2020-09-16 12:11:18 UTC
cut my teeth on a naked PDP11 in assembler and machine code during
a summer undergraduate internship in 1971. (45 minutes to load the
assembler via the 10cps tape reader of the Teletype :-( )
It is salutary to muse that this is now 49 years ago, and that
49 years previously it was 1922, before the days of regular
radio broadcasting when the man-on-the-Clapham-Omnibus
(John Doe to the Yanks) knew nothing of electronics*****, and
certainly a decade and a half before electronic computers
were even considered. For most people (here in Brit, at least)
there were no telephones or motor cars.
What technical advances were made during that previous 49 years!
Perhaps even greater advances have been made in computing in the
next 49 years up till now such that those of us who were extant
in 1971 have now been described, somewhat unkindly, as dinosaurs.
Not during that internship, but in subsequent employment in the
same place, when the first Decwriter was delivered, the pallet
upon which it was attached was not some
conglomeration of roughly cut timbers but was a two sheets of
high quality 3/4" thick plywood. The pallet was scrapped and was
mde by me and the wife into our first bookcase which we still
have to this day.
I did have cause to panic on one occasion when the covers were off,
and I dropped a screwdriver onto the wire-wrapped backplane of the
DecTapes when power was applied. On another occasion, I was in the
processor box with a small screwdriver to adjust the clock that
drove the Teletype serial port.
***** I did read somewhere that the seminal background work
for the Field Effect Transistor happened in about 1910.
Is this post a wind-up? Only to help your day go like clockwork! :-)