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Topic: (no subject) or computer roots (6 msgs / 144 lines)
1) From: jim gundlach
Took my first computer class back in 63, when FORTRAN was the 
introductory language.   Computer usage was limited to submitting 12 
programs of no more than 20 cards each.  We had to wait a day or two to 
get the results.  My T4 laptop ran through more instructions while I 
write this short e-mail than that mainframe ran during its entire 
Jim Gundlach
On Wednesday, February 26, 2003, at 09:04 AM, Ben Treichel wrote:
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2) From: Rick Farris
I *saw* my first computer in '63.  Went on a Boy Scout field trip to the big
IBM facility downtown to look at a computer.  Cards were still the normal
mode of programming when I started.  Way more than 20, though.  We used to
use a magic marker to make a big X across the top of the card deck so that
if we dropped the deck and mixed it up it would be easier to get back
together in order.
Then paper tape came along and boy was that a luxury.  You know, towards the
end there, there was some amazing paper tape handling equipment.  High-speed
optical readers and punches...
-- Rick

3) From: Ben Treichel
I liked the mylar boot loops myself. And disk platters big enough to 
double as a halo.
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4) From: Jim Karavias
Remember core, where you could actually see toroidal iron wrapped with
copper wire used as memory.  I had an 8 bit module that I got from the
computer museum in Boston.  I remember watching a video of these
experimenters using mercury pools as memory devices.  They'd start a wave in
the pool and the time it took to reflect off the far end of the pool back to
the detectors was the memory duration time. As the wave crests went past an
electrode hovering just above the mercury, a circuit was completed and a 1
was detected.  I can't believe where we are nowadays.  WiFi in every
Starbucks here where I live.  (Just to bring it back on topic :-)
Jim K

5) From: Steve Wall
On Wednesday, February 26, 2003, at 03:26 PM, Rick Farris wrote:
About 3 years ago I learned that the US military stills uses paper tape
equipment for distributing crypto keys at certain levels.  I think 
used for the original distribution from the source (NSA?), and probably
only go down to about a brigade level, where they're loaded on portable
electronic devices that're sneakernetted (armybootnetted?) around to
individual end users.  One nice thing about paper tape in this 
is you could string it up, burn it, crush the ashes and it's GONE.
Steve Wall
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6) From: Rick Farris
I used to work for a defense contractor, and we had to supply certain
programs on paper tape.  The rationale was that paper tape is immune to EMP.
-- Rick

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