Making do with a studio computer

with industry Pro, Nick Batzdorf

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nickbatzdorf
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Re: Making do with a studio computer

Post by nickbatzdorf » Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:40 pm

I don't think it's the least bit humorous, I think it's interesting. They didn't have ICs then, as I said, and they said that some things would still have to be invented to make it affordable. How could they have forseen that everything would become minaturized? That steering wheel obviously had a function. Those people at the Rand Corporation weren't and still aren't idiots - this was just their best guess.It really wasn't that long ago that the idea of microprocessors - which came way after ICs - was totally amazing. Desktop calculators only came around in the '70s, and I remember talking about people still making payments on them as recently as the early '80s.We've now been caught up in the digital era long enough to have forgotten how quickly technology advances (I think in many ways it's exponential). Things moved much more slowly in those days. The first computers were in the early '40s, which is not very long ago at all. They were powered by tubes, filled up huge rooms, required teams of technicians in white coats to operate, and were about as powerful as desktop calculators; they were used to calculate the trajectories of missiles during WWII. That's only 65 years ago! In 1968 I went to school in England for a year and stayed at my uncle's house on the weekends. He's a pretty major computer scientist (has a CBE in England, which is about like being knighted!), and he was working on an incredibly revolutionary idea: computers talking to one another over a phone line. And that was only 38 years ago, which is really not very long.And to push the point farther, consider that before the early 1900s - within the lifetime of a few people who are still around - everything ran on coal! (Before coal it took *a ton* of firewood to smelt 10 pounds of metal!) They had oil, but they only used it for lamps. Our present era of progress is because of the cheap energy, and it's been a very, very short time when you look at human history.So I don't laugh at that vision of the future. They couldn't possibly have known that all that circuitry could fit on the point of a pin.

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Re: Making do with a studio computer

Post by nickbatzdorf » Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:44 pm

And I don't mean to jump down your shorts.

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Re: Making do with a studio computer

Post by ernstinen » Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:01 pm

Quote:And I don't mean to jump down your shorts. Please don't --- I'm married! My point was that "a long time ago, grandchildren," the Rand Corp. thought *that* computer was how they would look for "home computers" in 2004. Maybe it's not humorous, but it IS funny (at least to my sense of humor!). Ern

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Re: Making do with a studio computer

Post by nickbatzdorf » Thu Aug 03, 2006 5:09 pm

Do you have any idea what year that was, Ern? I find it fascinating.

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Re: Making do with a studio computer

Post by edteja » Fri Aug 04, 2006 1:41 am

I started working for EDN magazine in the late 70s, writing about microprocessors, and we made the jump from Signetics 2650 stuff to 8080s real quick (writing about RTOS kernels), and I was writing most of it a Soouthwest Technical 6800-based machine that a colleague built. He wrote a 6800 structured basic compiler for it called Strubal. But this was in the days that the computing community was so small that is you went to the West coast Computer Faire, you already knew everyone.One of the cool things I got to do wass talk to Gen Grace Hopper who was on the UNIVAC project, and was talking about the two guys who spent their shift changing vacuum tubes. Ther were so many that they failed constantly. Must've put some hellacious glitches in their audio files!!
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Re: Making do with a studio computer

Post by og » Sat Aug 05, 2006 3:26 am

Well, I remember... Uh, no, I guess I don't.

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