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Old 04-04-2008, 08:51 AM
Ed Gurski
 
Default Punch Cards.

On Fri, 2008-04-04 at 02:01 -0400, fedora-list-request@redhat.com wrote:

>
> On Thu, 2008-04-03 at 23:44 +0100, Nicholas Robinson wrote:
> > On Thursday 03 April 2008 23:06:44 Tim wrote:
> > > On Thu, 2008-04-03 at 10:25 -0600, Robin Laing wrote:
> > > > It was nice to see the TTY there. I remember having a Star Trek
> > > > program on paper tape. Let it roll down the outside of the residence
> > > > building at school. It was over 10 stories long.
> > > >
> > > > We were the lucky ones in the second year. We had a TI terminal that
> > > > had a cassette tape in it. No more punch cards or paper tape for
> > > > us.
> > >
> > > I would have thought paper tape to be more reliable than plastic tape.
> > > No stretching, no striction, reversable and relocatable for a re-read,
> > > repairable by your engineers when someone breaks it, duplicatable
> > > through various direct methods without degradation of data.
> > >
> > Yes, we had a very, very short-lived trial with cassettes for exactly the
> > reasons you mention. We went on to these new-fangled floppy discs with a huge
> > capacity of just over 100k bytes. We carried on using paper tapes for a
> > while, just to be sure. We were real men though and had to repair our own
> > tapes. It was tough in those days.
> >
> > The typical session started with bootstrapping RIM into the PDP 8e and then
> > loading the BIN loader off paper tape. Assuming you didn't make a mistake
> > hand-loading the 30odd 12 bit instructions in the RIM loader and the paper
> > tape didn't jam/fall out of the reader/stop for no apparent reason, you were
> > in business and could then load another paper tape with something more
> > interesting on it, like BASIC or Algol or an assembler (subject to the
> > jams/falls/stops noted before). If the optical paper tape reader (300 or so
> > cps) failed then we had to resort to the old teletype reader which was rated
> > at 10 cps, but always seemed slower. Even with only 8k core memory, it still
> > took a long time to load a big programme.
> >
> > Ah, how the younger ones on the list must be enjoying reading about the lives
> > of the when-we's.
> >
> > Nick
> >
> Ah, yes... I used to dread the infamous tape break. We even had the
> little template thingy that you could put the two ends into to help get
> the magic tape on the right way. But I was invariably too clumsy and
> ended up with one of those dreaded wrinkles that would slide the tape
> sideways at the most inopportune time (like after 3/4 of a long program
> had been read in.) So I would usually patch the the tape, then dupe it
> so I had a "real working copy" because the duplicator would deal with
> the wrinkle much better (but more slowly if possible).
>
> Regards,
> Les H
>

Remember the rewind and stretch tape in the (then new) Univac VI c Servo
tape drives! 2400 ft of tape rendered useless at 1200 BPI!!! Then the
Univac 1050 was a transitional machine with mostly transistors but still
some tubes. Loading a program required you (the programmer) to define
which Exec was going to be used (there were 3 - Console, Canadian and
the third escapes me --- obviously the last was hardly used....

The card reader jams were common and so was the old drum/chain printers
--- jamming paper during a printout was common.

The console was a TTY with the ability to use paper tape --- Control-G
to ring the bell and Escape escape escape to terminate.... and reading
paper tape was a pain since it also had the ability to jam and heaven
forbid break....

The disk drives required weekly PM (preventative maintenance), which if
not done could cause you to loose all your data if the drive was writing
at less than optimal speed and was re-calibrated! Ah those cat's eyes on
the oscilloscope were wonderful to see. when doing PM which let you know
the drive was spinning at the correct speed!!!.

We programmed mostly in Assembly language since memory was at a premium
(12k), imagine our surprise when we received the first 3rd generation
computer with the outstanding amount of 32k!!!!

The fun we had with those machines and now we're using Linux and
enjoying it....
--
Ed Gurski

Linux User
# 458454 http://counter.li.org

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Old 04-04-2008, 10:04 AM
Tim
 
Default Punch Cards.

On Fri, 2008-04-04 at 04:51 -0400, Ed Gurski wrote:
> The card reader jams were common and so was the old drum/chain printers
> --- jamming paper during a printout was common.

And did you ever have someone dead loop their program sending form-feeds
to a printer in another room, the wrong printer, that nobody saw
churning its way through an entire box of paper? The really big A3
blue-stripe fan-fold. Even worse when the paper-output spills out of
the hopper... ;-)

--
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important to the thread.)

Don't send private replies to my address, the mailbox is ignored.
I read messages from the public lists.

