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RE: [midatlanticretro] Exciting news for MARCH

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  • Evan Koblentz
    Glenn, I was being somewhat sarcastic, also somewhat blunt ... the CHM opened in alpha mode several years ago, and while they ve had a few exhibits since
    Message 1 of 19 , Nov 7, 2007
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      Glenn,

      I was being somewhat sarcastic, also somewhat blunt ... the CHM opened
      in "alpha" mode several years ago, and while they've had a few exhibits
      since then, they never said "we're open now". They're talking about a
      2009 grand opening. Meawhile they raised $75 million for their
      endowment, and said that's only HALF of the long-term goal. How much
      money do ya need ... that was my point. (Which is not AT ALL a put-down
      of their rank-and-file staff, many of whom of I personally know and
      envy!)

      But at InfoAge, if somebody with deep pockets donated one-thousandth of
      $75 mil ($75K -- the price of a mid-range new Mercedes), that would be a
      massive windfall.

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Glenn Holmer [mailto:gholmer@...]
      Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2007 5:29 AM
      To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Exciting news for MARCH


      On Wednesday 07 November 2007 00:52:54 Evan Koblentz wrote:
      > Meanwhile, out in Silicon Valley, the Computer History Museum and
      > their $75 million but STILL not open exhibit is located in the former
      > executive briefing center of Silicon Graphics.

      I don't understand what you mean by "STILL not open exhibit".

      --
      "After the vintage season came the aftermath - and Cenbe." Glenn Holmer
      (Q-Link: ShadowM) http://www.lyonlabs.org



      Yahoo! Groups Links
    • John Allain
      ... A nice gift to our benefactors who probably deserve something, thank-you. John A.
      Message 2 of 19 , Nov 8, 2007
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        > hard proof ... the first customer of Mauchly/Eckert (even pre-ENIAC) but
        > was, in fact, A MAJOR REASON for why Mauchly/Eckert invented ENIAC in the
        > first place!!!

        A nice gift to our benefactors who probably deserve something, thank-you.

        John A.
      • Evan Koblentz
        Today I read those Mauchly interviews in more detail. On page 19 of the first link that I mentioned yesterday (
        Message 3 of 19 , Nov 8, 2007
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          Message
          Today I read those Mauchly interviews in more detail.
           
          On page 19 of the first link that I mentioned yesterday (http://invention.smithsonian.org/downloads/fa_cohc_tr_mauc700622.pdf), he said, “Burks (he was another prof - EK) and I accepted the appointments as instructors on the Moore School staff, with the assurance by Dr. Chambers, that even though the pay was not great, it was always possible in an engineering school to supplement this by varous other contracts on jobs which needed to be done. This indeed turned out to be the case, especially with the war developing. They began getting some contracts from the military agencies, such as the Signal Corps…”
           
          But what's MORE interesting is that on pages 20-21, he describes the big problem in great detail:
           
          “Then, at some point, I don't remember the exact time, I began to get involved in a project which had been obtained from the Signal Corps in New Jersey. They wanted calculations made on a theoretical basis as to what radiation patterns you would expect in various kinds of antennas. These were antennas that would be used in radar work where you have a small antenna somewhere near the focus of the large reflecting dish, as they called it, and so there were actually two teams working on correlated projects there. One set of people tried to make experimental measurements of the apparatus that I was trying to get the calculations made on. These were essentially parabolic reflectors, but with different portions of the parabolic reflector removed, which would affect half the distribution of radiation away from the target, and might conceivably make a little more energy available at the target, but certain, although the pattern of how, what they called the side lobes of the antenna pattern, behaved. In doing that, they came up with some pretty serious implementation problems. Nobody seemed to know just how to arrange the calculations actually to do this. I was given, by the project administrator, Dr. Brainerd, a book from MIT, Stratton's "Electromagnetism", or whatever it was, in which there was a nice integral and some vector functions and said that this is the way you do it. I was also given an assistant, I can't remember his name now, who was an emeritus professor of physics and, I guess, he had for many years probably taught the first year physics course and been retired. So far as I can remember, I spent considerable time in trying to tell him what we were trying to do, and finally had to report to Dr. Brainerd that I was wasting more time trying to educate him than he was doing helping me. I didn't want to have that drain on the project any more. But that was not the only problem. The problem was also that at the Moore School, what calculating instruments existed besides the differential analyzer? Practically none. Every engineer, of course, had a slide rule, and every engineer was expected to know how to use a slide rule. Slide rules were good enough for his homework, daily class work, laboratory work, etc. But there was to my knowledge, only one digital desk computer, an old Friden, which was available around the Moore School to do multiplication with, and of course, it could do division if you used it right. They had an adding machine in the main office for the secretary to add up the bills or something. But there was nothing available to me but one desk computing machine, which was there for a very singular purpose; namely, to perform test calculations, as I understood it, to see whether the differential analyzer was correctly set up. If you had the wrong gear ratios into that thing it might produce results which would go wild and not be what you wanted, so you would precalculate on the desk calculator what you ought to get as the first few steps on the first part of the run. If you didn't get that, then you'd know there was something wrong, and look further.  I didn't need that for that purpose all the time, so presumably we could, most of the time, use this desk calculator. There was one desk calculator for what we wanted to do. There were literally hundreds of thousands of calculations to be done for each pattern that we were going to develop and they wanted a whole experimental set. ** So the question was how to get more calculating force to bear on this. **”  (emphasis mine -- EK)
           
