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Four decades of software

Atlas Shutdown in September 1971

I wrote my first program in 1971 in an algol like language called Atlas Autocode.


Later that year  the Manchester Atlas computer was decommissioned and replaced by something called MU5 ( a prototype computer which was the single most important influence on design of the ICL 2900 range which was eventually launched in the mid-70's).


In 1975 a sideways move from railway signalling into DP beckoned(as IT was know then) and
I joined the TOPS project as a junior system programmer, writing a system in Assembler and PL/1 to produce statistics on the performance of the online system.


In the 80's I worked for TECS (Thorn EMI computer software) supporting and developing mainframe software products containing 250-400K lines of software code.

So the assembler hints and tips section here came out of some knowledge sharing sessions there.


The Javascript section is a few things simple things I have written where I could not find what I wanted on the web six or seven years back,  although maybe similar search now may be more productive.

Over the years I probably used over a dozen or more programming languages. The last one I taught myself was Python some ten years ago, before I retired in 2011.

I though that would be the end of my software coding days, but this year(2019) I found myself writing a new Python program as I wanted to examine the word usage frequency for four characters in a play. To my pleasant surprise, writing software is like riding a bike, once mastered you never forget how to do it. The Python did not take long to write and produced a CSV file that could be opened in Excel. Software has it's uses even in retirement.


Les Smith

December 2019