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Old 04-04-2008, 01:50 PM
Matthew Saltzman
 
Default Punch Cards.

On Fri, 2008-04-04 at 20:34 +1030, Tim wrote:
> On Fri, 2008-04-04 at 04:51 -0400, Ed Gurski wrote:
> > The card reader jams were common and so was the old drum/chain printers
> > --- jamming paper during a printout was common.
>
> And did you ever have someone dead loop their program sending form-feeds
> to a printer in another room, the wrong printer, that nobody saw
> churning its way through an entire box of paper? The really big A3
> blue-stripe fan-fold. Even worse when the paper-output spills out of
> the hopper... ;-)

The discussion reminds me of the line printer art from those days:
copies of the Mon Lisa, an Albert Einstein portrait, a pinup, and
others, and IBM 1403 chain printer music
(http://staging.computerhistory.org/exhibits/highlights/).
--
Matthew Saltzman

Clemson University Math Sciences
mjs AT clemson DOT edu
http://www.math.clemson.edu/~mjs

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Old 04-04-2008, 04:44 PM
"Dick Seabrook"
 
Default Punch Cards.

On Fri, Apr 4, 2008 at 9:50 AM, Matthew Saltzman <mjs@clemson.edu> wrote:




The discussion reminds me of the line printer art from those days:

copies of the Mon Lisa, an Albert Einstein portrait, a pinup, and

others, and IBM 1403 chain printer music

(http://staging.computerhistory.org/exhibits/highlights/).

--

* * * * * * * *Matthew Saltzman



Clemson University Math Sciences

mjs AT clemson DOT edu

http://www.math.clemson.edu/~mjs


Yeah we had a few of those ASCII art and sound programs for the
1403.** Funniest program I recall played songs using the 7094 tape
shakers.* If the drives couldn't read a tape they'd shake it back and

forth rapidly about 20 times and then try again before skipping a block.
We had 16 drives and you could hear them hum the songs all over
the building.
Dick S.

--
Dick Seabrook ~ Anne Arundel Community College

http://enterprise.aacc.edu/~rhs ~ Speed the Net!

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Old 04-04-2008, 07:37 PM
 
Default Punch Cards.

> On Fri, 2008-04-04 at 04:51 -0400, Ed Gurski wrote:
>> The card reader jams were common and so was the old drum/chain printers
>> --- jamming paper during a printout was common.
>
> And did you ever have someone dead loop their program sending form-feeds
> to a printer in another room, the wrong printer, that nobody saw
> churning its way through an entire box of paper? The really big A3
> blue-stripe fan-fold. Even worse when the paper-output spills out of
> the hopper... ;-)
>
> --
> (This computer runs FC7, my others run FC4, FC5 & FC6, in case that's
> important to the thread.)
>
> Don't send private replies to my address, the mailbox is ignored.
> I read messages from the public lists.
>
> --
> fedora-list mailing list
> fedora-list@redhat.com
> To unsubscribe: https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/fedora-list
>

For some reason, your email reminded me of an 'incident' where DEC loaned
us a couple of brand new DECstations to try out. I got one and my boss got
the other. I fairly quickly discovered that you could make the disc sound
like a vacuum cleaner by doing some house-keeping command. And even
better, you could this from one machine to the other. So I used to do this
to his machine, in his office, from the comfort of my office.

You can imagine the feedback meeting where we were asked to comment on our
experience of these super-duper new machines. Everything was fine until my
boss comes up with a long moan about how his computer used to make noises
like, you've guessed it, a vacuum cleaner, for no apparent reason...

I do hope I had nothing to do with DEC's demise...

Nick

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Old 04-04-2008, 08:28 PM
"David L. Gehrt"
 
Default Punch Cards.

<snip>

> I do hope I had nothing to do with DEC's demise...

I can't say about your incident, but I think I may have a better idea
about the demise of DEC. In the early `80s I was responsible for the
computing facility of a computer science research institute. Our
computers were two DEC Vaxen, an 11/730 :-( and an 11/780. The `780
came equipped with Dec's latest disk and controller system. The
controller was a UDA-50 and the disk were like 756 MB (Then quite large)
RA series drives. The operating systems we ran were 4.1c BSD then 4.2
BSD.

The disk drive were pretty good EXCEPT the spindle bearings were made of
some space age material prone to disintegration after a short period of
use. I knew DEC was going to be in trouble when the repair guy stated
that the problem we had with those bearings was because we were running
UNIX not DEC's VMS OS.


dlg

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Old 04-04-2008, 10:41 PM
Rick Stevens
 
Default Punch Cards.

David L. Gehrt wrote:

<snip>


I do hope I had nothing to do with DEC's demise...