          He continues, “After months and months of this, we came up with some nice antenna patterns. … As I remember, we were always late in the performance, but this is a somewhat chronic thing which develops whenever you have the deadline set by somebody who doesn't understand all the work that's involved to do it. So when you're out after a contract with the Signal Corps and they say: "We want this in six months", you say: "Aye, aye, sir", and take the contract. You worry about it later, whether you can get it in six months.
           
          In the second file (http://invention.smithsonian.org/downloads/fa_cohc_tr_mauc730110.pdf), on page 20, he is asked, “When you were first thinking about writing a proposal [the interviewer means the proposal for ENIAC – EK], the very first proposal or draft proposal as you might call it, who were the people that you talked to in the process of writing this up?”
           
          Mauchly responds, “Well, I had already done the talking before I wrote that up. I talked first, of course, to Eckert in 1941 in that summer course. I continued to talk to him from time to time on this. I was impelled, you might say, to come back to that subject every time that I got fed up with the slowness of the hand calculations on the Signal Corps project”
           
          Go back and read that last reply again: Mauchly says "I was impelled ... to come back to that subject every time that I got fed up with the slowness of the hand calculations on the Signal Corps project" ... he is DIRECTLY and LITERALLY saying that it was the workload from Camp Evans that CAUSED him to stop just thinking about his ideas for a digital computer and to start MAKING it, together with Eckert, even though he knew a digital approach was absolutely far-out at the time, when all the big companies were focused on how to improve analog machines.  Digital calculation was as wild an idea then as quantum computing seems today, perhaps moreso.
           
          So this is NOT any speculation.  It's already widely known that Mauchly was the "ideas" guy and Eckert was the "techie" guy.
           
          To say it one last time, this is PROOF that the work at Camp Evans was ** THE ** major thing which led to ENIAC.'s construction.  Before that time, Mauchly dreamed of a digital computer so (true story) he could make better weather predictions.  It was only a dream and a couple of half-built flip-flops on his office desk, without any funding.  The Signal Corps project work is what led the Army to give him $61,700, in contract W-670-ORD-4926, aka "Project PX", aka ENIAC -- that's from page 61 of the softcover version of the 1999 book "ENIAC" by Scott McCartney which happens to be on my bookshelf, and which is considered one of the best ENIAC books around; I highly recommend it!)
           
          (McCartney goes on to quote Eckert, who said, "I don't think anybody would have given a young kid twenty-four years old all this money to do something if there hadn't been a war going on .. had John and I been five years older and that much more experienced, we might have 'known' a true electronic computer would not be built."
           
