Calling for [Point 4] IRIS programmers

Microtech Dart microtechdart at
Sun May 8 20:05:44 CDT 2016

Thanks for sharing that, Ian!  Your story is exactly what I was hoping to
gather here.

Does our dissection of the LU0 make any sense to you?

On Sun, May 8, 2016 at 3:54 PM, Ian S. King <isking at> wrote:

> On Sun, May 8, 2016 at 1:31 AM, Microtech Dart <microtechdart at>
> wrote:
> > Hi, all.  It's been a while since I've discussed anything here.  We've
> made
> > a lot of progress re-constructing a couple of Point 4 machines (as much
> as
> > one can without the actual hardware), yet still need some help from a few
> > knowledgeable folks in this 35+ year old OS.  It was built on the DG Nova
> > foundation, but made by Educational Data Systems, which became Point 4,
> for
> > their Point 4 machines.  So, it doesn't exactly "just run" on SimH Nova.
> >
> > We've been in regular contact with Bruce Ray, who is a true expert in all
> > Data General and related systems. He has already helped us TREMENDOUSLY.
> >
> >
> > But other than Bruce Ray, are there any other folks here on this forum
> who
> > may have had any IRIS programming, either on the Point 4, or another
> system
> > of similarity in the late '70s to early '80s?
> >
> > I've hunted down a handful of people so far on LinkedIn and scouring the
> > internet, and only a few of those have responded.  But I just thought I'd
> > make a shout out here. A small handful have kindly responded, with either
> > limited recollection or availability, or both.
> >
> > In addition to Bruce, those who have contributed so far include David
> > Takle, and one of the original Point 4 IRIS designers, Dan Paymar.
> >
> > We've added a LOT of new content and progress to our
> > restoration/re-creation of what is turning out to be TWO distinct Point 4
> > IRIS systems.
> >
> > Stop by our site if you like, and especially review the directory page
> > "Understranding IRIS":
> >
> >
> >
> > Does anyone here have anything to add, or IRIS/Point 4 documentation that
> > could be helpful here (other than what we have at
> > ).
> >
> > Thanks all, I always appreciate the fantastic feedback here.
> >
> > -AJ
> >
> >
> >
> Very cool!  Yes, I programmed on one of these in the late '70s, and I've
> casually Googled for info about it many times, with no success.  So it's
> great to hear that someone has dug up some info on it and I'm not just
> hallucinating.
> I worked for a small company called Automated Funds Transfer Services
> (AFTS) that specialized in devices to read MICR, the special typeface used
> on checks (cheques), thus enabling automated reading.  My big project was
> to develop a system for creating check printing masters, which had
> previously been done manually.  Every time someone changed a phone number
> or moved, a new master had to be created, but by keeping the information in
> a database it was easy to make the edit and spit out a new master.
> I've often described IRIS as "BASIC with database extensions", and it was
> interesting writing a fault-resistant system in, well, BASIC.  At one point
> in development, I asked our office manager to sit down at a terminal
> (ADM-3A) and 'just start pushing buttons'.  When she couldn't crash it or
> get somewhere where she couldn't get back out, I said, 'Ship it!'.
> It was also a social experience: the system I had written replaced twelve
> people with special typewriters, with four people with ADM-3A terminals.  I
> recall having some qualms about that, but recognized that 'progress'
> (whatever that means) wasn't going to be halted by my philosophical
> concerns, but my paycheck would.
> So there's my two cents' worth.  Thanks for sharing this, it brings back
> some interesting memories....  -- Ian
> --
> Ian S. King, MSIS, MSCS, Ph.D. Candidate
> The Information School <>
> Dissertation: "Why the Conversation Mattered: Constructing a Sociotechnical
> Narrative Through a Design Lens
> Archivist, Voices From the Rwanda Tribunal <>
> Value Sensitive Design Research Lab <>
> University of Washington
> There is an old Vulcan saying: "Only Nixon could go to China."



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