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The Laptop, Circa 1968

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the some-turtles-have-nice-shells dept.

Portables 120

Harry writes "In 1968, computers tended to occupy entire rooms, and were therefore hard to take with you. But Computerworld reports on Anderson Jacobson's 75-pound Teletype-terminal-in-a-case, an early attempt to let folks compute from anywhere. (Well, anywhere they had power and access to a telephone for the Teletype's acoustic coupler.) Wheels were optional."

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Aristotle (4, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582399)

Even Aristotle commented 2300 years ago, about how men and things were always purported to be bigger and better in the distant past. It really seems that geeks must have been much bigger and stronger in 1968.

Re:Aristotle (4, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582435)

...Or they didn't move as much. I don't think this was carried around in the way that a laptop was but rather this was (for the time) a lighter alternative to a desktop, similar to the mini-PCs today like the Mac Mini.

Re:Aristotle (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582889)

this was (for the time) a lighter alternative to a desktop

Yeah, you actually had a door big enough to fit this through.

Re:Aristotle (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582977)

My dad carried his luggable IBM PC compatable home every night in the 80's. It was the only way to do computer work at home. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_computer [wikipedia.org]

Re:Aristotle (5, Insightful)

cstacy (534252) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583301)

...Or they didn't move as much. I don't think this was carried around in the way that a laptop was but rather this was (for the time) a lighter alternative to a desktop, similar to the mini-PCs today like the Mac Mini.

Why do people wildly speculate like this when it comes to vintage computing? The people from back then are still around, and you can just ask them.

Yes, we did carry these around like a laptop. Not from room to room during the day, but commuting between home and office and to other offices/sites.

Re:Aristotle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583791)

- Is he dead?
- Not yet.
- Is he dead?
- Yup.

Re:Aristotle (1)

indiechild (541156) | more than 5 years ago | (#28585615)

It can hardly be called a laptop, or a "desktop replacement". Look at the weight, those things are absolute monsters! It's a bit like carrying around a mid-size tower PC to a LAN party.

Re:Aristotle PC vs personal computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28585311)

But Mac Mini is not a PC. It is a Macintosh.
Do not make so usually mistake to believe that PC stands for all personal computers and not just IBM's PC or clone PC's.

The PC was a IBM's brand for their own personal computer what they build 1981. They had earlier than PC many different personal computers, but none of them were PC.

Apple was building personal computers too, before IBM manufactured and marketed their own personal computer as PC. IBM released their PC specs so others could manufacture parts for it and clones. Too bad that Compaq (todays HP) reverse engineered the BIOS what was used on PC and clone PC's started to come up to markets, without licensing fees to IBM.

First personal computer was developed what more like 1954, "the Simon". The first PC 1981 by IBM. First Macintosh 1984, after Apple II (1977)

Todays personal computers, none of them are PC compatible anymore. So it is in reality mistake to call them with PC brand. Macintosh brand has staid better way. But PC is still used by some personal computer manufacturers like HP and Dell.

Even the smartphone would fall the the category of personal computer. But no one calls them as PC.

Re:Aristotle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28582651)

Instead of making things smaller, we nerds could have built relationships with jocks, but no, we chose the easy way out. So much for human relations.

Once upon a time (5, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582427)

Once I was talking to my grandpa about old computers, and I mentioned that my C64 had a slow 300 baud modem. He used to work on these mainframes, and he came right back and said, "the first modem I had was 9 baud." The article doesn't say how fast their modem is, but from the picture 9 baud is about right.

Just for comparison, 300 baud is so slow that you can read the text faster than it downloads. That teletype is honestly not the most convenient device.

Re:Once upon a time (5, Interesting)

a2wflc (705508) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582637)

I'd trade my current 6MB connection and today's web sites, email, blogs, etc for the 300 baud modem I had in the 70s/80s and the BBSs, news groups, talk/chat, and useful information on the other end.

People knew how to put lots of information in a few sentences or at most a couple of paragraphs. I may have seen the info show up slowly, 1 character at a time, but after 30-60 seconds I had what I want. Now I have megabytes show up in seconds, but it may take minutes to find the useful information (if useful information is even there)

Re:Once upon a time (4, Insightful)

warlock (14079) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582681)

No thanks. I'll take youtube, flickr and wikipedia instead, and I was in the BBS scene back in the late '80s early '90s.

