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  • Old Computer Technology

    Thought I would open a discussion about old computer technology that would talk about the "good all days" of computers. I still remember the computer students in high school that walked around with a shirt pocket full of carefully sorted IBM punch cards.



    http://cacm.acm.org/news/146306-if-i...today/fulltext


    Here is an example of the price of storage from an old Radio Shack catalog that I had. Compare what a 2 TB drive costs today and what that would be worth back then.


    My brother was older than me and he was the first student at the UofA to have a pocket calculator. He bought the Sinclair, it had add, subtract, divide, multiply and square root functions; not even a memory key and it cost more than a year's tuition in Engineering back in the early 70's. He was not allowed to use it on tests as the professors said that they were a fad and that they would never replace a slide rule.


    devildogdailynews.blogspot.com
    Slide Rule
    Last edited by Edmonton PRT; 11-03-2014, 09:53 AM.
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

  • #2
    I was watching Flight of the Navigator with my step-daughter the thing that amazed her was the size of the Motorola "brick" phones in that movie.
    http://starwinar.files.wordpress.com...__470x3620.jpg

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    • #3
      Ahhh, the good old days!


      "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

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      • #4
        Around 1979/1980 my brother and I were the coolest kids on the block because our father bought this for his work:



        It took forever to upload a program using the cassette recorder. But it was worth it playing dot matrix chess and an X vs.0 football game.

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        • #5
          My slide rule from when I enrolled in Engineering in 1971 still sits on top of my computer box. I never really used it because of my visual deficit (I used log tables instead), but it still brings back fond memories.

          Oh, and cats, punch cards and coffee tables are not a good combo.

          Eve

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          • #6
            Post your website links please! or I expect admin to delete these posts.
            "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

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            • #7
              It's really amazing how technoclogy has advanced. Just yesterday I bought a 32 Gig memory card for my camera. It's about the size of a postage stamp.
              Fly Edmonton first. Support EIA

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              • #8
                The games were awesome too!




                And every time I hear Castle Wolfenstein I think this:


                "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by 24karat View Post
                  It's really amazing how technoclogy has advanced. Just yesterday I bought a 32 Gig memory card for my camera. It's about the size of a postage stamp.
                  When I was in the US last week, I picked up the latest SanDisk - Ultra 128GB SDXC Class 10 Memory Card for $125

                  http://www.bestbuy.com/site/ultra-12...=buyingOptions


                  Compared to this,
                  My image

                  My SD card has 8,500 times the storage and would be comparatively worth more than $20M
                  Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

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                  • #10
                    I learned programming around 1983 on the IBM or Amdahl mainframe at the U of A that ran something called the Michigan Terminal System.

                    (The first shot is the terminals. The second shot is of hardware that I never got to see, but I do remember the set of operating manuals in each terminal room in the old General Services Building and Assiniboia Hall -- that's the volume above -- I think it may have been actually the thickest single book in the world.)


                    http://terminals.classiccmp.org/wiki...n_AJ_510-1.jpg



                    (http://www.eecis.udel.edu/~mills/gallery/pic/ibm67d.jpg)

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                    • #11
                      When I started my word processing service (after several years of using typewriters), I got me a Kaypro II which I used until it cratered. After that, to keep me working, the professors I was working for gave me their accounts so I could work in the computer rooms. I was doing math typesetting using LaTeX on terminals similar to the previous post and batching them into the processing room so that I could get dot matrix feeds in my box.

                      Eve

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                      • #12
                        I remember working in Ontario in the late 80's where we had a computer room with an old (1973) ICL computer with Singer sewing machine company software. The disk drive was a 3' x 3' x 4' high cabinet with three 20 Meg 14" hard disc's spinning. I was outside the window with the computer guy when the pick up arm failed and the three discs exploded in a cloud of bytes. Scratch 60 Mb of data.

                        I went with a friend to the Ont Ministry of Resources that had a $600,000 ink jet printer that was HUGE and spun a 3' x 2' piece of paper on a drum at 600 rpm while the jets slowly track that took an hour to do 72 dpi map.
                        Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

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                        • #13
                          A retired gentleman I met was telling me when computer first started to come into offices a techy told one of the guys that the computer needed re-booting. The guy kicked the tower and knocked it over.
                          Gone............................and very quickly forgotten may I add.

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                          • #14
                            ^^ I'm guessing that old ICL was a 2903 or a 2904. I used to work for ICL typesetting the manuals for those models on a Linotype 505. We also used Datek keyboards producing punched tape. Fixing typos on those tapes was a joy (mild sarcasm) .

                            Just to add: A lot of manuals were also typeset on old IBM 'golfball' typewriters on china clay coated papers where typos were fixed by scraping off the china clay coating with a scalpel blade, repositioning the carriage and typing the correction. Diagrams were hand-drawn with Rotring technical drawing pens on the same paper.

                            I don't think the term 'geek' or 'nerd' had been invented at that time, c.1974, but the secret room upstairs had a sign on the door proclaiming Muppet Labs.
                            Last edited by howie; 11-03-2014, 10:47 PM. Reason: Additional hot info.
                            Nisi Dominus Frustra

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                            • #15
                              Speaking of disk drives, the first computer that I worked in the early 80s had a removable disk platter, the disks themselves were the size of large dinner plates. The disk "drive" was the size of a washing machine with a transparent door on the top through which you could access the platter. You would take a transparent cover that resembled a cake dish cover and align a key onto the top of the disk platter spindle and unscrew the whole platter to remove it from the disk drive. in effect removable storage. I remember once not screwing the platter on properly and having the whole thing slightly off kilter making it difficult to remove, I almost freaked out when that happened.

                              Thinking back, it boggles my mind that you would expose the surface of the disk media to open air but I guess the magnetic density being far less than what is today, a particle or two might not cause data errors. Of course today's hard drives are totally sealed and wouldn't tolerate any foreign matter contamination.

                              At a subsequent job, I was given a tour of the computer room and there was a separate room with double doors (obviously with a controlled environment) that had row upon row of IBM disk drives humming away like a sea of washing machines. A far cry from the thin disk arrays that one sees in a typical server rack today.
                              Did my dog just fall into a pothole???

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