OpieRadio Logo
Compound Media Logo
Jim Norton Logo

What a Bit and a Byte looked like in the 1950's

Discussion in 'Science, Math, History and Language Studies' started by Bobobie, Oct 22, 2012.

  1. Bobobie

    Bobobie Registered User

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    11,248
    Likes Received:
    1,969
    Adam Savage has Video Channel on Youtube where he shows off his weird collections. Most are pop culture tripe, but a few show off old computer hardware from early mainframes that is becoming increasing rare. Take a look at what used to represent a single bit of information back in the 50's. When you watch this video, don't forget that a bit is now represented by a tiny nearly microscopic speck on a tiny flake of silicon.

     
    Jambi likes this.
  2. Neon

    Neon ネオン
    Donator

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Messages:
    51,654
    Likes Received:
    18,422
    All the "Inside Adam Savage's Man Cave" videos are fucking great. I'm constantly checking to see if they uploaded another one. His life is so god damn interesting. This one is also great. I love the graphic of how big a terrabyte of old style tube memory would be.
     
  3. OilyJillFart

    OilyJillFart Well-Lubed Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,835
    Likes Received:
    1,107
    Cool video, except I doubt that giant hard drive from the early 80s is a gigabyte. A single rigid platter that size back then held around 10 megabytes, so a stack like that might be 50 meg.
    By the time they got to drives that were in the 300 to 500 meg range the platter size was already getting smaller.
    Temperature fluctuations were the limiting factor then. A huge platter would vary too much in size over the operating temp range, and temperature compensating circuitry could only help so much.
     
  4. Bobobie

    Bobobie Registered User

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    11,248
    Likes Received:
    1,969
    I never heard of them being that large either, but I'm mostly familiar with consumer grade hardware. I bought a 52mb HD around 89' or 90', before that it was just floppies and tape drives.
     
  5. CougarHunter

    CougarHunter Lying causes cat piss smell.

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Messages:
    10,500
    Likes Received:
    2,529
    The first hard drive I ever had was a 10mb double height drive that was in my old Kaypro machine. I think that machine was from about 84-85. That was the only machine with a hard drive I would have up until I purchased an IBM in 96, which came with a 3.2G drive, which I still have.

    In between, it was all Commodores and Amigas, none of which had hard drives, and most of which I still have.
     
  6. Hudson

    Hudson Supreme Champion!!!!!
    Donator

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
    Messages:
    32,839
    Likes Received:
    4,557
    Watching his hair recede and him transforming into an alien from Star Trek: Menagerie is a little disconcerting. I can say with all certainty and fact that he is a friend of my uncle, another techno computer geek genius (what is the terminology?). Uncle built in a small Boston boat house a home computer that would cost under 2000 dollars in the early 80's. His lil company also did the computers for Jacques Costeau's mini subs..and had a diving computer that was in a Bond film and in Sharper Image. My Uncle refers to a Jamie all the time when talking about computers and rare parts....
     
  7. Bobobie

    Bobobie Registered User

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    11,248
    Likes Received:
    1,969
    I was in Commodore machines too. The 52mb was for my Amiga 1000, used a Sidecar expansion. I bought a 2.5 inch 10mb HD for the Amiga 1200 and networked the two together via the printer port to use the 1000's HD for storage. 2.5 inch HD's or laptop HD's were expensive back in the early 90's. 10mb was all I could afford.
     
  8. Ballbuster1

    Ballbuster1 In The Danger Zone...
    Wackbag Staff

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2002
    Messages:
    101,979
    Likes Received:
    16,345
    I remember back in high school I got to attend a new
    computer run math class. We had to go to the special
    room they built for it that was air conditioned. None
    of the other rooms or buildings were. We sat in front
    of large monochrome screens and used a "light pen"
    to select answers on it. Behind us was and enclosed room
    that had the mainframes and they looked like this one:

    [​IMG]

    It's amazing to see how far we've come since the early 70's.
    My phone is faster and has way more memory than those
    old beasts did. People used to ask us all the time what it was
    like to work with a "real" computer. Now I think back on it
    and it was pretty cool but nothing like we have these days.
     
  9. CougarHunter

    CougarHunter Lying causes cat piss smell.

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Messages:
    10,500
    Likes Received:
    2,529
    I still have the whole Commodore museum. Been thinking about getting rid of it and let someone else store it. Haven't opened those boxes since 96.
     
  10. mills

    mills I'll give em a state, a state of unconsciousness

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2005
    Messages:
    13,849
    Likes Received:
    638
    I did something similar, although this was a good 15 years later. It was creepy/cool, partly because it was in a part of the school on the 4th floor no one knew existed, but mostly I think because of the air conditioning thing. Everything was white, quiet, and yeah the temperature was low. May have even been a little breezy. It never occurred to me why it needed to be air conditioned until you posted, or even that it added to the atmosphere that I remember, as distinguished from the rest of the school. Makes sense now though.
     
  11. stevethrower

    stevethrower Got Sig?

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Messages:
    47,981
    Likes Received:
    20,587
    When I was in high school they used to do attendance on a Wang (heh) computer that was basically a desk with 2 10" floppy disk drives. And if you rubbed your feet twice on the carpet and touched it the memory would be wiped.

     
  12. Don the Radio Guy

    Donator

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2006
    Messages:
    69,628
    Likes Received:
    5,082
    Back in the mid 90s I worked as a computer operator for a department store chain that still used an IBM mainframe to process all the sales for the chain. The job consisted of entering commands into a console about once an hour to run certain jobs, and the rest of the time was spent plugging in tape backup carts and replacing reel to reel tape on the machines that used that. My phone probably can outperform the whole thing now.
     
  13. stevethrower

    stevethrower Got Sig?

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Messages:
    47,981
    Likes Received:
    20,587
    System 36 or AS/400?

    When I started working for a building supply (late 80's) they had a System 36 that the hard drive looked like a cake dome that could be pulled out and put in as needed. No idea what size it was.
     
  14. Don the Radio Guy

    Donator

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2006
    Messages:
    69,628
    Likes Received:
    5,082
    I think it was a 36.
     
  15. stevethrower

    stevethrower Got Sig?

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Messages:
    47,981
    Likes Received:
    20,587
    Hmmm the place I worked got rid of their 36 like early 90's would have thought it was end of life by then.

    Oh the last upgrade I cut a purchase order for changing the innards from a 720 to an 840 it cost $78k... before that upgrade there were still remnants of system 36 hanging around.
     
  16. Bobobie

    Bobobie Registered User

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    11,248
    Likes Received:
    1,969
    I worked for a Robotics Company in the Late 80's that had a mainframe off site. We had dumb terminals all over the place that I only used to do my time card and it had messaging, sort of like email. It was just menu selection, no GUI.



    All my stuff went out to the trash in 2008 when I moved. Didn't have any place to store it all.
     
  17. Don the Radio Guy

    Donator

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2006
    Messages:
    69,628
    Likes Received:
    5,082
    It was much larger than an AS/400 and it was a bit old at the time. I'm not sure it was a 36 but that seems most likely.
     
  18. stevethrower

    stevethrower Got Sig?

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Messages:
    47,981
    Likes Received:
    20,587
    Well both series were scalable... the 36 they had was like 6' long 2' deep and like 4' high. That last one with that upgrade was about 8' long 2' deep and 4' high. Dunno if the whole cabinet/chassis was filled though.

    When we got new AS400's for the stores they were basically the size of a large PC.
     

Share This Page