Nova Scotia Institute of Technology (NSIT)  

Nova Scotia Institute of Technology

Nova Scotia Institute of Technology
I began my studies at NSIT in September 1974. the program began with the science basics Physics and Chemistry, and branched out to more technology specific courses like Mathematics for Electronics and Computer Science.  When you think that this was 1974 digital computers were in their infancy. although I worked on a computer in the Navy, it was an analog system that was 8 feet high and 9 feet wide. It contained drawers and drawers of vacuum tubes and was designed for one purpose and one purpose only which was to compute the lead angle for the guns.

Similar to the Digital Computer I work with in 1974

Similar to the NSIT Computer in 1974



Similar to the Digital Computer I work with in 1974

Computer Punch Card and Paper Tapes
On the other hand the HP digital computer at NSIT that I learned to program was capable of performing a variety of calculations. The programs we wrote were simple and were written in the HP Basic programming language.  This introduction to computer programming spurred a life-long interest in programming that continues today. Over the years I've developed some competency in high level languages like Fortran, Pascal, C#, Java and Ada, the standard military language. I also have some competency in machine languages like Assembler. However in 1974 I would type simple instructions on a keyboard in HP Basic and transfer this to Punch Cards.  Once we debugged each section of the program we created a Punch Tape as shown on the right. For short programs the Punch Cards were fed directly to the computer's card reader.  For longer programs a Punch Tape was used and fed to the computer's tape reader.

In addition to computer programming there were a variety of challenging academic courses. To my surprise my efforts were producing results for the first time in my life. I was getting marks in the order of 80 to 90 in most of my subjects and was ranked one of the top students in the class. Given that my high school experience was that I was always one of the bottom students in the class this was quite a shock.

Although I experienced academic success with my continuing education courses I was often focusing only on a single course at a time.  My studies at NSIT was the very first time in my life that I was successful when studying multiple courses in a full program of study. It showed me that the learning techniques that I was taught in the early days of my trades training could be applied to a full-time academic program. I discuss my challenges with my struggles with learning under the link on the left titled: Learning Disabilities.

The NSIT program was twenty-four months with no summer break. To my surprise in July I received notice that I was finally accepted into the Navy's commissioning program and that I was scheduled to immediately travel to Victoria, BC for an introduction to Royal Roads Military College (RRMC). So instead of just paying for my NSIT program and letting me finish the final year, the Navy in their wisdom decided to send me to a four year military college program. At the time I felt this was unnecessary since I was eager to get back to the ship so I could get to tell my boss's boss's boss what to do.


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