Discussion:
35th Anniversary of the IBM PC: Telegraph article
(too old to reply)
Quadibloc
2016-08-13 02:41:18 UTC
Permalink
I was very much amused by the opening sentence of this article:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/08/12/the-first-ibm-pc-was-released-35-years-ago-today---how-it-change/

"On this day 35 years ago the first modern computer was released to the public."

The IBM PC was certainly an important milestone in the history of computers.

In one very narrow sense, it could be called the first modern computer: it is the
direct lineal ancestor of the Windows computers that are still in use today.

But in other senses, there are many other contenders for that title which have a better claim...

Since modern-day computers have GUIs, the Lisa was the first modern computer!

Since modern computers have RAM which is stable and predictable - not serial-access memories like magnetostrictive or mercury delay lines - then the first modern computer is another IBM machine... the IBM 704, which came out in 1955!

Or, if a "modern" computer is one that uses a microprocessor, then the Altair 8800 might take that crown (if only sensationally popular computers that 'caught fire' with the market count, so that earlier kit computers based on the 8008 instead of the 8080, like the Mark-8 on the cover of Radio-Electronics, don't count).

Or, if a modern computer has 8-bit bytes instead of 6-bit characters... then there's April 7, 1964, when IBM announced the System/360.

But the 8080 and the 80386 and the Pentium and other x86 processors are all little-endian, so maybe the PDP-11 is the first modern computer!

John Savard
Charlie Gibbs
2016-08-13 06:24:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/08/12/the-first-ibm-pc-was-released-35-years-ago-today---how-it-change/
"On this day 35 years ago the first modern computer was released to the public."
The IBM PC was certainly an important milestone in the history of computers.
s/milestone/millstone/

"A day that will live in infamy"

<other arbitrary definitions of "modern computer" snipped>

How about one that has network connectivity?
--
/~\ ***@kltpzyxm.invalid (Charlie Gibbs)
\ / I'm really at ac.dekanfrus if you read it the right way.
X Top-posted messages will probably be ignored. See RFC1855.
/ \ HTML will DEFINITELY be ignored. Join the ASCII ribbon campaign!
maus
2016-08-13 10:52:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/08/12/the-first-ibm-pc-was-released-35-years-ago-today---how-it-change/
"On this day 35 years ago the first modern computer was released to the public."
The IBM PC was certainly an important milestone in the history of computers.
In one very narrow sense, it could be called the first modern computer: it is the
direct lineal ancestor of the Windows computers that are still in use today.
But in other senses, there are many other contenders for that title which have a better claim...
Since modern-day computers have GUIs, the Lisa was the first modern computer!
Since modern computers have RAM which is stable and predictable - not serial-access memories like magnetostrictive or mercury delay lines - then the first modern computer is another IBM machine... the IBM 704, which came out in 1955!
Or, if a "modern" computer is one that uses a microprocessor, then the Altair 8800 might take that crown (if only sensationally popular computers that 'caught fire' with the market count, so that earlier kit computers based on the 8008 instead of the 8080, like the Mark-8 on the cover of Radio-Electronics, don't count).
Or, if a modern computer has 8-bit bytes instead of 6-bit characters... then there's April 7, 1964, when IBM announced the System/360.
But the 8080 and the 80386 and the Pentium and other x86 processors are all little-endian, so maybe the PDP-11 is the first modern computer!
John Savard
In my HO. the Apple ][ was the first modern computer
--
greymaus.ireland.ie
.
.
...
Quadibloc
2016-08-13 13:54:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by maus
In my HO. the Apple ][ was the first modern computer
After posting the list, I did think that the Apple ][ indeed did exemplify
another set of features that could be associated with another definition of a
"modern computer".

However, that does not mean I was going to add the Apple ][ to the list, as it
did have a predecessor.

So I was going to suggest the Processor Technology SOL-20 as a possible
candidate.

However, before that computer came along, there was another example of a
computer that included a keyboard and a display, but didn't bother with a front
panel with switches and flashing lights... and which was a workstation, not a
mainframe.

So I was going to suggest the HP 300 computer:
http://www.hpmuseum.net/display_item.php?hw=116

it won an award for its industrial design, but I include a link, as many may
never have heard of it.

John Savard
Walter Banks
2016-08-13 14:41:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by maus
In my HO. the Apple ][ was the first modern computer
After posting the list, I did think that the Apple ][ indeed did exemplify
another set of features that could be associated with another definition of a
"modern computer".
However, that does not mean I was going to add the Apple ][ to the list, as it
did have a predecessor.
So I was going to suggest the Processor Technology SOL-20 as a possible
candidate.
However, before that computer came along, there was another example of a
computer that included a keyboard and a display, but didn't bother with a front
panel with switches and flashing lights... and which was a workstation, not a
mainframe.
http://www.hpmuseum.net/display_item.php?hw=116
it won an award for its industrial design, but I include a link, as many may
never have heard of it.
The SOL-20 was clearly important and several mini-computers were
released that appealed to users who had at least a business use as well
as home use starting with the PDP-8S. Almost all were paid for with at
least some business related funds. Like most of these the SOL-20 was
still a cost effective functionally a down scaled mini computer.

The apple][ was not likely the first (there as tremendous about of
development going on at the time) but it was the first that I know of
that had a clear personal vision for non-computer professionals.

w..
maus
2016-08-13 21:30:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Walter Banks
Post by maus
In my HO. the Apple ][ was the first modern computer
The SOL-20 was clearly important and several mini-computers were
released that appealed to users who had at least a business use as well
as home use starting with the PDP-8S. Almost all were paid for with at
least some business related funds. Like most of these the SOL-20 was
still a cost effective functionally a down scaled mini computer.
The apple][ was not likely the first (there as tremendous about of
development going on at the time) but it was the first that I know of
that had a clear personal vision for non-computer professionals.
Exactly, serious people bought it, was fairly easy to program, and
established small computers as serious toole.
I think one could still run a small office on it still.
--
greymaus.ireland.ie
.
.
...
Michael Black
2016-08-13 15:52:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by maus
In my HO. the Apple ][ was the first modern computer
After posting the list, I did think that the Apple ][ indeed did exemplify
another set of features that could be associated with another definition of a
"modern computer".
However, that does not mean I was going to add the Apple ][ to the list, as it
did have a predecessor.
So I was going to suggest the Processor Technology SOL-20 as a possible
candidate.
Yes, people tend to forget about the SOL.

Around that time, I think there was another all in one, from Sphere, the
company didn't last long. I can't even picture the computer, just can
picture an article that mentions they had one. But I'm not sure if it was
out before the SOL, and Processor Technology was a bigger name at the
time.

The thing about the Apple II is that when it came out in 1977, there was
competition. The PET and the Radio Shack TRS-80. OSI came out
with their Superboard that year, and I think the CIP which was a
SUperboard in a case came in 1977 too. None quite like the
Apple II (ie they lacked the ability to easily expand), but they were
aimed, like the II, towards a broader audience, than say the Altair 8800.
They had built in video, and a built in keyboard, and BASIC in ROM, so you
could do something as soon as you'd unboxed the computer.

I think most people who list the IBM as "first" just don't know history.

Let's not forget there were also in-betweens. SWTP had their 6800 system
I think later in 1975, and it didn't include a front panel, maybe the
earlies microcomputer to do so. So physically it was ore like an Altair
8800, but in requiring an external terminal, was closer to the all in
ones. I assume that happened because Motorola had that good monitor for
the 6800, so no need to build a front panel (though Altair when it came
out with a 6800 system in the fall of 1975 did include a front panel,
though it wasn't the same as the Altair 8800 front panel).

Michael
Walter Banks
2016-08-13 18:47:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Black
Post by Quadibloc
Post by maus
In my HO. the Apple ][ was the first modern computer
After posting the list, I did think that the Apple ][ indeed did exemplify
another set of features that could be associated with another
definition of a
"modern computer".
However, that does not mean I was going to add the Apple ][ to the list, as it
did have a predecessor.
So I was going to suggest the Processor Technology SOL-20 as a possible
candidate.
Yes, people tend to forget about the SOL.
Around that time, I think there was another all in one, from Sphere, the
company didn't last long. I can't even picture the computer, just can
picture an article that mentions they had one. But I'm not sure if it
was out before the SOL, and Processor Technology was a bigger name at
the time.
The thing about the Apple II is that when it came out in 1977, there was
competition. The PET and the Radio Shack TRS-80. OSI came out with
their Superboard that year, and I think the CIP which was a SUperboard
in a case came in 1977 too. None quite like the Apple II (ie they
lacked the ability to easily expand), but they were aimed, like the II,
towards a broader audience, than say the Altair 8800. They had built in
video, and a built in keyboard, and BASIC in ROM, so you could do
something as soon as you'd unboxed the computer.
I think most people who list the IBM as "first" just don't know history.
Let's not forget there were also in-betweens. SWTP had their 6800
system I think later in 1975, and it didn't include a front panel, maybe
the earlies microcomputer to do so. So physically it was ore like an
Altair 8800, but in requiring an external terminal, was closer to the
all in ones. I assume that happened because Motorola had that good
monitor for the 6800, so no need to build a front panel (though Altair
when it came out with a 6800 system in the fall of 1975 did include a
front panel, though it wasn't the same as the Altair 8800 front panel).
Michael
I think the apple ][ predated the PET by about 6 months. If I remember
the apple ][ was at the June CES in Chicago and the PET was release was
at the following Jan CES in Las Vegas. The apple 1 was released about a
year earlier substantially the same computer as the apple][.

The first apple ]['s were red.

w..
Charles Richmond
2016-08-13 18:52:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Black
Post by Quadibloc
Post by maus
In my HO. the Apple ][ was the first modern computer
After posting the list, I did think that the Apple ][ indeed did exemplify
another set of features that could be associated with another definition of a
"modern computer".
However, that does not mean I was going to add the Apple ][ to the list, as it
did have a predecessor.
So I was going to suggest the Processor Technology SOL-20 as a possible
candidate.
Yes, people tend to forget about the SOL.
Around that time, I think there was another all in one, from Sphere, the
company didn't last long. I can't even picture the computer, just can
picture an article that mentions they had one. But I'm not sure if it was
out before the SOL, and Processor Technology was a bigger name at the
time.
The thing about the Apple II is that when it came out in 1977, there was
competition. The PET and the Radio Shack TRS-80. OSI came out with their
Superboard that year, and I think the CIP which was a SUperboard in a case
came in 1977 too. None quite like the Apple II (ie they lacked the
ability to easily expand), but they were aimed, like the II, towards a
broader audience, than say the Altair 8800. They had built in video, and a
built in keyboard, and BASIC in ROM, so you could do something as soon as
you'd unboxed the computer.
The Apple II "came out" at the First West Coast Comuter Faire in April of
1977. The Radio Shack TRS-80 came out in August of 1977. So when the Apple
II was first released, the TRS-80 was *not* there to compete.
--
numerist at aquaporin4 dot com
Morten Reistad
2016-08-13 17:15:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/08/12/the-first-ibm-pc-was-released-35-years-ago-today---how-it-change/
Post by Quadibloc
"On this day 35 years ago the first modern computer was released to the public."
The IBM PC was certainly an important milestone in the history of computers.
In one very narrow sense, it could be called the first modern computer: it is the
direct lineal ancestor of the Windows computers that are still in use today.
But in other senses, there are many other contenders for that title which have a better claim...
Since modern-day computers have GUIs, the Lisa was the first modern computer!
Since modern computers have RAM which is stable and predictable - not serial-access memories
like magnetostrictive or mercury delay lines - then the first modern computer is another IBM
machine... the IBM 704, which came out in 1955!
Post by Quadibloc
Or, if a "modern" computer is one that uses a microprocessor, then the Altair 8800 might take
that crown (if only sensationally popular computers that 'caught fire' with the market count, so
that earlier kit computers based on the 8008 instead of the 8080, like the Mark-8 on the cover of
Radio-Electronics, don't count).
Post by Quadibloc
Or, if a modern computer has 8-bit bytes instead of 6-bit characters... then there's April 7,
1964, when IBM announced the System/360.
Post by Quadibloc
But the 8080 and the 80386 and the Pentium and other x86 processors are all little-endian, so
maybe the PDP-11 is the first modern computer!
IMNSHO I would rate Tenex the first modern operating system, followed by Tops20. As
a followon the KA10 would be the first modern computer. With the paging box.

If you need a GUI then the Xerox Star would be the first modern computer.

If you require network connectivity then we might be back with the tenex. (I don't
know the early bits of the Arpanet that well, so I might be wrong on this one).
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Quadibloc
John Savard
In my HO. the Apple ][ was the first modern computer
What is not modern about the PDP10 is the construction (wirewrap), power consumption
(tens of KW) byte/word orientation (big endian 36-bit words with bytes cleverly overlaid
with 5 separate instructions for access).

What is modern about it is the process structure and isolation, memory map, interrupt
system, DMA, network access, instruction set and stack/heap.

I am undecided on the I/O and the extended memory.

-- mrr
Charles Richmond
2016-08-15 01:47:21 UTC
Permalink
[snip...] [snip...]
[snip...]
IMNSHO I would rate Tenex the first modern operating system, followed by Tops20. As
a followon the KA10 would be the first modern computer. With the paging box.
If you need a GUI then the Xerox Star would be the first modern computer.
If the first modern computer must have a GUI, then maybe the first would be
the Alto or Durado. True, these were *not* real products... but they do
qualify as computers.
--
numerist at aquaporin4 dot com
Dave Garland
2016-08-15 04:05:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Charles Richmond
[snip...] [snip...] [snip...]
IMNSHO I would rate Tenex the first modern operating system,
followed by Tops20. As
a followon the KA10 would be the first modern computer. With the paging box.
If you need a GUI then the Xerox Star would be the first modern computer.
If the first modern computer must have a GUI, then maybe the first
would be the Alto or Durado. True, these were *not* real products...
but they do qualify as computers.
GUI isn't a reasonable requirement for "modern". Most mainframes
wouldn't qualify. A box running Linux at the command line wouldn't
qualify, or a RPi. A lot of embedded computers (say, the one in my
car) wouldn't qualify.

