View Full Version : Old Computers and Tech



FRISKY
07-21-2011, 07:22 PM
Remember these?

http://www.cybersalt.org/images/funnypictures/c/computerdeal89.jpg

FRISKY
07-21-2011, 07:22 PM
http://www.damnlol.com/pics/881/7eb61c059917d8ef937e9330a65f46e0.jpg

Achilleslastand
07-21-2011, 08:49 PM
Didnt Tandy have something to do with radio shack?
I was once a proud member of their battery club.

BBatesokc
07-21-2011, 08:55 PM
I remember buying my first Apple computer. I was probably 17 and it was well over $1,000. I remember thinking it was a powerhouse.

Larry OKC
07-21-2011, 10:17 PM
Yes, Tandy was/is part of the Radio Shack family.

My first Mac was the Performa 6115CD Power PC...it was near top of the line 500meg hard drive (that wont even run the OS anymore much less any other programs etc)...cost me over $1,000 to max out the memory. And BBatesokc, I am sure your Apple was a powerhouse at the time...know mine ran circles around IBM PCs...seems it was about the same time that Intel had come out with this commercial that had a "fly through" of the inside of the computer...it came out that the commercial had to be produced on a Mac because the Intel based PCs couldn't handle it...LOL

cameron_405
07-22-2011, 12:04 AM
Moore's Law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_law)

Jim Kyle
07-22-2011, 08:22 AM
Didnt Tandy have something to do with radio shack?
I was once a proud member of their battery club.Just a bit -- they owned the company.

It started out in Boston right after WW2, as "Uncle Dave's Radio Shack" ("radio shack" was a term used by shipping lines to describe the radio room of a ship) and it catered primarily to ham operators. As it grew, Tandy (originally a leather goods outfit and based in Fort Worth) bought "Uncle Dave" out and kept only the last half of the name. For years, it was the primary source for electronic parts in many parts of the country, but that aspect of its business eventually got phased out in favor of pushing last year's hot item. Today it's difficult to see any trace of the original "Radio Shack" in its stores...

cameron_405
07-22-2011, 12:50 PM
"...today it's difficult to see any trace of the original "Radio Shack" in its stores..."


...small electronic retail brick-and-mortars have had a rough go competing against the likes of big-box retailers and online global stores. The Street has long speculated that Radio Shack is 'shopping itself out' -- someone like Best Buy is most likely to swoop in and take out RSH.

Larry OKC
07-22-2011, 01:52 PM
Maybe so, but there have been times that the likes of radio Shack or Westlake hardware carried the part I needed when the big box retailer didn't even have it as an option. Recently, Radio Shack was surprisingly the cheapest of the 3 that had a USB extension cable. Office Depot and Best buy had it but with about $5 separating each store, from least expensive to most...
Radio Shack
Office Depot
Best Buy

Amazingly, found what I needed at Big Lots for even cheaper ($6 to $11) and even cheaper still at Tuesday Morning. Price range was anywhere from $2 (TM) to $20 (Best Buy)

Thunder
07-22-2011, 02:16 PM
FRISKY, that is amazing and the descriptions got me laughing...especially at them claiming its lightning-fast. The price....sure have came way down since then.

Achilleslastand
07-22-2011, 02:26 PM
I tend to stay away from bestbuy as they are seriously overpriced and some of the supposed pc techs{geek squad}were not that knowlegable.
I use newegg for any online purchases and computer masters for any local retail purchases.

CarltonsKeeper
07-22-2011, 02:36 PM
Talking about old computers - I have a GIGANTIC Univac 111 computer built in the early sixties like you use to see on Mission Impossible with the huge Printers made on tables and the aluminum flooring for the cooling system etc. It fills up a 40' Semi-Trailer and doesen't have the power of an XT from what I'm told.. Have a ton of pix where I pulled it out on a warehouse floor which I own. I have had possession of it since 1975 and have sold it to a party in Ca. I am still storing it for the buyer. Quite a story behind it for the dyed in the wool computer folks!!!

RadicalModerate
07-22-2011, 03:25 PM
Frisky: LOVE that opening picture! At first I thought it was an old computer surrounded by cobwebs and then realized it was just a very old picture.

