More Nostalgia


Actually, I never had to use one of these at Maryland. I did have to use punchcards for one semester at a community college for a course on 360 assembly language (which, by the way, was totally redundant — I’d been programming in ‘sembler for years, but I had to take the stupid course).

At Maryland, I avoided the Univac Punchcard Horror in the Basement by doing my assignments on the Vax at work. Vax/VMS had a line-oriented editor SOS (Son of Stopgap), but it was still pretty icky. I used Emacs on my ITS guest account at MIT-AI, and FTP’d the source code over to NBS-10, thence to the Vax where there was a pretty reasonable Pascal compiler. Since I was using Emacs over dial-up at 300 baud, I had to write a “SupDup” terminal emulator for my homebrew Z-80 computer (SupDup terminals supported character and line insertion and deletion) to avoid excruciating screen refreshes. I drove up to MIT and printed out my final project on the XGP laser printer. It was easier than using the damned punchcard machines and waiting half a day to find a syntax error.

I do miss punchcards … as bookmarks.

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