Reply to post: PDP-8, FOCAL and the 1130

College PRIMOS prankster wreaks havoc with sysadmin manuals

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
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PDP-8, FOCAL and the 1130

We spent the same years in high school, I guess.

Before the HS got our 1130 (in my senior year), we had an IBM unit record setup. This was used to run attendance reports, submitted on mark-sense cards, for the 15 or so schools in town. I thought it would be cool to work there, so I applied, and for some reason was hired for 15 hours a week.

The 402 accounting machine, used to run the reports, was a motor-driven relay logic behemoth, weighing about as much as a small car. It was basically a glorified adding machine combined with a printer, which took its input from punched cards and you told it exactly what to do by pushing jumper wires into a 12" x 24" Bakelite plugboard. I actually took a course and learned how to wire the plugboard (being a fan of moribund technology). I also learned how to run (and unjam) the 082 sorter. Surprisingly, this came in handy in college, when we were learning sorting and searching algorithms. Card sorting (from the least significant column to the most significant) is bubble sort.

Thanks for the memories...core, of course.

// face down, 9 edge first!

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