Thursday, December 02, 2004

Oh, H Double Hockey Sticks

Today is the 80th birthday of smart guy John Backus, inventor of FORTRAN (which itself turns 50 this year), the first successful HLL. Don't worry, I don't really know what much of that sentence means, either. I think it does have a lot to do with computer programming and high level language and base-8, which sounds to me like someone trying to score twice on a homerun, but what do I know. If you do a web search you find out that those crazy programmers have something called octal humor. I still find it easier to stick to rectal, myself (no pun intended).

It did hit me that it might be funny to consider what would have happened if beloved actor Jim Backus invented FORTRAN. It might go like this...After being a quite ineffectual, dithering dad to a rebellious youth, he threw away that silly apron and got quite rich thanks to his computer breakthrough. He married a Lovey but became increasingly isolated--some said he was on his own island. Eventually all that time at the computer made him go blind.


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