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Author Topic: Things your kids will never know - old school tech!  (Read 50317 times)
Darwin
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« Reply #100 on: November 03, 2008, 03:20:03 PM »

I hear, you, Zaine. I'm frequently amazed from the perspective of realizing that many things I think of as being relatively recent innovations were available back then. Car phones, for example.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #101 on: November 03, 2008, 04:32:13 PM »

Does anyone remember the brick phone. I remember my first mobile phone / car phone it was bigger then a brick and just as heavy.

Yup!  I purchased two Ultra Classics from Southern Bell in 1992. Our house literally came down around - and on - us during Hurricane Andrew. After getting our children up to PA for medical attention (our local hospitals were also down), my wife and I still worked and lived at, believe it or not, the nuclear power plant where I worked, and that was the only way to keep in touch during some unbelievable craziness.



Compared to todays mobile devices those things were large and heavy - but they were also lifesavers!

Jim
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Davidtheo
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« Reply #102 on: November 03, 2008, 07:32:59 PM »

My first Phone looked a lot like this one, and no one would call me course it cost to much to phone it. haha


* moto10003.jpg (20.83 KB, 150x320 - viewed 211 times.)
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dwbrant
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« Reply #103 on: November 05, 2008, 08:35:49 AM »


OK - since this is DonationCoder, how about ridiculously obsolete computer languages that you spent time learning but will never use again? For me:

  • Assemblers: Z80, 6502, IBM 370, PDP-11
  • APL (here and here)
  • SNOBOL
  • TIF (not graphics but a DB platform for IBM mainframes, kinda analogous to Access. I can't even find a web page for it)
  • FORTRAN
  • Rexx - scripting language for IBM mainframes and OS/2. Pretty cool, actually, anticipating some of the features of today's dynamic languages. Here, here, and here. Internally, IBM had a visual tool for building client-server apps in Rexx, internally called "Red October" iirc, that could have been a VB-killer, but they never released it -- letting it die just like OS/2

Ouch!  I use ReXX daily in my mainframe automation job (OPS/MVS).  If I wasn't so lazy, I would use it on the PC too. 

And IBM did release "Red October", AKA Object Rexx.  The IDE is ok for an IDE made in 1998.

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dwbrant
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« Reply #104 on: November 05, 2008, 08:57:40 AM »

I wonder if anyone else here remembers the ITT SPE (International Telephone and Telegraph Stored Program Element)?

It was a specialized computer designed in the mid-50's and built in the early 1960s, used to facilitate communications between the USAF Headquarters, Strategic Air Command and the numerous missile bases throughout the United States.  It had 64k of core memory -- when the thing was decommissioned in 1989, I got to see the core memory; little iron circles -- "cores" -- with a copper wire running through them.  The command console itself was around 14 feet long, and there was no such thing as a "keyboard" -- we used PBIs (Push Button Indicators) to enter commands in octal, then pressed a button labeled "GO" at the end of the row of PBIs to make the machine process the command.  There was a very large, loud line printer which kept an audit log of commands entered.

It used reel tape drives which were so tall that we had to stand on stepladders to mount a tape.

It used rows and rows of drum storage; this was a predecessor to disk drives -- magnetic storage where the magnetic surface was on a drum which rotated around, and the heads moved up and down over the rotating surface.

It used patch panels, much like old-style telephone switchboards, to translate between actual hardware and "logical" hardware.

It filled a room that was easily twice the size of a US football field.

And man it was loud.

Ironically, when it was decommissioned in 1989, the system that took its job over was an IBM series-1 customized and called "SACDIN" ... which was itself created in 1977. Grin

I will have to post a few photos I have of the console when I have the chance to dig them up.
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CWuestefeld
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« Reply #105 on: November 05, 2008, 10:07:02 AM »

IBM did release "Red October", AKA Object Rexx.  The IDE is ok for an IDE made in 1998.

Really? I've heard of Object Rexx, but I couldn't find any reference to it in conjunction with Red October. When I saw it circa 1992, the IDE certainly needed work, but it was a good start. What was remarkable about the platform was that the code was inherently client-server (that was the height of technology at the time, before n-tier architectures). But as I recall, everyone viewed the project as dead. I guess after I left it must have been resurrected.
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dwbrant
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« Reply #106 on: November 05, 2008, 11:30:06 AM »


Really? I've heard of Object Rexx, but I couldn't find any reference to it in conjunction with Red October. When I saw it circa 1992, the IDE certainly needed work, but it was a good start. What was remarkable about the platform was that the code was inherently client-server (that was the height of technology at the time, before n-tier architectures). But as I recall, everyone viewed the project as dead. I guess after I left it must have been resurrected.

