[Novalug] Elevate America
novalugml at jgcomp.com
Fri Jan 29 15:17:24 EST 2010
On Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 11:49:25AM -0500, Bonnie Dalzell wrote:
> On Fri, 29 Jan 2010, James Ewing Cottrell 3rd wrote:
> > Why would professors want *toys* when they likely had real computers, such as
> > PDP-11s? There were also a number of mini/micro computers like Varian and
> > Microdata available.
> Note I said "non-computer science professors" - people using the
> computer initially for writing manuscripts, etc. The Anatomy Dept
> had its PDP-11 in the basement (I saw it when it was old and they
> wanted to sell it) with its PDP-11 programmer who set up your statistics
> and stuff for you. However one PDP-11 guy and 20 professors.
> Somehow the Anatomy dept had never found out about the idea of a central
> computer and separate workstations. I think this was common to many non
> computer science depts at the time.
Similarly, and predating MicroSoft, our lab at Rockefeller U had an
instrument connected to a PDP-8. It controlled and analyzed one run,
not even storing any data. So each sample run had to be dumped to
a printer and the results keyed by hand for any further analysis.
We purchased one of these new "toy" computers called PC's and wrote
basic and assembler programs to capture the data dumps from the printer
port. The data were stored on floppys and be used as input to other
programs for analysis.
There was no way we could have justified the cost of purchasing,
maintaining, and staffing of a lab, or even department PDP-11.
Jon H. LaBadie jon at jgcomp.com
12027 Creekbend Drive (703) 787-0884
Reston, VA 20194 (703) 787-0922 (fax)
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