Fog Creek Software
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Coots R US

Any old guys/gals at Fog Creek?

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

By my calculations, Joel is 34-ish.  That's fairly ancient in this industry, right?

Eric W. Sink
Tuesday, July 29, 2003


First system was a PDP-8.  Spacewar and paper tape ruled.

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

I forgot to mention TI Silent 700 thermal printer terminals with the 300 baud acoustic coupler modem built in.


Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

"You young twerps have it easy. All these newfangled programming languages. We used to program in ones and zeros."

"You had zeros? We had to use the letter 'O'".

Joel Spolsky
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

If 34 is ancient...

'We got up 3 hours before we went to bed'

'Ahhh, LUXURY!'

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

also 44.  Text-mode Star Trek on an ASR-33, and we loved it.

another old guy
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

another old guy: 

I believe that was "Spacewar" - same thing I mentioned.  It was a Star Trek simulation for teletype style terminals.  The source to that is floating around someplace, I think with enough booze it would be a strange gas to play it again.

OK, who (besides me) has experience on  the original "Adventure", preferably on early DEC hardware?

xyzzy ...

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

I play Adventure inside Emacs.  It's one of the macros. (Try doing that in VI ;) )

Matthew Lock
Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Also 44.

Must be something about this site that appeals to people of a certain age.

Hmmmmm ... Chinese year of the Pig?  Let's see if there are other spikes at 32 and 20.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

31 going on 12.

Jack of all
Wednesday, July 30, 2003

I must be 28 now.  First PC  Ever used a KayPro?

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

45, but young in this profession (having spent nearly 20 years earning my keep as a musician).

John Webber
Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Fog Creek seems to have acquired a lot of new employees recently....

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Also 44.  I remember playing SpacWar on a CDC Cyber system - teletype printout and all.  I can still smell the paper...

Grumpy Old-Timer
Wednesday, July 30, 2003

65.  First language: Fortran.

beyond geezer
Wednesday, July 30, 2003

>>> 65.  First language: Fortran.  <<<

OK, there is at least one person here older than me.  My first language was MAD, before moving on to FORTRAN.  And I played Adventure on an Amdahl.

The OP was asking about the age of employees at Fog Creek, though, not JOS readers.  It would be interesting to know if Joel practices age discrimination.  With such a small group it would be unfair to expect a random distribution of ages.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Hey, fortran doth not an old coot make!  Many people (ahem) start out with Fortran because it's used all the time in sims.  Its compilers are usually insanely optimized, even to the point where they don't always have the same output as an unoptimized program.  Too bad they handed me an old coot version that had some maximum number of characters per line.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Life now, at age 37:
Sitting around programming... eating junk food... listening to loud music.

Life then, in high school:
Sitting around programming... eating junk food... listening to loud music.

Pretty sad when you think about it.  But hey, at least now I get paid.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

33 here.  Started on a Commodore 64, the teletype in school that was hooked up to a mini housed at a nearby system, and my Dad's Kaypro.  (First system I used that had a hard drive.  Amazed me with its near-instant loading times.)

Today?  Windows 2000, PCs, and Java, almost exclusively.


Wednesday, July 30, 2003

I'm 27.

First computer: Sinclair ZX Spectrum (also called HC85 around here, at that time), then Commodore C64.

Then, I graduated to a 386sx 12 MHz with 1 MB RAM and 40 MB disk space.

After that, another 386sx came, then a 486 100 MHz, then an AMD 586 (I think) with a whooping 8 MB RAM.

Big party when I upgraded to 2 (yes, 2!) IBM 40 MB HDDs...

After that, I got a K6-200 MHz.

Then a K6-350 MHz, with a Matrox G200 video board, and later, with a 17" monitor. I loved this system!

In modern age, I had a Duron 800 MHz with 256 MB RAM, then I upgraded to 512 MB.

Now I have an Athlon XP 2400+ with 1 GB RAM and 120 GB HDD, GeForce 4 MX440 video, the same old 17" monitor.

The next upgrades will probably be a 22" CRT monitor (sorry, but I won't pay $1000 for a 17" LCD - I'm not that rich), and two 10 Krpm SerialATA drives which will run in RAID 0 mode.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

I also fondly remember what I did on each of the computers.

I learned, worked, and played.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

So then, no Coots at FC.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

This reminds me why I am doing this for a living. I guess I was 11 or 12 (30-ish years ago) and our class teacher announced that they were starting a cmputer club at the school and said that "computers are the future" and he recommended it. If I could remember his name I could hunt him down and introduce him to the sharp edges of several surgical instruments.

Anyway, I'm not sure what the computer was. I remember it was at a remote location (the county council offices I think) and we connected via tele-type with a paper tape reader.

Thursday, July 31, 2003

"sorry, but I won't pay $1000 for a 17" LCD - I'm not that rich"

Unless you mean something other than US dollars, it's okay: even top of the line 17" LCD monitors are less than $1000. I seem to remember that I'd just recently seen an ad for a lesser brand 17" LCD for $350.

Brad Wilson (
Thursday, July 31, 2003

35. Got a Vic-20 as a kid, although I pined for a C-64. :-)

Used a Trash-80, er, TRS-80, in junior/senior high school.

These days, PCs, W2K (XP Pro @ home) and Java, with Perl now and then.

Anonymous Coward
Thursday, July 31, 2003

The first computer I ever worked on was an IBM 1620 when I was a college freshman in September 1966. All transistor, about the size of a large office desk. Card input, card output, with 20,000 (not 20K, twenty thousand) twelve bit words of memory. I programmed in a simplified version of FORTRAN II called FORGO (with obvious jokes about how we would gladly FORGO FORTRAN).

I once wrote a program which would not fit into memory, so I took it across the hall to the other computer they had for student use, a Univac 1105. This was a vacuum tube machine. It was so unreliable that they ran each program three times, and if you got the same output twice, it was assumed to be correct. This had 8 kilobytes of core memory, and two 16Kb drum memories. In the spring semester, they replaced it with an IBM 360/25 with 64Kb of core memory and two 5 megabyte hard drives. People were saying, "Wow, no more memory problems".

In 1980, I got a job at what was then Bell Labs as system administrator on a DEC PDP 11/70.  This 11/70, named ihnss,  was, among other things, a major hub on what was then the Internet. It had 1/2 megabyte of RAM memory, and two RP06 disk drives with 176 MB each. We expanded the RAM by a megabyte, and discovered that the release of Unix we were running (PWB 2.0) could not address more than 1 MB. The cost of the memory upgrade was $3500. We got another RP06, and it cost $38,000.

John Hobson
Monday, April 19, 2004

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