Re:Once upon a time (1)

indiechild (541156) | more than 5 years ago | (#28585625)

Agreed. I was a heavy BBS user in the 90s, and what we have now is utterly amazing. I definitely wouldn't go back.

Re:Once upon a time (3, Funny)

ZiakII (829432) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582743)

Think about what could porn could you look at back then, then tell me if you would still make the trade.

Re:Once upon a time (2, Funny)

Fishchip (1203964) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583099)

You know how excited we got at porn dithered to CGA-grade grayscale and took at least 20min per picture to download?

Re:Once upon a time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28584951)

You damn kids. Back in the true golden ages, all porn came in the form of ASCII art. Nothing beats that stuff.

Re:Once upon a time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28584577)

Don't tell me you never experienced the joys of ASCII porn?

My youth was wasted trawling the newsgroups for ( . )( . ) and such... but I got put off for good once I saw ==EO3==

Re:Once upon a time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28584739)

How did you sneak such filth past slashdot's filters?

Courtesy of asciipron.com (1)

hamburgler007 (1420537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584919)

Well, I would have posted something from there if this let me use more whitespace.

It was called TTY Art (2, Informative)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584963)

and I have a box of it in my workshop. It's all on paper tape. You'd print out the tape on the teletype and a picture of a naked lady would appear after several minutes. Google TTY art and you'll see what it looks like.

Re:Once upon a time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28582747)

Guess what? You just added to the pile of useless information you maligned....

Hah (4, Insightful)

coryking (104614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582845)

What is funny is I was contemplating how to make a statement like yours and get it +5 funny! You aren't insightul, you are forgetful.

BBS's didn't have wikipedia. 99% of your BBS buddies were local. You couldn't order books on your BBS. You couldn't book a vacation to some far off land online--you'd have to use a travel agent. You couldn't play any kind of game with 10,000 other users at the same time. You couldn't be on a bus, a coffee shop, a library, or a park and instantly connect to any BBS in the world all at the same time. Elections weren't won or lost in part because of the effectiveness of a candidates BBS strategy. You didn't have entire political revolutions organized using BBSes either. If Iran was in the midst of a revolution during the BBS era, the US government wouldn't be telling some random BBS not to perform system maintenance because so many iranians were relying on it for communication!

Information? Forget it! You couldn't "google" a BBS and pull up schematics for some random IC. Which BBS did you dial into when you wanted to get a corporations SEC filings? Which BBS had information about the number of legs on a centipede? Which BBS contained streaming, real-time video coming from the olympics and for that matter, which BBS had the scores for every olympic game updated by the second? Which BBS had the wiring digram for a vintage VW bug?

I'm sure right now, some dillegent Slashdotter is going to post some BBS who did those things, but let me ask them this--how did you know of that BBS's existance? There was no Google, Bing or Yahoo for BBSes, and if there was, you'd have to know its phone number (which would probably be non-local).

No sir, you aren't insightful. You are my "+5 Funny" comment only serious. I had fun with BBSes too--but we have moved on. The amount of information available *instantly* at my fingertips is many, many orders of magnitude higher than the sum of all information found on all BBS systems that ever existed.

It is okay to be nostalgic about ANSI art, ACID draw, renegade BBSes, and 16 color gifs of madona in her swimsuit, but don't fool yourself into thinking you are feeling anything else.

Re:Hah (1)

a2wflc (705508) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582955)

I wanted information to write operating systems and compilers and that's about it (and still is). If I wanted the schematics for some random IC it didn't take long to find a friend who knew how to get in touch with someone who worked on the IC - email/ftp/phone worked really well once you know who to talk to (still does but harder to find that person and have them trust you and spend time with you). I didn't care much for games, video, and other things you mentioned and still don't.

I admit there's A LOT more information now and that's a good thing. But sifting through it takes a lot more effort.

There is a reason it takes more effort (1)

coryking (104614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583013)

Because we haven't figured out how to make it take less. We even have a name for what you describe--"information overload". We've got access to limitless amounts of information now days. Your brain can't handle it. Our technology can barely handle it.

