Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Silicon Valley Before the Startup

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the back-in-the-day dept.

Businesses 57

kenekaplan writes "An upcoming PBS documentary reveals how technology pioneers transformed Silicon Valley into the epicenter of technology innovation. From the article: 'Gordon Moore remembers a time before the idea of a Silicon Valley startup existed. That was half a century ago, before the place became an epicenter for wildly successful technology, and companies such as Apple, Google and Intel generated billions of dollars in annual profits. “It just exploded,” said Moore in the PBS documentary, “American Experience: Silicon Valley,” premiering Feb. 5. “Every time we came up with a new idea we spawned two or three companies that would try to exploit it,” he said, referring to his days at Fairchild Semiconductor, a company he helped found in 1957, a decade before he co-founded Intel with Robert Noyce.'"

cancel ×

57 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

We used to mine the silicon by hand (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42746315)

Back in them days, the siliconers would work 28-hour days, with nothing but a slide rule. And we kids would leave school and go to work at age 2, hand-punching punchcards until our fingers bled. And even the best Porsches were all slow and hand-cranked.

But we was happier for it, I think.

Re:We used to mine the silicon by hand (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42746825)

I was employee number six in an early startup. I'll never forget the IPO, when we went public for $50 as a reward for eleven years of hard work.

Not $50 per share, that was fifty bucks for the entire company. There was a lot less inflation in those days.

Re:We used to mine the silicon by hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42747959)

inflation

I'm not sure that word means what you think it does....

Re:We used to mine the silicon by hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42748813)

I am not sure epicenter means what they think it means either...

Re:We used to mine the silicon by hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42747683)

I grew up in central Cal before it became the thing it is now. Before the money came in, the area was considered a very poor place to live. I could prove it, if they had digital cameras back then=)

Re:We used to mine the silicon by hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42750001)

We only had 10-pixel abacuses to take pictures back then.

Re:We used to mine the silicon by hand (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | about a year and a half ago | (#42751345)

And we had to eat domestic cheddar instead of imported brie on our sandwiches in those days. I remember my dad telling me about places where employees even had to bring their own lunch, rather than having it subsidized by the company! It was the dark ages, I tell you...

Re:We used to mine the silicon by hand (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about a year and a half ago | (#42757721)

Well here's my SV story from the 20th century at Memorex flexible disk plant in 1979. I worked there for three months, little more than minimum wage, not bad as living expenses were not high like they are now. This was at Central Expwy and San Tomas (I think) in Santa Clara, right there in Silicon Valley when this place was rockin. Rest of country may have been in the gutter in 1979. Lots of places hiring, assemblers hired with no experience necessary. My first job was to insert a 5.25 cover (with no disk) into a machine that stamps out holes, this cover was then passed over to someone else that inserted the flexible disk. I worked swing shift, normally could stamp about 9000, one night on a roll I got up to 10,000 stamped well had a larger number of botches...

Magnetic medium came in large rolls, about 9 inches or 6 inches wide from "The Tape Plant" which flexible disks were stamped from, circular disks were then burnished. Covers were made from black material pressed with white soft cloth with a heat stamp. Covers were folded in half and given to me to stamp out the holes for the recording heads to make contact with magnetic medium. Plant was 3-shift operation. Later on I did a few other things but overall it was boring.

One particular thing I most remembered is this 2-story building had the sales and marketing upstairs (they only worked day shift), all these people upstairs were all tall, thin, and beautiful. Everyone below were all short, fat, and ugly. However there was one lady that worked grave shift, nice looking and she wore tons of makeup. Not sure why at this time of night but she was quite attractive.

One time when demand for flexible disks was high and Memorex pressed to deliver more (customer was a computer company, I forgot who). Disks were burnished they were inspected for blemishes in the magnetic material, too many blemishes they were placed in a rejected pile (which actually was quite a large quantity). Because of demand, they pulled these out and we took a second look, "well this one doesn't look too bad" and proceeded to make a final product (which finished disks are individually tested for write/read). I asked the boss if this computer company knows we are "recycling" from reject pile, he said, "None of their concern!"

