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 on: October 08, 2016, 07:58:56 pm 
Started by fred - Last post by heikobuss
Hello Fred,

>> It seems like all the messages on the forum are quite old.

You are right - unfortunately .....

>> Is everybody dying off or what?

No, not all - I'm still alive - Thank God!

I was a Field Engineer for the Century series in Germany.

After 5 years of work I switched to the other side of the desk - from Hard- to Software and from a NCR-employee to a NCR-customer-employee.

There I hat to write a whole lot of software - mostly in NEAT/3 and NEAT/VS.

And you are right - in the pre-Terminal-ages the changes to all the files where made in sequential acces - via the "Father-Son-technique" (I hope, this is the correct english word for that).

Of course I wrote my own indexed-access-routines - I guess, everybody does this. But with the restricted space on a 655-Disk (4,5 MB!) one had not too much of possibilities!

Then came the Terminal-Dialog-Ages. In germany whe had  from NCR Augsburg a software package named "TECOS" - you could write dialog programs with "Send/Reveice"-Commands. And a package named "MIDAS" - this was a small clone of the well known Database-Package "TOTAL" from Cincom Systems. With "MIDAS" you had a set of random commands to retrieve/change/insert data - very comfortable for that times.

Later on on the Criterion Mainframe there were indexed acces via the "CAM"-Method of access.

Good memories - yes, times have changed ....

All the best

 on: October 06, 2016, 01:18:21 am 
Started by fred - Last post by fred
Is anybody listening in here or contributing? It seems like all the messages on the forum are quite old. Is everybody dying off or what?

I just found the site but had no way to get in on it because registration had been locked. An email to the webmaster gave me access.

My interest to look came about because my daughter asked me to write a little history of our business. I was one of the founders of SBUG which stood for Service Bureau Users Group where all of us used NCR computers. Of course I threw just about everything out from those days in the early 70s but she wanted a picture of our mainframe. Who keeps such things. Luckily this site has quite a bit of memorabilia available thanks to people who saved stuff.

I have one question that has been bugging me. When I was a Sr. Analyst I had several customer sites under my wing. Most folks were using or trying to use existing NCR software packages but my main client expected me to write most of their software custom and being that NCR included about a year of support, I was the lucky guy to do it. Problem was there was no way to get to data except for random and sequential access. I had to write my own indexed sequential access system and always wondered how did other programmers handle access. Any thoughts?


 on: September 05, 2016, 07:54:57 pm 
Started by lapham - Last post by lapham
I am new here so I hope you will forgive me if I'm not in the right directory Grin
I started with NCR in 1962 in Chicago. I was an service apprentice working on the 390 systems. Most of my training as an apprentice was at Spiegel's where they had 5 390's - Tracer numbers 1, 2, and 5 were 3 of them. I graduated from CTEC and spent the next 12 years servicing 390 and 500 systems in Chicago. We had about 50 systems and 6 servicemen. I remember a lot more about the 390 and 500 than I really want to Grin
In 1976 I went to Cambridge as a specialist on the Retail Systems - 725, 8250, 8270 and 9020 just to name a few. This group later became the Retail Global Support Center in Atlanta in 1990. I retired from there in 2000 but I am still friends with many of my coworkers. Over the 39 years with NCR I also serviced many other machines - too numerous to mention like 315, CRAM, on-line communications on and on.
When I figure out how to post pictures I will. I tried to attach a picture of the Chicago EDP office and Data Center as a test.
Any questions about 390 or 500 fire away. Or 725, 8250, 8270, 9020.
Richard Lapham

 on: September 01, 2016, 11:39:00 am 
Started by Shafe - Last post by Grondak
So Zedy, can you tell me anything else about them like who wrote them (someone @ NCR, or a user)? I know the source code might be impossible to find anymore, if it exists at all, but did you ever see the source code for those particular games?

I wrote Star Trek when I worked for NCR in Adelaide, South Australia, in the 1970s.  I have no idea what happened to the source code, but I believe it's still floating around somewhere.

The way I wrote it was by taking an inferior text-based version that ran on Data General and rewrote it all in COBOL on the 8250 we had in our office.  (After I left NCR to work for Wang in 1979, I took the code with me and modified it to run on Wang VS COBOL.)

 on: November 26, 2015, 08:08:40 pm 
Started by Somebody - Last post by donowens
My memory indeed failed me again! The 308 I mentioned before is actually a 310!

 on: November 26, 2015, 05:35:09 pm 
Started by Somebody - Last post by donowens
I started working on the 315 as an apprentice in Indianapolis. In January, I was sent to service the 315 at the Indiana National Bank, reporting to Frank Murphy. He had me working on the CRAM units from day one, but I also assisted with service on the rest of the system before long. In addition to the Indiana National, we also had Merchants National Bank. Between the two site, there were seven Cram units, all my responsibility to service.

In September, I was sent to Dayton for training on the 315, finishing in May 1964. During this time, I received a transfer offer as a Technical Writer for the 353 family and was sent to Hawthorne. It was there I met Jim Taylor, better known to this forum as JimT. I wrote the service and parts manuals for the 353-2 unit. I also wrote manuals for the 420-2.

