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Programmers At Work, 22 Years Later

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the still-crazy-after-all-these-years dept.

Programming 136

Firebones writes "In 1986, the book Programmers at Work presented interviews with 19 programmers and software designers from the early days of personal computing including Charles Simonyi, Andy Hertzfeld, Ray Ozzie, Bill Gates, and Pac Man programmer Toru Iwatani. Leonard Richardson tracked down these pioneers and has compiled a nice summary of where they are now, 22 years later."

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wow (4, Funny)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507174)

killer site design....

Re:wow (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507250)

killer site design....
Yes, crummy.com certainly is crummy. But you must admit that it is still up after going live on the front page of Slashdot. Can your image laden, flash driven, AJAX-ified, web 2.0 site claim that?

It's also licensed under the creative commons and has not one ad. Can your site say that?

Sometimes, a bulleted list of black text on a white background is a godsend to these old eyes and more than gets the jobs done.

Re:wow (2, Interesting)

ShatteredArm (1123533) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507290)

My favorite part is the use of the word "weblog." The whole thing has a very appropriate reminiscent theme.

Re:wow (4, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507498)

My favorite part is the use of the word "weblog." The whole thing has a very appropriate reminiscent theme.

At least they didn't refer to "difference engines."

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22507938)

Well, Leonard has been writing News You Can Bruise for over a decade now...

Re:wow (2, Insightful)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507550)

Works for Drudgereport. Always has.

Re:wow (2, Insightful)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 6 years ago | (#22510218)

It works for Drudge because one click down it's somebody else's content.

Not that I like websites laden with flash and other malware, mind you.

Re:wow (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22507580)

still the site is getting really slow,
so here is a mirror: http://crummy.com.nyud.net/2008/02/17/0 [nyud.net]

Re:wow (1)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507594)

But you must admit that it is still up after going live on the front page of Slashdot.
Up, but ridiculously slow. The first time I tried to load it, it didn't respond.

Re:wow (2, Insightful)

fmobus (831767) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507596)

I see some imediate design errors that could be corrected without images or clumsy javascript, just css:

* text is too wide, 66 characters is said to be the ideal. At my resolution, I got lines with >150 chars,
* some separation between each post would help,
* some background color or border separating the menu and the header area from the body would help

Re:wow (5, Insightful)

ipb (569735) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507908)

* text is too wide, 66 characters is said to be the ideal. At my resolution, I got lines with >150 chars,
That's not a bug, that's a feature.
I absolutely loathe sites that don't expand to match the width of my browser.
On a 1920x1200 screen any site that only lets me see 66 characters will earn my wrath forever.

Re:wow (2, Informative)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508042)

You don't *have* to maximize your browser window, you know. Letting the text flow to the window is the right solution. Text lines too long for you? Resize your window!

Re:wow (1)

Dannkape (1195229) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508584)

But what to do when they only assign a 400px column (can't risk those running 800x600 missing the ads on the sides...)? Sometimes when reading a lot it's good to increase the font size for comfort/speed, but that doesn't really help when you end up with 5 words per line. (or less if there are lots of long words)

(PS. don't say "use opera", I like my firefox extensions thank you very much...)

Re:wow (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509958)

I've heard complaints about this both ways. I don't think any solution would make everyone happy. It's a personal preference. I personally find wide lines harder to read and don't want to have to resize every page I visit. The only "real" solution I can think of is to have a convention whereby your preferred width is stored with your browser settings and web servers could read that preference and format it to your preferences. Not gonna happen.

Re:wow (2, Insightful)

ipb (569735) | more than 6 years ago | (#22510426)

I don't maximize it.

But when many have large high resolutions screens it's ridiculous to expect users to have a window that only covers a quarter of their screen.

I haven't had a screen smaller than 1600x1200 for years and it's not like web developers can't create a site the sizes to match my window, they just have arcane ideas about what's 'right'. There's nothing like going to a website that pops up and uses half of my window to display nothing. Do that and unless forced to I won't be coming back.

At least Slashdot gets it right.