One night when someone working the machine that presses white cloth to the black material, he saw a spider, grabbed it, and put it between the white cloth and black material and fed into the heat press. Somewhere there is a Memorex 8-inch floppy with a squished spider inside.

Seams to be missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42746385)

Apparently Silicon Valley was (how appropriate)
"
Not Found

Apologies, but the page you requested could not be found. Perhaps searching will help.
"

Re:Seams to be missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42746545)

annoying since (unexpectedly) i'm here for the articles

Re:Seams to be missing (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42746553)

Interesting, I had to refresh a couple times before the article came up, and I had to repeat this across different browsers as well.

Here's the text in case anyone else has trouble viewing it.

PBS documentary reveals how technology pioneers transformed Silicon Valley into the epicenter of technology innovation.

Gordon Moore remembers a time before the idea of a Silicon Valley startup existed. That was half a century ago, before the place became an epicenter for wildly successful technology, and companies such as Apple, Google and Intel generated billions of dollars in annual profits.

"It just exploded," said Moore in the PBS documentary, "American Experience: Silicon Valley," premiering Feb. 5. "Every time we came up with a new idea we spawned two or three companies that would try to exploit it," he said, referring to his days at Fairchild Semiconductor, a company he helped found in 1957, a decade before he co-founded Intel with Robert Noyce.

The documentary, directed by Randall MacLowry and narrated by Michael Murphy, shows how the space race spurred demand for transistors and transformed what became Silicon Valley into a global hub of technology innovation; in the third quarter of 2012 nearly 40 percent of all U.S. venture investment was in Silicon Valley, according to Fenwick and West.

The microprocessor invented at Intel in 1971 is just one of many transistor technology-related breakthroughs explored in the documentary. "It's been successful beyond anything we could've possibly imagined in the beginning, and the result is it really revolutionized the way people live," said Moore.

Silicon Valley's Original Startup

Nearly 2 decades before the microprocessor was invented, Moore was among a group of young, highly educated innovators who came to the farmland of Santa Clara County to tinker with science, hoping to create the next technology. In Moore's case, that career path led to him helping take the transistor mainstream at a laboratory in Mountain View, Calif. under William Shockley, who was awarded the 1956 Nobel Prize in physics for co-inventing the transistor.

"We discovered a group of young Ph.Ds. couldn't push aside a Nobel Prize winner so easily," said Moore, describing what led to the Sept. 18, 1957 defection of the so-called "traitorous eight" from Shockley Labs. After failing to convince company owners that Shockley should be removed as manager because of increasing mistrust among employees, Moore and seven young scientists left the company to found Fairchild Semiconductor. The documentary singles out Fairchild as the source for hundreds of startup companies -- dubbed "Fairchildren" -- and the catalyst for the startup economy that defines Silicon Valley to this day.

Several recordings of Noyce, who left Fairchild with Moore and died in 1990, are included in the documentary. "I felt that I had a commitment to Shockley and I wanted to do everything that I could to make the organization work, so I felt that my first obligation was to try and talk those seven folks into not leaving," Noyce said. "When I failed in that, I felt that I should join with them."

"At Fairchild we had a clean slate," said Moore. "We had an empty building and we could do it the way we thought was the right way to do it."

Robert Noyce: The Mayor of Silicon Valley

Much of the documentary focuses on Noyce, an early transistor engineer who met Moore after both joined Shockley. "Bob was the kind of guy everyone liked when they first met him," said Moore. "He had the kind of personality that came across very smoothly. As such, it opened doors and of course he was brilliant, which helped."

Moore recalled a time at Fairchild when Noyce made a gutsy business deal to sell new transistors for a dollar, which today would be about $8. "Bob was taking a risk that made us all gulp at the time," said Moore. "But it turned out to be the proper solution."

Moore recollected another daring leap instigated by Noyce in 1968. "Bob came to me and said, 'How about we start a new company?'" said Moore. "My first reaction was no, I like it here. Then a couple of months later he came back and said, âNow that I'm leaving, how would you like to start a new company?' It put a whole different light on the thing."

That year Noyce and Moore started Intel and in its first year the startup company made a million dollars.

Failure (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746505)

I'm sick of hearing about pioneers who were really just exploitative suits in the right place at the right time. Like, say, the late Steve Jobs. Total prick, nobody in the industry likes him, but damn if he didn't know business. That does not make him a tech pioneer. It makes him a turtleneck sporting suit.

