This week's book giveaway is in the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning forum.
We're giving away four copies of Machine Learning with R: Expert techniques for predictive modeling and have Brett Lantz on-line!
See this thread for details.
Win a copy of Machine Learning with R: Expert techniques for predictive modeling this week in the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning forum!
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Computer nostalgia

 
Sheriff
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Paul Clapham wrote:I have a promotional mug on my desk from Burroughs. It says "Keep Up To Date With Burroughs" and to show how up to date it is, it has not only the 1978 calendar on it but the 1979 calendar as well!


Paul, I see your Burroughs mug with a Burroughs pencil sharpener


And raise you a Burroughs C3200 calculator from somewhere around the mid 70s, in full working order.


My dad used to work for them years ago and kept a few bits and bobs. There were a couple of other calculators too: a C2000 and a C5000. A real nostalgia trip.
 
Bartender
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Wow! I can see green after-images in my retinas, just on the memories evoked by the second picture.

Back it was brand new, my mother spent US$140(?) (about US$700, today) to buy my dad a TI-2500.

Within a year, the calculator boom had come and you could buy far more powerful devices for about ten bucks. My mom spent another decade or so, kicking herself "for having wasted so much money." My dad was a military officer who needed to crunch numbers all day long, so I told her that, no, he was delighted to have not spent one unnecessary year with a pencil or one of those mad mechanical adding machines, and so the money was very well spent. Alas, I was never able to convince her, but I know my dad appreciated the gift.
 
Sheriff
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Stevens Miller wrote:Back it was brand new, my mother spent US$140(?) (about US$700, today) to buy my dad a TI-2500.



Those TI's appeared out of nowhere when I was in grad school. They cost $450 at the time, if I remember right. I was paying $130 per month for my apartment then, so I didn't buy one. Anyway I was in math, and pure mathematicians don't do a lot of calculating.
 
Bartender
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had Alan Turing himself right there. I know they had some early machines

- and destroyed both!
 
Stevens Miller
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Paul Clapham wrote:I was in math, and pure mathematicians don't do a lot of calculating.


Heh, quite so. My dad was an engineer. He calculated like a mad bookkeeper.

In my own school days, I was in physics. In high school, I used a slide-rule, but the calculator superseded that device by the time of my college days. A shame, really, as I believe the slide-rule teaches two skills a physicist must have:

  • It requires that you approximate, as its accuracy is limited to what your eyes can see. In physics, somewhat like math, there are no numbers, per se. There are only "values." Their exact quanta are not important.
  • It requires that you keep track of decimal orders of magnitude in your head, as it is utterly ambiguous about these on its scale. In physics, one must do this all the time, and, often, it is actually only the the ratio of two such magnitudes that matters anyway.

  • Alas, despite my best efforts, I am told that the use of slide-rules is no longer mandatory in our college physics labs.

    The world becomes a lesser place, a little more, every day.
     
    Rancher
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    Paul Clapham wrote:They cost $450 at the time, if I remember right.


    About that time, tuition for a term at my University was $300. so $450 was an insane amount of money
     
    Bartender
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    Pat Farrell wrote:About that time, tuition for a term at my University was $300. so $450 was an insane amount of money


    And in the UK it was free (as I think it still should be). How times have changed.

    Winston
     
    Marshal
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    Stevens Miller wrote:. . . use of slide-rules is no longer mandatory in our college physics labs. . . .

    Have you tried to buy a slide rule in the last twenty years?

    When I was at school we all had slide rules, but people use calculators now.
     
    Stevens Miller
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    Campbell Ritchie wrote:Have you tried to buy a slide rule in the last twenty years?



    Buy?

    Buy?

    This is the twenty-first century. No one "buys" things anymore.

    We download them:

     
    Ranch Hand
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    And there's actually a slide rule app. I guess for those who can't decide whether to be retro or contemporary. Be both at once.
     
    Stevens Miller
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    Steffe Wilson wrote:...retro or contemporary. Be both at once.


    Walt Whitman wrote:Do I contradict myself?
    Very well then . . . . I contradict myself;
    I am large . . . . I contain multitudes.

     
    Bartender
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    My sons are always hunting in my attic for old and interesting technology. This weekend they uncovered a Compaq Portable, the first (nearly) IBM-compatible PC clone. My "Luggable" is an interesting example as it was upgraded with a 20MB hard drive and 386 CPU. The CPU is mounted on an ISA extension card and a ribbon cable plugs into the original 8088 socket on the motherboard. I think it also has a memory upgrade, but I can't get near it to check as the boys are mesmerized by the monochrome graphics and heart-stopping Tetris action.
    I pity the fool who tried to travel while dragging this 28 pound behemoth!
    compaqI.JPG
    [Thumbnail for compaqI.JPG]
    Compaq Portable I
     
    Stevens Miller
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    Joe Ess wrote:I pity the fool who tried to travel while dragging this 28 pound behemoth!


    Hey, that fool had a computer when the other fools didn't.
     
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