The DEC EAI 640: FORTRAN in the sunshine
Over at Ars Technica there’s a timely reflection on the marketing history of mainframes between the Kennedy and Carter administrations. There’s quite a bit of fun learning about how the classic business marketing techniques of the era worked. The industry produced lots of print ads with art direction portraying a future where data entry clerks lounged and let the hardware do all the work. Sometimes even outside, such as in the above photo – presumably because stacks of punch-cards were somehow impervious to 1960s wind and weather?
For the full experience of the DEC EAI640 marketing, take a peek at a PDF of the full EAI640 brochure.
Most of the images in the Ars piece come from the truly awesome Computer History Museum of Mountain View, CA, the one place in Silicon Valley where the technologies and problem-solving of yesteryear aren’t forgotten by reflex.
Howdy. I’m Blue. I’ve been around mainframes — Big Iron — since around the Y2K scare. Sure, that was overblown, but I tell you, we found some bugs. Nothing that would lose track of a billion dollars of course, but misnamed reports and columns, that kind of stuff.
Now the IT world at large might scoff, but I think we did great work. Given the monumentally limited attention spans and woeful skill sets of the management people in FIRE — finance, insurance and real estate — aka the people that depended on these reports, we actually were saving the world back then. These corner-office types are people for whom the slightest distraction could lead to millions in lost time.
I’m not the most grizzled veteran. Hell, I’m not even grizzled generally, and the last COBOL I wrote was on punch cards in high school in the 80s. But I do have an abiding respect for the high priests of Big Iron and I’m always learning. That’s what Big Iron Works is about: learning and sharing mainframe systems knowledge. And trying to figure out how the world is going to run its banks and governments when we’re no longer around to slap the hands of the clueless away from screwing everything up.
So subscribe to the RSS feed, follow us on Twitter* and let’s get serious about Big Iron. Guerilla mainframe.
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