Computers with GUI were the first computers for illiterates. Which
maybe made them the first computers suited to mass marketing.

I can't argue with Tenex (never used it). The first modern OS I used
was CP/M-80, if I don't count running FORTRAN II jobs on a 1620 (where
my knowledge of the OS was limited to how to prepare job cards).
Gerard Schildberger
2016-08-15 05:04:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Garland
"Morten Reistad" wrote in message
[snip...] [snip...] [snip...]
IMNSHO I would rate Tenex the first modern operating system, followed by Tops20. As
a followon the KA10 would be the first modern computer. With the paging box.
If you need a GUI then the Xerox Star would be the first modern computer.
If the first modern computer must have a GUI, then maybe the first
would be the Alto or Durado. True, these were *not* real products...
but they do qualify as computers.
GUI isn't a reasonable requirement for "modern". Most mainframes
wouldn't qualify. A box running Linux at the command line wouldn't
qualify, or a RPi. A lot of embedded computers (say, the one in my
car) wouldn't qualify.
Computers with GUI were the first computers for illiterates. Which
maybe made them the first computers suited to mass marketing.
I can't argue with Tenex (never used it). The first modern OS I used
was CP/M-80, if I don't count running FORTRAN II jobs on a 1620 (where
my knowledge of the OS was limited to how to prepare job cards).
The IBM 1620 didn't have an operating system, but it did have a "monitor",
aptly enough, it was called the "Monitor". __________ Gerard Schildberger
Charles Richmond
2016-08-15 13:21:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gerard Schildberger
Post by Dave Garland
"Morten Reistad" wrote in message
[snip...] [snip...] [snip...]
IMNSHO I would rate Tenex the first modern operating system, followed by Tops20. As
a followon the KA10 would be the first modern computer. With the paging box.
If you need a GUI then the Xerox Star would be the first modern computer.
If the first modern computer must have a GUI, then maybe the first
would be the Alto or Durado. True, these were *not* real products...
but they do qualify as computers.
GUI isn't a reasonable requirement for "modern". Most mainframes
wouldn't qualify. A box running Linux at the command line wouldn't
qualify, or a RPi. A lot of embedded computers (say, the one in my
car) wouldn't qualify.
Computers with GUI were the first computers for illiterates. Which
maybe made them the first computers suited to mass marketing.
I can't argue with Tenex (never used it). The first modern OS I used
was CP/M-80, if I don't count running FORTRAN II jobs on a 1620 (where
my knowledge of the OS was limited to how to prepare job cards).
The IBM 1620 didn't have an operating system, but it did have a "monitor",
aptly enough, it was called the "Monitor". __________ Gerard Schildberger
Okay, the IBM 1620 had a Monitor, but did it have a Merrimack??? ;-)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Hampton_Roads
--
numerist at aquaporin4 dot com
JimP
2016-08-15 18:03:11 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 15 Aug 2016 08:21:59 -0500, "Charles Richmond"
Post by Charles Richmond
Post by Gerard Schildberger
Post by Dave Garland
"Morten Reistad" wrote in message
[snip...] [snip...] [snip...]
IMNSHO I would rate Tenex the first modern operating system,
followed by Tops20. As
a followon the KA10 would be the first modern computer. With the paging box.
If you need a GUI then the Xerox Star would be the first modern computer.
If the first modern computer must have a GUI, then maybe the first
would be the Alto or Durado. True, these were *not* real products...
but they do qualify as computers.
GUI isn't a reasonable requirement for "modern". Most mainframes
wouldn't qualify. A box running Linux at the command line wouldn't
qualify, or a RPi. A lot of embedded computers (say, the one in my
car) wouldn't qualify.
Computers with GUI were the first computers for illiterates. Which
maybe made them the first computers suited to mass marketing.
I can't argue with Tenex (never used it). The first modern OS I used
was CP/M-80, if I don't count running FORTRAN II jobs on a 1620 (where
my knowledge of the OS was limited to how to prepare job cards).
The IBM 1620 didn't have an operating system, but it did have a "monitor",
aptly enough, it was called the "Monitor". __________ Gerard Schildberger
Okay, the IBM 1620 had a Monitor, but did it have a Merrimack??? ;-)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Hampton_Roads
Good one !
--
JimP.
Walter Banks
2016-08-15 19:00:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Charles Richmond
Post by Gerard Schildberger
The IBM 1620 didn't have an operating system, but it did have a
"monitor", aptly enough, it was called the "Monitor". __________
Gerard Schildberger
Okay, the IBM 1620 had a Monitor, but did it have a Merrimack??? ;-)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Hampton_Roads
No the 1620 was a CADET it was quite a while before a major affordable
computer came along.

w..
Charlie Gibbs
2016-08-15 21:01:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Walter Banks
Post by Charles Richmond
Post by Gerard Schildberger
The IBM 1620 didn't have an operating system, but it did have a
"monitor", aptly enough, it was called the "Monitor".
Okay, the IBM 1620 had a Monitor, but did it have a Merrimack??? ;-)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Hampton_Roads
No the 1620 was a CADET it was quite a while before a major affordable
computer came along.
Major computers were never affordable. Many of us had to make do with
second lieutenants.
--
/~\ ***@kltpzyxm.invalid (Charlie Gibbs)
\ / I'm really at ac.dekanfrus if you read it the right way.
X Top-posted messages will probably be ignored. See RFC1855.
/ \ HTML will DEFINITELY be ignored. Join the ASCII ribbon campaign!
JimP
2016-08-15 23:23:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Charlie Gibbs
Post by Walter Banks
Post by Charles Richmond
Post by Gerard Schildberger
The IBM 1620 didn't have an operating system, but it did have a
"monitor", aptly enough, it was called the "Monitor".
Okay, the IBM 1620 had a Monitor, but did it have a Merrimack??? ;-)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Hampton_Roads
No the 1620 was a CADET it was quite a while before a major affordable
computer came along.
Major computers were never affordable. Many of us had to make do with
second lieutenants.
Well, there ya go. The Sergeants do the work.
--
JimP.
Charlie Gibbs
2016-08-15 05:13:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Garland
GUI isn't a reasonable requirement for "modern". Most mainframes
wouldn't qualify. A box running Linux at the command line wouldn't
qualify, or a RPi. A lot of embedded computers (say, the one in my
car) wouldn't qualify.
Probably a lot of powerful servers wouldn't, either.
Post by Dave Garland
Computers with GUI were the first computers for illiterates. Which
maybe made them the first computers suited to mass marketing.
So that's why I often have trouble with GUIs - not to mention the
hieroglyphics on all sorts of gadgets these days... I'm not illiterate.

Or, to put it in haiku form:

Welcome to the world
Of point-and-drool computing:
Apple Macintosh.
--
/~\ ***@kltpzyxm.invalid (Charlie Gibbs)
\ / I'm really at ac.dekanfrus if you read it the right way.
X Top-posted messages will probably be ignored. See RFC1855.
/ \ HTML will DEFINITELY be ignored. Join the ASCII ribbon campaign!
Mike Spencer
2016-08-15 07:04:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Charlie Gibbs
Post by Dave Garland
Computers with GUI were the first computers for illiterates. Which
maybe made them the first computers suited to mass marketing.
So that's why I often have trouble with GUIs - not to mention the
hieroglyphics on all sorts of gadgets these days... I'm not illiterate.
I regard myself as highly literate. I'm incensed when I have to
figure out what some (possibly illiterate) interface designer has done
with indistinguishable icons and chained menus. Oh, a windowing
system is splendid for productivity, concentration etc. Not so the
full-blown GUI desktop. Remember when "menu-driven" was a term of
scorn for software? And of course, graphics editing and some
similarly graphic-analogue tasks lend them selves to "take this and
put it there"-type interaction.
Post by Charlie Gibbs
Welcome to the world
Apple Macintosh.
The GUI is like shopping.

The command line is like language.

Which of those is your preferred mode?
--
Mike Spencer Nova Scotia, Canada
jmfbahciv
2016-08-15 12:51:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Spencer
Post by Charlie Gibbs
Post by Dave Garland
Computers with GUI were the first computers for illiterates. Which
maybe made them the first computers suited to mass marketing.
So that's why I often have trouble with GUIs - not to mention the
hieroglyphics on all sorts of gadgets these days... I'm not illiterate.
I regard myself as highly literate. I'm incensed when I have to
figure out what some (possibly illiterate) interface designer has done
with indistinguishable icons and chained menus. Oh, a windowing
system is splendid for productivity, concentration etc. Not so the
full-blown GUI desktop. Remember when "menu-driven" was a term of
scorn for software? And of course, graphics editing and some
similarly graphic-analogue tasks lend them selves to "take this and
put it there"-type interaction.
Post by Charlie Gibbs
Welcome to the world
Apple Macintosh.
The GUI is like shopping.
The command line is like language.
Which of those is your preferred mode?
The GUI is like window shopping; can't touch but can only
point.

/BAH
Charlie Gibbs
2016-08-15 16:34:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by jmfbahciv
Post by Mike Spencer
The GUI is like shopping.
The command line is like language.
Which of those is your preferred mode?
The GUI is like window shopping; can't touch but can only
point.
Which serves the vendor's goal quite well, if that goal is
to keep the user in the playpen.
--
/~\ ***@kltpzyxm.invalid (Charlie Gibbs)
\ / I'm really at ac.dekanfrus if you read it the right way.
X Top-posted messages will probably be ignored. See RFC1855.
/ \ HTML will DEFINITELY be ignored. Join the ASCII ribbon campaign!
maus
2016-08-15 17:30:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Charlie Gibbs
Post by jmfbahciv
Post by Mike Spencer
The GUI is like shopping.
The command line is like language.
Which of those is your preferred mode?
The GUI is like window shopping; can't touch but can only
point.
Which serves the vendor's goal quite well, if that goal is
to keep the user in the playpen.
A local nightclub tried lapdancers, and one old lady asked "What are
lapdancers?".. So, it was explained, "Its like marriage, you can look, but
not touch"
--
greymaus.ireland.ie
.
.
...
Charlie Gibbs
2016-08-15 16:34:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Spencer
Post by Charlie Gibbs
Post by Dave Garland
Computers with GUI were the first computers for illiterates. Which
maybe made them the first computers suited to mass marketing.
So that's why I often have trouble with GUIs - not to mention the
hieroglyphics on all sorts of gadgets these days... I'm not illiterate.
I regard myself as highly literate. I'm incensed when I have to
figure out what some (possibly illiterate) interface designer has done
with indistinguishable icons and chained menus. Oh, a windowing
system is splendid for productivity, concentration etc. Not so the
full-blown GUI desktop. Remember when "menu-driven" was a term of
scorn for software? And of course, graphics editing and some
similarly graphic-analogue tasks lend them selves to "take this and
put it there"-type interaction.
For me, a piece of software should do what you tell it (which implies
giving you a comprehensive yet concise way of telling it) - and then
_get out of the way_. A lot of modern user interface design seems to
be based on three words: "in your face".

And then there are all those designs that try to minimize the number
of controls in the name of "simplicity". But rather than rant about
that, I'll let Scott Adams weigh in:

http://dilbert.com/strip/2016-06-12

As for heiroglyphics, I can understand where they come from if you
take the Politically Correct point of view. English-language legends
can't be understood by people who don't speak English, hence are
discriminatory. Heiroglyphics, on the other hand, are non-discriminatory:
they can't be understood by anybody.
Post by Mike Spencer
Post by Charlie Gibbs
Welcome to the world
Apple Macintosh.
The GUI is like shopping.
The command line is like language.
Which of those is your preferred mode?
Sometimes one, sometimes the other. But I want to be able to choose.
--
/~\ ***@kltpzyxm.invalid (Charlie Gibbs)
\ / I'm really at ac.dekanfrus if you read it the right way.
X Top-posted messages will probably be ignored. See RFC1855.
/ \ HTML will DEFINITELY be ignored. Join the ASCII ribbon campaign!
maus
2016-08-15 09:30:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Charlie Gibbs
Post by Dave Garland
GUI isn't a reasonable requirement for "modern". Most mainframes
wouldn't qualify. A box running Linux at the command line wouldn't
qualify, or a RPi. A lot of embedded computers (say, the one in my
car) wouldn't qualify.
Probably a lot of powerful servers wouldn't, either.
Post by Dave Garland
Computers with GUI were the first computers for illiterates. Which
maybe made them the first computers suited to mass marketing.
So that's why I often have trouble with GUIs - not to mention the
hieroglyphics on all sorts of gadgets these days... I'm not illiterate.
Welcome to the world
Apple Macintosh.
Three of the cars I have driven have hieroglyphic warning on the display,
the most recent shows a soft tire icon, which, on checking, is not soft.
(Honda).. A Mitsubishi had a icon shaped like an alternator, which turned
out to mean `a blocked c. convertor). There are about 30-50 pages in the
Honda handbook `explaining' the icons.
--
greymaus.ireland.ie
.
.
...
Peter Flass
2016-08-15 11:59:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by maus
Post by Charlie Gibbs
Post by Dave Garland
GUI isn't a reasonable requirement for "modern". Most mainframes
wouldn't qualify. A box running Linux at the command line wouldn't
qualify, or a RPi. A lot of embedded computers (say, the one in my
car) wouldn't qualify.
Probably a lot of powerful servers wouldn't, either.
Post by Dave Garland
Computers with GUI were the first computers for illiterates. Which
maybe made them the first computers suited to mass marketing.
So that's why I often have trouble with GUIs - not to mention the
hieroglyphics on all sorts of gadgets these days... I'm not illiterate.
Welcome to the world
Apple Macintosh.
Three of the cars I have driven have hieroglyphic warning on the display,
the most recent shows a soft tire icon, which, on checking, is not soft.
(Honda).. A Mitsubishi had a icon shaped like an alternator, which turned
out to mean `a blocked c. convertor). There are about 30-50 pages in the
Honda handbook `explaining' the icons.
Apparently it's cheaper to display the icons and print all that verbiage
than it would be to have different displays in different languages.
Actually, now that I think of it, given display capabilities these days it
should be simple to have a display show the words in the language chosen by
the driver.
--
Pete
maus
2016-08-15 12:48:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by maus
the most recent shows a soft tire icon, which, on checking, is not soft.
(Honda).. A Mitsubishi had a icon shaped like an alternator, which turned
out to mean `a blocked c. convertor). There are about 30-50 pages in the
Honda handbook `explaining' the icons.
Apparently it's cheaper to display the icons and print all that verbiage
than it would be to have different displays in different languages.
Actually, now that I think of it, given display capabilities these days it
should be simple to have a display show the words in the language chosen by
the driver.
Locale?
--
greymaus.ireland.ie
.
.
...
Ahem A Rivet's Shot
2016-08-15 12:36:07 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 15 Aug 2016 07:59:40 -0400
Post by Peter Flass
Apparently it's cheaper to display the icons and print all that verbiage
than it would be to have different displays in different languages.
Actually, now that I think of it, given display capabilities these days it
should be simple to have a display show the words in the language chosen
by the driver.
Only where the system of lamps behind stencils is replaced by an
LCD or similar, but there are still problems of layout which will be
familiar to anyone who has maintained a multi-language user interface. It
may also be considered unacceptable to have essential status information
depend on an LCD and controller.
--
Steve O'Hara-Smith | Directable Mirror Arrays
C:>WIN | A better way to focus the sun
The computer obeys and wins. | licences available see
You lose and Bill collects. | http://www.sohara.org/
Charles Richmond
2016-08-15 13:27:04 UTC
Permalink
[snip...] [snip...]
[snip...]
Three of the cars I have driven have hieroglyphic warning on the display,
the most recent shows a soft tire icon, which, on checking, is not soft.
(Honda).. A Mitsubishi had a icon shaped like an alternator, which turned
out to mean `a blocked c. convertor). There are about 30-50 pages in the
Honda handbook `explaining' the icons.
And Coleridge, too, has lately taken wing,
But like a hawk encumber’d with his hood,
Explaining Metaphysics to the nation–
I wish he would explain his Explanation.

