Monday, October 26, 2009

DEC and Symbolics History Revisited

Yes, the title of this blog is referring to Music and Saxophone playing, but I have taken a liberty writing of some personal items occasionally, too.

This is a follow up to my previous Blog post dealing with my personal history with Digital Equipment Corp. and Symbolics, Inc.

This update stems from Harlan E. Anderson, one of the DEC founders publishing his memoirs. Should make interesting reading.

Harlan's marketeer, Carole Gunst has a very interesting Hi-tech History Blog. In there she is writing: The First Domain Ever Registered Was

Carole's articles are hitting home very effectively. I worked for DEC 1974-1985 most of the time in Maynard, Mass, USA. From 1986 I was with Symbolics in Cambridge, Mass, USA when Symbolics achieved that important record. While at DEC they received “the honor” of sending the first spam message in the Internet. That was about announcing VAX 11/750.

The rest is history:

One Div Zero: A Brief, Incomplete, and Mostly Wrong History of Programming Languages

1972 - Dennis Ritchie invents a powerful gun that shoots both forward and backward simultaneously. Not satisfied with the number of deaths and permanent maimings from that invention he invents C and Unix.

This is an interesting and mostly amusing summary of development and evolution of Programming Languages. It reminded me of my (short) career as a programmer and software engineer. After graduating from Helsinki University of Technology (TKK), I spent four years designing and programming real-time systems using DEC's PDP-11 computers. No higher-level programming language was available in those days for that kind of work. Programming had to be done using Assembler language.

Soon I was derailed to work for Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) as sales engineer, and later as a marketeer and product manager for DEC Headquaters in the States. Unfortunately that meant losing touch in the fine details of the programming. Yet, I try to look convincing when browsing VAX/VMS print-outs.

In late 1980s I worked for Symbolics, Inc. in Cambridge Massachusetts and was introduced to LISP language, object-oriented software, expert systems, Artificial Intelligence (AI). That was perhaps most fun one can have with pants on. I saved some of AI for later use just to complete my diminishing natural.


Beach Girl said...

Harri, thanks for being a follower. I haven't converted my blog yet to show followers because I'm afraid I'll lose (sp) so much of my template.

Thank you, Harri.

Carole Gunst said...

Hey, thanks for reading the High Tech History blog. Glad you enjoy it! -- Carole Gunst

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