was developed from an earlier product with the objective of including features that make it very useful for teachers. It is a program to make word search puzzles. It has many features not found in other word search puzzle makers. The most notable feature is that instead of supplying a list of the words in the puzzle, you supply a list of HINTs and the puzzle solver then HUNTs for the corresponding words in the puzzle.
LOGOMAKI(R) is a word game played by 1 to 4 persons on a PC. It is a commercial product. A restricted version, LOGOMAKI Jr. is available for free download from the above site.
NOTE: Bob LaFara passed away on May 16, 2004.