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Oldest computer you've used for "real work"?
03-10-2015, 02:53 AM
Post: #21
RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"?
Interesting but would not work on a selectric, but a selectric is even easier you just need to sense either the 6 selection latches or the bails under the keyboard that where moved by the combination of the filter shaft and interposer under the key that was struck. On the first I/O mechanism, since it printed every time you struck a key, a block of contacts under the selection mechanism sensed the latches that where not pulled off the selection bail. The later mechanism that had the keyboard disconnected from the printer used the bails under the keyboard to move magnets over a board with reed switches on it. The selection mechanism in the selectric is essentially a mechanical digital to analog converter that converts the latches selected into 11 positions of rotate and 4 positions of tilt to position the desired character for printing. Upper case shift rotates the ball 180 degrees via a separate cam. Its been over 30 years since I worked on one, but in my early days as a service rep I worked on so many selectric terminals, the way they operate is permanently burned into my brain.
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03-12-2015, 12:00 AM
Post: #22
RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"?
(03-10-2015 02:53 AM)Paul Berger (Canada) Wrote:  Interesting but would not work on a selectric, but a selectric is even easier you just need to sense either the 6 selection latches or the bails under the keyboard that where moved by the combination of the filter shaft and interposer under the key that was struck. On the first I/O mechanism, since it printed every time you struck a key, a block of contacts under the selection mechanism sensed the latches that where not pulled off the selection bail. The later mechanism that had the keyboard disconnected from the printer used the bails under the keyboard to move magnets over a board with reed switches on it. The selection mechanism in the selectric is essentially a mechanical digital to analog converter that converts the latches selected into 11 positions of rotate and 4 positions of tilt to position the desired character for printing. Upper case shift rotates the ball 180 degrees via a separate cam. Its been over 30 years since I worked on one, but in my early days as a service rep I worked on so many selectric terminals, the way they operate is permanently burned into my brain.

The way you describe that sooo makes me want to rig a 'golf ball' up to a couple of stepper motors controlled by an rPi. As you type on the keyboard, the rPi spins the ball and takes a picture of the 'output' character using the camera. Mirror the image and compose the typing as a series of PNGs!!

Bonkers but fun and you could even change the typeface!
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03-12-2015, 01:22 AM
Post: #23
RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"?
My first computer was an Osborne 1
The tan case, vacume molded version

While I knew I was using it when it resembled a buggy whip more than a computer, it really struck home when I saw it in a "History of the Computer" exhibit at the Smithsonian. I upgraded sometime after that.

Steve
In order of appearance: HP 41CV, CMT-MCGPS, HP 41CX, DM 41, DM 42
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03-12-2015, 02:18 AM
Post: #24
RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"?
(03-12-2015 01:22 AM)4ster Wrote:  My first computer was an Osborne 1

Mine as well. Fun machine and easy to tinker with, despite the tiny screen.

My first "mod" was taking the perfect bound manual to the school print shop and getting them to cut off the binding and drill it for a loose-leaf binder. And I was hesitant about that!

By the time I left school it had 360kb DS/DD drives, 80 column display, a standard baud rate generator for the serial port and a built in 1200 bps modem. And I had one arm slightly longer than the other.
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03-12-2015, 10:57 PM
Post: #25
RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"?
In 2014, I wrote some fiction on an Apple //c (built in 1985, launched in 1984), if that counts as "real work".

Considering that my day job is repairing and maintaining modern computers, though, not really an opportunity to use old computers for the job. That said, I've seen plenty of older hardware (oldest I've seen so far is an XT) running test equipment.
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03-21-2015, 06:01 PM
Post: #26
RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"?
(12-23-2014 02:32 AM)John Galt Wrote:  
(12-19-2014 10:50 AM)Chris Randle (UK) Wrote:  Still use my 16C (computer?) at work most days. [...] 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 ... only because someone was willing to pay a hideous amount for mine.
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.

Oh, great... thanks, guys! I thought I'd just catch up on some of the older forum posts, and NOW there's ANOTHER calculator I absolutely must have! :-P

I finally found a near-mint 16c last year for about $100 and jumped on it. Always regretted not buying one when they were brand new. And I agree, nothing else I've owned is quite like it.

Now, how much money do I have accumulated in my nickels-and-dimes jar for that 34s?
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03-21-2015, 06:36 PM (This post was last modified: 03-21-2015 06:37 PM by TASP.)
Post: #27
RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"?
LOL!

Does this count?


Metal dash board on my old 68 Ford truck has adhesive backed numbers stuck to it. Every tank of gas, the driver is supposed to move magnet up one digit.

The odometer quit working back in the late 70s, this is how we keep track of when to change the oil.

01 Add gas? If Y goto 02, if N goto 01
02 increment register 1, +1
03 if register 1 > or = 10 CHANGE OIL else goto 01
04 0 sto register 1
05 goto 01


Anyhow, that's how it's supposed to work.

