So ... as you guys know, I love learning about the FIELDATA computers
and their connection to Camp Evans.
While I should be sleeping, I've been up all night following link about
link ... and at 3am I discovered something else new to me ... there was
a user group called FAST -- "FIELDATA Applied Systems and Techniques" --
operated from Fort Huachuca, Ariz., by a man named Grady Banister.
An article in the Nov. 1, 1990 issue of IEEE Annals of the History of
>>> FAST (Fieldata Applied Systems and Techniques) is a group of
manufacturers, user facilities, and interested persons
having to do with the FIELDATA family of computers, it might be said
that the members of FAST have in common only one thing: a single
customer, the U.S. Field Army. These machines range from MlCROPAC, a
handtransportable (i.e., “breakie-backie”) machine, to MOBIDIC, a
machine which is mounted in a van towed by a prime mover. These binary
machines include a common area of language, such that programs written
for any one of them can be executed on any other machine which is higher
in the hierarchy, i.e., they are upwardly compatible." <<<
I will contact Fort Huachuca to see if they have any documentation about
FAST, including whether the group ever met at Camp Evans, etc.
I already knew about MICROPAC -- don't be fooled by the author's term
"handtransportable" -- it weighed 100 pounds and was meant to sit in the
back of a Jeep; it had a handle on each side for one very strong soldier
to schlep it, or more likely one soldier on each side. Sort of the
Osborne of its day. :) They were able to make it so lightweight
(relatively speaking for 1964) by using then-new "micro-module"
techniques, which were Lego-like assemblies of components to simply
design and heat transfer -- chips existed but they weren't yet ready for
primetime. MICROPAC stood for Micro-Module Data Processor And Computer.
Anyway, that's a different subject.
What is * new * to me, about MICROPAC, is the term "breakie-backie" -- a
wonderful play on the Army's other, more popular micro-module sample
application, which was the Handie-Talkie. Chances are the term B-B is
commonly known among Army people, but it's new to me .....
I'm excited now to learn about FAST, after all these years of studying
FIELDATA and never having stumbled onto it! I've previously interviewed
several FIELDATA people. Now I can go back to them all and inquire about
FAST: Not just a Microsoft word for a data search application.