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Re: [midatlanticretro] PC Authority / Slashdot old computer coverage...

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  • Bob Schwier
    The story I heard was that SAGE was finally put off line because, in the seventies, they discovered that the only source for the vacuum tubes was from
    Message 1 of 10 , Sep 1, 2009
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      The story I heard was that SAGE was finally put off line because, in the seventies,
      they discovered that the only source for the vacuum tubes was from Yugoslavia,
      a then communist state.  As with so much other military gear, they had real
      problems programming newer, off the shelf, hardware to do the same job and
      accept data from the existing sources.
      bs

      --- On Fri, 8/28/09, brian_cirulnick <techrat@...> wrote:

      From: brian_cirulnick <techrat@...>
      Subject: [midatlanticretro] PC Authority / Slashdot old computer coverage...
      To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Friday, August 28, 2009, 11:21 AM

       

      http://www.pcauthor ity.com.au/ Gallery/153867, computer- history-museum- photo-gallery- weird-fascinatin g-photos- including- a-giant-cray- and-a-60kg- hard-drive. aspx/

      http://hardware. slashdot. org/article. pl?sid=09/ 08/28/0341209

      "We might sometimes complain about the limitations of today's technology, but there's nothing like seeing photos of a 27Kg hard drive with a capacity of 5MB to put things into perspective. PC Authority has toured the Computer History Museum in California, and has posted these fascinating photos, including monster 27Kg and 60Kg drives, and a SAGE air-defense system. Each SAGE housed an A/N FSQ-7 computer, which had around 60,000 vacuum tubes. IBM constructed the hardware, and each computer occupied a huge amount of space. From its completion in 1954 it analyzed radar data in real-time, to provide a complete picture of US Airspace during the cold war. Other interesting photos and trivia include some giant early IBM disc platters, and pics of a curvaceous Cray-1 supercomputer, built in 1972. It was the fastest machine in the world until 1977 and an icon for decades. It cost a mere $6 million, and could perform at 160MFLOPS — which your phone can now comfortably manage."


    • Mike Loewen
      ... I ve heard that same story (about tube sources), but never saw any corroborative evidence. The military tends to hang on to things as long as possible, as
      Message 2 of 10 , Sep 1, 2009
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        On Tue, 1 Sep 2009, Bob Schwier wrote:

        > The story I heard was that SAGE was finally put off line because, in the seventies,
        > they discovered that the only source for the vacuum tubes was from Yugoslavia,
        > a then communist state.  As with so much other military gear, they had real
        > problems programming newer, off the shelf, hardware to do the same job and
        > accept data from the existing sources.

        I've heard that same story (about tube sources), but never saw any
        corroborative evidence. The military tends to hang on to things as long
        as possible, as long as they work. SAGE was operational for 25 years and
        its successor (ROCC) almost as long.

        The story floating around about SAGE technicians zooming around on
        roller skates, pushing shopping carts full of tubes is almost certainly
        not true, at least not on the SAGE I worked on.


        Mike Loewen mloewen@...
        Old Technology http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/Oldtech/
      • Bob Schwier
        The story about the techs using rolling stock that I heard was that the techs on ENIAC used shopping carts of tubes.  That was told to me by M. Bouchillon who
        Message 3 of 10 , Sep 1, 2009
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          The story about the techs using rolling stock that I heard was that the techs on
          ENIAC used shopping carts of tubes.  That was told to me by M. Bouchillon who
          was a yeoman working for Grace Hopper on that project.
          bs

          --- On Tue, 9/1/09, Mike Loewen <mloewen@...> wrote:

          From: Mike Loewen <mloewen@...>
          Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] PC Authority / Slashdot old computer coverage....
          To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Tuesday, September 1, 2009, 1:55 PM

           

          On Tue, 1 Sep 2009, Bob Schwier wrote:

          > The story I heard was that SAGE was finally put off line because, in the seventies,
          > they discovered that the only source for the vacuum tubes was from Yugoslavia,
          > a then communist state.  As with so much other military gear, they had real
          > problems programming newer, off the shelf, hardware to do the same job and
          > accept data from the existing sources.

          I've heard that same story (about tube sources), but never saw any
          corroborative evidence. The military tends to hang on to things as long
          as possible, as long as they work. SAGE was operational for 25 years and
          its successor (ROCC) almost as long..

          The story floating around about SAGE technicians zooming around on
          roller skates, pushing shopping carts full of tubes is almost certainly
          not true, at least not on the SAGE I worked on.

