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Oldest computer you've used for "real work"? - Dave Britten - 12-18-2014 08:49 PM

And by 'oldest', I mean 'oldest relative to the time of use'. So, using a PDP-8 in 1965? Not impressive. Using a PDP-8 to process the 2010 US census? Now you've got my attention.

I haven't done anything too exotic, but a couple years ago when we built a new database server, we did a bunch of extensive testing/benchmarking of various disks to find the best models and RAID configs to use for performance. Easiest way for me to track the results and calculate comparisons between different configs was with Lotus 1-2-3 on my 200LX.

Also, earlier this year, I had to write up a statement of work for a client. I was on a lengthy car trip, and happened to have my OmniBook 300 with me, which I figured would give me the best sunlight visibility and battery life, so out it came. Later, I copied the Word file over to my tablet via CF card for some finishing and emailing.


RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"? - Garth Wilson - 12-18-2014 09:26 PM

I still use my 41cx every day. It's getting close to 30 years old.

In bigger computers, I don't know about the age of the computer itself, but I still do a little of my work with DOS-based software, under DOS 6.22, although with the monitor at 1024x768, unlike the 640x480 that most people think DOS is locked to.


RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"? - Les Bell - 12-18-2014 10:27 PM

At one point, about ten years ago, I had a 33 MHz (?) 486DX system with 20 MB of RAM which was still running as a backup DNS, mailing list manager (Majordomo) and FTP server. It would have been around 12 years old back then.

But I have a client which is still running a Linux box I installed for them in June 2000. Various printers and monitors have been replaced, but the original computer still lives on, with the software also unchanged except for minor tweaks. In fact, that system replaced an earlier MS-DOS 3.3 system with a dBASE/Clipper application I wrote for them in 1985, and I was surprised when they rang me, out of the blue, to ask if the code was Y2K compliant - which it was; it only needed replacement due to tax law changes.

I've been pondering how to replace the second system, as it can't last much longer; I think the next iteration will move to the cloud.


RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"? - patrice - 12-18-2014 11:26 PM

HP-85 (Series 80) + HP-Plotter (the one with electro-static flat table)
Basic and Assembler


RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"? - Dave Britten - 12-18-2014 11:35 PM

I think somebody on IRC mentioned very recently seeing Vic-20s in use in some kind of industrial control setting. Mine doesn't do anything more impressive than the occasional game of Moon Patrol or Donkey Kong.


RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"? - Chris Randle (UK) - 12-19-2014 10:50 AM

Still use my 16C (computer?) at work most days. Bought new from Educalc in 1994; manufactured in 1988 (2817A...), so it's 26 years old, although I've owned it for only 20 years.

Probably not that impressive an age compared to some, but what I find amazing is that there's still no better tool for working in hex/binary/decimal and flipping between word sizes and complement modes.


RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"? - walter b - 12-19-2014 11:43 AM

(12-19-2014 10:50 AM)Chris Randle (UK) Wrote:  Still use my 16C ...
Probably not that impressive an age compared to some, but what I find amazing is that there's still no better tool for working in hex/binary/decimal and flipping between word sizes and complement modes.

Did you ever consider a WP 34S?

d:-)


RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"? - jebem - 12-19-2014 02:58 PM

SANYO MBC-1150: CP/M operating system

I use this computer occasionally at home.
Assembly and BASIC languages, and Wordstar and CalcStar.

I had three of these machines made in the 80's in Japan.
All of them with 64KB of RAM running on Zilog Z80 uP, RS232 serial and Centronics parallel ports. Storage based on 5 1/4" floppy disks.

One MBC-1000 and one MBC-1250 dual Z80 cpu with graphics support are gone long time ago (sold to physical museums).

I still have this MBC-1150 with me, as it reminds me of the great era of "personal" computing.
In fact many companies have run their business on these low cost computers as well.

SANYO MBC-1150



RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"? - Francois Lanciault - 12-19-2014 04:36 PM

I used my Sinclair QL (1983) two years ago to drive a test setup for the qualification of a cable cassette for space application.