A side note about the 315 photos in the Gallery - the fourth picture from the end is not related to the 315, it is a 308 (if my memory is right), which NCR oem'ed from either 3M or CDC. It was an octal base machine rather than hexadecimal, and only had paper tape, at least the one I worked on. For some reason, I remember I received a routine to be used for debug and had to key the whole thing in as octal characters - big pain.

 on: November 17, 2015, 03:12:49 pm 
Started by Chris - Last post by Russ_Bartlett
  The reply to aptitude question #7  is incorrect.  Let me break this question down:
1.   None of the boxes contain numbers therefore the contents are irrelevant to a point however,  content of box 6 being the exception!
2.   Box 7 is a distraction.
3.   The process steps are about iteration - 
a.   At step number 5 the box number is increased by 1 (stop after 4 iterations)
b.   At step 6 the box number is decreased by 1 (stop after 3 iterations)
4.   The decision test to stop iterations is at step 3 therefore we can immediately jump to this step with the pointer for box number set at 5 (we have done 4 iterations up and 3 down to 9)
5.   So the question now is the second box number mentioned in instruction 2 (now 5) less than the number in box 6.  If we make the number in box 6 = a value of 5 we   will go to “END” which is exactly what we want to do as we don’t want another iteration!
6.   Box 6 could in fact contain any value greater than 5 to cause the process to terminate but as the question states “in order to accomplish this no more no less”  I’m saying 5 is the correct answer.

 on: October 11, 2015, 01:10:22 am 
Started by heikobuss - Last post by heikobuss

a collegue from NCR Hamburg (Germany) had to fix a funny fault on a Century-100.

Everytime when a Program selects the Magtape, the ME-Light (Memory-Error) on the Console turns on, and the System stops.

You remember: When executing an INOUT-Command, the A-Adress of the Command points to the PAF-Characters needed.

The Trunk/IO-Logic then sends all the needed PAF-Characters (Trunk/Position, Function, etc.) to the Peripheral. When all necessary Characters are send, the Peripheral (or, in this case, the Magtape-Controller) raises the "End-of-Control-Information"-Line on the trunk, and the IO-Function starts.

But the Controller failed to raise this line, and so many PAF-Characters where send to the Controller until the "end of memory" in the processor was reached, and the "LGM"-Term ("L-Register greater memory") was raised, and the ME-Light on the Console  turns on ....

The reason was a faulty NCR80-Chip in the Magtape-Controller. My collegue hat to replace this chip, and everybody was happy .....

Fascinating memorys - that was the time you had to know what to do!

All the best

 on: August 30, 2015, 06:22:24 pm 
Started by heikobuss - Last post by heikobuss

Hello to all,

I open this thread to invite all the former Century Field Engineers around the world.

Let's talk about the hardware of this nice machine - the last NCR-Mainframe where Field Engineers are trained on very extensiv, very close, very long and down to chip level. The next mainframe-generation training just goes mainly down to board level (board swapping).

Let's talk about the internals and architecture of the Century processor and the peripherals. Let's tell all the interesting, sometimes exciting or funny stories we experienced at the customers site during fault finding and repair!

I remember the LA- and LB-Registers. I remember stepping throug N-Flows and P-Counts via the Microstep-Switch on the Console.
I remember in the processor the K1-Latch - the "miscellaneous decision latch"! This latch was driven by really a lot important Terms!

When processing an I/O-Command (hex "70") I remember the trunk terms "JCSEL" and "JCSIP" (and others) and the PAF and the "control words" (hex 04xx).

I remember the  "Between-commands-testing" (BCT) after each processed command.

I remember loading the Bootstrap Card into the Address "00A0", "ACT", "LOAD" - and things began to move ....

And - of course - I remember the head crashes on the 655 Disk - then cleaning everything,changing the head, mounting the alignment pack, aligning the heads ....

The 657 Disk has really rare head problems - but the Actuator was oil-driven - and sometimes the diaphragm breaks ....

657 Disk: I remember installing the PERK-Feature on a century 200 - this speeds up the trunk to operate the 657 in high density mode (1322 Bytes/sector). What a lot of wirewrap work ....

And, and, and ...

Please join and tell all the storys from your work at the front!

Kind regards

 on: February 23, 2015, 05:29:00 pm 
Started by n8eyh with OCD-WM42 of Hilse - Last post by n8eyh with OCD-WM42 of Hilse
Dear Wally,

  I appreciate your kind advise with a nice ham-shack corner photo.
I could find the Heathkit Antenna Tuner, Daiwa Antenna Tuner CNA 1001, and IC-710A.
Because recently I got them from Japanese Yahoo auction, too,  and got Collins HF-2050 receiver that had designed as the original 1st version of SDR during early 1980s.
Unfortunately, I am still now preparing to restart my radio hobby again since my moving to Nara from Yokohama.
Some day, I am sure to communicate with you in Germany, through wireless method.
Best regards, Katsuhiko

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