Oldtimers reminiscing about ancient equipment/software PICS*

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Oldtimers reminiscing about ancient equipment/software PICS*

#1 Post by rkawakami » Thu Oct 23, 2008 2:58 am

(This thread was split from: http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?t=68858)

Sounds like a happy ending :) .

Okay, now who here remembers using an ASR33 Teletype, fan-fold paper tape, a Burroughs nixie tube desktop calculator (model # escapes my brain cells) and the Hazeltine 2000 terminal in the mid '70s? :lol:
Last edited by rkawakami on Sat Nov 08, 2008 9:37 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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#2 Post by RealBlackStuff » Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:53 am

That ASR33 was used with PDP-8 from DEC if I remember correctly.
Wasn't that similar (or the same) as the old telex machines?
I also worked on the old IBM 029 that was mentioned earlier in the thread.

I do remember the rest of them as well, but my memory is a bit hazy in that respect.
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#3 Post by sjthinkpader » Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:19 am

rkawakami wrote:Sounds like a happy ending :) .

Okay, now who here remembers using an ASR33 Teletype, fan-fold paper tape, a Burroughs nixie tube desktop calculator (model # escapes my brain cells) and the Hazeltine 2000 terminal in the mid '70s? :lol:
Yes, a Wang Labs 360/370 nixie tube programmable calculator with a card reader. The cards use a stylus to punch the holes.
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We'll keep it going along these lines...

#4 Post by Kendas » Thu Oct 23, 2008 11:14 am

Okay.. Burroughs teletype input/output device (ya, the number escapes me too, but I think it was a TC521) with the integrated card reader attached to a Burroughs B3500 main frame connected to about 100 other users using 9600 baud line drivers (short haul modems).

The terminal was only capable of 110 baud printing. After two years we actually were upgraded to a TD832 video terminal that would keep up with the line driver, but we lost the card reader and had to bring card decks to the mainframe 5 miles away.

One other thing is that phone circuit we were also on was "bridged" (shared) with 5 other terminals... This was one of the forerunners to the modern LAN.

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And anything else I can stuff in.

Any one else here old enough to have used an IBM 029 Keypunch? :}

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#5 Post by ArtShapiro » Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:41 pm

Any one else here old enough to have used an IBM 029 Keypunch?
Of course, and Burroughs machines a LOT older than the 3500 you cited.

Art (Unisys, nee Burroughs, employee)

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#6 Post by RealBlackStuff » Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:54 pm

Ah, Unisys.
Brings back memories to when they were still Sperry/Univac.
I programmed on the Univac 1100 and later the Unisys 2200.
Remember MASM, DMS, TIP and HVTIP? Not to forget Mapper?
All this was before I changed back to IBM in 1988
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#7 Post by rkawakami » Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:58 pm

The ASR33 was installed in my high school's computer class and connected via dial-up to the Tymshare BASIC system. The Burroughs machine that I used at Ames was more along the lines of a souped-up, four-function calculator. This was 1972-73. The Hazeltine 2000 experience, along with some IBM Selectric remote terminals, came a little bit later (~1974-75). Those were used for the development of FORTRAN IV programs to perform wind tunnel simulations of various aircraft. During my employment at NASA I also used a series of Hewlett Packard (HP) 9800 desktop programmable calculators (HP9810A, HP9820A, HP9830A), as well as playing some chess games with other remote operators over the ARPANET (early IM user :!:).
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#8 Post by NorrisCell » Thu Oct 23, 2008 8:20 pm

Most of that stuff was before I was born, so no memories on it.

How about the Texas Instruments TI-99 home video game system/ computer from 1980? Voice synthesizer, gigantic coax converter, plus more pixelated games that you could ever possibly want. Hunt the Wumpus? Anyone?
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#9 Post by rkawakami » Thu Oct 23, 2008 8:44 pm

I remember that one but never used it. Bought a Fairchild Channel F video game, around late 1976. Worked at the Exetron division so I got the employee discount. System was based on an F8 microprocessor and used swappable game cartridges containing even more pixelated games (we're talking somewhere around 100 x 60 pixels on a TV screen) using a fragile 8-way controller.
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#10 Post by Kendas » Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:34 pm

rkawakami wrote:During my employment at NASA I also used a series of Hewlett Packard (HP) 9800 desktop programmable calculators (HP9810A, HP9820A, HP9830A), as well as playing some chess games with other remote operators over the ARPANET (early IM user :!:).
Well! Remote chess, somebody else that had a user ID instead of a name... Not quite back as far as ARPANET though. Uncle Sugar had me on DARPANET... I keep telling youngsters that the my first e-mail address that they would recognize was something real close to kens@af.mil and we were using smileys (emoticons youngens) long before they were born. ;--) Danged editor, can't put a "valid" smiley in... Editor changes it to an emoticon. :--(

I miss my Commodore SX64 too (laughingly called a "portable")... It was the first computer my wife and I had at home. Didn't want a computer at home before since I used one at work all the time and didn't want to have to explain the same things over again to the wife and kids.
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And anything else I can stuff in.