Fran├žois


RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"? - Namir - 12-19-2014 04:39 PM

(12-18-2014 11:26 PM)patrice Wrote:  HP-85 (Series 80) + HP-Plotter (the one with electro-static flat table)
Basic and Assembler

Patrice,

Do you have a working HP-85?? What software do you have for it??? I have a refurbished HP-85 and am looking for Stat Pac, Regression Pac, and Visicalc.

Cheers,

Namir


RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"? - John W Kercheval - 12-20-2014 03:25 PM

1987 HP 150 Touchscreen II used up until last year

Replaced by

1991/2 Toshiba T5200 but I removed the 386-20 Chip and inserted a Cyrix 486-20 (Cyrix 486 has the same pin configuration as a 386) Fresh DOS Norton Commander in use now.


RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"? - Joe Horn - 12-22-2014 01:09 PM

Just used a 1963 Digi-Comp I one minute ago to count from 0 to 7. Ok, that's not "real work", but it's a 51-year-old computer (it's programmable!) and it still works perfectly!


RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"? - John Galt - 12-23-2014 02:32 AM

(12-19-2014 10:50 AM)Chris Randle (UK) Wrote:  Still use my 16C (computer?) at work most days. Bought new from Educalc in 1994; manufactured in 1988 (2817A...), so it's 26 years old, although I've owned it for only 20 years.

Probably not that impressive an age compared to some, but what I find amazing is that there's still no better tool for working in hex/binary/decimal and flipping between word sizes and complement modes.

Agreed. I sold mine, also purchased from Educalc, only because someone was willing to pay a hideous amount for mine. Four or five times what I paid, maybe more. I don't recall its original sales price.

I soon regretted it because as you said there really is no substitute, until learning (here) about the amazing WP-34s. It's overkill for the task, but nothing else comes close to emulating a proper 16C. The WP-35s does it perfectly. Better, in fact.

There is also the SwissMicros DM-16, which I do not have. From what others have said, I probably won't.


RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"? - Chris Randle (UK) - 12-24-2014 12:30 AM

(12-19-2014 11:43 AM)walter b Wrote:  Did you ever consider a WP 34S?

d:-)

(12-23-2014 02:32 AM)John Galt Wrote:  the amazing WP-34s. It's overkill for the task, but nothing else comes close to emulating a proper 16C. The WP-35s does it perfectly. Better, in fact.

Walter, John, you've worn me down. ;-) I'll definitely get a 34S. Been looking longingly at it for quite a while now. Hopefully, in another thread in 20 years' time (if *my* mechanical bits last that long), I'll be able to report how I still use my ancient WP-34S at work.


RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"? - Mark - 01-07-2015 04:29 PM

Hello,

Back in 1995 at work, I was still using Intel's Intellec MDS-80 Series-II and III systems of the 1975-1977 era. Maybe some of you remember those big and VERY heavy blue boxes :

http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/det/731/Intel-MDS-80-Microcomputer-Development-System/

Some of our embedded systems were still running strong after almost 20 years, and customers sometimes asked for new features. These developement systems from Intel were absolutely unbreakable ! And they generously provided noise and heat...

An interesting note about the 8-inch floppy disk controller board : its own 8-bit bipolar processor was built around 4 2-bit slices from Intel (3002 if I'm not wrong).

I've got fond memories of these machines on which I wrote my first assembly code (the university had one). And I can still use Intel's "Aedit" text editor without trouble on a DOS machine, the commands are hard-coded in my brain :-)

OT : At home, my TRS-80 still works perfectly, floppy drive included.

Marc


RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"? - ggauny@live.fr - 01-08-2015 12:12 PM

My first Hp is 25 not c, after hp 67 the best for me, 41c, 41cx, hp 16, hp18, hp 19bII, hp 28s, hp95 lotus123, hp 42s, hp48sx, hp48gx, hp50g and of course THE PRIME. I am better programer in pure RPN. Prime is difficult to master (where are you Mister Wickes ,). But thanks at all of you, i progress ! Cheers.


RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"? - MarkHaysHarris777 - 01-22-2015 06:16 AM

The oldest computer I have used for 'real work' was the Wang 700 series C.

http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_334351

Dr Wang was inspired by the HPg100 and went to work on his own machine. From a computer science standpoint its essentially the same technology that went to the moon... rope rom memory, ferrite core RAM, no single processor chip, nixie tube display registers, keystroke and machine programming, cass tape storage... circa 1968. My work with the machine was to write the STATS routines (including printouts -- IBM selectric tty) for a path lab in Kansas City while I was in high school (about $5,000.00 piece of hardware that weighed a royal ton).

In the evenings I baby-sat the IBM 360-44 on the second floor of the same lab-- circa 1969-1973. That machine was the first computer to analyze electrocardiograms over phone acoustic pickups from remote labs around the Mid-west U.S... also had ferrite core RAM (an entire 256K originally) and selectric IO tty.

http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/mainframe/mainframe_PP2044.html

memories
cheers
Smile


RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"? - Dwight Sturrock - 03-10-2015 12:04 AM

Intel Celeron circa 1999 running Windoze XP sp3.
Why? To run Cabnetware v 4.3 Design & Manufacturing with Panel Optimizer.


RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"? - Paul Berger (Canada) - 03-10-2015 01:45 AM

(01-22-2015 06:16 AM)MarkHaysHarris777 Wrote:  In the evenings I baby-sat the IBM 360-44 on the second floor of the same lab-- circa 1969-1973. That machine was the first computer to analyze electrocardiograms over phone acoustic pickups from remote labs around the Mid-west U.S... also had ferrite core RAM (an entire 256K originally) and selectric IO tty.

http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/mainframe/mainframe_PP2044.html

memories
cheers
Smile

The 1052 console as used on S/360 and several other IBM systems of that vintage is really a selectric print mechanism with a keypunch keyboard on the front and they are hard wired into CPU. The real selectric I/O such as used in the 2741 and 2742 is an Office Products (OP) selectric with solenoids to select the characters and functions and contact straps for feedback and to sense what was being typed on the keyboard, and since it was basically an OP selectric anything typed on the keyboard also printed. Terminals based on these mechanisms where used in banks and finance companies up to around the mid 80s.

There was also a second selectric I/O that used magnets and reed switches instead of open contacts and its keyboard was not connected to the printer, but was still the same keyboard mechanics. This version also had some components beefed up to make them more durable. These where used on a variety of terminals in the late 70s and early 80s including a custom terminal system built for one of the Canadian banks.


RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"? - Dave Frederickson - 03-10-2015 01:58 AM

(03-10-2015 01:45 AM)Paul Berger (Canada) Wrote:  
(01-22-2015 06:16 AM)MarkHaysHarris777 Wrote:  In the evenings I baby-sat the IBM 360-44 on the second floor of the same lab-- circa 1969-1973. That machine was the first computer to analyze electrocardiograms over phone acoustic pickups from remote labs around the Mid-west U.S... also had ferrite core RAM (an entire 256K originally) and selectric IO tty.

http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/mainframe/mainframe_PP2044.html

memories
cheers
Smile

The 1052 console as used on S/360 and several other IBM systems of that vintage is really a selectric print mechanism with a keypunch keyboard on the front and they are hard wired into CPU. The real selectric I/O such as used in the 2741 and 2742 is an Office Products (OP) selectric with solenoids to select the characters and functions and contact straps for feedback and to sense what was being typed on the keyboard, and since it was basically an OP selectric anything typed on the keyboard also printed. Terminals based on these mechanisms where used in banks and finance companies up to around the mid 80s.

There was also a second selectric I/O that used magnets and reed switches instead of open contacts and its keyboard was not connected to the printer, but was still the same keyboard mechanics. This version also had some components beefed up to make them more durable. These where used on a variety of terminals in the late 70s and early 80s including a custom terminal system built for one of the Canadian banks.

You guys need a USB Typewriter. Smile

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