Why questions don't get answered, or "No, I've alreadyRTFM, tell me the answer!"

John Summerfied debian at herakles.homelinux.org
Fri Dec 30 01:16:42 UTC 2005

Michael A. Peters wrote:

> I think my dad used them - I don't remember them though.
> I do remember he had a bunch of programs on punch cards, and still does
> - though he has started raiding them to use as note paper.
> I also remember he had a ?? 300baud acoustic coupler that he would use
> to dial his terminal in to the Berkeley game machine so that we could
> play Adventure and Rogue and Wumpus :D
> OK - most of the time he used it to dial in to do work, but many nights
> he let us play.

The first system here was the first working (for a living) computer. It 
was built in Australia and was used for astronomy and other tasks for 
some years.


The first machine I wrote programs for was a CDC 3200, also pictured. 
Ours was located in Perth, highlights were:
32K (kilybytes) of 24-bit words, core memory
6-8 7-track tape drives
Card reader
Card punch
paper tape reader
paper tape punch
No disk
500 LPM drum printer.

I worked at the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics. We shared 
our  equipment with Tax and Treasury.

Later I worked at the department of Social Services (Security), and IBM 
Here's a list of IBM kit:

When I arrived we had S/360 model 16 (three or four), model 40 (2), 
model 65 (1) and also used Health's pair of '65s.
We had disk (29 Mb 2314s on the '65, 13 Mb 2311s and some 2314s on the 
40s), 9-track tape, chain! printers, a few 2260s (CRT displays, very 
swish then, very primitive now) on the 65.

This was in '71. When Health ordered the 65s there were very serious kit 
indeed. Ours had 512 Kb RAM, theirs would have been similar.

mid 70s we upgraded, finishing with 3x 135s, 2x 145s and a pair of 168s 
in Canberra. We had umpteen 100 Mb DASD (disks) (maybe as many as 48), 
20 or so tapes, one of the 168s had 6 Mbytes of RAM (4K dynamic for 
those who remember, done up on big boards and using ECC), a 2350 "drum" 
(really 2 heads/track 11 Mb disk)

Here's a pic of a 168 configuration:

On the (viewer's) left are some tape drives (they'd be 3420s, 9-track 
6250 BPI) and a couple of dunnos (one may be a channel, a device that 
controls the physical connexion between host CPU and device controller)
Foreground, left looks like punch card equipment, behind that 1 3270 
terminal and right down the back is (probably) a controller. Centre, 
back, several boxes making up the computer itself: each box might 
contain a Mbyte of RAM or some other component. In front of that is the 
operator console (roughly ell-shaped) including a fine array of 
blinkenlights, switches, knobs and an uncovered button to IPL (boot) the 

Those boxes at the back are about 2 metres high: I'm 190 cm and had to 
jump to see on top.

Foreground to the right are two 1100 LPM chain printers, and at the side 
a few 3330-1 (100 Mb) disk drives, a controller and a dunno.

About this time IBM was the largest computer company in the world, DEC 
was second.



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