If you could somehow take all the information we have on the internet and "BBS-ize" it, I promise you it would take a hurculean effort for you to find anything.

I gave examples like "IC schematics" and "wiring diagrams" because I'm posting on slashdot. You and I probably both know somebody in our network who knows how to get some bit of tech related info /w-out modern search engines. But back then, what if you wanted to find the best sewing needle to use for nylon fabric--which of your BBS going friends would know the right phone number to dial to get information about that?

Re:There is a reason it takes more effort (2, Insightful)

atraintocry (1183485) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584897)

Information overloaded happened as soon as the first libraries were constructed. We only don't feel it when we're in a library because we already know the system (wing > aisle > shelf, fiction by author, non-fiction by topic, etc).

FWIW I think the various social bookmarking sites, although not always super useful, move the work of filtering information from an algorithm to a groups of people with similar tastes who you can link up with. Not quite the same as a BBS but when combine that with forums, it gets easier to find relevant info.

And I think that what's actually changed is the specialness of the connection itself (I mean the person-to-person connection, not the LAN). I don't have any reason to be in a chat room any more but there was a time when I thought that was the coolest thing ever. I think my generation basically has gone through that. It all happened fast enough that we have one generation that was wowed by being able to download BBS messages and another that is growing up with no notion of a world without Facebook.

Re:Hah (3, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582989)

All true, but to be fair, the GP was mostly focused on 80's style "social media", and the kind of posts you would find, or chats you would have. YMMV, but really good, quality posting and discussion that's extremely rare on today's discussion boards and tweets and such were the norm back then.

On the other hand, I don't believe there's less of it today than there was then. I think, in fact, there's a lot more. But that's kinda hard to see or keep in mind sometimes when back in the day, it was >50% of the time, whereas today, it's <1% of the whole. There may be more quality in terms of KB, but there's a lot less in terms of % of the whole. Which makes finding that quality place to engage with people much more difficult. Before, you had a good change when dialing any random BBS that it would be a hit on a great place to discuss things with an interesting community of intelligent thinkers and responders. Now you have to sift through a thousand forums to find one of the same...

Re:Hah (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582999)

s/change/chance/

Re:Hah (1)

schon (31600) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582997)

I'd trade my current 6MB connection and today's web sites, email, blogs, etc for the 300 baud modem I had in the 70s/80s and the BBSs, news groups, talk/chat, and useful information on the other end.

People knew how to put lots of information in a few sentences or at most a couple of paragraphs.

You aren't insightul, you are forgetful.

BBS's didn't have wikipedia. 99% of your BBS buddies were local.

I think you just proved his point for him. :)

Well, there is something to be said about "local" (2, Insightful)

coryking (104614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583029)

Look at why facebook is popular. I wager almost your entire friends list is people you know (or knew) in person.

If I were a betting man, my hunch would be that we'll figure out people dont really like socializing with random people on in the internet and what we really want is ways to better communicate with the people geographically and socially close to us. In otherwords, we'll go from "random people scattered across the globe talk about Linux" (slashdot) to "random people scattered across my city talk about technology in general".

...Maybe. But facebook isn't popular because of hype. It is popular because it lets us put an online face to people we already knew offline. Before "social networking" was the rage, for the most part the internet was "online people talk with other online people" or "people trying to put an offline face to people we only knew online". In short--facebook is popular because it lets us enhance the experiences we have with people we met face to face.

Re:Hah (1)

mopower70 (250015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28585833)

Well crap. I have mod points but for some reason +1 "Ever so much this" is missing from my menu.

Re:Once upon a time (1)

hollywench (646205) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583217)

*nods* The bigger the net gets, the bigger the (exponential) increase in signal to noise. :-p

Re:Once upon a time (1)

fooslacker (961470) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583267)

This post should have ended with "and get off my lawn". Don't get me wrong BBSs were great and it did seem much easier to control your own machine though this was likely due to the fact that given the lower level access you had to learn more just to use the thing. All that said anyone who honestly in their heart believes there was better access to info (regardless of your definition for better) back then is suffering from nostalgia with curmudgeonly delusions.

