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  • DrVax Content and Origin

    My name is Irv Shapiro and I am the creator behind DrVax. In the 1980s, yes a long time ago, I worked for Digital Equipment Company. DEC sold a mini-computer that was the size of a refrigerator, at least the original models, called the VAX. VAX stands for virtual address extended and was one of the first computers to allow programmers to transparently run, without special coding, programs that we larger than the physical memory on the machine. This is something we take for granted today. (Yes, my description is an oversimplification and I am aware of the IBM Mainframe alternatives -- but that is for another day.)

    I was a regional export on the VAX operating systems called VMS and taught a course called VAX/VMS Internals first as an employee and then as a sub-contractor. My coworkers would jokingly call me Dr. VAX.

    When I needed a name for a new YouTube channel that would teach people about technology DrVax was natural. That said I am not a Doctor, I do not have an MD or a PHD. The channel name is just a name.

  • #2
    Oh my. Small world. In the 80s I worked with VAX 1100 and MicroVAX machines. The main use for the MicroVAXes was to run Oracle FMS 80. I wrote my first for-profit computer program in '65. It was written in Fortran III.

    BTW, I love your typo: MD or a PHP. I assume you meant PHD, but PHP seems like the perfect typo, considering both of our backgrounds.😁

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    • irvshapiro
      irvshapiro commented
      Editing a comment
      Wow. I must have had DEC on my mind. I just fixed the typo but it was quite funny.

  • #3
    Hello, Irv,
    I'm glad to meet you. Looking back on your past, I think we have a start in computer life together.
    I too started over 30 years ago with DEC. Here in Germany, Bavaria in the city of Kaufbeuren.
    We were a plant for the development of hard drives.
    It's nice that there are still people from the old days who have continued to work with IT and pass
    on their knowledge to others.

    DEC is dead - long live DEC 😉

    Best regards from an old DECi,
    Michael

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    • irvshapiro
      irvshapiro commented
      Editing a comment
      Yep, I started at DEC supporting RSX-11M on PDP-11s and then spent a lot of time working on device drivers and specialized custom code for Vax/VMS systems. I always think it is sad when folks like us that have been in the computer industry for a long time stop learning. That is part of the motivation for the DrVAX channel and community.

  • #4
    I remember back in late 1967 when I came back to Canada after traipsing around for a year, my older brother was finishing his masters and he was telling me about computers. He showed me a stack of punch cards that he said was a computer program and they worked on their programs and then they turned in this stack of cards for the computer people to run through the system. It seems to me computers have changed a bit since ENIAC and all this.

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    • #5
      Ah, them were the daze. I remember buying stacks of punch cards from vending machines at university: 25 cents a stack. Now you would be hard pressed to even find a punch card, although I suspect I still have a few leftovers somewhere in my piles of junk. I always kept some at hand because, unpunched, they made the best note pads & bookmarks.

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      • #6
        I lived many years in the west Indies much of it without city electricity, but I used to buy computer magazines whenever they came out and my friends thought I was a real kook. I guess they were right.

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        • #7
          We recently migrated off of our VAX and ALPHA system that was implemented in the mid 80's. 15+ years before I started with the company it was installed, 20 years after I started it is history. Love your story and thanks for your training on FreeCAD and 3d printing.

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          • #8
            That is an incredibly long time to keep a computer system running. Is it fair to assume this is a, relatively, small company?

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            • #9
              We are mid sized with about 150 employees. We had the servers crash in 2018 and didn't think we'd be able to get it back online, but lucky found a company to restore servers over a long weekend and then we virtualized it for a few months after that until we cut over to the new ERP system. Much less stress and worry on the new technology.

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              • #10
                Your company falls into the small to medium category. I only asked because my experience is that smaller to very small companies are the ones that keep systems going well beyond their EOL date and after virtually all medium to large companies, and even home users have moved on to newer hardware. Doctor offices are 1 example. I have seen offices where they were still running DOS while everyone else was running Windows 8.1.

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                • #11
                  I am so happy to find a place seemingly filled with people that are at once nice and like to learn and share,
                  We live in the best time ever known. (IMO) We all have things that Kings could never even imagine 200 years ago. I could go on - but won't.
                  Just want to say "Hello and Thanks" for making a very nice place to learn and give back. Just finished building my Ender 5+ and looking forward to many happy years of learning, doing and sharing.
                  After I find out how to use it and tune it, I will be back (I found Dr. VAX's videos!) I am sure I will have a question or three along the way.

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                  • #12
                    Welcome Kool Kevin. I don't mind saying I'm a little envious that you got the 5+. I have discovered from my 5 Pro that not having dual Z axes is a shortcoming; a mistake I wouldn't make again.

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