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"Geriatric federal computers threaten tax refunds"

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  • Bryan Pope
    I think this is the first time I have heard vintage computers called geriatric.. http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Politics/2010/04/20/13653086-qmi.html It says that
    Message 1 of 11 , Apr 20, 2010
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      I think this is the first time I have heard vintage computers called
      geriatric..

      http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Politics/2010/04/20/13653086-qmi.html

      It says that the system which determines eligibility for benefits and
      tax credits was implemented in the 1970s, yet processed 27 million
      returns in the 2008-2009 tax year.

      Cheers,

      Bryan
    • Jeffrey Brace
      I wonder what kind of system it is exactly. Vax, IBM. Written in COBOL ? I guess they didn t upgrade when the US was in hysterics over Y2K and replaced many
      Message 2 of 11 , Apr 20, 2010
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        I wonder what kind of system it is exactly. Vax, IBM. Written in COBOL ? I guess they didn't upgrade when the US was in hysterics over Y2K and replaced many systems or upgraded existing ones with fixes. 
         
         
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 4:51 PM
        Subject: [midatlanticretro] "Geriatric federal computers threaten tax refunds"

         

        I think this is the first time I have heard vintage computers called
        geriatric..

        http://cnews. canoe.ca/ CNEWS/Politics/ 2010/04/20/ 13653086- qmi.html

        It says that the system which determines eligibility for benefits and
        tax credits was implemented in the 1970s, yet processed 27 million
        returns in the 2008-2009 tax year.

        Cheers,

        Bryan

      • Bob Schwier
        If they are actually using 1970 s vintage main frames, they are wasting a bit of space and power.  Finding repair parts must be fun. bs ... From: Bryan Pope
        Message 3 of 11 , Apr 29, 2010
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          If they are actually using 1970's vintage main frames, they are wasting a bit of space and
          power.  Finding repair parts must be fun.
          bs

          --- On Tue, 4/20/10, Bryan Pope <bryan.pope@...> wrote:

          From: Bryan Pope <bryan.pope@...>
          Subject: [midatlanticretro] "Geriatric federal computers threaten tax refunds"
          To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Tuesday, April 20, 2010, 5:51 PM

           
          I think this is the first time I have heard vintage computers called
          geriatric..

          http://cnews. canoe.ca/ CNEWS/Politics/ 2010/04/20/ 13653086- qmi.html

          It says that the system which determines eligibility for benefits and
          tax credits was implemented in the 1970s, yet processed 27 million
          returns in the 2008-2009 tax year.

          Cheers,

          Bryan


        • brian_cirulnick
          Actually the article just says information technology systems , but it doesn t specifically mention any hardware. It s entirely plausible that they are
          Message 4 of 11 , Apr 29, 2010
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            Actually the article just says "information technology systems", but it doesn't specifically mention any hardware.

            It's entirely plausible that they are running fairly modern System 390's, but many of the batch jobs are simply ported over cobol from the earlier days and it's the software that needs to be updated.

            Where I work, I see plenty of source code from 1980 and earlier, but it's been patched and re-written by a slew of Russian programmers.

            Then again, I also know plenty of shops where "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" is the motto.... and that DOS program has been running since 1986 with no issues.


            --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, Bob Schwier <schwepes2002@...> wrote:
            >
            > If they are actually using 1970's vintage main frames, they are wasting a bit of space and
            > power.  Finding repair parts must be fun.
            > bs
            >
            > --- On Tue, 4/20/10, Bryan Pope <bryan.pope@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            > From: Bryan Pope <bryan.pope@...>
            > Subject: [midatlanticretro] "Geriatric federal computers threaten tax refunds"
            > To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
            > Date: Tuesday, April 20, 2010, 5:51 PM
            >
            >
            >  
            >
            >
            >
            > I think this is the first time I have heard vintage computers called
            > geriatric..
            >
            > http://cnews. canoe.ca/ CNEWS/Politics/ 2010/04/20/ 13653086- qmi.html
            >
            > It says that the system which determines eligibility for benefits and
            > tax credits was implemented in the 1970s, yet processed 27 million
            > returns in the 2008-2009 tax year.
            >
            > Cheers,
            >
            > Bryan
            >
          • Christian Liendo
            For those of you who are not on classiccmp. Looks like John Blankenbaker s daughter is selling his last unit.
            Message 5 of 11 , Apr 29, 2010
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              For those of you who are not on classiccmp.

              Looks like John Blankenbaker's daughter is selling his last unit.

              http://cgi.ebay.com/Kenbak-1-computer-RARE-VINTAGE-PC-/320522921808

              Bidding started at $4000.00

              I myself am selling a kidney, I hope to sell that before the Kenbak.. Shall we start at $20,000

            • B Degnan
              Why is this computer worth more than say a Interdata Model 3, PDP 11/20, Mark 8, or Sclebi 8H? Is it really that historic? I am sure it will get around
              Message 6 of 11 , Apr 29, 2010
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                Why is this computer worth more than say a Interdata Model 3, PDP 11/20, Mark 8, or Sclebi  8H?  Is it really that historic?  I am sure it will get around $7500.  The same Scientific American issue Nov 1971 as two other personal computer ads, educate yourself people! 