The amount of data/info/knowledge currently available online both from a depth of breadth of knowledge standpoint is orders of magnitude greater today and while that may mean that you have to sift through the crap to find the good the fact that it is available to you at all makes today's online world significantly better than yesterdays.

But worry not, good sire, I shall avoideth thy lawn and thy aged wrath against modernity of thought and the new fangled contraptions it bringeth forth from the ether. ;)

Re:Once upon a time (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583583)

People knew how to put lots of information in a few sentences or at most a couple of paragraphs

Kids these days are good at doing that too aren't they? I'm not sure that it's considered a good thing by the rest of the population. Unless of course you meant real 'information' and not mindless drivel :)

KTHX BYE

Re:Once upon a time (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584195)

Well if you're complaining about the quality of information, stop reading rubbish. There's still plenty of good information out there AND a lot more which takes advantage of the bandwidth. You've just got to be selective. Use specialist sites to look up what you're interested in and specialist boards for discussion.

Re:Once upon a time (2, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#28585125)

My eldsest son ran his own BBS in the 80's but I prefer the new fangled online search to find information these days.

OTOH I love nostalgia; the older I get the better I was.

Re:Once upon a time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28585263)

Urgh. I was active in the local BBS scene back in the 80s, and I've got to say - thanks, but no thanks. Phone lines? Busy signals? Ratios? Phone charges? (No, we didn't have free local calls where I live.) Terminal emulation? Door games? Having to wait for things to maybe show up in a BBS in your area so you'd have a chance to download them? Frantically looking for something to upload so you actually COULD download them?

No.

Door games weren't so bad really, actually, but all the rest... just no.

Re:Once upon a time (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28582687)

An ASR-33 is 110 baud.

Re:Once upon a time (1)

Fishchip (1203964) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583089)

9 baud...?

I have a teletype machine on my ship that we still use when things go south. Its minimum setting, if I remember correctly, is 30 baud. We usually use it at 75. Yes, there are still some current applications of 75 baud.

Re:Once upon a time (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583603)

Just for comparison, 300 baud is so slow that you can read the text faster than it downloads.

Bullshit. That's 300 characters per second, or more than three 80-column lines per second.

Re:Once upon a time (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583621)

Oh crap, I'm an idiot, that's 300 bits per second, or about 30 characters per second. Ugh, has it been that long that I've forgotten modem terminology? Bleah.

Re:Once upon a time (1)

sensei moreh (868829) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583921)

1968 is well before my use of a computer, but the first teletype-type terminal I used (1976) had a 110 baud modem.

Re:Once upon a time (3, Interesting)

lpress (707742) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584683)

> The article doesn't say how fast their modem is

It was 10 characters or 110 bits per second. You could read a lot faster than it could print and it only did upper case.

The Teletype was fully mechanical, so you could really understand how it worked and even repair it yourself. They sold cool, reasonably priced tool kits and parts were available.

Anderson Jacobson just packaged a standard Teletype with an accoustical coupler in a huge fiberglass case with casters. I had one of those and got four fixed units on stands to install in the public library in Venice, CA. Teletypes were common timesharing terminals -- we had a room full of them at SDC that were tied into the Q-32 timesharing system.

Larry

Re:Once upon a time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28584727)

grandpa 1-0

Re:Once upon a time (1)

SlashWombat (1227578) | more than 5 years ago | (#28585345)

Once I was talking to my grandpa about old computers, and I mentioned that my C64 had a slow 300 baud modem. He used to work on these mainframes, and he came right back and said, "the first modem I had was 9 baud."

I reckon your Grandpa was pulling your leg ... 50 baud modems have been around since before WW II. This was used by/for real teletype machines. (like creed, or Model 45 teletype machines) That certainly predates any computer usage.

Re:Once upon a time (1)

mikewelter (526625) | more than 5 years ago | (#28585723)

Except this beast was 110baud. But time sharing systems in those days weren't much faster (IBM 1401 series, Honeywell 200 series, early IBM360). It was a TTY33 in a case with wheels and an acoustic coupler (connecting wires to AT&T's network in those days was strictly verboten). It weighed about 90 pounds (or at least felt like 90 #).

The first 300baud units were lugable but used thermal paper on a roll.

