I used the 7070 because that was all that was available. Don't know the
7090. But at the time the 7070 was the best available. The US gov paid
dearly for it even though it had only 9K of memory, 10 bit words and no hard
drives, just a bank of big Ampex tape drives. When it shut down it took 2
days to get all the blown tubes replaced so it was back up again. Needed 30
tons of air conditioning and a room as big as a basketball court to contain
it. But again, it was the best available at the time. It was 18 more years
before the TRS-80, Apple, and Commodore were available so, yes, it was the
best for number crunching. Even though the team of 12 mathematicians that I
belonged to that was tasked with the solving of a particular problem with
slide rules and locked in for 72 hours until it was solved, could solve the
problem faster than the 7070 for the first six months we had it. After 6
months of tweaking the program (which was on pull out boards with jumpers)
they finally got the 7070 where it could beat us regularly and with equal
accuracy. That was a relief for us since we really hated those 72 hour
"lock ins" which could come on a moments notice usually starting in the
middle of the night. But I think my wife hated them even more because she
didn't even know where I was or what I was doing. All she knew was, "Good
night, honey, I will see you in a few days."
As to enabling the computer, I think loading a program is enabling...don't
Please don't talk down to me. I think I have been around computers as long
as you and I don't like your condescending tone..
On 2/1/07, Warren Wolfe <wizard at voyager.net> wrote:
On Thu, 2007-02-01 at 13:35 -0600, Jim Isbell, W5JAI wrote:
The apple was a flop, yes. The Commodore also
was a flop. Just look at
numbers. The apple was a flop because it was
marketed as entertainment
drawing pictures (which it excelled at) while the
TRS-80 was a
machine that crunched numbers. Yes, today the
tables are reversed, but
then, those of us who were into computers (I had
been in computers since
1960 on the IBM 7070) were looking for computing power for serious work.
The Apple was just not that. The Commodore didnt make it because it was
under powered and again was marketed toward using it for games not
Both the Apple and Commodore were hardly flops. They did what they
were designed to do, and made a bunch of money for their respective
owners. I'm not sure I understand how you are defining "success" and
"flop" here. The Apple, additionally, had the exciting market-making
feature of an open bus, allowing others to make products for the
machine. This was later adopted by IBM.
I still have several of all three and at the time
I would use my
TRS-80 whenever I was programming. The others were FUN machines made
children while the TRS-80 was capable of
programming in BASIC, FORTRAN,
NLOS, FORTH and Assembly to name only the languages that I had enabled
"Enabled?" Uh, it APPEARS that you don't understand the concept.
Languages are LOADED on a machine, they're not there waiting to be
"enabled" and then used -- other than the BASIC in ROM on several
machines, the IBM included. Any language could be implemented on either
the Apple or the Commodore, and a wide variety WERE implemented -- I'll
leave it to the outraged fans of both camps to provide a detailed
AND the DOS in the TRS-80 was miles ahead of
the others and was
accessible. When IBM came out with their machine I wished they had
TRS-DOS and then developed that instead of
starting with their own. Yes
IBMs DOS went on to outstrip TRS-DOS, but just think how much faster the
development would have been if they had started with the solid base that
TRS-DOS had set down.
IBM licensed MS-DOS from Microsoft, and CP/M-86 from Digital
Research, and did NOT develop their own Operating System until OS/2,
which was essentially stillborn. And, since MS-DOS was simply an XLATed
hot copy of CP/M-80 with a couple of changes, IBM computers essentially
ran by the grace of CP/M, one way or the other. While TRS-DOS wasn't
actively bad, it was highly clumsy, and did odd things for some speed
which tied it to specific hardware altogether too tightly, such as
sticking the directory of a diskette in the middle tracks of the
diskette. That kind of kludge doesn't translate well to a move to hard
drives, and other large media. TRS-DOS also took advantage of hardware
specifics of the TRS line of computers, as I understand it, which would
have made it more difficult to port to other-company machines. Of
course, had the goal been to have TRS-DOS succeed, rather than the
TRS-80 line of computers, these issues could have been addressed.
But, when it comes to early "solid base" operating systems, nothing
beats CP/M. And, since the IBM went in what amounted to the CP/M
direction, this worked out well for them.
Today I use Linux...an offshoot of the
Apple....which is far superior to
Windows and their "pretend" DOS. But it wasn't back then.
I write this on a Linux machine, and I love the operating system.
Linux is a work-alike of UNIX, developed by Bell Labs (K&R). The Apple
OS-X is a licensed variant of UNIX. Linux is NOT an offshoot of Apple.
I also own several Macs, and I have to say that I did not find the older
Mac OS stuff to be as stable as was claimed. What I found was that Mac
owners (more often hobbyists) tended to hide the fact when their
computer crashed, whereas PC owners (more often businessmen) tended to
gripe about their computer crashing. This gave, as I see it, an
erroneous impression of much greater stability for the Mac. I think it
WAS more stable, but not by the nearly infinite margin portrayed by many
Mac enthusiasts. I liked the simplicity and intuitive nature of the
Mac. On the other hand, I detested the idea that they refused to put in
a command line interpreter because it wasn't part of "the vision."
Bugger that, I have work to do. Make it easy for me, don't force me
into your vision...
We have to look at the market and environment of
the late 70s when we
comparing systems. Today the market is different
and the systems are
different. We cant compare apples to oranges.
Sure we can. Most apples are red, and have a smooth, thin skin.
Oranges reflect light at a higher frequency, and have bumpier, thicker
Warren E. Wolfe
wizard at voyager.net
"If you are not living on the edge, well then,
you are just taking up too much space."