Kevin Oberman rkoberman at
Sat Dec 3 04:02:27 UTC 2016

On Fri, Dec 2, 2016 at 5:59 PM, Greg 'groggy' Lehey <grog at>

> On Saturday,  3 December 2016 at 11:40:36 +1100, Dave Horsfall wrote:
> > Be there an implementation of FOCAL?  I have a hankering to get back to
> my
> > early programming days :-)
> Heh.  I have a paper tape from my first year at uni somewhere in the
> mess on my desk.  It's been there for at least 10 years, and it's
> short enough for it to be practical to read it in by eye, but I
> haven't got more than a third of the way through.  It's in FOCAL-69,
> and does some world-shattering calculations like mean and standard
> deviation.  It would be fun to run it again--once.
> Greg

Wow! Have not thought of FOCAL in years. Used to write a bit both when in
college and, using FOCAL-11, in my early years at LLNL. Unlike FOCAL on a
PDP-8, FOCAL-11 ran on top of DOS-11. (No relation to Microsoft DOS.) The
PDP-8L was the only solid state computer in the lab. All of the others
still had vacuum tubes and drum memory, though the Univac Athena had both
drum and core.

In college I wrote a simple craps game and, it it caught you trying to
cheat, it zeroed your account and gave you the finger on the ASR-33. My
computer logic prof (and department head) saw that trivial ASCII art and
chewed me a new one for putting code to generate that gesture on a school
computer. That was about 45 years ago. Memories!
Kevin Oberman, Part time kid herder and retired Network Engineer
E-mail: rkoberman at
PGP Fingerprint: D03FB98AFA78E3B78C1694B318AB39EF1B055683

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