HappyBirthday America, Candida, and Mexico (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28582447)

It year older today Happy Birdthday

Re:HappyBirthday America, Candida, and Mexico (-1, Offtopic)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582635)

Happy Birthday America!

We the Americans are fucking badass. We have the best toys. We wield the biggest dicks and the most advanced weaponry we use to blast the living shit out of everybody who fucks with us. We go to the Middle East and shit in their fucking faces just because we feel like it.

Our women are the hottest. Our microbrews are the coldest. Our genes are the most desireable. Our space program is the envy of the cuckolded masturbators of Russia and China. We the Americans are the master race. We defeated the commies, and we don't take no shit from 14th century savages.

Don't fuck with America. +5, informative

Re:HappyBirthday America, Candida, and Mexico (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28582653)

Cool story bro.

Re:HappyBirthday America, Candida, and Mexico (-1, Troll)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582835)

Heh, I weep for the person that modded you down. Hopefully having their house bombed will be a lesson to the rest.

Re:HappyBirthday America, Candida, and Mexico (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28585767)

Shocking, news for nerds and the people with mod points have no sense of humor.

Cuz US Can MthrFckr (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583629)

If u cud lick ur cunt u wud, mofo

USA USA USA

Ne1 gve a sht abt ne othr cntry?

HELLNO

USA USA USA

How is this a laptop? (1)

Ryiah (1324299) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582469)

Aren't they stretching things calling this a laptop? Certainly its portable but it can't be easy to port this. I've had Sun monitors that weighed less than this. No way I'd be putting this on my lap. It isn't battery powered either. Some additional information is at this site with some additional information and pictures - http://www.pdp8.net/asr33/asr33.shtml [pdp8.net]

Re:How is this a laptop? (1)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582487)

yeah if you put this on your lap it might skwish yer grapes!

Re:How is this a laptop? (3, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582509)

They don't really call it a laptop, they use 'laptop' to draw a comparison between the somewhat portable teletype and modern portable computers.

Re:How is this a laptop? (2, Insightful)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582717)

*sheesh!* Kids now days![Ryiah (1324299) that you replied to, not you]

Hell, compared to the first computers I experienced at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in 1975 and 1976, these 'laptops' would almost be considered 'handhelds' since you did not need a forklift and 20 engineers to move them around.

Re:How is this a laptop? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582891)

Don't let me off too easy, 1976 is prior to my birth.

Re:How is this a laptop? (2, Insightful)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584573)

LOL!
That was the year I graduated from High School.
I was actually a subcontractor employee with Bendix Field Engineering Corp., working at Goddard's NTTF facility in the Logistics Department, on the graveyard shift then.
No more than a 'parts man' with a security clearance for the Computer Science Corporation's tech's and engineers that had to be on duty 'just in case'.
I was playing a text-based baseball game, and blackjack on those behemoths, not actually 'doing work' on them...much less understanding them!
I was just there 'just in case someone needs something', on duty parts man at the mandatory 24-7 parts counter there.

But nothing short of death will erase the memories and mental imagery of walking into that 'Walmart-sized' room full of computers, with everyone dressed in parkas, seeing your breath in the air, as I watched those tape reels jerk around, and all of the flashy lights! Made one hell of an impression on me, even though I had no clue what I was seeing at that time!

BTW:
1976 was a very good year to be 18 years old!

Re:How is this a laptop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28582647)

This only goes to show that obesity levels have gone up since the late sixties, what was a bulky device back then will actually fit quite comfortably on current laps.

Re:How is this a laptop? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582843)

Well, technically, any man that uses a laptop on their lap is going to have issues with future fertility.

Even back then... (2, Funny)

coolgeek (140561) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582541)

"Can't wait till they come out with the 300 baud version"

Re:Even back then... (1)

Velox_SwiftFox (57902) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582577)

Actually it was CAN'T WAIT UNTIL {Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.}

But you had to yell to be heard over the machinery inside the Teletype.

Re:Even back then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28582697)

Back then it wasn't that elaborate, it remember seeing an article in an Atari Connection magazine that showed an online service prompt as:
YR ID PLS?

Re:Even back then... (5, Funny)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582583)

Nah. 64 baud is all you'll ever need.

