Archive
Computers
Skateboard Wheel Holds 10 Kbit (Jan, 1961)

Tiny Drum With a Big Memory
THIS 6 oz. stainless steel memory drum holds more than 10,000 bits of information recorded on its magnetic surface. Designed for airborne computers, it can hold as much information as larger, conventional drums.
Because the drum is a thin shell, most of its mass is concentrated at the surface, where it provides maximum strength and rigidity to withstand severe vibrations and shock. A lightweight frame surrounding the drum holds magnetic pickup and recording heads imbedded in rectangular blocks of plastic called slider bearings. These bearings slide over the surface of the drum on a cushion of air, staying only 100 millionths of an inch away from the drum. International Business Machines Corp., New York, designed it to withstand more than 15 times the force of gravity.

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What’s 500 times faster than a sliderule? (Mar, 1953)

In the mid 50′s every company on earth made their own computers.

What’s 500 times faster than a sliderule?

Today’s quick answer to mathematical problems for engineers and designers is GEDA — the Goodyear Electronic Differential Analyzer. GEDA uses voltages and wave forms to compute in an hour the most complex math problems that would take 500 man-hours or more, using slide rule methods—acts as an “electrical brain” that can solve any problem from trajectories of space rockets to improvement of workflow through factories.

The newest GEDA, Model L3, is smaller, more compact and easier to operate than other electronic computers—occupies no more space than the average desk. After brief instruction, clerical workers are able to operate GEDA.

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Typewritten Flag (ASCII Art) (Jul, 1948)

What are the curved characters?


Typewritten Flag

Anyone can draw an accurate picture of the American flag on a typewriter, according to Menno Fast, a relief worker in Poland. Fast read a recent Popular Mechanics article on drawing pictures with a typewriter. He submits a drawing of the flag as proof that it can be made on an ordinary typewriter using standard spacing. The flag, with a full 13 stripes and 48 stars, appears to be rippling in the wind.

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Brainy Computer (May, 1955)

Brainy Computer
Billed by its makers as the smartest electronic brain ever built is a giant computer called the NORC, for Naval Ordnance Research Calculator. The NORC was designed for high-speed calculation heretofore impossible because of the time involved. For instance, it can perform 15,-000 arithmetical operations a second, or a billion in less than 24 hours. This is the equivalent of a thousand persons calculating on paper for a lifetime.

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Information (Sep, 1952)

This article is the last in Scientific American series on Automatic Control. It covers Information theory and processing. It has some great tidbits such as primitive tagging system for books by Vanevar Bush that used binary coded descriptors on microfilm. Also I’d have to say the author deserves to gloat over this quote: “It is almost certain that “bit” will become common parlance in the field of information, as “horsepower” is in the motor field.”

Information

The surprising discovery that it is subject to the same statistical treatment as heat facilitates its storage and handling in automatic control systems

by Gilbert W. King

THE “lifeblood” of automatic control is information. To receive and act on information is the essential function of every control system, from the simplest to the most complex. It follows that to understand and apply automatic control successfully we must understand the nature of information itself. This is not as simple as it may seem. Information, and the communication of it, is a rather subtle affair, and we are only beginning to approach an exact understanding of its elusive attributes.

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CATV Is Coming to Your Town (Jun, 1970)

The last sentence is the kicker: “Some experts are predicting—for less than the cost of the family car— a complete home communications terminal with access to computer libraries, two-way video, and hundreds of input channels. Cable TV could make it all come true. ”

Once just a way to get signals to distant places, cable TV is now growing fast even in big cities. Here’s why

CATV Is Coming to Your Town

One of these days soon, a salesman will ring your doorbell and offer a special service called cable TV. “Why bother?” you may ask. “I’m perfectly satisfied with the reception I’m getting now on my five [if you're average] channels.” True, you may be getting good TV reception. But CATV (Community Antenna TV) will offer you better reception, and more. Added up, here is what you will get:

• The five channels you would usually pull in with your antenna— but much sharper and clearer.

