Thursday, September 16, 2010

Geek Corner


Up to my elbows in a Data General Nova 1200

  What was the first computer you were ever involved with?  (That sounds romantic, doesn't it?)  Was it a Timex/Sinclair or a Radio Shack TRS-80 or a Commodore 64 or something more recent?  Mine was a Data General Nova 1200.  It was part of a supermarket scanning system that I installed in a dozen Shaw's Supermarket's in New Hampshire in the late 70's and early 80's.  It was comprised of a CPU containing 32 Kilobytes of core memory and a 10 Megabyte hard drive that required two people to move it.  There were two units, side by side, that ran simultaneously, backing each other up.  They were quite comfortable in an air conditioned 8x10 room.  Very old technology compared to today when we normally talk of 8 Gigabytes of memory and 500 Gigabyte or 1 Terabyte hard drive.  As you can see, it was almost as tall as me and twice as wide as what you see in the photo.
  I really enjoyed installing these systems; it started out with over 100 boxes and crates and hundreds of individually crimped wire connections and finished with firing it up and bringing it to life.  It truly seemed like I was waking a sentient machine.
  I have been servicing cash registers, aka POS systems for over 30 years, the machines change, but service is still the name of the game!

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