Full immersion emulation

Chuck Guzis cclist at sydex.com
Sat Mar 4 15:34:25 CST 2017

On 03/04/2017 01:13 PM, Mark J. Blair via cctalk wrote:

> Having experienced both 1980s computer rooms and passing kidney
> stones, I would like to offer my opinion that visiting a noisy
> computer room is something quite fun to do at least once, while one
> could skip the experience of passing kidney stones entirely without
> any regrets.

The computer floor at CDC SVLOPS had perhaps 15-20'high ceilings with
terrible fluorescent lighting.  Apparently, it was originally intended
as a manufacturing floor.   At any given time, there were several
system, oceans of disk and tape drives around, along with the usual
printers, readers and punches.    Talking to someone meant getting up
within several inches of someone and raising the voice to be heard. All
hard surfaces--nothing sound-absorbent in the least.

Having spent a lot of time in a steel mill, I'd say that the noise level
was comparable.   And, between the over-enthusiastic air conditioning
and background noise, one's nerves were pretty frayed at the end of a shift.

> In my experience, visiting a computer room was enjoyable, while
> hanging out there for a full shift got rather tedious. The computer
> room I worked in at UCI had an enclosed, glassed-in office for the
> computer operator that provided a nice retreat from the noise between
> tape swaps and printer handling tasks. I also fondly remember that
> warm spot behind the Convex C240 power supply cabinet exhausts, which
> was the warmest spot in the room when the main Computer Science
> building AC kicked in at 6AM and the computer room temperature.

During the OPEC oil embargo in the 1970s, this then-California resident
was sent to the Twin Cities in January for some work at the Arden Hills
plant.  Even the Ramada Inn kept room temperatures down.  In the
offices, there was ice on the *inside* of windows.  I discovered that if
I took a pillow and a good book to the ADL building, the most cozy place
in all of Minneapolis most likely was in the STAR-100 room, nestled
between the SBUs.

My hearing is okay, but I do have a problem with tinnitus and loud
sounds severely distorting.  However, I can still hear the birds
singing, so life is good.


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