Punch card nostalgia

This discussion was created from comments split from: fastspin compiler for P2.
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  • Cluso99Cluso99 Posts: 14,388
    edited 2019-01-03 - 17:39:11
    Punched cards were common too ;)
    My Prop boards: P8XBlade2, RamBlade, CpuBlade, TriBlade
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  • Cluso99 wrote: »
    Punched cards were common too ;)
    I still have a few of those lying around from my IBM 1620 days in high school. Maybe I should write an IBM 1620 emulator for the P2!

  • I got a case of punch cards if anyone wants one. I will send you a postcard punch card!!!
  • pilot0315 wrote: »
    I got a case of punch cards if anyone wants one. I will send you a postcard punch card!!!

    I am still sitting on a new roll of mylar paper tape. :)
    Infernal Machine
  • potatoheadpotatohead Posts: 9,689
    edited 2019-01-03 - 20:09:52
    Oooh the mylar. Honestly, that stuff is more durable, and can sometimes be run at a higher data rate than paper can. Paper with oil can match those rates however.

    The big difference is all about when that roll becomes unspooled. Mylar = dust magnet, plus insane tangles. It can be cheaper and easier to punch a new tape!

    Paper has less of both properties. Paper with oil has the least of those negative properties, and it tends to not dull the punch.

    (worked with a lot of paper tape in the 80's !! Old shops, old gear = pretty good fun at the time)

    Mylar, if you've got the thin stuff, does have the highest data density per unit area of available spooling capacity.

    Never got to use a punch card system. An emulation with some sort of tool or fixture to punch cards would be a fun curio.
    Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball! @opengeekorg ---> Be Excellent To One Another SKYPE = acuity_doug
    Parallax colors simplified: https://forums.parallax.com/discussion/123709/commented-graphics-demo-spin<br>
  • potatohead wrote: »
    Oooh the mylar. Honestly, that stuff is more durable, and can sometimes be run at a higher data rate than paper can. Paper with oil can match those rates however.

    The big difference is all about when that roll becomes unspooled. Mylar = dust magnet, plus insane tangles. It can be cheaper and easier to punch a new tape!

    Paper has less of both properties. Paper with oil has the least of those negative properties, and it tends to not dull the punch.

    (worked with a lot of paper tape in the 80's !! Old shops, old gear = pretty good fun at the time)

    Mylar, if you've got the thin stuff, does have the highest data density per unit area of available spooling capacity.

    Never got to use a punch card system. An emulation with some sort of tool or fixture to punch cards would be a fun curio.

    I would always run one spool mylar then one spool paper/oil to keep the punches oiled up.

    I'm recapping a GNT 4601 right now. Went to fire it up and the Tants popped. It circa 1988 but with about 40 hours on it. Want to punch some MRL, (Man Readable Leaders) for giggles for parties.

    Infernal Machine
  • Mylar was always the worst when it came to dulling the punch.

    We had to put the chad from oiled paper into a burn bag because it was classified (it was always unclear to me how the bad guys could make sense of it). Sometimes the oil would ooze out and dampen the bag.
    Re-inventing the wheel is not a waste of time if, when you are done, you understand why it is round.
  • Publison wrote: »
    pilot0315 wrote: »
    I got a case of punch cards if anyone wants one. I will send you a postcard punch card!!!

    I am still sitting on a new roll of mylar paper tape. :)

    I hauled a couple of decks of punched cards, a roll of punched tape, and a 9 track magnetic tape I saved for many years. Rescued them when the first company I worked for shut down the computer department, and finally tossed them some time in the 90's. Kind of regret dumping them now.
    In science there is no authority. There is only experiment.
    Life is unpredictable. Eat dessert first.
  • potatoheadpotatohead Posts: 9,689
    edited 2019-01-04 - 00:09:09
    Mylar was the worst. I did the "run oil regularly" thing too. Some machines used a big narrow bin to hold looped programs. The machines only had a block memory, and a block fetch buffer.

    Think one G-code, basically. So, it's running on, fetching the next one, wash, rinse, repeat.

    Mylar just was not reliable in those machines. Basically, what the operator did was load the tape, hit the advance switch and just let it pile nicely into the bin, while holding the end to be taped to the other end.

    If it didn't just lay into the bin, nice and neat, it would tangle, or tear, and that part was toast. Happened all the time. One of the tasks I had, as a newbie to that particular shop, and with computer knowledge, which most of the guys didn't have, was to run oil tape copies of the mylar. Sometimes that $%(&@#$# mylar was "the master", meaning I had to nurse it through the reader to make a file first.

    The fun part was making literal patches. You get the little puncher machine out, figure out the bits, punch 'em, then use that patch tape, align everything and just "patch" it and go!

    The bit bucket "CLASSIFIED?"

    That's hilarious! I have a couple people I am gonna share that with. They will get a laugh out of it.

