Oh, yeah! Many years ago I spent the enormous money it took to buy a
Hayes Ultra 96 modem. An incredible 9600 baud. Wow! About 4x faster
than the one it replaced. But it was it's own problem. It cost so
very much I held onto it with a death grip. When I finally let go, I
got a 56.6 (?) modem. I managed to skip all the steps inbetween. :)
On Sun, 30 Jan 2005 20:39:11 GMT, "Jeff P."
Bah! You're a newbie. <grin>
I go back to the days when 1200 baud was considered _very_ high speed.
The guys with money could afford 300-baud capable terminals -- us poor
bastards suffered with stuff that maxed out at 110 baud,
My first was one of those clickity, clackety teletype machines with an
acoustic coupler. You'd dial up a remote bulletin board, listen for the
beeeeeeeeep and jam the phone handset onto the modem. Mine even had a
paper punch to store some of my machine code programs. I'm glad those good
ole days are gone.
Currently dialup 56K, switching to DSL this week. Tried RR a year or so
back, loved it, but couldn't afford it. Right now I've got DSL through my
local ISP for $29.90/mo. for 1 yr. with option to renew for 2nd yr. @ same
9600 memories; mid 80's, data entry system running entry terminals @ 9600 on
a big MX'er, they were complaining of losing data. Watched the girls, they
were faster than the connection, over-running the buffers. They just had to
slow down a tiny bit.
9600 baud is almost _ten_thousand_ words per minute.
Postulating that the mux _uplink_ was at 9600, and supporting 32 terminals,
They _each_ would have had to be typing at close to 300 words/minute to over-
load the link. color me *very* skeptical. :)
Now, if it was a 64-terminal mux, on a 9.6k uplink, that's getting closer to
Color me red! Maybe they were 1200. I do know the girls running entry could
over-run and lose data(usually fast numeric entry, then *return* or *enter*
to skip to next field). Each terminal had it's own line to a "modem" in the
MX'er, the MX was running straight on a common trunk into the processor, an
NCR Century 200, which at that time was our top of the line.
And the BBS's only downloaded new messages once a day. so your effective
turnaround was 24 hours :-).
Of course, some of us remember before networks and even terminals:
1. Write program on coding sheets.
2. Give to keypuncher.
3. Wait - usually at least 24 hours
4. Check deck for obvious errors (after running cards through
5. Hand deck to computer operator.
6 Wait - depending on your priority level.
7. Check results.
8. Find bug - start over.
I could go back to tabulating machines, but most of you wouldn't even
know what those were :-).
That's what columns 72-80 are for, sequencing. Or, you can draw a
diagonal over the edge of the deck using one of several colors of
highlighters. We didn't have the luxury of keypunch operators, but
used the 029s until TSO came along.
That is followed by 5b -- insert sequence number in 'comments' field on
*every*line* on the coding form.
(Then you can just pick up the 'scrambled' deck, make a few passes through
the 'sorter', and have everything back in the right order.)
It only takes one or two experiences with 'un-numbered' decks for the
'wisdom' to sink in. <voice of "too much" experience speaking>
Well, there was the day I put a several-hundred card deck into the card reader
on the RJE station, hit the 'load' button, watched the cards go _into_ the
machine, and *NOTHING* come out.
Now, the path through the machine, from the input hopper, to the output
stacker was only about _four_ cards long.
The "impossible" had just happened.
I go report the matter to the computer operations staff, in the next room,
and the supervisor comes over (disbelivingly, I might add) to check out
the situation. (they knew me, *knew* I didn't 'make things up', but *this*
story _did_ stretch their credulity.)
He goes around to the back of the machine, opens it up, and breaks up,
laughing.The *entire* innards of the machine (*several* cubic feet) is
absolutely filled with crumpled up punch-cards. _MY_ job deck.
Apparently, the last 'pressure plate' covering the card path, had come up,
and as the cards 'shot' down the reader channel, they just flew up, past the
end of the channel, rather than being stopped at the end and pulled sideways
into the output hopper.
"Cards, Cards, *everywhere*, and not a byte to save."
I could (and *DID*) laugh about it at the time, because: (a) this happened
_after_ the cards went past the 'read' station in the machine, (b) the job
I was submitting was one that copied the data from the input cards to a
'permanent' disk file on the mainframe, and, most importantly, (c) that job
had run _successfully_.
One of the first times I could have used the ROTFLMAO tag was when our
IBM CE got his tie caught in a running 083. Had his face almost down on
the glass by the time he got it stopped :-). And the tie was a total
Heck, I went to a _modern_ university -- they let the students use the
keypunch machines themselves.
Then there was the day I went into the prep room, and saw a friend of
mine sitting at one of the work-tables, staring disconsolately at a print-out,
with a _moderately small_ deck (maybe 80-100) of cards beside him.
I went up, looked over his shoulder, and said "OH! the problem is obvious."
He looks up, and says (hopefully) "what is it?"
I said: "FORTRAN programs have to be on the cards with the purple stripe."
He, *knowing* I was pulling his leg, replied, absolutely deadpan: "Oh, so
_that's_ it. They told us that in class, I should have remembered."
At about this point, some kid sitting on the other side of the table, with
a *BIG* deck (like almost an entire 'box') of _plain_ cards, comes out of his
seat like a marionette on wires, eyes bugged out of his head, and in a rising
wail of absolutely *petrified* anguish/despair exclaims:
"FORTRAN has to be on the *PURPLE* cards????!!!!!!!"
Neither my friend or I could keep a straight face, and broke out laughing.
A few moments later one of us manages to explain that we were just joking,
and the guy collapses back into his chair.
I don't think I've ever seen anybody else so close to having to go change
underwear, just as a result of something that was _said_.
Should I mention plug-board programming an IBM 046 ??
Or analyzing timing for various algorithms for dividing a large collating
job among multiple 049 sorters?
Hmm an IBM 046 was a non-interpreting paper tape to keypunch (basically an 024
keypunch with a paper tape reader) and sorters were 080, 082, 083 or 084.
Do you mean a Daystrom 046?
We can certainly talk about plugging 407s and 557s if you like ;-)
You could also chat about the bastard child of an 082 sorter and a 402 EAM, the
Used a 101 in '56-'57 at Science Research Associates, the folks who were
doing the National Merit Scholarships, etc., before IBM bought them.
BTW, I still have a couple of manuals (403 and 077 IIRC) and an IBM load
calculator. Wonder what those'd bring on Ebay :-).
Not to mention a Univac manual :-).
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