As far as the "storage devices" go . . . I have maybe a hundred of the non-floppy floppies, well-organized, in various containers completely full of data. I also have several of those little . . . uh . . . thumb drives? . . . umm . . . flash drives? . . . oh, whatever, laying around. Completely empty.

Someday, I need to do something about that . . . Before the crew from "Hoarders" comes around.

The very first "computer" I ever encountered was a terminal at my high school that was connected with the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Mainframe 30+ miles away. That had to have been back in about 1969. It was a huge, 1940s style, sort of neo-art deco box. It ran on punch tape and electricity. We were supposed to use it to help us learn Algebra II: "Write a program (B.A.S.I.C.) to solve for x when y is and work in the wrapping function."

Not only did I get an F for the third quarter of Algebra II . . .
I also got a mental block against computers that persisted until about 1992.

Oh! In addition to Radio Shack(s), wasn't Tandy also famous for Leather crafting stuff?
You know . . . wallets . . . belts . . . saddles . . . lanyards . . .
Or was that a different Tandy?

USG'60
07-22-2011, 03:46 PM
Talking about old computers - I have a GIGANTIC Univac 111 computer built in the early sixties like you use to see on Mission Impossible with the huge Printers made on tables and the aluminum flooring for the cooling system etc. It fills up a 40' Semi-Trailer and doesen't have the power of an XT from what I'm told.. Have a ton of pix where I pulled it out on a warehouse floor which I own. I have had possession of it since 1975 and have sold it to a party in Ca. I am still storing it for the buyer. Quite a story behind it for the dyed in the wool computer folks!!!

Cool, you had the portable model. Quite compact. :-)

Jim Kyle
07-22-2011, 04:53 PM
I tend to stay away from bestbuy as they are seriously overpriced and some of the supposed pc techs{geek squad}were not that knowlegable.
I use newegg for any online purchases and computer masters for any local retail purchases.So do I. I've also found Computer Connections, on May just north of NW 63, to have some quite interesting stock and good prices.

As for Best Buy, they've been accused in the past of re-shrink-wrapping merchandise returned as defective or damaged, and putting it back on the shelves. I've not heard that about any of the local ones, but it seems to be a widespread practice from coast to coast...

Jim Kyle
07-22-2011, 04:58 PM
Talking about old computers - I have a GIGANTIC Univac 111 computer built in the early sixties like you use to see on Mission Impossible with the huge Printers made on tables and the aluminum flooring for the cooling system etc. It fills up a 40' Semi-Trailer and doesen't have the power of an XT from what I'm told.. Have a ton of pix where I pulled it out on a warehouse floor which I own. I have had possession of it since 1975 and have sold it to a party in Ca. I am still storing it for the buyer. Quite a story behind it for the dyed in the wool computer folks!!!So tell us about it! I've been dealing with computers since 1959, and heavily so since mid-1965. Helped set up the first national-network facility in OKC, in the late 60s, and wrote the service manuals for the first monitor-based video terminal (G-E's Datanet-750, in 1965). And I'm a history buff interested in all kinds of history...

ctchandler
07-22-2011, 06:42 PM
Jim, I'm impressed, I thought I was the old computer guy, I began my career in 1962. Did First National's IT become National Sharedata? It might have been Liberty's IT. I suspect we have some mutual friends/acquaintances.
C. T.

So tell us about it! I've been dealing with computers since 1959, and heavily so since mid-1965. Helped set up the first national-network facility in OKC, in the late 60s, and wrote the service manuals for the first monitor-based video terminal (G-E's Datanet-750, in 1965). And I'm a history buff interested in all kinds of history...

Jim Kyle
07-22-2011, 06:56 PM
I joined G-E in July of 1965 as a tech writer, and rapidly got immersed in programming. Stayed in essentially the same job through three changes of ownership: Honeywell, Control Data, and BancTec, during which time I did a lot more software development than tech writing, including writing a database package in a mix of GCOS assembler and Fortran (doing the work in assembler and using Fortran to glue the different routines together) and learning enough COBOL to create a program that would create backpanel wirelists tracing each signal through all its nodes, for inclusion in the service manuals for the big check reader-sorters.

