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    © Bob Armstrong
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    CoSy has evolved from the mid `70s working at Vogelback Computing Center [ Northwestern U , Evanston IL ] in Clark Wiedman`s ( U.Mass ) APLUM running on CDC 6400 and 6600 mainframes thru various video - and DEC.Writer dot matrix and Qume pinwheel hardcopy - terminals .

    Evolution continued thru consulting at Xerox in `80 and `81 on IBM and Amdahl mainframes running I.P.Sharp APL thru HDS ( HumanDesignedSystems ( which has just become ( NWRE ) ) ) terminals and RacalVadic 1200 baud modems from my apartment in Rochester .

    When the Motorola 68000 chip came out with its 24 bit address space , APL for the first time could run on a microprocessor capable of chalanging big iron , and I moved down to a filing cabinet sized Wicat sitting in my apartment for a project moving Rochester Gas & Electric Corporate model from IPSA . Phil VanCleave got the Iverson Award some years ago for his implementation APL on the 68000 . HDS terminals still supplied the interface . Jens Fiederer worked with me during the period , and his birth date is still immortalized as the file tie number for Jobs in CoSy .

    By the time the Wicat was delivered to RG&E Phil had implemented his APL on the Sage - a true microcomputer sized box . This Box had 500KB memory and , with its linear address space , and Phil`s true bit data type , was capable of graphics computations I have not had the capacity to do since . ( While Phelps Gates solved making STSC`s APL run on the 64KB segments of the 8088 , he never made a true bit type nor managed to break that 16bit barrier . )
    Here is the Sage with the HDS terminal which remained the interface . The fundamental nature of the CoSy interface - that hitting ENTER just treats the line as text input , and another key ( i.e.: F6 ) must be tapped to actually execute whatevers under the cursor - evolved on the HDS which had 4 and later 8 screenfuls of local memory . Early on , it became clear that the best way to use it was to keep everything local until ready to send to the host fully composed thoughts .
    Paul Ellarby and I attempted to market CoSy in this configuration , but the InferiorButMarketable Intel 8088 based PC had grabbed the mass mind . I settled into running Coherent Systems as a small consulting company .


    Everyone with any teky sense used the 68000 .
    Among us , Ryu Oosake was the most courageous pioneer . Around 1983 , probably steered by Phil VanCleave , he contacted me about his plan to make an 68000 notebook with APL in ReadOnlyMemory . I remember suggesting to him he also look to FORTH as the foundation of his environment .
    Ryu came to New York from Tokyo , but we failed to get together because of the last 250 miles . It is not at all clear that history would have been different if we had.
    However over the years , I have always take comfort that I am not totally crazy by considering what Ryu went thru for essentially the same dream . The Ampere he created was far and away the most conceptually advanced computer on the planet at that time . I have survived in CoSy because it is the disembodied software which has moved thru a half dozen generations of portable machines . ( Compaq Suitcase 8088 , Kaypro 8088 , GRiD 286 , NotebookComp 486 , Sharp 386 , Altima 486 , Compaq Aero 486 color , and now IBM560 Pentium )

    #toNYC Around the end of 1983 , I got another call from New York City .

    Image from 1985 ad with Compaq Suitcase
    Old BigAPLers may find the contents of the screen nostalgic .
    Full ad with text . It could be used today .
    Marvin Markowitz , who had run a company , Think Inc. , supplying accounting software and services in APL was trying to create what he envisioned as an 'executive`s secretary ' environment in STSC`s PC APL . This was close enough to my conception of CoSy that I picked up stakes and moved to Manhattan . Unfortunately , Marvin was Thinkware and I was CoSy and by fall `84 , we split . However , it was during that spring and summer that I recreated CoSy in windowed form on the PC . This foundation underlies CoSy to this day .
    I had always viewed the goal of CoSy as being an envirnonment for ' ambient ' computing - just a resource you always have with you -- that is : portable . It is interesting that in their dying days Gavalin , one of the long dead pioneers of notebooks , and the first user of the touch pad pointer system which has had a revival recently , came and saw CoSy in construction and commented if their plight were not so terminal , it might have been the environment which would have saved them .
    I unfortunately never had the money to publish the ad shown here of the Compaq Suitcase I lugged from the fall of `84 until the spring of `86 , other than as a handout . This was the first machine I had with an interal modem . The day I got it I programmed a function key ( soon to become F10 for maximal salience ) to execute essentially ' CALL RW ' -- dial any number under the cursor . I continue to feel this is one of the greatest services a machine can do for a human .
    The first true CoSy notebook was the Kaypro shown here . Shortly after I moved to it , I met a kid on the subway carrying a TRS-100 organizer . It turned out he had even modified the I/O with a relay to do something or other I can`t remember now , but impressed me . Of all the people I had around me at the time ( due to my profound lack of knowledge of how to do business , I had a number of hangers-on hanging around failing to bring in money ) Rick Trice , from Bed-Sty who had learned computers by hanging around Macy`s , is the only person other than myself with any consequential amount of code in CoSy . One of the first tasks I assigned him was to backup and clean out the Compaq for his own use . Unfortunately , thru an existential sequence of misadventures , virtually all my archives of 1984 and 1985 got erased . But since that time , on the Kaypro forward , I have lived what BillGates has recently called the ' documented life ' . Except for a few gaps , I have records of what I did , including all phone calls of any consequence each day since 1986 .
    Rick died June 8 1992 .

    As can be seen , the Kaypro now sits in my office just running the function PAX ( Latin for peace' ) which loops drawing a random black disk , then a random white ... , never getting anywhere . Since the 486 , the name has been terribly inappropriate .

    The Ultimate Executive NoteComputer
    Note : I reserve the right to post all communications I receive or generate to CoSy website for further reflection .

    Contact : Bob Armstrong ; About this page : Feedback ; 212.285.1864
    Coherent Systems / 42 Peck Slip 4b/ New York NY 10038.1725
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