Tony Wachs (TW) stories wanted

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Laura Wachs

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Aug 6, 2004, 10:47:42 PM8/6/04
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Hi...My name is Laura Wachs and Tony Wachs (TW) was my father. I
can't believe that it's been over 12 years since he passed away. In
some ways it seems like forever, and in others it seems like no time
at all. Perhaps it was becoming a parent myself, but I have been
thinking about my dad more and more lately. That has led me to write
today to request stories about my dad from those of you that have
them.

While I have a great picture of my father the family man -- dancing
(poorly) or singing (off-key) in the kitchen, "a source of innocent
merriment" as he would often quote -- I don't really have a good
picture of him in any context outside of that. I was hoping that
those of you that worked with him, knew him through work, or even just
knew *of* his work, would be able to share that TW with me. I know he
was there in the early days of computing, and my mother contends (and
I don't doubt) that he made significant contributions to the history
and science of computing, but I couldn't tell you what they were, and
that saddens me. I would like these stories certainly for myself, and
I will no doubt share them with my mother and sister, but also with my
son and nieces -- to help them get to know the grandfather they never
met.

So if you have anything you'd like to share -- a story, an account of
my father's contributions to computing, anything at all -- I would
appreciate it if you took the time to e-mail it to me at
lsw...@charter.net.

Thank you for anything you'd like to contribute. I look forward to
reading them all.

Regards,
Laura

jmfb...@aol.com

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Aug 7, 2004, 6:26:17 AM8/7/04
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In article <8962d2f7.04080...@posting.google.com>,


Let me just followup to say that Laura is who she says she is.

/BAH

Subtract a hundred and four for e-mail.

CBFalconer

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Aug 7, 2004, 9:59:50 AM8/7/04
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> Let me just followup to say that Laura is who she says she is.

That thought had crossed my mind. I have nothing to contribute.

--
Chuck F (cbfal...@yahoo.com) (cbfal...@worldnet.att.net)
Available for consulting/temporary embedded and systems.
<http://cbfalconer.home.att.net> USE worldnet address!

jmfb...@aol.com

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Aug 8, 2004, 6:36:12 AM8/8/04
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In article <8962d2f7.04080...@posting.google.com>,
lsw...@charter.net (Laura Wachs) wrote:
>Hi...My name is Laura Wachs and Tony Wachs (TW) was my father.

'ey, Laura :-).

I just thought of another source. Pat White. When I threw
that going away party for TW, she sat with him for about 1/2
hour reading the DTASRX listing and talking about old
times that the code reminded them of.

<snip>

John Everett

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Aug 8, 2004, 12:00:56 PM8/8/04
to

Laura:

I was VERY close to your father, and could tell TW stories for perhaps
hours. We shared an office starting when I joined DEC in September,
1966, (a couple of months after Tony did) and both lived in Holliston.
We used to carpool together often. At that time TW was working on the
PDP-10, while I was working on the -7. Eventually I too moved into the
-10 Monitor Group, where for a number of years I was the only other
person who TW would let muck about in FILSER (and its decendents).

Besides work, we also shared an interest in sports cars. Tony actually
crewed for me when I started racing in the late '60s, although I must
admit he provided more moral support than technical expertise. ;-)

Rather than take up space here let me do this: as things occur to me
I'll send along an email, perhaps one or two per week. There's SO much
stuff I can extract from my memory I could probably keep up this pace
for months.

BTW, my recollections will cover the period 1966-1978 (or so).


jeverett3<AT>earthlink<DOT>net http://home.earthlink.net/~jeverett3

Paul Rubin

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Aug 8, 2004, 12:53:07 PM8/8/04
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John Everett <jeve...@earthlink.DEFEAT.UCE.BOTS.net> writes:

> Rather than take up space here let me do this: as things occur to me
> I'll send along an email, perhaps one or two per week. There's SO much
> stuff I can extract from my memory I could probably keep up this pace
> for months.
>
> BTW, my recollections will cover the period 1966-1978 (or so).

If you think they're things that are ok to publish, then please post
them here too :).

Patrick Scheible

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Aug 9, 2004, 3:49:56 PM8/9/04
to

I'd like to second that. I'd be interested in the stories too.

-- Patrick

jmfb...@aol.com

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Aug 10, 2004, 6:10:01 AM8/10/04
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[a.s.pdp10 added]

In article <cf8c4...@news1.newsguy.com>,
mwo...@newsguy.com (Michael Wojcik) wrote:
>
>In article <7xy8kp6...@ruckus.brouhaha.com>, Paul Rubin

>Or Laura could do so, when she feels it's appropriate. Laura, I
>believe there are a number of regular readers who are interested
>in stories about DEC in the old days and the "bit gods" (as Barb
>likes to say) who worked there. Thanks to Barb, we've heard some
>great ones already, but please feel free to share.

Note that none of mine are about technical stuff; I can't
tell stories about TW's technical contributions because I'm
not smart enough. That's one of the key story sectors that
are missing about any of those TOPS-10 monitor guys (note that
"guys" is a generic term; there were quite a number of gals too).

Bill Leary

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Aug 10, 2004, 7:57:56 AM8/10/04
to
>Or Laura could do so, when she feels it's appropriate. Laura, I
>believe there are a number of regular readers who are interested
>in stories about DEC in the old days and the "bit gods" (as Barb
>likes to say) who worked there.

Yes, quite so. That fits firmly into the alt.FOLKLORE.computers, and is a
good deal of why I frequent this group.

I never worked there, and never met Mr. Wachs, but I'd still be interested
in the stories.

- Bill


John Everett

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Aug 10, 2004, 10:11:38 AM8/10/04
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On 09 Aug 2004 12:49:56 -0700, Patrick Scheible <k...@drizzle.com>
wrote:

Here's a very early one, but not very technical. When I first joined
DEC in September, 1966, I was put into a five person office behind the
development/demo PDP-6 in 12-1. (That's Building 12, Floor 1, in the
old Assabet Mill in Maynard; the same floor as Ken Olsen's office.)

My office mates were Mauritz Fredrickson, Don Witcraft, Miguel Suarez,
and Tony Wachs. At that time DEC only occupied a small portion of the
Mill. There was a profusion of other occupants, large and small. I
recall a plastic moulding company, a garage door manufacturer, and
American Can Company, a major leaseholder.

Soon after I joined DEC, American Can vacated its portion of the Mill,
which DEC opted to add to our space. As soon as the area was cleared a
few of us decided to go exploring, Tony included. We wandered through
what seemed like unlimited vacant floors in Buildings 3, 4, 5, and 1;
even finding "hidden passages" between some of the buildings. (Note
that I still have a printed diagram/map of the Mill that shows
connections between buildings. There was an underground passage
between Buildings 1 and 3 that doesn't appear on the map.)

After wandering around for perhaps the better part of an hour we
eventually found our way back to our office, which was in the rear of
Building 12 and afforded a view of the complex up the hill toward
Building 5. As a few of us stood at the window surveying our newly
expanded domain someone (perhaps even TW) opined, "Isn't this great,
we'll never outgrow this place."

Charles Richmond

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Nov 30, 2004, 9:47:54 AM11/30/04
to
jmfb...@aol.com wrote:
>
> In article <8962d2f7.04080...@posting.google.com>,
> lsw...@charter.net (Laura Wachs) wrote:
> >Hi...My name is Laura Wachs and Tony Wachs (TW) was my father.
>
> 'ey, Laura :-).
>
> I just thought of another source. Pat White. When I threw
> that going away party for TW, she sat with him for about 1/2
> hour reading the DTASRX listing and talking about old
> times that the code reminded them of.
>
Of course I did *not* know TW, but wasn't there a document
called "TW in DEC-20 Land"???

--
+-------------------------------
| Charles and Francis Richmond
| richmond at plano dot net
| Re-Defeat Bush!!!
+-------------------------------

jmfb...@aol.com

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Nov 30, 2004, 8:18:09 AM11/30/04
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In article <41AC881A...@plano.net>,

Charles Richmond <rich...@plano.net> wrote:
>jmfb...@aol.com wrote:
>>
>> In article <8962d2f7.04080...@posting.google.com>,
>> lsw...@charter.net (Laura Wachs) wrote:
>> >Hi...My name is Laura Wachs and Tony Wachs (TW) was my father.
>>
>> 'ey, Laura :-).
>>
>> I just thought of another source. Pat White. When I threw
>> that going away party for TW, she sat with him for about 1/2
>> hour reading the DTASRX listing and talking about old
>> times that the code reminded them of.
>>
>Of course I did *not* know TW, but wasn't there a document
>called "TW in DEC-20 Land"???
>
RH-20 land. It was his project report of the controller
work he did. It should be required reading for all
engineers who assume that all drawing boards match reality
and visa versa.