Re:wow (3, Insightful)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509564)

Or sites that don't shrink to match the width of my browser. I shouldn't be forced to use the horizontal scrollbar to read text.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22508172)

text is too wide, 66 characters is said to be the ideal. At my resolution, I got lines with >150 chars,
Huh? The site doesn't have any fixed width at all. You can look at it as 10 chars per line or thousands per line. It's literally perfect in that regard: it fits whatever browser width that the user selects as optimal.

Re:wow (2, Informative)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 6 years ago | (#22510250)

If the width of the text is at all affixed with anything other than a percentage, it is a poorly marked up site.

That's what HTML is. It's content markup. Not 'code.'

Re:wow (1)

rdradar (1110795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507604)

But you must admit that it is still up after going live on the front page of Slashdot. Can your image laden, flash driven, AJAX-ified, web 2.0 site claim that?
Seems to be down now. :)

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22507690)

is a godsend to these old eyes
Whose old eyes? Dude, you're like three years out of college at best.

Horrible, Isn't It? (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508246)

Dude, you're like three years out of college at best.
I know, I know, don't rub it in. Put me in the ground already, right? I feel like my bones are half dust, I'm long in the tooth, I'm on my last leg, almost completely worthless, put me out to pasture, stick a fork in me!

Three years! In (Moore's) computer years that's like 18 generations, prior to the great depression of dotcoms or even the Civil (browser) War.

It's amazing that some employer is kind enough to provide this old geriatric coder a job. I try to stay out of the way of the new blood and stave off death for a few more years but my old concepts of "EJBs" and "Java Server Faces" is just embarrassing to them.

A new recruit came in the other day, I told him not to feel bad and we'd make him 1337 soon enough. He just chuckled and patted me on the head and said, "There there, old timer, we'll get you some streaming Matlock off the server while we clean up your mess."

I miss my friends that have already moved on from this life to the next, those that are managers already. I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. Still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friends.

So please, when you see an ancient dinosaur like me lumbering around trying to figure out what the f*ck ruby is and why I have to put it on rails and then wonder how that was any different than what I used to be doing, please be kind. Have patience, my mind isn't as nimble as it once was. Three years of Jack Daniels and coding ravages a man and leaves him a dusty shell.

Just promise me you'll never forget me when I'm put in the basement next to a pile of boxes next month. Please come visit, please!

Re:Horrible, Isn't It? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22508386)

nyah, nyah, I'm on your lawn.

Re:Horrible, Isn't It? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22508962)

You know what makes me feel old? The fact that something Java is an old concept to you.

Now get off my porch! I have some C to write.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Cold Dark Server Room (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509084)

I have some C to write.
While we may have had our differences in the past, what with my resource greedy garbage collector and your platform specific releases, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that one day you and I might end up in the same place--management.

So while we may not be able to reconcile our differences now, I realize that at the end of the day we might find ourselves in the same spot of alienation and place of decay.

In a different reality, I might have called you friend ...

Re:Horrible, Isn't It? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509738)

It seems that time moves more slowly when you're older and faster when you're young, or vice versa depending upon your viewpoint. The radio plays songs from the 90's and calls them classics, then you get confused and think "wait, that's old fogey music now?" Or you get around to playing that computer game that's been sitting on your desk, get excited by how new and innovative it is, then hear someone say "that game is so dated." Or between the time I first buy a Java book and actually install Java I hear that the language has changed and I need a new book.

Maybe time just seems to move more slowly because I keep seeing Microsoft maintaining overwhelming market share because of substandard software; people keep thinking reference counting might be a good way of implementing garbage collection; the same Fortran programs written before I was born are still being run.

Re:Horrible, Isn't It? (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 6 years ago | (#22510286)

In (Moore's) computer years that's like 18 generations,

Not really. If you look at the basic architecture of the machines most people use, it hasn't changed since 1981. I think you meant "18 marketing-efforts old." Since 1983 there have been maybe five or six 'growth spurts' in the development of the single ugly beast that dominates.

Re:wow (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507748)

I'll take dry content over almost any other website I visite these days, including Slashdot. Loads instantly, no crap to distract me, works in any browser.

Re:wow (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508666)

Yeah, on my iPhone, over WiFi, Slashdot takes a "long time". You see the left links and top border appear.. THEN later the main guts that I care about fills in.
Could this be rectified and make the main guts fill in first, without changing the look of the site?

