[rollei_list] Re: OT: Terrabyte hard drive.

  • From: "Richard Knoppow" <dickburk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <rollei_list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2008 13:59:18 -0700

----- Original Message ----- From: "Don Williams" <dwilli10@xxxxxxx>
To: <rollei_list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, October 17, 2008 1:19 PM
Subject: [rollei_list] Re: OT: Terrabyte hard drive.

At 06:47 AM 10/17/2008, you wrote:
That was about the time I bought a Commodore PC (IBM compatible) with
a whopping 10mb harddisk :-)


That must have been about the same time my own company was selling them. We also sold them to schools, along with hardware to link about 30 Commodore 64's to a single drive for grade schools.


My introduction to computers was the first ones Hewlett-Packard made. These were meant to compete with the DEC stuff of the time. We used them in automated measurement systems, mainly spectrum analyzers and network analyzers. I had to learn the computer on my own. The ones I had to work with had core memory and no hard drive although tape and drum drives were available. The basic machine came with 8 Kb of ram. This could be expended to 64Kb with the additional memory in a separate rack. I think 64Kb was the limit but I would have to look through old catalogues to be sure. I mostly used punched paper tape for permanent memory. Most larger systems used nine track half inch tape. There were also drum memories available but I don't remember the specs and never saw one. We had one computer expert in our facility but he was a bit of a psychopath and hated me so I had no one readily available to learn from. This guy would take off at customers and management had to applogize to them on more than one occasion. He told someone at TRW or someplace that if they couldn't understand whatever they asked about they were too dumb to own a computer. Very frustrating because I was fascinated with the things. These computers had a row of toggle switches and lamps on the front. It was necessary to enter about eight commands via the switches to wake it up enough to read from the paper tape drive. Anything more than the very simplest program had to be translated to machine language, processed, interpreted back to -hp- basic and would then could be read out no an ASR-33 Teletype or a plotter. That meant three spools of tape and three passes through the machine. Of course, the larger installations using magnetic tape machines would do this automatically but the RAM did not have enough capacity to hold the Basic interpreter and still have much room left for computation. I used to keep a basic binary bootstrap loop tape folded up in my wallet. This all seems to have happened in another life.

Richard Knoppow
Los Angeles, CA, USA
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