I can't say about your incident, but I think I may have a better idea
about the demise of DEC. In the early `80s I was responsible for the
computing facility of a computer science research institute. Our
computers were two DEC Vaxen, an 11/730 :-( and an 11/780. The `780
came equipped with Dec's latest disk and controller system. The
controller was a UDA-50 and the disk were like 756 MB (Then quite large)
RA series drives. The operating systems we ran were 4.1c BSD then 4.2
BSD.

The disk drive were pretty good EXCEPT the spindle bearings were made of
some space age material prone to disintegration after a short period of
use. I knew DEC was going to be in trouble when the repair guy stated
that the problem we had with those bearings was because we were running
UNIX not DEC's VMS OS.


I suspect what caused DEC to die was tri-fold: the emergence of the PC,
DEC's closing of their bus architecture and DEC's turning their attack-
dog lawyers loose on third party vendors.

For years, the Q-Bus and Unibus were wide open and allowed lots of third
parties to build hardware for the machines. Life was good and you could
get a DEC machine to do damned near anything. Then DEC came up with the
"mighty" (tongue planted firmly in cheek) VAX 8000 series with the
incredibly silly "VAX BI bus" and closed the bus architecture. You had
to buy BI interface chips from DEC to make hardware for the bus and the
chips were quite expensive, so any third party hardware easily doubled
in cost. Strike one.

Then DEC went litigious. Some chap reverse engineered the chip and
the DEC lawyers (scum that they were) attacked his company and anyone
else who even suggested reverse engineering it. Strike two.

With that, no one wanted to build anything for DEC hardware and threw
their efforts at the PC. Within a year or two, probably 90% of third
party hardware vendors had abandoned DEC. Strike three.

With no one building the useful hardware that made DEC flexible and
DEC's own cockups with poorly designed systems that no one wanted, they
couldn't stay afloat and sold out to Compaq (and eventually HP). As an
old DECophile, it was painful to watch.

Anyone want to buy some old DECUS t-shirts and caps? :-)
----------------------------------------------------------------------
- Rick Stevens, Systems Engineer rps2@nerd.com -
- Hosting Consulting, Inc. -
- -
- Brain: The organ with which we think that we think. -
----------------------------------------------------------------------

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Old 04-05-2008, 12:11 AM
Tim
 
Default Punch Cards.

On Fri, 2008-04-04 at 13:50 +0000, Matthew Saltzman wrote:
> IBM 1403 chain printer music
> (http://staging.computerhistory.org/exhibits/highlights/).

Hheheh, love it. My old dot-matrix printer always made me think it
sounded like someone had made a machine gun for field mice, and it was
strafing the place.

I never tried to get it to play music, though. But I did with a speech
synth, I had it singing baa baa black sheep. ;-) Daisy, Daisy, has
already been done...

--
(This computer runs FC7, my others run FC4, FC5 & FC6, in case that's
important to the thread.)

Don't send private replies to my address, the mailbox is ignored.
I read messages from the public lists.

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Old 04-05-2008, 12:17 AM
"Knute Johnson"
 
Default Punch Cards.

>On Fri, 2008-04-04 at 04:51 -0400, Ed Gurski wrote:
>> The card reader jams were common and so was the old drum/chain printers
>> --- jamming paper during a printout was common.
>
>And did you ever have someone dead loop their program sending form-feeds
>to a printer in another room, the wrong printer, that nobody saw
>churning its way through an entire box of paper? The really big A3
>blue-stripe fan-fold. Even worse when the paper-output spills out of
>the hopper... ;-)

Or the lid was closed and the whole box of paper was wadded up
inside, or it got cockeyed, stuck and the hammers cut the paper and
then the ribbon. I always hated changing the ribbons cause I was
always blue afterwards.

--

Knute Johnson
Molon Labe...


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Old 04-05-2008, 12:37 AM
Tim
 
Default Punch Cards.

On Fri, 2008-04-04 at 13:28 -0700, David L. Gehrt wrote:
> The disk drive were pretty good EXCEPT the spindle bearings were made of
> some space age material prone to disintegration after a short period of
> use. I knew DEC was going to be in trouble when the repair guy stated
> that the problem we had with those bearings was because we were running
> UNIX not DEC's VMS OS.

I've heard similar bulldust about using Linux being the cause of some
problem that it couldn't possibly be. It makes you wonder whether these
people believe their own rubbish, are incompetent, or think that you're
stupid.

--
(This computer runs FC7, my others run FC4, FC5 & FC6, in case that's
important to the thread.)

Don't send private replies to my address, the mailbox is ignored.
I read messages from the public lists.

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