Re:wow (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509124)

You'll find that most ad supported sites do it in that order.....it makes the advertisers happy......screw the viewers.

Layne

Re:wow (1)

spikedLemur (1243792) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508344)

To be fair, an intelligently designed AJAX site can delay load content and, as a result, consume less bandwidth than a static site. Although, I admit that you rarely see this in practice.

Re:wow (3, Insightful)

multisync (218450) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508960)

Sometimes, a bulleted list of black text on a white background is a godsend to these old eyes and more than gets the jobs done.


Works just fine in lynx, too ;)

Re:wow (3, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509002)

I take it your comment implies there was something wrong with it? Lets look at if from a perspective of communication they way we might critique any work of language print or otherwise. I will pose the questions to you but answer from my perspective?

Did you experience any difficulty or distraction while trying to acquire and understand the message the author was trying to send?

I did not.

Did the presentation cause confusion or ambiguity of any kind?

I don't think it did.

This one is a little machine specific, did you have to use any special tools or software such as specific browsers, decoders, certain display resolutions?

Nope not me and it looks like it would render fine even for someone using links, but I did not try.

Has the media proven robust?

Well its a website and so far its stood up to slashdot traffic, so its fairly tough, probably thanks to its small size. It would be easy to cache for the likes of Google to sense it has no external files, like css sheets, graphics etc.

All and all I think it was an excellent solution to for making the information available that as the author wanted to do so and deliver it to a broad audience. Its a real shame more of the web is not like that. Ok now go back to your visual studio Silverlight, script ridden abortion now.

Re:wow (1)

zukinux (1094199) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509548)

Jesus... and I thought for a minute it was Kramer.com as in b>Kozmo Kramer [seinfeld-fan.net] .
I didn't know he liked computers that much :)

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22507260)

> killer site design....

It'll stand up to the Slashdot effect a hell of a lot better than something that tries to download 500KB of Javashit from six different domains (all of which have to come through before it'll render the site's content), just so the color of an icon can change when the mouse rolls over it.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22507922)

What is it with website downloads? Isn't there supposed to be a timeout. Most of the time they just hang.

Re:wow (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22507588)

Dude - you don't get it. He is like totally recreating the internet experience of 22 years ago. DARPANet rules!

Re:wow (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22507752)

I never RTFA, but with all the insults about the site I just had to check. And guess what? I really like the look. It's clean. I'm so fed up with all the "rich" content on the Internet. Hypertext is supposed to be *text*. Just gimme the information!
Seriously, that page is what the Web should still look like.

Re:wow (1)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509036)

Yeah, I agree. That site's design pretty much rocks.

Re:wow (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 6 years ago | (#22510754)

I'm having flashbacks!

Sounds like Fire in the Valley (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22507224)

If you like reading about the earlier days of personal computing, I'd also recommend Fire in the Valley [amazon.com] by Freiburger and Swine which has a ton of cool anecdotes and dramatic confrontations.

Re:Sounds like Fire in the Valley (3, Interesting)

justasecond (789358) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508034)

"Swaine", not "Swine" ! But yes it is an excellent book.

Re:Sounds like Fire in the Valley (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22508500)

That's Michael SWAINE.

It's an easy read, but it's not terribly accurate, and it's focused almost exclusively on Apple.

Moved down a spot (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22507232)

The author of TFA ought to read slashdot a bit more often:

Bill Gates. Then: founder of Microsoft, popularizer of the word "super". Now: richest guy in the world.
But the richest guy in the world is now Carlos Slim [slashdot.org] .

Re:Moved down a spot (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507642)

I think they meant rich in the ironic sense... you know, as in, "that's rich, coming from you."

Re:Moved down a spot (1)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507742)

> The author of TFA ought to read slashdot a bit more often

But he's already being considered a no-life for getting his story posted.

Re:Moved down a spot (1)

dmsuperman (1033704) | more than 6 years ago | (#22511494)

He was only wealthier than Bill Gates for a brief time, when the value of his various investments increased to surpass Bill Gates. Don't ask me where, but I remember reading about a week ago how Bill Gates retook the world's richest man.

