Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 57
  1. #1
    Platinum Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Yilgarn region of Toronto, Ontario
    Posts
    5,453
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    http://www.aceware.iinet.net.au/acms...ryOfAcmsWA.htm

    I was introduced to the 1620 in my final year at Uni WA, 1967.
    Mike Patterson, a fellow Georgian, moved me on to the PDP-6, and I started to program it 2am-6am each morning in the physics building.

    http://www.ultimate.com/phil/pdp10/pdp6-serials

    Apparently only 26 PDP-6s were installed world wide.
    The Uni W.A. machine was #4, and that was the second machine I ever programmed.
    "#4? University of Western Australia, Perth"

    Dennis Moore was director of the West Australian Regional Computing Centre at the time.
    It was said that DEC flew him to Maynard Mass. to take delivery of this $250,000 ($aus(1966)) machine.
    I got to book time on it from 2am to 6am each day, and some time in my second week I thought I'd broken it; it stopped working and just wouldn't go, no matter what I did.
    I crept back to my room at college frantic with fear that I'd broken a $250,000 toy.

    Back then I didn't know about "re-booting" .....



    "(in a barn, Mundaring, Western Australia)"
    Dennis Moore lived in Mundaring, (about 30 miles east of Perth, and site of Mundaring Weir which supplied water to the gold fields via a 30" above-ground mains) so it looks as if he salvaged the machine when it was decommissioned.
    (later) I have since learned that this may not be the case, at least, the link at the head of this post does not suggest that Dennis Moore salvaged it.

  2. #2
    3 Star Lounger jockmullin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    St-Eustache,QC,Canada
    Posts
    239
    Thanks
    10
    Thanked 21 Times in 20 Posts
    The 1620 was also my first computer, used it starting in 1966 at university programming it in fortran II and using it to do fourier analysis of mass spectometer data. I LOVED that machine - I always say it was the first personal computer. What I really liked was the variable word length and the fact the core dumps were in decimal. It was also very neat to look inside at the memory banks and actually be able to see the little magnetic donuts that constituted each bit of memory. We were very proud to have a whopping 40,000 bits of main memory.

    I still have some of those computer cards - down to about half a box or so now. I have always used them as bookmarks and index cards. Have to agree about the card reader - it was very flaky and constantly had to be cleaned. We also took "routine" maintenance into our own hands and became very adept at straightening out those little brushes. Almost always ran it with stop on error turned off when reading data. One or two bad data points were just not significant enough to justify having to reset, clear the feed path and restart.

    After the 1620, I briefly used a 1710 and then also a Univac 1108 (remember those data cells with strips of magnetic tape?). Then I went to grad school where they had a 360-67 fire breathing monster with a very experimental (ie unreliable) multi user OS that supported 20 concurrent users on teletype terminals. Just at that time some fool at Concordia University in Montreal trashed the computer centre bringing to an end unrestricted midnight access to university computer centres everywhere and ending an era where enthusiastic students could sit down with the manuals and a keypunch and experiment.

    Even though I went on to become a system programmer, it wasn't until the IBM PC came out in 1980 that I felt I got MY computer back, and ditched mainframes forever. All in all it has been an excellent trip, and I would have to say continues to improve. I look at the computer power and functionality of the half dozen computers around here and it leaves me breathless. But then, so do a lot of things

    Jock

  3. #3
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Brady, TX, USA
    Posts
    1
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    My history doesn't go back that far. I worked at the Texas A&M University System Agricultural Experiment Station near San Angelo, Texas. We bought a Vector Graphics S100 bus CMP computer with 48k of RAM in 1980, with two pieces of software, one of them a modem program in machine language that didn't work...even after we sent it back. In the meantime I took a course in Fortran at the local university, San Angelo State U, utilizing their mainframe computer.

    We hired a student to input data into the Vector Graphics. He and I spent three days going over the modem program, and found the problem and fixed it. We input the machine language by hand, as we did not have a compiler. The rest of the programs I used I wrote myself in BASIC.

    That was a long time ago. BG

  4. #4
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    8
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    I guess my history, although initially somewhat limited, goes back further than most. In 1959, we had at Harvard a Mark I, a Mark IV and a Univac I. The Mark I was the first internally programmable digital computer (or so we were told at the time). The program was punched into tape and read on a tape reader. The logic of the machine was all relays, and it made quite a racket when in operation, especially when it got to a multiplication or division operation. Those were carried out in a separate box, and it really made a lot of noise.

    The Mark IV was the first all electronic (i.e. vacuum tube) computer. It consisted of a large box in the computer room with a door near one end. You could walk inside it and walk between galleries of racks of vacuum tubes. The tubes burned out with some regularity, so going inside was just SOP to look for a tube that wasn't lit up.

