Punch card nostalgia

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  • Punched cards (I can still remember the smell of the cards and the oil used for the machines)...
    IBM 1130 (my first big Propeller project was an emulator, and 9 years later I'm still tweaking it)...
    IBM System 360 model 50 (2 of them, saw one of them being torn apart for the gold in the connectors)...
    IBM 5100/5110... "portable" computers, as long as you had A/C power and a lot of space on your desk...
    Data General Eclipse C/350, MV/4000, 15000, 35000... all good, solid machines (for their era), I still miss AOS & AOS/VS.

    Ah, the days when a 192 MB drive and 512 KB of memory could support 24 users (DG C/350). Of course, no graphics.
    Tulsa, OK

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  • Cluso99 wrote: »
    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. $$$$$

    Oh yea, the head crashes resulted in some awesome bills. Never had a customer with multiple drive head crashes at one time, but did have a few where every head on a single drive had to be replaced. Aligning all the heads was a finicky, tedious, and tiring job that required a lot of patience.
    In science there is no authority. There is only experiment.
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  • 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.

    That sounds a bit like the drive a customer in Toronto had on their Collins 8400 mainframe. My first impression was of an elevator motor with the drive shaft protruding from both sides, three foot diameter six platter disks on each shaft, read write heads the size of hockey pucks, and two big hydraulic piston to move them. It probably wasn't quite as big as that, but it sure made the washing machine drives look small by comparison. IIRC it held a whopping 1MB total, or 1MB per side.
    In science there is no authority. There is only experiment.
    Life is unpredictable. Eat dessert first.
  • While recapping my GNT 4601 Reader/Punch, I went looking for a few spools of paper tape. The world is devoid of paper tape!! At least online. Anybody know of sources? I contacted GNT in England, as their website hints at selling the product, but it looks like they have turned into a software company. I can get mylar on ebay from one seller, but I would like paper to save the punch.
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  • Yeah, last time I looked there were CNC related shops selling various kinds of tape.

    All gone, but for the odd roll on ebay. I would snag one.

    Some grubbing around CNC houses may shake out some more.

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  • Publison wrote: »
    While recapping my GNT 4601 Reader/Punch, I went looking for a few spools of paper tape. The world is devoid of paper tape!! At least online. Anybody know of sources? I contacted GNT in England, as their website hints at selling the product, but it looks like they have turned into a software company. I can get mylar on ebay from one seller, but I would like paper to save the punch.

    Depending on what this contraption is, you might try the Vintage Computer Federation they maintain a discussion board, and someone there might have a few spools. It is in great demand to feed the odd teletype.
  • Speaking of Data General, if you haven't read the Pulitzer-Prize-winning book by Tracy Kidder, The Soul of a New Machine, you definitely ought to. Two thumbs up!

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • MIchael_MichalskiMIchael_Michalski Posts: 120
    edited 2019-01-07 - 23:45:26
    kwinn wrote: »
    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.

    I guess if you were tossing the chads in the normal garbage, I could potentially give you a paper tape with numbers encoded along its length in IR absorbing ink. Then when I fish the chads out of the garbage I could read the numbers and reconstruct where along the tape they came from. The challenges would be making suitably small markings on the tape for some rather large numbers and getting the marked tapes into your supplies. It may well be that they were being overly paranoid, but it could also be that we did that to someone, or someone did that to us. I guess if I wanted to be REALLY out there I could take say, 64 reasonably stable isotopes of elements. A particular isotope present is a 1 otherwise a 0. Then I print dots across the page, say 32 across in bands maybe a half mm wide. each dot would be uniquely numbered. Then make a machine that takes each chad, adsorbs it in a suitable solvent, and runs it on a mass spectrometer. (seriously state of the art high tech national laboratory kind of stuff back then) Even back then the sensitivity of the mass spec was crazy low, so the tampering would be very hard to detect. You might even be able to get away with using unusual isotopes of elements that are normally found in paper, meaning anything but the mass spectrometer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (at least back then) would be completely unable to see the tampering. I can just imagine the machine, with a big round disk with the little desorbtion chambers, and the dispenser going click click click as it drops individual chads in, then the dispenser injects a half a mL of solvent. On the other side ,the solvent being injected into the machine automatically. Click click click click... with giddy NSA agents waiting to see the recovered data.
    Particularly patient proactive practice positively predicates practically precise poly-processor Parallax Propeller programming paradigms.

    .
  • Speaking of Data General, if you haven't read the Pulitzer-Prize-winning book by Tracy Kidder, The Soul of a New Machine, you definitely ought to. Two thumbs up!

    -Phil

    Hello!
    I have. I read it every so often for inspiration.
  • We had a punch card machine in school that had been converted to a "scan tron" So we could code with a #2 pencil. Fun times !!


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  • Speaking of Data General, if you haven't read the Pulitzer-Prize-winning book by Tracy Kidder, The Soul of a New Machine, you definitely ought to. Two thumbs up!

    -Phil

    +1 Especially the microsecond counter guy who quit by leaving a note: "I am moving to a commune in New Hampshire where I will never consider any period of time shorter than a season"

    Re-inventing the wheel is not a waste of time if, when you are done, you understand why it is round.
  • We had a punch card machine in school that had been converted to a "scan tron" So we could code with a #2 pencil. Fun times !!

