Took Fortran, Pascal, and C classes before college thanks to them. There was even a "DEC Store" at the Mall where you could play this ASCII star trek game. A little odd...as I don't know what mall dwellers were in the market for 5 figure servers. Even the lowly DecStation was at least $10k.
They were VERY involved in the community. Thanks DEC!
My father worked for DEC when I was young, and I remember going in with him and playing something like terminal invaders while he did some work on the weekends. Most of my work with computers before college was at home, and I really appreciate my parents for investing in home computers at that point in time.
But NH and Nashua in particularly mostly contributes by providing cheaper cost of living & a right wing atmosphere for people to have a long and painful commute into Massachusetts where the real jobs are.
It's honestly so bad with the massive # of people that if you're north of Boston like I am we practically need congestion tolls in town on out of state people commuting through. The highways are gridlocked almost the whole way down in the morning & north on the way home at night for 3-4 hours every day as hundreds of thousands of people commute into Massachusetts to work tech jobs. Then we got Waze and now they get off the highway and clog up all the town centers & residential neighborhoods. Sometimes I have trouble getting out of my own driveway, and the local police told me at one point they did a study and 50,000 NH cars come through our town at rush hour, and the town only has 13,000 residents including children.
I've never understood why they haven't been able to do a better job luring companies over the border.
IIRC Oracle has/had a big office, BAE, Progress software.
But for sure, all my NH friends who lived north of Nashua all thought Nashua was a bad place and didn't really deserve to be considered part of NH.
The commute will always be horrible because most NH will shoot down a rail line or anything else to fix it that actually works. There's been work for years to try and get a train line that currently exists from Boston to Lowell extended to Nashua. Trains are socialist though so that'll never happen.
Rt. 3 in MA between Nashua and Rt. 95 in MA was expanded from 2 to 3-4 lanes per side while I lived in Nashua. It helped for a year or two but otherwise was a futile waste of money. I don't think any road project can work. The only solutions that I think could work is a big train line or companies moving out of MA into NH.
I'm not sure how much a train would even help. In my experience, having worked with many such folks over the years, many of those commuting down from NH are headed to employers in tech and elsewhere scattered all over the greater Boston area.
Southern New Hampshire (I'd say Manchester and south, but especially Nashua) has grown so much in the last 30 years...we jokingly call it "Northern Mass." Most of the "small towns" from my childhood are no longer small by any means.
The reason for this is the abundance of jobs in the Greater Boston Area, which attracts New Hampshirites looking for those types of opportunities (good luck finding a non-remote tech job if you live north of Concord). However, it also has a backflow effect, encouraging Massachusettsans to move to southern New Hampshire.
The political culture is wildly different between Mass and New Hampshire. A common complaint from the elders here is how all the "Massholes" are moving to New Hampshire and want to tax everything. I can see how this growth has polarized New Hampshire politics, but left much of the rest of the state intact. I suspect this growth is the primary reason we moved from a conservative state to a swing state back in the 1990s  despite what the Union Leader suggests.
I'm fortunate enough to not have to be stuck in that commute, but I know many who aren't as lucky. For them, a high-speed commuter rail into Boston is probably the best long term solution. Of course, making the commute easier would encourage more out of staters to relocate here, further changing New Hampshire's politics.
To many, the Live Free or Die attitude we have is what makes New Hampshire unique and wonderful. We're proud. We get it. We don't want to be babysat by the government.
I have mixed feelings about it all.
I spent huge amounts of time bicycling & motorcycling through NH when I lived there.
Southwestern NH (everything pretty much west of Nashua) stayed pretty nice other than the stuff along Rt. 101, the big box nonsense expands further west along 101 every year and it expanded shockingly between 2000 (when I first moved there) to 2009 (when I left the 2nd time).
But Southeastern NH.. it feels like one continuous zoning disaster all the way from Nashua to Portsmouth... almost every main road just turned into a horrible procession of traffic and stop lights and big box stores and generic American chain businesses. It's happened lots of places in the US but it's really bad there.
There is a modest amount of tech work in the Upper Valley.
That said, cost of living there isn't much lower then Boston metro.
What is the difference between NH and MA-lite, dare I ask?
Honestly though I'm not sure the commute situation with southern NH is really all that different from people commuting from the further flung Massachusetts suburbs/exurbs into either the city or the closer-in Rte 128 ring where companies are more concentrated.
Wang BASIC was very different from those -- in some ways very limited, and in other ways very powerful. But it wasn't until I read the original Dartmouth BASIC report that I realize Wang had hewed more closely to Dartmouth BASIC than Microsoft.
For example, Dartmouth and Wang BASIC both have support for matrix operations:
10 DIM A(5,5),B(5,5),C(5,5)
20 MAT READ A
30 MAT B=INV(A)
40 MAT C=A*B
50 MAT PRINT C
60 DATA (25 numbers to fill up the array)
Going to make the short drive to honor this, soon.
I decided to write a program and see if someone at the school district would run it for me. I picked up a book on FORTRAN (I still own it) and tried writing my first program. It was a disaster.
After key punching the program on an IBM 026 keypunch machine (keypunch machines back then were mainly used for data entry, the parentheses, the equals sign, and the plus signs weren't even on the keyboard), I gave the deck of cards to a friend. He agreed to run it at the administration building, and the following week (one week turnaround time) I was informed that my program had syntax errors,
Because of BASIC, my next attempt went much better. I realized I didn't know what I was doing, but I was able to find a book on BASIC and studied it carefully one weekend. BASIC was so easy to understand that I learned from that book how programs work.
