Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (4633 mails)

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[opensuse] Re: memories?
  • From: Stevens <fred00sandy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2006 14:53:13 -0600
  • Message-id: <200612261453.13543.fred00sandy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On Tuesday 26 December 2006 13:55, James Knott wrote:
> The oldest "computer" I worked on didn't even have a display. It was
> a special purpose machine, made by Teleregister and installed at the
> Toronto Stock Exchange in 1952. It used vacuum tubes, relays and a
> memory drum. It was older than me!

Does a long distance telephone switch/router system qualify as a
"computer"? If so, AT&T had some downright ancient stuff that stayed in
service until the maintenance costs forced them to upgrade. Stuff that
used perforated rectangular metal plates for programming. After working
there a while, one could tell how well the system was performing by the
background noise made by all those relays (and those damned plates
getting shuffled in and out). Now all you hear is the air flowing
through the vents. Take it from one who had to learn solid state
electronics after graduating: I wouldn't trade those experiences, but I
wouldn't go back, either.

One final serious note: It is really discomforting to see all the
"engineers" nowdays that haven't a clue as to how things work.
Take any piece of modern technology say, the i-pod, for example. How
many people outside of Apple's labs really understand it's internals?
Forget for a moment that one does not need to know how a watch works to
be able to read the time, just consider the question.
<snip a long rant>
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