Wanted stuff (Was: Pretty good week)

From: Sam Ismail <dastar_at_wco.com>
Date: Sat Feb 28 22:51:22 1998

On Sat, 28 Feb 1998, Tony Duell wrote:

> > > > What does PDP mean, exactly? Is it something like the PC standard?
> > >
> > > PDP = Programmed Data Processor. It was the name that DEC used instead of
> > > the word 'Computer' for various reasons, most of them lost in the folklore.
> >
> > According to _Computer: A History of the Information Machine_ by Martin
> > Campbell-Kelly and William Aspray (BasicBooks, ISBN: 0-465-02989-2 [hard]
> > 0-465-02990-6 [paper]), Len Olsen is quoted as choosing the name
> ^^^
> I don't know if that's an error in the original, or a typo, but I'm
> pretty sure it should be 'Ken'.

Sorry. Blatant typo. It is in fact "Ken" ('k' is right next to 'l').

> > Programmed Data Processor because nobody would believe that "in 1960
> > computers that could do the job could be built for less than $1 million."
> That's certainly one of the reasons that I've heard. Another is that
> there was either a tax on 'computers' or that if you were a
> government-funded place (state funded?) you could only buy 'computers'
> from a very few approved companies. So Digital/DEC didn't make
> 'computers' - they made Programmed Data Processors. Whether either of
> those reasons is true I don't know.

I've heard this reason for other "computers" not being called that as
well...things like computers being called calculators because one couldn't
get a computer in the budget.

Sam Alternate e-mail: dastar_at_siconic.com
Computer Historian, Programmer, Musician, Philosopher, Athlete, Writer, Jackass

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Received on Sat Feb 28 1998 - 22:51:22 GMT

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