BONUSCARD SAVINGS, BEEYOTCHEz!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22507234)

We had it all,
Just like Bogie and Bacall.
Starring in our old late, late show,
Sailing away to Key Largo.

.

Here's lookin' at you kid,
Missing all the things we did.
We can find it once again, I know,
Just like they did in Key Largo.

Andy Hertzfeld (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22507236)

So, like 8 years ago when I was a sophomore in High School, my friend and I used Yahoo! people search to find Andy Hertzfeld, then used Dialpad.com (back when it was free...) to call him.

We left a really, really long voicemail message on his answering machine saying how "insanely great" we thought he was and stuff. He never called us back but changed his phone number to an unlisted one shortly thereafter...

I hereby declare myself the biggest Mac "fanboy" ever. and first post.

Re:Andy Hertzfeld (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508766)

ok, you win...

Re:Andy Hertzfeld (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22508994)

" Now: works at the OSAF"

A simple Google would suggest that Hertzfeld works at Google.

Life's not fair (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22507240)

Bill Gates, and Pac Man programmer Toru Iwatani
One's super rich, the other's a floating pair of eyes looking for a box.

Inaccuracy - Gates is no longer richest (4, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507246)

Bill Gates. Then: founder of Microsoft, popularizer of the word "super". Now: richest guy in the world. After a stint in the 90s as pure evil, semi-retired to focus on philanthropic work.
Not even second-richest any more .. http://www.stockmarketsview.com/mukesh-ambani-becomes-worlds-richest-man/22/ [stockmarketsview.com] , http://money.cnn.com/2007/08/03/news/international/carlosslim.fortune/index.htm [cnn.com]

A billion ain't what it used to be ...

Who is that? (3, Funny)

snoyberg (787126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507314)

I recognize most of the names on the list, but who is this Bill Gates character?

Re:Who is that? (4, Funny)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507406)

He certainly isn't a programmer, unless that now means exploiter or programmers :-)

Exploiter "of" - sorry.... (5, Funny)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507428)

Damn microsoft keyboard....

Re:Exploiter "of" - sorry.... (2, Funny)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508064)

"Disparagement of the almighty Gates detected! Implementing protective 'typo' procedures!"

Re:Exploiter "of" - sorry.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22508726)

...welcome datacomp

Informative (5, Funny)

peipas (809350) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507414)

I've always wondered whatever happened to Bill Gates.

Nice! (2, Informative)

nexuspal (720736) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507442)

I have this book, by chance, because a professor left it out on a table and wrote, free books. A really good read, shows that to get to the top you need skill, dedication, and some luck. Oh, and in the case of CS, a burning desire to know how the machine operates at all levels...

Peter Norton (2, Interesting)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507488)

Another big name (often forgotten). Last time I heard about him, he was an art collector and trader.

Re:Peter Norton (3, Interesting)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507652)

I heard he still takes the time to get his picture taken for Symantec products that have the Norton name on them. They still pay him royalties over using his name, though his original software has been rewritten a lot since he sold it to Symantec and he cannot claim ownership of it anymore.

I think Peter Norton ran out of ideas, but had made so much money that he decided to buy a small island and start buying art with his billions for investment purposes should the world economy collapse due to something like, oh I dunno, crappy commercial software having so many security holes in it that everyone gets their identities stolen by hackers who withdrawal all money from bank accounts and cash in stocks from data stolen from commercial database servers they installed some trojan on when the system administrator clicked on one of their web ads while he was looking for how to fix the problem of the server crashing 12 times a day on some web forum. Then whole nations' economies collapse, except for some small island nation that Peter Norton bought and stores his art collection on?

Coincidence? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507736)

I think Peter Norton ran out of ideas, but had made so much money that he decided to buy a small island and start buying art with his billions for investment purposes should the world economy collapse due to something like, oh I dunno, crappy commercial software having so many security holes in it that everyone gets their identities stolen by hackers who withdrawal all money from bank accounts and cash in stocks from data stolen from commercial database servers they installed some trojan on when the system administrator clicked on one of their web ads while he was looking for how to fix the problem of the server crashing 12 times a day on some web forum. Then whole nations' economies collapse, except for some small island nation that Peter Norton bought and stores his art collection on?
What a coincidence! Why, that happened to me just yesterday!

