CategoryNostalgia

Ah Ha! Assembly code

While reading about nostalgic computing on the Chip Letter, I came across the following picture of hand-written assembly code for the IBM S/360. What caught my eye wasn’t the paper spreadsheet, but the ah ha moment of clarity explaining why assemblers assume anything in the first column of text is a label, i.e. why assemblers require mnemonics to be prefixed by a space or tab. I’m an...

Transmogrify

I came across the word “transmogrify” today and wondered if the author first learned it reading Calvin & Hobbes, as I don’t recall ever seeing the word before that. Luckily for us denizens of the 21st Century, we can ask Google’s Ngrams the popularity of a word back a few centuries: Turns out no, the word isn’t new to Calvin & Hobbes. It was used to describe...

Foresight vs. Hindsight in Fast-moving Markets

Ars Technia published a lovely history of the changes in market leadership in computers, tables, and smartphones. My takeaway is another reminder of how much more difficult foresight is than hindsight. Especially when I was reading the prospectus to the Apple IPO, where the risks were about the TRS-80, Atari 400, Commodore PET, and other competitors of the day. We all think of Apple today as a...

INTegrated ELectronics

I always through the company name Intel was a just the first five letter of “intellegent” or “intellegence”. Wrong. It’s a portmanteau of INTegrated ELectronics. This was one of the many tidbits of knowledge that have shown up in The Snowball, the “other” biography of Warren Buffett. Turns out Warren had the opportunity to invest $100,000 into the initial...

Inside the Apple II4

Do you remember my journey down the 8-bit computing rabbit hole? Well… if you are going to do something for fun like designing an upgraded 1976 CPU and writing a 1979 personal computer operating system, you might as well go all the way and write the accompanying book too, in the matching late-1970s style. I read a lot of fan fiction in my free time, but I don’t recall ever seeing much...

Apple’s IPO, before the NASDAQ was a “real” market

Apple went public in December 1980. They successfully raised $100 million at $22 per share. They’ve split those shares 2:1 three times since then, and 7:1 once, and 4:1 once, plus they’ve bought back a lot of shares, but roughly that $22 share today is worth at least $40,000. If you read this blog, you know that rise in value isn’t what mosts interests me, but rather the fact...

Venture Capital Took Decades to Be Significant

It feels like venture capital has been around forever. Forever as in at least a few hundred years, if not thousands, no? No. Venture capital as talked about and practiced today has only been around since 1959. It is younger than my parents. And it wasn’t a $1+ billion industry until the 1980s, when I was in high school. This is part 2 of a series and will focus on that slow growth of the...

The (Lost) History of Venture Capital

It feels like venture capital has been around forever. Forever as in at least a few hundred years, if not thousands, no? No. Venture capital as talked about and practiced today has only been around since 1959. It is younger than my parents. And it wasn’t a $1+ billion industry until the 1980s, when I was in high school. This is part 1 of a series. The (Lost) History of Venture Capital...

The Next Century of Computing

The end of Moore's Law

While I’ve been down the rabbit hole of nostalgic computing, others are looking at the coming century of computing. TL;DR (but please do read the post, as it’s good), the end of Moore’s Law is going to set off a “Cambrian Explosion” of new hardware designs. I’ve not seen that prediction before, and it seems likely to me. In looking back at the 1970s era of...

The power of instant loops

Apple software cassettes

In the last few months I’ve re-experienced the power of speeding up these iterative learnings, not in business but in my re-kindled hobby of programming. I’ve been turning my nostalgic visions of what 1970s computing could have been into an emulated Apple II4, complete with an emulated 652402 CPU. Why? It’s a hobby. It is fun to once again write code without being paid, taking...

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