Great story, Doug ... thanks for sharing it! My Dad brought home an analog
computer when he was working on his Master's in Geophysics sometime in the
fifties. It was bigger than a large microwave of today and was my first
exposure to computers and calculators. (I used it to do math homework in jr
high a few times and that, and a Heathkit H88, started me down that slippery
I started using a slide rule in grade school, at Dad's insistence, and used
one until he bought me an electronic calculator in the 70's as a gift ... a
dim recollection of that being a TI-2500?
When I was in the service (Artillery) we used slide rules to calculate
azimuth and deflection for firing commands to the guns. There was a
rudimentary computer issued to every unit in that era, but we didn't bother
with it because we could handily beat it to the punch with a slide rule. In
my stint as a FO with an ARVN Ranger unit, I carried a slide rule and
routinely used it to send commands to the guns from _my_
position in the
boonies ... an unusual technique and something not often done, but perfected
for my own use out of self defense when calling in close fire support from a
non-American unit. Safe to say that that facility with a slide rule saved my
butt a number of times.
My Dad (an honest to goodness WWII hero) got a big kick out of that, being
that the only advice he could come up when I left to go off to war was "Just
don't zig when you should have zagged". But, he had taught me use a slide
rule many years before, and for that, Thanks again, Dad!
I haven't had a slide rule around in years ... think I'll look around for
one and take it to the shop for old times sake.
Last update: 9/21/03
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