I didn't have BASIC available at the school district, but it had served its intended purpose--it explained programming to me--and armed with what that BASIC book had taught me, I went back to FORTRAN and successfully wrote my first program.
Who else noticed the 255 and thought it'd be related in some way? I don't know if it's intentional or a lucky coincidence, but I really like the fact that the BASIC marker is the 256th.
Betty and Barney Hill Incident
On the night of September 19-20, 1961,
Portsmouth, NH couple Betty and Barney Hill
experienced a close encounter with an
unidentified flying object and two hours of
"lost" time while driving south on Rte 3 near
LIncoln. They filed an official Air Force
Project Blue Book report of a brightly-lit
cigar-shaped craft the next day, but were not
public with their story until it was leaked
in the Boston Traveler in 1965. This was the
first widely-reported UFO abduction report
in the United States.
Ya can’t make this stuff up! Oh, wait …
That's the key bit. UFO abduction mythos was an important part of later 20th century US culture, linked to the space race, the US's standing post-war, the Cold War, and popular media. It is interesting that it started there, even if you don't believe it for a second.
Similar to how England commemorates King Arthur even though nobody's sure if he even existed.
The New Boston historical society has a nice link, as does Wikipedia (which mentions Edison suggesting the idea to Babson):
An annual essay contest lives on. Several Nobel lauriets have won that prize including well recognized names like Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose.
And yes, I'm mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration. ;-)
(edit: apparently it should be in Cambridge since John McCarthy had moved from Dartmouth to MIT by 1958.)
But modern AI largely started in New Hampshire at the Dartmouth Workshop in 1956.
But the title might be a bit miss-leading. I think this is just the first "in New Hampshire" not the first one , period.
I don't blame Dijkstra for this. It is evidently a tongue-in-cheek expression of personal distaste. It is more an issue of the cult of personality that exists turning such quips into scripture.
Of course, all this is to be taken with a grain of salt :) I got started in QBASIC and, for all the damage it may have caused, I'm doing pretty OK today. I tried to grasp C back then but I wasn't able to yet. BASIC let me play along with the adults while I developed other necessary skills.
Dijkstra wrote that quote about a very different flavor of BASIC: only line numbers, flow control was only possible with GOTO and a limited version of FOR/NEXT, IF was limited to a single line of code (which 99% was just a GOTO or GOSUB), subroutines were made using GOSUB/RETURN, etc, essentially it was a glorified assembler with an expression generator.
What he was championing instead (at the time) was structured programming in the style of Algol and QBASIC, with its subroutines, control structures, functions, lack of line numbers (well, they were optional for backwards compatibility with GW-BASIC, but i do not think it got much use) etc, is way closer to the style of programming used in Algol than to the style used in the BASIC that he was talking about.
Another well-known Dijkstra epigram has it that "Progress is possible only if we train ourselves to think about programs without thinking of them as pieces of executable code." BASIC programs don't lend themselves to being treated as anything other than pieces of executable code.
But the best alternative was probably FORTRAN (which is indeed what my programming class at university used) and that wasn't really intended for general purpose use or for teaching. Pascal might have worked as it was designed for the purpose although I'm not sure it ever became quite mainstream. C wouldn't have made much sense.
Kemeny and Kurtz were/are fantastic people who not only introduced a large generation to programming, but brought timesharing services to so many along with a supportive, embracing culture. Reading anything about the Dartmouth computing culture in the 60s makes this very clear.
Dijkstra on the other hand was a jerk, prone to making snarky nasty comments about so many things while being sweet to people's faces (e.g. the Backus letters). Beyond an algorithm or two and an OS that few remember or care about, snark is Dijkstra's legacy.
"On the Cruelty of Really Teaching Computer Science" is a great and convincing read, and I wished more Deans of Science and Engineering at more US/Canadian universities had given it a close look...
Oh gosh no.
I would be more appropriate on campus but the building that housed the computers no longer exists. The library where the terminals were is still there (its historic and gorgeous) but a plaque in the basement isn't really visible.
> "...state historical markers are reserved for state highways, and all of the roads in and out of Dartmouth are city streets."
It's like they stuck the sign on an elephant, and I'm asking why, and your answer is 'because it's an elephant sign'. Yeah I get that... but why is it an elephant sign?
There appears to be a separate statute governing the installation of markers along class IV and V roads which are maintained by cities and towns .
There are many interesting places between A and B. You know about A, because you're living there. You know about B, because it's your destination. Typically, you've never thought much about the in-between.
New Hampshire has these green historic signs all over the place - they are particularly thick in the seacoast region, for historic buildings or places where events of any kind of significance took place. For example, in downtown Exeter, there is one by the town hall commemorating a speech that Abraham Lincoln gave during his presidential campaign, also noting that his son went to Phillips Exeter, and across the street there is another marking that Exeter was once the capital of New Hampshire, and then a couple hundred yards away there is another marking where a tavern still stands that George Washington once ate dinner.
Hit me up if that sounds cool, because it sure sounds cool to me, and I don't think it would be that difficult to put together.
I guess with the US being a more car-based culture the highway signs made more sense?