IBM 557 Alphabetic Interpreter??

From: Derek Peschel <>
Date: Tue Mar 30 00:20:23 1999

Sellam Ismail wrote:
> On Mon, 29 Mar 1999, James Willing wrote:

> > ... and yes, if you had not guessed... I still have a manual on how to
> > program these things!
> Cool. I especially liked the patch panel. I'd love to learn how to
> program the thing.
> > (now, if I could just remember that trick that we used to teach a 402
> > tabulator how to multiply... B^} )
> Are you implying these things had some general purpose computing
> attributes?

In the case of the 557, not really. I imagine you could set some parameters
and "tune" the logic (to block out certain columns, etc.). Also, someone
mentioned that the thing will do totals. I'm sure it has a miniscule amount
of storage and no branching or looping logic. The program only exists as

In the case of the 432, there is some more but not much.

I've heard that people who were very used to punch-card equipment had
trouble understanding modern computers. My evidence is books that explained
computers in terms of punch-card equipment (which boils down to a lot of
specialized devices with delicate yet narrow-minded programs all connected
together) and also the stories of really badly-written programs. Just
think, you get to make the reverse jump in understanding.

If you want to see a VERY warped hybrid between computers and "old-stuyle"
punch-card equipment, check out RPG. There are even GUI versions (I find
that very disturbing).

-- Derek
Received on Tue Mar 30 1999 - 00:20:23 BST

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