Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2007/03/19

[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]

Subject: [Leica] First computer
From: pdzwig at (Peter Dzwig)
Date: Mon Mar 19 15:01:53 2007
References: <> <724FDD310638E147AD8E509D15FFB731AC12A5@exchange.microassist.local>

Oh, OK....The first computer that I built was at school - an analogue device 
simulating second order differential equations (electrical circuits, 
- that sort of thing). The output was direct to an oscilloscope, we never 
round to putting together anything more meaningful as output, though it told 
anything you needed to know. The bits apparently came from the Royal 
Establishment and were single chip op amps in the main, which were a real 
outside of tech institutions in those days - I was still at (high) school - 
Gates, well he was barely out of diapers ;-) it seems a long way from where 
are now with Intel demo'ing 80-core processors

Peter Dzwig

PS I will post some PAW photos soon - promise (does that get us vaguely back 

Sanjay Nasta wrote:
> I came to computers just a couple of years after photography (can't 
> remember what the first camera was but I know I got in trouble because I 
> shot a roll in about 20' and in India rolls and development were expensive 
> in those days; the first subject was the nice Nepalese lady who took care 
> of me and her husband who was the night watchman at the apt. we lived).  
> The first computer was a SWTPC 6800 (  
>  My dad taught at Indiana University and I got to program in Basic with a 
> TI Silent 700 (thermal printer terminal).  Got a lot of free CPU time.  
> Then he got a job at a "dealer" for the SWTPC--Syscon Internation in South 
> Bend.  We didn't buy the fancy case--the thing lived in the top drawer of 
> a file cabinet...and we bought the kit so I learned to solder rather well 
> (hundreds of connections).  The first 16K cost $1000.  I don't recall what 
> the first floppy cost  but I do remember that you had to tune the speed of 
> the darn thing with a strobe light.  I was most impressed when my dad 
> figured out that rewiring the feedback circuit would fix the speed drift 
> (those IIT engineers).  That computer got me started in my present 
> profession.  I still use the lessons I learned from Tom Townsend the owner 
> of Syscon when I run my business.  In India when my dad ran his business 
> he wouldn't be caught dead picking 
up a broom or getting tea for an employee--in the US I saw Tom do that all 
the time.
> What a rambling post.  
> -----Mensaje original-----
> De:
> [] En nombre de
> Jim Nichols
> Enviado el: domingo, 18 de marzo de 2007 18:19
> Para: Leica Users Group
> Asunto: Re: [Leica] Re:SD cards in M8
> Adam,
> You revive old recollections.  Though I was not computer-oriented, I had
> some brilliant techies working for me.  Our first attempt at wind tunnel
> control improvements was to provide test environment displays in true
> engineering units, rather than as instrument readouts.  We utilized a
> surplus DEC PDP-8, loading the programs with punched paper tape. After
> proving the concept, we went on to DEC PDP-11s and eventually a VAX. This
> led to computerized control of selected plant valves in order to hold
> testing conditions within tight tolerances during the data-taking process.
> The first computer that I actually utilized personally was made by Xerox 
> and
> utilized two 8-INCH floppy drives, one for the operating system and one for
> the application and data.  Those were the days!
> Jim Nichols
> Tullahoma, TN USA
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Adam Bridge" <>
> To: "Leica Users Group" <>
> Sent: Sunday, March 18, 2007 11:57 AM
> Subject: Re: [Leica] Re:SD cards in M8
>> My first "real" computer was a DEC PDP-11/23. It had 64K(!) of RAM and
>> a huge, I say HUGE, as in VAST 5 MB hard drive. Of course the entire
>> operating system footprint was 4 KB, 8 KB if I elected to use the
>> non-overlayed version. Later we had the PDP-11/70 on a chip (the J11 I
>> think it was called) and it address 4MB of RAM that cost at least $4k.
>> Today even small drivers take 4k and just the space lost in formatting
>> a typical hard drive totals more than the entire disk capacity I owned
>> in the first 10, no make it 15, years of computing.
>> I wish I had kept the VAXstation I had which was a wonderful machine
>> with a rock-solid OS (VAX/VMS). Ah well . . . the good ol' days.
>> Adam
>> _______________________________________________
>> Leica Users Group.
>> See for more information
> MicroAssist, Inc.
> 3420 Executive Center Drive, Suite G100 Austin, TX 78731 
> Phone: (512) 794-8440
> Fax: (512) 794-8742
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> _______________________________________________
> Leica Users Group.
> See for more information

Replies: Reply from images at (Tina Manley) ([Leica] First computer)
In reply to: Message from snasta at (Sanjay Nasta) ([Leica] First computer)