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Two-tonne Witch computer gets a reboot

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  • Two-tonne Witch computer gets a reboot

    Cool old technology. Also gives us an idea as to just how far we've advanced technologically in a short period of time.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20395212

  • #2
    Absolutely amazing. I'd love to see it run.

    That said, will it run JAVA?
    "The Administration does not support blowing up planets." --- Finally some SENSIBLE policy from the Gov!

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    • #3
      Brings back memories, in the early 60's a friend of mine used to pick up the metal scrap at the Atomic Research Lab at Harwell, he would swing by my place for me to look it over, I acquired a regular treasure trove of electronic instruments and the result of failed experiments that yielded high cost transistors and components of the time.
      Funded some of my early training!!
      Max.

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      • #4
        I thought you were talking about my Wife!

        The video is cool -- neice that folks are bringing these historic machines back to life.
        "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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        • #5
          This is the first computer I programmed in 1963:

          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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          • #6
            Is that you? Gotta love them socks!

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            • #7
              Ding-ding ding - cocoa's ready kids, come on in and get next to the computer and get warm...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Evan View Post
                This is the first computer I programmed in 1963:

                (Bendix G-15)
                Same here, 1967...... my high school had one.
                1601

                Keep eye on ball.
                Hashim Khan

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                • #9
                  But will it play Crysis?

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                  • #10
                    I've still got boxes and boxes of punch cards from this Elliot 401



                    http://www.harpenden-history.org.uk/...__0p4p64p.aspx

                    I've got a couple of the card storage cabinets that come in very handy as tool storage.
                    Paul Compton
                    www.morini-mania.co.uk
                    http://www.youtube.com/user/EVguru

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by macona View Post
                      But will it play Crysis?
                      How about Pong?

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                      • #12
                        But does it blend?
                        Amount of experience is in direct proportion to the value of broken equipment.

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                        • #13
                          Back in the 70s I worked for a UHF TV station. Back then that meant low budget. We (I) bought an old RCA video switcher for use there. It had about five "buses" or rows of buttons, each button representing a different video and audio source. Although it used transistor circuitry for the actual video and audio pathways, they choose relays for several other tasks. It had a "Preset" bus or row of buttons where the next video/audio source could be pre-selected to avoid mistakes on the air. This selection as well as the current on air selection was remembered by relays. Selecting it produces a bit of plainly heard relay activity. When the "Take" button was pressed, the real fun started. The relays transfered the preselected video and audio to the on air bus and the previous on air sources to the preset bus. This was done to allow quickly switching back and forth between two sources (like two cameras) in rapid succession. This meant a fury of relay activity in a second or so. It was a joy to hear working. It was almost musical and I used to say the relays were dancing.

                          It was old for the day, but it was quite reliable and we got several years of good service out of it. After it's installation and initial set-up, it never required any maintenance beyond changing the lamps in the buttons and indicators (LEDs were practically non existent then). I have no idea of the ultimate fate of this great machine.

                          On the shop side, the control panel was about 24" x 18" and made from 3/16" or perhaps 1/4" steel. It was quite a bit of shop work that impressed me, even back then and it weighed a ton. But, unlike aluminum panels that are drilled or punched full of holes, no additional stiffening was needed and it never bent, even a deflected by a discernible amount when operators took out their rage on it. I suspect that the holes were punched, but they were rectangular so that was a fun job that probably required custom dies. They probably only produces a few hundred of them so that work was probably by hand.
                          Paul A.
                          SE Texas

                          Make it fit.
                          You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

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                          • #14
                            I have a few cartons of computer relics in my shed, core ram made by Ferranti (who, according to Wiki, marketed their first commercial computer in 1951), all manner of pneumatic valves and some sort of what I presume to be a pneumatic "logic block" not to mention all the selsyn/magslip type devices and strange mechanical contrivances.

                            "Computers" must have been so much more fun 60+ years ago!

                            Paul, I have a few panels of very nice aluminium plate about 9mm (inch equivalent I suppose 3/8"?) think. These were the front planels of mainframe type tape drives.
                            Last edited by The Artful Bodger; 11-24-2012, 02:43 PM.

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                            • #15


                              That's my ID card that goes on top of the card deck of whatever program you are submitting for a run. I studied Comp Sci at UC Berkeley
                              Last edited by Evan; 11-24-2012, 04:42 PM.
                              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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