This being a U.S. federal holiday on a Monday, a technically-fun diversion might be in order.
I found an enjoyable distraction in accounts of the original role-playing-game
(RPG) on computers
: Colossal Cave Adventure
]. It was written by Will Crowther [♢] in the late 1970s. He was a computer programmer at the prestigious federal technical contractor Bolt, Beranek, and Newman (BBN), and also an experienced caver
& rock-climber, who was involved in the mapping of the Mammoth-Flint Ridge Cave System in Kentucky [#
Nowadays, quite an irony has arisen: Altho' Crowther's highest academic achievement was a B.S.
in physics from MIT, some parvenues have earned Ph.D.
s in fields with names like "History of Technology", by documenting what Crowther and comparable programming pioneers did to solve the challenges of figuring out how to make them actually work. And in Crowther's case, coding in FORTRAN [♣]!
Note ♢ : <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Crowther_(programmer)
>, which shows him as still alive (now) in his early 80s. But <https://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstream/handle/11299/107235/oh184wc.pdf?sequence=1
> if needed), from the the Charles Babbage Institute, Center for the History of Information Processing (U. Minn., Minneapolis) is certainly a better, i.e., more reliable & detailed, reference.
Note ♣ : Whatever was available on the DEC PDP-10 to compete with IBM FORTRAN IV (G or H). If your only tool is a hammer, there's not much of an alternative to treating every challenge like a nail.
: Cave-mapping in the mid 1970s involved survey-data-crunching computation and plotting, resulting in printed cave maps, in which the connections of passages were most important. But that activity preceded the availability of personal computers
by a decade (more-or-less). Instead, it was performed on, ummm
, highly unofficial bases in which relatively ummm
, flexible personal
access to institutional, organizational, or corporate computing resources was allowed to certain employees. So it was performed, e.g., at universities, federal labs, and federal contractors, when the employer's computers could be claimed to be more-or-less idle.