-- from "Don Juan", by Lord Byron
--
numerist at aquaporin4 dot com
Rob Morley
2016-08-16 01:13:13 UTC
Permalink
On 15 Aug 2016 09:30:26 GMT
Post by maus
Three of the cars I have driven have hieroglyphic warning on the
display, the most recent shows a soft tire icon, which, on checking,
is not soft. (Honda).. A Mitsubishi had a icon shaped like an
alternator, which turned out to mean `a blocked c. convertor). There
are about 30-50 pages in the Honda handbook `explaining' the icons.
Current Toyota occasionally shows an indecipherable icon - I forget
what it means, but it doesn't matter because I have a gadget to turn it
off again. :-)
maus
2016-08-15 09:24:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Garland
Post by Charles Richmond
[snip...] [snip...] [snip...]
IMNSHO I would rate Tenex the first modern operating system,
followed by Tops20. As
a followon the KA10 would be the first modern computer. With the paging box.
If you need a GUI then the Xerox Star would be the first modern computer.
If the first modern computer must have a GUI, then maybe the first
would be the Alto or Durado. True, these were *not* real products...
but they do qualify as computers.
GUI isn't a reasonable requirement for "modern". Most mainframes
wouldn't qualify. A box running Linux at the command line wouldn't
qualify, or a RPi. A lot of embedded computers (say, the one in my
car) wouldn't qualify.
Slackware still comes without GUI as default (change to boot-to-gui easy to
arrange), and seems fairly popular.
Post by Dave Garland
Computers with GUI were the first computers for illiterates. Which
maybe made them the first computers suited to mass marketing.
I can't argue with Tenex (never used it). The first modern OS I used
was CP/M-80, if I don't count running FORTRAN II jobs on a 1620 (where
my knowledge of the OS was limited to how to prepare job cards).
--
greymaus.ireland.ie
.
.
...
Whiskers
2016-08-15 15:50:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by maus
Post by Dave Garland
Post by Charles Richmond
[snip...] [snip...] [snip...]
IMNSHO I would rate Tenex the first modern operating system,
followed by Tops20. As a followon the KA10 would be the first
modern computer. With the paging box.
If you need a GUI then the Xerox Star would be the first modern computer.
If the first modern computer must have a GUI, then maybe the first
would be the Alto or Durado. True, these were *not* real
products... but they do qualify as computers.
GUI isn't a reasonable requirement for "modern". Most mainframes
wouldn't qualify. A box running Linux at the command line wouldn't
qualify, or a RPi. A lot of embedded computers (say, the one in my
car) wouldn't qualify.
Slackware still comes without GUI as default (change to boot-to-gui
easy to arrange), and seems fairly popular.
[...]

Arch Linux too installs initially as a bare-bones text console system.
If you want a GUI you have to install it.

Linux is multi user and always has been, unlike DOS and Windows, as it
aims to be a substitute for Unix. Linux post-dates DOS and Windows by
some years of course, although Unix goes back to the '60s and the X
Window GUI to the '80s.
--
-- ^^^^^^^^^^
-- Whiskers
-- ~~~~~~~~~~
Ahem A Rivet's Shot
2016-08-15 16:40:00 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 15 Aug 2016 16:50:47 +0100
Post by Whiskers
Post by maus
Post by Dave Garland
Post by Charles Richmond
[snip...] [snip...] [snip...]
IMNSHO I would rate Tenex the first modern operating system,
followed by Tops20. As a followon the KA10 would be the first
modern computer. With the paging box.
If you need a GUI then the Xerox Star would be the first modern computer.
If the first modern computer must have a GUI, then maybe the first
would be the Alto or Durado. True, these were *not* real
products... but they do qualify as computers.
GUI isn't a reasonable requirement for "modern". Most mainframes
wouldn't qualify. A box running Linux at the command line wouldn't
qualify, or a RPi. A lot of embedded computers (say, the one in my
car) wouldn't qualify.
Slackware still comes without GUI as default (change to boot-to-gui
easy to arrange), and seems fairly popular.
[...]
Arch Linux too installs initially as a bare-bones text console system.
If you want a GUI you have to install it.
As do most of the BSDs (PC-BSD being the exception).
--
Steve O'Hara-Smith | Directable Mirror Arrays
C:>WIN | A better way to focus the sun
The computer obeys and wins. | licences available see
You lose and Bill collects. | http://www.sohara.org/
Charles Richmond
2016-08-15 13:18:54 UTC
Permalink
[snip...] [snip...]
[snip...]
I can't argue with Tenex (never used it). The first modern OS I used was
CP/M-80, if I don't count running FORTRAN II jobs on a 1620 (where my
knowledge of the OS was limited to how to prepare job cards).
ISTR that folks here said TENEX was the basis for TOPS-20 on the DECsystem
20. So perhaps you have experience with the TOPS-20 OS???
--
numerist at aquaporin4 dot com
Dave Garland
2016-08-15 15:21:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Charles Richmond
[snip...] [snip...] [snip...]
I can't argue with Tenex (never used it). The first modern OS I used
was CP/M-80, if I don't count running FORTRAN II jobs on a 1620
(where my knowledge of the OS was limited to how to prepare job cards).
ISTR that folks here said TENEX was the basis for TOPS-20 on the
DECsystem 20. So perhaps you have experience with the TOPS-20 OS???
Closest I ever came to doing anything with DEC equipment was when I
tried to buy a terminal to hook onto a Morrow MD-3 (CP/M) computer.
The DEC organization had no clue how to deal with somebody who wanted
to buy a single terminal. Ended up getting a LS ADM-31(A?) instead
badge-engineered as a Morrow. Which proved to be a good move because
somebody started selling PROM chips that sped it up to 19.2K and made
the various (e.g. arrow) keys work with WordStar.
Scott Lurndal
2016-08-15 16:39:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Garland
Post by Charles Richmond
[snip...] [snip...] [snip...]
I can't argue with Tenex (never used it). The first modern OS I used
was CP/M-80, if I don't count running FORTRAN II jobs on a 1620
(where my knowledge of the OS was limited to how to prepare job cards).
ISTR that folks here said TENEX was the basis for TOPS-20 on the
DECsystem 20. So perhaps you have experience with the TOPS-20 OS???
Closest I ever came to doing anything with DEC equipment was when I
tried to buy a terminal to hook onto a Morrow MD-3 (CP/M) computer.
The DEC organization had no clue how to deal with somebody who wanted
to buy a single terminal. Ended up getting a LS ADM-31(A?) instead
LSI adm3a.
Peter Flass
2016-08-15 20:46:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Scott Lurndal
Post by Dave Garland
Post by Charles Richmond
[snip...] [snip...] [snip...]
I can't argue with Tenex (never used it). The first modern OS I used
was CP/M-80, if I don't count running FORTRAN II jobs on a 1620
(where my knowledge of the OS was limited to how to prepare job cards).
ISTR that folks here said TENEX was the basis for TOPS-20 on the
DECsystem 20. So perhaps you have experience with the TOPS-20 OS???
Closest I ever came to doing anything with DEC equipment was when I
tried to buy a terminal to hook onto a Morrow MD-3 (CP/M) computer.
The DEC organization had no clue how to deal with somebody who wanted
to buy a single terminal. Ended up getting a LS ADM-31(A?) instead
LSI adm3a.
I think there was a 31 also.
--
Pete
Dave Garland
2016-08-15 22:39:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Scott Lurndal
Post by Dave Garland
Post by Charles Richmond
[snip...] [snip...] [snip...]
I can't argue with Tenex (never used it). The first modern OS I used
was CP/M-80, if I don't count running FORTRAN II jobs on a 1620
(where my knowledge of the OS was limited to how to prepare job cards).
ISTR that folks here said TENEX was the basis for TOPS-20 on the
DECsystem 20. So perhaps you have experience with the TOPS-20 OS???
Closest I ever came to doing anything with DEC equipment was when I
tried to buy a terminal to hook onto a Morrow MD-3 (CP/M) computer.
The DEC organization had no clue how to deal with somebody who wanted
to buy a single terminal. Ended up getting a LS ADM-31(A?) instead
LSI adm3a.
No, the adm3a had screen and keyboard all in one unit. Of course,
since all you needed was a dumb terminal, there were a lot of
possibilities. This one had a detached keyboard. It was an ADM-31
badged as a Morrow MDT20.
http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/morrow/mdadm20.pdf
Walter Banks
2016-08-13 12:51:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/08/12/the-first-ibm-pc-was-released-35-years-ago-today---how-it-change/
"On this day 35 years ago the first modern computer was released to the public."
The IBM PC was certainly an important milestone in the history of computers.
In one very narrow sense, it could be called the first modern
computer: it is the direct lineal ancestor of the Windows computers
that are still in use today.
But in other senses, there are many other contenders for that title
which have a better claim...
Since modern-day computers have GUIs, the Lisa was the first modern computer!
Since modern computers have RAM which is stable and predictable - not
serial-access memories like magnetostrictive or mercury delay lines -
then the first modern computer is another IBM machine... the IBM 704,
which came out in 1955!
Or, if a "modern" computer is one that uses a microprocessor, then
the Altair 8800 might take that crown (if only sensationally popular
computers that 'caught fire' with the market count, so that earlier
kit computers based on the 8008 instead of the 8080, like the Mark-8
on the cover of Radio-Electronics, don't count).
Or, if a modern computer has 8-bit bytes instead of 6-bit
characters... then there's April 7, 1964, when IBM announced the
System/360.
But the 8080 and the 80386 and the Pentium and other x86 processors
are all little-endian, so maybe the PDP-11 is the first modern
computer!
I would put the first modern computer as the apple][ in part because the
PC was based on many of the design choices that were first made on the
apple and incorporated into the PC. At the same time the PC certainly
left a long term mark on the personal computer industry.

The apple][ was a unique milestone in personal computers. The apple][
was the first appliance computer rather than a scaled down mini-computer
to meet the price requirements of a barely affordable personal computer.
Most of the early personal/home computers gave very little thought to
anything more than basic functionality.

Jobs saw the personal computer in a different light, he was entirely
focused on what people, ordinary people might do with a personal
computer. To accomplish that goal he wanted to sell a computer that
would appeal to a wider range of potential users. It was packaged with
style and occupied a limited amount of desk space. apple][ , two floppy
disk drives and a small monitor had a small desk footprint. It took Woz
to make it happen, clever new approaches to hardware and software
internal design. The optimization was for the most performance it was
the most performance for the dollar the customer spent. Many of the 8080
based computers of the time had more overall performance but the apple
worked okay and had the software that customers could use when they
opened the box and printed "hello world"

After the apple][ was released it was widely believed that several
things contributed to its success.

- Open architecture where all details of both the hardware and
distributed software were deliberately and accurately released to the
public.

- Extensible architecture, the ability to add third party cards to to
computer to configure it for specialized applications but keep the core
machine as a common component.

- Broad range of application spread into two groups.
1) personal recreation not new for computers (everyone had tic-tac-toe
and hunt the wumpus on mainframes and minis) The apple][ opened a new
industry of games development where real resources could be committed
because the apple][ became a common widely distributed execution
environment.

2) Business applications specifically spreadsheets to the point many
computer stores with with significant business customers advertised
"Visicalc Machines" apple][ with VisiCalc at bundled price.

Besides the integer and floating point basics apple][ did a credible job
of running UCSD pascal.

The apple][ had short comings as well most notably the upper-case only
keyboard and limited display. The display was easily fixed with an
add-on card the upper case keyboard was a significant problem for
personal and business writing.

IBM had already tried and failed to release a personal computer the
IBM5100. It was too little, too expensive and generally just more of the
same a personal computer with no purpose in life at twice the price.

IBM saw the emerging personal computer market and were focused on the
success of the apple][. They made a list of its strengths and weaknesses
(lists above) talked to a lot of people who actually worked with
personal computers and created an apple][ clone doing some very un-IBM
things at the same time. They contracted out for software (MS basic) Put
basic in rom, published the bios and schematics made the keyboard upper
and lower case, and opened the system for third party add on boards.