Any one else here old enough to have used an IBM 029 Keypunch? :}

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Re: Oldtimers reminiscing about ancient equipment/software

#11 Post by bill bolton » Fri Oct 24, 2008 4:36 pm

rkawakami wrote:Okay, now who here remembers using an ASR33 Teletype, fan-fold paper tape
I learned to program BASIC on a Data General Nova system with ASR-33 terminals, back in the early 1970s. I still have the punch tape for the first working BASIC program I wrote!

After mastering BASIC, I moved on to FORTRAN, with punch cards run on an overnight batch process... much more tedious to program than interactive BASIC, but also capable of a much faster run time processing!

Cheers,

Bill B.

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#12 Post by sjthinkpader » Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:17 pm

NorrisCell wrote:Most of that stuff was before I was born, so no memories on it.

How about the Texas Instruments TI-99 home video game system/ computer from 1980? Voice synthesizer, gigantic coax converter, plus more pixelated games that you could ever possibly want. Hunt the Wumpus? Anyone?
Yes, worked on that program too and still should have a full system in the garage complete with plug in card cage. The real useful piece out of that system was a composite video monitor that I used many years after the computer itself was laid up. The pixelated characters were called sprites.

After TI, went to work on the short lived Timex/Sinclair system and that was the end of my computer design career. The main PCB of the Timex TS-2068 was checked by hand with a set of color pencils.
http://www.nvg.ntnu.no/sinclair/compute ... ts2068.htm
The RGB monitor out of this system was also in use many years after the computer was laid up until the analog VGA monitors came along.

Here is an interesting summary of a TI calculator collection.
http://smithsonianchips.si.edu/texas/calc.htm
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#13 Post by syrenab » Sat Oct 25, 2008 11:35 am

About 1983 I bought a Panasonic "Portable" - It weighed about 30 lbs, cost about $2500 - DOS 2.1 on 5 1/4"floppy, second floppy for applications and work. built in 9" green screen (80 x 25 characters) and thermal printer - 64 K Ram.

4 years later I got a real portable (only 14 lbs!) -Zenith Supersport 286 - 80C88 processor, with 640k RAM. It had one 3.5" 720k floppy drive, and a 20mb hard drive, monochrome 10" LCD display.
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#14 Post by rkawakami » Sat Nov 08, 2008 9:37 pm

syrenab wrote:4 years later I got a real portable (only 14 lbs!) -Zenith Supersport 286 - 80C88 processor, with 640k RAM. It had one 3.5" 720k floppy drive, and a 20mb hard drive, monochrome 10" LCD display.
Then this should bring back some memories:

Image Image Both images are clickable for a full-size [1536x2048 ~1.2MB] version)

Picture on the left shows today's date (after having to set it in CMOS since the battery went dead many years ago). The one on the right is the output from a CPU speed test. It's showing that the system is equivalent to a 11Mhz IBM AT :!: . I've had it in storage for the last 7 or 8 years. I'm shocked that the hard drive is still working, although it's making more noise than what I last remember.
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#15 Post by dorronto » Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:07 am

I worked with Radio Shack back in the early 80's...

How about the Model I, two piece contraption before the new Model III. One piece and huge.............

The Color Computer??

Would you believe the portable Model 100. :wink:

Ah memories..............

Ron
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#16 Post by syrenab » Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:36 am

Truly amazing that your Zenith Supersport is still working!
The keyboard was a lot better than on most modern portables (laptops).
I sold mine about seven years ago. It was still working at the time after traveling all over the Caribbean on my sailboat. Zenith built solid equipment!
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#17 Post by BillMorrow » Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:23 pm

ok, i have an h/p business partner II that is 20 years old and i still use it..

i have the last IBM daisey wheel typewriter and a TTY of some sort hiding in a box..
it is one of the last..
what i WANT is a KSR of some sort..
with a paper roll..

i have an AlphaMicro AM1000, one of the first alpha micro discrete single board computers AND 4 (yes FOUR) 2-televideo (755) and 2-Wyse 50+ semi dumb terminals..
what we called a glass TTY back when palo alto tiny basic was the best hobbyist language available..
and well after the final meeting of the homebrew computer club on el camino real in palo alto..

are we talking about those ancient dinosaurs that we still HAVE or that we once used..?

i built two S-100 buss micro-computers..
a polymorphic systems (based in santa barbara i think) poly 88 and an IMSAI (based in san leandro) 8080 (http://www.imsai.net/) for a pic of one of these beasts..

