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Changes in our lifetime


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Just thinking about my lifetime and all of the changes I've seen.

For most of human life, a 20 mule team was the most horse power around.

- horses were used for both circle track racing and 1/4 mile drags.

- kids had horses instead of cars.

- Not having one at home, at summer camp I learned how to later drop a Norton Atlas by falling off 17 hand horses with no hand grips (English saddle)

- TVs still had channel 1

- FCC had destroyed FM in the USA

Cars

- two seater cars were the province of Europeans and a few strange people, mostly 6 cyl until 1955

- automatic transmissions, power steering, and power brakes were luxury items. AC even more so.

- radio and heater were options.

- only one full sized American car had disk brakes.

- most transmissions had three forward speeds, two of which were synchromesh. Learned how to get a Moss gearbox into first at 25 mph.

- best aftermarketheads were for garbage trucks.

and that was before 1958.

 

What else ?

 

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Telephones had dials and party lines. 
Calculators were manual

Only real computer was Illiac (sp) and it took up a whole freight train to move. 
People had respect for each other!  

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To be car specific, I remember a time when cars were still considered a marvel of modern times that most young men were enthralled with. I turned driving age in the 1970's, and I kind of think the '70's and '80's were kind of at the tail end of that era, which started in the early 20th century. At some point during the last 40 years cars became "refrigerators on wheels" to many people, and "technology" came to almost exclusively mean electronics and software rather than manufacturing and mechanical things. The new Mustangs, Challengers and Camaros are way faster and better performing than the originals, but those new versions of old cars are also an acknowledgement that the golden years of the US auto industry have come and gone.

 

However, I think electric cars might generate a new car culture that draws in young people. That is, if companies like Tesla were to make the technology more accessible and engaging to young people (i.e., encourage them to work on their own cars.)

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18 minutes ago, capngrog said:

 

Do you mean the "ENIAC"?

 

A link:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ENIAC

 

Cheers,

Grog

ENIAC was a collection of arithmetic machines using plug board technology to do calculations. Illiac was a machine that use a software program that could be loaded into other machines of the same design. Eventually I believe it became  Illiac 4 or 5 that was used in weather forecasting, and we all know what’s that like!  It may have been another machine that the govt moved to the west coast in the train that did the forecasting, it’s been a long time since I sold main frames. 
sorry to hijack the tread. 

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I remember when gas stations had car parts and mechanics and fixed cars.  If you wanted a hot dog you went to the corner lunch diner / restaurant.

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 I'm younger than most on here (born 1984) but even I've seen changes. When I was young having a telephone in the car seemed about as realistic as the Jetsons. (I later learned some existed in the 60s and expensive cars but it was something I didn't know about at all)

Now we have most of the things the Jetsons have, and I hear Japan will have flying taxis as soon as this fall. 

 

Photography has improved dramatically as well. Back in the 90s I felt like a big spender when I got to use two rolls of film on 1 car show. Now I can take thousands of photos and I can see right away if I messed up and have to take a new one. And it all fits nicely into my pocket. 

 

I didn't get internet access until the year 2000. Pretty much all of my friends came through car related websites.. none of my friends from school are as fanatical about cars as I am and always was. (Others were into it, but not like me). I now have friends from other continents that would not have been possible without the internet. And that doesn't even take into account all the things I've bought and had shipped.

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re computers: played first computer game in 1957 and worked on the reconstruction of Colossus (1943) 1600 valves. And don't forget the Z1 but that was relay logic.

 

Trivia: what was the biggest problem with the Bombe ?

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I used to have to go to swap meets within driving distance, slog through rain and mud, dig through boxes of rusty junk that may or may not fit my car, all just to find spare parts.

 

Now I sit in my favorite chair and browse, and then it gets delivered to my front door a few days later.

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IBM (well a predecessor) developed Holerith (80 column) cards and sorting machines for the 1890 census, why FORTRAN had 72 column lines. First digital computer was SAGE (1954). For years they considered EBCDIC (Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code). My first popular software what I considered a throwaway to interpret EBCDIC into ASCII and verse the vice.

 

Could go on for a few hours (days) on early computers and how my employer once yanked my long distance access for "excessive usage".

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Billy, just as an fyi telephones in cars go back to the late 40's. No other info than that but I remember seeing a movie on TCM one time from around that time period that had a car with a phone. Google search verified it but Im too lazy right now to search for it. 

I was born in 1964, with the Beatles appearing on the Ed Sullivan show the day of my birth. So anything before the Beatles is old to me, LOL. 

-getting up to change the tv channel, between 3 vhf and 2 uhf (oh yeah, and having to adjust the rotor antennae)

-Car wise, I cant think of anything really special that is uncommon, other than cars used to have keys (of course all of my current cars have keys now)

-our first vhs machine cost close to $1k, and that was about the norm!

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456 MB disk drive - $3k

Drum Striping

Magic Marker

Plated Wire Memory

Thought UHF went from ch 14 to 80.

