Reminiscing...

prpr

Well-Known Member
About 20 years ago I worked on an early industrial computer control system which was networked with 50 Ohm coax.
10Base2 was going out 20 years ago, not coming in. I was working with it over 30 years ago and it wasn't new then.
21 years ago we put in both co-ax and twisted pair for our then new network and never used the co-ax. I cut it all out and binned it at least 15 years ago.
For some strange reason I've still got an ethernet transceiver (again brand new; for the thick yellow cable - the stuff before 10base2) and some BNC T-pieces and terminators.
 

MikeSh

Well-Known Member
Yes, it was an early new generation scada type system based on standard but state of the art PCs and PLCs ... DEC Alpha workstations IIRC. The network tech was old, it was the thick yellow stuff with BNC bits - and now you mention it I recall those damned transceiver boxes too. But within a couple of years we were using 'standard' Ethernet equipment and cables - cat 5 or something close. And not long after that it was fibre optics.
 

EEPhil

Number 28
BNC T-pieces and terminators.
Nostalgia... The joys of connecting 3 VAX computers together with the campus network and forgetting to put the terminator on. Oh, what a shame when the Computer Science department then had network connection problems. :whistling:
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
We had VAXes at work, which were eventually taken over by distributed computing. Centrally managed computing facilities >> personal computers (do what you like) >> networked personal computers (oh dear, there's a security risk here) >> centrally managed locked-down "personal" (no more) computers.

My university had a computer centre with a Cyber 205 in it. Every student had an account on it (though I can't imagine what a history undergrad would have wanted it for) except the physics dept, apparently the research staff already used it so much there was no computer time left for the physics undergrads and we had to make do with a PDP11 and a teletype. I used to raid the engineering department's computer room, where they had a bigger PDP11, VDUs, and a plotter!!!
 

EEPhil

Number 28
Our computer centre (during my time at the university) had VAXes and ICL 1900/2900/3900 with most students with an account. The VAXes I'm referring to were within the electrical engineering department. We had to have VAXes because the research was for a branch of the MoD and they paid for the first VAX (with the option of them taking it back at the end of the contract). We had a plotter and eventually a laser printer! At the time the elec eng network was inbetween the campus and comp sci. Forgetting the terminator, or pushing lots of network traffic between the VAXes really upset comp sci. :D
 

Trev

The Dumb One
and forgetting to put the terminator on.
A TDR would have seen that in a flash. Open/short ends are the easiest to spot. The display either jumps up to infinity or 0 and you just measure the distance.
 
D

Deleted member 473

I never got involved in the card and tape era, I had no need. I came to computing late, about 1980. We had Prime computers for general use, also an ibm mainframe that occupied the whole top floor of my building but nobody knew anyone who used it. Then it was teletypes, vdus, and finally a move to PCa, as the Primes could not cope with peak demand.

My wife's department bought into Macs with tiny black and white screens and single button mice! Ridiculously expensive for what you got.

Then there were home computers, the joys of an Atari ST, then later a PC. The woes of the latest DirectX 6 that stopped the girls' xmas games working and could not be removed.

I reckon my first Android phone was more capable than that ibm mainframe. But, sadly, the wonderful array of magazines on computing dried up as things standardized on PC and Android.
 
OP
prpr

prpr

Well-Known Member
we had to make do with a PDP11 and a teletype. I used to raid the engineering department's computer room, where they had a bigger PDP11, VDUs
We had access to a DEC-20 whilst at school. It had a PDP-11 front end processor for handling terminal comms. and the then ubiquitous ASR-33 teletypes. Latterly VDUs came in but still stuck at 110 baud and I was impatient. One day I found there was a secret switch on the back labelled 110/300 and, well, it just had to be tried. It worked but was only supposed to be used by the Computing dept. people - others caught trying it were allegedly in trouble, as it put too much load on the PDP-11, but I never got caught (for that anyway!) :).
I never got involved in the card and tape era
Mark-sense cards on Data General Nova in my case. Used to fill in little boxes on the cards with a pencil. Took nearly a week to go round the batch loop and then you looked in dismay at the syntax errors on the printout you got back. You got very good at not making any errors quite quickly.
And yes, I've still got a stack of those too, and some punched paper tape ex ASR-33.
We had Prime computers for general use,
Having been spolit by the DEC-20, we had DEC-10 and Prime 750 at university. I hated both - they were so primitive compared.
...bought into Macs... Ridiculously expensive for what you got.
Nothing changed there then!
 

