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My memories and recollections...
My biggest memories of Delta was the basic principles of software design and
problem solving. For example, through the efforts in, around and about
Delta, I learned linked-lists, trigonometry, and even elements of
object-based programming. Probably the most valuable, though, was learning
to learn. Through creating, mimicking, and working with such an eclectic
crowd, I was immersed (and absorbed at some level) multiple disciplines and
areas of computers, electronics, inter-personal relationships, and beyond.
It was also the gateway to the entire university computing system. I
remember learning algol, c, fortran IV, etc. through the classes and
seminars that I'd sit in on, or through the hand-holding of many staff and
students throughout smith hall. Just hangin' around people got used to me
being there, and gave me almost unlimited access to all sorts of trouble.
One correction on the history:
NOTES was a re-creation of an existing app (also called notes) on OCBI's
PLATO project. Really not an email system, but more a public forum. It had
tremendous popularity on PLATO, but never seemed to catch on in our small
world. Email was never the goal, so I question the analogy, however public
forum was which now has re-emerged as chat-rooms and web sites today. I
don't claim credit, I was just mimicking (as was also done on the boroughs
systems by JD Eisenberg).
Other app's I remember either creating or "improving" include:
Music authoring / playing applications for the "turtle" box (borrowed from
fred hoffstetter). I entered a couple of dozens classical / jazz / pop songs
and we'd have them playing in the background while working. That is until
the box overheated one day and never came back to life. I'm not sure if I
miss or hate those old square wave oscillators. Switched on Bach anyone?
BASIC+ "compression" / archival app that would compress single-word
statements (like "print", "input", etc) into single-character entries. Good
for archival uses, since disk space was so precious.
Though I forget the name, we had an app that would monitor what another user
typed. I added the ability (though it was spotty) to see also what the O/S
would respond, and then added the ability to "remotely" type on another
users terminal. No real value except messing with people that had a bit too
much to drink. This was only really used once, when the local DEC people
(drunk out of their minds at their Xmas party) were trying to plot
biorhythms, and we'd just "add" a character here and there. It took them a
while to figure it out, but before they did we were busting guts laughing…
I created a partial PLATO environment simulation that included a "tutor"
parser / interpreter, as well as the look & feel (now refered to in the
industry as "user interface") aspects of PLATO (using the tektronix
terminals, as described by R. Gonzalez). Remember the cross hairs on those
terminals? If only someone had dropped a cue-ball on them, we'd have seen
the first track ball.
One april fools day, I changed all the system error messages for the day.
Think anyone could get away with that today without being charged with
How many people created fake log-in programs that would "steal" passwords?
(not me, I swear)
I still have vague memories of seeing ed jones working on his batch-program,
spawning off pages of output from jobs running on "PK:'s", though I never
new what background jobs he was doing.
portola dimensional systems