The ObjectRexx IDE was released but I have never seen it updated.  I last used it in 2001 but never found it especially useful .. and yeah, I remember it being client-server.  I think it's "dead again".

There is Open Object Rexx which is the result of Object Rexx being released to the general public, but I don't think there is an IDE for it.  Too bad.
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bcpaladin
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« Reply #107 on: November 05, 2008, 04:30:34 PM »

MTV- Music television only played music videos,  the same for VH1

  I'm 41. When I was a kid our phone was on a party line.  Easy way to spy on the neighbors.
  I learned to type on an IBM Selectric. Talk about dB level,  imagine a room with 30 of them all going at once while taking a speed test.
  The first camera i took a picture on was a Kodak instamatic.  I still have an unused Flashcube for some reason.
  I remember watching astronauts on the moon on a B&W TV.
  I still have a Mimeograph machine.  And I have an old Royal manual typewriter to make the stencils for the mimeograph.  Electrics sometimes didn't strike hard enough to cut through the stencil.
  I still have a TV antenna.  I have satellite TV but if we have a large storm it has a tendency to go away.  I switch back to the antenna and only get 4 channels.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2008, 05:10:05 PM by bcpaladin » Logged
mikiem
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« Reply #108 on: November 05, 2008, 07:11:59 PM »

The Mimeo's impressive...

1) When 8-tracks 1st came out, there was no cheap/easy separate FM stereo, so tape adapters were popular.

2) Keypunch & related... Tape drives... Ancient teletype terminals [thunka thunka thunka] & early basic... Decolaters... Bursters...

3) Pushmowers... Hand-powered grass trimmers...Manual drills... Manual mixers for that matter.

4) V8 engines... Carburetors... Generators... 6 volt electrical... Lead for body filler... Bias ply car tires...
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Darwin
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« Reply #109 on: November 05, 2008, 07:43:54 PM »

Bias ply car tires...

Good one! Hadn't thought of that one...

Also:

When I was a kid our phone was on a party line.  Easy way to spy on the neighbors.

though I think it's already been mentioned elsewhere in the thread. Having said that, it's got to be one of the most foreign of concepts to a teenager today, used, as they are, to the privacy afforded by a cell phone. They'd be blown away by the landline, rotary, telephone in the kitchen that I grew up with. No privacy what-so-ever!
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zridling
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« Reply #110 on: November 06, 2008, 02:06:44 PM »

Anyone else remember getting high as a kid when the teacher handed out mimeographed copies of tests? I can still smell that ink. Maybe that's why I can't give up sniffing glue well into my 40s.  tongue
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Darwin
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« Reply #111 on: November 06, 2008, 02:08:16 PM »

Oh yeah... now you're talking, Zaine! I also remember the early days of photocopiers - all that blurry purple ink.
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jojo99
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« Reply #112 on: November 07, 2008, 05:06:48 AM »

How to code in IBM BAL (Basic Assembler Language)? smiley
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40hz
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« Reply #113 on: November 07, 2008, 12:01:45 PM »

Anyone else remember getting high as a kid when the teacher handed out mimeographed copies of tests? I can still smell that ink. Maybe that's why I can't give up sniffing glue well into my 40s.  tongue

Not to mention the buzz you'd get when your teacher was making heavy use of the old-style Magic Markers. Those were good for a headache that you could take home with you at the end of the school day. As I recall, we actually enjoyed that part.
 stars
I've been given to understand they've since changed the formula to something less toxic.

Speaking of school technology - how about those tubs of white paste that had the consistency of peanut butter, which got doled out in scoops of for various crap craft projects. Then along came "stickies" and "rub-ons," and those little  bits of low-tech ended the days of "paste projects."
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Darwin
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« Reply #114 on: November 07, 2008, 12:07:09 PM »

Not to mention the buzz you'd get when your teacher was making heavy use of the old-style Magic Markers. Those were good for a headache that you could take home with you at the end of the school day. As I recall, we actually enjoyed that part.
 stars

Heh, heh - all I ever saw were blackboards right through first year university.

Speaking of school technology - how about those tubs of white paste that had the consistency of peanut butter, which got doled out in scoops of for various crap craft projects. Then along came "stickies" and "rub-ons," and those little  bits of low-tech ended the days of "paste projects."

