Archive
Computers
Giant Analog Flight Simulator (Dec, 1958)

Flying High at Zero Altitude
By BEN PREECE

THE PILOT and copilot of the Douglas DC-8 Jetliner couldn’t see anything through the windshield. It was totally dark outside. The altimeter was winding down as the giant plane dropped through the overcast. The crew chief watched his instrument panel.

“We’ll be out in a minute,” the pilot said, referring to the cloud bank he’d been in since take-off. Then the lights of the field appeared below.

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World’s First Calculator Watch, the HP-01 (Sep, 1977)

Besides being first, this is one of the coolest calculator watches I’ve ever heard of. You could actually use the time and date as variables in your calculations and it would continuously update the values based on the stopwatch or timer.

Hewlett-Packard advances in measurement and computation

The HP-01: a new kind of “time machine” you wear on your wrist.

New tools sometimes demonstrate their full significance only after people have invented a new range of uses for them. Their existence precedes their “reason” for existence. The HP-01 may be such a tool. It results from a timely fusion of two Hewlett-Packard technologies—precision time measurement1 and computation—and interrelates timekeeping with a computing element for the first time in a wrist-sized instrument.

Any resemblance between the HP-01 and a watch/ calculator stops inside the case. What makes the HP-01 a new kind of “time machine” is that it can compute time data to produce numerical perspectives in time. For example:

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1977: Bally Home Library Computer – Early E-Commerce (Sep, 1977)

“This is the story of an incredible product. So incredible that we know of no future consumer product that will have such a far-reaching technological impact on society.”

This is a ridiculously over-hyped ad for the Bally Home Library Computer, a fairly interesting if somewhat unsucsessful game console/home computer system. The $10,000 IBM 5100 computer they are constantly comparing it to was actually a full-on portable workstation with a keyboard, CRT, and tape drive that was capable of emulating an IBM mainframe. I am sure, however, that the Bally had better games.

One really interesting thing is the mention of the DIAL-A-BARGAIN® ORDERING SYSTEM:
“Our technicians have programmed JS&A’s main computer so you can use the Bally to access our computer directly when Bally’s dual tape decks become available. With a special module and cassette, you will be able to 1) call our computer on our toll-free number, 2) place an order, and 3) find out when it will be shipped. Since you communicate directly with our computer, your order is processed immediately and can be shipped within a few hours after receipt.”

I don’t know if they ever actually deployed this system, but if they did it would be an impressively early and complete eCommerce system.

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Thinking Computers? Think Small (May, 1967)

I’d love to have one of those Nixie Tube Wang 360′s (page 3) on my desk.

Thinking Computers? Think Small

They’re everywhere—simple-to-operate, desk-top electronic calculating instruments

By MELVIN WHITMER

AS RECENTLY AS 15 YEARS AGO, ACCORDing to the American Federation of Information Processing Societies (AFIPS), there were fewer than 25 computers at work in all of the US. That number has grown today to well over 35,000, and the AFIPS predicts that by 1975 there will be more than 85,000— representing an annual investment of $30 billion.

Understandably, the greatest increase—because of their lower initial cost—will come in the area of compact and desk-type computers. Though physically small, many of this new generation of time-savers are capable of a wider range of computations than some of the huge multi-rack installations of a decade or so ago.

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Wizard Pocket Calculator (May, 1960)

My girlfriend actually bought me one of these at a garage sale a while back. I’ll have to find it to make sure I have a genuine Thoresen model not one of those “cheaper, erratic, look-alike, all-plastic calculators imported from the Orient, near communist China”. Apparently being made in a country near communists brings down the quality of your goods. Unlike West Germany which was right next to communist East Germany…

Also, why can you only use the wallet to hold $1, $5 and $10 dollar bills. Is there something wrong with the $2, $20 and the $100? Do you need an advanced model to handle those denominations?

New 1960 German Adding Machine Adds & Subtracts to ONE BILLION!

Now with 9 NEW exclusive features-Still Only $1.98

Pocket for Coins and $1, $5, $10 Bills!
200 Year Perpetual Calendar!
Fine Grain Fitted WALLET!
Easy-Flow Clearing Lever!
Magic Reckoner for Multiplying & Dividing!
Fitted Slot for Notes, Memo Pad!

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Early Analog Computers (Super-Brains) (Jun, 1932)

Mechanical SUPER-BRAINS

Calculations in Higher Mathematics Performed by Complex Machinery

• FOR thousands of years after arithmetic and geometry had been worked out, these forms of mathematics were sufficient for most purposes of even learned men. However, when science became complex, and especially in the development of modern astronomy, it was apparent that new methods of calculation were needed. Two hundred and fifty years ago, Sir Isaac Newton and Wilhelm Leibnitz, working independently, devised methods of procedure which have been refined into what is now called, for short, calculus. Without this, modern science and engineering could never have reached their present development.

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Bendix electro-span (Apr, 1956)

Liquid levels monitored hundreds of miles from your central office by Bendix electro-span!

Important storage reservoirs for water, crude oil, gas, brine and other liquids are located in many remote and isolated sections of this country. It takes crews of men stationed at these points to keep a constant check of volumes and to open and close valves to balance supply and demand. The work is lonely, expensive to maintain, and sometimes dangerous.

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Putting color to work in computers. (Sep, 1979)

This computer has the same display resolution as a single Mac OSX icon.

Putting color to work in computers.

Computers that present a wealth of confusing information serve only to slow the information process. At ISC. we use color graphics as a highly-effective communications medium. Why color? Research has shown that color conveys information more quickly and effectively than any other visual method. Thus, when compared to black and white a color CRT display results in faster, more accurate user response. And that means faster decisions from the ultimate processor, the human brain.

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1956: World’s First Hard Drive (5MB) (Nov, 1956)

More at Wikipedia.

putting IDEAS to work — research at IBM

•Random Access Memory Accounting: RAMAC®, magnetic-disk memory storage, gives fast access to 5,000,000 characters. IBM Bulletin No. 400.
•Slanting Rain: “Shadows” created on a surface by its irregularities and discontinuities magnified 200,000 times through electron microscopy.

Random Access Memory Accounting
RAMAC, IBM’s newest data processing system, needed a unique memory storage system. Ordinary methods of memory storage—magnetic tape, drums, ferrite cores—couldn’t store enough “bits” of information. It took a research team of ours,withTriggNoyes and Wes Dickinson as key men at IBM’s San Jose Research Labs, to find the answer. The heart of this new idea: magnetic disks, played and replayed like the records in coin-operated music machines!

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THE TRANSISTOR’S 20th ANNIVERSARY (Jun, 1968)

THE TRANSISTOR’S 20th ANNIVERSARY:
How Germanium and a Bit of Wire Changed the World

The nuts and bolts of modern electronics, transistors lie at the heart of our rockets, computers, radar, radio, TV, and a thousand other devices

By W. STEVENSON BACON

The time: December, 1947. The place: Bell Telephone Laboratories at Murray Hill, N.J. The event: the invention of a new kind of electronic “valve” that can amplify signals—an invention so basic that it will virtually remold all science and technology.

Unlike the vacuum tube, it will not need a power-consuming hot filament, nor will it require a vacuum. Is it an impractical dream? Many skeptics think so.

After years of experimenting, Bell scientists, faced with repeated failures, have turned back to basic research.

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