Basic Four / was Re: Microdata disk/tape images

Ian McLaughlin ian at
Sat Feb 7 21:04:06 CST 2015

> On Feb 7, 2015, at 6:35 PM, Brent Hilpert <hilpert at> wrote:
> Hmm, used by a sub-contractor to BC Hydro perhaps? I'd think BC Hydro in-house would have tended to be doing such stuff on its mainframes. I could see an engineering department having it's own mini, but payroll would have been more likely to have been handled centrally.
> Did it travel far (from BC) to make it into your hands?

Because of the combined usage, I suspect it was from one of the many subcontractors working on the project.

It didn’t travel far - I’m in Kelowna.  I under-estimated how long ago I got the machine.  Replaying the timeline in my mind, it was 1987 or 1988. A friend of a friend contacted me because he knew I was into electronics and computers, and said that his dad had this ‘old computer thing’ in a barn that he wanted moved. It was going to go to the dump if I didn’t pick it up. It was this huge blue rack cabinet with a smoked plexiglass front cover. It was *HEAVY*. I begged another friend to borrow a pick-up truck, and we hauled it out of the barn, and into my second-floor apartment.

This was before the recognizable internet, so trying to find information was very difficult. After putting out feelers, I found out that there was an ex-MAI technician in Vernon (the next town over). That was a fruitful meeting that got me a whole pile of documentation and other information for the machine - enough to restore it and get it up and running.

In fact, I guess that machine is what put me on my career path today - that ex-MAI technician and I formed our community’s first ISP a couple of years later, and my employment has been directly connected to the Internet ever since.  It pains me that the machine and I parted company, and I’d love to find another one.


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