John Everett

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Nov 30, 2004, 1:01:13 PM11/30/04
to
On Tue, 30 Nov 2004 06:47:54 -0800, Charles Richmond
<rich...@plano.net> wrote:

>jmfb...@aol.com wrote:
>>
>> In article <8962d2f7.04080...@posting.google.com>,
>> lsw...@charter.net (Laura Wachs) wrote:
>> >Hi...My name is Laura Wachs and Tony Wachs (TW) was my father.
>>
>> 'ey, Laura :-).
>>
>> I just thought of another source. Pat White. When I threw
>> that going away party for TW, she sat with him for about 1/2
>> hour reading the DTASRX listing and talking about old
>> times that the code reminded them of.
>>
>Of course I did *not* know TW, but wasn't there a document
>called "TW in DEC-20 Land"???

The above posting reminds me, I promised to post TW stories with
copies to Laura, then promptly went out to Colorado for a vacation and
forgot about my promise. Lets see if I can come up with one right now.

I just now did a Google Advanced Groups Search for articles with "Tony
Wachs" in them and posted by "John Everett". You can find some old
stories there.

The reference to DTASRX above reminds me that when Tony was first
hired at DEC he was responsible for creating the 10/10 single user
monitor. This was to be a minimal system with primary I/O being
to/from DECtape. At that time Tony and I were sharing an office (with
Don Witcraft, Mauritz Fredrickson, and Miquel Suarez) and I was
working on a new DECtape driver for DECsys-7, so we discussed DECtape
drivers with each other. As I recall (from a distance of almost 40
years) when searching for a block, the controller would cause an
interrupt at each block header, allowing the monitor (operating
system) to read the block number. Tony had an idea that time could
saved through a concept he called "freewheeling", where one could
calculate the time required to get from the present position to the
target block, start the drive in motion, disable DTA interrupts, and
set a timer to "wake up" the DTA service routine in time to re-enable
interrupts and find the target block.

I can't recall if he ever implemented this in the 10/10 monitor, but
he eventually got it to work in what became TOPS-10. The 10/10
monitor, although Tony got it to work, never saw the commercial light
of day as this configuration was never offered as a product. I do
recall that when he was debugging freewheeling there were lots of
problems, most of which resulted in the drive entering
"flap-flap-flap" mode. :-)

I got my driver working in DECsys-7, without freewheeling; then moved
on to the PDP-8, where I was responsible for a couple of operating
systems before eventually joining Tony in the PDP-10 monitor group.

pr...@prep.synonet.com

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Nov 30, 2004, 1:18:11 PM11/30/04
to
Charles Richmond <rich...@plano.net> writes:

> jmfb...@aol.com wrote:
>>
>> In article <8962d2f7.04080...@posting.google.com>,
>> lsw...@charter.net (Laura Wachs) wrote:
>> >Hi...My name is Laura Wachs and Tony Wachs (TW) was my father.
>>
>> 'ey, Laura :-).
>>
>> I just thought of another source. Pat White. When I threw
>> that going away party for TW, she sat with him for about 1/2
>> hour reading the DTASRX listing and talking about old
>> times that the code reminded them of.

> Of course I did *not* know TW, but wasn't there a document
> called "TW in DEC-20 Land"???

Tony in RH-20 Land, or Why I should have listened to my mother and
become an encyclopedia salesman.

--
Paul Repacholi 1 Crescent Rd.,
+61 (08) 9257-1001 Kalamunda.
West Australia 6076
comp.os.vms,- The Older, Grumpier Slashdot
Raw, Cooked or Well-done, it's all half baked.
EPIC, The Architecture of the future, always has been, always will be.

Joe Smith

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Dec 1, 2004, 6:22:07 AM12/1/04
to
Charles Richmond wrote:

> Of course I did *not* know TW, but wasn't there a document
> called "TW in DEC-20 Land"???

http://www.inwap.com/pdp10/rh20.txt

-Joe

jmfb...@aol.com

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Dec 1, 2004, 6:21:50 AM12/1/04
to
In article <zPhrd.174942$HA.9834@attbi_s01>,

Aw, hell, I don't remember checking; is this the emended copy that
I did, Joe?

Joe Smith

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Dec 3, 2004, 1:45:01 PM12/3/04
to
jmfb...@aol.com wrote:
> In article <zPhrd.174942$HA.9834@attbi_s01>,
> Joe Smith <j...@inwap.com> wrote:
>
>>Charles Richmond wrote:
>>
>>
>>>Of course I did *not* know TW, but wasn't there a document
>>>called "TW in DEC-20 Land"???
>>
>>http://www.inwap.com/pdp10/rh20.txt
>
>
> Aw, hell, I don't remember checking; is this the emended copy that
> I did, Joe?

The headers on that say
From: Mark Crispin <m...@CAC.Washington.EDU>
Newsgroups: alt.sys.pdp10
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 1995 18:10:47 -0700

I don't have your amended version.
-Joe

jmfb...@aol.com

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Dec 7, 2004, 8:19:52 AM12/7/04
to
In article <2ibpq09q6ks3e4g8v...@4ax.com>,

John Everett <jeve...@earthlink.DEFEAT.UCE.BOTS.net> wrote:
>On Tue, 30 Nov 2004 06:47:54 -0800, Charles Richmond
><rich...@plano.net> wrote:
>
>>jmfb...@aol.com wrote:
>>>
>>> In article <8962d2f7.04080...@posting.google.com>,
>>> lsw...@charter.net (Laura Wachs) wrote:
>>> >Hi...My name is Laura Wachs and Tony Wachs (TW) was my father.
>>>
>>> 'ey, Laura :-).
>>>
>>> I just thought of another source. Pat White. When I threw
>>> that going away party for TW, she sat with him for about 1/2
>>> hour reading the DTASRX listing and talking about old
>>> times that the code reminded them of.
>>>
>>Of course I did *not* know TW, but wasn't there a document
>>called "TW in DEC-20 Land"???
>
>The above posting reminds me, I promised to post TW stories with
>copies to Laura, then promptly went out to Colorado for a vacation and
>forgot about my promise. Lets see if I can come up with one right now.

I was wondering what happened. :-)

I could literally hear that as I read the line. :-) Was the drive
easily in reach from the TTY?


>
>I got my driver working in DECsys-7, without freewheeling; then moved
>on to the PDP-8, where I was responsible for a couple of operating
>systems before eventually joining Tony in the PDP-10 monitor group.

I remember a conversation but I can't recall who all was there and
how the subject came up. I remember TW and JMF talking about
the code they were most embarrassed about and the modules
they would gladly rewrite if they had the time. TW's was his
DECtape driver (I presume that was his first driver?) and JMF's
was VMSER.

John Everett

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Dec 7, 2004, 10:25:49 AM12/7/04
to
On Tue, 07 Dec 04 13:19:52 GMT, jmfb...@aol.com wrote:

>>I can't recall if he ever implemented this in the 10/10 monitor, but
>>he eventually got it to work in what became TOPS-10. The 10/10
>>monitor, although Tony got it to work, never saw the commercial light
>>of day as this configuration was never offered as a product. I do
>>recall that when he was debugging freewheeling there were lots of
>>problems, most of which resulted in the drive entering
>>"flap-flap-flap" mode. :-)
>
>I could literally hear that as I read the line. :-) Was the drive
>easily in reach from the TTY?

Actually it was easily in reach from the CTY. ;-)

>I remember a conversation but I can't recall who all was there and
>how the subject came up. I remember TW and JMF talking about
>the code they were most embarrassed about and the modules
>they would gladly rewrite if they had the time. TW's was his
>DECtape driver (I presume that was his first driver?) and JMF's
>was VMSER.

Mine was MTXSER. I finally persuaded the powers that be that I should
do a completely new tape service routine, or rather set of routines
ala FILSER. I had the basic design work done when I got that "offer I
couldn't refuse" from First Data.