- "But can they run asynchronous?"

Re:Even back then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28582627)

300 baud that's broadband go ask comcast

75 lbs Laptop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28582625)

Imagine a beowolf cluster of these!

Portables vs. Transportables (5, Interesting)

alewar (784204) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582629)

For me anything bigger than 13' isn't portable, but "transportable".

Re:Portables vs. Transportables (5, Funny)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582791)

Based on my experience with LAN parties, anything that isn't bolted to the ground is "portable".

Spinal Tap Stonehenge prop inversion (2, Interesting)

hoarier (1545701) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582817)

For me anything bigger than 13' isn't portable, but "transportable".

Thirteen feet?! Sheesh, for me anything bigger than 13 feet isn't "transportable" but bloody enormous.

Incidentally, the fact about 2009 that might have most surprised by short-trousered self circa 1968 is the ubiquity of inches. It's not just the Burmese, the Liberians aind the Youessians who're talking about "13 inch screens", "1200 dpi" and so forth these days. it's (for example) Yodobashi Camera hawking consumer durables to people in Tokyo. Can we please go back to the 1968 future of SI?

Re:Spinal Tap Stonehenge prop inversion (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582969)

13' of sheet and a projector ;)

Gotta Try It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28582639)

Hey, I've got two ASR-33s in my garage. I should try converting one into a portable!

CFLAGS (1)

biduxe (541904) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582675)

Have anyone installed gentoo on it? I would like which CFLAGS to use whit it so to have lightning fast system.

BTW Anyone had compiz running on it?

Re:CFLAGS (3, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583009)

Have anyone installed gentoo on it? I would like which CFLAGS to use whit it so to have lightning fast system.

Still compiling the kernel. I'll let you know in 2014.

BTW Anyone had compiz running on it?

Now you're pulling my leg.

Re:CFLAGS (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583255)

I used:

export CFLAGS="-O2 -march=circa -pipe"
export CXXFLAGS="-O2 -march=circa -pipe"
export CHOST="Teletype-circa"
export MAKEOPTS="-j0.01"

1976 TI Silent 700 Terminal - $1995, 13 lbs. (4, Interesting)

theodp (442580) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582721)

TI Silent 700 Ad [computerhistory.org] : See how much progress was made in 8 years? :-)

Re:1976 TI Silent 700 Terminal - $1995, 13 lbs. (2, Insightful)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582861)

Um, yeah, that "progress" was called the microchip.

Re:1976 TI Silent 700 Terminal - $1995, 13 lbs. (4, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582947)

Um, yeah, that "progress" was called the microchip.

Yes, what I think a lot of people may have failed to realise with the ASR-33 is that it's all mechanical. The only electrical part is the solenoid that flips some pins sticking out of the shifter drum back and forwards.

When you press a key, the keypress is turned into a stream of data by a mechanical shifter. When you receive a character, the serial data is unshifted and printed by a mechanical shifter. No electronics to be found at all.

Re:1976 TI Silent 700 Terminal - $1995, 13 lbs. (2, Informative)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582991)

No electronics to be found at all

Let's not go overboard. The modem is electronic. It is almost certainly also digital. It would just be discrete parts, such as the 7400 series invented in 1964 -- with no microprocessors or any other chip with more than a handful of gates.

Re:1976 TI Silent 700 Terminal - $1995, 13 lbs. (2, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584553)

Let's not go overboard. The modem is electronic. It is almost certainly also digital.

Early FSK modems, below 1200 baud, were analog devices. The output side was just an oscillator switched between two frequencies, and the input side was a pair of filters. This was a version of the technology used for radioteletype (RTTY), where it had often been implemented with tubes. (There are some very retro radio hams still using all-tube demodulators with mechanical teletypes.)

At 1200 baud and above, modem technology changed drastically, and digital components appeared. But modems were still mostly analog devices until DSP-based modems became economically feasible in the 1980s.

Re:1976 TI Silent 700 Terminal - $1995, 13 lbs. (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584655)

What was the output of this analog modem? Was the interface between the modem and the teletype some sort of analog -- like a rotary dial telephone or something?

