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 www.neoware.com ( 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 )
Old BigAPLers may find the contents of the screen nostalgic .
Full ad with text . It could be used today .
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 .