I knew both Jobs and Estridge around that time. At an IEEE conference in
Chicago I chaired a panel discussion that included Estridge a couple
years before the release of the PC on personal computing. He was there I
assume primarily to make contacts with the personal computing "experts"
at the time numbering at most a few hundred people.

I was working at the time on other projects one of which was to predict
what type of personal computer IBM was likely to release. A colleague of
mine in the audience talked to Estridge at the end of the session and
made a completely innocent request. He asked Estridge for his business
card. The response was we are just moving to our new office and I don't
have the new phone numbers yet. I just moved as well you can reach me at
home. The number he gave was same area code and first three digits of
the number for my colleagues parents who retired to Boca Raton FL.

We had felt that Estridge was likely spearheading the IBM PC development
now we knew where it was happening.

All of us were traveling a lot at the time we then had a single innocent
important question to ask acquaintances when we ran into them at
airports and trade shows where have you been lately? Florida was so
outside the normal personal computer destinations of California and
Boston area that we could use the predictable opinions of our friends
going to FL to predict what the IBM PC would likely look like. It proved
remarkably accurate a year or so before the PC release.

w..






tware
Charles Richmond
2016-08-13 19:12:37 UTC
Permalink
[snip...] [snip...]
[snip...]
I was working at the time on other projects one of which was to predict
what type of personal computer IBM was likely to release. A colleague of
mine in the audience talked to Estridge at the end of the session and
made a completely innocent request. He asked Estridge for his business
card. The response was we are just moving to our new office and I don't
have the new phone numbers yet. I just moved as well you can reach me at
home. The number he gave was same area code and first three digits of
the number for my colleagues parents who retired to Boca Raton FL.
We had felt that Estridge was likely spearheading the IBM PC development
now we knew where it was happening.
All of us were traveling a lot at the time we then had a single innocent
important question to ask acquaintances when we ran into them at
airports and trade shows where have you been lately? Florida was so
outside the normal personal computer destinations of California and
Boston area that we could use the predictable opinions of our friends
going to FL to predict what the IBM PC would likely look like. It proved
remarkably accurate a year or so before the PC release.
Do you think the choice of Boca Raton, Florida for the IBM PC digs... did it
have anything to do with Estridge being born in Jacksonville, Florida or
that he got his electrical engineering degree at the University of
Florida???

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Don_Estridge


Estridge and his wife were killed in the crash of Delta flight 191 at the
Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport on August 2, 1985. There was a thunderstorm in the
area and the plane (while attempting to land) was hit with a "downburst"
wind that drove it into the ground short of the runway.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_Air_Lines_Flight_191
--
numerist at aquaporin4 dot com
Dave Garland
2016-08-13 23:25:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Charles Richmond
[snip...] [snip...] [snip...]
I was working at the time on other projects one of which was to predict
what type of personal computer IBM was likely to release. A
colleague of
mine in the audience talked to Estridge at the end of the session and
made a completely innocent request. He asked Estridge for his business
card. The response was we are just moving to our new office and I don't
have the new phone numbers yet. I just moved as well you can reach me at
home. The number he gave was same area code and first three digits of
the number for my colleagues parents who retired to Boca Raton FL.
We had felt that Estridge was likely spearheading the IBM PC
development
now we knew where it was happening.
All of us were traveling a lot at the time we then had a single innocent
important question to ask acquaintances when we ran into them at
airports and trade shows where have you been lately? Florida was so
outside the normal personal computer destinations of California and
Boston area that we could use the predictable opinions of our friends
going to FL to predict what the IBM PC would likely look like. It proved
remarkably accurate a year or so before the PC release.
Do you think the choice of Boca Raton, Florida for the IBM PC digs...
did it have anything to do with Estridge being born in Jacksonville,
Florida or that he got his electrical engineering degree at the
University of Florida???
I understand that the single best predictor of whether and where a
large corporation will move its headquarters is where the CEO lives.
maus
2016-08-14 09:11:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Garland
Post by Charles Richmond
[snip...] [snip...] [snip...]
remarkably accurate a year or so before the PC release.
Do you think the choice of Boca Raton, Florida for the IBM PC digs...
did it have anything to do with Estridge being born in Jacksonville,
Florida or that he got his electrical engineering degree at the
University of Florida???
From my readingson the matter, the reasoning on the matter seemed that
the main IBM business wanted the PC business well away from headquarters,
and Boca suited the people who had the task of implementing it.
Post by Dave Garland
I understand that the single best predictor of whether and where a
large corporation will move its headquarters is where the CEO lives.
At the moment, it seems that Ireland is the spot.
--
greymaus.ireland.ie
.
.
...
Andrew Swallow
2016-08-14 10:38:12 UTC
Permalink
{snip}
Post by maus
From my readingson the matter, the reasoning on the matter seemed that
the main IBM business wanted the PC business well away from headquarters,
and Boca suited the people who had the task of implementing it.
This separation was probably a major part of the PCs success. The middle
management of the rest of the company had no power over it. IBM's
previous personal computer was an 8 bit machine that had ended up
running software written in 360 Assembler in an emulator. This produced
both the slowest and the most expensive home computer.
Post by maus
Post by Dave Garland
I understand that the single best predictor of whether and where a
large corporation will move its headquarters is where the CEO lives.
At the moment, it seems that Ireland is the spot.
I assume that is the official head quarters rather than the operational
command and control centre.
maus
2016-08-14 11:30:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Swallow
{snip}
Post by maus
From my readingson the matter, the reasoning on the matter seemed that
the main IBM business wanted the PC business well away from headquarters,
and Boca suited the people who had the task of implementing it.
This separation was probably a major part of the PCs success. The middle
management of the rest of the company had no power over it. IBM's
previous personal computer was an 8 bit machine that had ended up
running software written in 360 Assembler in an emulator. This produced
both the slowest and the most expensive home computer.
Post by maus
Post by Dave Garland
I understand that the single best predictor of whether and where a
large corporation will move its headquarters is where the CEO lives.
At the moment, it seems that Ireland is the spot.
I assume that is the official head quarters rather than the operational
command and control centre.
I assume so, as well. Most amazing things happening. It also seems that
it actually costs very little, costs little Irish tax, yet increases
Irelands EU contributions, which are based on some of the outdated measures
of national wealth.
--
greymaus.ireland.ie
.
.
...
Walter Banks
2016-08-14 12:09:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Swallow
{snip}
Post by maus
From my readingson the matter, the reasoning on the matter seemed
that the main IBM business wanted the PC business well away from
headquarters, and Boca suited the people who had the task of
implementing it.
This separation was probably a major part of the PCs success. The
middle management of the rest of the company had no power over it.
IBM's previous personal computer was an 8 bit machine that had ended
up running software written in 360 Assembler in an emulator. This
produced both the slowest and the most expensive home computer.
The failure of the IBM 5100 certainly stirred the pot internally. I was
invited by IBM to the IBM 5100 first showing a couple weeks before its
public announcement. The people there were personal computer press and
technically vocal and mixture most technically competent people. They
went through their demonstrations and wouldn't at the time describe
details of the processor with a lot of 360 compatibility comments.

I had a question that took multiple attempts to get answered about the
processor. At the time starting to guess that what was in the box was a
microcoded 360. After 3 or 4 non answers I volunteered so what we are
seeing is this the smallest IBM 360? After a hesitation the answer was
it can execute the 360 ISA.

After the presentation one of the IBM people I knew made a beeline to me
and so aren't you impressed a computer that can execute all the 360
applications and so much more. I answered, what personal computer
application do you expect to develop? What do you mean? There is nothing
here for personal computers.

I went home feeling the IBM 5100 was doomed, it was an expensive slowed
down 360 based on the initial demo I saw. They had little insight into
the market they expected to dominate because just because they said so.
It was still the era that buy IBM as a decision maker you can't go wrong
we will have your back. These were the same people who still had no
respect for the Olsen brothers.

Other conversations at the time it was clear we were speaking completely
different languages describing computing. The old computer people were
still living in a world of how to create computing capability, the
generation I was in was moving towards the what I am going to do with it.

It is one of the reasons apple][ success was important. Say you you like
about Jobs, but when it came to computers in many forms he understood
the whole spectrum of issues about what would be important to the
customers who would eventually use them.

w..
Andrew Swallow
2016-08-14 15:05:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Walter Banks
Post by Andrew Swallow
{snip}
Post by maus
From my readingson the matter, the reasoning on the matter seemed
that the main IBM business wanted the PC business well away from
headquarters, and Boca suited the people who had the task of
implementing it.
This separation was probably a major part of the PCs success. The
middle management of the rest of the company had no power over it.
IBM's previous personal computer was an 8 bit machine that had ended
up running software written in 360 Assembler in an emulator. This
produced both the slowest and the most expensive home computer.
The failure of the IBM 5100 certainly stirred the pot internally. I was
invited by IBM to the IBM 5100 first showing a couple weeks before its
public announcement. The people there were personal computer press and
technically vocal and mixture most technically competent people. They
went through their demonstrations and wouldn't at the time describe
details of the processor with a lot of 360 compatibility comments.
I had a question that took multiple attempts to get answered about the
processor. At the time starting to guess that what was in the box was a
microcoded 360. After 3 or 4 non answers I volunteered so what we are
seeing is this the smallest IBM 360? After a hesitation the answer was
it can execute the 360 ISA.
After the presentation one of the IBM people I knew made a beeline to me
and so aren't you impressed a computer that can execute all the 360
applications and so much more. I answered, what personal computer
application do you expect to develop? What do you mean? There is nothing
here for personal computers.
I went home feeling the IBM 5100 was doomed, it was an expensive slowed
down 360 based on the initial demo I saw. They had little insight into
the market they expected to dominate because just because they said so.
It was still the era that buy IBM as a decision maker you can't go wrong
we will have your back. These were the same people who still had no
respect for the Olsen brothers.
Other conversations at the time it was clear we were speaking completely
different languages describing computing. The old computer people were
still living in a world of how to create computing capability, the
generation I was in was moving towards the what I am going to do with it.
It is one of the reasons apple][ success was important. Say you you like
about Jobs, but when it came to computers in many forms he understood
the whole spectrum of issues about what would be important to the
customers who would eventually use them.
w..
An 360 emulator meant the IBM 5100 could run programs written in COBOL.
Stock control and mini payroll for village shops for instance. Did
International BUSINESS Machines even try?
Quadibloc
2016-08-14 15:20:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Swallow
An 360 emulator meant the IBM 5100 could run programs written in COBOL.
Stock control and mini payroll for village shops for instance. Did
International BUSINESS Machines even try?
What, and cannibalize their core business? That it could run 360 code was a
*secret* - it was simply a technique they used to put a decent APL on it in a
hurry. (The BASIC ran under System/3 emulation.)

Originally, they were going to emulate the 1130, but 1130 APL was not adequate.

John Savard
Andrew Swallow
2016-08-14 15:25:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Andrew Swallow
An 360 emulator meant the IBM 5100 could run programs written in COBOL.
Stock control and mini payroll for village shops for instance. Did
International BUSINESS Machines even try?
What, and cannibalize their core business? That it could run 360 code was a
*secret* - it was simply a technique they used to put a decent APL on it in a
hurry. (The BASIC ran under System/3 emulation.)
Originally, they were going to emulate the 1130, but 1130 APL was not adequate.
John Savard
It is an unusual village shop that could afford an IBM 360. A stock
control system where you had to keep changing floppy disks would soon
upset a medium sized business.
Charlie Gibbs
2016-08-14 17:08:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Swallow
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Andrew Swallow
An 360 emulator meant the IBM 5100 could run programs written in COBOL.
Stock control and mini payroll for village shops for instance. Did
International BUSINESS Machines even try?
What, and cannibalize their core business? That it could run 360 code was
a *secret* - it was simply a technique they used to put a decent APL on it
in a hurry. (The BASIC ran under System/3 emulation.)
Originally, they were going to emulate the 1130, but 1130 APL was not adequate.
It is an unusual village shop that could afford an IBM 360. A stock
control system where you had to keep changing floppy disks would soon
upset a medium sized business.
QIC tapes, please. And how would you attach your 2540?
--
/~\ ***@kltpzyxm.invalid (Charlie Gibbs)
\ / I'm really at ac.dekanfrus if you read it the right way.
X Top-posted messages will probably be ignored. See RFC1855.
/ \ HTML will DEFINITELY be ignored. Join the ASCII ribbon campaign!
Charles Richmond
2016-08-15 01:29:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Andrew Swallow
An 360 emulator meant the IBM 5100 could run programs written in COBOL.
Stock control and mini payroll for village shops for instance. Did
International BUSINESS Machines even try?
What, and cannibalize their core business? That it could run 360 code was a
*secret* - it was simply a technique they used to put a decent APL on it in a
hurry. (The BASIC ran under System/3 emulation.)
Originally, they were going to emulate the 1130, but 1130 APL was not adequate.
Yeah, I had always heard that the IBM 5100 used 1130 APL... I was a little
surprised that APL could even run on the IBM 1130.
--
numerist at aquaporin4 dot com
Quadibloc
2016-08-15 14:10:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Charles Richmond
Post by Quadibloc
What, and cannibalize their core business? That it could run 360 code was a
*secret* - it was simply a technique they used to put a decent APL on it in a
hurry. (The BASIC ran under System/3 emulation.)
Originally, they were going to emulate the 1130, but 1130 APL was not adequate.
Yeah, I had always heard that the IBM 5100 used 1130 APL... I was a little
surprised that APL could even run on the IBM 1130.
The 1130 did have a version of APL - and the prototype of the 5100, which had
the 1130 emulation and APL on it is now at the Smithsonian Institution.

John Savard
h***@bbs.cpcn.com
2016-08-15 20:59:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Swallow
An 360 emulator meant the IBM 5100 could run programs written in COBOL.
Stock control and mini payroll for village shops for instance. Did
International BUSINESS Machines even try?
IIRC the marketing for the IBM 5100, I don't think it was targeted
toward for small business applications. IBM had the S/3 for that.