Re:1976 TI Silent 700 Terminal - $1995, 13 lbs. (2, Informative)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 5 years ago | (#28585215)

Was the interface between the modem and the teletype some sort of analog -- like a rotary dial telephone or something?

Yes - the excact same mecahnism, actually: It was a current-loop - if current flowed it was a 0, if it stopped, it was a 1! (In some cases, it was +/- current, and in other cases it was 15mA for 1 and 4mA for 0. There were probably several other "standards" as well.)

Re:1976 TI Silent 700 Terminal - $1995, 13 lbs. (2, Interesting)

Radio_active_cgb (839041) | more than 5 years ago | (#28585183)

I'm not certain, but the Silent 700 may have been a terminal my dad brought home from work once or twice a week for about a year. At 300 baud, it was a good deal faster than the 110 baud "ticker tape" terminal we had been using previously.
The silent 700 was very light, comparatively fast, and extremely quiet. For comparison, todays inkjet printers are just about as quiet. I was greatly impressed.
To set the stage:
As a 12 year old, I was used to working on model 33 teletypes as a member of a boy scout explorer post (post 599?) (GE/Honeywell in Phoenix, Arizona, about 1972). Punched cards were still common, but there were a few electronic 9600 baud terminals around and required special connections to the mainframes we were using. (Even at 12, I was a nerd, but there wasn't a name for people like us then.)
The ticker tape machine printed text onto a carbonless 1/2 inch tall tape in a long, single line of text. (Think of a single line display.) It worked by having a hammer strike a spinning drum with type characters on its surface. It worked, but there was no possibility for formatted text spanning multiple lines (though you could cut the tape into pieces and scotch tape the pieces to form a page....), and it was extremely noisy.

The true first portable modern computer... (5, Funny)

galaad2 (847861) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582783)

However, the true* first portable computer began its early development in 1956, got approved in 1958 and entered active service in 1962: (*=The one that melts your face off)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/06/05/tob_minuteman_1/print.html [theregister.co.uk]

quote from TFA:

the American government was already rocking a line of cutting-edge portable computers that -- had they only been more widely released -- would have melted any tech lover's heart. And their face. And probably most everything within a mile radius.

We're speaking, of course, of the first-ever guidance system baked into the US Minuteman 1 nuclear missile. Maximum portability: about 9,700 km (6,000 mi). Target demographic: Commies.

Re:The true first portable modern computer... (2, Interesting)

Sanat (702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583693)

I cut my teeth back in 1962 on the D17-C computer used by Autonetics in the Minuteman I missile system.

My task was to optically aim the missile by using the North star (Polaris) to transfer azimuths to a collimated light beam... and also to program the computer both to operate in flight and to indicate where the different targets were located in the world. The on board computer would then figure out the shortest path from the launch tube to the target.

USAF reliability efforts. (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584605)

From the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, the USAF put a huge amount of effort into making electronics more reliable, with considerable success. One of their more interesting efforts involved marking a few percent of the Air Force's inventory of electronics boxes with a sticker instructing users that the unit was part of the USAF's Reliability Program, and if it broke, it was to be replaced as a unit, not fixed in the field. The broken unit was to be sent back to a lab (at Wright-Patterson AFB, I think) for analysis.

At the lab, the unit was tested and the failing component(s) found. The, the failing component was disassembled and analyzed. This involved opening up transistor cans and looking at the component under a microscope, and if necessary, an electron microscope. The USAF was trying to understand why components failed in the field. Did a "hermetic" seal leak? Was a bonding wire badly soldered to a pad? Was something mispositioned? Was the transistor substrate damaged?

Results were published in Aviation Week. With enlarged pictures of the defect. Part numbers and names of vendors were given. The USAF deliberately did this to apply pain to vendors.

Over time, parts got much better. By the 1980s, though, the USAF wasn't buying a big enough fraction of the output of the electronics industry to get much attention, much to the annoyance of senior USAF types.

Re:The true first portable modern computer... (2, Informative)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584973)

Tee hee. My dad used one of these for astronomy computations - they gave a bunch of them to universities in the early seventies, as they were hopelessly obsolete by then. And he used a teletype. Here's a photo [nixiebunny.com] of another common computer he used, the Nova.

