“The Other Man In My Marriage”

…was Steve Jobs.

I remember that Popular Electronics cover well. I was a subscriber, and I wanted one to play with, but couldn’t justify the money for it at the time (I had just been laid off from my job as a VW mechanic in the 1973 recession, and had decided to go back to school). I remember wondering what I would actually do with something that could only be programmed by toggle switches from a front panel in assemblermachine language.

10 thoughts on ““The Other Man In My Marriage””

  1. I remember one of my programmers showing me the advert. Since we had a couple PDP-11’s in our demesne and were used to main frames and large minicomputers, we didn’t really see the point to it. After all, what were we going to do with it? Learn assembly code programming? When we were already writing our second Real Time OS? We did have some Intellec-8’s around which we used for testing our products, what would today be called ’embedded systems’.

  2. The Cosmac Elf did me in. It had a hexadecimal keypad and hex LED readouts. So when I went for a job interview at Siemens the guy asked me to write a program. He threw me out when I returned with hexadecimal code. He was expecting something simple like assembly.

    I worked Univac in NYC. We got an upgrade which had a microchip CPU rather than the discrete circuit boards of the old CPU. You could see the future from there.

  3. I wanted one too and was just as poor. So I settled for building the Cosmac ELF. Best thing I ever did.

  4. Hate to nitpick, but you enter machine language (binary numeric values) with the toggle switches on the 8800, not assembly language which is text based mnemonic codes.

  5. Mpthompson, when dealing with binary code, nit picking is an essential requirement. The Elf had so little memory you could see your code as block graphics on the screen. The RCA1802 was a kilohertz processor! My first 6502 was a big step up. I never liked the 8080 or the Z80.

  6. Ken,

    Never liked the Z-80? Interesting, how come. Once I got to a Z-80 processor I was in hog heaven….for one thing it was a “mainstream” processor unlike the ELF’s RCA 1802.

    I guess that’s why I was happy with the Z-80 – the 1802 was a dead end and I found that frustrating. I never did a real comparison between the Z-80 and the 6502. Perhaps I would feel differently if I had. But the Z-80 had a very nice instruction set.

    1. Don’t really know except I just loved the 6502 and it’s 13 addressing modes. I never did look much at the 6809 either, which might have been nice to play with.

      What gets me is programmers that don’t understand the simplest thing about programming which is that programming is made up of simple things. They always want some new instruction or function when the fundamentals provided will do the trick (not accounting for speed.)

      I could do anything with a 6502. I knew every bit, nybble or byte of memory in a Commodore 64 (6510 cpu.) Today, I can never know what malware is hiding in my machine (or if it boots the same each time… my cellmodem bizarre actions suggest otherwise.)

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