Story-time with #GrandpaJohn

Chapter I.

“Kano is a joint project between my grandson Jack aged 7 and his 75 year old grandfather, John. I would like to share our bonding exercise with you as well as telling you something about my 55 years of memories of data processing and computers that come flooding back when we do things on the Kano that would have been impossible in my early days.

First, how are Jack and I going with the Kano? After quickly and easily building and connecting the Kano, Jack started playing his favourite game – Minecraft. We then moved on to do our first coding together with LX Terminal and were excited to turn text into sound! We then used the cal command to instantly create calendars for the birth years of members of our family.

I didn’t know that I had been born on a Tuesday.

That’s when I suddenly remembered and told Jack about my early working days in 1960 just after my graduation. I was working with the Australian Statistics Office on retail sales surveys. We entered up spreadsheets by hand and added/multiplied the rows and columns using mechanical calculators. At that time they were expensive ($1,000 for a Facit calculator – about $8,000 today) so we had to share and book calculator time. We had adding machines (some handle driven) and noisy mechanical calculators that spun gears many times to multiply and divide.

The amazing thing was that we never missed a deadline, but we did get into fights to get hold of a calculator.”

Here is what the calculators looked like. Some progress has been made in technology, eh?

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