Thursday, March 7, 2013

The strange beauty of old iron, historic computers

Wired have a great article on the sights and smells of historic computing, the strange beauty indeed of mainframes, minicomputers, line printers and other historic computing artifacts. Many of the computers and peripherals at places like the Computer History Museum in California (somewhere i must visit one day!) still work after being restored adding an extra dimension to the experience. The sound and heat of a punched card reader...

It is a very different tech world to now, a bigger world too. Computers filled huge rooms with printers being the size of small cars, plus tape units the size of wardrobes. That is part of the fascination i feel, its just so different to the computing we use now.

Unfortunately by the time i entered work we were past the age of old iron, though i did use a Prime minicomputer at university which was great fun. The biggest computer i've ever had physical access to is a HP PC server which was the size of a small fridge. Just not the same. One place i must try and get to this year is the UK National Museum of Computing which includes a fair amount of old iron in it's collection.
Photo from Flickr Commons

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