• Three, maybe four, other stations from other cities. Two or three of them will probably duplicate much of the network programing you’re already getting. But one or two may be independents that you have no way of seeing, short of moving to the next town. That’s a total of nine channels off the air.

• Three local channels—continuously broadcasting time/weather, news/stock ticker, and local live broadcasts—from town meetings to high-school ball games. That’s 12 channels so far.

• There’s more coming: pay TV on the cable. This is the most exciting home-entertainment prospect of all. Pay cable channels will cost extra.

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3 Important, New Electronic Digital Computers (Sep, 1952)

3 Important, New Electronic Digital Computers
For Engineering, Science and Business

Entirely new circuit designs have enabled CRC to produce a complete line of relatively small, low cost, highly reliable, digital electronic computers.
They may be purchased outright, or leased with the option to buy. A complete parts and service warranty, including both preventive and special maintenance will be included with lease if desired.

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2 Computers? No-Just One (Sep, 1952)

2 Computers? No-Just One

IDA!

Integro-Differential Analyzer
Leading design and research engineers have found that one IDA computer does the work of 2 ordinary computers — because of such ahead-of-the-field features as those outlined below:

Interchangeable Set-up Boards: permit problem change-over in minutes; thus IDA is always at work, there’s no lost set-up time!
20 Uncommitted Amplifiers: perform any computing function; and any required scale factor may be used for any number of inputs to any amplifier.
Hold Control: usually found only in most expensive computers, permits introduction of gross non-linearities.
8 Initial Conditions: once fixed, are automatically restored after each solution.
New Extra-Convenient Compactness: with the IDA you can actually sit at your desk while you compute!

Read for yourself the complete story on the truly advanced IDA computer. See how its twofold greater efficiency boosts your owa Just write for Catalog SA. Includes theory, set-up, typical examples.
Distributed Nationally by Burlingome Associates, 103 Lafayette Street, New York 13, N. Y.
IDA is manufactured by COMPUTER CORPORATION of AMERICA

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An Automatic Machine Tool (Sep, 1952)

This is the fourth in a series of 5 articles I’ve scanned from an amazing 1952 issue of Scientific American about Automatic Control. Discussing automatic machine tools, feedback loops, and the role of computers in manufacturing and information theory, these are really astounding articles considering the time in which they were written.

This article is a fascinating exploration of the history and state of the art in automatic machine tools as of 1952. This is the CAM in CAD/CAM.


An Automatic Machine Tool

Feedback control has begun to advance in the working of metals. Presenting the first account of a milling machine that converts information on punched tape into the contours of a finished part.

by William Pease

THE metal-cutting industry is one field in which automatic control has been late in arriving. The speed, judgment and especially the flexibility with which a skilled machinist controls his machine tool have not been easily duplicated by automatic machines. Only for mass-production operations such as the making of automobile parts has it been feasible to employ automatic machinery. New developments in feedback control and machine computation, however, are now opening the door to automatization of machine tools built to produce a variety of parts in relatively small quantities.

The problem will be clearer if we first review briefly the history of machine tools and their relationship to manufacturing processes. The story begins in the last quarter of the 18th century. Prior to that time the tools of the millwright, as the machinist of that day was called, consisted chiefly of the hammer, chisel and file. His measurements were made with a wooden rule and crude calipers. His materials were prepared either by hand-forging or by rudimentary foundry casting. Crude, hand-powered lathes were already in existence, but they were used only for wood-turning or occasionally for making clock parts.

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PAT does the talking (Dec, 1958)

This ia brief article about a speech synthesizer, but in the last paragraph it sounds like they were actually doing research into psychoacoustic audio compression.

PAT does the talking
“PAT” is the nickname given to a British talking machine which creates all the sounds that are normally used in speaking, and can string them together to produce the illusion of complete words and phrases. It can, in fact, talk.

In place of the human vocal cords, PAT (short for Parametric Artificial Talker) has an electron tube oscillator. In place of tongue and lips which normally vary the size of the mouth cavities, electrical resonators are provided and their resonant frequencies varied.

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