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3054Re: [midatlanticretro] Big rescue opportunity...

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  • William Pechter
    Apr 12, 2006
      Interdata was located in Eatontown, NJ (exit 105 Garden State Parkway) near Fort Monmouth...

      They were located in downtown in a building later owned by the TV/Radio repair and parts place Atkinson and Smith (a great place with a great collection of tools and parts -- all the Xcellite stuff)...

      The building is now a dance studio IIRC.  Up until last year or so you could still see the Interdata logo under the white paint.

      Interdata became Perkin Elmer's computer division and it's mfg moved to Route 36 next to Monmouth Park racetrack.


      Bob Applegate <bob@...> wrote:
      I can't remember the name of the town, but it was somewhere in northern NJ along
      the coast.  They seemed to have some connections with Belcore in Holmdel, so
      probably in that general area, but definitely not Holmdel.
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Wednesday, April 12, 2006 9:18 AM
      Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Big rescue opportunity...

      Where in N.J. was PR (ne Interdata) located. Weren't they near the company that originallly made big analog computers and came out with a big digital in about 1966?
      Both companies tried to hire me very early in their history, and I seem to remember them being closely linked.  I was just finishing a big job for PE (on their SDS computers) when they started talking about a deal with Interdata, in 1968-'69.

      Bob Applegate <bob@...> wrote:
      Wow!  I used to do a lot of work on Perkin-Elmer machines in the mid 80s until I finally
      convinced management to replace them with HP systems.  Our company moved a lot
      of their systems to run our network monitoring software (yeah, companies dedicated
      minicomputers to monitoring network traffic).  And yes, they were all 32 bit machines
      with a common operating system.
      Their OS was called OS/32; I joked with my friends at Microsoft as to why they didn't
      have OS/2 ready, yet I was using a "much better" OS/32 at work.
      PE machines were big number crunchers, and the OS stank for multi-user applications.
      I forget what the multi-user hack was called, but the base OS only supported a single
      user, and you'd load this horrible hack to allow multiple sessions.  FORTRAN was the
      programming language, but they eventually added a bugger C compiler.  We ran a
      Z80 cross assembler for our development (Dave... what was the assembler?  It was
      the same one you guys were using at HDS at the time).
      When I visited the VLA (Very Large Array) in New Mexico the first time and got the
      tour, their data processing center was filled with big PE machines.  I got talking to one
      of the guys there who said PE was the only viable way to crunch all the data coming
      in from all the dishes in a timely manner.  Ugh... it was awful for code development, but
      ran heavy math stuff really well.
      At one point, I ran our big MPU system... Multiple Processing Units.  We had 10 big
      cabinets.  One contained all the 300mb hard drives and tape deck (9 track).  One had
      the main CPU and I/O control unit.  The other 8 big chassis held one additional CPU
      each.  Very big, very impressive.
      PE was based in NJ, so we got excellent support from them.  Every now and then I look
      for old PE stuff on eBay, but I guess it's either all stored in old storage areas with
      cobwebs or long-tossed into landfills.  This is an interesting find, and deserves some
      attention because those machines were very common in the 70s/80s but are very hard
      to find now.
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Tuesday, April 11, 2006 9:44 PM
      Subject: [midatlanticretro] Big rescue opportunity...

      A guy in the NJARC works for a computer consulting company in Eatontown
      (right next to Wall Township, where InfoAge is)... He's got a whole
      motherload of Interdata minicomputers, peripherals, and random other stuff,
      and he says lots of it still works.  I'm meeting him tomorrow at 3:00 at his
      office to check it out.  He said much of it came from the NJ and NY lottery
      commissions and other places.  He's also got documentation for much of it
      and contacts with the company founders.  Interdata has a long history,
      explained at http://www.ccur.com/corp_companyhistory.asp?h=1 ... They claim
      to be the first company other than DEC to run UNIX on 32-bit minicomputers.
      They also did lots of work with Bell Labs, which makes sense -- it's good
      for our museum to have things from a very local company.

      Pioneer Purveyor of Personal Processing Power


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