One of the design points I was stuck on was how to initiate an I/O
operation from both UUO level and interrupt level without
interference. The kludgie solution would have been to queue up the I/O
request and then force an artificial tape level interrupt, where the
queue could be scanned and any pending operation initiated. I mentally
rejected this an inelegant, and was working on an interlock design
when I left DEC, the design incomplete.

When the new TAPSER was released (as completed by other people) I
quickly read the code to see how they had solved the interlock
problem. I was disappointed to discover that they had implemented the
"artificial interrupt" solution. :-(

Actually I'm probably most embarrassed by my file system design for
TSS-8. 201 (129 decimal) word blocks! What WAS I thinking????

jmfb...@aol.com

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Dec 12, 2004, 7:50:00 AM12/12/04
to
In article <Nu2sd.505322$D%.483617@attbi_s51>,

Joe Smith <j...@inwap.com> wrote:
>jmfb...@aol.com wrote:
>> In article <zPhrd.174942$HA.9834@attbi_s01>,
>> Joe Smith <j...@inwap.com> wrote:
>>
>>>Charles Richmond wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>>>Of course I did *not* know TW, but wasn't there a document
>>>>called "TW in DEC-20 Land"???
>>>
>>>http://www.inwap.com/pdp10/rh20.txt
>>
>>
>> Aw, hell, I don't remember checking; is this the emended copy that
>> I did, Joe?
>
>The headers on that say
> From: Mark Crispin <m...@CAC.Washington.EDU>
> Newsgroups: alt.sys.pdp10
> Date: Thu, 8 Jun 1995 18:10:47 -0700
>
>I don't have your amended version.

What I did was fix the typos based on the blue booklet that
was distributed at a DECUS one year. I finally got out to
the library and took a look at your site. One of these
days I may even learn how to navigate through all those
webs. :-(

You have a really, really, really bad revision of the file.
Really bad. I had handed my file to Mark and he said he
gave to you. If all this happened, then somebody has an
auto spell check which is turned my fixes right back to
the typos.

So! Any suggestions about how we can fix this? There's no way
in hell that I'm going to let this file sully TW's reputation
to imply that he didn't know how to type or spell.

jmfb...@aol.com

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Dec 12, 2004, 7:55:49 AM12/12/04
to
In article <5vhbr09t15ffc44b2...@4ax.com>,

John Everett <jeve...@earthlink.DEFEAT.UCE.BOTS.net> wrote:
>On Tue, 07 Dec 04 13:19:52 GMT, jmfb...@aol.com wrote:
>
>>In article <2ibpq09q6ks3e4g8v...@4ax.com>,
>> John Everett <jeve...@earthlink.DEFEAT.UCE.BOTS.net> wrote:
>
>>>I can't recall if he ever implemented this in the 10/10 monitor, but
>>>he eventually got it to work in what became TOPS-10. The 10/10
>>>monitor, although Tony got it to work, never saw the commercial light
>>>of day as this configuration was never offered as a product. I do
>>>recall that when he was debugging freewheeling there were lots of
>>>problems, most of which resulted in the drive entering
>>>"flap-flap-flap" mode. :-)
>>
>>I could literally hear that as I read the line. :-) Was the drive
>>easily in reach from the TTY?
>
>Actually it was easily in reach from the CTY. ;-)

Heh! How soon we forget. TTY2 didn't start getting used as
the debugging CTY until it was a VT06 hanging off the KI10#514.


>
>>I remember a conversation but I can't recall who all was there and
>>how the subject came up. I remember TW and JMF talking about
>>the code they were most embarrassed about and the modules
>>they would gladly rewrite if they had the time. TW's was his
>>DECtape driver (I presume that was his first driver?) and JMF's
>>was VMSER.
>
>Mine was MTXSER. I finally persuaded the powers that be that I should
>do a completely new tape service routine, or rather set of routines
>ala FILSER. I had the basic design work done when I got that "offer I
>couldn't refuse" from First Data.

Is that how you disappeared?

>
>One of the design points I was stuck on was how to initiate an I/O
>operation from both UUO level and interrupt level without
>interference. The kludgie solution would have been to queue up the I/O
>request and then force an artificial tape level interrupt, where the
>queue could be scanned and any pending operation initiated. I mentally
>rejected this an inelegant, and was working on an interlock design
>when I left DEC, the design incomplete.
>
>When the new TAPSER was released (as completed by other people) I
>quickly read the code to see how they had solved the interlock
>problem. I was disappointed to discover that they had implemented the
>"artificial interrupt" solution. :-(

Did you ever figure out a more elegant method?

>
>Actually I'm probably most embarrassed by my file system design for
>TSS-8. 201 (129 decimal) word blocks! What WAS I thinking????

I don't know :-). Some days, you can only see the best way
to do things when you're right in the middle of implementing
the worst way.

Mark Crispin

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Dec 12, 2004, 11:45:22 AM12/12/04
to
On Sun, 12 Dec 2004 jmfb...@aol.com wrote:
> So! Any suggestions about how we can fix this? There's no way
> in hell that I'm going to let this file sully TW's reputation
> to imply that he didn't know how to type or spell.

I can send another copy. I see that my copy was edited on June 18, 2002
so it must have Barb's corrections.

-- Mark --

http://staff.washington.edu/mrc
Science does not emerge from voting, party politics, or public debate.
Si vis pacem, para bellum.

Joe Smith

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Dec 12, 2004, 1:25:35 PM12/12/04
to
jmfb...@aol.com wrote:

>>>Aw, hell, I don't remember checking; is this the emended copy that
>>>I did, Joe?
>>

>>I don't have your amended version.
>
> What I did was fix the typos based on the blue booklet that
> was distributed at a DECUS one year.

OK, I've installed the amended copy.
-Joe

jmfb...@aol.com

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Dec 13, 2004, 5:02:17 AM12/13/04
to
In article <Pine.LNX.4.62.04...@shiva0.cac.washington.edu>,

Mark Crispin <m...@CAC.Washington.EDU> wrote:
>On Sun, 12 Dec 2004 jmfb...@aol.com wrote:
>> So! Any suggestions about how we can fix this? There's no way
>> in hell that I'm going to let this file sully TW's reputation
>> to imply that he didn't know how to type or spell.
>
>I can send another copy. I see that my copy was edited on June 18, 2002
>so it must have Barb's corrections.

Oh, good. I was starting to go nuts because I didn't think I'd
done the edit in 1995.

For people's information. There still is one misspelling but
it was misspelled in the booklet so I left it. I couldn't
remember if TW's file had the typo so I decided to leave it
as it was handed out at DECUS. As a former member of the
RUNOFF group, leaving that error in was very hard to do.

jmfb...@aol.com

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Dec 13, 2004, 4:59:37 AM12/13/04
to
In article <z20vd.646621$mD.81472@attbi_s02>,

Thank you. :-)

Now all I need to do is get Laura to look at the correct copy :-).

John Everett

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Dec 13, 2004, 2:31:53 PM12/13/04
to
On Sun, 12 Dec 04 12:55:49 GMT, jmfb...@aol.com wrote:

>In article <5vhbr09t15ffc44b2...@4ax.com>,
> John Everett <jeve...@earthlink.DEFEAT.UCE.BOTS.net> wrote:
>>On Tue, 07 Dec 04 13:19:52 GMT, jmfb...@aol.com wrote:
>>
>>>In article <2ibpq09q6ks3e4g8v...@4ax.com>,
>>> John Everett <jeve...@earthlink.DEFEAT.UCE.BOTS.net> wrote:
>>
>>>>I can't recall if he ever implemented this in the 10/10 monitor, but
>>>>he eventually got it to work in what became TOPS-10. The 10/10
>>>>monitor, although Tony got it to work, never saw the commercial light
>>>>of day as this configuration was never offered as a product. I do
>>>>recall that when he was debugging freewheeling there were lots of
>>>>problems, most of which resulted in the drive entering
>>>>"flap-flap-flap" mode. :-)
>>>
>>>I could literally hear that as I read the line. :-) Was the drive
>>>easily in reach from the TTY?
>>
>>Actually it was easily in reach from the CTY. ;-)
>
>Heh! How soon we forget. TTY2 didn't start getting used as
>the debugging CTY until it was a VT06 hanging off the KI10#514.

