Nostalgia, On Several Different Levels

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Nostalgia, On Several Different Levels

Postby kg » 10 Feb 2013, 20:17


Anyone here old enough to remember and/or have had experience with these types of computers?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Dz2t5EV_NA
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Re: Nostalgia, On Several Different Levels

Postby Yogi » 11 Feb 2013, 00:47

It reminded me of some old Flash Gordan TV shows I used to watch. LOL
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Re: Nostalgia, On Several Different Levels

Postby kg » 11 Feb 2013, 01:39


Actually, though it wasn't exactly a computer as such, we had a unit at my last station in the Air Force that looked something like that. It was a flight control group which automatically controlled aircraft remotely. Had all the pretty blinking lights and everything! :P
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Re: Nostalgia, On Several Different Levels

Postby Yogi » 11 Feb 2013, 07:34

It's hard to believe that back then all those 1's and 0's were once processed by vacuum tubes. I can't imagine what it took to cool one of those babies, but I'm guessing the heat output of one machine could take care of several homes during a Chicago winter. You and I have seen huge changes in our lifetime, and we may actually be around for the next generation of nano-computers.

So ... you had drone aircraft when you were in the military? Here I thought it was a modern day invention. :mrgreen:
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Re: Nostalgia, On Several Different Levels

Postby kg » 11 Feb 2013, 10:53


Well, while the flight control group looked like the computers that were in the video, it didn't have vacuum tubes (except maybe in the power supply) -- it used transistors on breadboards. It had all the crazy looking flashing lights on the panels, though, and looked quite a bit like that.

And perhaps I could have explained it better. It didn't actually 'control' the aircraft (which were military aircraft, with pilots and crew)...it controlled their headings and altitude. That was during the cold war (and Vietnam), and it was quite possible that war missions might be flown. In the interest of secrecy, the pilots and crews couldn't know their ultimate destination or mission (until it was too late! ;) ), so their heading, altitude, and such was cryptographically controlled through the flight control group via radio.

Because of it's sensitive nature, whoever maintained the unit had to have top secret crypto clearance. That wasn't me...I repaired and maintained the main communication radios. I just enjoyed watching the pretty blinking lights. :lol:
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Re: Nostalgia, On Several Different Levels

Postby Kellemora » 11 Feb 2013, 11:24

I was working at McDonnell-Douglas Aircraft NASA div. in the mid '60s.
Seeing what those computers could do, was simply outstanding.
Today, a dollar ninety-nine calculator can do more than they could.

My very first computer was a Heath/Zenith Octal Entry HEATHKIT I had to assemble.
Then of course, the Apple I Motherboard, Apple II, Apple II+, Lisa and MAC's before moving over to PC's.

TTUL
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