                Keep your kidney for separating urea, mineral salts, toxins, and other waste products from your blood.

                Bill


                Christian Liendo wrote:
                For those of you who are not on classiccmp.

                Looks like John Blankenbaker's daughter is selling his last unit.

                http://cgi.ebay.com/Kenbak-1-computer-RARE-VINTAGE-PC-/320522921808

                Bidding started at $4000.00

                I myself am selling a kidney, I hope to sell that before the Kenbak.. Shall we start at $20,000


              • Christian Liendo
                I eat healthy and I don t drink. Well, actually I don t eat too healthy. Dude I am not going to sell my kidney for this machine. Maybe a toe... ... Keep your
                Message 7 of 11 , Apr 29, 2010
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                  I eat healthy and I don't drink.
                  Well, actually I don't eat too healthy.

                  Dude I am not going to sell my kidney for this machine.

                  Maybe a toe...

                  --- On Thu, 4/29/10, B Degnan <billdeg@...> wrote:
                  Keep your kidney for separating urea, mineral salts, toxins, and other
                  waste products from your blood.
                • B Degnan
                  ... Sorry, I did not mean to come off overly negative. I would love to have a Kenbak I think they re historical, but not as important as other computers that
                  Message 8 of 11 , Apr 29, 2010
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                    Christian Liendo wrote:
                    > I eat healthy and I don't drink.
                    > Well, actually I don't eat too healthy.
                    >
                    > Dude I am not going to sell my kidney for this machine.
                    >
                    > Maybe a toe...
                    >
                    >
                    Sorry, I did not mean to come off overly negative. I would love to have
                    a Kenbak I think they're historical, but not as important as other
                    computers that sell for far less, and are just as rare to find. It
                    puzzles me.
                    Bill
                  • Evan Koblentz
                    ... Which ones?
                    Message 9 of 11 , Apr 29, 2010
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                      The same Scientific American issue Nov 1971 as two other personal computer ads

                      Which ones?
                    • Dan Roganti
                      There are some vintage computers still in operation , namely in the military, which still serve a purpose. One of my ol timer buddies still makes a living as
                      Message 10 of 11 , Apr 30, 2010
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                        There are some vintage computers still in operation , namely in the military, which still serve a purpose. One of my ol' timer buddies still makes a living as a consultant on the SEL machines that we designed, including some CDC Cyber's, out in Cali at the Space and Missile Center on Vandenberg AFB. The computer room alone is about 2acres large--with about 2doz systems. It's been in continuous operation since 1977 , serving the military and Nasa and as part of the SALT treaty.
                        You can read a short story and some pics are on here. I posted a question on ctalk sometime last year I think about what vintage machines that are still active and in operation, such as this site, - not counting people's or museum collections -
                        http://www.vintagecomputer.net/ragooman/computers_mini_gallery_tips.html

                        =Dan
                        http://www.vintagecomputer.net/ragooman/
                        

                      • B Degnan
                        ... Specific to the SciAm from at or around late 1971: Olivetti Super-micro-computer model P-602. Programs recorded on small magnetic cards, etc. Hewlett
                        Message 11 of 11 , Apr 30, 2010
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                          Evan Koblentz wrote:
                          The same Scientific American issue Nov 1971 as two other personal computer ads

                          Which ones?


                          Specific to the SciAm from at or around late 1971:

                          Olivetti "Super-micro-computer" model P-602.  Programs recorded on small magnetic cards, etc.

                          Hewlett Packard Model 10.  A programmable calculator with customized I/O assignments, peripherals available

                          Granted these are evolutions of the desk calculator, but interface aside you can program these, etc. they're targeted to the home / small business / scientific market.  They have memory, etc.

                          I accept that the Kenbak is different because it's a digital trainer-type computer with switches like a PDP system and provides access to the machine level memory addresses, not a calculator-type like the HP and Olivetti's whose function is more to perform custom math functions.  The guts of the systems are all different from each other.

                          None of these had an ascii keyboard standard.  The HP I think had an RS-232 and in theory someone could have used this with a teletype or terminal using the built-in printer port.  Did the Kenbak have any ports?

                          Is the kitch difference between the Kenbak and the HP / Olivetti the fact that it's being sold by a small company and not a large one?   I do find the Kenbak historical, very much so, but I believe that it's historical importance is over valued and the others under valued.

                          Is it all about price?  Digital vs. Analog?  Not a calculator interface? Toggle switches?  Because it looks like a PDP's interface?

                          I guess you could call the Kenbak a first computer targeted to the home computer/student computer market without a calculator interface built in, and a PDP-type set of toggle switches for less than $1000? 
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