When designing a user interface, imagine some old woman using it, say Margaret Hamilton, and she's clicking your app's buttons and saying to you, as old people do,
"Young whippersnapper, when I was your age, I sent 24 people to the ACTUAL MOON with my software in 4K of RAM and here I am clicking your button and it takes ten seconds to load a 50 megabyte video ad and then it crashes
I'm not even ANGRY with you, I'm just disappointed."
meanwhile the Gemini Guidance Computer team laugh
"you MIT people had 4K of RAM, we had 39 whole bits AND WE WERE GRATEFUL"
ah, actually they did have 4096... 36-bit words of writeable core RAM. Weird. Was the Gemini computer *bigger* than the Apollo one ????
The Apollo LVDC is the third computer on the ship that never gets any love cos it just ran the engines and wasn't sexy
<< A so-called "bugger word" has been stuck at the end of each bank—no comments on this terminology, please, since I didn't invent it; when I asked Don Eyles some question that involved them, he somewhat-laconically stated "we called them check sums">>
Huh, and if you have ROM and RAM I guess it literally is a Harvard Architecture
I never thought of that before!
Huh talk about Margaret Hamilton and there she is!
and there's a million things she hasn't done
but just you wait
@ninjawedding also, maybe https://medium.com/netflix-techblog/netflix-flamescope-a57ca19d47bb would work
this, or similar (like what erin linked) :
@natecull please tell me they at least had a bunch of toggle switches somewhere in case it got wiped so houston could read it back to them and they could program it back in
@jk I think if the LVDC failed you had bigger problems since it literally only ran the launch stage and that either got jettisoned or exploded in the first few minutes
but they could patch it right up til launch time, yes
@natecull john roderick often talks about his ~85 year old mother on his podcasts, and describes how she (as a programmer in the 1950s-1960s) is appalled at pretty much all bugs in computer programs and the blasé attitude developers have, saying something like "back when I worked on those machines we made sure the code was correct before we sent it to anybody, we spent months and years making sure everything was completely correct before any of it was sold"
@natecull Actually, the Apollo 11 block II guidance computer had 2k of RAM (core memory) and 32k of ROM. This was a significant upgrade from the previous block I unit that had 1k of RAM (again, core memory) and 24k of ROM.
Even a VIC 20's feeble 3.5k RAM was luxurious by comparison.
@natecull The programming paradigm I've always loved is this: "The program should always act in the way that is least surprising to the user".
@natecull I was half way into writing a response pointing out the fact that the AGC had 48 kwords of storage. Then I realised you explicitly said RAM. So you're right.
But, just to give me a reason to comment on one of the more interesting machines of the 60's I will just mention that the word length of the AGC was 15 bits, so it was a bit more storage than 4 k may seem like.
@natecull This reminds me. I was at a 2 day course in usability by Norman Nielsen Group.
They talked about they where frustrated that devs didn't take them seriously when the pointed out (via usability testing) that a UI was too difficult to use. The devs said "well the users are just not smart enough!".
To prove that the UI really was too difficult to use they did the usability test with rocket scientists from NASA and showed that even they couldn't figure out the UI.
@natecull if the kids these days still printed their code, they'd get to the moon simply by climbing up it
@natecull I love that this post is making the rounds again.
I was reading about Commodore Grace Hopper the other day and it made me think of this post, but I couldn't remember who wrote it.
So, you know, thanks and all that.
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