Still waiting for the follow-up article where we talk about how those same "pioneers" raped everyone with patent trolling, monopolistic business strategies, and all the other fun "FOR TEH BENNIES!" financial destruction that my country has come to epitomize. We worship CEOs, not engineers.

Re:Failure (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42746591)

Bitterness, anyone?

Re:Failure (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42746637)

I'm sick of hearing about pioneers who were really just exploitative suits in the right place at the right time. Like, say, the late Steve Jobs. Total prick, nobody in the industry likes him, but damn if he didn't know business. That does not make him a tech pioneer. It makes him a turtleneck sporting suit.

Still waiting for the follow-up article where we talk about how those same "pioneers" raped everyone with patent trolling, monopolistic business strategies, and all the other fun "FOR TEH BENNIES!" financial destruction that my country has come to epitomize. We worship CEOs, not engineers.

first seek to understand then seek to be understood....

Moore was a hard core techie back in the day. He was one of the 8 invited to start fairchild. This was the dream team of semiconductor guys at the time.

from wikipedia
"Moore was born in San Francisco, California, but his family lived in nearby Pescadero where he grew up. He received a B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1950 and a PhD in Chemistry and minor in Physics from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1954. Prior to studying at Berkeley, he spent his freshman and sophomore years at San José State University, where he met his future wife Betty. Moore completed his post-doctoral work at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory until 1956.[2]

He joined Caltech alumnus William Shockley at the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory division of Beckman Instruments, but left with the "traitorous eight", when Sherman Fairchild agreed to back them and created the influential Fairchild Semiconductor corporation."

Re:Failure (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746737)

Within the context of the OP, this is perhaps one of the most ignorant posts I've ever seen on Slashdot.

Re:Failure (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42746919)

perhaps one of the most ignorant posts I've ever seen on Slashdot.

Understatement much? GP was by far the most ignorant rant in the history of Western Civilization.

Re:Failure (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747109)

nah, you're wrong, he's right. The tech was getting cheaper, and there were those of use that saw the potential. These suits just provided what we were willing to pay for. If silicon Valley hadn't been where it was, it would have popped up somewhere else. Necessity is the mother of invention. Our needs are what made these people.

Re:Failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42751209)

Oh look, a Jobsian!

Re:Failure (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | about a year and a half ago | (#42753187)

Oh look, a Jobsian!

Oh look, another ignoramus who has no idea who Gary Moore is!

Steve Jobs/Gordon Moore vs. Ivory Tower +Armchairs (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42746779)

I'm sick of hearing about pioneers who were really just exploitative suits in the right place at the right time.

Your comments above seem to lack any awareness and seem to be intellectually lazy.

Anyone can be an ivory tower intellectual or armchair quarterback. There is applied science and pure science, and the ones that get things done (applied science) and produce a successful product are the alphas of this world. Anyone can think something, dream something, scheme something, have a point of view.

The ones that can take an idea from their head, bang the engineering into reality and do it in a way that people will want to buy it is exceedingly rare. And you seem to dismiss this concept and not be aware of it. Oh yeah ... who cares if someone "likes" $INSERT_NAME, has nothing to do with science or engineering and all the likability in the world doesn't mean someone can do math/engineering/product planning.

Re:Steve Jobs/Gordon Moore vs. Ivory Tower +Armcha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42752523)

Rare events don't always have deterministic causes. Methinks ye, like most, ascribe too much wit and genius to the vast majority of our CEOs. Executive decisions can be just as armchair and un-grounded in reality as idle discussion.

Re:Failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42746795)

Grow up

Re:Failure (5, Interesting)

Zeio (325157) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747191)

Im in SiVal in a new startup. I've been at 5 so far. I love working for the next big thing. I hate how the rats and scum from Shanghai and New York have showed up, skyrocketed the cost of living and totally stifled innovation by making it impossible to run a middle class existence due to idiotic zoning rules, bad pub trans and ridiculous home prices.

Yes, the core team, the founders and the smart people are needed for cool startups, but you also need a bunch of regular people who can maintain regular lives.