           
           
          -----Original Message-----
          From: Evan Koblentz [mailto:evan@...]
          Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2007 1:53 AM
          To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [midatlanticretro] Exciting news for MARCH

          This is cool.  Tonight I was browsing through an oral history of ENIAC co-inventor John Mauchly, conducted by the Smithsonian back in the 1970s.  The history is divided into four parts.  On page 18 of the first part (http://invention.smithsonian.org/downloads/fa_cohc_tr_mauc700622.pdf), Mauchly says he turned down a job offer from "Ft. Monmouth or some place like that, Signal Corps in New Jersey" ... that is Camp Evans, a.k.a. InfoAge!  So I figured, oh well, we * almost * had a pretty awesome connection ... right!?  As it turns out: it wasn't just an almost!  Use the "find" tool in this document, and also in the second part at http://invention.smithsonian.org/downloads/fa_cohc_tr_mauc730110.pdf and you'll find LOTS of references to the Signal Corp's computing needs.
           
          In the past we had a lot of anecdotal and circumstantial evidence that Camp Evans was a big user of the Moore School's and Mauchly/Eckert's direct services (and we do have a later contract, from 1947, for using the Moore School's differential analyzer), but now we have HARD PROOF -- along with a large amount of detail and insight -- about how the U.S. Army Signal Corps @ Fort Monmouth, a.k.a. Camp Evans, a.k.a. InfoAge and the MARCH computer museum, was not only the first customer of Mauchly/Eckert (even pre-ENIAC) but was, in fact, A MAJOR REASON for why Mauchly/Eckert invented ENIAC in the first place!!!
           
          It's one thing to have connections to the transistor research at Bell Labs, the "P" in HP, Tektronix, EAI, and Perkin-Elmer -- which we do, on all counts -- but now we can PROVE our connection to the start of the industry itself.
           
          Meanwhile, out in Silicon Valley, the Computer History Museum and their $75 million but STILL not open exhibit is located in the former executive briefing center of Silicon Graphics.  Where would you rather have a computer museum?  It's a no-brainer if you ask me!!!  Wall, N.J. -- Birthplace of a Major Inspiration for ENIAC -- and we can PROVE it in a credible, non-classified, searchable-on-Google document.
           
          As if you all couldn't tell, I am really jazzed about this.  Looking forward to bringing this information to the InfoAge weekly board meeting tomorrow (Wed.) night.  And speaking more on practical terms, it's a huge asset to one of our first-stage exhibits, re: Computing & Camp Evans.
           
          - EK
        • B. Degnan
          Evan, Very interesting stuff. I am right there with you...there are plenty of new discoveries to be found to clarify, correct, and refine computer history as
          Message 4 of 19 , Nov 9, 2007
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            Evan,
            Very interesting stuff.  I am right there with you...there are plenty of new discoveries to be found to clarify, correct, and refine computer history as it's known today.
            Bill

            <snip>
            They had an adding machine in the main office for the secretary to add up the bills or something. But there was nothing available to me but one desk computing machine, which was there for a very singular purpose; namely, to perform test calculations, as I understood it, to see whether the differential analyzer was correctly set up. If you had the wrong gear ratios into that thing it might produce results which would go wild and not be what you wanted, so you would precalculate on the desk calculator what you ought to get as the first few steps on the first part of the run. If you didn't get that, then you'd know there was something wrong, and look further.  I didn't need that for that purpose all the time, so presumably we could, most of the time, use this desk calculator. There was one desk calculator for what we wanted to do. There were literally hundreds of thousands of calculations to be done for each pattern that we were going to develop and they wanted a whole experimental set. ** So the question was how to get more calculating force to bear on this. **   (emphasis mine -- EK)
             <snip>



            So this is NOT any speculation.  It's already widely known that Mauchly was the "ideas" guy and Eckert was the "techie" guy.
             
            To say it one last time, this is PROOF that the work at Camp Evans was ** THE ** major thing which led to ENIAC.'s construction.  Before that time, Mauchly dreamed of a digital computer so (true story) he could make better weather predictions.  It was only a dream and a couple of half-built flip-flops on his office desk, without any funding.  The Signal Corps project work is what led the Army to give him $61,700, in contract W-670-ORD-4926, aka "Project PX", aka ENIAC -- that's from page 61 of the softcover version of the 1999 book "ENIAC" by Scott McCartney which happens to be on my bookshelf, and which is considered one of the best ENIAC books around; I highly recommend it!)
             
            (McCartney goes on to quote Eckert, who said, "I don't think anybody would have given a young kid twenty-four years old all this money to do something if there hadn't been a war going on .. had John and I been five years older and that much more experienced, we might have 'known' a true electronic computer would not be built."
             
