[Self-interest] slow systems (was: OurSelf trial now without invite!)

David Ungar ungar at mac.com
Wed Nov 25 23:25:05 UTC 2020



> On Nov 25, 2020, at 1:47 PM, Jecel Assumpcao Jr <jecel at merlintec.com> wrote:
> 
> David Ungar wrote on Wed, 25 Nov 2020 10:57:35 -0800
>> Impressive persistence!
>> 
>> Reminds me a bit of the first time I brought up Berkeley
>> Smalltalk at UC. It was on an AED bitmapped display
>> connected over a 9600 baud serial line to a shared VAX.
>> The first thing that happened was the whole screen was
>> painted maybe black pixel by pixel which took about 20
>> seconds. Then the whole screen was painted maybe white,
>> or maybe halftone which took another 20 seconds then
>> each window was painted about three times it was extremely
>> slow. Plus a bug in my font code in BitBLT which caused
>> it to say Welcome to SnailTalk.
> 
> Great story!

Thank you.

> 
> The Tektronix guys described nearly the exact same thing in their
> chapter in the Smalltalk "green book"[1]. Their 68000 prototype board
> didn't have any graphics of its own, so they connected it via a serial
> port to one of their commercial graphics terminals.

Yes, what today's younger adults won't know is how much of a revolution it was, to have multiple, overlapping windows, pop-up (even 15-second) menus, instant execution, fix-and-continue, and objects! The standard of the day was 24x80 glass ttys.


> 
>> You and I must have some character trait in common for
>> us to both be willing to put up with that kind of performance!
> 
> Putting up with it once is a very educational experience. On the other
> hand I find unacceptable things that other people think is normal, which
> is why I keep designing replacements for them.


Amen, brother!

> 
> A friend once asked about buying a mini clone of the Altair. I told him
> it would be very interesting to actually toggle in a whole program using
> the front panel switched. But he might not want to do it a second time,
> and certainly not a third. So it would not be a good use of his money.

Yup!

> 
> I can imagine sitting in front of a terminal watching the pixels slowly
> coming in and dreaming of a Smalltalk On A RISC chip (sorry, RISC-III is
> the politically correct name now ;-)

Exactly!!


> 
> -- Jecel
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