SiVal is SillyConScammy now. Pockets of the good stuff, but a burned out husk with landed gentry and wealthy rats roaming around contributing nothing to innovation.

don't say SiVal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42753725)

SiVal is Silicon Validation.

Silicon Valley is Silicon Valley.

And I know how you feel, it sucked to see all those people roll into town in the last 90s, in the .com boom. Lawyers and MBAs were filling the valley up with their hot air and inflated egos. With the stock values high and ".com millionaires", the frat-boy east coast business-types suddenly saw Silicon Valley as interesting place to be.

It was fun to see them run home with their tails between their legs during the .com crash.

Sadly, it's all back in full swing now, as a quick (er, slow) trip down 280 will tell you. The rats are back.

Re:Failure YES YES YES (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42750149)

I couldn't have said it better myself.

I am sick of all this silicon valley hero worship. I love technology, computers, etc. But why does it have to become all about lifestyles of the rich and famous? Everyone's a genius. Everyone's a game changer. Everyone's changing the world in fundamental ways, and then going to TED to talk about it (and giving the same boring speech, with just a few words changed).

So much of what is being spoken about as innovation in SV these days is just a bunch of reasonably interesting applications of already existing technology, but that don't really move the human race on by much, or help many people in their daily lives.

Do I sound bitter? I don't mean to be. I just want everyone to stop tooting their own horn and get back to work.

Re:Failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42751653)

Bull-fucking-shit. If it wasn't for pirated windows 95 discs, computing would never have come to large parts of the developing world. If it wasn't for Steve Jobs, there would be no smartphone market (ok, but not at this scale). Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Bill Gates, Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg are all pricks. See a pattern here?

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs changed the world. Deal with it.

Re:Failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42753437)

Actually, the assholes played quite an important role: Their behavior led to their best and brightest engineers doing "middle-finger exits", finding their own funding sources and starting new and more innovative enterprises of their own. The whole process, in fact, started with the "Traitorous Eight" who left Bell Labs because they got fed up working for William Shockley.

Mind you, the process has been do a degree perpetuated by innovators of this sort who turned into first-class jerks themselves once they themselves found themselves on "Mahogony Row".

Tom Wolfe Wrote About This 30 Years Ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42746855)

An article in (IIRC) Esquire - specifically about Noyce. Great stuff!

Re:Tom Wolfe Wrote About This 30 Years Ago (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42746865)

Here it is:
http://www.stanford.edu/class/e140/e140a/content/noyce.html

Massive IP violation (2)

mutantSushi (950662) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746875)

"âoeEvery time we came up with a new idea we spawned two or three companies that would try to exploit it" I mean, doesn't this obvious violation of the holy IP rights monopoly lead to the destruction of western society and the end of all innovation? Oh whoops, it did the opposite in this case... Same as how when software patents didn't exist yet, and same as when wheels and axles couldn't be patented...

Re:Massive IP violation (1)

NixieBunny (859050) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747035)

This was hardware, not software. And their lawyers *were* very busy patenting stuff and fighting each other in court. Especially TI, who had invented the IC first (sort of).

I was there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42747027)

My parents worked for Micro Power Systems in the early 80s. They worked for John Hall, one of the pioneers of CMOS and others. I grew up playing with chip pullers and serial terminals instead of typical toys. I wouldn't trade being in that environment for anything.

Re:I was there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42747211)

I'm jealous. I didn't. I grew up around everything that I despise.

I grew up there (4, Interesting)

Misanthrope (49269) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747073)

My dad bought a house on the edge of a cherry orchard, eventually Fairchild built a plant across the street and then promptly leaked solvent into the groundwater. My sister and several of her friends ended up with large amounts of settlement money due to possible health effects. The Santa Clara Valley was known as the valley of heart's delight and was world renowned for it's stone fruit, especially apricots. It was fun growing up surrounded by tech companies, on the other hand some of the world's best farmland is now fallow.

Re:I grew up there (2)

unkiereamus (1061340) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747465)

I grew up there as well, although by the time I was born, it was the silicon valley in all earnest.

The fact I like to relate to illustrate the difference over time is this: My HS (SJHA [Now once again SJHS, I guess]), though, which is now more or less in the middle of a ghetto, had hitching posts out front up until 1976.