             
          • John Allain
            ... I have one here in good, (not perfect) condition that I could donate for temporary exhibits. Totally not programmable BTW, unless you count division as a
            Message 5 of 19 , Nov 9, 2007
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              > there was to my knowledge, only one digital desk computer, an old Friden,
              > which was available around the Moore School to do multiplication with, and
              > of course, it could do division if you used it right.

              I have one here in good, (not perfect) condition that I could donate for
              temporary exhibits.

              Totally not programmable BTW, unless you count division as a digit-by-digit
              program.

              John A.

              begin at high digit position EG 100,000X
              subtract until zero crossed
              re-add once
              shift 1/10X
              repeat until shifted to 1's place
            • William Donzelli
              ... Maybe I am missing something, but where does he directly cite Camp Evans, in his own words? The Fort was a busy place back then, and the Camp was home for
              Message 6 of 19 , Nov 9, 2007
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                > Go back and read that last reply again: Mauchly says "I was impelled ... to
                > come back to that subject every time that I got fed up with the slowness of
                > the hand calculations on the Signal Corps project" ... he is DIRECTLY and
                > LITERALLY saying that it was the workload from Camp Evans that CAUSED him to
                > stop just thinking about his ideas for a digital computer and to start
                > MAKING it,

                Maybe I am missing something, but where does he directly cite Camp
                Evans, in his own words?

                The Fort was a busy place back then, and the Camp was home for just
                _some_ of microwave work during the war. For example, his citing the
                working on the parabolic antenna calculations could have been for the
                AN/TRC-5 and -6 microwave relay sets. Those were very probably not
                Camp Evans projects, but were indeed Fort projects.

                Be careful with the claims...

                --
                Will, skeptic
              • Evan Koblentz
                The signal corps part gives it away. The ft. monmouth signal corp IS camp evans. Fred carl can tell you all about the antennas. ... From: William Donzelli
                Message 7 of 19 , Nov 9, 2007
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                  The "signal corps" part gives it away. The ft. monmouth signal corp IS
                  camp evans. Fred carl can tell you all about the antennas.

                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: William Donzelli [mailto:wdonzelli@...]
                  Sent: Friday, November 09, 2007 9:31 PM
                  To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Exciting news for MARCH


                  > Go back and read that last reply again: Mauchly says "I was impelled
                  > ... to come back to that subject every time that I got fed up with the

                  > slowness of the hand calculations on the Signal Corps project" ... he
                  > is DIRECTLY and LITERALLY saying that it was the workload from Camp
                  > Evans that CAUSED him to stop just thinking about his ideas for a
                  > digital computer and to start MAKING it,

                  Maybe I am missing something, but where does he directly cite Camp
                  Evans, in his own words?

                  The Fort was a busy place back then, and the Camp was home for just
                  _some_ of microwave work during the war. For example, his citing the
                  working on the parabolic antenna calculations could have been for the
                  AN/TRC-5 and -6 microwave relay sets. Those were very probably not Camp
                  Evans projects, but were indeed Fort projects.

                  Be careful with the claims...

                  --
                  Will, skeptic



                  Yahoo! Groups Links
                • William Donzelli
                  ... The Fort is (was) a whole bunch bigger than Camp Evans. In fact, Camp Evans was just one of a few new camps purchased for the expansion in 1940 (or so),
                  Message 8 of 19 , Nov 9, 2007
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                    > The "signal corps" part gives it away. The ft. monmouth signal corp IS
                    > camp evans. Fred carl can tell you all about the antennas.

                    The Fort is (was) a whole bunch bigger than Camp Evans. In fact, Camp
                    Evans was just one of a few new camps purchased for the expansion in
                    1940 (or so), well after the Signal Corps set up the Fort in the
                    1920s.

                    Camp Evans, and its research, was just a subset of Fort Monmouth - and
                    actually a small subset at that.

                    --
                    Will
                  • Evan Koblentz
                    I appreciate that you re keeping us on our toes. Always healthy (seriously!) to have someone to challenge such assertions and point out the potential red
                    Message 9 of 19 , Nov 9, 2007
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                      I appreciate that you're keeping us on our toes. Always healthy
                      (seriously!) to have someone to challenge such assertions and point out
                      the potential red flags. I can always count on you and Herb.
                      (Kidding!!!)

