Black Hole photos & LGP junk

From: Tom Jennings <>
Date: Mon Sep 6 17:06:25 2004

Just a few photos I took. The ND812 (not 811) is visible, the CDP1802
thingies, some Gray Era IBM, etc.

Also a pic of Ed (left) and Frank. The search warrant from the latest
harrassment [1].

THe LGP-21 at home (mine). The specialized LGP Flexowriter, changes not
restricted to keyboard and charset.

(Note the black keys -- those of course are the machine's order codes
(instructions), eg. "B" is "BRING" (load accumulator from memory).
Imagine you have 400 transistors arranged as a calculator, and NO
SOFTWARE OF ANY KIND. The hardware is arranged such that, when the
machine is executing an INPUT instruction, if you type the following

B 1 2 0 3 '

the bit pattern generated by those keystrokes *IS* the 'BRING 1203'
instruction. Voila! Who needs an assembler or compiler?!

The trailing ' character is decoded -- by the INPUT instruction
hardware! -- to mean 'stop shuffling characters into the accumulator and
proceed with the next instruction in memory' which has the unpleasant
side effects that you cannot input ordinary text from the keyboard into
the machine, nor input the ' character at all. Every character input
must be terminated with ' (aka "CONDITIONAL STOP").

So much for text editing on an LGP-xx machine (a typewriter and salaried
secretary was cheaper). If you are clever though, and need to input a
data table, say, into a running program, you do so by arranging the data
as 'instructions' that go directly into memory, and not input and
handled by the target software. At 2500 instructions/sec this is umm

(I'm surprised the space key wasn't assigned this function, but I guess
text input wasn't seen to have much use, and debugging with spaces would
be a lot harder than '.)


[1] Ed's a big anti-Lab (LANL) activist and crank letter writer. During
the Wen Ho Lee fiasco, Ed took some old 5" hard disk and put a SECRET
sticker on it, left it on his desk (you can see in the photo what that
looks like...). Pretty standard junkyard humor. Mr. Lee visited Ed (who
was a big supporter during the mess) after jail, so Ed gets to say "Hey
Wen, we found your disk drive").

Fast forward to July 04 -- "disk drives missing from the lab!". Likely
some Ed-detractor (there are many up there) called the FBI, who shows up
one day, and basically takes the joke-SECRET-disk, plus some old
cartridge tape. The search warrant was dropped by the next day (so much
for procedure).

So of course the best recourse is to put SECRET stickers on everything
-- which of course Ed has done.

(Reported with a lot less fanfare was the later discovery that no disk
drives were in fact missing from the allegedly unwatched safe, only some
of those fancy inventory stickers, which were determined to have not
been applied to any property. The entire episode proving that their
system was WORKING, in that they were in fact tracable, after an
interval. Anyone who's worked with this sort of property tracing system
knows that this is exactly how it's supposed to work, but it doesn't
make for glamorous news.)

(As an aside, the TV news from Albuquerque said that this year's balloon
festival (a zillion annual hot-air balloons ... big event) will have
tighter security, apparently to prevent 'terrists' from hijacking them?
Using them to bombard citizenry?!)
Received on Mon Sep 06 2004 - 17:06:25 BST

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