Question for you 'big iron' collectors

From: John B <>
Date: Thu Dec 30 10:55:03 1999

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Paul Braun <>
>To: Discussion re-collecting of classic computers
>Date: Thursday, December 30, 1999 8:24 AM
>Subject: Question for you 'big iron' collectors

>I've been following the list for about a year and a half now and I'm
>curious -- you guys (both genders) that have the room and the
>know-how to run the big stuff -- what do you do with them? I guess
>I'm not that familiar with non-business apps for minis and I'm just
>curious what someone using a PDP at home would do with it?
>Do you just write code for the sheer challenge of writing code?
>Have you written real-world apps? Is it just nostalgia? Or do you
>keep them running purely for historical reasons and don't have any
>practical day-to-day use for them?

Quite a few large companies still run the old stuff. Ontario Hydro for one
still runs many PDP-8s and still buys RK05 heads. In some cases it is
cheaper to run the old stuff than to get new hardware approved for use.

I had a really weird contract in '92-93 that required a cpu to monitor and
run quite a few sensors in a very hostile environment (we are talking sodium
cyanide and sulfuric acid in the same sealed room -- HCN byproducts - yuck)
for an experiment. A PC would last a day or two with such gases so I
concluded it would be cheaper to wheel in a PDP11/34 with a bunch of A/D and
DR11-Cs in it. We did so and the 11/34s lasted about a week and a half
before the chemicals ate away enough of a PCB trace to cause the CPU/RK05 to
fail. Went through 3 of them in a couple of months and the experiment
succeeded. These old minis can take a lot of abuse... and they are great for
real-time data acquisition.

For the most part now it is just collecting.....


PDP-8 and other rare mini computers
Received on Thu Dec 30 1999 - 10:55:03 GMT

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