16 April 2008

Teletype 33

Click through to page 4 of this photo essay by Michael Shamberg for Life's January 1970 number. This is totally me in ninth grade, learning BASIC (my first significant assignment was finding roots of polynomials by simple iteration). Especially the paper roll spilling onto the floor.

Shamberg visits the Rodman family of Ardmore, Pa., who have installed a Teletype 33 in their home and signed up for timesharing access to a mainframe in New Jersey. General Electric provides the service. The Rodmans apparently have access to permanent storage on the mainframe, whereas we students used paper tape to save our work. You can see the paper tape reader/punch attached to the Teletype unit, in the right side of the page 4 picture. The acoustic coupler modulator-demodulator is in the left side of the pic.

"For me, the main physical effect of having a computer at home is that I’m able to spend a lot more time with my family,” says Dr. Rodman, who is a lung specialist on the faculty of Temple University medical school in Philadelphia. “For all of us the real impact is mental. Programming a computer is like thinking in a foreign language. It forces you to approach problems with a high degree of logic. Because we always have a computer handy, we turn to it with problems we never would have thought of doing on one before.”

(Link via Boing Boing.)

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