Actually I didn't get to know very many folk in the local IT community; almost all of my contacts were with others in the GE/HISI/MPI/BTI plant. Only after they laid me off in 1990 and I went to work for Norick Software did I come into contact with many IT people...

Around 1982 and later I did do some consulting work with a local real-estate rating service, but that was about the extent of it until the 90s!

bluedogok
07-22-2011, 08:04 PM
Maybe so, but there have been times that the likes of radio Shack or Westlake hardware carried the part I needed when the big box retailer didn't even have it as an option. Recently, Radio Shack was surprisingly the cheapest of the 3 that had a USB extension cable. Office Depot and Best buy had it but with about $5 separating each store, from least expensive to most...
Radio Shack
Office Depot
Best Buy

Amazingly, found what I needed at Big Lots for even cheaper ($6 to $11) and even cheaper still at Tuesday Morning. Price range was anywhere from $2 (TM) to $20 (Best Buy)
When I lived in OKC I always bought cables at either G&H Computers on May Avenue in The Village or Computer USA Outlet at NW 27th & MacArthur, they always had them for a fraction of the national chains. Down here in Austin it's either Fry's or Discount Electronics for most computer items.

CarltonsKeeper
07-23-2011, 06:54 AM
So tell us about it! I've been dealing with computers since 1959, and heavily so since mid-1965. Helped set up the first national-network facility in OKC, in the late 60s, and wrote the service manuals for the first monitor-based video terminal (G-E's Datanet-750, in 1965). And I'm a history buff interested in all kinds of history...

If you would like the pictures and the story behind it just personal message me with your email address and I'll load you up!!

OKCisOK4me
07-23-2011, 10:04 AM
Talking about old computers - I have a GIGANTIC Univac 111 computer built in the early sixties like you use to see on Mission Impossible with the huge Printers made on tables and the aluminum flooring for the cooling system etc. It fills up a 40' Semi-Trailer and doesen't have the power of an XT from what I'm told.. Have a ton of pix where I pulled it out on a warehouse floor which I own. I have had possession of it since 1975 and have sold it to a party in Ca. I am still storing it for the buyer. Quite a story behind it for the dyed in the wool computer folks!!!

So, that's what your screen name means. The name of the Univac 111 is Carlton!! ;-) jk, jk.

I'm young, so you guys will be like, "smh". My first computer was in 95. It was a Dell. The thing that gets me though is the operating base. The whole computer was 1.9Gb. My how far we've come since even then (as that pic above shows how all those floppy discs equals one Sandisk microcard, lol).

On another note, I do have a laptop computer that used to be my uncle's. My dad was going to throw it away, but I wanted to keep it. The brand, I've never even heard of so I'll have to get back to you on that. The one thing I do remember, though, is that the mouse for it was corded and you could hold it in the palm of your hand. It had a white trackball and a tiny little push button on it.

Achilleslastand
07-23-2011, 10:59 AM
When I lived in OKC I always bought cables at either G&H Computers on May Avenue in The Village or Computer USA Outlet at NW 27th & MacArthur, they always had them for a fraction of the national chains. Down here in Austin it's either Fry's or Discount Electronics for most computer items.

We really need a Frys here in OKC

Larry OKC
07-24-2011, 02:20 AM
+1

Jim Kyle
07-24-2011, 09:05 AM
Agreed!

Achilleslastand
07-24-2011, 05:11 PM
Besides a few mom and pop places and locally owned joints there really isnt much in the way of pc/parts/repairs here in OKC. I miss CompUsa and as i posted earlier we do need a Frys. Frys does have some pretty good deals which at times even match neweggs prices.

Jim Kyle
07-24-2011, 05:29 PM
For parts, my standbys are Computer Masters, Computer Connection, and G&H (all on the north side). For repair I stand by Midwest Computer, which no longer maintains a store front location but is still very much in business out of Edmond.

I preferred PC Club over CompUSA when both were still open...