Rather, I think it was intended to serve as (1) a relatively
inexpensive and portable home terminal, so workers could access
their mainframe from home (a big need back then), and (2) a
sophisticated calculator, so that engineers could use BASIC or
APL to solve sci/eng problems.

Also, my recollection was that the big problem with the 5100 was
that it was simply too costly for what it could do. If the price
was cheaper, more would've been sold as it did fulfill some needs.
Quadibloc
2016-08-16 01:05:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
IIRC the marketing for the IBM 5100, I don't think it was targeted
toward for small business applications. IBM had the S/3 for that.
They did try to market the 5110 towards businesses...

John Savard
Andrew Swallow
2016-08-16 03:31:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Andrew Swallow
An 360 emulator meant the IBM 5100 could run programs written in COBOL.
Stock control and mini payroll for village shops for instance. Did
International BUSINESS Machines even try?
IIRC the marketing for the IBM 5100, I don't think it was targeted
toward for small business applications. IBM had the S/3 for that.
Rather, I think it was intended to serve as (1) a relatively
inexpensive and portable home terminal, so workers could access
their mainframe from home (a big need back then), and (2) a
sophisticated calculator, so that engineers could use BASIC or
APL to solve sci/eng problems.
Also, my recollection was that the big problem with the 5100 was
that it was simply too costly for what it could do. If the price
was cheaper, more would've been sold as it did fulfill some needs.
The IBM 5100 managed to be 3-4 times as expensive as a Commodore PET and
slower (using the standard BASIC benchmark tests).
Charles Richmond
2016-08-17 01:56:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Andrew Swallow
An 360 emulator meant the IBM 5100 could run programs written in COBOL.
Stock control and mini payroll for village shops for instance. Did
International BUSINESS Machines even try?
IIRC the marketing for the IBM 5100, I don't think it was targeted
toward for small business applications. IBM had the S/3 for that.
Rather, I think it was intended to serve as (1) a relatively
inexpensive and portable home terminal, so workers could access
their mainframe from home (a big need back then), and (2) a
sophisticated calculator, so that engineers could use BASIC or
APL to solve sci/eng problems.
Also, my recollection was that the big problem with the 5100 was
that it was simply too costly for what it could do. If the price
was cheaper, more would've been sold as it did fulfill some needs.
And the IBM 5100 was s---l---o---w !!!!! This was most likely the result
of all the emulation needed to run the BASIC and APL interpreters. Still,
slow is slow, for whatever reason. And back when money was worth more than
today... the QIC tape cartridges cost $35 US a piece!!!
--
numerist at aquaporin4 dot com
h***@bbs.cpcn.com
2016-08-15 20:46:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Walter Banks
I went home feeling the IBM 5100 was doomed, it was an expensive slowed
down 360 based on the initial demo I saw. They had little insight into
the market they expected to dominate because just because they said so.
It was still the era that buy IBM as a decision maker you can't go wrong
we will have your back. These were the same people who still had no
respect for the Olsen brothers.
Which is rather curious since IBM well knew the small business
market from its huge success with the S/3. Indeed, I'm surprised
they aimed for S/360 compatibility instead of S/3 compatibility.

In addition, IBM knew full well how to market inexpensive machines
from its typewriter division. I'm not sure when their Displaywriter
came out, but IBM could've (maybe should've) continued upgrading
their mag tape and mag card Selectric typewriters, making them more
sophisticated. Friden offered Computypers, maybe IBM should've as well.
Post by Walter Banks
Other conversations at the time it was clear we were speaking completely
different languages describing computing. The old computer people were
still living in a world of how to create computing capability, the
generation I was in was moving towards the what I am going to do with it.
IBM knew from day one that what the user was actually going to do
with the machine was most important; most of their products were
designed around that. The Watsons were not technical people, rather,
they were salesmen.
Post by Walter Banks
It is one of the reasons apple][ success was important. Say you you like
about Jobs, but when it came to computers in many forms he understood
the whole spectrum of issues about what would be important to the
customers who would eventually use them.
IMHO, a big part of Apple Corp's success is knowing how to market
their products in the modern world. IBM was expert at marketing to
large corporation officers to do the accounting or typing. But
that wasn't the same market as personal computers. Futher, IMHO,
IBM by choice was a very staid company while Apple, by choice,
was 'hip'. The target market liked hip.
Peter Flass
2016-08-15 20:51:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Walter Banks
I went home feeling the IBM 5100 was doomed, it was an expensive slowed
down 360 based on the initial demo I saw. They had little insight into
the market they expected to dominate because just because they said so.
It was still the era that buy IBM as a decision maker you can't go wrong
we will have your back. These were the same people who still had no
respect for the Olsen brothers.
Which is rather curious since IBM well knew the small business
market from its huge success with the S/3. Indeed, I'm surprised
they aimed for S/360 compatibility instead of S/3 compatibility.
I think the 5100 was aimed at the sci/tech market, the opposite of the s/3,
hence the desire for APL.
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
In addition, IBM knew full well how to market inexpensive machines
from its typewriter division. I'm not sure when their Displaywriter
came out, but IBM could've (maybe should've) continued upgrading
their mag tape and mag card Selectric typewriters, making them more
sophisticated. Friden offered Computypers, maybe IBM should've as well.
As I've said, the "girls" that used Displaywriters loved them, and they had
been the people who previously used MC/STs, etc.
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Walter Banks
Other conversations at the time it was clear we were speaking completely
different languages describing computing. The old computer people were
still living in a world of how to create computing capability, the
generation I was in was moving towards the what I am going to do with it.
IBM knew from day one that what the user was actually going to do
with the machine was most important; most of their products were
designed around that. The Watsons were not technical people, rather,
they were salesmen.
Post by Walter Banks
It is one of the reasons apple][ success was important. Say you you like
about Jobs, but when it came to computers in many forms he understood
the whole spectrum of issues about what would be important to the
customers who would eventually use them.
IMHO, a big part of Apple Corp's success is knowing how to market
their products in the modern world. IBM was expert at marketing to
large corporation officers to do the accounting or typing. But
that wasn't the same market as personal computers. Futher, IMHO,
IBM by choice was a very staid company while Apple, by choice,
was 'hip'. The target market liked hip.
--
Pete
Dave Garland
2016-08-15 23:00:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Walter Banks
I went home feeling the IBM 5100 was doomed, it was an expensive slowed
down 360 based on the initial demo I saw. They had little insight into
the market they expected to dominate because just because they said so.
It was still the era that buy IBM as a decision maker you can't go wrong
we will have your back. These were the same people who still had no
respect for the Olsen brothers.
Which is rather curious since IBM well knew the small business
market from its huge success with the S/3. Indeed, I'm surprised
they aimed for S/360 compatibility instead of S/3 compatibility.
In addition, IBM knew full well how to market inexpensive machines
from its typewriter division. I'm not sure when their Displaywriter
came out, but IBM could've (maybe should've) continued upgrading
their mag tape and mag card Selectric typewriters, making them more
sophisticated. Friden offered Computypers, maybe IBM should've as well.
The MCST required a fair amount of maintenance, there was a lot of
mechanical stuff. Ever looked inside a Selectric? And then there was
the card feeder mechanism. The Displaywriter came out in 1980 and
pretty much replaced them (it cost about the same as a MagCard II, in
the neighborhood of $11K, maybe a little less because 2 D'wrs could
share a printer), and was far superior in every way (a modern word
processor, albeit not WYSIWIG). Mechanically simple (daisywheel
printer, 8" disk drives, fans were all there was, mechanically). Even
had a cut-sheet feeder for the printer. You could even get CP/M-86
(and I think UCSD p-System), though with a 1MHz CPU it was awfully
slow (we used that for Supercalc spreadsheets that were too big for an
Osborne's memory).

I've got one (with the printer) in storage. I really should drag it
out and see if it will still fire up.
Quadibloc
2016-08-14 15:17:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Swallow
IBM's
previous personal computer was an 8 bit machine that had ended up
running software written in 360 Assembler in an emulator.
The legendary and much-beloved IBM 5100!

John Savard
Dave Garland
2016-08-14 15:49:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by maus
Post by Dave Garland
Post by Charles Richmond
[snip...] [snip...] [snip...]
remarkably accurate a year or so before the PC release.
Do you think the choice of Boca Raton, Florida for the IBM PC digs...
did it have anything to do with Estridge being born in Jacksonville,
Florida or that he got his electrical engineering degree at the
University of Florida???
From my readingson the matter, the reasoning on the matter seemed that
the main IBM business wanted the PC business well away from headquarters,
and Boca suited the people who had the task of implementing it.
Post by Dave Garland
I understand that the single best predictor of whether and where a
large corporation will move its headquarters is where the CEO lives.
At the moment, it seems that Ireland is the spot.
That would be "move" in quotation marks. The real HQ is where the CEO
works, I believe most US companies that "move" to Ireland, it's a sham
move to cheat the tax man.
Walter Banks
2016-08-14 11:35:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Charles Richmond
Post by Walter Banks
We had felt that Estridge was likely spearheading the IBM PC
development now we knew where it was happening.
All of us were traveling a lot at the time we then had a single
innocent important question to ask acquaintances when we ran into
them at airports and trade shows where have you been lately?
Florida was so outside the normal personal computer destinations of
California and Boston area that we could use the predictable
opinions of our friends going to FL to predict what the IBM PC
would likely look like. It proved remarkably accurate a year or so
before the PC release.
Do you think the choice of Boca Raton, Florida for the IBM PC
digs... did it have anything to do with Estridge being born in
Jacksonville, Florida or that he got his electrical engineering
degree at the University of Florida???
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Don_Estridge
Estridge and his wife were killed in the crash of Delta flight 191
at the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport on August 2, 1985. There was a
thunderstorm in the area and the plane (while attempting to land)
was hit with a "downburst" wind that drove it into the ground short
of the runway.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_Air_Lines_Flight_191
I don't know what made the FL choice. I do know that the IBM 5100
failure created a lot of discussion inside IBM at the time and I had
glimpses of the conflict. Part of the move to new development location
was to separate this development from existing development in computers
and office products. The failure of the 5100 signaled that it was
something different.

That can be seen in a number of ways, they chose a non IBM processor,
non IBM operating system, had an IBM permitted and supported open
architecture.

Estridge's death a couple years after the initial release of the PC was
tragic in a whole lot of ways. He was relatively young from an
industrial point of view and old from the personal computer field.
Leading up to the development of the PC he spent a lot of time at trade
shows listening. He also participated.

Had he lived I think IBM would have been a different player in personal
and desktop computing.

w..
maus
2016-08-14 17:26:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Walter Banks
Post by Walter Banks
We had felt that Estridge was likely spearheading the IBM PC
development now we knew where it was happening.
failure created a lot of discussion inside IBM at the time and I had
glimpses of the conflict. Part of the move to new development location
was to separate this development from existing development in computers
and office products. The failure of the 5100 signaled that it was
something different.
That can be seen in a number of ways, they chose a non IBM processor,
non IBM operating system, had an IBM permitted and supported open
architecture.
Estridge's death a couple years after the initial release of the PC was
tragic in a whole lot of ways. He was relatively young from an
industrial point of view and old from the personal computer field.
Leading up to the development of the PC he spent a lot of time at trade
shows listening. He also participated.
Had he lived I think IBM would have been a different player in personal
and desktop computing.
A relative worked in Boca Raton, in the 1930s. Seems to have been
a very pleasant place that time. The whole headquarters of that
company moved to there, during a certain season, (Must have been
Winter)
--
greymaus.ireland.ie
.
.
...
Charles Richmond
2016-08-15 01:33:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Walter Banks
Post by Charles Richmond
Post by Walter Banks
We had felt that Estridge was likely spearheading the IBM PC
development now we knew where it was happening.
All of us were traveling a lot at the time we then had a single
innocent important question to ask acquaintances when we ran into
them at airports and trade shows where have you been lately?
Florida was so outside the normal personal computer destinations of
California and Boston area that we could use the predictable
opinions of our friends going to FL to predict what the IBM PC
would likely look like. It proved remarkably accurate a year or so
before the PC release.
Do you think the choice of Boca Raton, Florida for the IBM PC
digs... did it have anything to do with Estridge being born in
Jacksonville, Florida or that he got his electrical engineering
degree at the University of Florida???
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Don_Estridge
Estridge and his wife were killed in the crash of Delta flight 191
at the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport on August 2, 1985. There was a
thunderstorm in the area and the plane (while attempting to land)
was hit with a "downburst" wind that drove it into the ground short
of the runway.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_Air_Lines_Flight_191
I don't know what made the FL choice. I do know that the IBM 5100
failure created a lot of discussion inside IBM at the time and I had
glimpses of the conflict. Part of the move to new development location
was to separate this development from existing development in computers
and office products. The failure of the 5100 signaled that it was
something different.
It is understood by me and most others that IBM wanted the PC operations
*away* from their New York state operations. Still as *you* yourself said,
Mr. Banks, Florida was an odd choice and *not* identified much with
microcomputer development up till then. So with that in mind, the choice of
Florida *seems* to me to be predicated on Don Estridge's personal history.
--
numerist at aquaporin4 dot com
Charles Richmond
2016-08-13 18:44:45 UTC
Permalink
[snip...] [snip...]
[snip...]
But the 8080 and the 80386 and the Pentium and other x86 processors are all
little-endian, so maybe the PDP-11 is the first modern computer!
The 16-bit quantities on the PDP-11 are stored "little endian". The 32-bit
floating point values are stored both ways, so sometimes the PDP-11 is
called "middle endian".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PDP-11_architecture#Data_formats
--
numerist at aquaporin4 dot com
h***@bbs.cpcn.com
2016-08-13 19:12:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
"On this day 35 years ago the first modern computer was released to the public."
I'd say the ENIAC was the "first" modern computer.

The IBM PC does not deserve that title. As you pointed out, there were
too many other machines--mainframe, mini, and PC, that were there
first.