    The Univac I was a technological marvel. It had an internal memory consisting of a mercury cylinder with transducers at the top and bottom. The memory worked by transmitting pulses from the bottom to the top and then recycling the received pulses back down again to the bottom, not exactly random access memory. Memory access depended on the timing of the cyclye. It had the magnificent capacity of 1000 words or 8,000 bytes. We thought at the time -- with a 1,000 words of internal memory, two tape drives, a card reader and a console printer, why would you ever need anything more? Little did we know.

    The programming I did was on the Univac in machine code. I was never a wiz at it, subsequently switching to APL on IBM main frames. What a life.

  5. #5
    Lurker
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Texas, usa
    Posts
    0
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    When I got out of service, I was at UTArlington and my first box was the 1620 Mod 2 - 60k and we had a HARD DRIVE. I fell in love. I'd get there early -dark-30 - and power the box up, then go the Student Union for breakfast while the core temp stabilized (the little iron donuts mentioned previously). Drop the 'loader' deck in, then COBOL or FORTRAN, then my pgm to compile n go.

    Learned assembler, at least 1620 assembler there. 99 op codes. I understand that the 1620 was the largest decmal based mainfraim ever built but that is mostly memory.

    Yes the card reader was a pain, wire brushes. However we had a 407 accounting machine next door wired to interpret the cards and it was worse.

    Last time I knew of the machine, it was locked up by Chem dept so they could run bonding problems on it. They would run on the 'big' box, XDS Sigma 7 if I recall, till they got to a semi final point, punch the data out as BCD, cart over to the 1620, and finish. 20 min or so on Sigma 7, then hours on 1620. Why? The variable word length and lack of hex/decimal conversion errors gave them results they could not get on Sigma 7.

    Been quite a ride.

  6. #6
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Posts
    3
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    In May 1974 I went to work for a Chartered Accounting firm in Blenheim, New Zealand, who had installed a Litton mini-computer the preceding February - that was probably one of the very first accounting practices in NZ, if not the Southern Hemisphere, to buy their own computer. The Litton had no VDUs - all the data was input either direct at the console keyboard or from pre-punched paper tape, and output was paper tape and/or printout on lineflo. The Litton was attended by several machine operators, and the accounting and admin staff weren't allowed to touch it. We had programs for accounting, payroll and accounts payable. After about a year, we upgraded to an early DEC machine, and not long afterward to a DEC PDP - can't remember which model, but it was certainly one of the first in private hands in NZ. That would have been 1976 - early 1977, and we continued to upgrade regularly through 1992, when I left Blenheim.

    The accounting firm installed its first DEC PCs in the late 1970s, a DEC Rainbow and a ? - can't remember - and a batch of IBM PC clones (Cyclone?) in 1980. I had used prehistoric spreadsheet programs, including a DEC-produced one that ran on the PDP, by then. I had my own PC at home by Christmas 1980. The practice got the original version of Lotus 1-2-3 as soon as it was available in NZ, and I still have my copy of the original user manual. As a professional Cost & Management Accountant, I used Lotus all day and every day through until 1993, when I switched to the first usable version of Excel, running on Windows 3.1(?). I've upgraded as each new version of MS Office came out, including beta versions, but skipped Win 95! Nowadays I use Office 2003 Professional running on Win XP and Vista. As a long-time classic Excel user, I don't like the changed Office 2007 interface - particularly that B**** awful Ribbon that hides so many of my favourite commands and functions - and will keep using Office 2003 just as long as I possibly can! Right now I'm learning to use the excellent Xero SaaS accounting package. It's currently available in NZ, Australia, and Europe, and soon in the US. It's a great package - it actually makes business accounting easy and fun for non-accountants! I aim to soon reach Advanced User status, so I can offer Xero to my own business clients.

  7. #7
    Platinum Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Yilgarn region of Toronto, Ontario
    Posts
    5,453
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Jock and others: I was asked by the museum curator to write up a bit about it, and did so; the text can be seen here
    it wasn't until the IBM PC came out in 1980 that I felt I got MY computer back
    I identify with this. When I arrived in Canada in 1982, my retirement dream was to be able to purchase an IBM 1401 and install it in my basement and program it day in and day out.
    Less than year later I had a paperback sized Radio Shack MC-10, and of course now have more machines than you can shake a wand at.
    I still miss the IBM 1401.

