In small room made for it was an Olivetti computer that used programmes written on magnetic cards. It took me a couple of months to figure out how to write programmes for it.
All the programmes that the company had up to then were written by Olivetti I think.
As I only had a short amount of time to play with the Olivetti it took about 18 months to fully understand how to write a programme ( I did keep my knowledge under my hat).
After a while I had built up a store of 5 programmes ( steelwork design stuff) that I had checked the results with doing the Calcs by hand.
The chief designer knew what I had been doing as I used to stay after 5 pm when all the others had gone home.
After a while word got around and other depts got me to write programmes for them.
In particular the estimating dept. To help with preparing tenders. One programme could save a day in adding up a bill of quantities on old comps machines.
It finally got me a job in the estimating dept.
As technology improved I had to pull up the stumps as I could not do 2 jobs at once. Preparing tenders or becoming a computer manager.. I stuck to tenders as the bosses could not see the future and in any case I could see that outsiders were now the computer experts.
I do not regret sticking to tendering, it served me well. However I do regret in not trying to advance my skills in computing.
By 1973-1975 I was well into Scuba diving and it became a passion for the next 25 years. So no time for computers or need to use one.
In passing, when I worked in Newcastle 1966 to 1968 the firm where I worked had a big computer in the basement. It looked just like the ones you see in films about computing just after WW11. Dont know if it was ever used when I there.
I remember magnetic cards, tape cassettes, early hard drives and programmes where you needed 12 or more floppy discs for a programme forerunner of Excel.
Most of us have seen the advance in technology and absorbed it. I think my father could have gone with in up to a point. Mum doubtful. Anns parents would have really struggled as they were born 1897 &1900.
Wonder what we will see in the next 10 years ?
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