[SIGCIS-Members] Call for "paper"
mounier at msh-paris.fr
Wed Sep 2 09:28:03 PDT 2015
It may be marginal or anecdotical for your project’s point of view, but you may take a look at Henri Boucher’s paper on the beginnings of computing in French defense, published in the Annals of the History of Computing in 1989-1990 *. A young Navy engineer in charge of missile development in the early 1950s, Henri Boucher inquired about stored-program computers; he obtained both technical documents from IBM France on the IBM 701 (not marketed in Europe), and a subscription to the Transactions of the IRE, where he read descriptions of the latest American machines. In order to become familiar with these new devices, and to be able to chose the most appropriate when it would eventually be possible in France, Boucher systematically undertook to write programs on paper for machines he never saw in real.
As Boucher has kept every piece of paper he collected since that time, regarding computers, he may even still possess his early programming attempts.
CNRS & Université Paris-Sorbonne
L’Emergence d’une science: l’informatique
* Boucher , Henri. "Informatics in the Defense Industry," Annals of the History of Computing 12, no. 4 (1990): 227-240.
----- Mail original -----
De: "Ian S. King" <isking at uw.edu>
À: "Dag Spicer" <dspicer at computerhistory.org>
Cc: email at computerarchaeologie.de, members at lists.sigcis.org
Envoyé: Mercredi 2 Septembre 2015 18:13:51
Objet: Re: [SIGCIS-Members] Call for "paper"
Quite an interesting project. But I must concur with others here about the more general use of 'paper programming'. When I took my first programming class (FORTRAN) in the 1970s, we were taught the formal method of flowcharting and coding sheets with the understanding that this was how the 'real world' works. By the time I was in the 'real world', video display terminals and editor programs had supplanted those techniques (in confirmation of a previous statement), at least in the places where I found 'real work'.
However, I'll also mention that when I was an undergrad, I worked on a project where I did not have regular access to the microcomputer on which my (data collection) code would run, nor any sort of development environment. So I was compelled to write assembly language, "hand-assemble" it into machine code (for example, calculating relative branches, establishing a symbol table and the like) and keying the resulting machine code into the computer's front panel. It actually worked pretty well, especially after I learned some 'real lessons' about relative branching. -- Ian
On Wed, Sep 2, 2015 at 9:00 AM, Dag Spicer < dspicer at computerhistory.org > wrote:
Woz still has his Apple II hardware and software design notes… in a binder, on paper, handwritten. He has shown them to me. The most obvious observation on this theme is that in the days of “cards and paper” computing, with its limited memory and a code-exeute-debug cycle measured in days, people took much longer to code and were more deliberate in writing software. In theory, people could write better software. In practice, programmers often just spent hours and hours waiting with nothing to do. (A related issue: modern-day programmers often explain their lack of apparent activity at times by saying “I’m compiling right now.” Managers invariably accept this as sensible and valid… even though it’s a running joke among programmers that the benefit of this explanation is that it really just gives them a bit of downtime to relax).
A general observation about card and paper computing in the 1960s: Bob Bemer, I think (paraphrase): "Computers cost $600 an hour; your time (as a programmer) costs $12 an hour. Guess what we’re optimising for?”
Computer History Museum
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On Sep 2, 2015, at 6:38 AM, dave.walden.family at gmail.com <mailto: dave.walden.family at gmail.com > wrote:
I have a vague, perhaps wrong, memory of Woz's autobiography saying he wrote code in notebooks for machines he was imagining.
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This email is relayed from members at sigcis.org , the email discussion list of SHOT SIGCIS. Opinions expressed here are those of the member posting and are not reviewed, edited, or endorsed by SIGCIS. The list archives are at http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/ and you can change your subscription options at http://lists.sigcis.org/listinfo.cgi/members-sigcis.org
Ian S. King, MSIS, MSCS, Ph.D. Candidate
The Information School
Dissertation: "Why the Conversation Mattered: Constructing a Sociotechnical Narrative Through a Design Lens
Archivist, Voices From the Rwanda Tribunal
Value Sensitive Design Research Lab
University of Washington
There is an old Vulcan saying: "Only Nixon could go to China."
This email is relayed from members at sigcis.org, the email discussion list of SHOT SIGCIS. Opinions expressed here are those of the member posting and are not reviewed, edited, or endorsed by SIGCIS. The list archives are at http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/ and you can change your subscription options at http://lists.sigcis.org/listinfo.cgi/members-sigcis.org
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