Walking tour of Pacific Grove — where CPM was invented

[podtech content=http://media1.podtech.net/media/2007/08/PID_012167/Podtech_TomRolander_Part3.flv&postURL=http://www.podtech.net/home/3826/part-iii-of-conversations-with-tom-rolander &totalTime=818000&breadcrumb=9488dcfff4ee405f8f866071b4db2ed9]

If you visit Pacific Grove you’ll see no visible reminders of the once-great Digital Research, makers of CPM. There are no plaques. No historical markers. It’s just the fading memory of people who were part of the computer industry in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

It’s why I try to interview as many “grey beards” as possible, so we can get these stories down before they disappear forever.

Here we take a walking tour with Tom Rolander (one of the key executives at Digital Research). You see the house where IBM visited and tech industry history was changed forever.

By the way, in the first part of my interview with Tom Rolander he mentioned a libel lawsuit with Tim Paterson, the guy who sold DOS to Bill Gates. Well, Tim gives his part of the story on his blog. This is a remarkable age where we can get perspectives on a significant historical event from the people involved.

I wonder how we can preserve all of these perspectives so that people 100 or, even, 1,000 years from now can understand what happened and why the world has Microsoft and not Digital Research? After all, we still talk about CocaCola’s beginnings and its impact on the world. Did you know that CocaCola’s bottling rights were sold for $1?

One thing is I hope others join me in getting important historical stories on video. If you have someone in your life who played a key role in tech industry history I’d love to see them talk about it. The folks who built the personal computer industry are now 50 to 60 years old. We’ve already lost many who came before, like Hewlett and Packard. It would be a shame to lose these stories forever since we now have the ability to get them down and share them with the world.

Published by

Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology for Rackspace's startup program. He's interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports what he learns in books ("The Age of Context," a book coauthored with Forbes author Shel Israel, has been released at http://amzn.to/AgeOfContext ), YouTube, and many social media sites where he's followed by millions of people. Best place to watch me is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble

Comments

  1. “I wonder how we can preserve all of these perspectives so that people 100 or, even, 1,000 years from now can understand what happened and why the world has Microsoft and not Digital Research?”

    Who was the leading blacksmith of the crusades?
    Do a lot of people today, 1000 years later really care?

    Microsoft will be all but gone in 50 years, much less 100. Bob Cringley already largely did the work.

    It’s preserved on DVD and available at Amazon.com

    Most geeks are more interested in code and reality than the facade though.

  2. “I wonder how we can preserve all of these perspectives so that people 100 or, even, 1,000 years from now can understand what happened and why the world has Microsoft and not Digital Research?”

    Who was the leading blacksmith of the crusades?
    Do a lot of people today, 1000 years later really care?

    Microsoft will be all but gone in 50 years, much less 100. Bob Cringley already largely did the work.

    It’s preserved on DVD and available at Amazon.com

    Most geeks are more interested in code and reality than the facade though.

  3. Chris: yes, a lot of people actually do care. Go to the Smithsonian sometime, or the historical buildings in Europe or in Israel, and see how many visitors they get.

  4. Chris: yes, a lot of people actually do care. Go to the Smithsonian sometime, or the historical buildings in Europe or in Israel, and see how many visitors they get.

  5. I’ve been to the Louvre in 2005 when the people were burning stuff in the streets of Paris and the airfare was really cheap, and I didn’t see any medieval blacksmiths. When they do show that stuff they just show the wares, with a little card beside it.

    I would think MS will be the same, a 200 lb Altair representing the 20th century and a footnote citing Micro-soft.(and MIPS)

    By that time there will be so much human history that it probably won’t be any more than that. (unless we kill ourselves in a Nuclear war as Carl Sagan implies is likely and probable).

  6. I’ve been to the Louvre in 2005 when the people were burning stuff in the streets of Paris and the airfare was really cheap, and I didn’t see any medieval blacksmiths. When they do show that stuff they just show the wares, with a little card beside it.

    I would think MS will be the same, a 200 lb Altair representing the 20th century and a footnote citing Micro-soft.(and MIPS)

    By that time there will be so much human history that it probably won’t be any more than that. (unless we kill ourselves in a Nuclear war as Carl Sagan implies is likely and probable).

  7. “It’s why I try to interview as many “grey beards” as possible, so we can get these stories down before they disappear forever.”

    Well, Scoble. No need to worry. This topic has been documented in books, documentaries, tv shows, etc, ad nauseum. So, no need to worry that it will be lost. And a long list of people documented it well before you came along. So,move along. Nothing new to see here. But, nice try!

  8. “It’s why I try to interview as many “grey beards” as possible, so we can get these stories down before they disappear forever.”

    Well, Scoble. No need to worry. This topic has been documented in books, documentaries, tv shows, etc, ad nauseum. So, no need to worry that it will be lost. And a long list of people documented it well before you came along. So,move along. Nothing new to see here. But, nice try!

  9. I agree with LayZ here. It’s too little too late for this topic.

    What could you do that *would* be novel?

    The youtube/Google deal for 1.6 Billion supposedly went down in a Dennys restaurant in Cali. You could scope out the Dennys, have the same grand slam that they did, and do a full report on it, then you could interview Chad Hurley and the other players that participated. Not in mono-view style like you did with Tom, but in multi-plex mode like Cringley did when he covered the PCDOS deal with cut aways, narratives and the whole 9.

  10. I agree with LayZ here. It’s too little too late for this topic.

    What could you do that *would* be novel?

    The youtube/Google deal for 1.6 Billion supposedly went down in a Dennys restaurant in Cali. You could scope out the Dennys, have the same grand slam that they did, and do a full report on it, then you could interview Chad Hurley and the other players that participated. Not in mono-view style like you did with Tom, but in multi-plex mode like Cringley did when he covered the PCDOS deal with cut aways, narratives and the whole 9.

  11. I loved that.
    Tom Rolander was great.
    I love people with sense of humor.
    Robert, thank you for the tour and for the risk you were taking for us, walking backward all the time.

    Great.
    Just Great.

  12. I loved that.
    Tom Rolander was great.
    I love people with sense of humor.
    Robert, thank you for the tour and for the risk you were taking for us, walking backward all the time.

    Great.
    Just Great.

  13. You’re right, Robert. Go back four or five decades and find out what was current. If important, it’s essential we document what happened or the practitioners will disappear. Then, it will become a struggle to reconstruct what happened from secondary documents alone. That’s never a completely satisfying endeavor.

    The birth of the digital era is important andhas not been fully probed. Yes, we know about the start of cpm, dos, etc but not in great detail. We’ve only begun to think about the consequences of the choices that were made.

    Why not an internet based on Hypercard, not html? What would have happened if Seattle computer hadn’t sold to Gates? What if the academic culture of nonpropietary innovation had not prevailed?

    Lightweight thinkers always believe what happened is what had to be. Thank God there are people like you who appreciate the nuances. To paraphrase John Lennon, history is what happens when everyone is making choices.

  14. You’re right, Robert. Go back four or five decades and find out what was current. If important, it’s essential we document what happened or the practitioners will disappear. Then, it will become a struggle to reconstruct what happened from secondary documents alone. That’s never a completely satisfying endeavor.

    The birth of the digital era is important andhas not been fully probed. Yes, we know about the start of cpm, dos, etc but not in great detail. We’ve only begun to think about the consequences of the choices that were made.

    Why not an internet based on Hypercard, not html? What would have happened if Seattle computer hadn’t sold to Gates? What if the academic culture of nonpropietary innovation had not prevailed?

    Lightweight thinkers always believe what happened is what had to be. Thank God there are people like you who appreciate the nuances. To paraphrase John Lennon, history is what happens when everyone is making choices.

  15. There are plenty of people who have interesting stories about the history of Silicon Valley and computing in general. I wish I had more than the few stories I heard from my father about Grace Hopper, Ed Roberts vs Bill Gates, Jobs trying to get him to sell the Apple 1, etc.

  16. There are plenty of people who have interesting stories about the history of Silicon Valley and computing in general. I wish I had more than the few stories I heard from my father about Grace Hopper, Ed Roberts vs Bill Gates, Jobs trying to get him to sell the Apple 1, etc.

  17. Robert,

    I’ll host them on Groklaw, gladly. If you prefer, contact ibiblio.org. It’s the public library of the Internet, and they host projects like this very gladly. If you prefer the second option, email me and I’ll put you in touch with the proper parties.

    Best,

    PJ

  18. Robert,

    I’ll host them on Groklaw, gladly. If you prefer, contact ibiblio.org. It’s the public library of the Internet, and they host projects like this very gladly. If you prefer the second option, email me and I’ll put you in touch with the proper parties.

    Best,

    PJ

  19. PJ: that’s very great of you. I’m probably going to donate the tapes I’m shooting to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. Hosting isn’t a problem today, but we should work about this stuff together over time so that vids about the computer industry don’t disappear.

  20. PJ: that’s very great of you. I’m probably going to donate the tapes I’m shooting to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. Hosting isn’t a problem today, but we should work about this stuff together over time so that vids about the computer industry don’t disappear.

  21. I don’t understand why you throw this stuff together though.
    If this is really computer history and not some cheap camcorder vid, then why isn’t it produced that way?

    It’s woefully incomplete.

  22. I don’t understand why you throw this stuff together though.
    If this is really computer history and not some cheap camcorder vid, then why isn’t it produced that way?

    It’s woefully incomplete.

  23. Chris: it’s not meant to be complete. It’s one guy’s version of the events.

    Do you not know how to use Google and Wikipedia? If not, I’ll be willing to teach you. That’s where you find a more complete picture.

    It’s up to us to get the stories down now. Later on other people can mash them together and edit them to tell a more complete picture. Or you could just use Google and do your own mashup.

  24. Chris: it’s not meant to be complete. It’s one guy’s version of the events.

    Do you not know how to use Google and Wikipedia? If not, I’ll be willing to teach you. That’s where you find a more complete picture.

    It’s up to us to get the stories down now. Later on other people can mash them together and edit them to tell a more complete picture. Or you could just use Google and do your own mashup.

  25. Robert, Just thought I’d add an additional perspective from both inside and outside Digital Research. I sold my company, MT MicroSYSTEMS, Inc., where I made the Pascal/MT+ 8080 and 8086 compilers, to DRI in October of 1981 and became the Director of Research and Development at DRI until September 1984.

    In early 1981 I was awarded a contract by Intel to port Pascal/MT+ to both RMX-86 and CP/M-86. As Tim Patterson points out in his “history of DOS” pages, CP/M-86 was late and so I actually purchased a copy of 86-DOS and one of his company’s 8086 S-100 CPU boards to do the development for Intel. I won’t get into the discussion about whether or not SCP violated any of DRI’s copyrights because I am not a lawyer… however, I only had to change one line of code to port Pascal/MT+86 from 86-DOS to CP/M-86 when CP/M-86 was finally released and, in the process of using 86-DOS I did have to write a BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) as I had custom hard drive hardware that I had built in those days and it was essentially identical to the BIOS I subsequently wrote for CP/M-86.

    On the other hand, while I have not seen the source code to any version of MSDOS, even though I now work at Microsoft, I *have* seen the source code to CP/M and CP/M-86 (I ported CP/M to the Motorola 68000 over a weekend in early 1982) and from the debugging I did by “stepping into” 86-DOS, there was a great deal of similarity but it certainly makes sense because one can only implement “put a character on the screen” as an API call which calls the BIOS so many ways.

    In my humble opinion, the crux of the whole matter of the industry changing, however, is that IBM *did* apparently feel there was a potential copyright issue and so agreed to offer CP/M-86. The industry changed not because DRI did not get IBM to distribute CP/M-86, but rather DRI didn’t have the foresight to insist that IBM sell CP/M-86 at the same price as PCDOS. Since DOS was so cheap many dealers simply “threw in” a copy of DOS rather than charging for it which, in essence, bundled PCDOS with the hardware and, except in rare cases, made it the only OS sold with the IBM (and compatible)hardware.

    DRI did, with all the OEMs except IBM, offer competitive pricing of CP/M-86 with DOS but without IBM’s defacto endorsement, and the resultant flood of applications, DOS became dominant.

    This is all just my personal $0.02 and not the opinion of my former employer (Digital Research) nor my present employer (Microsoft).

  26. Robert, Just thought I’d add an additional perspective from both inside and outside Digital Research. I sold my company, MT MicroSYSTEMS, Inc., where I made the Pascal/MT+ 8080 and 8086 compilers, to DRI in October of 1981 and became the Director of Research and Development at DRI until September 1984.

    In early 1981 I was awarded a contract by Intel to port Pascal/MT+ to both RMX-86 and CP/M-86. As Tim Patterson points out in his “history of DOS” pages, CP/M-86 was late and so I actually purchased a copy of 86-DOS and one of his company’s 8086 S-100 CPU boards to do the development for Intel. I won’t get into the discussion about whether or not SCP violated any of DRI’s copyrights because I am not a lawyer… however, I only had to change one line of code to port Pascal/MT+86 from 86-DOS to CP/M-86 when CP/M-86 was finally released and, in the process of using 86-DOS I did have to write a BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) as I had custom hard drive hardware that I had built in those days and it was essentially identical to the BIOS I subsequently wrote for CP/M-86.

    On the other hand, while I have not seen the source code to any version of MSDOS, even though I now work at Microsoft, I *have* seen the source code to CP/M and CP/M-86 (I ported CP/M to the Motorola 68000 over a weekend in early 1982) and from the debugging I did by “stepping into” 86-DOS, there was a great deal of similarity but it certainly makes sense because one can only implement “put a character on the screen” as an API call which calls the BIOS so many ways.

    In my humble opinion, the crux of the whole matter of the industry changing, however, is that IBM *did* apparently feel there was a potential copyright issue and so agreed to offer CP/M-86. The industry changed not because DRI did not get IBM to distribute CP/M-86, but rather DRI didn’t have the foresight to insist that IBM sell CP/M-86 at the same price as PCDOS. Since DOS was so cheap many dealers simply “threw in” a copy of DOS rather than charging for it which, in essence, bundled PCDOS with the hardware and, except in rare cases, made it the only OS sold with the IBM (and compatible)hardware.

    DRI did, with all the OEMs except IBM, offer competitive pricing of CP/M-86 with DOS but without IBM’s defacto endorsement, and the resultant flood of applications, DOS became dominant.

    This is all just my personal $0.02 and not the opinion of my former employer (Digital Research) nor my present employer (Microsoft).

  27. “Or you could just use Google and do your own mashup.”

    I already watched the Cringley video, I even uploaded it to youtube.

    But Cringley interviewed several people, and did a very good cut and clip job to give a contrite and clear picture of what happened. Yours is just unedited video you took with a camcorder.

    As a story teller or dare I say “journalist” it’s your job to tell the story and “mash it all together” to make it understandable to the audience.

    You know, I think I will go out to California next month and do the Chad Hurley Google story with the Dennys. I mean I have an iMac with final cut. I have a DV cam. I can afford plane fair. And if I don’t Cringley will have to tell it in his next PBS special. Who knows how long that will take.

    I only have one more customer left this month in PA, then I am free to go and do this. Of course I will have to contact Google and Hurley first, but I know a few people in SN, so I have a shot. As somebody who has no experience out of high school A/V class, I know you’re supposed to interview several people and give as complete a picture as possible. At least I know that.

    Know doubt 15 secs of your raw footage could be added to something like Cringley’s reel, but I feel that was your job.

  28. “Or you could just use Google and do your own mashup.”

    I already watched the Cringley video, I even uploaded it to youtube.

    But Cringley interviewed several people, and did a very good cut and clip job to give a contrite and clear picture of what happened. Yours is just unedited video you took with a camcorder.

    As a story teller or dare I say “journalist” it’s your job to tell the story and “mash it all together” to make it understandable to the audience.

    You know, I think I will go out to California next month and do the Chad Hurley Google story with the Dennys. I mean I have an iMac with final cut. I have a DV cam. I can afford plane fair. And if I don’t Cringley will have to tell it in his next PBS special. Who knows how long that will take.

    I only have one more customer left this month in PA, then I am free to go and do this. Of course I will have to contact Google and Hurley first, but I know a few people in SN, so I have a shot. As somebody who has no experience out of high school A/V class, I know you’re supposed to interview several people and give as complete a picture as possible. At least I know that.

    Know doubt 15 secs of your raw footage could be added to something like Cringley’s reel, but I feel that was your job.

  29. Chris,

    Robert is cool enough to do some of this, and you’re being completely ungrateful. You sound as if he owes you something, and he does not.

    If you’re not happy with his video projects you’re under no obligation to watch them. You sound like a kid running around the internet posting nothing but negative comments.

    If you could have done better please get off your ass and produce something. Until then you’re not contributing anything other than worthless cocky bullshit.

  30. Chris,

    Robert is cool enough to do some of this, and you’re being completely ungrateful. You sound as if he owes you something, and he does not.

    If you’re not happy with his video projects you’re under no obligation to watch them. You sound like a kid running around the internet posting nothing but negative comments.

    If you could have done better please get off your ass and produce something. Until then you’re not contributing anything other than worthless cocky bullshit.

  31. @Tim

    How would you like it if you were watching 20/20 and they gave you a single first person on a story, and at the end of the interview said:
    “Do you not know how to use Google and Wikipedia? “,
    well you all in TV-land should get off you *ss and go do the research now, because we’re going to go eat some chocolate eclairs.

    They don’t because they’re real journalists. Something Robert claims to also be or share with them.

    I agree that I should contribute more. I emailed a few people I know that could help me get interviews with Hurley and google, but I’m not sure if they’ll be able to do it. I know Lucovsky reads this blog, so Mark, get a hold of me if you want. I would put the short film on the front page of SiteSpaces.net as a promo to get more people to join. So I get *something* concrete out of spending that time on doing it right.

  32. @Tim

    How would you like it if you were watching 20/20 and they gave you a single first person on a story, and at the end of the interview said:
    “Do you not know how to use Google and Wikipedia? “,
    well you all in TV-land should get off you *ss and go do the research now, because we’re going to go eat some chocolate eclairs.

    They don’t because they’re real journalists. Something Robert claims to also be or share with them.

    I agree that I should contribute more. I emailed a few people I know that could help me get interviews with Hurley and google, but I’m not sure if they’ll be able to do it. I know Lucovsky reads this blog, so Mark, get a hold of me if you want. I would put the short film on the front page of SiteSpaces.net as a promo to get more people to join. So I get *something* concrete out of spending that time on doing it right.

  33. Google’s Agency Allison Partners just got back to me and asked me to give them good reason to do a documentary. I did my best and now it’s up to them and God to decide whether I can do it or not. I offered to pay for all expenses and I offered to keep the video documentary free and viewable to the public and not to enforce copyright. In other words to make it public domain. Also to donate it to the Computer Museum in Mountain View. I cited my video documentary at Linux world also.

    Hopefully Google will respond positively and I can put my money where my mouth is.

    As for Scoble, his video was great for just raw footage. Super even. I do not debate that. I just don’t think it’s journalism. It’s definitely youtube material.

  34. Google’s Agency Allison Partners just got back to me and asked me to give them good reason to do a documentary. I did my best and now it’s up to them and God to decide whether I can do it or not. I offered to pay for all expenses and I offered to keep the video documentary free and viewable to the public and not to enforce copyright. In other words to make it public domain. Also to donate it to the Computer Museum in Mountain View. I cited my video documentary at Linux world also.

    Hopefully Google will respond positively and I can put my money where my mouth is.

    As for Scoble, his video was great for just raw footage. Super even. I do not debate that. I just don’t think it’s journalism. It’s definitely youtube material.

  35. Just an observation about such comments as ‘this has been done’ and ‘who cares’ etc.

    Getting the personal recollections and points of view of participants and direct observers is crucial. We don’t know who the ‘leading blacksmith’ was – back then very little history was committed to writing, as compared to today, and the scholarly stance on history was very different.

    To take a more contemporaneous counter-example; George Seldes. This journalist directly observed many significant events of the 20th century, and was personally acquainted with many notable figures. In his writings, especially such books as “Witness to a Century”, “Never Stop Protesting”, and “Even the Gods Can’t Change History” he tells of these things is a light that sometimes diverges quite sharply from received history.

    The point about Seldes, which can apply to others, is that he tells it in such detail that you can investigate yourself from his references and make up your own mind what is likely to be close to the truth.

    Recording the words of those involved in events that have changed, and are still changing, human society and endeavor in ways that we still don’t fully know, is a most valuable work.

  36. Just an observation about such comments as ‘this has been done’ and ‘who cares’ etc.

    Getting the personal recollections and points of view of participants and direct observers is crucial. We don’t know who the ‘leading blacksmith’ was – back then very little history was committed to writing, as compared to today, and the scholarly stance on history was very different.

    To take a more contemporaneous counter-example; George Seldes. This journalist directly observed many significant events of the 20th century, and was personally acquainted with many notable figures. In his writings, especially such books as “Witness to a Century”, “Never Stop Protesting”, and “Even the Gods Can’t Change History” he tells of these things is a light that sometimes diverges quite sharply from received history.

    The point about Seldes, which can apply to others, is that he tells it in such detail that you can investigate yourself from his references and make up your own mind what is likely to be close to the truth.

    Recording the words of those involved in events that have changed, and are still changing, human society and endeavor in ways that we still don’t fully know, is a most valuable work.

  37. I was shocked, shocked to see this walking tour. 801 Lighthouse is on the corner of the street I live on.

    Thanks for illuminating tech history I would have never known about my current home town.

  38. I was shocked, shocked to see this walking tour. 801 Lighthouse is on the corner of the street I live on.

    Thanks for illuminating tech history I would have never known about my current home town.

  39. I can’t agree with the people that things like that have been done already in some forms and ways and that that is enough. This is all history and if you want to understand it, you should look at as many resources as you can.
    I was born in a country that you won’t find in your current atlas anymore. And just like with the computer history, there are some official documentaries and books and the “anniversary specials” but this won’t teach you anything about our lives. You got to have a look at the private photos and shaky 8mm videos to get an impression.
    Everybody who does something like this writes their own script, has their own ideas and questions. So Robert’s work should be added to the others and whoever has the chance to do more like this should share their work as well. Only together they will show what really happened and prevent that history will be written only by the winners.

  40. I can’t agree with the people that things like that have been done already in some forms and ways and that that is enough. This is all history and if you want to understand it, you should look at as many resources as you can.
    I was born in a country that you won’t find in your current atlas anymore. And just like with the computer history, there are some official documentaries and books and the “anniversary specials” but this won’t teach you anything about our lives. You got to have a look at the private photos and shaky 8mm videos to get an impression.
    Everybody who does something like this writes their own script, has their own ideas and questions. So Robert’s work should be added to the others and whoever has the chance to do more like this should share their work as well. Only together they will show what really happened and prevent that history will be written only by the winners.

  41. You’re all going on about MS/PC DOS origins as though it’s the birth of computing. Sorry. How about recording IBM BOS, TOS, DOS, MFT, MVT, MVS, SVS etc, ad nauseum, all existed before for just IBM computers long before Duh OS.

    By the time CP/M was written there were thousands of us that had been using various operating systems on IBM, UniVac, NCR, Honeywell, Siemens, CDC, Singer, ICT/ICL, Wang, Data General, MicroData, etc., etc., for many years. And UNIX was available even for the lowly DEC PDP8 that one could assemble it from a mail order parts catalog!

    DOS, schmoss! Who cares? It wasn’t anything special!

    Perhaps PARC should get this much enthusiasm for their graphical user interface. At least that inspired the creation of the MAC. That software influenced the hardware functionality to support it’s design goals rather than just being another pile of linear code that can (barely) function on generic hardware.

  42. You’re all going on about MS/PC DOS origins as though it’s the birth of computing. Sorry. How about recording IBM BOS, TOS, DOS, MFT, MVT, MVS, SVS etc, ad nauseum, all existed before for just IBM computers long before Duh OS.

    By the time CP/M was written there were thousands of us that had been using various operating systems on IBM, UniVac, NCR, Honeywell, Siemens, CDC, Singer, ICT/ICL, Wang, Data General, MicroData, etc., etc., for many years. And UNIX was available even for the lowly DEC PDP8 that one could assemble it from a mail order parts catalog!

    DOS, schmoss! Who cares? It wasn’t anything special!

    Perhaps PARC should get this much enthusiasm for their graphical user interface. At least that inspired the creation of the MAC. That software influenced the hardware functionality to support it’s design goals rather than just being another pile of linear code that can (barely) function on generic hardware.

  43. Tom neglected to mention that 801 was – and most likely still is – haunted. By Luddite ghosts, most likely – the most common trick was to pull the computer power cords out of the wall sockets overnight.

  44. Tom neglected to mention that 801 was – and most likely still is – haunted. By Luddite ghosts, most likely – the most common trick was to pull the computer power cords out of the wall sockets overnight.

  45. For those like me that have small background on the history of microcomputing and no knowledge of what went on then, I have to express my appreciation for this site and all of the contributors to the Wiki tech histories for defunct computer/software companies.
    My first computer was an Altos MP/m w/5mb HDD/5.25 floppy. It was out of date when purchased, or otherwise I would never have seen it for 2000.00
    I am a computer twit, but I surely appreciate those that fill in the history of development. I learned a fair amount on howblind I was during the early personal computing era.
    You historians with personal insight do have readers outside the tech oriented.
    Thanks again.

  46. For those like me that have small background on the history of microcomputing and no knowledge of what went on then, I have to express my appreciation for this site and all of the contributors to the Wiki tech histories for defunct computer/software companies.
    My first computer was an Altos MP/m w/5mb HDD/5.25 floppy. It was out of date when purchased, or otherwise I would never have seen it for 2000.00
    I am a computer twit, but I surely appreciate those that fill in the history of development. I learned a fair amount on howblind I was during the early personal computing era.
    You historians with personal insight do have readers outside the tech oriented.
    Thanks again.

  47. What leaves me in awe is how there was so much done with the tiny amount of addressable memory less than thirty years ago. Our first CNC machine tool was a 1977 Hurco, based on a Bridgeport Knee mill. Without that guy that wrote the code for the 8080, we would have been out of business. Perhaps my life would have been better in that case as I would have left the machining business behind and gone on to far more rewarding ventures. In fact, I cannot think of any creative enterprises that are less rewarding than metalcutting.
    Cry over spilled beer, har, the guy that wrote the code for the first truly succesful low end CNC machine tool did it on contract for a six week exercise in binary coding. That old 8080 control killed the processing speed of any microprocessor based control for many years. The faster ones had to rely upon DEC PDP8a/11, etc to get similar results for axis control.
    So many in the past have pissed away their talents in doing low return consumer oriented programs when a few innovations could have wiped out the laggard Japanese (that deserved to be run over) machine tool controls.
    BTW, the Japanese controls have not advanced in user software in the past thirty years. They are better at peripheral control such as axis and spindle drives, but have exceptionally backward user features.
    They are sitting ducks even in such simple programming features as multiple offsets for workpieces, and being able to re-start on some position in a repetitive geometry.

  48. What leaves me in awe is how there was so much done with the tiny amount of addressable memory less than thirty years ago. Our first CNC machine tool was a 1977 Hurco, based on a Bridgeport Knee mill. Without that guy that wrote the code for the 8080, we would have been out of business. Perhaps my life would have been better in that case as I would have left the machining business behind and gone on to far more rewarding ventures. In fact, I cannot think of any creative enterprises that are less rewarding than metalcutting.
    Cry over spilled beer, har, the guy that wrote the code for the first truly succesful low end CNC machine tool did it on contract for a six week exercise in binary coding. That old 8080 control killed the processing speed of any microprocessor based control for many years. The faster ones had to rely upon DEC PDP8a/11, etc to get similar results for axis control.
    So many in the past have pissed away their talents in doing low return consumer oriented programs when a few innovations could have wiped out the laggard Japanese (that deserved to be run over) machine tool controls.
    BTW, the Japanese controls have not advanced in user software in the past thirty years. They are better at peripheral control such as axis and spindle drives, but have exceptionally backward user features.
    They are sitting ducks even in such simple programming features as multiple offsets for workpieces, and being able to re-start on some position in a repetitive geometry.