[SIGCIS-Members] IBM 610

James Cortada jcortada at umn.edu
Thu Mar 3 09:23:45 PST 2016


Here is the text
http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/08/tripping-through-ibms-astonishingly-insane-1937-corporate-songbook/

And if you just want to hear Ever Onward--THE IBM song have a listen here
http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/08/tripping-through-ibms-astonishingly-insane-1937-corporate-songbook/

Enjoy!

On Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 11:05 AM, Murray Turoff <murray.turoff at gmail.com>
wrote:

> Ahhh!   I worked on the IBM 1620 for IBM in san jose for a year 1960-1961.
> It was a "personal computer" about the size of a desk.   It had a
> continuous memory
> and you could set up the word length you wanted.  Memory was based upon
> our standard
> digital system to the base 10.   At that point in time there was only
> three machines at
> the San Jose plant and a group of us were working on applications.   I
> wrote a guide to
> machine level programming and debugging and worked with others on a
> Fortran System as well
> a numerical control application package.  It was a fun machine to work
> with.
>
> At the San Jose plant a lot of sales people were brought in to be educated
> in new but not yet
> released products.   They always sang IBM songs to start the meeting.  I
> think somehwere i have
> burried an IBM song book.   They were extremely loyal as some them were
> with IBM in 1929 and
> it was only IBM and ATT that did not fire any professional during that
> recession.  Many had nothing much
> to do so they started a song writing contest which resulted in the song
> book.   I have never checked
> if the song book is online anywhere.
>
> On Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 4:52 AM, Mounier Kuhn <mounier at msh-paris.fr> wrote:
>
>> Thanks for this discussion. Bashe et al., in their book *IBM's Early
>> Computers,* explain that the IBM 610 was not developed to answer any
>> market demand ; it reflected the internal needs of IBM’s growing staff of
>> engineers and scientists who used desk calculators. Being not a priority,
>> its development was delayed, but it inspired the successful IBM 1620… and
>> perhaps many small computers marketed by competitors in the late 1950s. So
>> we have a faily good idea of what use was envisioned : A scientist or
>> engineer who needed to perform relatively simple calculations which did not
>> justify the cost of waiting in line to use a mainframe.
>>
>> It would be interesting to know :
>>
>> - what competitive advantage the IBM 610 had over a good desk calculator ;
>>
>> - how the IBM 610 was renamed from Personal Automatic Calculator to
>> Auto-Point Computer (the choice of *Computer* makes sense, but
>> *Auto-Point*?)
>>
>> I have an alternative question (sorry if it is half off-topic !). In the
>> early 1970s, the term* micro-ordinateur* [*micro-computer*] appeared in
>> various development projects within the French Plan Calcul. It designated
>> any « very small computer », whatever the technology – it was not
>> necessarily related with microprocessors. Was the term *micro-computer *used
>> in this broad sense in other locations, before 1975 when
>> microprocessor-based micro-computers became the mainstream concept in
>> this market segment ?
>>
>> Best,
>> Pierre
>>
>> Pierre Mounier-Kuhn
>> CNRS & Université Paris-Sorbonne
>> L’Emergence d’une science: l’informatique
>> <http://pups.paris-sorbonne.fr/catalogue/centre-roland-mousnier/linformatique-en-france-de-la-seconde-guerre-mondiale-au-plan-calcul>
>> http://koyre.ehess.fr/docannexe/file/1203/mounier_kuhn_cv_anglais.pdf
>> <http://koyre.ehess.fr/docannexe/file/400/cv_mounier_kuhn.pdf>
>> https://cnrs.academia.edu/PierreMounierKuhn
>>
>>
>> Le 3 mars 2016 à 01:38, Hansen Hsu <hansnhsu at gmail.com> a écrit :
>>
>> I’ve noticed this too. Gordon Bell, Wes Clark, and Alan Kay have all been
>> on record saying that they considered the LINC the first personal computer,
>> as it was also designed for use by an individual (a biomedical researcher).
>> Joe November’s excellent book goes into some detail on this. LINC
>> inspired some of the creators of the Alto, both in terms of the user’s
>> experience of controlling the entire machine, but also in some aspects of
>> its hardware architecture.
>> I certainly think LINC belongs in the pre-history of the personal
>> computer, as does Engelbart’s NLS, but I would hesitate to call it a
>> “personal computer” for precisely the reasons you’ve outlined for the IBM
>> 610, which is even earlier.
>> If one took the criteria to be that an individual had complete control
>> over the machine while in use, then TX-0 or even Whirlwind might count as
>> personal computers. The term begins to lack meaning at that point.
>>
>> On Mar 2, 2016, at 4:11 PM, Allan Olley <allan.olley at utoronto.ca> wrote:
>>
>> Hello,
>> http://www.columbia.edu/cu/computinghistory/610.html
>> The 610 was under development as the Personal Automatic Computer
>> (acording to this website and according to Bashe et al. in the MIT book
>> IBM's Early Computer, a prototype was operating by 1954 with commercial
>> release by 1957) it was intended as a more real time less batch modey sort
>> of machine unlike other machines of that time, but no one really seriously
>> seems to claim it has any relation to any other "personal computer" either
>> in terms of hardware details (it apparently had very ideosyncratic
>> hardware) or even as vague inspiration.
>> The key point I guess is that it pretty clearly has nothing to do with
>> the microprocessor based computers of the 1970s and later that are usually
>> called personal computers.
>>
>> I have noticed that the idea of a personal computer and personal
>> computing gets used to describe machines before the microprocessor
>> machines of the 1970s. The website mentions the Bendix G-15 as another
>> example of this (some apparently claim it as the first personal computer
>> and it was released commercially in 1956). The issue here is that any
>> computer an individual has complete control of regardless of its
>> characteristics (size, intended use etc.) can become a personal computer in
>> terms of how that user feels about it and interacts with it. So any
>> computer can be a personal computer in that ambigious sense it seems to me.
>> It also gets complicated because people's interactions with earlier
>> transistor and vacuum tube machines influenced them in designing and using
>> the microprocessor machines that are unambigiously personal computers. So
>> there are connections that should be made that make it complicated.
>>
>> --
>> Yours Truly,
>> Allan Olley, PhD
>>
>> http://individual.utoronto.ca/fofound/
>>
>> On Wed, 2 Mar 2016, John Impagliazzo wrote:
>>
>> Hi All,
>>
>> Allegedly, some consider the IBM 610 Auto-Point computer (1959) the
>> ‘first personal computer’.
>> http://www.columbia.edu/cu/computinghistory/plugboard.html
>> Is this true – even slightly true??
>>
>> John
>>
>> John Impagliazzo, Ph.D.
>> Professor Emeritus, Hofstra University
>> IEEE Life Fellow
>> ACM Distinguished Educator
>>
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>
>
>
> --
>
>
>
>
>
> *please send messages to murray.turoff at gmail.com
> <murray.turoff at gmail.com>  do not use @njit.edu <http://njit.edu>
> addressDistinguished Professor EmeritusInformation Systems, NJIThomepage:
> http://is.njit.edu/turoff <http://is.njit.edu/turoff>*
>
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-- 
James W. Cortada
Senior Research Fellow
Charles Babbage Institute
University of Minnesota
jcortada at umn.edu
608-274-6382
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