Yes, the IBM PC was a significant machine in the history of computers,
but so was the Univac I, IBM 650, IBM 1401, and IBM 1401, the PDP series,
and so on.
Charles Richmond
2016-08-13 22:05:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Quadibloc
"On this day 35 years ago the first modern computer was released to the public."
I'd say the ENIAC was the "first" modern computer.
The ENIAC was a decimal machine--*not* binary--and did *not* hold its
program in memory. The ENIAC had to be "set up" for each program by setting
switches and changing the wiring of the machine. This could easily take a
couple of days, during which time the computer was idle--i.e., doing
*nothing*!!! I would say that this does *not* compare favorably with a
"modern computer".
--
numerist at aquaporin4 dot com
h***@bbs.cpcn.com
2016-08-15 20:36:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Charles Richmond
The ENIAC was a decimal machine--*not* binary--and did *not* hold its
program in memory. The ENIAC had to be "set up" for each program by setting
switches and changing the wiring of the machine. This could easily take a
couple of days, during which time the computer was idle--i.e., doing
*nothing*!!! I would say that this does *not* compare favorably with a
"modern computer".
Wasn't the ENIAC modified to fix some of those initial issues?

In any event, I still consider the ENAIC a modern device as it was
a leapfrog advance over the existing state of the art. It could
and was utilized to calculate problems that could not be solved
anywhere else.

However, if the ENIAC doesn't 'count', then the UNIVAC would
definitely be the fist. (I consider the Univac to be a derivative
of the ENIAC as it was developed by the same people.)
Bob Eager
2016-08-15 21:03:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Charles Richmond
The ENIAC was a decimal machine--*not* binary--and did *not* hold its
program in memory. The ENIAC had to be "set up" for each program by
setting switches and changing the wiring of the machine. This could
easily take a couple of days, during which time the computer was
idle--i.e., doing *nothing*!!! I would say that this does *not*
compare favorably with a "modern computer".
Wasn't the ENIAC modified to fix some of those initial issues?
It was set up to run a von Neumann-provided instruction set. When it was
discovered how easy it was to use that, it wasn't touched again (apart
from a couple of times when they extended the instruction set).

So it wasn't really modified. It was just programmed ('set up') in a
rather clever and more useful and flexible way.
--
Using UNIX since v6 (1975)...

Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
http://www.mirrorservice.org
h***@bbs.cpcn.com
2016-08-15 21:08:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bob Eager
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Wasn't the ENIAC modified to fix some of those initial issues?
It was set up to run a von Neumann-provided instruction set. When it was
discovered how easy it was to use that, it wasn't touched again (apart
from a couple of times when they extended the instruction set).
So it wasn't really modified. It was just programmed ('set up') in a
rather clever and more useful and flexible way.
Well then, it seems to me that all that hard-wiring to support an
instruction set could be considered "firmware", and that would
qualify the ENIAC to be the first modern machine.
Bob Eager
2016-08-15 22:19:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Bob Eager
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Wasn't the ENIAC modified to fix some of those initial issues?
It was set up to run a von Neumann-provided instruction set. When it
was discovered how easy it was to use that, it wasn't touched again
(apart from a couple of times when they extended the instruction set).
So it wasn't really modified. It was just programmed ('set up') in a
rather clever and more useful and flexible way.
Well then, it seems to me that all that hard-wiring to support an
instruction set could be considered "firmware", and that would qualify
the ENIAC to be the first modern machine.
This is based on a recent talk I went to from a guy who had spent a long
time researching it. He (inter alia) wrote a book too, which I have but
have not yet had a chance to read.

(BTW, when I say "von Neumann-provided", I mean that von Neumann himself
provided it, although he had some very good assistance, one woman in
particular)
--
Using UNIX since v6 (1975)...

Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
http://www.mirrorservice.org
Joe Pfeiffer
2016-08-15 21:21:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bob Eager
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Charles Richmond
The ENIAC was a decimal machine--*not* binary--and did *not* hold its
program in memory. The ENIAC had to be "set up" for each program by
setting switches and changing the wiring of the machine. This could
easily take a couple of days, during which time the computer was
idle--i.e., doing *nothing*!!! I would say that this does *not*
compare favorably with a "modern computer".
Wasn't the ENIAC modified to fix some of those initial issues?
It was set up to run a von Neumann-provided instruction set. When it was
discovered how easy it was to use that, it wasn't touched again (apart
from a couple of times when they extended the instruction set).
So it wasn't really modified. It was just programmed ('set up') in a
rather clever and more useful and flexible way.
I don't remember encountering that before -- is there a place I can
learn more about it?
Bob Eager
2016-08-16 00:01:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Pfeiffer
Post by Bob Eager
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Charles Richmond
The ENIAC was a decimal machine--*not* binary--and did *not* hold its
program in memory. The ENIAC had to be "set up" for each program by
setting switches and changing the wiring of the machine. This could
easily take a couple of days, during which time the computer was
idle--i.e., doing *nothing*!!! I would say that this does *not*
compare favorably with a "modern computer".
Wasn't the ENIAC modified to fix some of those initial issues?
It was set up to run a von Neumann-provided instruction set. When it
was discovered how easy it was to use that, it wasn't touched again
(apart from a couple of times when they extended the instruction set).
So it wasn't really modified. It was just programmed ('set up') in a
rather clever and more useful and flexible way.
I don't remember encountering that before -- is there a place I can
learn more about it?
The book I obliquely referred to recently - but I didn't give details. My
copy was sent from the U.S. so it should be available:

https://amzn.com/0262033984

Page 156 in Chapter 7 is where that bit starts. Von Neumann had been
working on EDVAC, and basically turned ENIAC into an EDVAC emulator.
--
Using UNIX since v6 (1975)...

Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
http://www.mirrorservice.org
Joe Pfeiffer
2016-08-16 00:45:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bob Eager
Post by Joe Pfeiffer
Post by Bob Eager
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Charles Richmond
The ENIAC was a decimal machine--*not* binary--and did *not* hold its
program in memory. The ENIAC had to be "set up" for each program by
setting switches and changing the wiring of the machine. This could
easily take a couple of days, during which time the computer was
idle--i.e., doing *nothing*!!! I would say that this does *not*
compare favorably with a "modern computer".
Wasn't the ENIAC modified to fix some of those initial issues?
It was set up to run a von Neumann-provided instruction set. When it
was discovered how easy it was to use that, it wasn't touched again
(apart from a couple of times when they extended the instruction set).
So it wasn't really modified. It was just programmed ('set up') in a
rather clever and more useful and flexible way.
I don't remember encountering that before -- is there a place I can
learn more about it?
The book I obliquely referred to recently - but I didn't give details. My
https://amzn.com/0262033984
Page 156 in Chapter 7 is where that bit starts. Von Neumann had been
working on EDVAC, and basically turned ENIAC into an EDVAC emulator.
That looks *really* interesting -- and they've got the ENIAC Technical
Manual and Operating Manual, too!

Thanks.
Quadibloc
2016-08-16 01:07:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Pfeiffer
Post by Bob Eager
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Wasn't the ENIAC modified to fix some of those initial issues?
It was set up to run a von Neumann-provided instruction set. When it was
discovered how easy it was to use that, it wasn't touched again (apart
from a couple of times when they extended the instruction set).
So it wasn't really modified. It was just programmed ('set up') in a
rather clever and more useful and flexible way.
I don't remember encountering that before -- is there a place I can
learn more about it?
What I remember is that people said, perhaps in jest, that this was when von
Neumann "ruined" the Eniac - because while it was more convenient to use that
way, it was also not as powerful or fast any longer.

John Savard
Joe Pfeiffer
2016-08-16 03:39:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Joe Pfeiffer
Post by Bob Eager
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Wasn't the ENIAC modified to fix some of those initial issues?
It was set up to run a von Neumann-provided instruction set. When it was
discovered how easy it was to use that, it wasn't touched again (apart
from a couple of times when they extended the instruction set).
So it wasn't really modified. It was just programmed ('set up') in a
rather clever and more useful and flexible way.
I don't remember encountering that before -- is there a place I can
learn more about it?
What I remember is that people said, perhaps in jest, that this was when von
Neumann "ruined" the Eniac - because while it was more convenient to use that
way, it was also not as powerful or fast any longer.
I wouldn't be at all surprised if they said exactly that, and were
completely serious -- it's the standard tradeoff between special-purpose
and general-purpose.
Bob Eager
2016-08-16 07:19:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Pfeiffer
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Joe Pfeiffer
Post by Bob Eager
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Wasn't the ENIAC modified to fix some of those initial issues?
It was set up to run a von Neumann-provided instruction set. When it
was discovered how easy it was to use that, it wasn't touched again
(apart from a couple of times when they extended the instruction
set).
So it wasn't really modified. It was just programmed ('set up') in a
rather clever and more useful and flexible way.
I don't remember encountering that before -- is there a place I can
learn more about it?
What I remember is that people said, perhaps in jest, that this was
when von Neumann "ruined" the Eniac - because while it was more
convenient to use that way, it was also not as powerful or fast any
longer.
I wouldn't be at all surprised if they said exactly that, and were
completely serious -- it's the standard tradeoff between special-purpose
and general-purpose.
But, of course, part of the tradeoff would have been much greater
availability of the machine - no downtime to reconfigure it.
--
Using UNIX since v6 (1975)...

Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
http://www.mirrorservice.org
Joe Pfeiffer
2016-08-15 21:07:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Charles Richmond
The ENIAC was a decimal machine--*not* binary--and did *not* hold its
program in memory. The ENIAC had to be "set up" for each program by setting
switches and changing the wiring of the machine. This could easily take a
couple of days, during which time the computer was idle--i.e., doing
*nothing*!!! I would say that this does *not* compare favorably with a
"modern computer".
Wasn't the ENIAC modified to fix some of those initial issues?
Not to my knowledge.
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
In any event, I still consider the ENAIC a modern device as it was
a leapfrog advance over the existing state of the art. It could
and was utilized to calculate problems that could not be solved
anywhere else.
But, it's not a computer in the modern sense as it isn't
stored-program. That takes nothing away from its huge advance in the
state of the art.
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
However, if the ENIAC doesn't 'count', then the UNIVAC would
definitely be the fist. (I consider the Univac to be a derivative
of the ENIAC as it was developed by the same people.)
Apparently Eckert-Mauchly developed something called BINAC before UNIVAC
I; according to wikipedia it ran a test program 1949.

UNIVAC I was first operational in 1951.

SSEM ran its first program in 1948 -- so it was the first stored-program
computer to be operational.
songbird
2016-08-13 14:20:58 UTC
Permalink
Quadibloc wrote:
...
Post by Quadibloc
But the 8080 and the 80386 and the Pentium and other x86 processors are all little-endian, so maybe the PDP-11 is the first modern computer!
having owned an IBM-PC for 15 years (before i
gave it away, it was still running and used as
a terminal) it was ok.

i added a 40M hard drive to it and had a
monochrome graphics card in it and the memory
maxed out.

at the time i also had used a PDP11 and the
Univac mainframes.

as long as they did what i told them to i had
no complaints. my favorite coding was the mainframe
assembler. i only had to do a little of that. most
at the time instead i was using Pascal, Fortran or
Cobol.

C on the mini computers and for class work.

Lisp for fun.

eventually SQL, Cobol and various shell languages.
then i was done.

now mostly C or bash, a little HTML, nothing too
crazy.

it had been years since i'd last updated my
spreadsheet programs (old multiplan which i can
still run under dosemu :) ). the other day i finally
got into this century by making some new spreadsheets
in the libreoffice calc program and hooked it to
yahoo to get the current prices. amazingly it all
works. :)


songbird
Whiskers
2016-08-14 14:42:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/08/12/the-first-ibm-pc-was-released-35-years-ago-today---how-it-change/
"On this day 35 years ago the first modern computer was released to the public."
The IBM PC was certainly an important milestone in the history of computers.
In one very narrow sense, it could be called the first modern
computer: it is the direct lineal ancestor of the Windows computers
that are still in use today.
[...]

'Modern computer' in the sense that it was rushed out in a panic using
off-the-shelf parts in response to perceived competition, that it never
even tried to match the competition and didn't deliver all that it did
try to promise, but was strenuously marketed and cheap(ish). If it
hadn't been branded IBM and pressed on their business customers it would
probably have sunk without trace (and Microsoft along with it).

In my world, it landed uninvited on the desks of office workers who
didn't want it and didn't know what to do with it (the few who did have
some idea what a personal computer could do, wanted some other sort but
weren't given the choice). We got one per department at first, and no
software or instructions. DOS was installed later by the IT department,
and even later we got Lotus 1-2-3 which a few people actually found
useful. Most of the people who eventually got 'training' didn't make
much use of it, and most of the people who got the things to do really
useful stuff did so with neither training nor support from the IT dept
and often against resistance from them - after all, we were a threat to
the established IT procedures and systems.

It took about 15 years for the PC to become in any sense integrated into
the company computer and IT systems, and even then it was mostly as a
terminal for data input and access to the 'mainframe' for what had
previously been available as local paper records (and still was). Few
'users' actually made use of the PC's own power and some still resented
or feared its presence. I left employment at around this stage so I
can't speak for what happened later.

Original IBM PCs did long service as 'print servers' and 'network
servers' long after they'd been retired from desktops. Once past the
initial hiccups the hardware proved to be remarkably reliable.
--
-- ^^^^^^^^^^
-- Whiskers
-- ~~~~~~~~~~
Quadibloc
2016-08-14 15:23:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Whiskers
If it
hadn't been branded IBM and pressed on their business customers it would
probably have sunk without trace (and Microsoft along with it).
It had two advantages over the CP/M computers that preceded it in the office:

- the memory could be expanded well beyond 64 K, and

- there was a standard disk format for PC-DOS *and* MS-DOS, so you didn't have
to find out if you could get software written for MS-DOS on the disk format
your computer happened to use.