Achilleslastand
07-24-2011, 05:50 PM
I forgot about pc club there on n may they used to have some pretty good prices.

jmpokc1957
07-25-2011, 10:55 AM
I joined G-E in July of 1965 as a tech writer, and rapidly got immersed in programming. Stayed in essentially the same job through three changes of ownership: Honeywell, Control Data, and BancTec, during which time I did a lot more software development than tech writing, including writing a database package in a mix of GCOS assembler and Fortran (doing the work in assembler and using Fortran to glue the different routines together) and learning enough COBOL to create a program that would create backpanel wirelists tracing each signal through all its nodes, for inclusion in the service manuals for the big check reader-sorters.

Actually I didn't get to know very many folk in the local IT community; almost all of my contacts were with others in the GE/HISI/MPI/BTI plant. Only after they laid me off in 1990 and I went to work for Norick Software did I come into contact with many IT people...

Around 1982 and later I did do some consulting work with a local real-estate rating service, but that was about the extent of it until the 90s!


Jim,

Did you work at the GE plant in OKC? My father worked at the one which was
( and I'm working from memory ) just south of 39th off of Portland Ave. He came there in 1963. First he did military communications but then he designed magnetic heads for disks and tape drives. Went through the Honeywell buyout( and maybe CDC ). he was laid off in 1976. He first started with GE in 1949.

Anyways, that's where I got my start in computers, good old BASIC on a model 33 teletype with acoustic modem. Been in computers for 30 years. IMHO DEC pdp-11 was the best. Good operating system in 8k of memory. Whats all this gigabyte stuff anyways!

Mike

Jim Kyle
07-25-2011, 12:05 PM
Did you work at the GE plant in OKC? My father worked at the one which was
( and I'm working from memory ) just south of 39th off of Portland Ave.That sounds like "Building 2" which was on 36th, just east of Tulsa and the Little Giant plant. Building 1 was on 39th, again just east of Tulsa, and a walkway connected the two buildings. Building 2 was where I first worked; we eventually moved from there out to the Reno and Morgan Road building when it was completed. When I started, the plant was Military Communication Department but it soon became Peripheral Operations Oklahoma City, and I may well have known your dad since I also did manuals on the first disk drives built here in OKC.

I disagree with you about the PDP-11 being the best; I had to work with that beast when working with the real estate folk in the mid-80s, and hated having to do everything through the DEC version of BASIC. The best o/s I ever encountered was LDOS for the TRS-80 Models 3 and 4. It fit entirely on a 360K 5.25-inch floppy and ran in very little memory, yet it had features that have never yet appeared in either Linux or Microsoft offerings. Its "partitioned data sets" were the best thing about it, allowing all the tiny files needed by any system to be plunked together in a single large file with a built-in "table of contents" so that the wasted space inherent in disk clusters wasn't necessary. LDOS was written by an ex-IBM systems analyst, and was a fully professional package. It kept me using the TRASH-80 for a couple of years after it had become obvious that Microsoft was the only way to go, commercially!

jmpokc1957
07-25-2011, 02:56 PM
That sounds like "Building 2" which was on 36th, just east of Tulsa and the Little Giant plant. Building 1 was on 39th, again just east of Tulsa, and a walkway connected the two buildings. Building 2 was where I first worked; we eventually moved from there out to the Reno and Morgan Road building when it was completed. When I started, the plant was Military Communication Department but it soon became Peripheral Operations Oklahoma City, and I may well have known your dad since I also did manuals on the first disk drives built here in OKC.

I disagree with you about the PDP-11 being the best; I had to work with that beast when working with the real estate folk in the mid-80s, and hated having to do everything through the DEC version of BASIC. The best o/s I ever encountered was LDOS for the TRS-80 Models 3 and 4. It fit entirely on a 360K 5.25-inch floppy and ran in very little memory, yet it had features that have never yet appeared in either Linux or Microsoft offerings. Its "partitioned data sets" were the best thing about it, allowing all the tiny files needed by any system to be plunked together in a single large file with a built-in "table of contents" so that the wasted space inherent in disk clusters wasn't necessary. LDOS was written by an ex-IBM systems analyst, and was a fully professional package. It kept me using the TRASH-80 for a couple of years after it had become obvious that Microsoft was the only way to go, commercially!

Jim,

Yes, that's the location. I remember the Little Giant company. Whether it was bldg 1 or 2 I don't know. I remember going to the Morgan Road facility when there was an open house. That would of been in the mid to early 70's.

