Punch Card

Punched cards have been around for far longer than computers have. The earliest form that I am aware of is the Jacquard Machine (circa 1800) to control a loom. Charles Babbage incorporated the idea into his Analytical Engine (circa 1837). Herman Hollerith designed tabulating machines around the concept and saved the 1890 US Census. His design and company evolved to become the IBM Corporation. This is the card of which I speak…

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Keysort Data Processing

Rummaging through some old files, I ran into an artifact originating from that time before computers, although this was still in use long after computers became available. Such is the nature of progressive automation that we resist it for long after it first becomes feasible. Eventually the old ways are tossed aside, leaving piles of obsolete artifacts. For some reason I kept one.

Keysort Card (Top Sheet)
Keysort Card (Top Sheet)

The artifact is called a keysort card, also called the McBee Keysort. Its purpose was to record data in such a way that statistical reports could be produced that summarized data across hundreds or thousands of these cards. All of the work to do this was performed manually.

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When I started coding…

I started coding back when the mainframes were all steam powered. To maintain productivity, we took turns shoveling coal into the furnace. This worked well enough in the mornings but afternoons there was always someone who had one drink too many for lunch and wound up shoveling the coal into the ash bucket. We’d be down for a half hour or so. We all learned to juggle (seriously) in order to preserve sanity in the down times. At one point a bunch of us group-ordered a set of custom made 2 pound juggling bags using lead shot for weight. They were awesome for blowing off steam. But these days, nothing ever goes down (lol). My how technology has changed! Do you know any programmers these days who juggle?