[OT] Old Guys - was (Re: KDE4.3 beta issues <OT>)

Gene Heskett gene.heskett at verizon.net
Sat May 23 14:06:26 UTC 2009

On Saturday 23 May 2009, Thorny wrote:
>On Sat, 23 May 2009 04:13:08 -0400, Ric Moore posted:
>> On Sat, 2009-05-23 at 09:26 +0200, Donn wrote:
>>> On Saturday, 23 May 2009 07:49:13 Ric Moore wrote:
>>> > Worked like a dream for firing up a modem under CP/M.
>>> All I dimly recall about CP/M is "pip". The world spun pretty fast and
>>> DOS was there before I could learn any more.
>> I had to stay in the cheap seats awhile. A blooming XT cost a coupla
>> grand, when they first came out. A harddrive then? Forgetaboutit. Next
>> thing you know I'll be the cranky grandpa going "In MY day, I had two
>> floppy drives and I was grateful to have that!" Of course Ole Gene will
>> trump that with his ferrite cores and sore fingers from flipping switches.
>> <grins>  Ric
>Ya! Before the start of the FRU (Field Replaceable Unit) concept, which
>was based on pulling a board and putting in another one to get the
>customer back up faster and centralize repair, sometimes we used to have
>to change driver transistors for the rows and columns of those core memory

And that FRU was something that DEC never got the hang of.  We had a pdp11/23 
for several years at WDTV that had an average uptime before it went out for 
lunch & forgot to come back, of anywhere from 3 minutes (which did not fully 
boot it) to maybe 17 hours.  They replaced everything in that beast except the 
frame rail carrying the serial number without effecting a repair.  I still to 
this day think they were just shuffling boards from one customers machine to 
the next one without ever actually fixing a single board.  I finally talked 
Hugo at CBS into trading machines, mine for his test mule.  That worked, but 
it also put Hugo out of the computer business at CBS, so about 4 months later 
all of us got a new IBM box to replace the PDP11/23's.  You couldn't crash 
that IBM box with anything short of a 30-06 round through it.

>Fat-fingering in a bootstrap on the front panel address and data switches
>to load the system seems amazing these days but the display of leds on the
>front panel were cool and could be made to resemble Darth Vader eyes
>while representing the activity level of the system. <BG>
>I didn't get a PC (clone) until '85 because I had the use of a mainframe
>but it still cost $1600 and only had the two 5 1/2 inch floppies. I don't
>know what a real IBM XT cost at the time.
>But Gene probably can still trump me, I think he's older than me, though
>not quite as old as dirt. :-)

Close, I think my Grandpa Hartman invented it.

Cheers, Gene
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