Re:Peter Norton (4, Interesting)

sconeu (64226) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507830)

I heard he still takes the time to get his picture taken for Symantec products that have the Norton name on them. They still pay him royalties over using his name,

Can he sue Symantec for defamation of character? The real Norton Utilities were lean, mean, useful, and essential. The current Norton-branded crap from Symantec is slow, bloated, is DRM-laden, and doesn't play well with either itself or with others. Kind of like the Anti-Norton Utilities.

Re:Peter Norton (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508044)

speed disk and calibrat FTW!

Hey Norton! (1)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508296)

Back in the Windows 3.1 days, I built some small utilities and put them out in the 'freeware' boards as the 'Ed Norton Utilities.'

The program names were 'Captain Video', 'Vest', 'Floppy Hat', and 'Bowling Ball'.

Re:Peter Norton (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509166)

I think Peter Norton ran out of ideas, but had made so much money that he decided to buy a small island and start buying art with his billions for investment purposes should the world economy collapse due to [crappy commercial software]. Then whole nations' economies collapse, except for some small island nation that Peter Norton bought and stores his art collection on?
Would this island be called Magrathea by any chance? Plus he needs a stasis chamber.

Re:Peter Norton (5, Interesting)

alphafoo (319930) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509270)

I was on a panel with Peter at a conference a few weeks ago. He still looks just like he did on the box covers in the 80s. Our talk was on The Future of Software and Technology or Something Like That, and of the 8 people on the panel, I found Peter's remarks to be the most eccentric and Sci Fi. He was talking about head's up displays in our eyeglasses and things of that nature.

After we all had our say, the moderator asked if anyone of us had anything to add. The mod looked at Peter, at which point Peter, who was sitting with his arms crossed looking either bored or disgusted (I couldn't tell), stated, "Yes, I have something to say. I am out of here. See ya." So he got up and left.

Most of the audience did not come from tech backgrounds, so I don't think even 10% of them had any idea who he was, or how much of a name he had in the olden days.

Re:Peter Norton (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509984)

He still looks just like he did on the box covers in the 80s.

Lucky bastard. Hell, I look like the box itself now.
   

Re:Peter Norton (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22510168)

Peter, who was sitting with his arms crossed looking either bored or disgusted (I couldn't tell), stated, "Yes, I have something to say. I am out of here. See ya." So he got up and left.

(shrug) "Prima donnas."

Re:Peter Norton (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 6 years ago | (#22510722)

There is a 'Peter Norton' book on Linux. I like to try to visualize what kind of person would buy that book. Undoubtedly it would be somebody who listens to Kim Commando every week and is struggling to get their zip drive mounted on a Linux box.

Duke Nukem Forever section... (3, Funny)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507576)

Wow, it's the original Duke Nukem Forever dev team!

Re:Duke Nukem Forever section... (1)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507744)

Original and current baby!

I think most of them are just waiting for Raskin and Kildall to get off their asses and finish their assignments. They're good programmers so it should be any time now.

Crazy Wayne Ratliffe didn't write dBase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22507610)

He took Vulcan from NASA JPL -- with permission apparently -- and repackaged it.

very good book (4, Funny)

kisrael (134664) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507666)

This was a very good book. Probably my favorite bit was hearing the history of Pac-Man
Best Quote:
"I thought that one of the things women like to do is eat. So I started working on a game concept based on eating."
--Toru Iwatari, inventor of Pac-Man

Hearing about the SwyftCard idea was cool too.

Some of the best things were the artifacts, from in house materials to source code to random sketches and napkin plans:
I made some banners for The Gamers Quarter with the early sketches of Pac-Man:
http://kisrael.com/viewblog.cgi?date=2007.11.13 [kisrael.com]

Not Dead Yet (1)

devnullkac (223246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507686)

It's a revealing statement about the age group that drove the industry in that era that only two of the people profiled are now known to be dead this many years later.

Re:Not Dead Yet (1)

Inthewire (521207) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509626)

And only one of them died in a drunken fall!