Barb, I'm talking about a time before you even joined DEC. Before
there even WAS a KI10. The CTY actually plugged into a port on the
front of the KA10 console bay, the one that usually contained the low
numbered DECtape drives. DTA0: and DTA1: (at least) were within easy
reach from this CTY.

>>
>>>I remember a conversation but I can't recall who all was there and
>>>how the subject came up. I remember TW and JMF talking about
>>>the code they were most embarrassed about and the modules
>>>they would gladly rewrite if they had the time. TW's was his
>>>DECtape driver (I presume that was his first driver?) and JMF's
>>>was VMSER.
>>
>>Mine was MTXSER. I finally persuaded the powers that be that I should
>>do a completely new tape service routine, or rather set of routines
>>ala FILSER. I had the basic design work done when I got that "offer I
>>couldn't refuse" from First Data.
>
>Is that how you disappeared?

Exactly, I followed Rich Krasin (former PDP-10 Monitor Group Manager)
to First Data in 1974. They offered me more money than I would have
probably made at DEC in the next two or three salary reviews, the
princely sum of $20,000.00 per annum. How could I say no?

BTW, this was not the First Data of today. That FDC was acquired by
ADP in late 1976 and folded into the Network Services Division, along
with the old Cyphernetics (Ann Arbor), Time Sharing Ltd. (London), and
Delos Computer Services (Princeton). The name went to the present
First Data when ADP spun off one of their divisions to create that
company.

>>One of the design points I was stuck on was how to initiate an I/O
>>operation from both UUO level and interrupt level without
>>interference. The kludgie solution would have been to queue up the I/O
>>request and then force an artificial tape level interrupt, where the
>>queue could be scanned and any pending operation initiated. I mentally
>>rejected this an inelegant, and was working on an interlock design
>>when I left DEC, the design incomplete.
>>
>>When the new TAPSER was released (as completed by other people) I
>>quickly read the code to see how they had solved the interlock
>>problem. I was disappointed to discover that they had implemented the
>>"artificial interrupt" solution. :-(
>
>Did you ever figure out a more elegant method?

Actually, TW did. I told him about my disappointment over the way it
had been implemented and he actually made the changes. I was no longer
at DEC and had little influence in the continuing implementation of
TOPS-10. ;-)

>>Actually I'm probably most embarrassed by my file system design for
>>TSS-8. 201 (129 decimal) word blocks! What WAS I thinking????
>
>I don't know :-). Some days, you can only see the best way
>to do things when you're right in the middle of implementing
>the worst way.
>
>/BAH
>
>Subtract a hundred and four for e-mail.

Since I mention TW here, I've copied Laura Wachs via email. Laura, say
hello to your mom for me. Actually I think I remember you as a little
kid, when your family still lived in Holliston. Don't you have (at
least) a sister? Try as I might, I can't recall her name. :-)

Michael Wojcik

unread,
Dec 15, 2004, 12:24:17 PM12/15/04
to

In article <3bqrr0p1othf8klto...@4ax.com>, John Everett <jeve...@earthlink.DEFEAT.UCE.BOTS.net> writes:
>
> Exactly, I followed Rich Krasin (former PDP-10 Monitor Group Manager)
> to First Data in 1974. They offered me more money than I would have
> probably made at DEC in the next two or three salary reviews, the
> princely sum of $20,000.00 per annum. How could I say no?

Interesting. According to the inflation calculator at [1], $20K in
1974 would have been $79146.09 in 2003 dollars. That ain't hay, but
I wouldn't call it a "could not refuse" offer for someone of your
caliber at a Massachusetts IT firm today. I guess system software
developer salaries have risen significantly faster than (consumer
price) inflation, at least in some parts of the US.

I wish I remembered what my father was making in 1974. He'd just
taken a new job at a Massachusetts IT consulting firm, Data
Architects, so it'd be an interesting point of comparison.

> BTW, this was not the First Data of today. That FDC was acquired by
> ADP in late 1976 and folded into the Network Services Division, along
> with the old Cyphernetics (Ann Arbor), Time Sharing Ltd. (London), and
> Delos Computer Services (Princeton). The name went to the present
> First Data when ADP spun off one of their divisions to create that
> company.

Mergers and spin-offs do complicate corporate history. Here at Micro
Focus, the original MF bought Intersolv in the mid-1990s; then after
a coup d'management the combined company was renamed MERANT. MERANT
was a complete disaster, and after a few years the head of the ACT
division, which was largely the old MF, secured funding and bought
the division away from MERANT - and changed the name back to Micro
Focus. So like a lot of people here I went from Micro Focus to
MERANT and back to Micro Focus without doing anything more than
depositing my paychecks. (And not even that, really, since they're
direct-deposit.)

--
Michael Wojcik michael...@microfocus.com

I'm not particularly funny, but I wanted to do something outrageous.
And I'm Norwegian, so I wasn't going to go too far. -- Darlyne Erickson

Charlie Gibbs

unread,
Dec 15, 2004, 3:29:25 PM12/15/04
to
In article <cpps0...@news2.newsguy.com>, mwo...@newsguy.com
(Michael Wojcik) writes:

> Mergers and spin-offs do complicate corporate history. Here at Micro
> Focus, the original MF bought Intersolv in the mid-1990s; then after
> a coup d'management the combined company was renamed MERANT. MERANT
> was a complete disaster, and after a few years the head of the ACT
> division, which was largely the old MF, secured funding and bought
> the division away from MERANT - and changed the name back to Micro
> Focus. So like a lot of people here I went from Micro Focus to
> MERANT and back to Micro Focus without doing anything more than
> depositing my paychecks. (And not even that, really, since they're
> direct-deposit.)

Yes, I recall seeing your .sig change over time. It's sort of like
that reporter interviewing a resident of a Soviet town:

"Where were you born?"
"St. Petersburg."
"Where did you grow up?"
"Leningrad."
"Where do you live now?"
"Stalingrad."
"Where would you like to die?"
"St. Petersburg."

--
/~\ cgi...@kltpzyxm.invalid (Charlie Gibbs)
\ / I'm really at ac.dekanfrus if you read it the right way.
X Top-posted messages will probably be ignored. See RFC1855.
/ \ HTML will DEFINITELY be ignored. Join the ASCII ribbon campaign!

CBFalconer

unread,
Dec 15, 2004, 6:35:57 PM12/15/04
to
Charlie Gibbs wrote:
>
... snip ...

>
> Yes, I recall seeing your .sig change over time. It's sort of like
> that reporter interviewing a resident of a Soviet town:
>
> "Where were you born?"
> "St. Petersburg."
> "Where did you grow up?"
> "Leningrad."
> "Where do you live now?"
> "Stalingrad."
> "Where would you like to die?"
> "St. Petersburg."

How did Stalingrad get in there, and not Petrograd.

--
Chuck F (cbfal...@yahoo.com) (cbfal...@worldnet.att.net)
Available for consulting/temporary embedded and systems.
<http://cbfalconer.home.att.net> USE worldnet address!

Patrick Scheible

unread,
Dec 15, 2004, 7:46:20 PM12/15/04
to
"Charlie Gibbs" <cgi...@kltpzyxm.invalid> writes:

> In article <cpps0...@news2.newsguy.com>, mwo...@newsguy.com
> (Michael Wojcik) writes:
>
> > Mergers and spin-offs do complicate corporate history. Here at Micro
> > Focus, the original MF bought Intersolv in the mid-1990s; then after
> > a coup d'management the combined company was renamed MERANT. MERANT
> > was a complete disaster, and after a few years the head of the ACT
> > division, which was largely the old MF, secured funding and bought
> > the division away from MERANT - and changed the name back to Micro
> > Focus. So like a lot of people here I went from Micro Focus to
> > MERANT and back to Micro Focus without doing anything more than
> > depositing my paychecks. (And not even that, really, since they're
> > direct-deposit.)
>
> Yes, I recall seeing your .sig change over time. It's sort of like
> that reporter interviewing a resident of a Soviet town:
>
> "Where were you born?"
> "St. Petersburg."
> "Where did you grow up?"
> "Leningrad."
> "Where do you live now?"
> "Stalingrad."
> "Where would you like to die?"
> "St. Petersburg."

I thought Stalingrad was a separate city. Didn't it go:

St. Petersburg
Petrograd
Leningrad
St. Petersburg
?