                      The fact that Mauchly said (p. 20 of the first document), "These were
                      antennas that would be used in radar work" is a big give-away. We ** DO
                      ** know for fact that Camp Evans was THE epicenter of radar work. We
                      also have a copy of a contract between Camp Evans and the Moore School
                      for use of their differential analyzer.

                      There are many people in the InfoAge community who know far more about
                      Camp Evans' radar history than I ever will. I believe that one of two
                      conversations between me and them will easily clarify, or rather
                      double-verify, that Mauchly did indeed mean Camp Evans.

                      BUT -- Will's email does force me to see a mistake in the claim --
                      InfoAge's site explains that Camp Evans did not come BACK under military
                      control until 1941 -- so that at least shows the part about Mauchly
                      turning down a job there is incorrect, since our base wasn't part of the
                      military in the 1930s. I stand corrected!

                      I believe the more important part, re: his contract work, is still
                      accurate.

                      One of these days I will have to re-visit the JM archives at Penn. The
                      answer will be there. All of the JM archives at Penn are sorted
                      chronologically and are very well indexed. I (or we!) can easily jump
                      to the boxes from 1941-1942 when he joined the Moore School and started
                      getting these contracts.



                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: William Donzelli [mailto:wdonzelli@...]
                      Sent: Friday, November 09, 2007 10:18 PM
                      To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Exciting news for MARCH


                      > The "signal corps" part gives it away. The ft. monmouth signal corp IS

                      > camp evans. Fred carl can tell you all about the antennas.

                      The Fort is (was) a whole bunch bigger than Camp Evans. In fact, Camp
                      Evans was just one of a few new camps purchased for the expansion in
                      1940 (or so), well after the Signal Corps set up the Fort in the 1920s.

                      Camp Evans, and its research, was just a subset of Fort Monmouth - and
                      actually a small subset at that.

                      --
                      Will



                      Yahoo! Groups Links
                    • William Donzelli
                      ... Perhaps that is what he thought. Maybe that is what he was told (remember that back then, radar work was at minimum classified as SECRET). Most people
                      Message 10 of 19 , Nov 9, 2007
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                        A few points to consider:

                        > The fact that Mauchly said (p. 20 of the first document), "These were
                        > antennas that would be used in radar work" is a big give-away.

                        Perhaps that is what he thought. Maybe that is what he was told
                        (remember that back then, radar work was at minimum classified as
                        SECRET). Most people would probably think that work on parabolic
                        antenna systems back then were for radar, but they can be used for any
                        high gain antenna way up in frequency. He may have just been assuming
                        it was for radar work, as memories get fuzzy over the years.

                        > We ** DO
                        > ** know for fact that Camp Evans was THE epicenter of radar work.

                        Center, yes, but not all. And this must also be qualified as center
                        for "_ground_ radar that wasn't rewarmed from British designs". For
                        all any of us know, what Mauchly was referring to may have been some
                        work farmed out from the Air Forces labs, many hundreds of miles away
                        but still technically the Signal Corps.

                        > We
                        > also have a copy of a contract between Camp Evans and the Moore School
                        > for use of their differential analyzer.

                        See, this is the good evidence - the stuff that is on paper. Hopefully dated.

                        Oral histories are notoriously error-prone. Basically, take them with
                        a big grain of salt.

                        > There are many people in the InfoAge community who know far more about
                        > Camp Evans' radar history than I ever will. I believe that one of two
                        > conversations between me and them will easily clarify, or rather
                        > double-verify, that Mauchly did indeed mean Camp Evans.

                        Hey, maybe you can gather the evidence and verify the claim - it would
                        be a nice thing to boast. With having such a profound boast, just be
                        sure to have plenty of evidence from primary, unbiased sources to back
                        you up, otherwise assholes like me WILL question it. The best primary
                        sources are the written records in reports and meeting minutes. Next
                        best are in catalogs and directories. Next is in physical artifacts.
                        Way down the line are oral histories.

                        Consider how often computer people like yourself get all bent out of
                        shape when a company like Microsoft, IBM, or Apple, makes some claim
                        about being the "first to do X".

