Wayback - Middle school computer programming with paper tape and only one run per day

My first programming was in middle school where we could create programs that would run at night when the school district mainframe was idle. We created Basic programs on paper tape and left the tapes in a basket on the floor. Someone would feed the paper tapes into the teletype reader overnight and put the tape and the printout result back in the basket.

You got one program execution per day.  You always had to wait until the next data to find out if it worked. A single program error meant rekey, patch, and then waiting.  I think we could run our own programs on an occasional weekend but can't be sure.

I am pretty sure that it punched the tape as you typed the program.  This meant you wrote down your exact program before you came in.



You had to manually fix errors in a tape by generating a fix tape that you spliced the fix into the middle of the original tape.

I believe we used scissors and put blank characters at regular intervals to have a place to cut for a patch.



We used the 7-bit tapes shown above and on the right.  I was so proud of my little spools of programming code. 

Each row across the tape represented a single character.

You could fix a single character error by re-punching every hole in that row.  That was the DEL character, 127, on ASCII readers.  So back then the DEL character actually deleted a single character by over punching it.


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