Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Computer Programming in My Past

I ran across a brochure from Watkins Agri the other day that had a graphic representing the output from a computer program I had written many years ago.  Watkins Products based in Winona Minnesota best known for consumer products such as their vanilla also had an agricultural division for many years.  When I worked there as a computer programmer/operator I wrote a program in Turbo Pascal language to create a graph representing milk production in relation to feed additives that Watkins sold.  This would seem to be a good application for a spreadsheet program like Excel but there must have been a reason for not going that route at that time. It was later converted to run through a spreadsheet.

Not Actual Output from Computer

Another project I had was converting the ration balancing program from running on a terminal to running on a smaller system.  The original plan was to convert to a small Unix system, in fact another person and myself went to Unix training.  For whatever reason that I cannot remember now I ended up converting it to run on a personal computer.  The program was written in COBOL and I transferred it to a pc-based COBOL language with no understanding of how the program really worked.  Amazingly it ran faster on a pc even back over 20 years ago.

Ration Balancing Program Ran on CRT

There was another picture of the computer room in the brochure which I worked in also as an operator, never really liked that part of the job.  In the picture there is a punch card reader that was used for doing a certain type of correction but was later phased out.  To the left were the big removable disk packs that were used for some storage and in the background you can see the big tape drives.   Computers sure have come a long ways.


Computer Room

Agri Lab Test

Bill Kuhl

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