                        --
                        Will
                      • Evan Koblentz
                        ... would be a nice thing to boast. With having such a profound boast, just be sure to have plenty of evidence from primary, unbiased sources to back you up,
                        Message 11 of 19 , Nov 9, 2007
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                          >>> Hey, maybe you can gather the evidence and verify the claim - it
                          would be a nice thing to boast. With having such a profound boast, just
                          be sure to have plenty of evidence from primary, unbiased sources to
                          back you up, otherwise assholes like me WILL question it. The best
                          primary sources are the written records in reports and meeting minutes.
                          Next best are in catalogs and directories. Next is in physical
                          artifacts. Way down the line are oral histories.

                          I don't think you are an asshole. :)

                          As a professional journalist for the past decade, and more recently as a
                          wanna-be computer historian, I feel like a fool for making this
                          grandiose claim before I double- and triple-checked it with independent
                          sources. For that, you're absolutely right to call me on it, and I've
                          got no shame in saying "I was wrong" here in public.

                          But I'm still sticking to my gut about the other two claims. Hopefully
                          I can get down to Penn in the next few weeks to examine some of the
                          primary sources, written when the events actually happened.

                          I added "evans_moore.jpg" to the Files section of our Yahoo group.
                          Download it and have a look!


                          -----Original Message-----
                          From: William Donzelli [mailto:wdonzelli@...]
                          Sent: Saturday, November 10, 2007 1:04 AM
                          To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Exciting news for MARCH


                          A few points to consider:

                          > The fact that Mauchly said (p. 20 of the first document), "These were

                          > antennas that would be used in radar work" is a big give-away.

                          Perhaps that is what he thought. Maybe that is what he was told
                          (remember that back then, radar work was at minimum classified as
                          SECRET). Most people would probably think that work on parabolic antenna
                          systems back then were for radar, but they can be used for any high gain
                          antenna way up in frequency. He may have just been assuming it was for
                          radar work, as memories get fuzzy over the years.

                          > We ** DO
                          > ** know for fact that Camp Evans was THE epicenter of radar work.

                          Center, yes, but not all. And this must also be qualified as center for
                          "_ground_ radar that wasn't rewarmed from British designs". For all any
                          of us know, what Mauchly was referring to may have been some work farmed
                          out from the Air Forces labs, many hundreds of miles away but still
                          technically the Signal Corps.

                          > We
                          > also have a copy of a contract between Camp Evans and the Moore
                          > School for use of their differential analyzer.

                          See, this is the good evidence - the stuff that is on paper. Hopefully
                          dated.

                          Oral histories are notoriously error-prone. Basically, take them with a
                          big grain of salt.

                          > There are many people in the InfoAge community who know far more
                          > about Camp Evans' radar history than I ever will. I believe that one
                          > of two conversations between me and them will easily clarify, or
                          > rather double-verify, that Mauchly did indeed mean Camp Evans.

                          Hey, maybe you can gather the evidence and verify the claim - it would
                          be a nice thing to boast. With having such a profound boast, just be
                          sure to have plenty of evidence from primary, unbiased sources to back
                          you up, otherwise assholes like me WILL question it. The best primary
                          sources are the written records in reports and meeting minutes. Next
                          best are in catalogs and directories. Next is in physical artifacts. Way
                          down the line are oral histories.

                          Consider how often computer people like yourself get all bent out of
                          shape when a company like Microsoft, IBM, or Apple, makes some claim
                          about being the "first to do X".

                          --
                          Will



                          Yahoo! Groups Links
                        • Evan Koblentz
                          PS -- I added evans_moore.jpg to the Files section of our Yahoo group. Download it and have a look! A few weeks ago, I asked Fred the same question that
                          Message 12 of 19 , Nov 9, 2007
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                            PS -- >>> I added "evans_moore.jpg" to the Files section of our Yahoo
                            group. Download it and have a look!

                            A few weeks ago, I asked Fred the same question that you're thinking
                            right now, "How do we KNOW this is from Camp Evans?" I don't recall his
                            answer, but I'll look that up and post it here.



                            -----Original Message-----
                            From: Evan Koblentz [mailto:evan@...]
                            Sent: Saturday, November 10, 2007 1:19 AM
                            To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: RE: [midatlanticretro] Exciting news for MARCH


                            >>> Hey, maybe you can gather the evidence and verify the claim - it
                            would be a nice thing to boast. With having such a profound boast, just
                            be sure to have plenty of evidence from primary, unbiased sources to
                            back you up, otherwise assholes like me WILL question it. The best
                            primary sources are the written records in reports and meeting minutes.
                            Next best are in catalogs and directories. Next is in physical
                            artifacts. Way down the line are oral histories.

