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Thread: Computers.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Manchester
    Posts
    167

    Default Computers.

    In the 70's when I was at school in Stevenage, we had the option of doing Computer Studies.

    To access it the whole class had to go into the secretaries office and the teacher had to dial a certain number on the phone.
    Then the phone handset was placed onto a funny box thing that received signals from a main computer which was based in Hatfield about 10 miles away.
    After about half an hour the signal transmitted back to the monitor on screen.
    There were no pictures, just text.
    I think there were about three things you could make the computer do.( cant even remember what)

    Anyway, one day the teacher took us in the school minibus to see this main computer in Hatfield.

    There was this thing the size of a living room that made lots of noise but not much else. Impressive, but equally boring!!!

    We have come a long way in the last 30 years or so


    Buzz

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    lake district
    Posts
    191

    Default Re: Computers.

    your school must of been posh buzz........computer studies in the 70's.
    we didnt get a computer in our school till around 83.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Manchester
    Posts
    167

    Default Re: Computers.

    I think the school was one of the first to do comp studies.

    I left school in 1980, so it would have been from about 1976 ish we did it.

    They did a documentary on TV about it for something like open university or something like that. One of those where all the teachers had flares, beards and platform shoes
    Would love to get a copy of the programme.

    Even I cant believe it was 30 years ago !!!

    Buzz

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Stockport
    Posts
    4,956

    Default Re: Computers.

    I remember seeing a programme about computers many years ago, which showed how electrionics had shrunk, compairing a teachest sized box of componants to a chip that could fit on the end of a finger.

    It also compaired the development of computers to cars. If cars had developed at the same rate as a computer, you could buy a Rolls Royce for 1.50p, it would do an amazing mpg, if could power the QE2, & fit on a pinhead.
    The Trickster On The Roof

  5. #5

    Default Re: Computers.

    I took Computer Studies at O-Level between 1976 and 1978. We didn't have any computers in the school and the nearest we got to a real computer was being taken in a group to see the mainframe at the local university--we were only allowed to stare at it through a huge glass window.

    I remember being taught quite a bit about how the computer actually worked--J-K flip-flops anybody? Also, we were taught BASIC and wrote short programs using those computer cards that you used a pencil on to fill little rectangles depending on the command you wanted. One term each year we had the use of a big tape machine. You sat at it and using a clunky keyboard wrote out your BASIC program and the machine would produce a tape with little holes in it. The cards and tapes were sent to the university for them to run on their mainframe and you got the printed results back the next week. Also, you couldn't leave your cards alone for a minute as some nasty person might randomly scribble in a command box on a card and your program would fail when it was run through the computer. If I remember correctly, when the cards were returned from the university, small rectangular holes had been punched into them.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    far away
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    262

    Default Re: Computers.

    Quote Originally Posted by staffslad View Post
    The cards and tapes were sent to the university for them to run on their mainframe and you got the printed results back the next week.
    I imagine they had to be careful to ensure only cards were fed into the mainframe - as this clip demonstrates, keys should not be used unless the computer is threatening to enslave you.



    (OK, this is just an excuse to post a clip of the lovely Mrs Peel).

  7. #7

    Default Re: Computers.

    No excuse is ever needed to post a pic or vid of the divine Diana

    I've just remembered that we had to write on the back of those cards our school code, user code and card number, just in case the cards got mixed up.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    UK
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    2,072

    Default Re: Computers.

    I did Computer Science 'A'-Level. Our first computer was a DEC PDP/8 and it was programmed by punch tape. It wouldn't start without a bit of code on that!

    In the second year, we moved on to Apple II computers, which was a huge step up!
    Time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas - go figure!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Computers.

    I'm impressed that your school had a DEC PDP 8, then an Apple. I would guess this would have been circa 1980?

    From 1978 to 1983 I did 5 years day release on TEC OTC and HTC courses, again without even a sniff of a real computer. It wasn't until I began a university course the following year that I got to use an actual computer, apart from the ZX81 and later Atari that I had bought for home use.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    far away
    Posts
    262

    Default Re: Computers.

    Curses! - the censors have got to Mrs Peel. Here she is again in GIF form, still having problems with her PC:


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