Re: Miss 80-column cards and short varible names
Used it on 80-column cards and do not miss it at all
I learned FORTRAN 77 and FORTRAN IV(WATFIV, the successor to WATFOR which was short for Waterloo University Fortran) in a progarmming at Brooklyn College and later in one at Baruch College, both part of City University of New York. I remember that I also found the FORMAT statement cumbersome and that PL/1 and COBOL were much better at handling I/O. I remember long turn around times near midterms and finals and both card readers and keypunch machines mangling cards and keypunch machines running out of ribbon ink so that you had to read the hole punches. I have other not so fond memories of dropping card decks and trying to put them back in order and also waiting a long while to find out that one punctuation mark was out of place.
I also used PL/1(an IBM programming language that reminded me of a cross between COBOL and FORTRAN) on cards with the same frustrating experiences. Both colleges used the central CUNY IBM 360/370 mainframe and required cards with IBM JCL(Job Control Language), which I eventually mastered, before and after the code.
Switching later to a terminal I rented at home (a Zenith with a 300 baud modem) and to the terminals at the school, I felt liberated from cards; even with long wait times and slow response times they were much easier to deal with. I aslo used COBOL with JCL for two Business Applications courses on a terminal. Later I bought my own PC to use for the same purpose. After school, I only used mainframes for submitting SAS statistics jobs, interfacing with an agency ADABAS database for use with kisok and IVRs, and to retreive info to download to PC networked database systems.
Using PCs now, even to access mainframe data through terminal emulation or a web interface, I am much happier. Though I have occaisonally used minicomputers(DEC, BASIC 4, IBM System 36 and AS/400) which came with their own JCL and challenges, none were quite like using FORTRAN on punch cards. Now, I am a Salesforce progarmmer since we switched from AccessVBA and Visual Basic .NET a few years ago.