Full immersion emulation

Paul Berger phb.hfx at gmail.com
Wed Mar 1 14:54:11 CST 2017

On 2017-03-01 3:14 PM, Charles Anthony via cctalk wrote:
> Part of the iconic mainframe experience is the cold room sounds; for early
> Multics installations (and other systems) the sound of the Selectric
> operator's console.
> I/O Selectrics are rare, expensive and unreliable.
They are all mechanical and stood up remarkably well to hammering away 
day and night printing out the console log, considering what they are, I 
would hardly think unreliable fits.   Most of the problems where due to 
neglect or poor maintenance.  The norm was to do a little as possible 
plus customers where often reluctant to give up the console for 
maintenance, so worm parts that should have been replaced often never 
did.  Quite often the center bears where worn out which causes the cycle 
shaft to wobble a little and then you start fudging the adjustments to 
compensate and it just gets worse from there, but replacing the center 
bearing  is a big job so most people avoided it.  This was true of other 
selectric terminals as well.  The OP guys ( fixed the office selectrics) 
would be horrified when they saw the condition of some of these 
machines.  The last 1052 I saw operating the space cam was so worn out 
that it wobbled, but it still worked.

The original selectric I/O was just a standard office selectric with 
contacts and solenoids hung off it to make it work as a terminal, or in 
the case of the 1052 a printer ( the keyboard in a 1052 is a keypunch 
keyboard mechanism).  They where never designed to hammer away at the 
full speed 15.5 cps for hours on end.   Later IBM came out with the I/O 
2 which was designed from the ground up to be used as a I/O device and 
was much sturdier, but they came along too late for system consoles, by 
then consoles where CRTs and the console printer was a wire matrix printer.
> If some good quality audio clips of a Selectric were available, it should
> be possible to jimmy up the console terminal emulator to make the sounds.
> So I am fishing for any existing audio clips with clean sounds, or someone
> with a Selectric that is willing to make some recordings, or a pointer to
> somewhere where all of this has been done already.
> -- Charles

More information about the cctalk mailing list