• Interview with Rob Vugteveen — an old-school FORTRAN programmer

      I decided to make an interview with one of my American friends — Rob Vugteveen. He was working as a FORTRAN programmer back in 1980s, so it's quite a unique experience.


      Rob Vugteveen, Carson City, Nevada, USA

      K: Hi Rob. I've heard you were working as a Fortran programmer many years ago. Is that right? How the industry was looking back then?

      R: Good morning, Kirill.

      In the 1980s I made my living as a FORTRAN programmer in the mining industry, primarily in the processing of exploration data and presenting it graphically. We were using VAX minicomputers from Digital Equipment Corporation. This was a time when desktop PCs were growing in popularity, and procedural languages like FORTRAN were being challenged by object-oriented languages. Also, graphics display systems were shifting away from character-cell terminals to X-window-based displays.

      FORTRAN (“FORmula TRANslation”) was built for computationally intensive programs, and it did not have its own graphic libraries to display information. There were companies that sold large FORTRAN subroutine libraries to provide that capability. These were not yet designed for the growing popularity of X-window technology.

      When we were forced to move from expensive VAX computers to cheaper PCs, we had to write hybrid programs using FORTRAN for computations and C++ for display. It was a bit messy at first. I left that job for something completely different (building a mining museum) and haven’t really done any programming since.

      FORTRAN is still used today in scientific research for computationally intensive work, but I’m sure it’s been adapted to work with graphical display systems through external subroutines written in object-oriented code.
      Read more →
    • The Origins of Startup Culture: How the Early Success Stories Shaped the Modern State of the Tech Industry

        In the late 1930s, two Stanford students, William Hewlett and David Packard, were inspired by their professor’s plea to turn the Bay Area into the national capital of high tech. Operating out of the cheapest property they could find — a garage in suburban Palo Alto, they built their first commercial product, the HP200A oscillator. Now a private museum and a California Historic Landmark, this place is a living monument, commemorating the birth of the Silicon Valley startup culture.

        This event preceded the similar and widely publicized success stories of Microsoft and Apple by more than 30 years. But it nonetheless perfectly defines the startup culture as we know it today. How come?

        Read more →
      • Meet A Content Strategist: An Interview with Dmitry Kabanov, Techstars Startup Digest curator and SXSW Advisor

          Dmitry learned the language of business but I think about the world as an engineer. He works with tech brands to create content and promote corporate culture at scale. Apart from it, he is one of the veterans at Techstars Startup Digest, and he is acting as an advisor for the SXSW tech festival.

          Here is his interview with the LAMA app platform.

          Read more →