I wrote a program in 1982 or the HP85 computer

The software basically prompted the operator and patient on performing Pulmonary Function Exams. The HP85 connected to the Pulmonary Function Machine and collated data, generated reports, etc.

It was only a few hundred lines of code – probably the best (most profitable) lines of code I have ever written.  I sold the software to a third party company that provided support to hospitals for the Pulmonary Function machine.  I didn’t make a ton off of it, but dollar per lines of code I did fairly well.  Especially since I also was hired by the company to do “from home” tier three tech support.   For about 8 months I would get an occasional phone call and talk a user, or a representative of the company through some task, or troubleshooting.

Sometimes these calls resulted in some new code needing to be written – either to address a new feature request, fix a bug, or just modify the behavior of the application based on how it was used.  I got paid for each of those lines of code.  Paid a lot considering the time (early 80’s).

After 8 months the company I sold the software to was purchased (I think by HP, but I can’t recall for certain) and my deal with them ended.  But as best I can tell those ~300 lines of code were worth close to $300 a line by the time the arrangement ended.

The latest application I am writing is well over 1300 lines of code (so far), it doesn’t do anywhere near as much as this previous application did (in terms of relevance), and I won’t make a dime off it.

Moral of the story?  I dunno – “Simple Sells”?


  1. Yeah… especially since you don’t have enough junk!

    *ducks and runs*

  2. Cool – I just sent him an email offering to pay his shipping/time expenses. I’m not willing to spend a fortune for one of them, but it would be cool to have!



  3. Well.. in case you’re very nostalgic about it, and want one back … here’s one: link Oh MY.. look at those square foot type diskettes, I almost forgot!

  4. Oh – and I now see the problem (if not yet the solution) to comment editing being broke. I’ll work on this later this week (when I also plan to add the date/time stamps)


  5. Heh – I know! That’s why I think it’s probably going to be the most valuable code I have ever written (that and the fact I don’t write code for a living anymore!)

    And it was all in some version of BASIC, I believe. I had an HP85 around until about 5 years ago. It got lost somehome, in a move, or divorce. Who knows.

  6. I I’d gotten $300 for every line of code I wrote in my 35 year programmer’s career, I’d be laying at my infinity pool on my own small Caribbean tropical island right now.

    (*makes a quick calculation*)

    Make that a BIG Caribbean tropical island! With a private jet in the backyard.


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