John Savard
J. Clarke
2016-08-14 15:36:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Whiskers
If it
hadn't been branded IBM and pressed on their business customers it would
probably have sunk without trace (and Microsoft along with it).
- the memory could be expanded well beyond 64 K, and
- there was a standard disk format for PC-DOS *and* MS-DOS, so you didn't have
to find out if you could get software written for MS-DOS on the disk format
your computer happened to use.
You clearly have never encountered a Victor 9000 or an Apricot F.
Bob Eager
2016-08-14 20:15:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Quadibloc
If it hadn't been branded IBM and pressed on their business customers
it would probably have sunk without trace (and Microsoft along with
it).
- the memory could be expanded well beyond 64 K, and
- there was a standard disk format for PC-DOS *and* MS-DOS, so you
didn't have to find out if you could get software written for MS-DOS on
the disk format your computer happened to use.
You clearly have never encountered a Victor 9000 or an Apricot F.
Or a Rainbow.
--
Using UNIX since v6 (1975)...

Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
http://www.mirrorservice.org
Quadibloc
2016-08-15 16:57:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Quadibloc
- there was a standard disk format for PC-DOS *and* MS-DOS, so you didn't have
to find out if you could get software written for MS-DOS on the disk format
your computer happened to use.
You clearly have never encountered a Victor 9000 or an Apricot F.
I will admit there were a _few_ MS-DOS machines that used a non-standard disk
format. But that pales in comparison to the CP/M situation, where there *was*
no standard - initially, CP/M was available on 8-inch floppy disks for the
Altair floppy drive, and then later on it became available on hard-sectored
North Star floppies... basically, every computer manufacturer had its own
format, and so once you bought a computer, you had to get all your software
through your computer vendor as a general rule.

Rather late in the day, I think the floppies on the Osborne 1 finally became a
sort of _de facto_ standard for CP/M, but adoption was far from universal.

John Savard
Quadibloc
2016-08-15 17:06:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Rather late in the day, I think the floppies on the Osborne 1 finally became a
sort of _de facto_ standard for CP/M, but adoption was far from universal.
I see from Wikipedia that it's the Xerox 820 that I was thinking of instead; at
least the Kaypro II used that format, I don't really know about the Osborne,
which had an incompatible 56-character-line screen.

John Savard
Charlie Gibbs
2016-08-15 21:01:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Quadibloc
- there was a standard disk format for PC-DOS *and* MS-DOS, so you didn't
have to find out if you could get software written for MS-DOS on the disk
format your computer happened to use.
You clearly have never encountered a Victor 9000 or an Apricot F.
I will admit there were a _few_ MS-DOS machines that used a non-standard disk
format. But that pales in comparison to the CP/M situation, where there *was*
no standard - initially, CP/M was available on 8-inch floppy disks for the
Altair floppy drive, and then later on it became available on hard-sectored
North Star floppies... basically, every computer manufacturer had its own
format, and so once you bought a computer, you had to get all your software
through your computer vendor as a general rule.
Rather late in the day, I think the floppies on the Osborne 1 finally became
a sort of _de facto_ standard for CP/M, but adoption was far from universal.
That's why we die-hard CP/M users stuck with 8-inch floppies. Whatever other
higher-density formats a machine supported, every 8-inch soft-sectored machine
supported IBM 3740 format (single-sided, single-density, 26 128-byte sectors
on 77 tracks). This, then, was the de-facto standard distribution format.
I still have a copy of the SIG/M and CP/MUG libraries on 8-inch floppies.
(Now I just have to make a new boot PROM so my IMSAI can read them again.)
--
/~\ ***@kltpzyxm.invalid (Charlie Gibbs)
\ / I'm really at ac.dekanfrus if you read it the right way.
X Top-posted messages will probably be ignored. See RFC1855.
/ \ HTML will DEFINITELY be ignored. Join the ASCII ribbon campaign!
Dave Garland
2016-08-15 23:13:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Quadibloc
- there was a standard disk format for PC-DOS *and* MS-DOS, so you didn't have
to find out if you could get software written for MS-DOS on the disk format
your computer happened to use.
You clearly have never encountered a Victor 9000 or an Apricot F.
I will admit there were a _few_ MS-DOS machines that used a non-standard disk
format. But that pales in comparison to the CP/M situation, where there *was*
no standard - initially, CP/M was available on 8-inch floppy disks for the
Altair floppy drive, and then later on it became available on hard-sectored
North Star floppies... basically, every computer manufacturer had its own
format, and so once you bought a computer, you had to get all your software
through your computer vendor as a general rule.
Rather late in the day, I think the floppies on the Osborne 1 finally became a
sort of _de facto_ standard for CP/M, but adoption was far from universal.
After the early days, most of the CP/M computers with 5.25" drives
used soft-sectored disks in compatible drives (the drive, not the
format). There were programs (I used one called UniForm) that could
format/read/write in non-native formats. I wrote and sold an
aftermarket program where the buyer had to specify what disk format
they wanted it in, and that's how I'd record it.
Peter Flass
2016-08-14 20:51:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Whiskers
If it
hadn't been branded IBM and pressed on their business customers it would
probably have sunk without trace (and Microsoft along with it).
- the memory could be expanded well beyond 64 K, and
- there was a standard disk format for PC-DOS *and* MS-DOS, so you didn't have
to find out if you could get software written for MS-DOS on the disk format
your computer happened to use.
Ah yes, I'd happily forgotten about the panoply of incompatible disk
formats.
--
Pete
Charlie Gibbs
2016-08-15 01:08:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Quadibloc
If it hadn't been branded IBM and pressed on their business customers
it would probably have sunk without trace (and Microsoft along with it).
- the memory could be expanded well beyond 64 K, and
Programming was a pain, though. Forget the 640K barrier - I still have remnants
of code from the days when you had to juggle hoops to break the 64K barrier.
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Quadibloc
- there was a standard disk format for PC-DOS *and* MS-DOS, so you didn't
have to find out if you could get software written for MS-DOS on the disk
format your computer happened to use.
Ah yes, I'd happily forgotten about the panoply of incompatible disk
formats.
Our computer club had an S-100 board called the "Disk Maker".
It could handle over 400 different formats.
--
/~\ ***@kltpzyxm.invalid (Charlie Gibbs)
\ / I'm really at ac.dekanfrus if you read it the right way.
X Top-posted messages will probably be ignored. See RFC1855.
/ \ HTML will DEFINITELY be ignored. Join the ASCII ribbon campaign!
Peter Flass
2016-08-14 20:51:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Whiskers
Post by Quadibloc
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/08/12/the-first-ibm-pc-was-released-35-years-ago-today---how-it-change/
"On this day 35 years ago the first modern computer was released to the public."
The IBM PC was certainly an important milestone in the history of computers.
In one very narrow sense, it could be called the first modern
computer: it is the direct lineal ancestor of the Windows computers
that are still in use today.
[...]
'Modern computer' in the sense that it was rushed out in a panic using
off-the-shelf parts in response to perceived competition, that it never
even tried to match the competition and didn't deliver all that it did
try to promise, but was strenuously marketed and cheap(ish). If it
hadn't been branded IBM and pressed on their business customers it would
probably have sunk without trace (and Microsoft along with it).
In my world, it landed uninvited on the desks of office workers who
didn't want it and didn't know what to do with it (the few who did have
some idea what a personal computer could do, wanted some other sort but
weren't given the choice). We got one per department at first, and no
software or instructions. DOS was installed later by the IT department,
and even later we got Lotus 1-2-3 which a few people actually found
useful. Most of the people who eventually got 'training' didn't make
much use of it, and most of the people who got the things to do really
useful stuff did so with neither training nor support from the IT dept
and often against resistance from them - after all, we were a threat to
the established IT procedures and systems.
It took about 15 years for the PC to become in any sense integrated into
the company computer and IT systems, and even then it was mostly as a
terminal for data input and access to the 'mainframe' for what had
previously been available as local paper records (and still was). Few
'users' actually made use of the PC's own power and some still resented
or feared its presence. I left employment at around this stage so I
can't speak for what happened later.
Original IBM PCs did long service as 'print servers' and 'network
servers' long after they'd been retired from desktops. Once past the
initial hiccups the hardware proved to be remarkably reliable.
Not my experience at all. Some have pointed to the Apple ][, but if you
added anything to it it was a kludge - ribbon cables poking out the case to
attach a floppy disk, for pity's sake. It was very difficult to move,
whereas the PC came all assembled in a nice solid case (very IBM-like). The
PC was more expandable.

Most of the people I worked with loved to get a PC with 1-2-3. The
exceptions were one guy who wanted a Mac, and the secretaries who loved
their Displaywriters and were very unhappy with the change.

For some reason the CP-M never seemed to become mainstream, and in any case
I think the memory was more limited.
--
Pete
J. Clarke
2016-08-14 21:01:07 UTC
Permalink
In article <1633753174.492900188.377636.peter_flass-
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Whiskers
Post by Quadibloc
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/08/12/the-first-ibm-pc-was-released-35-years-ago-today---how-it-change/
"On this day 35 years ago the first modern computer was released to the public."
The IBM PC was certainly an important milestone in the history of computers.
In one very narrow sense, it could be called the first modern
computer: it is the direct lineal ancestor of the Windows computers
that are still in use today.
[...]
'Modern computer' in the sense that it was rushed out in a panic using
off-the-shelf parts in response to perceived competition, that it never
even tried to match the competition and didn't deliver all that it did
try to promise, but was strenuously marketed and cheap(ish). If it
hadn't been branded IBM and pressed on their business customers it would
probably have sunk without trace (and Microsoft along with it).
In my world, it landed uninvited on the desks of office workers who
didn't want it and didn't know what to do with it (the few who did have
some idea what a personal computer could do, wanted some other sort but
weren't given the choice). We got one per department at first, and no
software or instructions. DOS was installed later by the IT department,
and even later we got Lotus 1-2-3 which a few people actually found
useful. Most of the people who eventually got 'training' didn't make
much use of it, and most of the people who got the things to do really
useful stuff did so with neither training nor support from the IT dept
and often against resistance from them - after all, we were a threat to
the established IT procedures and systems.
It took about 15 years for the PC to become in any sense integrated into
the company computer and IT systems, and even then it was mostly as a
terminal for data input and access to the 'mainframe' for what had
previously been available as local paper records (and still was). Few
'users' actually made use of the PC's own power and some still resented
or feared its presence. I left employment at around this stage so I
can't speak for what happened later.
Original IBM PCs did long service as 'print servers' and 'network
servers' long after they'd been retired from desktops. Once past the
initial hiccups the hardware proved to be remarkably reliable.
Not my experience at all. Some have pointed to the Apple ][, but if you
added anything to it it was a kludge - ribbon cables poking out the case to
attach a floppy disk, for pity's sake. It was very difficult to move,
whereas the PC came all assembled in a nice solid case (very IBM-like). The
PC was more expandable.
Most of the people I worked with loved to get a PC with 1-2-3. The
exceptions were one guy who wanted a Mac, and the secretaries who loved
their Displaywriters and were very unhappy with the change.
For some reason the CP-M never seemed to become mainstream, and in any case
I think the memory was more limited.
CP/M was a generation earlier when commonplace micros had 8 bit data and
16 bit address. In the 8-bit era, it pretty much _was_ the mainsteam OS
for Intel-based machines.

CP/M-86 never took off because
(a) somehow Digital Research blew the deal of the century
(b) when they did finally produce an x86 OS it was overpriced, and
(c) it brought nothing to the table that justified the premium
maus
2016-08-14 21:48:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Whiskers
Post by Quadibloc
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/08/12/the-first-ibm-pc-was-released-35-years-ago-today---how-it-change/
"On this day 35 years ago the first modern computer was released to the public."
The IBM PC was certainly an important milestone in the history of computers.
In one very narrow sense, it could be called the first modern
computer: it is the direct lineal ancestor of the Windows computers
that are still in use today.
[...]
'Modern computer' in the sense that it was rushed out in a panic using
off-the-shelf parts in response to perceived competition, that it never
even tried to match the competition and didn't deliver all that it did
try to promise, but was strenuously marketed and cheap(ish). If it
hadn't been branded IBM and pressed on their business customers it would
probably have sunk without trace (and Microsoft along with it).
In my world, it landed uninvited on the desks of office workers who
didn't want it and didn't know what to do with it (the few who did have
some idea what a personal computer could do, wanted some other sort but
weren't given the choice). We got one per department at first, and no
software or instructions. DOS was installed later by the IT department,
and even later we got Lotus 1-2-3 which a few people actually found
useful. Most of the people who eventually got 'training' didn't make
much use of it, and most of the people who got the things to do really
useful stuff did so with neither training nor support from the IT dept
and often against resistance from them - after all, we were a threat to
the established IT procedures and systems.
It took about 15 years for the PC to become in any sense integrated into
the company computer and IT systems, and even then it was mostly as a
terminal for data input and access to the 'mainframe' for what had
previously been available as local paper records (and still was). Few
'users' actually made use of the PC's own power and some still resented
or feared its presence. I left employment at around this stage so I
can't speak for what happened later.
Original IBM PCs did long service as 'print servers' and 'network
servers' long after they'd been retired from desktops. Once past the
initial hiccups the hardware proved to be remarkably reliable.
Not my experience at all. Some have pointed to the Apple ][, but if you
added anything to it it was a kludge - ribbon cables poking out the case to
attach a floppy disk, for pity's sake. It was very difficult to move,
whereas the PC came all assembled in a nice solid case (very IBM-like). The
PC was more expandable.
Most of the people I worked with loved to get a PC with 1-2-3. The
exceptions were one guy who wanted a Mac, and the secretaries who loved
their Displaywriters and were very unhappy with the change.
For some reason the CP-M never seemed to become mainstream, and in any case
I think the memory was more limited.
There was an AMstrad machine that ran cp-m very popular in the Uk for
years. Non-Standard disk drive as well.
--
greymaus.ireland.ie
.
.
...
Charlie Gibbs
2016-08-15 01:08:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by maus
Post by Peter Flass
For some reason the CP-M never seemed to become mainstream, and in any case
I think the memory was more limited.
There was an AMstrad machine that ran cp-m very popular in the Uk for
years. Non-Standard disk drive as well.
A PPOE had a couple of AES word processors, dedicated Z-80 machines.
They came out with a CP/M option - I'd say its hard-sectored floppy
drives were pretty non-standard too.

