Yuval Rabinovich




Yuval Rabinovich







When I was a high school student, in 1975, I participated in an experimental class and studied BASIC programming language. We used to write our programs on rectangular cards, one instruction per card, marking each letter with a dark pencil. Then we gave the cards to the teacher, and a week later got the printed error output (always with errors, naturally).

In 1979, things were a lot smoother. I studied Fortran at the university. I used punch cards. The cards were punched by a typewriter-like machine. The first home microcomputers were available for some rich people, but I did not know any of them. I used to punch the cards, give them to the computer technician, and collect the computer output after 4 hours (always with errors, still).

Than came 1984, and I purchased an 800XL with 1050 disk drive and DOS 3. A dream machine. Writing programs and running them immediately was a paradise-like experience. I read everything I could find about my dream machine, and found myself impatient for the monthly magazines to hit the stores.

When the Atari ST appeared, I was in shock. The new machine was not backward-compatible with old 8-bit machines. I did not buy it. The Atari world started to shrink: Compute! magazine decided to stop publishing type-in programs. Antic magazine stopped appearing and so did Page 6 (which was never available in Israel but I subscribed to it by mail).

In an effort to save a dying community I started my own magazine on disk. I encouraged people to subscribe to the remaining Atari magazines, including New Atari User that just started. I published articles and programs on my disk and sent them free to people, and wrote a program that navigated within the articles on the disk (today we would call such a program a browser).

I sent two programs to New Atari User: "EasyDOS" (issue 45), and "DOS 2.5 Customiser" (issue 51). I was excited that they were published but realized that we lost the Atari 8-bit battle.

Nowadays I still work with computers. I build websites, I run a debate forum on the internet and sometimes involve in specific projects (recently I helped making two web sites accessible to the blind). People regard me as an expert, but I do not understand my computers anymore. I cannot POKE any value to any memory location, I cannot write any application that circumvent the operating system, and I have no idea how the operating system really works. My powerful machine does not have a customizable A/D converter (that is what these joystick ports really were) and the list goes on.

My work has nothing to do with computers. I am a physician, and I practice internal medicine and family medicine. If anyone ever needs some useless information, I can still lecture on 6502 instruction codes!

Yuval Rabinovich, July 2003