Missing: Bill Budge, Pinball Construction Set (4, Interesting)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507880)

As a teenager in the early '80s, I wasn't terribly aware of the people who were actually getting paid to do what I and my friends were figuring out how to do on the TRS-80 and Apple ][. But one name that percolated up was Bill Budge [wikipedia.org] , the programmer behind the wildly popular Pinball Construction Set [wikipedia.org] . It was probably the closest thing you could get to The Sims on a 6502.

Oddly enough, I don't think I ever played it myself. Or rather, I never built anything -- I probably played some of my friends' creations. His name stuck in my mind thanks to a list in some computer magazine about "Opcodes we'd like to see". (That's an assembler term, for you High-Level Language junkies.) The only one I still remember was "PBB -- Program like Bill Budge".

Re:Missing: Bill Budge, Pinball Construction Set (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509176)

Umm, isn't http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Computer_People [wikipedia.org] "the closest thing you could get to The Sims on a 6502."?

Re:Missing: Bill Budge, Pinball Construction Set (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22510944)

You're right, and the parent is a complete fucking idiot because pinball construction set could not possibly be further away from the sims in concept.

Re:Missing: Bill Budge, Pinball Construction Set (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22511368)

You're right, and the parent is a complete fucking idiot because pinball construction set could not possibly be further away from the sims in concept.

How very interesting. Is everyone who sees things differently than you a "complete fucking idiot" ?

Crooks that made it bit (0, Flamebait)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507886)

While thousands more still toil away unnoticed, beacuse they are honest and didnt get to lean on mommies and daddies money when they first started out.

Re:Crooks that made it bit (1)

justthinkit (954982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509716)

There may be some truth in this remark for some of these people, espec. billg, but your "Booth was a patriot" .SIG is laughable. Booth was part of a substantial conspiracy to take down a President who was committing the ultimate act of treason in the U.S. -- remaining free from corruption. For more, check out Jim Bishop's "The Day Lincoln Was Shot".

Re:Crooks that made it bit (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509924)

Booth was willing to give his life for his country. That makes him a patriot. Wont debate if he was right or wrong in his actions as that isnt my intent. The intent is to make people think, which you have done.

And back on topic i wasn't speaking just of Mr Gates, a lot of the 'big players' that made it out of the 80's either had help, ( like rich parents) or really good luck ( location, location, location ). ( actually, that goes for most people that have made it big, they often build on the success of the family before them. if they had to start from scratch like the rest of us, they would still be like the rest of us.. )

Re:Crooks that made it bit (2, Insightful)

justthinkit (954982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22510396)

I agree about successful people having help -- rich parents, or powerful connections. What is even more annoying is that those who genuinely innovate (someone like Dan Bricklin comes to mind) will often have their work stolen/copied/sidelined by someone in a more powerful position. The corruption of the system always approaches 100%.

All we little people can do is try to give credit to the true innovators, geniuses and hard workers. In the latter category I would place David Harris of Pegasus fame. Philippe Kahn would go in the true innovator (Sidekick) and genius (his compilers vs. microsoft ones) categories. And if Paul Katz were alive, it is doubtful we could give him enough credit and reward for PKzip. He made ARC look bad and we benefited from that.

In the "from out of left field" category, I would suggest Neil Rubenking. I think he has a vast and deep understanding of PCs and, unlike Jerry can-never-get-one-computer-working Pournelle he has helped a large number of us over many years from the back pages of PCMag. Steve Ciarcia did the same thing, but for hardware guys.

Re:Crooks that made it bit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22511204)

Booth was willing to give his life for his country. That makes him a patriot. Wont debate if he was right or wrong in his actions as that isnt my intent. The intent is to make people think, which you have done.

Booth was from Maryland, a border state that was not part of the Confederacy. Therefore 'his country' was the United States of America, aka the Union.

Far from being 'willing to give his life for his country,' he dedicated himself to dividing the country of his birth. He was a coward, a murderer, a traitor and seditionist.

Death was too good for him.

I regularly foist this book on my students... (2, Interesting)

jpellino (202698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507906)

... they just as regularly roll their eyes when they see the gian head of Bill Gates.

Then they just as regularly come back and thank me.

Good to see a recap that these people made a difference and are (mostly) still doing so.

Interesting, but... (1)

TimToady (52230) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507912)

I'd much rather know where I'll be in 22 years...

