Re: Slide Rules and Slipsticks - in the 1960's B.C. - i.e. (Before Computers)

Kent Kirkley


You said "The U of T had the fortune of getting"
Was U of T, Texas or Tenessee?
If Texas what years were you there?
I was there 1965-69 and also used Fortran punched card programs.
And yes, I used a slide rule (2) in high school, both K&E's.

Kent Kirkley

-----Original Message-----
From: Joe Zeglinski <J.Zeglinski@...>
Sent: Fri, Mar 12, 2021 3:29 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Slide Rules and Slipsticks - in the 1960's B.C. - i.e. (Before Computers)

    Maybe,  I can somewhat top that,  Don.
    First year engineering,  Fortran punched card programs,  on the big fish-bowl machine – an awe inspiring IBM-7094, long before the IBM-360,  and which was the original IBM-7090 upgraded  with something new - a Floating Point Processor.
That was the death knell for the desktop NCR Tabulators. The UofT had the fortune of getting the second IBM-7094 in production,  after NASA got theirs for Project Mercury. The latter’s introduction  is portrayed in the recent movie, “Computing Figures”, which brought back wondrous memories for me.
    But I preferred using the undergrad machine, an IBM-1620 with a coffin-sized floating point processor,  we hung over it to get ourselves warmed up on a cold winters morning, Working for the eelier mentioned prof,  even got special permission to actually run it after midnight – my first PC, sort of. Loved to turn off the lab room lights, and enjoy all the Neon Hex-code indicators and control panel switch’s lights flash like a laser show. Wish I had taken a picture. No PC today compares to that thrill and amazing sight, perhaps only beat by the IBM-7094 and IBM-360 light show when running  diagnostics.
    Last thing I did with one of my dozen or so  basement Honeywell Minicomputers, was to play an originally PDP-8 programmed,  Christmas Carol,  from the RFI noise generated by the mini’s control panel (specifically)  incandescent bulb, (Arithmetic Overflow flip-flop Indicator), flickering  on & off by program as a portable radio tuned to any off-AM-station frequency , crackled melodically, even 10 feet away,  in unison to the carol. Computing Security wasn’t a concept in those early days.
    “Halcion Days” ... of computing,  when computers were new and lots more fun than debug work, after I taught myself computing,  before Computer Science came along,
    Thanks for bringing back all the shared memories, guys.   Now back to my bug-free Pickett – wonder why we called its sliding  indicator window a “Cursor”, instead of a “Mouse”, since it really worked  the same way  :-)
Joe Z.
From: Don Anderson via
Sent: Friday, March 12, 2021 2:49 PM
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Slide Rules and Slipsticks - in the 1960's B.C. - i.e. (Before Computers)
I did my first programing in Fortran with punch cards on an IBM360.
woe be to the person who dropped their program on the way to class!. Sorting a couple hundred punch cards 10 min before class started was stressful!
Don Anderson
On Friday, March 12, 2021, 11:57:15 a.m. MST, Jeffrey Wolff <jmw2800@...> wrote:
I had to use a slide rule in high school. I remember my Dad buying a basic four function calculator when I was finishing high school.

I learned about HP calculator's in college and bought 3 different programmable calculators by the time I graduated. My first drafting class was using paper, pencils and a bunch of tools to make lines and circles. Eventually did AutoCAD and digital circuit design.

Started programming computers using punch cards. Eventually got my masters in Computer Science and spent my working life running networks, switches, routers, firewalls, wireless, fiber optics and other stuff to bring the Internet to everybody at the university. Been working at my employer since 1989. We went from 1.5 megabits/second for the whole state higher education network to a pair of 100 gigabit/second Internet2 circuits now.

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