I am a techie. I like computers a LOT and machines in general. If I had been born a little later than 1958 or attended school now, I likely would have gone into computer science rather than mechanical engineering. At the time, the computer (yes, singular, just one) we had to work with was a Harris mainframe. I have no knowledge of the specs or anything, I was just another dumb kid who had a computer credit I needed. What I do remember is that we wrote our programs on notebook paper in pencil and entered those programs into a teletype machine (they made a great sound). The teletype produced a long green “ticker tape” with little holes punched in it. This was the recorded version of our programs. When you found an error, you would make a new tape just for that portion of the code then cut and splice the parts together with tape like the way they used to with film movies. When we thought we had it figured out and it was ready, we would run that ticker tape through another machine and it would produce punched cards. We would submit the punched cards to the (usually snotty and condescending) upper-classman behind the counter who would put our program into the queue. (I was once, miraculously, witness to my own batch being taken from my hand and walked directly over to the input tray where it had a mere three feet of previously loaded cards ahead of it!!) Usually, you would have to wait at least until the next day to get the results. During certain times, you would have to wait until the following week because the college also sold time on the Harris to the city for running their payroll. We computer science 101 freshmen were, well, just not that important. Because we were learning a very early version of Fortran, the software was, let’s say, less than intuitive. And very context specific. Very specific. I mean a comma instead of a semi-colon would make it choke. Not only would it choke, it would stop. It didn’t even finish the rest of the line of code, much less the rest of the program. So, after waiting until the next day (or week) to get your program back, you’d find that about 1/4 of the way through line 7 of 263 (and the first four lines are comments for crying out loud) the context was incorrect and needed correction. So, go through the program again, go “Aha!” a few times, go through it a few MORE times until you are really sure you’ve got it. Then resubmit, wait, get the results and find that now it made it about 1/2 way through line 12. Lather, rinse, repeat until you are really, really, Really, REALLY sure it’s right! I got a C.
The point of all that is that with this new website, I am having to learn code again, at least a little. Now I’ve done a fair amount of computer stuff since then (I’m not living in a cave. Not yet.) and I seem to have a reasonable aptitude for it. And I have some help; our gracious web designer, my not as gracious business partner Curtis, and friends and family. But it’s new stuff for most of us, so I ask for your patience with the “Under construction” and “Coming soon!” etc. We really do want to have a cool and useful website for you. It just might take us a bit to learn how. Thanks for reading.
Randy Calvi – President of The Heat Exchange, Inc.