Re:I grew up there (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42748237)

Fairchild built a plant across the street and then promptly leaked solvent into the groundwater....

And that magic potion was is how Santa Clara Valley was transformed into Silicon Valley...

Sadly I have personal experience with this as well, I currently live very near an ex-EPA superfund site that was brought into existance by an AMD fab dumping solvents into the ground next to an elementary school. They say it has been technically cleaned up, but in reality it's just that they put in a rain-water barrier over the polluted soil, covered it with new dirt and haven't noticed the underground pollution plume moving for X-number of years.

on the other hand some of the world's best farmland is now fallow

On the other hand, it's not feasible to dig up all the dirt in a several sq-mile residential area with hundreds of houses (and maybe an elementary school or two) and wash it, or move it out of the way so you can plant stone fruit (not that anyone would probably want to eat such fruit even if you could do that). Maybe it's for the best now...

Re:I grew up there (1)

nsaspook (20301) | about a year and a half ago | (#42750597)

Re:I grew up there (1)

jzancanaro (2183416) | about a year and a half ago | (#42751055)

I was there also, my Brother in Law owned a Prune and Apricot Orchard in Saratoga and my Father in Law worked at Fairchild then left and helped start National Semiconductor. the transformation of the Valley between 1972 and 1982 was amazing.

I was there (1)

thenet411 (993531) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747131)

My parents worked for Micro Power Systems in the early 80s. They worked for John Hall, one of the pioneers of CMOS and others. I grew up playing with chip pullers and serial terminals instead of typical toys. I wouldn't trade being in that environment for anything.

those days are over (2)

cats-paw (34890) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747169)

now it's financial engineering.

and social distortion programming. the number of start-ups working on social apps which look to be completely worthless is mind-boggling, and they are getting bought up all the time for ridiculous somes of money. we're all going to write social networking apps which try to sell each other social networking apps.

America the land where people made things is disappearing and we will absolutely be worse off for it.

Re:those days are over (1)

mikael (484) | about a year and a half ago | (#42754837)

Silicon Valley (or the computing industry is like that). Back in the 1980's, the hot jobs were X-windows/Motif and X.25 communications (early 1990's). Then Windows 95/NT (late 1990's). Then HTML, ActiveX, Java and the dot com boom (late 1990's). Windows XP with MFC (early 2000's). Now Android systems like smartphones, tablet and netbooks are current value.

The Secret History of Silicon Valley... (3, Informative)

Aryeh Goretsky (129230) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747177)

Hello,

The PBS documentary sounds pretty interesting, but the history of Silicon Valley is older and more interesting than that. Professor Steve [wikipedia.org] Blank [wikipedia.org] is a Bay Area academic and entrepreneur who has chronicled the secret history of Silicon Valley, which dates back to electronic warfare in WW2 and moves forward from there to involve Stanford University, the Space Race, the CIA and even the California State franchise tax board (not an organization one would normally associate with any sort of progress).

Professor Blank gives an hour-long talk on the subject, which is fascinating. Here are a few links to various versions of that talk:

Extremely interesting stuff, and highly-recommend watching if you've ever wondered about why we even have computers today.

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky

Re:The Secret History of Silicon Valley... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42747365)

I've seen a screening of the documentary today.
Hewlett and Packard are barely mentioned.
So it sure isn't a comprehensive history of SV.
I consider it a case study how Fairchild represents and helped create the SV culture.

Re:The Secret History of Silicon Valley... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747383)

Also interesting is the high tech that existed before "silicon". There were defense contractors of course. But I like Ampex [wikipedia.org] which pioneered high quality audio and video recording. Still around in Redwood City though not doing the same thing anymore. that's why I always liked to think of Redwood City and San Carlos as the northern edge of Silicon Valley

Re:The Secret History of Silicon Valley... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42758655)

I think I might have been AMPEX R&D's last UNIX systems administrator.

The big quake of '87 damaged the R&D building, and suddenly all of the little teams working together on cool things in the Audio (RSD, Recording Systems Division) and Video (VSD, Video Systems Division) departments were splintered up into tiny fragments and stuffed into solvent-scented workspaces and garages, where there was no connectivity, and teams could no longer communicate or interact.