and FWIW i threw out, in my last move from florida, an original slightly modified racal vadic 300 baud modem..
modem, manual and power supply..
modified because a friend modified the EPROM so it could dial out (i think)..


please bear in mind, guys, that i have socks older than many of y'all.. :)
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#18 Post by tylerwylie » Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:18 pm

BillMorrow wrote:ok, i have an h/p business partner II that is 20 years old and i still use it..

i have the last IBM daisey wheel typewriter and a TTY of some sort hiding in a box..
it is one of the last..
what i WANT is a KSR of some sort..
with a paper roll..

i have an AlphaMicro AM1000, one of the first alpha micro discrete single board computers AND 4 (yes FOUR) 2-televideo (755) and 2-Wyse 50+ semi dumb terminals..
what we called a glass TTY back when palo alto tiny basic was the best hobbyist language available..
and well after the final meeting of the homebrew computer club on el camino real in palo alto..

are we talking about those ancient dinosaurs that we still HAVE or that we once used..?

i built two S-100 buss micro-computers..
a polymorphic systems (based in santa barbara i think) poly 88 and an IMSAI (based in san leandro) 8080 (http://www.imsai.net/) for a pic of one of these beasts..

and FWIW i threw out, in my last move from florida, an original slightly modified racal vadic 300 baud modem..
modem, manual and power supply..
modified because a friend modified the EPROM so it could dial out (i think)..


please bear in mind, guys, that i have socks older than many of y'all.. :)
I've always wanted to grab a really really old server, put a very efficient PSU in it, and throw unix on there and do something fun with it, but it's hard to justify over a 40$ Buffalo with a 220mhz proc and over 8mb of flash/16mb of RAM running DD-WRT :(
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#19 Post by Beaver » Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:54 am

Well, I am searching for someone who will donate some old pSeries to me :D I failed to emulate the Power platform on regular X86 hardware and so there is no way how to run an AIX at home without IBM server.
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#20 Post by killer » Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:53 am

Regarding old equipment; when I started work with IBM in Birmingham in 1967, I used an 082 sorter and a 557 interpreter. In 1968 I moved from data preparation into the computer room. We had a 1401 with 16k of memory. It took up an emormous amount of floor space. It used to read a card, process the data, and print a line ... then read the next card, etc. Then we received a 360 model 30 and we thought it was cutting-edge technology until the model 40 arrived. Then we received a model 50 as well.
It seems a long way back now. 8)
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#21 Post by Rob Mayercik » Tue Nov 11, 2008 8:56 am

NorrisCell wrote:How about the Texas Instruments TI-99 home video game system/ computer from 1980? Voice synthesizer, gigantic coax converter, plus more pixelated games that you could ever possibly want. Hunt the Wumpus? Anyone?
My dad brought home a 99/4A one night in 1980, and it's still in the basement to this day. Haven't powered it up in a long time, but last time I did, it was fully functional, and with the exception of the TI LOGO II cartridge, every last piece of commercial software still worked. I whiled away many a happy hour playing Parsec, Moon Patrol, Pole Position, TI Invaders, Car Wars, etc. Strangely enough, I have never actually used the thing with the RF Modulator (the coax converter you mention) hooked to a color TV - only ever hooked it up to an old 9-inch Zenith B/W portable. Some day I'm gonna drag that classy-looking old beast out (we had the nice one with the black keyboard and the brushed stainless outer shell) and play some color Parsec.

The TI was eventually retired to storage when my folks "upgraded" to a couple of Apple IICs, which eventually got aftermarket memory expansion to 1MB (one of the memory boards even allowed us to boot off a special disk into CP/M). We used a Scribe and both types of Imagewriter printers with those.

Played with Commodores (C64, C128) and TRS-80s (models II, III, and IV) at school - even have a box somewhere that has about 7 disks full of trs-80 games that likely don't work any more.

I learned to type in high school on an IBM PS2/25 running OS/2 (I think), even used an original IBM PC in a lab in college - it was an intel-based microprocessor lab; and some years back someone's senior design was some breakout/breadboard box that allowed you to jack directly into the bus on the thing or something, and we did a bunch of little projects using it. The old IBMs (complete with the steel-cased model "M" keyboards) were booted off MSDOS 6 diskettes, and each used InterSrv/InterLink (!!!) to access the hard drive of a 486DX2/66 PC sitting next to it for additional storage space. We did all our programming with MASM.

My first PC was my 486 in college - a DEC slimline desktop model that I overclocked from 33MHz to 40MHz. Worked good, as did the DEC Multijet 1000 inkjet printer though the rollers on the sheet feeder add-on eventually clogged up with dust - still want to clean that up some day, the printer still seems to work, and might be fun as a basic line printer for a PC devoted to Fax duty or for a Linux build.

Rob
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