Friday, March 6, 2015

The One Who Inspired My Career in Computers passed on Recently

The man who inspired me at an early age to get into computers, recently died, so I would like to take a moment and post about him.  I will refer to him as @brothersthree through-out this post.  Just prior to his passing I received from him multiple items that he continued to maintain in his possession.

@brothersthree went to college and during his time their he became familiar with computers and took an interest in them.  He decided to take some classes in which he would have to rent time on the mainframe to complete his assignments.  The access to the mainframe was limited based on seats and scheduling.  Most of the scheduling was taken up due to those advanced further in their collegiate courses.  The times that were available were often during late hours of the night or early in the morning hours.

Then a telephone line or modem access was made available to the mainframe, again this was limited to number of connections but alleviated some of the congestion.  I am not sure if at this time or before he purchased a Kaypro II computer.

I remember barely the clicky keyboard, with large 5 1/4 drives, and a handle on the back to carry it.  Out of curiosity I had to look up the type of processor and memory that it had.  According to Wikipedia it contained a 2.5Mhz Zilog Z80 Processor with 64kb of RAM.  I remember being allowed to use Wordstar on the computer and thinking how amazing it was.

As a young child I had dreams of working on this multiple times and was drawn to the click of the keyboard and the display of what I was typing on the screen.  After a small period of time and I am not sure if it was on his KayPro or a new 8086/8088 that he introduced me to what I consider my first computer programming language.  I was introduced to Turbo Pascal.  In the items I received from him was a 5 1/4 disc of Turbo Pascal version 3.01.

In this language, he wrote one of the first personal checkbook programs for the computer.  Amongst the items was version 4.0 of the checkbook programs source code that had been printed.  
This program and probably others inspired @brothersthree to start a software company called "Brothers Three Software".  At the time of when I imagine version 1 came about in 1987-89 it was a foreign concept to most people to store your checkbook on a computer.  His efforts to market and sell this software never took off in his mind, however, I bet it inspired multiple people that he spoke with, well maybe it was only me.

Amongst the items I received were the original MS-DOS 6.22 disks as shown below:
Windows 3.11 3 1/4 discs, Windows 95, Windows 98 SE Boot Disc and Windows 98 SE install CD.

Also in the items were a few old sticks of memory as shown below:

He always had a passion for computers through-out his life.  I remembered and found a letter that he sent to me in early January 2000 about the impact of the Y2K bug:

"The Y2K bug died with very little things happening.  One state in October sent car titles out that were [made in the year] 2000 cars, but the state computer put them as [made in the year] 1900 cars and listed them as antiques.  So the state made the corrections.

The only real trouble with computers was in Delaware, where at the stroke of midnight a big computer went down.  The only thing it caused was 800 slot machines would not work, so the casino was not able to get any more money from the slots." 

This man, @brothersthree, inspired me at the age of about 7 years of age to get into computers.  One of the first computer books that he introduced me too was the following:

I learned a little Turbo Pascal, progressed into BASIC, and then into Visual Basic and now into VBA, PHP, Visual Studio Products, Python, Bash, Perl, and many others.  May the legend of @brothersthree live on as being an early pioneer of computers and computer programming in Turbo Pascal.

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