          Mike Loewen mloewen@cpumagic. scol.pa.us
          Old Technology http://sturgeon. css.psu.edu/ ~mloewen/ Oldtech/


        • evan@snarc.net
          ... Oy ... Grace Hopper and her stories again ... Hopper was a decent computer scientist and had much to do with getting COBOL started. That s it. Last year I
          Message 4 of 10 , Sep 1, 2009
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            >>> working for Grace Hopper on that project.

            Oy ... Grace Hopper and her stories again ...

            Hopper was a decent computer scientist and had much to do with getting COBOL started. That's it.

            Last year I was at Infoage one day and some visitor INSISTED that Hopper really did "discover" the "first bug".

            What actually happened is that Hopper JOKED about her techs finding a real bug inside a computer, and a bunch of people including media took it seriously. "Bug" was used since Thomas Edison's day.
          • Jim Scheef
            One of my history books has a picture of the Mark I logbook with the moth taped to the page but I can t find it right now. However, the story is directly
            Message 5 of 10 , Sep 1, 2009
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              One of my history books has a picture of the Mark I logbook with the
              moth taped to the page but I can't find it right now. However, the story
              is directly attributed to Hopper in Portraits In Silicon, Slater, p.223.

              Grace Hopper was instrumental in the creation of the first compiler
              (A-0) for the UNIVAC I. This was long before FORTRAN. She just about
              invented high-level languages. She was a member of the committee that
              defined COBOL. Whether she coined the term "bug" as related to a defect
              in a computer program is open to discussion but she was willing to
              accept it.

              Jim

              evan@... wrote:
              >
              >
              > >>> working for Grace Hopper on that project.
              >
              > Oy ... Grace Hopper and her stories again ...
              >
              > Hopper was a decent computer scientist and had much to do with getting
              > COBOL started. That's it.
              >
              > Last year I was at Infoage one day and some visitor INSISTED that Hopper
              > really did "discover" the "first bug".
              >
              > What actually happened is that Hopper JOKED about her techs finding a
              > real bug inside a computer, and a bunch of people including media took
              > it seriously. "Bug" was used since Thomas Edison's day.
              >
            • Evan Koblentz
              Nobody denies there WAS a literal bug in the computer. The problem is she s widely and falsely credited with coining the term itself, despite the term going
              Message 6 of 10 , Sep 1, 2009
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                Nobody denies there WAS a literal bug in the computer. The problem is
                she's widely and falsely credited with coining the term itself, despite
                the term going back to the 1800s.


                > One of my history books has a picture of the Mark I logbook with the
                > moth taped to the page but I can't find it right now. However, the story
                > is directly attributed to Hopper in Portraits In Silicon, Slater, p.223.
                >
                > Grace Hopper was instrumental in the creation of the first compiler
                > (A-0) for the UNIVAC I. This was long before FORTRAN. She just about
                > invented high-level languages. She was a member of the committee that
                > defined COBOL. Whether she coined the term "bug" as related to a defect
                > in a computer program is open to discussion but she was willing to
                > accept it.
                >
                > Jim
                >
                > evan@... wrote:
                >
                >>
                >>
                >> >>> working for Grace Hopper on that project.
                >>
                >> Oy ... Grace Hopper and her stories again ...
                >>
                >> Hopper was a decent computer scientist and had much to do with getting
                >> COBOL started. That's it.
                >>
                >> Last year I was at Infoage one day and some visitor INSISTED that Hopper
                >> really did "discover" the "first bug".
                >>
                >> What actually happened is that Hopper JOKED about her techs finding a
                >> real bug inside a computer, and a bunch of people including media took
                >> it seriously. "Bug" was used since Thomas Edison's day.
                >>
                >>
              • brian_cirulnick
                ... Don t be dissing Grace. While she didn t coin the term as it related to engineering, she popularized it as it related to SOFTWARE, a totally different
                Message 7 of 10 , Sep 3, 2009
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                  --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, Evan Koblentz <evan@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Nobody denies there WAS a literal bug in the computer. The problem is
                  > she's widely and falsely credited with coining the term itself, despite
                  > the term going back to the 1800s.
                  >


                  Don't be dissing Grace. While she didn't coin the term as it related to engineering, she popularized it as it related to SOFTWARE, a totally different field than it was normally attributed to.

                  Remember that every field has it's own lingo, and in some cases there's some crossover. She happened to have the incident noted, and the clout of enough people re-writing what she said to "re-invent" the term for the software industry at a time where it was still forming it's own lingo.

                  That's the hisorical context of everything -- being in the right place at the right time.
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