Actually, it was kind of handy having the CP/M option, because it came
with FORMAT.COM. This enabled us to format Dysan hard-sectored floppies
that we could find easily for a reasonable cost, rather than having to use
pre-formatted disks that were only available from AES at a premium price.
--
/~\ ***@kltpzyxm.invalid (Charlie Gibbs)
\ / I'm really at ac.dekanfrus if you read it the right way.
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Ahem A Rivet's Shot
2016-08-15 06:12:07 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 14 Aug 2016 16:51:36 -0400
Post by Peter Flass
For some reason the CP-M never seemed to become mainstream, and in any
case I think the memory was more limited.
CP/M and MP/M were mainstream among early adopters of micros in
business, MP/M kept it there during the rise of the PC among those who had
become used to multi-user systems. I recall one customer telling us that he
wanted our software on the new IBM-AT because that was so much better than
anything else - some salesman had been on to him about how old fashioned
MP/M and CP/M were.

We pointed out that MS-DOS was single user and he couldn't
attach terminals to it (he had four people entering data into a database
from which he published a reference book). He didn't believe us at first -
IBM wouldn't do that, we must be wrong - we told him to go and ask the IBM
retailer about multi-user and attaching terminals. A few days later he was
back shaking his head in disbelief that the new Advanced Technology from
IBM could be so primitive as to not be able to do something he'd been doing
for years with the old fashioned MP/M. His next upgrade was to an Altos
machine running XENIX, by the time he got a PC it was running SCO and it
wasn't made by IBM.

These early adopters were almost exclusively small businesses,
anyone big enough to afford a mini or mainframe ignored it and of course
most small businesses stuck with their calculators and ledger books. So the
market was much smaller than that opened up by the PC, but it was dominated
by CP/M.
--
Steve O'Hara-Smith | Directable Mirror Arrays
C:>WIN | A better way to focus the sun
The computer obeys and wins. | licences available see
You lose and Bill collects. | http://www.sohara.org/
Peter Flass
2016-08-15 11:59:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ahem A Rivet's Shot
On Sun, 14 Aug 2016 16:51:36 -0400
Post by Peter Flass
For some reason the CP-M never seemed to become mainstream, and in any
case I think the memory was more limited.
CP/M and MP/M were mainstream among early adopters of micros in
business, MP/M kept it there during the rise of the PC among those who had
become used to multi-user systems. I recall one customer telling us that he
wanted our software on the new IBM-AT because that was so much better than
anything else - some salesman had been on to him about how old fashioned
MP/M and CP/M were.
We pointed out that MS-DOS was single user and he couldn't
attach terminals to it (he had four people entering data into a database
from which he published a reference book). He didn't believe us at first -
IBM wouldn't do that, we must be wrong - we told him to go and ask the IBM
retailer about multi-user and attaching terminals. A few days later he was
back shaking his head in disbelief that the new Advanced Technology from
IBM could be so primitive as to not be able to do something he'd been doing
for years with the old fashioned MP/M. His next upgrade was to an Altos
machine running XENIX, by the time he got a PC it was running SCO and it
wasn't made by IBM.
These early adopters were almost exclusively small businesses,
anyone big enough to afford a mini or mainframe ignored it and of course
most small businesses stuck with their calculators and ledger books. So the
market was much smaller than that opened up by the PC, but it was dominated
by CP/M.
Actually I discovered that I could turn a PC running OS/2 into a (sort of)
multiuser machine. I could telnet in - tried it with one session, I guess
no reason why more wouldn't have worked - and do stuff in both the telnet
session and the GUI console. Of course I hD to be careful not to step all
over myseld, but I could run a long compile, for example rebuild GCC, in
one place and still do useful work in the other.
--
Pete
Ahem A Rivet's Shot
2016-08-15 13:02:52 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 15 Aug 2016 07:59:40 -0400
Post by Peter Flass
Actually I discovered that I could turn a PC running OS/2 into a (sort of)
multiuser machine. I could telnet in - tried it with one session, I guess
OS/2 yes, MS-DOS no, but even so that requires you to have another
computer to telnet from, MP/M users used dumb terminals which were much
cheaper than computers then.
--
Steve O'Hara-Smith | Directable Mirror Arrays
C:>WIN | A better way to focus the sun
The computer obeys and wins. | licences available see
You lose and Bill collects. | http://www.sohara.org/
h***@bbs.cpcn.com
2016-08-15 20:54:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Whiskers
It took about 15 years for the PC to become in any sense integrated into
the company computer and IT systems, and even then it was mostly as a
terminal for data input and access to the 'mainframe' for what had
previously been available as local paper records (and still was). Few
'users' actually made use of the PC's own power and some still resented
or feared its presence. I left employment at around this stage so I
can't speak for what happened later.
I would dare say the vast majority of workers at my employer utilize
their desktop PC as merely a terminal--either to the mainframe and/or
a server (including email). Very few use PC applications like
word processing, spreadsheets, or database.

So, in essence, the PC is just an improved online terminal. It's
capable of a much better user interface than a 3270 green-on-class,
and server applications are fancy, but it's still a terminal.

Further, many of those people who do use spreadsheets are not really
using them as a 'spreadsheet', that is, they're not doing any
math or them. They're just using the grid as a convenient way to
make tables and charts.

However, for the budget and accounting people, the spreadsheet is
a critical and powerful tool.
Stephen Wolstenholme
2016-08-16 08:59:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Whiskers
It took about 15 years for the PC to become in any sense integrated into
the company computer and IT systems, and even then it was mostly as a
terminal for data input and access to the 'mainframe' for what had
previously been available as local paper records (and still was). Few
'users' actually made use of the PC's own power and some still resented
or feared its presence. I left employment at around this stage so I
can't speak for what happened later.
I would dare say the vast majority of workers at my employer utilize
their desktop PC as merely a terminal--either to the mainframe and/or
a server (including email). Very few use PC applications like
word processing, spreadsheets, or database.
I remember having to do some modification to PCs to get them to work
as mainframe terminals. The general opinion with most staff was that
the PCs were a waste of money when the terminals did everything they
needed. Just a few of them used a word processor but even then they
had great difficulty printing the documents.

Steve
--
Neural Network Software for Windows http://www.npsnn.com
Whiskers
2016-08-16 12:40:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stephen Wolstenholme
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Whiskers
It took about 15 years for the PC to become in any sense integrated
into the company computer and IT systems, and even then it was
mostly as a terminal for data input and access to the 'mainframe'
for what had previously been available as local paper records (and
still was). Few 'users' actually made use of the PC's own power and
some still resented or feared its presence. I left employment at
around this stage so I can't speak for what happened later.
I would dare say the vast majority of workers at my employer utilize
their desktop PC as merely a terminal--either to the mainframe and/or
a server (including email). Very few use PC applications like word
processing, spreadsheets, or database.
I remember having to do some modification to PCs to get them to work
as mainframe terminals. The general opinion with most staff was that
the PCs were a waste of money when the terminals did everything they
needed. Just a few of them used a word processor but even then they
had great difficulty printing the documents.
Steve
Yes. Our secretaries progressed to PCs via dedicated word processing
machines, many of them having started as 'short-hand typists' trained to
use manual type-writers. Whereas the single-purpose word processing
machines were liked - the typing features were 'just like a proper
type-writer' and filing of documents as floppy discs was comfortably
similar to keeping sheets of paper in wallets and pigeon-holes [1] - the
word processor applications on PCs were disliked. I remember
secretaries almost in tears over the difficulty of getting a decent
print-out of something that had taken hours to type. On one occasion I
saw someone using a pen and ruler to manually draw in the horizontal and
vertical lines of a large table 'because the printer gets it all wrong
and prints gibberish'. Some unofficially kept old manual typewriters on
hand 'for urgent jobs the computer would take too long to get right' or
'difficult things like envelopes'.

[1] I think it helped that the single-purpose word processing machines
looked like the flight deck in Star Trek.

Anecdote:

The internal telephone directory which covered all employees in the
country, was produced in 'head office' and progressed from 'stencil'
copies to photo-copies of typescript to word-processor printouts; all
those being distributed around the country physically in the 'internal
mail'. Then we got email. The decree went out that henceforth the
telephone directory would be emailed to a designated person in each
office, to be printed out locally thus saving the cost of moving lots of
paper. In practice, no-one volunteered to be the designated person for
that job so eventually the document was just emailed to 'everyone'.

So I wrote a little DOS batch file to look for names or branches or
whatever inside the 'MS Word' document we were sent, and linked it to a
Windows 3.1 'desktop icon' for pointy clicky access. I ended up sharing
that little 'application' with a great many people (so I had to document
it - that really was a pain!) and I dared to suggest that there was no
longer any point having the data typed into a word processor document -
a plain text file in a standard layout would work better and be a lot
less work to maintain and take up less disc space. That suggestion was
squashed heavily from a great height and I was told to stop wasting my
time with things that didn't concern me.

Of course I was working with the twin benefits of not being part of the
IT department and not being a head office secretary so I was up against
two powerful vested interests.
--
-- ^^^^^^^^^^
-- Whiskers
-- ~~~~~~~~~~
h***@bbs.cpcn.com
2016-08-16 21:48:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stephen Wolstenholme
I remember having to do some modification to PCs to get them to work
as mainframe terminals. The general opinion with most staff was that
the PCs were a waste of money when the terminals did everything they
needed. Just a few of them used a word processor but even then they
had great difficulty printing the documents.
FWIW, in the installations I've seen, it was relatively rare to
have a printer associated with mainframe terminals. As terminals
got cheaper and got assigned to individuals, instead of a "terminal
alley", printers were not available. Apparently, adding a printer
to a 3270-type terminal wasn't so easy or cheap, as it required
modification of the controller and maybe other stuff.

On the other hand, in the early PC deployments, most machines came
with a local printer (often a 9 pin). For programmers, being able
to do a print screen was a big help, and they liked the PC just for
being able to do that.

In those days, when people got an email, their first reaction was
to do a print screen of it.


There was a big demand for terminals at home for programmers. This
was in case of a big project, or, if the programmer got calls at
night--it could save him a trip into work at 3 a.m. Once dial
up and 3270 simulation software came along, it made it a lot
easier to use a standard PC as a terminal. A 3270 type
image could get through reasonable well even on a 2400 modem
on a DOS PC.

In the office, a popular emulator was IRMA, which attached by coax
to the controller and was a hardware card. That naturally ran fast
and had features.

Today there are several types of 3270 simulators*.



* I use the word simulator when it is provided by software only.
When there is extra hardware involved, I use the word emulator.
Many people use emulator when simulator should be the right word.
When IBM 'emulated' the 1401 on the S/360, it used hardware--
software alone would've been too slow.
Charlie Gibbs
2016-08-17 00:01:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Stephen Wolstenholme
I remember having to do some modification to PCs to get them to work
as mainframe terminals. The general opinion with most staff was that
the PCs were a waste of money when the terminals did everything they
needed. Just a few of them used a word processor but even then they
had great difficulty printing the documents.
FWIW, in the installations I've seen, it was relatively rare to
have a printer associated with mainframe terminals. As terminals
got cheaper and got assigned to individuals, instead of a "terminal
alley", printers were not available. Apparently, adding a printer
to a 3270-type terminal wasn't so easy or cheap, as it required
modification of the controller and maybe other stuff.
It was a bit easier with Univac gear. Various terminal printers were
available, and although the interface was proprietary (almost but not
exactly unlike RS-232), it was pretty much plug and play.
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
On the other hand, in the early PC deployments, most machines came
with a local printer (often a 9 pin). For programmers, being able
to do a print screen was a big help, and they liked the PC just for
being able to do that.
We would occasionally produce a listing that had to be pretty; we would
write a tape on the mainframe and send it out to a phototypesetting shop.
When that shop closed down we had to find another way to make our pretty
listing. We had an old Apple Laserwriter lying around, and we had a few
PCs equipped with mainframe terminal emulators, and the emulator could
do file transfers. So I bought and studied the official PostScript
manuals, re-worked the mainframe program to write PostScript, downloaded
the resulting file to the PC, and shot it out the serial port to the
LaserWriter. Mission accomplished. I wonder how many other people
have made a COBOL program write PostScript.
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
In those days, when people got an email, their first reaction was
to do a print screen of it.
<sigh> We had a hard time weaning users off paper. We ran nearly
20 copies of a weekly inventory listing for various departments,
even after they could call up all of its information and more on
the terminals that we were rolling out. Fortunately our manager
was pretty hard-nosed with these users, and we wound up saving a
_lot_ of paper.
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
There was a big demand for terminals at home for programmers. This
was in case of a big project, or, if the programmer got calls at
night--it could save him a trip into work at 3 a.m. Once dial
up and 3270 simulation software came along, it made it a lot
easier to use a standard PC as a terminal. A 3270 type
image could get through reasonable well even on a 2400 modem
on a DOS PC.
In the office, a popular emulator was IRMA, which attached by coax
to the controller and was a hardware card. That naturally ran fast
and had features.
Today there are several types of 3270 simulators*.
* I use the word simulator when it is provided by software only.
When there is extra hardware involved, I use the word emulator.
Many people use emulator when simulator should be the right word.
When IBM 'emulated' the 1401 on the S/360, it used hardware--
software alone would've been too slow.
The Univac solution was a hardware card which was basically a
synchronous serial port, combined with a program that made it
speak Uniscope protocol and could handle the screen and keyboard
appropriately. Univac terminal communications were synchronous
RS-232 (yes, using all those extra pins for handshaking and clocks)
using a multi-drop polled protocol - typically 9600 bps locally,
and 2400 bps through 201C modems to remote locations.
--
/~\ ***@kltpzyxm.invalid (Charlie Gibbs)
\ / I'm really at ac.dekanfrus if you read it the right way.
X Top-posted messages will probably be ignored. See RFC1855.
/ \ HTML will DEFINITELY be ignored. Join the ASCII ribbon campaign!
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