slick bits in computers (WAS: VAXen Rule!)

William Donzelli wdonzelli at
Wed Aug 9 19:17:46 CDT 2006

>   It's almost criminal that the suits have taken over HP and ruined it.
>  They came up with SO much amazing stuff over the years.

Amazing and cool yes, but a really foolish way to do things from just
about any engineering standpoint. Back in the 1700s they actually
invented something called the "switch", and often made it into a shape
that could be pressed, so one bit of metal touches another. Works
amazingly well. Cheap and reliable, too.

Of course, back then HP (and Tek, and just about everyone else) could
get away with over the top wet dream engineering, with all that Cold
War era military business. These days, those same keyboard engineers
would be flipping burgers after a week of such nonsense.

But then, I must admit that often I like the silly, backwards,
all-to-clever designs that make their way into vintage electronics.
Makes all those 68Ks and PDP-11s look boring...


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