Following up on my nostalgia for ten years on the web, I also reflected on what was likely the first educational software I ever created, back in 1987.
As a Geology grad student at Arizona State University with a few programming courses as an undergrad, I was handed the opportunity to run a computer lab (14 Apple Mac Plus-es, no hard drive, one 300 kps modem, and a LaserWriter printer).
Upon request of a geophysics professor, I wrote a little application, Gravity Simulation (Talwani Method) designed to help students understand how a surface measured gravity profile (measuring variations in the earth’s gravity over a linear traverse) could help identify subsurface (anomalies, e.g. ore bodies, buried volcanic lavas, etc).
Exciting, eh? There is more…
This program will allow you to create different subsurface bodies in order to match a given gravity anomaly pattern. As you know there are an infinite number of mass distribution and body geometries that will cause the same local variation in gravitational attraction.
The anomaly is calculated for a user specified polygon based on the method of Talwani et al , 1959.
Sure, everyone know the Talwani, method, right?
Anyhow, the program is more or less a math and logic problem, and setting up ways to modfiy and calculate the gravity differences between a geometric buried “blob” that has a density contrast with the surrounding rock.
I wrote this in 1987 on a Mac Plus using MacFORTRAN and get this. This 1987 software still runs on my 2003 Apple G4! (in MacOS 9 Classic mode), but runs exactly the same as it did back in the late 1980s.
To contrast, I have a CD-ROM project last updated in December 2000 that ran on PCs using Windows 3.1/95/NT/2000 but must be completely re-coded to make it run on Windows XP, a shelf like of less than 3 years. Pfffffffttt on that.
Yes, I have my Mac bias, but to be able to have software running that soon will old enough to be drafted, well, it is hard to top that, 95% of the market and all.
The post "Legacy of Old Code: Software Old Enough to Get a Drivers License" was originally yanked out of the teeth of a rabid chicken at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2003/10/legacy-of/) on October 24, 2003.