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Author Topic: Angry Computer Operator  (Read 23784 times)
Aleksandrs Guba
Jr. Member
Posts: 83

« on: May 17, 2007, 01:45:18 pm »

'I was an operator on an NCR-315 (CRAM) in the late 60's & there was a programmer who had created 3 or 4 Christmas songs to play when you placed a transistor radio on the memory core cabinet.  We had to load the programs in via punched paper tape -- one at a time, of course!  (Multi-processing -- what's that?!?)

I miss all the banks of flashing neon lights; but I don't miss the sound of the CRAM cards dropping down the chute onto the rotating drums.

We also had a computer operator (an aspiring programmer) who had a slight flare for the dramatic. Since our computer room was a glass wall on one side (to show the workers that we had a modern computer system running), people were always watching us work.  He built a simple timer program that did nothing but read cards, paper tape and print garbage on the printer.  The tricky thing was, it had a built in timing loop that he knew about, so he would start up the program and nothing would happen for quite a few seconds -- then at the appropriate time, the operator would swear and make a show of kicking the computer or pounding on the console -- then everything would seem to start working at once -- quite the public display; although management never quite seemed to get the entertainment value of the show!


Found somewhere on the Net
« Last Edit: May 17, 2007, 01:56:50 pm by Aleksandrs Guba » Logged
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2007, 10:14:10 pm »

My first contact with computers was in London, a 2nd of January, a NCR315, and it happened to have a transistor radio on top Just below the top cover used to live the "guitars", the very heart of the machine. Somebody had developed a machine language program that loaded from punched tape. It consisted of a dozen christmas tunes, so far unknown to me, such as Deck the halls, Hark the angels something or other, etc.  So even now, after 42 years, whenever I hear any of a number of anglosaxon christmas songs, it takes me back to that happy time. Smiley Smiley Smiley
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2007, 10:20:01 pm »

Well, now it comes to my mind. The "guitars" were arrays of Program Counter Sums" (PCS), that was wires going through huge ferrite cores, driven by delay lines in cans.

So much for vintage hardware!! Shocked Shocked Shocked
n8eyh with OCD-WM42 of Hilse
Jr. Member
Posts: 60

« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2007, 05:48:48 am »

Hi! All,

In my case, I used to watch the short wave radio receiver to notice the end of 'NEAT/3 Compiling' in Dec 1969.
When I started my job in NCR Japan, there was a show room in the head office to confirm the beautiful colored units of Century 100 and look at the operating works of the Data Center Services with NCR315-100(?).

As the computer needed to get the air conditioning system to keep the low temperature and humidity, it was very cold for us as non-professional freshmen to stay for compiling and debugging our own programs. Because it needed the re-compiling to correct source lines of the NEAT/3 based program in my case.
One weekend day in Dec, I was working to correct my problem of the software with listening  the X'mas music through my short wave radio receiver, alone.

When I got out of the computer room by too-much coldness, I noticed that the computer was making the phasing noise in the short wave band. Especially if the computer was running the idle loop, the phasing noise made the sound like the white noise instead of the printing or disk-seeking noise.
When the B1 kernel needed the operator reply of pressing 'EE' Bell for confirming the next procedure, the kernel used to run the while loop routine to wait for the interrupt from the type-writer, with transmitting the white noise on the short wave band.

After understanding this cause-effect, I used to enjoy to work in the confortable desk during compiling.
Because my program needed almost 2 hours to compile on the Century 100 with 16 Kbytes memory and dual spindle 40MB heavy head 655 disks.

I am remembering my fresh days around 1970.
I am wishing a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for every person to share this web site.

Best rtegards,
« Last Edit: January 05, 2008, 03:19:41 am by n8eyh » Logged

Katsuhiko Hirai
Fan of the Century architecture under 63 index registers.
Posts: 4

« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2008, 09:41:04 pm »

Ah ...  the famous Christmas Carolls Tongue
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