Beginnings

I’m not sure if my first programming language was Logo or GW-Basic.

Logo was a simple language, where you had a turtle (which was actually just a triangle) and you could tell it to move and draw lines. At least that’s what I remember doing with Logo.

GW-Basic was a “real” programming language, I used some books to learn the syntax, but most of my knowledge came from modding sample codes that were published on PC Magazine. It’s kind of like today you can fork a git repository and make your own version of the code. The only difference was that I could not copy & paste the code from the printed magazine :) I used to type the sample code and then spend hours removing and adding my own variations to the code.

I love sports, so many of my life’s key moments I remember through a big sports event that was happening at the same time.

To celebrate the 1988 Olympics I’ve created my first complex animation using GW-Basic. It was a man running with the olympic torch. If I wanted him to run really fast then I’d press the turbo button and he would fly at 16Mhz.

In Barcelona 1992 Israel won its first ever Olympic medal and then another one, both in Judo. I was just about to finish setting up my first BBS and in honor of our great athletes I’ve named it “Ipon BBS”. It was listed on the famous “A-List” which probably was to me what google or maybe the pirate bay is today.

We used to download games, mainly the sierra quests that required more than 10, sometimes up to 30, floppy disks.

I was running my BBS through our home phone (aka “landline”) on a blazing fast 14.4K modem during the night, but this initiative came to an end after my mother was sick from getting dozens of modem phone calls from people who didn’t pay attention to my BBS’s opening hours.

I moved on to a more sophisticated language - Pascal and since my father had a software development company that made custom software for small businesses I had the pleasure to play with Cobol and then Progress - a 4th generation language (whatever that means) that was probably used by a very small number of programmers for a short period of time.

There was also Prolog that aimed to be the way to develop artificial intelligence and I wrote some pointless software with it.

I wonder what happened to all these languages. I’m pretty sure that in some places there are still computers running Cobol software, are there new programmers that keep learning Cobol to be able to maintain this software?

 
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