My fathers name was John Popa. He was an electrical engineer and, as I said, worked in MCD and then designed disk/tape heads. I have samples of the heads that he designed. One went in a retail sales system that I later saw in a computer textbook. That would of been during the Honeywell days.

There were a lot of General Electric people there and I remember many lived near us in the Rollingwood area. Some of them went back to New York after a few years. I guess that was quite a culture shock! Kind of like when we came to Oregon( to work at Tektronix ) after having lived in OKC.

I had a very different experience with the PDP-11. I never used the DEC basic but I used fortran and assembler. I did automation programming for Tektronix. I bought my first IBM PC-XT in 1983 for about $4000! It even had a 10MB Winchester hard disk! Best career move I ever made as it got me in on the ground floor of the PC wave.
Those were the days.

Thanks for sharing the memories of GE in OKC.

Mike

ctchandler
07-25-2011, 03:57 PM
Jim, The PDP-11 was a solid system from a hardware and OS standpoint. But I never programmed on it so that's just my opinion from being in the computer career since 1962. Since this thread is about old computers and technology, here is what I have worked on. I'm hoping to hear from others that have some of the same experiences. I worked as a project planner, the predecessor to systems analyst in an EAM (tab) shop with IBM 407 tabulators, 604 electronic calculator, 519 reproducing punch, 557 collators, and 083 sorters. Next, I worked on a CDC 1604/160 which was upgraded to a 1604/8090, IBM 1401, IBM 1410 with a 7010 OS, and the second IBM 360/50 delivered in the world. Of course it was government, top security. It was scheduled to be delivered to Safeway (I believe in Utah) but the DIA/DCA used a government priority to steal it from them. After leaving the service, I worked on a 360/25, Univac 1130, Univac 1004, Univac 1120, RCA Spectra 70, Univac 1100 series (several models), a Honeywell that I can't remember the model of but the OS was GCOS, and finally, Tandem/Hewlitt Packard equipment. I also worked for a while on an IBM 370 in the early 80s. I retired shortly after Hewlitt Packard bought Tandem. The computer business was good to me, I made a nice living, retired early and I have no complaints.
C. T.

Jim Kyle
07-25-2011, 08:56 PM
That Honeywell machine that ran GCOS was probably a Level 66, which was Honeywell's re-branding of G-E's 645, the machine originally designed for Project MAC at MIT and also installed at Cape Canaveral. It was one of the most powerful boxes of its time, with around a million 36-bit words of core memory and able to handle dozens of tape drives and disc units at the same time (the discs could store around 5 MB each, with 64-word sectors).

The first programming I did was with G-E's time-sharing system using Model 33 Teletype terminals and the original Dartmouth Basic (with no string capability at all). I finally got access to an Olivetti machine in one of the labs and learned to program it in assembly language, via punch cards. Eventually I got a DATANET-30 Communications Controller (which was actually a fully capable computer in its own right) to play with, and it ran an o/s called TRAC (Text Reckoning And Compiling) which supported four terminals running independently at the same time. Also learned assembly language for the G-E 265, and rewrote the Remote Access Editing System to improve the sped of its formatting module. This all led to learning MULTICS on the 645, via the time-sharing network which had speeded up to 134.5 baud from the original 110. Those were great days, when every week brought new challenges.

I stayed out of microcomputers initially; they simply cost too much for me to afford. I finally did some contract writing for an entrepreneur over at Cushing, using a word processing package that I had written on the Level 66 in the OKC plant. He was impressed by the look of the result, and suggested a joint venture to create a better-than-Scripsit program for the TRS-80 -- he would provide the hardware and I would do the software. I jumped at it and drove over on Father's Day of 1981 to pick up the computer and daisy wheel printer. Since at that time the only languages available on the TRS-80 were interpreted BASIC, Z80 Assembly Language, and compiled Fortran, I wrote the program with assembly language modules, glued together with Fortran (the same thing I had done on the Level 66). We never did release it; each time I thought it was ready, my partner came up with more features he wanted to include. He finally traded his operations off to someone else and the whole thing fell through, but I kept the TRS-80 for several more years until finally giving it back to him.