vintage computers in active use

Dave Wade dave.g4ugm at
Thu May 26 13:25:58 CDT 2016

> -----Original Message-----
> From: cctalk [mailto:cctalk-bounces at] On Behalf Of Fred
> Sent: 26 May 2016 17:48
> To: General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts
<cctalk at>
> Subject: Re: vintage computers in active use
> On Thu, 26 May 2016, Brent Hilpert wrote:
> > A friend notice this in the news, I heard it mentioned on the radio this
> morning too:
> >
> > extract:
> > 	The report said that the Department of Defence systems that co-
> ordinated
> > 	intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear bombers and tanker
> aircraft
> > 	"runs on an IBM Series-1 Computer - a 1970s computing system - and
> uses
> > 	eight-inch floppy disks".
> "This system remains in use because, in short, it still works,"
> Pentagon spokeswoman Lt Col Valerie Henderson told the AFP news agency.
> And, THAT is why it MUST be replaced immediately by "modern" hardware and
> software, to put an end to that.  Windows10 can change that.

The problem with old kit is the same problems we have. How do you know you
have working spares to fix it. 
You might have a box of 8" floppies but what condition are they in? Do you
need to bake them?
What about rubber belts for floppy drives? Spares will have perished as
If the disks are in a Magazine what happens if someone drops the magazine
and breaks it. Where on earth do you get one of those these days....

When the PSU pops is it the PSU or something died within the works.

It might be working today but I wouldn't trust a Series/1 to manage my door
locks today, even though in the day IBM used them for that.

Let's face it assembler on the IBM360 or many systems isn't a problem. Lots
of emulators around and it is only a Tax database so timings are not a

Assembler on a Series/1 is a problem as it's a closed system. Can't be run
under emulation. No modern replacements available.


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