Wink

2speed HP41CX,int2XMEM+ZEN, HPIL+DEVEL, HPIL+X/IO, I/R, 82143, 82163, 82162 -25,35,45,55,65,67,70,80
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03-21-2015, 10:42 PM
Post: #28
RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"?
(03-21-2015 06:36 PM)TASP Wrote:  LOL!

Does this count?


Metal dash board on my old 68 Ford truck has adhesive backed numbers stuck to it. Every tank of gas, the driver is supposed to move magnet up one digit.

The odometer quit working back in the late 70s, this is how we keep track of when to change the oil.

01 Add gas? If Y goto 02, if N goto 01
02 increment register 1, +1
03 if register 1 > or = 10 CHANGE OIL else goto 01
04 0 sto register 1
05 goto 01


Anyhow, that's how it's supposed to work.

Wink

I'm impressed that the magnet and numbers can run a BASIC interpreter. Though you might want to look into Fortran for that kind of scientific processing.
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03-21-2015, 10:59 PM
Post: #29
RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"?
I've had younger family members not grasp the usage or the significance of keeping track of the milage that way.

I'll like the Fortran idea . . .

When I point out the numbers and the magnet while referring to it as a computer, the looks on their faces is priceless.

Go show a kid a rotary dial telephone!

Smile

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03-22-2015, 01:35 AM
Post: #30
RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"?
I can remember when the dial phones where introduced in my home town, before that we had standard desk sets with no dial, you picked up the phone and told the operator who you wanted to speak to.
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03-22-2015, 02:38 AM
Post: #31
RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"?
(03-22-2015 01:35 AM)Paul Berger (Canada) Wrote:  I can remember when the dial phones where introduced in my home town, before that we had standard desk sets with no dial, you picked up the phone and told the operator who you wanted to speak to.


I grew up 25 miles north of NY City and while we had a dial on the telephone it didn't do anything until sometime after 1960 (or so). You still had to talk to the operator to place a call. It wasn't too long after that, around 1967 that some of my friends stated to have touch-tone phones installed in their houses. My cable VOIP phone connection accepts pulse dialing, so I can still use my dial phone when I'm feeling nostalgic, but there's no operator to talk to Sad

-katie

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03-22-2015, 12:02 PM
Post: #32
RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"?
(03-21-2015 10:59 PM)TASP Wrote:  Go show a kid a rotary dial telephone!

They pick it up quickly. Here around the corner is a museum which shows an old "Vermittlungsstelle" (Branch Exchange?). To make it do something there are some rotary dial phones on the wall. A teenager was looking at his father (or was it its grandpa?) with a big question mark in his face. Only a few moments later, he knew how to place a call with a single finger instead of two thumbs.

Marcus von Cube
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06-04-2015, 11:55 PM
Post: #33
RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"?
I brought my slide rule (that I got from my grandfather) to work one day to show my boss. He insisted that we use it to calculate the value of a current limiting resistor on the high speed digitizer board we were building.

This isn't the oldest computer I used, but the coolest: In 1990ish as a co-op student, I spent a couple of weeks using a Cray XMP. It had 6 processors, 128 MB ram, 128MB solid state disk, and 56GB fixed disk.

One of the engineers where I worked set up a fluid dynamics FEA model and it was my job to run through several dozen scenarios and plot the results.

The model took about 4 hours to run on a VAX. So they moved it over to the Cray, where it took about a minute. Then I plotted the results on a graphics terminal over a 2400 baud dial up line - about 5 minutes for each screen to download, then did a screen dump to a wax printer.

Good times...
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06-05-2015, 05:40 AM (This post was last modified: 06-05-2015 06:26 AM by Tugdual.)
Post: #34
RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"?
There are still a number is AS/400 in the industry!
And some become invisible thanks to virtualization.
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06-05-2015, 09:47 PM
Post: #35
RE: Oldest computer you've used for "real work"?
(03-22-2015 02:38 AM)Katie Wasserman Wrote:  
(03-22-2015 01:35 AM)Paul Berger (Canada) Wrote:  I can remember when the dial phones where introduced in my home town, before that we had standard desk sets with no dial, you picked up the phone and told the operator who you wanted to speak to.


I grew up 25 miles north of NY City and while we had a dial on the telephone it didn't do anything until sometime after 1960 (or so). You still had to talk to the operator to place a call. It wasn't too long after that, around 1967 that some of my friends stated to have touch-tone phones installed in their houses. My cable VOIP phone connection accepts pulse dialing, so I can still use my dial phone when I'm feeling nostalgic, but there's no operator to talk to Sad

Katie, I grew up in Stoneham, MA, which had its own phone company. Until we moved in 1960, we had the same thing, except there were no dials on our phones. The operator would ask "numbah pleeze" and after we gave her the number, she'd ask for our letter. Every phone number in town had a letter at the end which determined which party we were on the party line. If we were calling someone in town, we only had to give the last 4 digits, plus the letter, as every phone in town was in the same exchange (SToneham6). It worked well for us !


Regards,
Bob
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