My old boss, Dean, had left, a few months before the earthquake, and gone to Sun Microsystems. The director of R&D had brought in a guy who had no experience with running an IT department, but had managed a CAD shop, once. Big mistake.

Our team had already experienced some internal rivalry - two old Korean War veterans handled the hardware and the networking, and they objected when I touched anything other than operating systems - but, being a UNIX guy, coming from a company that manufactured T1 routers, hardware and networks held no mysteries for me.

So when the earthquake struck, and I found my customers needed network connectivity, I checked with AMPEX' facilities management and verified that there was room for a couple of fibers, under the street ... located a vendor that sold (cutting edge, at the time) fiber-based 802.11 repeaters ... and presented an order, to my new manager, for everything we needed to wire up all the groups back together into a team.

My bozo manager told me that it wasn't my job to do that, it was HIS job, and told me to get back to work.

I think I might have remained with AMPEX another two weeks after that.

That old building had over 30 years of ancient (as judged, in 1987) networking technology - layers upon layers upon layers of ancient cabling, probably going back to World War II.

Cool things I worked on or did while I was there:

1) helped compile a kernel for a VAX 11/780 that could talk to what I seem to recall was a 128 MB RAM disk, used, by the Navy, I was told, for submarine warfare research

2) administered a small farm of Sequents

3) proposed a serial-port-based piece of hardware by which to monitor room temperature and, with accompanying software, automate shutdown in case of air conditioning failure ... and

2) built a mirroring mechanism for VSD's primary NFS server, where the server rebooted nightly at 2 AM, into single user ... did an fsck(8) of the source filesystems on the primary drive ... built brand new, pristine filesystems, on the target drive ... mounted the source and destination filesystems ... did a dump(8), and piped it into a restore(8) ... unmounted the filesystems, and did more filesystem checking ... then, continued in to multiuser.

We did this because the guy who started Ciprico had shown us his cutting-edge mirrored disk controllers, and we liked the idea ... but we'd found the price too steep.

Don't laugh - it worked like a charm. It was a RAID mirror ... with a granularity of 24 hours.

The secondary was strapped to the top of the server, to make it "tectonically stable", as we called it, back then. Good thing we did that, in retrospect. (-:

Ah, the good ol' days ... that was one of the best times in my life, in retrospect.

Re:The Secret History of Silicon Valley... (1)

Kergan (780543) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747955)

+1 interesting. I spent the last hour watching the first video. He's an excellent storyteller.

Re:The Secret History of Silicon Valley... (2)

k6mfw (1182893) | about a year and a half ago | (#42753095)

some PDFs (presentation slides) on Silicon Valley history:
http://ewh.ieee.org/soc/cpmt/presentations/cpmt1209a.pdf [ieee.org] "The Origins of Silicon Valley: Why and How It Happened Here" Paul Wesling, IEEE SFBA Council (3.5 MB PDF). One particular slide has , "Tube Shops’ Challenges Design around ~250 RCA triode patents – Enormously difficult task (Samsung vs Apple case)"
http://www.incose.org/sfbac/2011events/111108Presentation-50YearsInSpace_v5.pdf [incose.org] "The Global Triggers in the Birth, Growth, and Challenges of System Engineering in Space and Internet" by Sam Araki. This also shows influence of government spending on recon satellites and how it drove chip manufacturers.

Re:The Secret History of Silicon Valley... (1)

mikael (484) | about a year and a half ago | (#42754939)

BBC did a documentary too back in the 1970's - "When the Chips are down". They had a panel of three people (Corporate CEO, union leader and academic researcher). The worry was "if the chip replaces all these jobs, what is the rest of the population going to do?" They knew something was on the horizon, but didn't know what to do. They looked at how in Silicon Valley companies had spun-off start-up, while in Japan, they concentrated on memory chips, quality and high yields.

I liked the stories of the early housing development - they'd name a street Cherry Street because every home would have a different type of cherry tree in their front gardens so that they could share with their neighbors.

Re:The Secret History of Silicon Valley... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42757781)

Hey! You have a thinkpad!

