Farewell Etaoin Shrdlu

Chris Elmquist chrise at pobox.com
Wed Jun 17 21:28:51 CDT 2020

And Lincoln had MN license plate “ETAOIN” on his rusted out Ford van and one of the other guys in our “wiz kid” bunch had “SHRDLU” on his plates.

We later learned that the Eta were some kind of Spanish terrorist group and so Neil liked that story better— we were going to terrorize the supercomputer world with this ETA-10.

Chris Elmquist

> On Jun 17, 2020, at 3:28 PM, Chuck Guzis via cctalk <cctalk at classiccmp.org> wrote:
> On 6/17/20 12:25 PM, Liam Proven via cctalk wrote:
>> https://archive.org/details/FarewellEtaoinShrdlu
>> 28min documentary on the last ever edition of the NY Times to be
>> printed using hot metal -- before they switched to what are now a
>> quite choice assortment of late-'70s minicomputers. I think I spotted
>> a PDP, a Data General and some IBM device, but I am no expert in this
>> era.
> When I was in college, I went on a weekend trip with a friend to see
> where he worked during the summer.  It was a print-shop, complete with
> both letterpress and offset--and a Linotype ("pot" heated with natural
> gas).  The local advertising circular was still set with hot type and I
> witnessed the operation of that contraption.  Noisy and wonderful.
> See the Twilight Zone episode "Printer's Devil" for another sample.
> I was told that most newspaper pressmen were alcoholics, as it blunted
> the effect of the then-toxic inks used in printing.
> Anent ETAOIN:  Early on in the formation of the CDC spinoff, ETA
> Systems, I asked Neil Lincoln what "ETA" stood for.  He related the
> story of his son and ETAOIN SHRDLU.  Back then, the name of the
> supercomputer was referred to as the GF-10; later changed to the ETA-10.
> (GF standing for GigaFLOP).
> --Chuck

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