    Honestly, I really like paper tape. It's still in use in some places. Every so often I get a call to deal with one, or teach someone about it. I like it, because the whole thing is human scale, a lot like the cards. That puncher / reader looks exactly like the ones I used.
    Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball! @opengeekorg ---> Be Excellent To One Another SKYPE = acuity_doug
    Parallax colors simplified: https://forums.parallax.com/discussion/123709/commented-graphics-demo-spin<br>
  • potatoheadpotatohead Posts: 9,689
    edited 2019-01-04 - 00:10:25
    @Publison

    Somewhere I've a copy of "INVADERS.COM" punched to tape. I read it in a few times to play and show the old tech off when I had access to it.

    Things have gotten so big. I think a whole roll of paper was something like 180k max capacity.

    Now, finally I got a few free hours. Time to play with FastSpin!

    Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball! @opengeekorg ---> Be Excellent To One Another SKYPE = acuity_doug
    Parallax colors simplified: https://forums.parallax.com/discussion/123709/commented-graphics-demo-spin<br>
  • potatohead wrote: »

    The bit bucket "CLASSIFIED?"

    That's hilarious! I have a couple people I am gonna share that with. They will get a laugh out of it.

    Sounds to me like instructions determined by some officer who didn't understand the technology, demanding proof that there was no risk of being able to reconstruct the data.

    When the engineer/technician baulked at the absolute nature of the demand, the officer took the "better safe than sorry" approach, regardless of the ongoing cost.
  • My first paid microcomputer contract was to write a program that read the data on punched tapes in from an old teletype and store them on cassette tapes. Those tapes and the next program I wrote were then used to create new punched tapes on the teletype whenever the punched tape got damaged. IIRC the tapes were Mylar and the micro was a KIM1 or similar. All I can recall now is that it was all on a fairly large board (maybe 12" x 12") with a keyboard, led display, and a cassette tape recorder. What fun.
    In science there is no authority. There is only experiment.
    Life is unpredictable. Eat dessert first.
  • Cluso99Cluso99 Posts: 14,388
    edited 2019-01-04 - 07:13:35
    Had a bin of chad for weddings. Much better than confetti.
    No longer appropriate tho ;)
    My Prop boards: P8XBlade2, RamBlade, CpuBlade, TriBlade
    Prop OS (also see Sphinx, PropDos, PropCmd, Spinix)
    Website: www.clusos.com
    Prop Tools (Index) , Emulators (Index) , ZiCog (Z80)
  • There is an electronics surplus store in the San Fernando Valley that has big mainframes in the back yard. Takes you back.
  • Watched the punch tape machine. Reminds me of 1974 in high school in Los Angeles. First programs on a teletype machine via modem to a mainframe back east. Get out the Scotch tape for repairs.
  • pilot0315 wrote: »
    There is an electronics surplus store in the San Fernando Valley that has big mainframes in the back yard. Takes you back.

    Where is this? I work in the valley and never heard of that.
  • When I was in the Army we used a fire control computer (FADAC). It was programmed with paper tape. If the tape went bad, we had to buy a new one. It was expensive. Our radio teletypewriter system could duplicate a paper tape. But the battalion commander was risk adverse and we continued to pay to buy new copies of the tape.

    John Abshier
  • Mylar was always the worst when it came to dulling the punch.

    We had to put the chad from oiled paper into a burn bag because it was classified (it was always unclear to me how the bad guys could make sense of it). Sometimes the oil would ooze out and dampen the bag.

    LOL, Sounds like a decision made by someone with the same level of intelligence and understanding of science as some of the politicians and commentators we see on TV and the internet these days.
    In science there is no authority. There is only experiment.
    Life is unpredictable. Eat dessert first.
  • Now I wish I had some bits! Would totally put them in a clear container marked "CLASSIFIED"

    Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball! @opengeekorg ---> Be Excellent To One Another SKYPE = acuity_doug
    Parallax colors simplified: https://forums.parallax.com/discussion/123709/commented-graphics-demo-spin<br>
  • potatoheadpotatohead Posts: 9,689
    edited 2019-01-06 - 06:39:07
    BTW, thank you moderators. Many enjoy the occassional chat of this type. Many others, not so much.

    The thing about them is they will just happen. Do it then, or the feel is lost.

    Making a thread like this is great. Good call. Appreciated.
    Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball! @opengeekorg ---> Be Excellent To One Another SKYPE = acuity_doug
    Parallax colors simplified: https://forums.parallax.com/discussion/123709/commented-graphics-demo-spin<br>
  • potatohead wrote: »
    BTW, thank you moderators. Many enjoy the occassional chat of this type. Many others, not so much.

    The thing about them is they will just happen. Do it the, or the feel is lost.

    Making a thread like this is great. Good call. Appreciated.

