Harris H800 Computer

Eric Christopherson echristopherson at gmail.com
Wed Apr 20 22:39:44 CDT 2016

On Wed, Apr 20, 2016, Mark J. Blair wrote:
> Back when I spent a couple of years at UNLV in the late 80s, I had a
> class in which I was forced to use an account on a Harris H800
> computer, if my memory serves me correctly. Being a BSD snob, I felt
> that was a terrible imposition, much like being forced to calculate
> compound interest on a stone-age abacus made from partially petrified
> dinosaur turds. *Without gloves.*
> Now, of course, I'm a lot more easy-going, and downright curious about
> things that might not have been my first choice for a computing
> environment. Even VMS!
> So, does anybody here know anything about that family of computers? 

I don't, but I recall seeing an ad on local craigslist for "4 full sets
of working circuit boards for the Harris 800 super-mini computer,
including CPU." The price was $1; not sure if that meant it was
literally almost free, or if they wanted to haggle.

Needless to say I didn't go for it, because I hadn't quite drunk the
classiccmp Kool-Aid (you know the kind; the kind that makes you need to
collect anything that sounds old) yet and knew I would get no use out of
plain circuit boards without a computer for them to go in... but now I'm
kicking myself.

Also, my dad used to have use of a Harris mini of some kind, running
Vulcan OS, where he worked. He and that place of business are long gone,
so I'll probably never know what the exact setup was, but I'd like to.

> I
> seem to recall getting a tour of the computer room once, and the two
> front panels of the machine were swung open to reveal two thick,
> mattress-like beds of twisted pair wires. That seemed nauseatingly
> primitive to me at the time, but now the memory seems fascinating.
> I also seem to remember an operator's console with two round CRTs on
> it, but I might have fabricated that memory from whole cloth.

        Eric Christopherson

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