Re: hd24 was what's the verdict ...
- From: Frank Stearns <franks.pacifier.com@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 08 Aug 2011 08:29:08 -0500
Frank Stearns <franks.pacifier.com@xxxxxxxxxxxx> writes:
>So, around a buck or a bit less for a reel of 2"! Who would have
>guessed that in
YEp, would've never thought it possible. YOu would have
told me in those years storage would come down to that I'd
have laughed you out the door. WHo'd a thunk it? HEck, at
the time I still conceived of computers in my mind as
devices occupying an entire floor of a building or so with a
room full of card readers and decks handling 10" reels of
tape, etc. Totally amazing stuff in that respect.
Just to drift even further off-topic, my brother was in the Air Force and hadduties >at the SAGE complex at Ft. Lewis (south of Seattle).
[-- oops, correction to my post: this is about the system at Mc Chord AFB, not Ft
Lewis, though both installations were near each other.]
In the early 1970s, I got a tour of the system. (The general in charge had taken
a liking to my brother, and no doubt okay'd letting a civilian (me) into the complex
housed in a windowless 3-story concrete cube, built with 3' thick concrete walls.
SAGE was a military air-traffic control and air-defense system. Operators sat in
front of vector displays that showed aircraft ID and locations in near real time.
The raw radar data was crunched through the SAGE computer and the results fed to
those vector displays.
The punchline: the SAGE system (actually twin computers, one was a backup) was
vacuum tube based. 49,000 tubes in floor-to-ceiling racks; each logic gate had a
half-dozen tubes or so in a 2U rack space. The racks were on two walls of a long,
narrow gallery, with another set of racks in the middle. Each computer had its own
gallery; they met to form a large "L" shape. Techs wandered up and down the aisles
wheeling a huge Tek scope and other test gear. They checked and
fixed gates on the spot, and kept spare gates on the lower shelf of the cart.
CPU cycle time was measured in milliseconds, not the micro seconds of your microwave
and pico seconds of your PC. "Core" memory was a wire grid with what looked like #6
flat washers at the intersection of the horizontal and verticle wires. They also had
"drum" memory, which consisted of what looked like piece of 12" water main. To make
a little money, they had a deal to do batch data processing for local businesses on
the backup computer.
Power was in a separate huge gallery housing six generators, each the size of a
couple of stacked cargo ship containers. One generator handled the computers,
another handled the HVAC. Two more generators were on standby, with two more
undergoing their periodic tear-down and rebuild.
IIRC, SAGE ran from the 1950s to the early 1980s.
Ya know, the tube devotees ought to ressurect one of these to handle their digital
audio -- give it that warm, phat sound, and with vintage gear to boot. (Ducking and
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