Built a remote from a BBQ motor. GrandParents had Space Command (could jungle keys).

1957 Pontiac "Sportable" radio.

Prolly still have a pushbutton adaper that strapped on the microphone and changed a rotary phone to digital

Know I have some Zenith digital television adapters and at least one closed captions adapter.

300 then 300/1200 baud modems. 2400 was first that could scroll as fast as I could read.

First VHS machines were top loaders (may have a couple)

Video disks.

Teletype going from 66 to 100 wpm and paper tape to mylar (no chaff).

When long distance was expensive and in-state even more so.

CocaCola going from a nickle to six cents.

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2 hours ago, padgett said:

re computers: played first computer game in 1957 and worked on the reconstruction of Colossus (1943) 1600 valves. And don't forget the Z1 but that was relay logic.

 

Trivia: what was the biggest problem with the Bombe ?

 

If what I read was correct and I remember it properly, I think it was stopping the speeding rotors when the detection logic got a hit. A hit in this case meaning a set of indicators that did not end up with a contradiction when processing the encrypted Enigma message. But they also has problems with the very high speed they were running the paper tape through the reader at the same time. I think the legendary Tommy Flowers was key to solving some of those issues though he is better known for working on the equipment for breaking some other cyphers.

 

1 hour ago, padgett said:

IBM (well a predecessor) developed Holerith (80 column) cards and sorting machines for the 1890 census, why FORTRAN had 72 column lines. First digital computer was SAGE (1954). For years they considered EBCDIC (Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code). My first popular software what I considered a throwaway to interpret EBCDIC into ASCII and verse the vice.

 

Could go on for a few hours (days) on early computers and how my employer once yanked my long distance access for "excessive usage".

 

The first IBM machine I worked with used a 6 bit coding called Binary Coded Decimal (BCD) which was later extended to 8 bits and then called EBCDIC. If I recall correctly not all punch card hole patterns for BCD were carried forward into EBCDIC so if you were working with an 026 card punch but feeding the cards into a 029 reader you had to play some games.

 

When my grandfather passed away in the early 1980s it dawned on me that he had lived through an incredible period of time: When he was born in the 1800s there weren't any cars to speak of. Wilber and Orville hadn't created a powered aircraft. While the telephone and electric lights had been invented they were only in use in a few larger cities. By the time he passed away, the radio age, air age, atomic age, TV age, jet age and space age had all occurred with people walking on the moon.

 

We have lots of things that have been created and adopted into wide spread use in our lifetimes. But I think the transition from oil lamps, horse drawn wagons to electric lights, automobiles (with a huge paved highway network to support automobiles) and air transport was probably a bigger change than we have gone through with our computers and other electronics.

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Exactly and why the tube array was added on top: to record/display the successes. Thingie was 7 feet (2.1 m) wide, 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m) tall, 2 feet (0.61 m) deep and weighed about a ton. with the rotors spinning at 1500 rpm it didn't stop on a dime. Also rather noisy.  Colossus had the speeding tape issue. Tape guides were spread all around the room. Fortunately the oppo often sent the same six characters to synchronize at midnight. Bombes usually had solution by 2 am

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The first computer system I used and later was an Admin on was the PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations) Computer System. PLATO was designed and built by the University of Illinois in 1960 and initially ran on the University of Illinois' ILLIAC I computer. It later moved to the CDC 1604 and finally the CDC 6000 series mainframes. Many modern concepts in multi-user computing were originally developed on PLATO, including forums, message boards, online testing, e-mail, chat rooms, picture languages, instant messaging, remote screen sharing, and multiplayer video games. Many of these features I personally used back in the day as well as creating a few educational programs for some college courses. This system had terminals connected to it around the world located in schools, colleges, prisons, US military installations, businesses and a host of other places. The PLATO IV terminals had touch screens by the early 1970s. Yes, I also spent countless hours playing a few of the interactive games on the system. One was an interactive combat flight simulation and the other was an interactive space game where your team tried to conquer the universe. Before I graduated I visited the University of Illinois and met a number of people I got to know through this system. Two friends of mine and I traveled there in January in my then new 1980 VW Rabbit. Nothing like driving to/from and in Chicago, in the snow in the dead of winter. Talk about hard core computer guys or manybe we were just young. No cell phones back then but I did have a CB Radio with a magnetic mount antenna. I averaged a little over $12 per fill up and 30.5 mpg during the 1,800 mile trip. Yes, this is the same VW I still own today.

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6 hours ago, SC38DLS said:

Telephones had dials and party lines. 
Calculators were manual

Only real computer was Illiac (sp) and it took up a whole freight train to move. 
People had respect for each other!  

And were either 4 or 5 digit numerals in rural areas if they weren't a crank-type.  The woman whom my uncle married, her parents lived on a farm and still had a crank phone.   I remember their 'number' was 'short' (1 full turn of the crank) 'short' 'long' (2 uninterrupted turns) 'short', or written down as, 'dot,dot,dash,dot.   In metropolitan areas  where I lived, phone numbers were alpha-numeric, with the first two letters being the exchange, as in 'GLendale 5-8031'.  