California Used To Rock (2, Insightful)

Nova Express (100383) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747195)

Low taxes, low cost of living, great climate, great freeways, first class universities, an influx of returning GIs, marijuana and LSD.

Now California is verging on a failed state [battleswarmblog.com] . High taxes (a rate of 9.5% for those millionaires making $48,942 [ca.gov] ), high cost of living, a bloated state bureaucracy in league with public employee unions to bankrupt the state, decaying infrastructure, a failing education system on par with Mississippi, one third of the nation's welfare recipients, an outflux of Americans and an influx of low-skill illegal aliens. The only things left are the marijuana and LSD.

The future of business in general and startups in specific are low-tax, now-state-income tax, low-regulation state like Texas and Florida.

Re:California Used To Rock (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749615)

I have lived in California all my life, and I for one am outraged... ...that what you say is true.

The high taxes aren't the chief problem; you get more in California than you get in other states, notably you get to live in California. If you live in Los Angeles or pretty much anywhere in SoCal you get water piped in from half a very large state away. And in any case, California's tax burden is excessive because of the federal government. California gets the least back for every dollar we send to the feds, far less than we send, while other states get far more and then spend it on things we can't afford. The rest of the nation is a leech on California's balls, which is especially hilarious given how much disdain the rest of the nation has for us. If you want to talk shit about Californians, stop taking our fucking money, you blood-sucking ticks.

You're a little off on the issue of illegal aliens, though. I live in the former pear capital of the world, which is now a major part of wine country. This last harvest, people literally could not find enough Mexicans to get the harvest done. Nobody is even trying to hire white people to pick grapes, probably because we're also a major producer of California and the world's #1 cash crop. Of course, there's plenty of Mexicans in that industry, too. One is strenuously cautioned against leaving trails and roads when enjoying our nation's public lands, but especially those in California.

You can see time and again that California's problems are related to the failures of the foreign and economic policies of the United States as a whole.

Re:California Used To Rock (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42752995)

> You can see time and again that California's problems are related to the failures of the foreign and economic policies of the United States as a whole.

There is truth in that. I'd observe that the issues related to said foreign and economic policies affect all of us, but have the biggest effect in the high density coastal areas. So moving to a lower density area, or closer to the center, would seem in order.

People need to watch this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42748941)

especially Space Nutters. Maybe even they will finally understand that technology didn't come from rockets... Technology came first, THEN we started the space age.

An Amazing place with a few skeltons in the closet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42750913)

Been in the valley for over 20 years. This place is the epicenter of innovation which changed the humanity lives,works and plays. I do feel bad for the people who can't afford to own homes. Then again back in the late 1980s people were complaining prices were too high;I bought as a 23 yr/old, a condo. I have friends who recollect people complaining how Palo Alto was SOO expensive becauses houses there were $40,000 and San Jose was $30,000. If you are working in technology you have no excuse, except lack of money sense, for not buy. People outside of tech, I feel have it tough.
The dark side of Silicon Valley is all the failed startup and ruined lives. Let us not forget the ground water pollution or the dishonest and unethical VCs on Sand Hill Road. Hmm, if some reporter wants to win a Pulitzer Prize, I'd recommend doing an indpeth investigation on Sand Hill Road.
And let us not forget the wholesale undermining of the American worker by bringing in H1B1 and J1 workers to replace American workers. I saw great engineers who happen to be American and over 40 being layed off and being replaced by 20 something on a work visa locked to that particular company. Don't get me wrong, without the incredibly talented immigrants Silicon Valley would not be where it is but lets not kid our self that the H1B1 worker is a highly skilled techie;

Even with all my complaints, I am still in awe and think Silicon Valley is awesome.

HP was there before Intel (1)

peter303 (12292) | about a year and a half ago | (#42751451)

On a tech campus just east of Stanford. After their historical garage [hp.com] . HP was mainly about electronic instruments then. Xerox PARC, NeXT and FaceBook had buildings in the same complex.

I remember... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42752893)

There were more horses then.

EPIcenter?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42754043)

Unless this technology innovation is taking place under ground, it would be the CENTER of technology innovation. In fact it would be the CENTER of TECHNOLOGICAL innovation, but pointing out two grammatical errors in one sentence it too picky.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>