-- Patrick

Charlie Gibbs

unread,
Dec 15, 2004, 10:53:34 PM12/15/04
to
In article <tqmd5xb...@drizzle.com>, k...@drizzle.com
(Patrick Scheible) writes:

Oops - finger fumble. Serves me right for not taking the time to
find the original file.

Joe Pfeiffer

unread,
Dec 16, 2004, 12:18:31 AM12/16/04
to
"Charlie Gibbs" <cgi...@kltpzyxm.invalid> writes:
> >
> > St. Petersburg
> > Petrograd
> > Leningrad
> > St. Petersburg
> > ?
>
> Oops - finger fumble. Serves me right for not taking the time to
> find the original file.

I know this is sort of burying the point of the story behind trivia,
but I thought Petrograd was a transliteration of the name of the city,
and St. Petersburg was a translation into English?
--
Joseph J. Pfeiffer, Jr., Ph.D. Phone -- (505) 646-1605
Department of Computer Science FAX -- (505) 646-1002
New Mexico State University http://www.cs.nmsu.edu/~pfeiffer

Jack Peacock

unread,
Dec 16, 2004, 2:33:22 PM12/16/04
to
"Joe Pfeiffer" <pfei...@cs.nmsu.edu> wrote in message
news:1bvfb2h...@cs.nmsu.edu...

> I know this is sort of burying the point of the story behind trivia,
> but I thought Petrograd was a transliteration of the name of the city,
> and St. Petersburg was a translation into English?
> --
I believe it is actually spelled St. Petersburg (in Cyrillic) on Russian TV
weather news. Been a while since I've seen sat broadcasts relayed from
Moscow but I do recall the spelling of names of cities were the same
(within the limits of alphabet conversion) in English.
Jack Peacock


Paul Rubin

unread,
Dec 17, 2004, 3:01:21 AM12/17/04
to
Joe Pfeiffer <pfei...@cs.nmsu.edu> writes:
> I know this is sort of burying the point of the story behind trivia,
> but I thought Petrograd was a transliteration of the name of the city,
> and St. Petersburg was a translation into English?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leningrad

The city was founded by Tsar Peter the Great and originally named
Sankti-Pitersburh, after St. Peter. That's a Dutch name and it
got transmogrified to Sankt-Peterburg. Tsar Nicolas renamed it to
Petrograd in WW1, since he felt Sankt-Peterburg sounded too German.
It was renamed to Leningrad in honor of Lenin three days after
Lenin's death in 1924. The name was changed back to Sankt-Peterburg
(St. Petersburg) in 1991 after the USSR's collapse.

Ron.Marks

unread,
Dec 17, 2004, 7:20:33 AM12/17/04
to
On 6 Aug 2004 19:47:42 -0700, lsw...@charter.net (Laura Wachs) wrote:

>Hi...My name is Laura Wachs and Tony Wachs (TW)

>was my father ... I was hoping that those of you that
>worked with him, knew him through work, or even just
>knew *of* his work, would be able to share that TW with me.

Once upon a time, I was working in HOSS on ANF-10 (It's not just a
dog food!). and we were bored.

So, we started to hack together a version of adventure that ran in the
DC76 when the -10 crashed (which was often, as the monitor on 1026 was
the first version of SMP). It was fun.

The time to field test SMP was upon us and the development team went
out to each FT site with a HOSS person to install and talk with the
customers. Everything was going well, except one person from HOSS
wrote an "interesting" trip report.

No names here, but the guilty party made it sound like he did all the
work and the developers who were there did their job fetching coffee.

Tony, Jim, and CDO were just a bit pissed off. Maybe that's a mild
way of putting it.

The result was that a bunch of people thought it would be nice to
"Hack" the poor slob. (This was when Hacking was good.)

IIRC, CDO hacked DAEMON to look for the guy and log him out without a
trace.

I forgot what JMF did.

TW wrote his famous "FLIP.TEC", a teco macro that would take every
file in a directory and "flip" the file name, and the extension, and
rename the file. e.g. FLIP.TEC would become PILF.CET .
He ran it on the person, and nicely left a copy of the macro in their
directory so they could undo the damage. But it was not to be. The
loser ended up getting operations to do a full restore off all the
backup tapes, wasting bunches of time and money getting his files
back, all the time running about grumbling about the terrible hackers
and dishonest people who worked there.

We laughed about that for quite a while.

But, I mentioned that two of use were bored. So, Dan and I decided to
do a hack as well. So, we did, and we thought it would be great to
"test" the hack on Tone at 3 AM. Yea, Right.

So, Tony came in, made his "Tasters Choice" instant from the hot water
dispenser behind 514 and sat down at the VT52 in his office to see who
was on line he always did. Ran SYSDPY. Only one problem. The screen
painted from bottom to top and all the lines were done from right to
left. It scrolled down, not up.

The VT52 was running in "Reverse video mode". Except for the Parens,
brackets, and braces, which were swapped, so rather than have "[OPR]"
come out as "]RPO[", it was "[RPO]".

Well, Tony smiled. Then he looked to see where we had patched the
monitor. Hmm, no patches. Maybe it's the DC76, I'll just reload it.
Hmm, still does it. Maybe I missed the patch. Reload the Monitor
(now the VT52 is displaying "DECsystem-10 not running" just like it
should) with the new "test" monitor, and it STILL does it.

Well, Tony walked down to the Network area for HOSS, which was just
about at the other end of the building, to ask how we did it. At 3:30
AM. We were there, and explained that not only did we patch the DC76,
we also patched the DC76 load image so it would start up in the mode.
Just for him.

Well, we all had a good laugh, and Tony said it was one of the best
hacks he had seen, so we cleared the bit that ran it on his VT52, but
set it to run on Bruce's. You remember Bruce, he was that guy with
the trip report.

That's not quite the end of the story. Later that day Bruce called
Field Service (or as we said, field sabotage) to fix his now "broken"
VT52. After the FLIP.TEC fiasco, you think this guy would learn.
Well, F/S figured that we had taken his VT52 apart and flipped over
the deflection yoke to get it to work that way. So, they tried to put
it back the way it was "supposed" to be. Never noticed the dust and
that the box had not been touched. Never tried another terminal line
to see if it did it there as well. So, they hauled Bruce's VT52 away
to repair it and loaned him another.

And the new one did it as well! F/S got a clue and figured it out.
Well, everyone laughed about that for some time.

Every time I saw Tony for a few weeks after that, he would smile and
say "what a great hack".

Bruce never did get a clue.

--
Some minds are like concrete, thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.

jmfb...@aol.com

unread,
Dec 17, 2004, 8:35:06 AM12/17/04
to
In article <42h5s0dtikrcdokbs...@4ax.com>,

Ron.Marks <Ron....@RonMarks.com> wrote:
>On 6 Aug 2004 19:47:42 -0700, lsw...@charter.net (Laura Wachs) wrote:
>
>>Hi...My name is Laura Wachs and Tony Wachs (TW)
>>was my father ... I was hoping that those of you that
>>worked with him, knew him through work, or even just
>>knew *of* his work, would be able to share that TW with me.
>
>Once upon a time, I was working in HOSS on ANF-10 (It's not just a
>dog food!). and we were bored.
>
>So, we started to hack together a version of adventure that ran in the
>DC76 when the -10 crashed (which was often, as the monitor on 1026 was
>the first version of SMP). It was fun.
>
>The time to field test SMP was upon us and the development team went
>out to each FT site with a HOSS person to install and talk with the
>customers. Everything was going well, except one person from HOSS
>wrote an "interesting" trip report.
>
>No names here, but the guilty party made it sound like he did all the
>work and the developers who were there did their job fetching coffee.

ooohhh...I'd completely forgotten about that one.


>
>Tony, Jim, and CDO were just a bit pissed off. Maybe that's a mild
>way of putting it.

It would be an understatement of the millenium.


>
>The result was that a bunch of people thought it would be nice to
>"Hack" the poor slob. (This was when Hacking was good.)
>
>IIRC, CDO hacked DAEMON to look for the guy and log him out without a
>trace.
>
>I forgot what JMF did.
>
>TW wrote his famous "FLIP.TEC", a teco macro that would take every
>file in a directory and "flip" the file name, and the extension, and
>rename the file. e.g. FLIP.TEC would become PILF.CET .
>He ran it on the person, and nicely left a copy of the macro in their
>directory so they could undo the damage. But it was not to be. The
>loser ended up getting operations to do a full restore off all the
>backup tapes, wasting bunches of time and money getting his files
>back, all the time running about grumbling about the terrible hackers
>and dishonest people who worked there.