Re:Interesting, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22508108)

how typical of a slashidiot to post a question like this. do you think it makes you insightful? i bet you in 22 years you'll still be wallowing here trying to get a clue.

Re:Interesting, but... (1)

bkr1_2k (237627) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508132)

Get back to your cube. And stay there!

Excellent book, as is _Inventors at Work_ (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507978)

Let me add my praises to all the others. It's a very good book and a very interesting book.

And the material on Bill Gates is an interesting read in his own right. (And yes, Bill Gates was a programmer).

_Inventors At Work_, also published by Microsoft Press (and regrettably out of print), by a different author, is excellent, too.

I wonder if there are any other titles in the same series?

Jef Raskin (1943-2005) (3, Informative)

EdgeOfEpsilon (756307) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508026)

>Jef Raskin. Then: Macintosh project creator, founder of Information Appliance. His excellent web site is still up. Author of well-respected book The Humane Interface. The project he's working on in PaW, the SwyftCard, was a minor success.

RIP Jef. On a lighter note, check out his son's work at Humanized [humanized.com]

Edit: Looks like he just updated it. I guess someone informed him of Raskin's departure...

"Spreadsheet of Dorian Grey" FTW (1)

adavies42 (746183) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508774)

IHNTA, IJLTS"Spreadsheet of Dorian Grey"

Fire up... (1)

PinchDuck (199974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508800)

the White Collar Holler.

I know where they all are (1)

LM741N (258038) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509606)

on various islands in the Caribbean and Pacific. (as long as they can get wifi)

"At work" (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22510004)

"At work"? Seems most of them are retired or hobbying around under obligatory wages.

Re:"At work" (2, Interesting)

Firebones (1236508) | more than 6 years ago | (#22511532)

There's another great book, Founders at Work [amazon.com] , that covers entrepreneurs. What's striking to me is the difference between the relatively humble and down-to-earth programmers of the early personal computing era compared to the egos on display from the post-bubble entrepreneurial bubble. More here [firebones.com] on that contrast. A few of the founders, like Joshua Schacter and James Hong, seem to be cut from the same mold as the Programmers at Work guys, but they're the stark exceptions.

1986 called... (1)

gorba (1188101) | more than 6 years ago | (#22510034)

it wants its site back

Re:1986 called... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22511084)

> 1986 called... it wants its site back

Even if you're a cocky young whippersnapper, you should know that there were exactly ZERO web sites in 1986. Sheesh, kids today...

Mostly retired. Not surprising (3, Insightful)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 6 years ago | (#22511294)

My question is. Retired how? Obviously a few are fabulously rich. But of the others, how many were forced into retirement by an ungrateful company? How many quit in disgust when profit motive sucked all the life out of programming? I am fortunate to have in my employ several employees who worked on exciting and challenging technology at Bell Laboratories, working on various aspects of switching systems which are still in use around the world today. However, Lucent forced all of them into early retirement. I know of other highly skilled technical people who couldn't take the annoyances any more and have quit to work at places like Home Depot (I'm not talking the IT department either).
Maybe it's just me, but I don't feel that the IT industry appreciates the people who made them great. I'm not an old codger bemoaning my fate either. I'm under 40, but I'm just observing what I feel is an injustice done to the greats of my dad's generation. I don't hold great hope for my generation either. I work in IT, and I love IT, but IT treats me like crap, so I'm building up my inventory of rent houses, and one day I will abandon my abusive lover and work quietly at home doing my own programming projects for the sheer joy of it just like I did back in 6th grade.

A great Apple II programmer I stumbled across (2, Interesting)

Firebones (1236508) | more than 6 years ago | (#22511430)

This guy, Charlie Anderson [charlieanderson.com] , wasn't a big enough success to warrant inclusion in Programmers at Work, but his basic source code for Tuesday Night Football on the Apple II was some of the first code I ever had a chance to read. Be sure to visit his virtual PC museum [charlieanderson.com] and check out the 1980 letter he preserved that showed his royalty arrangement for what had to be about 500-1000 lines of Basic source code for the game. I'd love to see the source again, but wasn't able to track it down. I'm still looking for Tuesday Night Football [firebones.com] .
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