    +1 :)
    My Prop boards: P8XBlade2, RamBlade, CpuBlade, TriBlade
    Prop OS (also see Sphinx, PropDos, PropCmd, Spinix)
    Website: www.clusos.com
    Prop Tools (Index) , Emulators (Index) , ZiCog (Z80)
  • A paper tape loop was often used to control the FF (form feed) loop on printers. Mylar was mostly used here.
    My Prop boards: P8XBlade2, RamBlade, CpuBlade, TriBlade
    Prop OS (also see Sphinx, PropDos, PropCmd, Spinix)
    Website: www.clusos.com
    Prop Tools (Index) , Emulators (Index) , ZiCog (Z80)
  • potatohead wrote: »
    BTW, thank you moderators. Many enjoy the occassional chat of this type. Many others, not so much.

    The thing about them is they will just happen. Do it the, or the feel is lost.

    Making a thread like this is great. Good call. Appreciated.

    +1 - Thank you very much.
    In science there is no authority. There is only experiment.
    Life is unpredictable. Eat dessert first.
  • Early on I worked with a DG Nova family of machines. (Well it was my father's company, or companies.) The machine ran a typesetting program, and typically the job was output as a stream of punched paper tape.

    Eventually they figured out how to connect the DG Nova to the output device. But the bootstraps for the machines were still made up on punched paper tape.

    The second company was an interesting one, it transitioned from a setup running on even older hardware. But continued with the previous line.

    I sure as taxes miss that activity. Did do some IBM work, but it nothing like what spawned this discussion.
  • Haven't heard that Nova name for many decades.

    DG, Honeywell, Sperry, Univac, DEC, ICL, Singer, Friden, CDC, InterData, Prime, Memorex, and many others have disappeared over the years.
    My Prop boards: P8XBlade2, RamBlade, CpuBlade, TriBlade
    Prop OS (also see Sphinx, PropDos, PropCmd, Spinix)
    Website: www.clusos.com
    Prop Tools (Index) , Emulators (Index) , ZiCog (Z80)
  • Up until ten years ago there was a Data General Nova minicomputer in an underground bunker monitoring all the traffic lights in Helsinki. Generating all kind of alarms, reports and statistics.

    When it's hard drive, the size of a washing machine and all of 10MB, started to sound like a concrete mixer the city decided it was time to upgrade.

    After many man years of work we upgraded the network to IP with custom built DSL modems and had all new software running on a Windows server.

    After all that expense the functionality was pretty much exactly the same. I suspect the reliability far less...



  • Wow! Those 10MB washing machine that I knew were discontinued in 1976. I had 3 operational until 2000. I used to teach engineers how to strip them down to component level and reassemble. Luckily customers of these new drives didn't know hey ;) Mind you they were in peek condition with all adjustments after they were reassembled. But you wouldn't like to buy a new Porsche that the trainee mechanic had just reassembled in the workshop ;)
    My Prop boards: P8XBlade2, RamBlade, CpuBlade, TriBlade
    Prop OS (also see Sphinx, PropDos, PropCmd, Spinix)
    Website: www.clusos.com
    Prop Tools (Index) , Emulators (Index) , ZiCog (Z80)
  • Cluso99 wrote: »
    Wow! Those 10MB washing machine that I knew were discontinued in 1976. I had 3 operational until 2000. I used to teach engineers how to strip them down to component level and reassemble. Luckily customers of these new drives didn't know hey ;) Mind you they were in peek condition with all adjustments after they were reassembled. But you wouldn't like to buy a new Porsche that the trainee mechanic had just reassembled in the workshop ;)

    Ah, "the good old days". Replacing bearings on the head carriage, gluing the velocity coil back on, aligning the R/W heads, etc, etc. What fun!
    In science there is no authority. There is only experiment.
    Life is unpredictable. Eat dessert first.
  • Or the head crash because the engineer didn't do the power fail adjustment correctly - not me, but I flew in to sort out the problem and try and recover the users data.

    Or the public servant who dropped a disk, then proceeded to put it on every drive trying to read his data. Toll: 20 heads/drive x ~15 drives. $$$$$
    My Prop boards: P8XBlade2, RamBlade, CpuBlade, TriBlade
    Prop OS (also see Sphinx, PropDos, PropCmd, Spinix)
    Website: www.clusos.com
    Prop Tools (Index) , Emulators (Index) , ZiCog (Z80)
  • Did not work on punch card machines whIle in USN, but did have fun working on IBM disk drives that used hydraulic actuators and drum printers the size of freezers, and I can't quite be sure, but I seem to think it used core memory modules for buffering. As to paper tape, only on my IMSAI; its first real termin a lot being a repurposed ASR-33. When in high school, we did make up some art projects from monster decks of used punch cards.
    Ordnung ist das halbe Leben
    I gave up on that half long ago.........
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