Technology Progress

Nov 11, 2009
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As it was my birthday a few days back my son bought me a new external drive for my computer. I left it up to him to decide what to choose but asked for a minimum of 2 TB.

When the package arrived I thought he must have got something wrong. But no a 2TB SSD drive was enclosed. It’s amazing how things have progressed and the photo compares the new drive against the outgoing Western Digital hard drive. The new one is smaller than the WD plug and power supply. I should see a much faster and quieter back up plus vastly improved speed too, and saving in energy!

IMG_3178.jpeg
 
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Sam Vimes

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Sep 7, 2020
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I started in the late 60s when computers took up a lot of space in dedicated rooms, with dedicated operators.

Now with a lot of companies pushing for us to store and run things in the cloud Bit Barns are enormous in comparison and take considerable amounts energy to run. But then the processing power and storage is equally enormous.

I've often wondered how many of these Bit Barns are stuffed with equipment just to store all the Social Media posts and images that will never be accessed again once shared.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I started in the late 60s when computers took up a lot of space in dedicated rooms, with dedicated operators.

Now with a lot of companies pushing for us to store and run things in the cloud Bit Barns are enormous in comparison and take considerable amounts energy to run. But then the processing power and storage is equally enormous.

I've often wondered how many of these Bit Barns are stuffed with equipment just to store all the Social Media posts and images that will never be accessed again once shared.
I recall helping with the programming an analogue computer that took up a large room. Then moved on to digital via Algol, before I saw the light and moved on to things mechanical.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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1978 the ground floor of our 12 storey office block was full up with IBM main frames. By 2008 that room and the computers had gone replaced by a tiny couple of things ?? And we all had magnificent desk tops .Each night a designated person in IT did a download and took tapes or whatever they were to another site. They probably had all our old IBM stuff for storing the days info? Well it was something like that, now I use the Cloud wherever that is😉😉
 
May 15, 2023
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As a PC field engineer in the mid 80's, I attended a call where a business customer was upgrading their PC, an IBM XT from a 10Mb hard disk to a massive 20Mb hard disk!
I had a group of people round me who were genuinely amazed when they saw that the new 20Mb drive was half the size of the original 10Mb. Fortunately I had a blanking plate to fill the gap above the new "half height" drive.

A bit later we installed a Network in a slate quarry near Bethesda, the Novell 286 file server had a couple of 100Mb drives that served the entire sales team . If you had told us then that people would have 2Tb of storage at home we would have thought you had been on the pop!
 
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Sam Vimes

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I can remember the external storage on my BBC B machine was an audio cassette. Very slow and a real pain in the deriere if it gave up loading just before the end and you had to start over again.

The Mini-Computer systems I worked on the 70s had what we called a Pullman Reader ( often refered to as a Poormans Reader). It was a paper tape reader that was little more than a slot in the front panel that you literally pulled the paper tape through. Of course being engineers we tried to see how fast it would read by using a Paper Tape winder to pull it through.

Floppy Discs have disappeared and pretty much the same story for CD R/W drives. Many a laptop doesn't even include a DVD R/W drive.

As a PC field engineer in the mid 80's, I attended a call where a business customer was upgrading their PC, an IBM XT from a 10Mb hard disk to a massive 20Mb hard disk!
I had a group of people round me who were genuinely amazed when they saw that the new 20Mb drive was half the size of the original 10Mb. Fortunately I had a blanking plate to fill the gap above the new "half height" drive.

A bit later we installed a Network in a slate quarry near Bethesda, the Novell 286 file server had a couple of 100Mb drives that served the entire sales team . If you had told us then that people would have 2Tb of storage at home we would have thought you had been on the pop!
Also in the 80's we were designing systems using CDC Hawk Drives 10Mbytes split between a fixed and exchangeable platter. It was larger than a washing machine.

cdcmagnetic-peripherals-14-10mb-removable-cartridge-drive-for-parts-cdc_magperf_hawk_2.10__881...jpg

I could go on and on about although the changes I've been involved in. :)
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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Not quite computers, but technology. When I started as a TV engineer apprentice we still had valve sets mainly black & White. The progressed into colour TVs, but went straight into transistors an ICs, no colour valve sets. We worked to component level although many TVs had removable modules. From there it progressed to solid state PC boards with no modules.

