building my own relay computer

Peter Corlett abuse at
Sat Feb 14 18:30:44 CST 2015

On Sun, Feb 15, 2015 at 09:38:31AM +1000, Tom Sparks wrote:
> in my "What If" world the postal office network owned the telegraph network

In the UK, that was indeed the case. In a fine bit of legal wrangling, it was
argued that the GPO's monopoly on the postal service extended to the other
peer-to-peer communications systems such as the telegraph and telephone as they
were invented.

Had the GPO not had the telephone service rebranded BT and privatised in the
1980s, it would no doubt be claiming monopoly rights over Internet access as
well. As it is, BT still pretty much control the market.

> that why I asked about Magnetic tape filesystem and found phi-deck I thought
> about record sized floppy disk :)

There were quite a few bizarre tape-loop systems for early microcomputers that
were claimed to be random-access and cheaper than floppy disks, but were
generally extremely unreliable, and I doubt they really worked out cheaper for
anything but trivial storage needs due to there being only one manufacturer of
the bespoke media.

Sinclair's "microdrive" was perhaps the canonical unreliable storage. It takes
a lot of effort to be more unreliable than a C90 cassette tape, but Sir Clive
was well up to the challenge thanks to his ability to penny-pinch to the limit
and then cut some more corners just to make sure.

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