    Heh.
    You are aware, are you not? that the silly methods behind how certain tests are filled in was originally invented by IBM, the resulting data found itself converted into punched cards and then uploaded into the test sorting process and thus and that the people who believe in them got their test results back. Oh and the machine used for them was either a 1401 or a 1620 type machine, never an S360 or S370.....

    (Working or not!) There's also a movement afloat to have those tests except for the military and medical school rendered irrelevant because they are invalid against certain communities.

    But let's move this along back to the original thread before the Mods want us to finish it.
  • Speaking of Data General, if you haven't read the Pulitzer-Prize-winning book by Tracy Kidder, The Soul of a New Machine, you definitely ought to. Two thumbs up!

    -Phil

    +1 Especially the microsecond counter guy who quit by leaving a note: "I am moving to a commune in New Hampshire where I will never consider any period of time shorter than a season"

    I found that part extremely funny.

    And in a way I miss that family of machines, never mind that SIMH contain emulators for them. Plus scads of others.
  • SoaNM is one of the greatest pieces of tech journalism ever.
  • Speaking of Data General, if you haven't read the Pulitzer-Prize-winning book by Tracy Kidder, The Soul of a New Machine, you definitely ought to. Two thumbs up!

    -Phil

    Read this about when it came out. Had just started in medical imaging and outside the occasional Sun box. lots of PDP-11 flavors. Great book if my memory is not yet shot.
    Ordnung ist das halbe Leben
    I gave up on that half long ago.........
  • Dave HeinDave Hein Posts: 5,865
    edited 2019-01-08 - 02:53:50
    I started out with punched cards around 1971. I took a programming course at college, and the computer we had access to was an IBM 360. We learned how to program in Fortran. I think our textbook was "Ten Statement Fortran". After we drew up flowcharts and wrote our programs by hand, we would then punch them out using the keypunch machine. Then we would submit them to the batch window, and wait for our programs to be run. We usually had to come back the next morning to pick up our printout and card deck.

    During the following years I got away from punched cards an had access to minicomputers. The first one was a PDP15 with it's Dec Drive and fanfold paper tape. Then later on I worked on a Data General Nova.

    I did get back to using punched cards when I worked for a professor that was running atomic physics simulations. The card decks were very large, and I would add just a few cards at the end of the deck containing the program parameters. These programs took a long time to run, and they were run at night when the 360 was not busy, and the computer time was cheaper.

    Then later in the late 70's and early 80's I worked on a system that was still using punched cards. It had interactive terminals also, but the really big jobs were done with punch cards. I learned to mark my decks with diagonal lines on the top edge. This made it easy to identify if a card was out of order, or heaven forbid, if you ever dropped your deck and you had to re-assemble it. After using the same deck for a few months, and making program changes, there would be lots of lines on top of the deck. It was time to send the deck off to the computer center to have it duplicated. The deck would be returned along with a brand new duplicated deck, onto which I would immediately draw a nice clean diagonal line.

  • Speaking of Data General, if you haven't read the Pulitzer-Prize-winning book by Tracy Kidder, The Soul of a New Machine, you definitely ought to. Two thumbs up!

    -Phil

    Yes, a great book, even if you didn't work on either DG or DEC equipment.

    Some of the documents pertaining to FHP (the project competing with what became the MV/8000) were available online. I can't find them right now (maybe not available anymore?).

    I met Tom West & Edson DeCastro at the 1991 DG user's conference in Denver. Both were very nice and spent quite a bit of time with the small group I was with.
    Tulsa, OK

    My OBEX objects:
    AGEL: Another Google Earth Logger
    DHT11 Sensor

    I didn't do it... and I promise not to do it again!
  • Publison wrote: »
    While recapping my GNT 4601 Reader/Punch, I went looking for a few spools of paper tape. The world is devoid of paper tape!! At least online. Anybody know of sources? I contacted GNT in England, as their website hints at selling the product, but it looks like they have turned into a software company. I can get mylar on ebay from one seller, but I would like paper to save the punch.

    Depending on what this contraption is, you might try the Vintage Computer Federation they maintain a discussion board, and someone there might have a few spools. It is in great demand to feed the odd teletype.

    I wonder if it would be practical to make your own paper tape by slicing a roll of cash register tape to the correct width and punching the guide holes.
    In science there is no authority. There is only experiment.
    Life is unpredictable. Eat dessert first.
  • I am thinking some 1 inch craft supplies may work.
    Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball! @opengeekorg ---> Be Excellent To One Another SKYPE = acuity_doug
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  • When Konrad Zuse was building his Z1 computer in the 1930's he used punched 35mm celluloid film rolls for program storage.

    Of course we can't get hold of that now a days either...

    So many useful things have disappeared in the last few decades.
  • There is one possible substitute for paper tape that is still widely available, and that is the paper tape used for taping drywall joints. It is available at building supply locations and a lot of hardware stores, is approximately the same width as the teletype tape, and is relatively inexpensive.
    In science there is no authority. There is only experiment.
    Life is unpredictable. Eat dessert first.
  • Does it lack adhesive?
    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: »
    Does it lack adhesive?

    Oh yes. Strictly paper, and probably a bit wider than the original TTY tape.
    In science there is no authority. There is only experiment.
    Life is unpredictable. Eat dessert first.
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