I’m an Antique Geek

From my high school yearbook, Class of '76
From my high school yearbook, Class of ’76

My mother used to tell people that, when I was 13, I disappeared into my room and didn’t come out again until it was time to leave for college. Ironically, the rumor at my high school was that I lived in the Math Lab.

I find it hard to believe now, so I don’t expect you to, but when I was in high school, our entire school district had ONE computer (a PDP-11) and we accessed it by phone and acoustic couplers, from school Math Labs.  Once I got on after school, I didn’t want to get off.  The teachers would go home early and let me lock up.  And I was there waiting when they came to unlock it so I could get some work done before school.

PDP-11 Looks like a prop from a cheap SF movie, doesn't it? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PDP-11
PDP-11 Looks like a prop from a cheap SF movie, doesn’t it?
Acoustic Coupler
Acoustic Coupler

One of my first programs was to check Spock’s math.  On Star Trek, when all the tribbles fall on Kirk, Spock says that there are 1,771,561 tribbles.  He was right.

But my masterpiece in high school was an attempt to recreate ELIZA, 1966 computer program designed to simulate a therapist.  It really cracked me up when Leonard on Big Bang Theory describes how he built a hugging machine for himself as a child.  Guess I was trying to build my own therapist.

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