This was done when Bruciebaby started to edit out all form feeds
from all sources. He stripped SOS when I committed my major
hissy fit. TW told me to calm down; it wasn't a big problem since
SOS wasn't supported. I shot back the point that Bruciebaby
was assigned to maintain the monitor's file system and what
do you think he'll do when he edits your code? After
discussions with the idiot by managers and fellow programmers
the guy still refused to put the <FF>s back in and declared that
every file he edited would have all <FF>s removed (this is
a complete disaster in documentation files), TW and friends
produced the directory hack and left a MIC file to restore
the directory back.


>
>We laughed about that for quite a while.
>
>But, I mentioned that two of use were bored.

<GRIN> It's not safe for anybody when programmers are bored.

> .. So, Dan and I decided to


>do a hack as well. So, we did, and we thought it would be great to
>"test" the hack on Tone at 3 AM. Yea, Right.
>
>So, Tony came in, made his "Tasters Choice" instant from the hot water
>dispenser behind 514

This device was called the HW-10.

> .. and sat down at the VT52 in his office to see who

Good stories :-)).

Beware of bored engineers. First symptom is twitchiness. Second
symptom is invisibility (they're off doing their midnight hack).
I won't state the 3rd, ...nth.

John Everett

unread,
Dec 17, 2004, 12:28:32 PM12/17/04
to
On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 07:20:33 -0500, Ron.Marks <Ron....@RonMarks.com>
wrote:

>Bruce never did get a clue.

Was this the same Bruce who had the annoying habit of getting right in
your face whenever you had a conversation with him, sort of invading
your personal space?

CBFalconer

unread,
Dec 17, 2004, 3:44:14 PM12/17/04
to
John Everett wrote:
> Ron.Marks <Ron....@RonMarks.com> wrote:
>
>> Bruce never did get a clue.
>
> Was this the same Bruce who had the annoying habit of getting right
> in your face whenever you had a conversation with him, sort of
> invading your personal space?

There is something peculiar about Bruces, in my experience. They
tend to be excessively annoying and petty, or overequipped with
male hormones. Of course there are exceptions.

Ron.Marks

unread,
Dec 17, 2004, 6:22:43 PM12/17/04
to
On Fri, 17 Dec 04 13:35:06 GMT, jmfb...@aol.com wrote:

>>So, Tony came in, made his "Tasters Choice" instant from the hot water
>>dispenser behind 514
>
>This device was called the HW-10.

Now that you mention that, yes, it was..... Actually it was behind KA
#1 until the powers that be had Rufus, the Field Service guy scrap it.

------

Tony and his coffee were legend as well.

One day I was at 1026, trying to track down a problem that was
crashing the newest monitor on boot up, sitting there at said 3 AM,
and Tony walked in and said: "Boot, you are gone!" I looked at him
and said: "You haven't had your first cup of coffee yet."

He grumbled, but went off and made the coffee, went back to his office
and drank it. When that was done, he wandered back out to 1026 and
said: "Boot, you are gone!" I said: "You haven't made your second
cup of coffee yet."

He grumbled, went off and made the second cup, and by then, I had
figured out the problem. It got me a good 20 minutes of time to solve
it.

Brian Inglis

unread,
Dec 18, 2004, 1:07:24 AM12/18/04
to
On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 20:44:14 GMT in alt.folklore.computers, CBFalconer
<cbfal...@yahoo.com> wrote:

>John Everett wrote:
>> Ron.Marks <Ron....@RonMarks.com> wrote:
>>
>>> Bruce never did get a clue.
>>
>> Was this the same Bruce who had the annoying habit of getting right
>> in your face whenever you had a conversation with him, sort of
>> invading your personal space?
>
>There is something peculiar about Bruces, in my experience. They
>tend to be excessively annoying and petty, or overequipped with
>male hormones. Of course there are exceptions.

Your middle name wouldn't be Bruce by any chance, would it? ;^>

--
Thanks. Take care, Brian Inglis Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Brian....@CSi.com (Brian[dot]Inglis{at}SystematicSW[dot]ab[dot]ca)
fake address use address above to reply

Joe Pfeiffer

unread,
Dec 18, 2004, 2:07:30 AM12/18/04
to
CBFalconer <cbfal...@yahoo.com> writes:
>
> There is something peculiar about Bruces, in my experience. They
> tend to be excessively annoying and petty, or overequipped with
> male hormones. Of course there are exceptions.

Bruce Banner being your model of the ideal Bruce?

jmfb...@aol.com

unread,
Dec 18, 2004, 5:58:39 AM12/18/04
to
In article <b0q6s0louke2fe7l6...@4ax.com>,

Ron.Marks <Ron....@RonMarks.com> wrote:
>On Fri, 17 Dec 04 13:35:06 GMT, jmfb...@aol.com wrote:
>
>>>So, Tony came in, made his "Tasters Choice" instant from the hot water
>>>dispenser behind 514
>>
>>This device was called the HW-10.
>
>Now that you mention that, yes, it was..... Actually it was behind KA
>#1 until the powers that be had Rufus, the Field Service guy scrap it.

No,no,no. Not in Marlboro. The KAs in that room were #2 and #40.
They were the closet to the door just across from software development.
System #514 and #546 were across the room and the HW-10 was behind
them. It took an act of god, Congress, and a pact with the devil
to get the gear installed to heat the water (this was in 1975 or 1976).
The HW-10 was a drinking fountain (called a bubbler here in the
strange country of New England) that got upgraded to an HW-10.

It's possible that Hardware Engineering had a similar upgrade
installed. If so, the guy who would have campaigned for it
would have been Dick Helliwell. Hardware engineering's HW-10
might have been near System #1.

/BAH

>
>------
>
>Tony and his coffee were legend as well.
>
>One day I was at 1026, trying to track down a problem that was
>crashing the newest monitor on boot up, sitting there at said 3 AM,
>and Tony walked in and said: "Boot, you are gone!" I looked at him
>and said: "You haven't had your first cup of coffee yet."
>
>He grumbled, but went off and made the coffee, went back to his office
>and drank it. When that was done, he wandered back out to 1026 and
>said: "Boot, you are gone!" I said: "You haven't made your second
>cup of coffee yet."
>
>He grumbled, went off and made the second cup, and by then, I had
>figured out the problem. It got me a good 20 minutes of time to solve
>it.

Subtract a hundred and four for e-mail.

Ron.Marks

unread,
Dec 18, 2004, 3:52:04 PM12/18/04
to
On Sat, 18 Dec 04 10:58:39 GMT, jmfb...@aol.com wrote:

>
>No,no,no. Not in Marlboro. The KAs in that room were #2 and #40.
>They were the closet to the door just across from software development.
>System #514 and #546 were across the room and the HW-10 was behind
>them.

Must be my faulty memory. Maybe it was an "Undetected AR/ARX parity
error".

I seem to remember Rufus working for weeks on KA 1 to get it running,
only to be told to scrap it.

In any case, the system logo bar for KA 1 is down stairs. :-)

jmfb...@aol.com

unread,
Dec 19, 2004, 7:11:46 AM12/19/04
to
In article <fv59s0lks14l5atp7...@4ax.com>,

Ron.Marks <Ron....@RonMarks.com> wrote:
>On Sat, 18 Dec 04 10:58:39 GMT, jmfb...@aol.com wrote:
>
>>
>>No,no,no. Not in Marlboro. The KAs in that room were #2 and #40.
>>They were the closet to the door just across from software development.
>>System #514 and #546 were across the room and the HW-10 was behind
>>them.
>
>Must be my faulty memory. Maybe it was an "Undetected AR/ARX parity
>error".
>
>I seem to remember Rufus working for weeks on KA 1 to get it running,
>only to be told to scrap it.

That's entirely possible but it would have been in the Hardware computer
room. That was across from hardware offices almost next to the
cafeteria.

