[vcf-midatlantic] My first computer memory

Lois Krayeski lkskray at gmail.com
Sat May 22 02:43:03 UTC 2021

Sure good to hear from you “old-timers.”  My first recollection was in 1952, fresh out of high school, working with Potter Instrument.  I started by QC testing components, ie., resisters, capacitors, tubes and condensers.  To make my job easier, I designed a simple testing jig.  John Potter was impressed enough to make me a engineering technician/field service engineer.  I constructed “decades”, soldering components on to printed circuit boards [NOT integrated circuit boards].  I graduated to a project funded by Harvard University, which was an attempt to read (using photoelectric cells) typed Master’s Theses and print (copy) the document using an early ink jet printer.  To my knowledge the project failed, due to limitations of the photoelectric cells.  I assisted in the installation of several Potter testing units in commercial and military units.  We input data using Teletype terminals (punched paper tape) using “Potter” codes.  My career with Potter ended when I was drafted into the US Army during the Korean War.  In later years I worked for Reeves Instrument Corp., Litton Systems Inc, Howard Research Corp, Control Data Corp and the US federal government.  In my later years I was one of the pioneers in the office automation and digital optical storage fields.  I retired in the year 2000.  Felix Krayeski

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

From: Gregg Levine via vcf-midatlantic
Sent: Friday, May 21, 2021 9:36 PM
To: vcf-midatlantic
Cc: Gregg Levine
Subject: Re: [vcf-midatlantic] My first computer memory was using a terminal

Bill I think I did just top that, but everyone read on.
I'll top all of that, when I was in elementary school, I got a chance
to participate in a program that IBM setup using their mainframe
families, and the Selectric based terminals, probably the 2741, in a
remote mode. I was granted a logon code, and could spend about half an
hour doing exercises. By the time it did end I was even allowed to do
that without one of the teachers being present.

Years later when visiting the IBM Research facility that Yorktown
Heights has, I met just such a terminal, and had a chance to do stuff.
The fellow I was with, well his father was an IBM Fellow for many
years.  To this day, when making use of Hercules to run an IBM OS, I
think of that terminal when using telnet to talk to the emulator.

Today, the people in my LUG, find my stories of such hardware to be
odd. And think the IBM mainframe should be keeping the dinos in the
museum in NYC and elsewhere company. In fact they refuse to believe
that's what is managing their banking and credit card use, (still).
Gregg C Levine gregg.drwho8 at gmail.com
"This signature fought the Time Wars, time and again."

On Fri, May 21, 2021 at 4:46 PM Bruce via vcf-midatlantic
<vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:
> Man, you youngsters had it good!
> Back before dirt, they gave us mechanical calculators in HS to learn on.
> Marchant and Monroe are names that come to mind.  This training was *job*
> training.  Knowing how to operate these calculators could have secured a HS
> graduate of the era a position in a bank or accounting firm.
> These behemoths were a step up from my Magic Brain stylus slide adder,
> which itself was merely a mechanization of an abacus, which could add or
> subtract and could multiply by repeated addition.  (I actually had an
> abacus, but never really mastered it.  I did pretty well on the Magic
> Brain.)
> I distinctly remember entering college and longing for one of the
> 4-function pocket calculators that had become available by then, but at
> $150 (that's $1200 in 2021 dollars), that was out of the question.  So I
> enrolled in computer classes and learned FORTRAN programming, which held me
> in good stead through about 1983.
> Along the way, I used a desk-sized Wang programmable calculator (vintage
> about 1971 or so) and the HP-65 pocket calculator, the kind that NASA took
> along to Apollo-Soyez.
> Bruce
> NJ
> On Fri, May 21, 2021 at 4:06 PM Bill Degnan via vcf-midatlantic <
> vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:
> > I vaguely remember when I was in elementary school in the 1970s in
> > delaware some U of Delaware students or a teacher gave me access to a
> > computer via a terminal.  It was a simple login prompt to connect to
> > the library and look things up and play some kind of exercises that
> > had conditional decisions to build a story.  It wasn't Plato or
> > anything like that.
> >
> > That was my first memory of computers, but I must have been very young
> > as I don't remember much else.  The thing that impressed me was how
> > you could decide what to do next and it changed a story's outcome.   I
> > think we had a picture book that went with it (?)
> >
> > I always wonder what that was all about.  It was a one-day thing and
> > that was it.
> > Many years later I heard about something called project Delta at the U
> > of Del but I have no idea if that was the same thing or if it was just
> > some U of Del student looking for nearby kids to experiment with.
> >
> > I remember going to the librarian in elementary school and asking to
> > use the computer in the back office , maybe 5th grade, but there were
> > no computers for kids to use.
> >
> > I started going to RadioShack and using their computers probably in
> > 4th grade and the Hallmark had a Timex Sinclair on display there, but
> > I did have a family computer until the later 80s.  I somehow knew
> > BASIC, which makes me wonder if I was taught BASIC too.  I remember
> > making the computer say "Bill is Cool" over and over and I thought
> > that was really funny at the time.
> >
> > Bill
> >

More information about the vcf-midatlantic mailing list