Bah, nothing beats the sawmill-like sound of a dot matrix printer... First time I heard one was at the inaugural computer show in Sydney, in the basement of the Town Hall in 1979; thought they'd amalgamated the computer show with the woodworking expo!
Now that they've covered punch cards and TTYs though, they should go one step further and have both input AND output on punched tape ;-)
what I call real computers, that at least had flashing
Good one! Must have taken a lot of work to get it to work so well.
Back in the 70`s at Sydney Uni we had to use those bloody Hollerith cards, you had to type your program into the puncher, collect the cards and feed 'em into the card reader. You picked up the printout the next day, if there was a mistake you had to do it all again. Fortunately for us poor engineering students, they soon introduced 'dumb terminals', a massive improvement but they were really just thermal printers with a keyboard. Still, you were actually hooked up to the Control Data Cyber 70 (I think that was the name) and you could even play simple games despite such a rudimentary interface, Star Trek was very popular with us engineers but wasted a lot of thermal paper.....
P.S. Those interested in the above may also find this amusing...
We had the punch cards at Newcastle, except students were not suppsed to do that. Well outside alloted assignments. Seems a few took to them like ducks to water and demand/cost was far higher than budgeted. So they introduced terminals.
There was an old teletype terminal to the ICL(???) mainframe running George II, then George III in my first and second year, but it was incredibly hard to use and first/second year students didn't have storage rights or even running rights. Apparently the few terminals slowed the old system down incredibly and it could do no other work other than service the few terminals.
They were however great as a mechanism for "computer art" production on clean white continuous 80 column paper. It took a while and few edits, but you once you had the final paper tape, you could produce as many girls on bar stools or whatever you wanted.
The ICL stayed around as the Fortan programers system and in later years, we had access to card punches to do our own program punching. It also ran Algol programs.
The new system was a DEC PDP 11/70 running RSTS(?). The DEC terminals used 9pin dot matrix printer onto lined 132 column paper. Students had an account and limited storage and access to basic programming and a pile of games like startrek and the like.
Science had requirements for doing a couple of programes on it, but it was generally a facility you could use and for a few of us explore. I even got as far as having my own tape of programs that I had collected. "Just don't draw attention to the lack of system security"
It eventually offered this new programming language called C over one summer break.
Maths unfortunately decided that mark sense cards were the way their students were going to do programming(Fortran) and you had to purchase your cards. Yer right, a good eraser and you just collected discards and scrubbed.
Meanwhile, back in the engineering labs, you wrote your program, "compiled it" and then loaded it bit by bit(well sixteen at a time) into the one PDP 11/45 and hopefully when you pressed the run key, it worked.
Yes, right down to the ferrite beads and hand-would enamelled copper wire for the memory... Try explaining that to the kids getting their IT diplomas these days!
My first computer had a whopping 4Kb of RAM. Yes, it _was_ whopping for that time. Also featured a 250 baud cassette interface for storage and a 64x16 uppercase-only monochrome video output, fed to a monitor so wobbly that you'd get motion sickness if you tried too hard to focus on the writing.
About six years ago, I had a group of local kids tell me they wanted to learn about computers, Okay, go and grab one of those cases over there and next you'll need of these motherboards. Suddenly 10 became none. Problem solved.
No, I was only a kid at the time, barely cutting my teeth in the world of electronics; it was a ready-made Tandy TRS-80
with a blazing-fast 1.77MHz Z80 CPU no less.
Winding forward a couple of years, I was considerably more capable with a soldering iron and was considering a Super-80 kit (with the possibility of a whole single S-100 expansion slot!)
but decided instead to pump my limited funds into an "expansion interface" for my computer so I could finally expand my RAM to 48Kb and add floppy controller and printer interface - and later a C.Itoh 80-column, 9-pin dot matrix printer.
That was back in the days when NLQ was unheard of, and I'm pretty sure the print speed of mine was around 40cps, as I remember lusting after the nearly-100cps Epson MX80 when it came out. No idea what the model number of that printer was (I only had it 3-4 months), but spending the past half-hour rummaging through both Google search and images failed to find anything resembling it.
Bureau of Stats had a CDC 3600, Seymore Cray's first attempt at a super computer. It had about 8000 PCBs, the shift network alone had just short of 500 boards. When it went wrong, it usually failed something like a double precision floating point multiply. Fixing it usually required a pack of cigarettes, a pot of coffee, a pile of logic diagrams a foot thick, the trusty Tektronix, and a whole lot of patience. None of this
99.999% uptime in those days.
The Cyber had a whole lot less modules, but, if it went wrong, the first symptom was usually the screens going blank. You were then left with the ability to enter 12 12bit instructions through a panel of toggle switches, and thats all that you had to work with. Out with the Tektronix again.
Humbug. The first dot matrix printer I encountered did not sound anything like a sawmill. It was in fact in an IBM keypunch machine, used to print a human-readable version of what was punched along the top edge of the card.
Introduced in 026 keypunch (over 60 years ago!), it printed 5x7 dot characters. Unlike later dot matrix printers it contrived to hit all of the required pins to form a character at the same time, using a fascinating mechanism called a code plate -