However components were then fitted to both sides of the PC board and the print was so fine that resolving issues became very time consuming. At that point I did a career change. I believe now that flat screen TVs are again modular and if changing the module does not resolve the issue, it is cheaper to dump the TV?
 
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Jun 20, 2005
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I well remember the early colour TVs. Most were rented out by two major TV Hire companies. In the late 70 s early 80s we were receiving claims for about four fires a week in peoples homes! All caused by self ignition of the new rental TV.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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I well remember the early colour TVs. Most were rented out by two major TV Hire companies. In the late 70 s early 80s we were receiving claims for about four fires a week in peoples homes! All caused by self ignition of the new rental TV.
Initially we only had six manufacturers of TV, Blaupunkt, Telefunken, version of Rediffusion TV, Fuchs and Sony and Panasonic. One import called Solaris was allowed. By today's standards most of those old TVs consumed enough electric to heat a home! LOL!
 
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I'll admit that I am a geek and spend some of my spare time restoring old 70's and 80's home computers (Mostly Atari) and upgfrading and hacking them to do all sorts of stuff that they should'nt be able to do (Like HDMI video output, access the web etc)
I recently went down a youtube wormhole learning about the Apollo missions rope core memory. Truely astonishing that we got people to space and back with that stuff

View: https://youtu.be/hckwxq8rnr0
 
Jun 20, 2005
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Initially we only had six manufacturers of TV, Blaupunkt, Telefunken, version of Rediffusion TV, Fuchs and Sony and Panasonic. One import called Solaris was allowed. By today's standards most of those old TVs consumed enough electric to heat a home! LOL!
From memory amongst the offenders were Baird , Pye, GEC .Grundig we’re up there but I don’t recall any issues with theirs
 
Jul 18, 2017
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From memory amongst the offenders were Baird , Pye, GEC .Grundig we’re up there but I don’t recall any issues with theirs
If I recall correctly Grundig and Fuchs were one and the same. The Rediffusion TV came in through the back door as it was British. I think in the first year of TV in SA in 1975 well over a million TVs were sold so huge profits as they were not cheap by any standards.
 

Sam Vimes

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Sep 7, 2020
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I'll admit that I am a geek and spend some of my spare time restoring old 70's and 80's home computers (Mostly Atari) and upgfrading and hacking them to do all sorts of stuff that they should'nt be able to do (Like HDMI video output, access the web etc)
I recently went down a youtube wormhole learning about the Apollo missions rope core memory. Truely astonishing that we got people to space and back with that stuff

View: https://youtu.be/hckwxq8rnr0
I was fortunate enough to go to Huston and Mission Control in the 80s. I saw the inside of one of the Apollo capsules and was amazed at how primitive it was.

In respect of core memories we used these in systems in the 70s. I recall one story when one of the core stores was returned for repair and one of the engineers cleaned it with a high pressure air line. Lots of little black bits came of it - the ferrite beads. One completely dead core store.
 
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Oct 8, 2006
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Not quite computers, but technology. When I started as a TV engineer apprentice we still had valve sets mainly black & White. The progressed into colour TVs, but went straight into transistors an ICs, no colour valve sets. We worked to component level although many TVs had removable modules. From there it progressed to solid state PC boards with no modules.

However components were then fitted to both sides of the PC board and the print was so fine that resolving issues became very time consuming. At that point I did a career change. I believe now that flat screen TVs are again modular and if changing the module does not resolve the issue, it is cheaper to dump the TV?
Its called built-in obsolescence!
 
Oct 8, 2006
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He would have been delighted, the ZX80 and ZX81 had 8K ROM and 1K RAM... :)

That takes me back, especially when you added 16K RAM by plugging a great big module on the back!!

Mind you there was plenty of good programs that ran in 640K RAM on an XT - WordPerfect for one (and that was brilliant at using its dictionary to solve crosswords!)
 
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