>
>In any case, the system logo bar for KA 1 is down stairs. :-)

In Marlboro? ;-)

/BAH

John Everett

unread,
Dec 20, 2004, 12:09:37 PM12/20/04
to
On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 17:28:32 GMT, I wrote:

>On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 07:20:33 -0500, Ron.Marks <Ron....@RonMarks.com>
>wrote:
>
>>Bruce never did get a clue.
>
>Was this the same Bruce who had the annoying habit of getting right in
>your face whenever you had a conversation with him, sort of invading
>your personal space?

Since I haven't gotten an answer to the above, how about if I make it
more clear? Was it Bruce Corbin?

jmfb...@aol.com

unread,
Dec 21, 2004, 6:22:28 AM12/21/04
to
In article <lm1es051no5ncvjl0...@4ax.com>,

John Everett <jeve...@earthlink.DEFEAT.UCE.BOTS.net> wrote:
>On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 17:28:32 GMT, I wrote:
>
>>On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 07:20:33 -0500, Ron.Marks <Ron....@RonMarks.com>
>>wrote:
>>
>>>Bruce never did get a clue.
>>
>>Was this the same Bruce who had the annoying habit of getting right in
>>your face whenever you had a conversation with him, sort of invading
>>your personal space?
>
>Since I haven't gotten an answer to the above, how about if I make it
>more clear? Was it Bruce Corbin?

_Bruce_ Corbin? I don't remember a bruce. Are you talking about
the guy who wrote the DATE75 spec? I seem to be blanking out
w.r.t. first names...Rick?

The one we talked about was Evans and I don't think you would
met him.

jmfb...@aol.com

unread,
Dec 21, 2004, 6:27:02 AM12/21/04
to
In article <Fu6dnfRHjok...@rcn.net>, jmfb...@aol.com wrote:
>In article <lm1es051no5ncvjl0...@4ax.com>,
> John Everett <jeve...@earthlink.DEFEAT.UCE.BOTS.net> wrote:
>>On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 17:28:32 GMT, I wrote:
>>
>>>On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 07:20:33 -0500, Ron.Marks <Ron....@RonMarks.com>
>>>wrote:
>>>
>>>>Bruce never did get a clue.
>>>
>>>Was this the same Bruce who had the annoying habit of getting right in
>>>your face whenever you had a conversation with him, sort of invading
>>>your personal space?
>>
>>Since I haven't gotten an answer to the above, how about if I make it
>>more clear? Was it Bruce Corbin?
>
>_Bruce_ Corbin? I don't remember a bruce. Are you talking about
>the guy who wrote the DATE75 spec? I seem to be blanking out
>w.r.t. first names...Rick?
Yea, you're talking about Rick Corbin. He was one who got
into your face when talking. He had dark hair and became
the PDP-10 product manager when the -10 groups were in
Marlboro.

What was the name of the guy who was the first (I think)
product manager in Marlboro? I remember JMF talking about
his bronzed tennis shoes which were displayed in his office.
I never dared to go down there and see them. But I can't
remember the story that went with those shoes.

John Everett

unread,
Dec 21, 2004, 12:59:33 PM12/21/04
to
On Tue, 21 Dec 04 11:27:02 GMT, jmfb...@aol.com wrote:

>In article <Fu6dnfRHjok...@rcn.net>, jmfb...@aol.com wrote:
>>In article <lm1es051no5ncvjl0...@4ax.com>,
>> John Everett <jeve...@earthlink.DEFEAT.UCE.BOTS.net> wrote:
>>>On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 17:28:32 GMT, I wrote:
>>>
>>>>On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 07:20:33 -0500, Ron.Marks <Ron....@RonMarks.com>
>>>>wrote:
>>>>
>>>>>Bruce never did get a clue.
>>>>
>>>>Was this the same Bruce who had the annoying habit of getting right in
>>>>your face whenever you had a conversation with him, sort of invading
>>>>your personal space?
>>>
>>>Since I haven't gotten an answer to the above, how about if I make it
>>>more clear? Was it Bruce Corbin?
>>
>>_Bruce_ Corbin? I don't remember a bruce. Are you talking about
>>the guy who wrote the DATE75 spec? I seem to be blanking out
>>w.r.t. first names...Rick?
>Yea, you're talking about Rick Corbin. He was one who got
>into your face when talking. He had dark hair and became
>the PDP-10 product manager when the -10 groups were in
>Marlboro.

I was obviously having a senior moment. Now I'm even more confused. I
was indeed thinking about Rick Corbin, but now that I've got that
straightened out in my mind I can picture another guy whose name is
Bruce Corbin. I'm sure I worked with him at some point, but can't
remember where.

>What was the name of the guy who was the first (I think)
>product manager in Marlboro? I remember JMF talking about
>his bronzed tennis shoes which were displayed in his office.
>I never dared to go down there and see them. But I can't
>remember the story that went with those shoes.

I remember him, but can't come up with a name. He was hired because he
had some previous software development management experience, but
didn't know a thing about the PDP-10, or TOPS-10. As I recall, he
didn't last very long and was indeed replaced by Rick Corbin.

jmfb...@aol.com

unread,
Dec 22, 2004, 7:29:02 AM12/22/04
to
In article <fbogs0d7co1v9n26p...@4ax.com>,

I'm pretty sure it wasn't DEC ;-) [smartass emoticon here].


>
>>What was the name of the guy who was the first (I think)
>>product manager in Marlboro? I remember JMF talking about
>>his bronzed tennis shoes which were displayed in his office.
>>I never dared to go down there and see them. But I can't
>>remember the story that went with those shoes.
>
>I remember him, but can't come up with a name. He was hired because he
>had some previous software development management experience, but
>didn't know a thing about the PDP-10, or TOPS-10.

We may not be talking about the same guy because I recall
JMF and RAP admiring this man.

Heh...I just realized that RAP made the first smiley.

> .. As I recall, he


>didn't last very long and was indeed replaced by Rick Corbin.

The only reason I can remember Rick is because I typed the
DATE75 spec for him. IIRC, Susan Porada was the go-inbetween
which meant that she carried the written pages downstairs to
12-1, filled out the form, and picked the stuff up.

Michael Thompson

unread,
Jan 4, 2005, 9:10:37 AM1/4/05
to
In article <b0q6s0louke2fe7l6...@4ax.com>,
Ron....@RonMarks.com says...

>
>On Fri, 17 Dec 04 13:35:06 GMT, jmfb...@aol.com wrote:
>
>>>So, Tony came in, made his "Tasters Choice" instant from the hot water
>>>dispenser behind 514
>>
>>This device was called the HW-10.
>
>Now that you mention that, yes, it was..... Actually it was behind KA
>#1 until the powers that be had Rufus, the Field Service guy scrap it.

I thought that KA #1 went to the Computer Museum in Boston.

Ron.Marks

unread,
Jan 4, 2005, 12:30:57 PM1/4/05
to
On Tue, 04 Jan 2005 08:10:37 -0600, m_thomps...@ids.net (Michael
Thompson) wrote:

>I thought that KA #1 went to the Computer Museum in Boston.

It was scrapped in 78 or 79. I was working for Fred Howell at the
time, that's how I remember when.

At that time, there was no computer museum in Boston, it was next door
over in the MR2 lobby and the second floor balcony around the atrium.

The computer the museum did have was a PDP-1 that was running
spacewar.

Eric Smith

unread,
Jan 4, 2005, 2:06:35 PM1/4/05
to
Michael Thompson wrote:
> I thought that KA #1 went to the Computer Museum in Boston.

Ron.Marks wrote:
> It was scrapped in 78 or 79. I was working for Fred Howell at the
> time, that's how I remember when.

The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, which is the
historical artifact spinoff of the Computer Museum in Boston, has the
console cabinet of a KA10, but not any of the rest of the machine.
I don't know the serial number of that piece, but I think I've heard
that it was from Stanford. Could be wrong about that.

They don't have a PDP-6 [*] or KI10. They do have a complete KL10
CPU from a 1090 system that was used at Tymnet. It appears to be in
very good condition. The Museum did not take the Ampex memory box
that was used on it, though, nor the System Concepts SA10 IBM channel
interface and disk subsystem. MCI did not use DEC disks on their
systems, which normally ran Tymcom-X. Joe Smith worked on these
systems so I'm sure he can tell us more about it.

Ron.Marks also wrote:
> The computer the museum did have was a PDP-1 that was running
> spacewar.

