Paleotechnology: How a Computer System Works (A 1975 Book)

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Time to take a quick tour through a book on computing from 1975.  How A Computer System Works is fully illustrated and a wonder to behold – there’s just something lovable about those gigantic whirring boxes.  So, let’s take a walk through the pages of antiquated technology, shall we?


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It’s amazing to think that your cell phone can do more than this behemoth could ever dream of.


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CRT = cathode ray tube


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Here’s the Large Scale Univac – basically a maze of cabinets.  Whoever sat at that desk probably felt like Captain Kirk.


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The early Seventies – the age small skirts but huge computers. It’s amazing to think that we shot people into space with this technology.


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“Characters of Information” is the antiquated way of saying “bytes”. So  – 8.4 MB.


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I don’t think these pens worked too well. It would be another three decades before the touch screen really became a part of everyday life. I’m glad to see he’s got his ashtray situated nearby.


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Early “green screen” terminal connected to a mainframe.


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Link to the newspaper article about this amazing new device


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When the photo shoot was over, he went back to playing Minesweeper.


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This is just too awesome to put into words, so I won’t even try.


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I miss the dot matrix printer. There was something cool about the way it struck those dots line by line right in front of you. Laser and Inkjet are so “hidden” – the page just blandly spits out fully complete. Dot matrix put some elbow grease into their printouts.


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I sure hope there’s no mistakes on that copy, because you’ll have to type the whole damned thing again. Typos could be devastating back then.


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If I walked up and found this going on in a telephone booth, I’d think some crazy shit was about to go down.


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One invention I could do without is the autotune. It makes even the lousiest singer sound on key…… of course, it also sounds cold and inhuman, and has contributed to the destruction of the music industry as we know it. But I digress….


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I remember certain software required multiple diskettes for installation. So, let’s say you had Aldus Pagemaker in 1987 – you were looking at maybe 15 disks, each with a label “1 of 15”, “2 of 15,” etc. Your 386 would huff and puff with each one, making the whole thing pretty time and labor intensive.


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It’s my understanding that the first item ever to be scanned at a register was pack of Wrigley’s chewing gum.


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Forget the microfiche, how about that micro-mini!


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I sure hope these ladies weren’t under the impression this new technology was going to make their jobs easier.


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He’s not driving while working that thing, is he? Seems a bit cumbersome.

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