Trev

The Dumb One
Why do peeps pay so much more for Apple stuff.
Apparently they are 'better' than PCs at graphics, but heavy graphic users must be a tiny proportion of users, and they would not use laptops with their small screens anyway.
I find it even more difficult to understand why someone would voluntarily go from PC to Mac.
 

MikeSh

Well-Known Member
Why do peeps pay so much more for Apple stuff.
Apparently they are 'better' than PCs at graphics, but heavy graphic users must be a tiny proportion of users, and they would not use laptops with their small screens anyway.
I find it even more difficult to understand why someone would voluntarily go from PC to Mac.
They (we) also buy houses, cars, clothes, jewellery, etc, that are far better and/or more expensive than is needed to just 'do the job'.

There's nowt so queer as folk. :alien:
 

EEPhil

Number 28
A TDR would have seen that in a flash. Open/short ends are the easiest to spot. The display either jumps up to infinity or 0 and you just measure the distance.
So did my terminal. As the researcher, operator, installer, system manager of the VAXes I made the mistake of having all the alarms set to alert my terminal. Various messages about lost packets and lost cluster connections were a bit of a giveaway - and makes for difficult file editing.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
I find it even more difficult to understand why someone would voluntarily go from PC to Mac.
When you're tired of the "open" architecture of IBM PCs resulting in extremely complex requirements for OS and drivers to accommodate and regularly break, one might well be relieved by the clamped down approach of Apple. I, for one, advise elderly newcomers to the digital age to go for an iPad rather than anything else at all.

Windows is great until it goes wrong, and then a computer user (rather than pro/enthusiast) is stuffed without help.

My school had dial-up acoustic-coupled modem access to the mainframe at the electricity board, and we typed BASIC programs in on a teletype (or used punched tape). The fuse on the teletype used to blow regularly - until I replaced it with the spring out of a biro.
 

EEPhil

Number 28
It had a PDP-11 front end processor for handling terminal comms.
Arrgh! I did an undergrad project using a PDP-11/34. The difficulties booting the damn thing and then in compiling a simple Fortran IV program. Insert one disk - run the editor, save - load the compiler (another disk), then the linker (another disk).
The computer centre used PDP-11 to run a file editing and transfer interface with the mainframes (You'd fetch your file from the mainframe, edit it using a visual editor on the PDP and then send it back or submit it as a batch job).
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
There wasn't any in those days, we were free to fry ourselves whenever we wanted. (I won't even mention what we used to get up to in the chemistry stores...)
 

EEPhil

Number 28
There wasn't any in those days, we were free to fry ourselves whenever we wanted. (I won't even mention what we used to get up to in the chemistry stores...)
Mixture of chemicals in the sink, add some sodium or was it lithium and .... BANG!
 
D

Deleted member 473

Windows is great until it goes wrong, and then a computer user (rather than pro/enthusiast) is stuffed without help.

My experience of users, rather than enthusiasts, is that, like with their apple pc counterparts, the windows pc users don't have things go wrong, because they don't keep changing hardware, installing loads of programs, etc.

Does the following sound familiar?

https://www.macrumors.com/2016/05/13/macbook-pro-system-freezes-os-x-10-11-4/

But this could only be apple!

https://support.apple.com/kb/PH25498?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US
 
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Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
All I know is that the pros I know (that are working without an IT department behind them) prefer to use Macs.
 
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