That white paste also gave rise to the faintly offensive accusation: "you were one of those kids who used to eat paste in school, weren't you?" Should have realised that white paste was a thing of the past when were instructed to by my son an Uhu stick for Grade One.
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Edvard
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« Reply #115 on: November 07, 2008, 12:41:02 PM »

It still exists for those old-school die-hards: http://www.nextag.com/Elm...0a1c0516-D1E5337755F0E2D9

I had a friend in grade school who would eat the paste, but as I recall it had a faint peppermint smell to it, so it didn't surprise me.
That smell takes me back every time...
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Darwin
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« Reply #116 on: November 07, 2008, 12:43:30 PM »

...as I recall it had a faint peppermint smell to it, so it didn't surprise me.
That smell takes me back every time...

You're right - it DID have a pepperminty scent. There were kids in my first grade class who used to sit at the back and eat paste... I probably tried it myself, though I don't remember doing so.
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Edvard
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« Reply #117 on: November 07, 2008, 01:35:39 PM »

Home movies on a Super 8 projected on a bedsheet in the backyard with popcorn popped in a pan on the stove Kiss



Aw man... Good times... *sigh*
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40hz
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« Reply #118 on: November 07, 2008, 06:02:38 PM »

Also those marvelous 35mm film strip educational programs.

For those who don't know, these were basically slide shows except they were on a single roll of very heavy 35mm film. They were accompanied by an LP (later a cassette) that provided the narrative and musical background. When it was time to go to the next slide, it would play a chime sound and the brown-noser who used to run the projector would advance the filmstrip. Later versions (after my time) used cassette tapes. Some of the newer projectors even auto-advance the filmstrip so the brown-nose was no longer needed. But it still made that chime sound each time a new slide went up on the screen.

The sound they used for the chime was very unique. Once you heard it, you'd never forget it. And there wasn't anything else (to our young ears anyway) that sounded even remotely like it. We used to call it The Blung Sound. The term 'blung' was very popular in my grade school. When said quietly to a friend, it meant to change the subject of conversation, or to stop doing whatever you were doing. Usually because a teacher or parent was approaching. When spoken loudly to someone you didn't like it meant to "get lost." A very versatile word was 'blung.'

The ones I grew up with looked like this one. This beastie was the famous Schoolmaster Graflex SVE Filmstrip Projector:



You had to set up a record player next to it for sound since it wasn't built in. On these models you didn't even have a remote. You had to turn the little black knob near the bottom to advance the film.
 Grin

Here's a picture of one of the 'newer' projectors:



« Last Edit: November 07, 2008, 06:04:57 PM by 40hz » Logged

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Edvard
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« Reply #119 on: November 07, 2008, 06:36:46 PM »

Oh, I miss those. Painfully.

Speaking of pain, do you remember the filmstrip of Star Wars?

ow. ooh that smarts...
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Darwin
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« Reply #120 on: November 07, 2008, 08:02:08 PM »

When it was time to go to the next slide, it would play a chime sound and the brown-noser who used to run the projector would advance the filmstrip.

 Grin

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techidave
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« Reply #121 on: November 07, 2008, 08:14:14 PM »

I remember doing that!  Why, I have no idea.  We just did it.

I had a friend in grade school who would eat the paste, but as I recall it had a faint peppermint smell to it, so it didn't surprise me.
That smell takes me back every time...
[/quote]
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zridling
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« Reply #122 on: November 08, 2008, 01:40:31 AM »

Hey, I was never smart enough to be an AV geek and handle the filmstrip machine. But I remember watching a lot of classic movies from them, and for the life of me, I can't remember the class in which we did it -- humanities? english? history?

Quote
[40hz]: Speaking of school technology - how about those tubs of white paste that had the consistency of peanut butter, which got doled out in scoops of for various crap craft projects. Then along came "stickies" and "rub-ons," and those little  bits of low-tech ended the days of "paste projects."

Those were the days, indeed. Man, those bottles would become so crusty and their 'sticks' would get so thick it was hilarious. Being a kid would suck today. Where's the fun; where's the danger of splitting your skull open from riding your tricycle!!
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zridling
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« Reply #123 on: November 08, 2008, 01:54:40 AM »

On the flip side, some "survivor technologies" continue on by reinventing themselves:

  • railroads
  • mainframes
  • radio (satellite)
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yksyks
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« Reply #124 on: November 08, 2008, 02:12:44 AM »

It seems nobody mentioned telegraph here. Surprisingly, this service is still available, but who knows for how long.

On the contrary, I hope that the pneumatic post system will survive, albeit as a curiosity.
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