 

Craig

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12 minutes ago, charlier said:

The first computer system I used and later was an Admin on was the PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations) Computer System. PLATO was designed and built by the University of Illinois in 1960 and initially ran on the University of Illinois' ILLIAC I computer. It later moved to the CDC 1604 and finally the CDC 6000 series mainframes. Many modern concepts in multi-user computing were originally developed on PLATO, including forums, message boards, online testing, e-mail, chat rooms, picture languages, instant messaging, remote screen sharing, and multiplayer video games. Many of these features I personally used back in the day as well as creating a few educational programs for some college courses. This system had terminals connected to it around the world located in schools, colleges, prisons, US military installations, businesses and a host of other places. The PLATO IV terminals had touch screens by the early 1970s. Yes, I also spent countless hours playing a few of the interactive games on the system. One was an interactive combat flight simulation and the other was an interactive space game where your team tried to conquer the universe. Before I graduated I visited the University of Illinois and met a number of people I got to know through this system. Two friends of mine and I traveled there in January in my then new 1980 VW Rabbit. Nothing like driving to/from and in Chicago, in the snow in the dead of winter. Talk about hard core computer guys or manybe we were just young. No cell phones back then but I did have a CB Radio with a magnetic mount antenna. I averaged a little over $12 per fill up and 30.5 mpg during the 1,800 mile trip. Yes, this is the same VW I still own today.

I believe IBM came out with a solid state computer that did away with vacuum tubes, with the 7070 in 1958.  

 

Craig

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 If I had a problem with my car that left me stranded in the road I could put it in gear and hit the switch to "drive" off the side of the road with the starter. If the starter died I could park on a hill and "roll start" the car by popping the clutch. If I got hot I'd swing the wind wings around to direct air right in on me. If I needed to find my way I looked at a map.

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Remember when revealing the new car models was a big thing? Dealerships would cover their showroom windows and the new models inside were were draped over so you couldn't get a sneak peek.

Then, on the big evening, searchlights would would lure curious people into the showrooms.  The next day, you'd talk with your buddies about how really neat the new models were.

 

When did that all stop? 

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My grandmother was born in 1898. As an adult in the 80's, I asked her about all the things she had seen come to pass, inventions and things like going to the moon - what one thing affected her life more than anything. She thought for 5 minutes, and finally declared she didn't know how she had ever gotten along without tin foil. She was serious, and the longer I considered it - I realized she was exactly correct. She used for everything - in the kitchen, on the rabbit ears, in the garden. She was a simple woman, and it served her needs well.

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When my kids were little, I used to tell them about the olden days when The World was black and white.  (Just look at those old photographs, movies, and TV shows!). Then they invented color!  😎

 

Perhaps my favorite historical period is from about the end of the Civil War to about WW1.  The changes people of that era experienced was incredible.

 

@charlier:  You can still play around with PLATO at cyber1.org.  I used to use it in college back in the 1970s, and have been a part of the 'controlfreaks' group that developed the CDC emulator which underlies cyber1.

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I started working at National Cash Register, NCR as a draftsman 1979. Pen and ink on Mylar, When I left we were using solid works, 3D modeling.

We still had cash registers using core memory. Tiny little doughnuts with little wires running through the center. Ladies on the line stringing them up.

 

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1 hour ago, kuhner said:

I started working at National Cash Register, NCR as a draftsman 1979. Pen and ink on Mylar, When I left we were using solid works, 3D modeling.

We still had cash registers using core memory. Tiny little doughnuts with little wires running through the center. Ladies on the line stringing them up.

 

Hello you reminded me , another draughtmans , Started in 1967 as apprentice, doing layouts of pipework for boiler rooms in hotels and ships , had an A0 drawing board with parallel motion on a huge cast iron frame , used sharpened pencil , moved on to rotring pens . Was involved early on in producing artworks initially ink pen  , then black tape on thin plastic for production of printed circuits , designed from circuit diagrams , transistors then integrated logic .

It was the onset of CAD  autocad , then 3D modelling, that led me to change career as the young guys were better . Good times

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I finished my ENT residency in 1972.  In 1973 I attended a post graduate course at the House institute in LA where much of the initial work was done on Cochlear Implants for treatment of total nerve deafness.  The initial implant was a single frequency and required each of the 4 patients to come to the lab 5 days a week for 8 hours and be connected to large computers that occupied most of the room.  Until they were hooked up to these large computers they had no hearing.  Since it was a single frequency they did not hear "speech" as we understand it but computer input helped them recognize words and improved their lip reading skills.  Thanks to electrical and medical advances the modern cochlear implant now has 120 channels and the external wearable device has been reduced to the size of your thumb and is programable.   Probably the most recognizable Cochlear Implant wearing Celebrity was Rush Limbaugh.

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