Yes, HAL it is getting hot in here.
The first time I ever was involved with computing was as a kid with a thing called Geniac where you placed electrical contacts on circular wheels of mansonite and bolted them onto a mansonite board. The back of the board and wheels could be wired in such a way as to be "and", "or" gates. Incandescent lights were wired in to demonstrate the digital logic. Next in college we had an IBM 1620 machine that accepted Hollerith cards and ran FORTRAN IV and COBOL. I think the machine had 64k of core memory. Later I had to learn Pascal to get some oil exploration equipment to run. Our devEditor was the flowchart. That was TI Pascal running on TMS 990's. My first home computer was a TI 99a. It had BASIC built in and 16 colors could be generated. It had some great plug-in games. If fact the whole computer was a series of plug-in boxes spread out all over a table top. I did visit the Altair plant in Albuquerque mostly likely when Bill Gates was across the street writing the first BASIC code. I didn't know about the story until PBS broadcast "Triumph of the Nerds" a few years back. I wasn't prepared to pay a fortune for a kit of discrete parts. No sale (now I wish I had one).
Life moved very fast after college in the Air Force. I was a navigator. All our work was done by hand and analog wheel calculators. Later I was a electronic design engineer at TI and created all kinds of digital interfaces and controllers, but the TMS9900 chip was the only one we used. Boot up was done by individually loading the status register, the PC register, and Boot code with 16 toggles switches, one word at a time, via an interface box. Years later I finally got to learn C++, the Mother of all languages. I wish it was taught in grade school so there wouldn't be such a hassle with all these languages we have now.
Now is looks like XML and its fall-out "world standard" based markup and scripting languages rule. I find the new world order of networking amazing. Just putting together this Website by typing in simple code and having it generate so much visual material instantly is truly a wonderful thing.
Give me feedback on your life's experience and thoughts. Maybe we can start a geriatric computer nostalgia chat room.