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6078Re: [midatlanticretro] MARCH PDP-11 exhibit, project update

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  • Dan Roganti
    Sep 22, 2007

      This looks to be a very interesting exhibit.
      I'll look forward to this when I visit there.
      Keep up the great work !

      [ "I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them"     ]
      [ Pittsburgh ----http://www2.applegate.org/~ragooman/    ]

      Herb Johnson wrote:

      I've updated my Web page on the PDP 11/20 system today. This page is
      for MARCH use only, not for public access.

      http://www.retrotec hnology.com/ pdp11/

      This was a system used by the National Bureau of Standards and the
      Post Office in the 1970's, for research and use for scanning
      documents. The NBS (now NIST) created leading computer scanning
      technology for important applications such as the National Census.

      This is not trivial history. The 10-year Census is mandated by the US
      Constitution, but needs new technology to keep up with the volume of
      work and documents. The NBS led the way in rapid scanning methods and
      use of computers; resulting technology was used by business for
      similar record-keeping.

      I'm still researching how this PDP-11 was used to scan documents in
      the 70's. But my survey of DEC documents and papertapes which came
      with this system, suggest to me that MAY we have a COMPLETE 11/20
      software development and maintenance system of the early 1970's. I
      still need to discuss the contents with the donor. Again, the goal is
      an exhibit of how small computers like this were used to develop
      applications in 1970 - years before the first personal computers were
      in production. It's particularly interesting as what we have is PAPER
      TAPE based - appropriate for 1970 and likely VERY alien to most people

      I do not know if we can also protray the actual use of this particular
      machine, as no documents, software, or hardware was provided specific
      to those developments.

      The Web site's home page now includes a first pass at identifying
      documents and paper tapes. There are several photos of these items by
      kind. The items are listed on the project home page at:

      http://www.retrotec hnology.com/ pdp11/

      To give others an idea of the time investment on inventoring such
      items and to make the result accessable, here's a rough rundown of my

      About four hours solid of photography, listing books, papertapes - and
      the list is complete but not fully detailed; about three hours to
      enter the notes onto my Web page; a few hours to cut and sizeand
      identify two dozen photos; hours of Web searching for background
      information; and an hour to rough out and edit the Web page.

      All that, for about six boxes of stuff and one computer. And, this
      only amounts to a "here's what we have", a very little history about
      the computer, and NOTHING about use. Inventory by itself is not a
      small task, if it's to be complete and on-line even as text.

      Herb Johnson

      Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey USA
      http://www.retrotec hnology.com/ herbs_stuff/ web site
      http://www.retrotec hnology.net/ herbs_stuff/ domain mirror
      my email address: hjohnson AAT retrotechnology DOTT com
      if no reply, try in a few days: herbjohnson ATT comcast DOTT net
      "Herb's Stuff": old Mac, SGI, 8-inch floppy drives
      S-100 IMSAI Altair computers, docs, by "Dr. S-100"

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