Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Kitchen progress---oooh

The kitchen lady sent the design for our kitchen today--yay! And the prices of the cabinets, which really weren't too horrible--double yay!! We need to go to the showroom do check out the color suggestions, but at least it's a little progress! The thought of having a dishwasher that actually washed the dishes, an oven that cooks food in the amount of time suggested by the recipe, and a working ice/water dispenser make me so happy...

Random trivia from today's training...do you know why a punch card is the size that it is? Answer to come later so my dad has a chance to show his age--err, brains ;-)


  1. I don't even know what a punch card is! Is it a card that allows you to punch someone? 'Cause I could use some of those!! I've got some pretty annoying students in here today....

  2. OK, I pulled out my "Programming the IBM 360" manual from college...(yes we did have computers).

    There are a couple pages of background on Herman Hollerith's punched cards used to tabulate the 1890 census, as well as the "modern" (1970 or thereabouts) specifications for the IBM punch card. There's nothing official about the dimensions--the IBM card was 7 3/8 inches long by 3 1/4 inches high, slightly larger than Hollerith's original invention which was supposedly the same size as the late-19th century dollar bill.

    What we had to do is type our programs on a machine that punched holes in the cards corresponding to letters and numbers.((picture)

    You took your deck of cards--sometimes the stack was a couple feet high--to the input desk, where they loaded and ran programs one at a time. If you had some sort of error you would get back printouts with cryptic messages that purportedly explained your exact mistake. If you did something really bad you would also get a nasty note from the System Operator...It could really tick everyone off if the computer got itself into an infinite "DO" loop....
    Then you could hopefully correct a couple of programming cards, retype the offending cards (not the whole deck!) and go thru the process again.

    All of this done at the computer center. No networks, no PC's, no on-line access, and I think the 360/50 ran at about .5 MHZ but remember we did have the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, The Who, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Saturday Night Live, and Volkswagen Beetles and Minibuses, so it wasn't a bad life.

  3. That was quite a lesson in computer history, and the right answer was buried in there (at least according to one of the guys in my class). The punch card was designed to be the same size as the dollar bill (at that time). I, quite honestly, was more surprised to find out the dollar bill had changed sizes over time.

  4. If the size varied according to value, today's dollar bills would be the size of postage stamps.