I used one of these... (3, Interesting)

veryoldgeek (1591389) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582825)

...or something very similar. I got my start in computing 40 years ago on a "portable" Teletype with an acoustic coupler, dialed into a GE timesharing system from home. The teletype had a tape punch/reader, so I could write programs off-line. I believe the modem ran at about 110 baud. I programmed in BASIC--the real Kemeny and Kurtz variety, not the stripped-down variety that showed up 10 years later on the first personal computers. (Yes, I'm a bit above the median age for slashdot readers.)

Re:I used one of these... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28582887)

Talking about portables, do you remember the Columbia portable PC?: about 15 lb. The cover included the keyboard. Two 5 1/4" floppy drives, no hard disk, MSDOS. 10" monochrome monitor. This machine is from 1982 aprox.

Re:I used one of these... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583133)

Me too. Programming: Fortran IV. I was about 12/13 and borrowed one from the University of British Columbia engineering department (where I worked weekends in the "computer room").

Totally freaked my parents out that I was talking to a machine a few miles away. Come to think of it, they still don't quite get how they can type something in Canada and I see it in Spain.

Re:I used one of these... (3, Funny)

kv9 (697238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584085)

(Yes, I'm a bit above the median age for slashdot readers.)

I could have never guessed by your username...

No display (2, Insightful)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582897)

For everyone out there who learned to use a computer after the late 1970's or so, a "Teletype", as this device is called, does not have a display. All output is to a printer -- a character printer. I am slightly amused at the stated despair over the need for a power plug and a landline. How about that ream of paper you have to lug around? (And if it's confidential information, I suppose also a trash bag.)

Dynabook (2, Interesting)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583015)

Alan Kay imagined the Dynabook in 1968. Have a look here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynabook [wikipedia.org]

It was to be programmed in Smalltalk, which Kay created over the next few years.

Smalltalk what Objective-C and Cocoa were modeled on. However, even Smalltalk-80 (as in 1980) was more advanced in many ways than Objective-C and Cocoa are in 2009.

I used one of those (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583077)

We had one of those at Sperry Vickers (Troy, Michigan) in 1971, with the acoustic coupler in the wooden case. Even then, it was on the way out; we were moving to Uniscope CRT terminals and UNIVAC DCT 300 printers, connected to a UNIVAC 1108 computer.

Power was supplied to the modem as 120 VAC over otherwise-unused pins in the DB-25 connector from the Teletype Model 33 ASR.

Things were really clunky back then. We still had a full set of mechanical Remington Rand 90-column card gear, programmed by wiring up "connection boxes", mechanical plugboards which used flexible cables like bike brake cables to transmit data from input to output. That, too, was on the way out, but it was still used for a few jobs.

Video Display Printer (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583107)

This section of the scanned Computerworld page was interesting:
"The new CC-310 Videoprinter is a CRT display printer for use with the..."

I had not heard that terminology before: CRT display printer. Welcome to the paperless society O_o

The suit and hair are classic too.

Re:Video Display Printer (1)

dickens (31040) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584125)

In my earliest years at DEC, I saw quite a few VT55 terminals, which featured a thermal CRT printer. I only saw one work once, though.

In fact the giant bulk of a the VT50/VT52 case seemed to have been designed to hold this kind of thing. I think there was another variant that actually had a processor and storage in there but I don't remember what it was called.

Re:Video Display Printer (1)

dickens (31040) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584155)

wow reading the wikipedia article on the VT52 series [wikipedia.org] was a rush.. it was actually an electrolytic printer.. pretty flaky idea.

Slashdvertizement! (3, Funny)

snikulin (889460) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583455)

Shame on you, astroturfers.

That's not a computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583537)

more like a telegraph that doesn't require you to learn Morse.
Feh.

Ahhh. I had one of these (1)

Douglas Goodall (992917) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584847)

I rented one of these in 1973 while I was in the Navy so I could access the ARPA network via the TIP at fleet weather central on the baser at NAS NORVA.

Mobile computer, internet, server... (2, Insightful)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 5 years ago | (#28585373)

Sounds to me like cloud computing.

History does repeat itself hehe...

Slow 300 Baud (1)

derspankster (1081309) | more than 5 years ago | (#28585707)

Took forever to download porn.
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