  8. #8
    Platinum Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Yilgarn region of Toronto, Ontario
    Posts
    5,453
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Jock and others: I was asked by the museum curator to write up a bit about it, and did so; the text can be seen here
    it wasn't until the IBM PC came out in 1980 that I felt I got MY computer back
    I identify with this. When I arrived in Canada in 1982, my retirement dream was to be able to purchase an IBM 1401 and install it in my basement and program it day in and day out.
    Less than year later I had a paperback sized Radio Shack MC-10, and of course now have more machines than you can shake a wand at.
    I still miss the IBM 1401.

  9. #9
    Platinum Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Yilgarn region of Toronto, Ontario
    Posts
    5,453
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Jock and others: I was asked by the museum curator to write up a bit about it, and did so; the text can be seen here
    it wasn't until the IBM PC came out in 1980 that I felt I got MY computer back
    I identify with this. When I arrived in Canada in 1982, my retirement dream was to be able to purchase an IBM 1401 and install it in my basement and program it day in and day out.
    Less than year later I had a paperback sized Radio Shack MC-10, and of course now have more machines than you can shake a wand at.
    I still miss the IBM 1401.

  10. #10
    Platinum Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Yilgarn region of Toronto, Ontario
    Posts
    5,453
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Jock and others: I was asked by the museum curator to write up a bit about it, and did so; the text can be seen here
    it wasn't until the IBM PC came out in 1980 that I felt I got MY computer back
    I identify with this. When I arrived in Canada in 1982, my retirement dream was to be able to purchase an IBM 1401 and install it in my basement and program it day in and day out.
    Less than year later I had a paperback sized Radio Shack MC-10, and of course now have more machines than you can shake a wand at.
    I still miss the IBM 1401.

  11. #11
    Platinum Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Yilgarn region of Toronto, Ontario
    Posts
    5,453
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Jock and others: I was asked by the museum curator to write up a bit about it, and did so; the text can be seen here
    it wasn't until the IBM PC came out in 1980 that I felt I got MY computer back
    I identify with this. When I arrived in Canada in 1982, my retirement dream was to be able to purchase an IBM 1401 and install it in my basement and program it day in and day out.
    Less than year later I had a paperback sized Radio Shack MC-10, and of course now have more machines than you can shake a wand at.
    I still miss the IBM 1401.

  12. #12
    Platinum Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Yilgarn region of Toronto, Ontario
    Posts
    5,453
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Jock and others: I was asked by the museum curator to write up a bit about it, and did so; the text can be seen here
    it wasn't until the IBM PC came out in 1980 that I felt I got MY computer back
    I identify with this. When I arrived in Canada in 1982, my retirement dream was to be able to purchase an IBM 1401 and install it in my basement and program it day in and day out.
    Less than year later I had a paperback sized Radio Shack MC-10, and of course now have more machines than you can shake a wand at.
    I still miss the IBM 1401.

  13. #13
    Platinum Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Yilgarn region of Toronto, Ontario
    Posts
    5,453
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Jock and others: I was asked by the museum curator to write up a bit about it, and did so; the text can be seen here
    it wasn't until the IBM PC came out in 1980 that I felt I got MY computer back
    I identify with this. When I arrived in Canada in 1982, my retirement dream was to be able to purchase an IBM 1401 and install it in my basement and program it day in and day out.
    Less than year later I had a paperback sized Radio Shack MC-10, and of course now have more machines than you can shake a wand at.
    I still miss the IBM 1401.

  14. #14
    Platinum Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Yilgarn region of Toronto, Ontario
    Posts
    5,453
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Jock and others: I was asked by the museum curator to write up a bit about it, and did so; the text can be seen here
    it wasn't until the IBM PC came out in 1980 that I felt I got MY computer back
    I identify with this. When I arrived in Canada in 1982, my retirement dream was to be able to purchase an IBM 1401 and install it in my basement and program it day in and day out.
    Less than year later I had a paperback sized Radio Shack MC-10, and of course now have more machines than you can shake a wand at.
    I still miss the IBM 1401.

  15. #15
    Platinum Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Yilgarn region of Toronto, Ontario
    Posts
    5,453
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Betty Gauer View Post
    We input the machine language by hand, ...
    What fun!
    At BHP (Newcastle NSW) the IBM 1401 was in a building 200 yards away. To save time walking back and forth we had a little device the size of today's credit-card swipers.
    The blank card was fed in, and the characters - IBM 1401 machine code, not Autocoder - were punched in by grouping one's fingers into 2- or 3-key combinations and pushing down forcefully and sharply to make the chisels punch out the chads.
    One of the crowd kept a matchbox of chads in his drawer, and would moisten his finger to insert chads in holes he no longer required, then use a pocket-knife to cut new holes.
    Amazing!
    The card reader was so fast that the wedged-in chads did not have a chance to fly out of the holes!
    To this day I remember most of the 2- and 3-hole Hollerith card punch codes.

Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •