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Classic Computing U.S.S. Midway Inertial Navigation System.


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A video I put together that spotlights some real vintage computing tech

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nsd_FzdBccQ

 

Here I was touring the U.S.S. Midway while visiting San Diego last year and I thought what an excellent opportunity to share some amazing old school computing tech. Here in the SINS (Ships Inertial Navigation System) Room I show you the tech that did amazing things (Univac, tapes drives, LOL memory oh my! ) despite being so under-powered. Also a display of some memory and storage options throughout history. Hope you enjoy, I wanted to branch out somewhat and this is the result.

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A huge part of the final capabilities of these machines were the skilled specialists using them. Most of us wouldn't know what to do with such a system unless we had that specialized training.

 

 

While from the Apollo moonlanding era, this video shows core rope memory being woven together. This could be accomplished by hand alone, or machine assistance. The machine would position and "highlight" the hole you were supposed to weave through. Today, if we wanted, we could no doubt weave it totally automatically or even pre-space the wires and 3D-print a ferrite bead where a bit was supposed to go.

 

After they were done, they'd pot the whole assembly for added durability. This memory, while downright primitive by today's standards offered a number of benefits like reliability and radiation resistance and it was totally write-proof unless you put so much power into it you blew the wires apart.

 

And it was very true that software was the most threatening thing to the Apollo program.

 

ADDED:

An important difference in "core memory" VS "rope memory" is that core memory read is destructive, but also read/write. Whereas rope memory is read only and naturally non-destructive. The data is stored by a magnetic field in core memory. in rope memory it is stored by presence or absence of a wire going through ferrite.

Edited by Keatah
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Alright I get it, don't post my videos here lol. :( I had not posted a video here in a long time, thought this one was different from my usual stuff and might be of interest to some people here so I thought I'd give it a go, as a Canadian it was certainly exciting for me at least, but I get the hint ;) Fair enough. And on the "I CANNOT BELIEVE I AM SAYING THIS" Thanks Keetah for at least a response to this thread / post for what it's worth. :thumbsup:

Edited by OldSchoolRetroGamer
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Some certain large computer installations are specialized enough to have their own sites that go into the technical aspects like programming and architecture and schematics, but none really show videos. Nor do they let you enjoy the wonder. You have to dig through youtube for the semi-tech layperson material, which is what we here at AA go for when it comes to these beasts.

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I liked it. Keep posting!

 

I wonder whether the old circuits are really running there, or did they simulate the blinkenlights with modern hardware?

Good question.

The problem there being that those old piece of tech can be out of order, and fixing the issues can be a PITA; for expo purpose, many people won't bother.

(it's one nice thing I like at the Musée des 24 Heures du Mans - even the oldest cars there, including an electric one, are kept in running order - you can spot it because some of the older ones spill oil down on cardboard bits :D)

 

You can read about the restoration of a Univac 9200 mainframe here :

http://www.technikum29.de/en/computer/univac9200(scroll down a bit)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Good question.

The problem there being that those old piece of tech can be out of order, and fixing the issues can be a PITA; for expo purpose, many people won't bother.

(it's one nice thing I like at the Musée des 24 Heures du Mans - even the oldest cars there, including an electric one, are kept in running order - you can spot it because some of the older ones spill oil down on cardboard bits :D)

 

You can read about the restoration of a Univac 9200 mainframe here :

http://www.technikum29.de/en/computer/univac9200(scroll down a bit)

Amazing. The front panel is in mint condition.

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If you read the other articles, all of their machines are pretty much mint. Tho they said that on some of them, they got the panels repainted for making them look better. But you can read on the various machines that they also care of making them working, either by tracking down hardware issues or recreating irreplaceable parts (mostly RAM).

Edited by CatPix
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Unless my math is wrong..and it very well could be. I believe the placards next to the "Modern Memory" were incorrect? They stated that on the last one which was only 512mb, that you only need 8 to equal 1gb? I'm pretty sure that isn't correct as you would in fact only need 2 of those 512mb modules to equal 1gb and not 8?

 

Also they didn't list one, but I happen to know there were also SIPs memory available in 1mb capacity. I had 4 of them installed in my old 286 in addition to the 1024 it came with for a total of a whopping 5mb on that beast back in '92! LOL

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Unless my math is wrong..and it very well could be. I believe the placards next to the "Modern Memory" were incorrect? They stated that on the last one which was only 512mb, that you only need 8 to equal 1gb? I'm pretty sure that isn't correct as you would in fact only need 2 of those 512mb modules to equal 1gb and not 8?

 

Also they didn't list one, but I happen to know there were also SIPs memory available in 1mb capacity. I had 4 of them installed in my old 286 in addition to the 1024 it came with for a total of a whopping 5mb on that beast back in '92! LOL

 

It probably happened that someone mixed up Bits and bytes, or expressed the old memory in bits (the standard 8 bits Byte wasn't established up to the 80's - some machines had bytes counting 6, 7 8 or 10 bits - it's why today's byte should be referred as an Octet, as an octet is always counting 8 bits)

And indeed, you'll need 8*512 megabits to equal 1gigabyte.

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I had a 48KB Apple II+ and I was saintly. Upgrading it to 64K via the 16K Microsoft Ramcard elevated me to godhood! The Apple //e with 128K was ethereal and put me in another dimension. My telecat BBS swelled to 10,000 lines of BASIC code! I went from 4MB -> 8MB -> 16MB on my 486 and I felt immortal!

 

After that, increasingly dense memory upgrades became unexciting.

 

I raised an eyebrow at the 512GB microSD cards recently. But that's it.

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