                            I don't think you are an asshole. :)

                            As a professional journalist for the past decade, and more recently as a
                            wanna-be computer historian, I feel like a fool for making this
                            grandiose claim before I double- and triple-checked it with independent
                            sources. For that, you're absolutely right to call me on it, and I've
                            got no shame in saying "I was wrong" here in public.

                            But I'm still sticking to my gut about the other two claims. Hopefully
                            I can get down to Penn in the next few weeks to examine some of the
                            primary sources, written when the events actually happened.

                            I added "evans_moore.jpg" to the Files section of our Yahoo group.
                            Download it and have a look!


                            -----Original Message-----
                            From: William Donzelli [mailto:wdonzelli@...]
                            Sent: Saturday, November 10, 2007 1:04 AM
                            To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Exciting news for MARCH


                            A few points to consider:

                            > The fact that Mauchly said (p. 20 of the first document), "These were

                            > antennas that would be used in radar work" is a big give-away.

                            Perhaps that is what he thought. Maybe that is what he was told
                            (remember that back then, radar work was at minimum classified as
                            SECRET). Most people would probably think that work on parabolic antenna
                            systems back then were for radar, but they can be used for any high gain
                            antenna way up in frequency. He may have just been assuming it was for
                            radar work, as memories get fuzzy over the years.

                            > We ** DO
                            > ** know for fact that Camp Evans was THE epicenter of radar work.

                            Center, yes, but not all. And this must also be qualified as center for
                            "_ground_ radar that wasn't rewarmed from British designs". For all any
                            of us know, what Mauchly was referring to may have been some work farmed
                            out from the Air Forces labs, many hundreds of miles away but still
                            technically the Signal Corps.

                            > We
                            > also have a copy of a contract between Camp Evans and the Moore
                            > School for use of their differential analyzer.

                            See, this is the good evidence - the stuff that is on paper. Hopefully
                            dated.

                            Oral histories are notoriously error-prone. Basically, take them with a
                            big grain of salt.

                            > There are many people in the InfoAge community who know far more
                            > about Camp Evans' radar history than I ever will. I believe that one
                            > of two conversations between me and them will easily clarify, or
                            > rather double-verify, that Mauchly did indeed mean Camp Evans.

                            Hey, maybe you can gather the evidence and verify the claim - it would
                            be a nice thing to boast. With having such a profound boast, just be
                            sure to have plenty of evidence from primary, unbiased sources to back
                            you up, otherwise assholes like me WILL question it. The best primary
                            sources are the written records in reports and meeting minutes. Next
                            best are in catalogs and directories. Next is in physical artifacts. Way
                            down the line are oral histories.

                            Consider how often computer people like yourself get all bent out of
                            shape when a company like Microsoft, IBM, or Apple, makes some claim
                            about being the "first to do X".

                            --
                            Will



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                          • Mike Loewen
                            I recently inherited a 1980 HP 2647A terminal, along with a HP 9872B 4-pen plotter and a box full of manuals, cartridge tapes and plotter pens:
                            Message 13 of 19 , Nov 12, 2007
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                              I recently inherited a 1980 HP 2647A terminal, along with a HP 9872B
                              4-pen plotter and a box full of manuals, cartridge tapes and plotter pens:

                              http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/Oldtech/Terminals/HP2647A.html
                              http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/Oldtech/Terminals/HP9872B.html

                              The 2647A is billed as an Intelligent Graphics Terminal, and could be
                              considered a microcomputer in its own right. It has two cartridge tape
                              drives, and comes with a tape to load "Terminal BASIC" which is BASIC
                              augmented with graphics routines for the terminal. The CPU is an 8080.

                              This lot is going to be a bench project, due to severe "screen rot"
                              between the CRT and the safety shield, and the tape unit capstan rubber
                              has turned sticky. Also, the plotter blows fuses. Regardless, I hope to
                              eventually get these into working order.

                              The 2647A listed for $8,300 in 1980, and the 9872B for $4,200.


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