And the volunteer PDP-1 restoration team is on the verge of getting
Spacewar running again. The PDP-1 CPU and memory work fine. The
paper tape reader works on dark tape only, but possibly can be
adjusted/recalibrated to work correctly with light colored tape such
as the traditional DEC gray paper tape. The paper tape punch is
waiting on a replacement belt. The console typewriter (IBM Model B
electric typewriter modified for I/O use by Soroban Enginnering) has
been repaired and now works correctly except for input of carriage
returns; possibly there is yet another bent switch contact or a
connector problem.

The paper tape punch and console typewriter aren't necessary to run
Spacewar, though. Aside from the CPU, memory, and PTR, the main
things Spacewar needs are the Type 30 Precision CRT Display subsystem
and some control boxes (although it can use console switches if you
don't mind wearing those out). The museum does not have the original
Spacewar control boxes so we will have to fabricate some. We plan
to make one set that are as close a replica to the originals as
possible, for show, and one set built with modern heavy-duty arcade
buttons for routine use by museum visitors.

The Type 30 display system has taken us quite a while to restore,
and we're probably going to power it up tonight (or next week) for
the first time since it's been in California. As with the PDP-1
itself, the majority of the restoration efforts so far have gone into
repairing power supplies and reforming the electrolytic capacitors.
The Type 30 contained two DEC power supplies (one for logic, and one
high voltage), and an NJE adjustable 0-60V 0-6A power supply for the
deflection power.

The NJE was completely missing, and photos of it running in Boston show
a lab bench power supply sitting under the right side of the Type 30.
We don't know where that bench supply went. Fortunately the museum
has two more Type 30s, one of which is out on tour. The good news is
that the other one did have an NJE supply. The bad news is that its
NJE supply was bad. We didn't have schematics or any other docs for
the NJE. We reformed the capacitors and identified and replaced several
broken components, after which it did produce an output voltage but not
the correct one. Some of the team members have spent a lot of time
reverse-engineering it, as it's a much more complicated power supply
than we would have expected. At last week's team meeting there was a
breakthrough (apparently a cold solder joint on a fuse that protects
one of the transistors), and after fixing that the power supply now
appears to work correctly. We're going to run it with a test load for
an hour or so tonight.

Anyhow, we're very close to being able to power up the Type 30 and see
if it works. We've already tested the PDP-1's interface to the Type 30
and verified that the data bits and strobes all appear to work correctly,
so any trouble we encounter now should be in the Type 30 itself.

At first we were worried that the electronics in the Type 30 didn't match
the documentation. Then we discovered that the connector pinouts on the
computer side of the interface also didn't match the docs. Finally we
found some documentation on a "Type 30G" which includes the character
generator option, and that the module types and locations and the
connector pinout match that.

When Bill Gates spoke at the museum a few months ago, he stopped by
to see the PDP-1. Apparently at Harvard a PDP-1 with Type 30 was being
used as a graphics display subsystem for their PDP-10. Bill was
surprised to learn that there existed a character generator options, as
Harvard's did not have it.

Eric Smith
PDP-1 restoration team volunteer

[*] Let's not start a another discussion of that, please.

Paul Rubin

unread,
Jan 4, 2005, 2:35:11 PM1/4/05
to
Eric Smith <eric-no-s...@brouhaha.com> writes:
[Huge and amazing PDP-1 restoration update]

For some reason I'm reminded of the Ben Newman filksong "Great
Explorer Zero":

http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/users/01/bnewman/songs/lyrics/GreatExplorerZero.txt

Jim Stewart

unread,
Jan 4, 2005, 3:15:37 PM1/4/05
to
Eric Smith wrote:


> They don't have a PDP-6 [*] or KI10. They do have a complete KL10
> CPU from a 1090 system that was used at Tymnet. It appears to be in
> very good condition. The Museum did not take the Ampex memory box
> that was used on it, though, nor the System Concepts SA10 IBM channel
> interface and disk subsystem. MCI did not use DEC disks on their
> systems, which normally ran Tymcom-X. Joe Smith worked on these
> systems so I'm sure he can tell us more about it.

Speaking of PDP-6, does anyone know what
became of the one that was in the basement
of Cory Hall at UC Berkeley?

Bill Leary

unread,
Jan 4, 2005, 4:52:35 PM1/4/05
to
"Ron.Marks" <Ron....@RonMarks.com> wrote in message
news:kgklt0lf86dshto86...@4ax.com...

> At that time, there was no computer museum in Boston, it was next door
> over in the MR2 lobby and the second floor balcony around the atrium.

Could you please expand on that description? I'd swear I toured that museum
once or maybe twice in the company of a DEC employee many years ago, and your
description matches my recollection, but I'm having a heck of a time convincing
folks I talk with that the museum was ever in such a facility. Wasn't it
possible to either directly see outdoors from the atrium, or go through a door
then see outdoors? And where was this? My recollection was that it was
somewhere not too far from where I live (Hopkinton). Perhaps a twenty minute to
half hour drive.

- Bill


Mark Crispin

unread,
Jan 4, 2005, 10:47:06 PM1/4/05
to
On Tue, 4 Jan 2005, Eric Smith wrote:
> The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, which is the
> historical artifact spinoff of the Computer Museum in Boston, has the
> console cabinet of a KA10, but not any of the rest of the machine.
> I don't know the serial number of that piece, but I think I've heard
> that it was from Stanford. Could be wrong about that.

It's not Stanford's. I have that one.

-- Mark --

http://staff.washington.edu/mrc
Science does not emerge from voting, party politics, or public debate.
Si vis pacem, para bellum.

Alan Frisbie

unread,
Jan 4, 2005, 11:22:38 PM1/4/05
to

Yes, you are correct.

In about 1982 (+/- a year or two), I visited the museum in Marlboro.
There were several displays in the lobby, and the rest were on the
mezzanine level. Since it was in a DEC facility, I had to sign in
on the museum guest register before I could tour it. This led to
an amusing incident.

As I was looking at one of the exhibits on the mezzanine, two ladies
came up to me. The younger one (the receptionist) pointed me out
to the older one, who asked if my name was *really* Alan Frisbie, and
if my company was *really* Flying Disk Systems. I replied that this
was true, and presented my business card. The lady introduced herself
as Gwen Bell and explained that the receptionist had noticed my name
and affiliation. Apparently, various pranksters at DEC had been leaving
bogus/humorous names in the register, and they thought I was the "guilty"
party. We all had a good laugh over it.

This introduction led to a long, if sporadic, friendship. Every time
I visited the museum in Boston, I made a point of visiting Gwen, and
she delighted in showing me the lastest acquisition. Now that they
have moved to Mountain View, I really have to load up a trailer and
take some of my artifacts to them.

Alan Frisbie

Mike Ross

unread,
Jan 5, 2005, 1:17:33 AM1/5/05
to
On Tue, 4 Jan 2005 19:47:06 -0800, Mark Crispin
<m...@CAC.Washington.EDU> wrote:

>On Tue, 4 Jan 2005, Eric Smith wrote:
>> The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, which is the
>> historical artifact spinoff of the Computer Museum in Boston, has the
>> console cabinet of a KA10, but not any of the rest of the machine.
>> I don't know the serial number of that piece, but I think I've heard
>> that it was from Stanford. Could be wrong about that.
>
>It's not Stanford's. I have that one.

Mark,

You have a KA?! Or at least the console cabinet of one?

Would you be so kind as to consider taking some high-resolution photos
of the lights & switches and emailing them to me? I have had for some
time a backburnered interest in making a lights & switches replica
interfaced to a -10 emulator...

(and I'll get to your RP06 in my copious free time - it's not
forgotten!

Mike
(busily restoring and respraying the grottiest, ropiest pdp-12 front
panel you ever saw - half the panel paint was *worn to the metal* by
nearly 30 years of hands...)
--
http://www.corestore.org
"All I know is that I'm being sued for unfair business practices by Microsoft. Hello pot? It's kettle on line two" -
Michael Robertson

Bill Leary

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Jan 5, 2005, 7:44:04 AM1/5/05
to
"Alan Frisbie" <Usenet0...@Flying-Disk.com> wrote in message
news:41DB6B8E...@Flying-Disk.com...

> Bill Leary wrote:
> > Could you please expand on that description? I'd swear I toured that museum
> > once or maybe t