My history of IT


I was accepted to study Natural Sciences at Turku University


I started my studies of computer science ( Approbatur I)

The computer that we worked with was IBM 1130 with card reader, line printer and one hard disk drive.

The address space was 15 bits, limiting the 1130 to 32K 16-bit words (64 Kbytes) of core memory. Botdirect and indirect addressing capabilities were implemented


The console of the IBM 1130 computer


IBM26 Card punch machine

and my firs programming langue was FORTRAN and pretty soon after that COBOL (which was quite exceptional in university circles). AT that time we used (of course) card punch machines and  we got 2 computer runs ( batch jobs) done a day. The student where not allowed to enter computer room at all. We hade to leave our jobs in a box in a corridor out side the computer room.


We got a new “real” computer Digitals DEC 10

From Wikipedia again:

The KA10 had a maximum main memory capacity (both virtual and physical) of 256kilowords (equivalent to 1152 kilobytes).

with timesharing operating system: TOPS-10 System (Timesharing / Total OPerating System) was a computer operating system from Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) for thePDP-10 (or DECsystem-10) mainframe computer launched in 1967.

At the same time we got rid of the card punch machines and got our first real terminals

This was really a cool new thing ( we didn’t call it cool in those days). The orange thing on the left side of the machine is a paper stripe punch/reader. One could direct the output from computer alternatively come to that stripe as holes instead as print on the paper. At this time the programming language had changed to Pascal. At later stage we got also display terminal, but this was about all that so computer technology during my university years in practise 1973 – 1977. Officially I graduate 1980, but actually I had been full time working a couple of year at that time.


My first part time employment as a COBOL programmer. My office was just a couple of hundred meters from university, so it was quite convenient to mix work and studies this way. The project that I worked in was a nightmare!


From the beginning of February I start my first fulltime job as a computer programmer at Yle (Finnish Broadcasting Company). My first assignment was maintaining a new payroll system. It was a huge batch program set. It calculated payrolls for Yle employees at that time 4000.

The system was running on IBM 360 mainframe.

Yle didn’t at the time have its own machine so we bought time from a local authority.

We worked mainly with punched cards but the department with 10 programmes had already 2 online terminals IBM 3270. Here are pictures of the device and a screenshot

Early 1980’s the time of APL

In 1980 I graduated master’s degree in Computer Science from Turku University. In early 1980’s I learned APL-programming language running on IBM mainframe. Yle used this thing for creating domestic result service of political elections ( like parliament and local authorities and presidential). APL was just the right tool in those days for that. It was highly effective to do rather small calculation intensive things. I attended my first international IT-conference on APL in San Francisco in 1981. We where show also Smalltalk, but I did not understand anything about it then.

In 1982 I changed my job and I became a APL-specialist. The company was a joint venture of local authorities. It was extremely bureaucratic organisation. The main thing of course was that I realised that APL is NOT a language for organisations.

1984 Systems engineer at HP

So I did a full U-turn and joined HP 24.10. 1983. I became a systems engineer of HP3000 commercial minicomputer.


Code (reentrant) and data reside in separate variable-length segments, which are 32,768 “halfwords” (16-bit words) (or, 65,536 bytes). The operating system, known as MPE (for Multi-Programming Executive), loads code segments from program files and segmented Library (SL) files as needed, up to 256 segments in one process.

There could be as much as 64KB of memory in a code segment, but calling a routine was based on segment number and routine number within a segment, so a program could theoretically have about 32,385 routines. This was compared to most 16 bit computers that had 64KB of address space for everything. The bigger limitation was the data segment and stack segment, which were also 64KB.

I learned a lot of new things. Two of them were important. The first was the operating system MPE (a Unix like but perhaps even little bit better than Unix). The second thing was that contemporary ways of working with computer can have one or 2 magnitude effective differences ( 10 to 100 times different)!

computer74 HP3000

Pretty so our dummy terminals were changed to HP 150 micros. I started to use email system at HP in 1984. My last year in HP I was full time trainer teaching almost everything on HP3000.

HP150 HP150 PC

1988 Finnair

I moved to Finnair to assist their Videotex system to be moved from MP1000 to HP9000 equipment. Soon I created a group Methods and Tools with me boss. Finnair was (and still is ) a IBM customer, so I a way this meant me a return to my roots. Now my main environment was to be Windows 3.11 on IBM AT Pc.


NetscapeLogoDo you still remember these?

1989 my OO time starts

I attended late October 1989 a OOA –seminar by Peter Coad. His book Object-Oriented Analysis was not out yet but he had a blueprint with him. This changed my thinking completely. Something irreversible had happened.

In summer 1992 after I hade attended ObjectExpo in London I got my first Smalltalk: Digitalk’s Smalltalk V. This was a horrible experience of completely unfinished poor product. In Jannuary 1994 I got change to get a real (and only) thing: ParcPlace’s VisualWorks Smalltalk.


ParcPlace sold VisualWorks to CinCom and the product is still today alive and called Cincom Smalltalk VisualWorks (see: )

Timo Salo gave me and Jyrki Niekkamaa a few days training and then we started to experiment and create applications. Finnair’s car leasing application was the first one to try out. That was a total failure, because we had only one user and he was too incompetent to use a computer application at all!

The first real OO-application development from January 1995

The visioning of an Smalltalk application started in October 1994. Our domain model of Finnair domestic sales was ready at the beginning of February 1995. The started the implementation of legendary Finnair SalePlus. The period from 1995 until 1998 as I resigned from Finnair was the most productive and inspiriting in my career. In 1996 we acquired GemStone – a Smalltalk database. This environment boosted up considerable our Smalltalk application development. The product is still sold and in use (see:

The software was very sound and reliable. In 1997 we sadly switched to Java. It was at that time about 5 years behind Smalltalk.

1998 to 2002 Aware and Entra

Java had been developing and the first EJB implementation was released. Though it was terrible and ruined all OO aspects from application development and filled it with all kind of tricks it was a step towards real distributed server Java. It offered and RMI solution which was a read distributed OO with elegant proxy structures in client side. Sad thing was that people with very little OO-skills didn’t understand how to use it the right way and spoiled its reputation.

Another very sad thing was the sift to HTML-client in distributed computing. HTML was (and is not even today) design for application development and was the lousiest possible choice for technology.


3 Responses

  1. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!


  2. I must comment and tip my hat to you mr. old-school. 🙂

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