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FIELDATA / I should be sleeping ...

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  • Evan Koblentz
    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
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 21 12:29 AM
      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
      Computing states:

      >>> 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.

      FAST: Not just a Microsoft word for a data search application.
    • B Degnan
      ... Very interesting. Bill
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 21 7:48 AM
        At 03:29 AM 1/21/2012, you wrote:
        >So ... as you guys know, I love learning about the FIELDATA computers
        >and their connection to Camp Evans.
        >
        ><snip>.
        >
        >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.
        >
        >FAST: Not just a Microsoft word for a data search application.
        >


        Very interesting.


        Bill
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