Identify this vintage nerdery

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by strantor, Jul 20, 2015.

  1. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    My mom's uncle is 78 years old and is on his way out. Up until last year, he was a spry dude, and according to files I found on his computer, he was still looking for work up until 2011. He was a computer programmer, back before being a programmer was en vogue.

    Unfortunately, Alzheimer's/ dementia set in and totally erased him in under a year. Sometimes he doesn't even know who he is. Earlier in the year I visited him and tried to ask him some questions because I was curious about who he was (I never met him before); I asked him what programming languages he knew, and he didn't remember. I threw out some of the oldest languages that I could think of, like COBOL and Fortran, and he said that might be familiar, but not sure. But he did remember being a helicopter mechanic, and he told me all about that, five times.

    He never had any kids, and his only family is my mom and my aunt. My mom is the guardian of his estate, and he isn't getting any better, so she asked me to come over and see if there was anything among his stuff that I was interested in, before she got rid of it. I guess it may seem cold to be sorting through his goods while he's still breathing, but she is going to get rid of it whether I dig through it or not. Anyway, he doesn't know what any of it is, and even if he did, he can't have it at the hospice place. I guess she didn't see the point in having her garage full of his stuff, waiting for him to die.

    I selected an original Gillette single-blade razor, an old metal-cased power drill, a nice drafting compass set, and these stencils and rulers (attached). I haven't worked out exactly what they are yet, but I think they might be for making computer punch cards.

    Am I right? What are these things? How were they used?
     
  2. #12

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    Nov 30, 2010
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    A lot of them are just, "scales" for drafting.
    some are flow chart templates and some of the writing suggests COBOL.
     
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  3. cmartinez

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    The first scale in the first page looks like an old punch card template.
     
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  4. MikeML

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    Oct 2, 2009
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    Hey, when they go through my stuff (there is a lot to go through), they will find a lot of the same templates, including my Pickett Log-Log Deci-Trig...
     
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  5. Kermit2

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    That first "ruler" was for reading your binary code on the printer paper. It kept you aligned with the various fields which all appeared on a single line. Some programs were hundreds a pages long. My father worked for IBM back in the day when they were the only game in town for companies that needed computers. Neat stuff. Brought back a few memories for me
     
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  6. cmartinez

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    Back then it was a really well-paid job... if I remember correctly
     
  7. Papabravo

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    Feb 24, 2006
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    In 1970 almost every job paid well in relative terms. My observation has been that wages and prices have risen about 10 dB which means we have ended up where we started. I had a hard time believing that calculation when I made it back then, but it did come true. Welcome to retirement.
     
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  8. cmartinez

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    o_O 10 dB? mind elaborating?
     
  9. Papabravo

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    10 dB = 10 * log(10/1)
    It is the same thing as saying prices and wages have risen by a factor of 10.
     
  10. KJ6EAD

    Senior Member

    Apr 30, 2011
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    None of the scales shown appear to be related to Hollerith cards. They are, as someone said, templates for reading long lines of monospaced type on 11" X 17" printouts. These were likely used for COBOL code and used for report design.
     
  11. cmartinez

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    Thanks, I know dB is a logarithmic scale... I was just wondering about your choice of units (although dB is actually unitless, of course)... granted, it saved you writing the word "tenfold" ... but it also made you write me an explanation :D
     
  12. Papabravo

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    Feb 24, 2006
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    I always try to be obscure clearly!
     
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  13. Kermit2

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    I wonder where the term drift comes from? As in "get my drift".

    Someone said. :)
     
  14. nerdegutta

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    Dec 15, 2009
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    I like the flow-chart templates.

    What if you had met this guy some years ago? You'd be ruling the Programmer's Corner of this site. :D
     
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  15. GopherT

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  16. cmartinez

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  17. GopherT

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    Or he would be running away from technology at high speed! No offense but, who knows what personality (or lack of personality) this guy had, What skills he had, What work ethic he had, ...
     
  18. #12

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    Eschew obfuscation! :mad:

    I saw a guy in 1968 with a stack of white and green lined paper about 5 inches thick, which was hundreds of pages of machine language. He brought it home to spend the weekend trying to find a bug. That was when I decided I'd learn programming right after the whole world settled on one programming language. :rolleyes:

    In 1974 I took Basic and Fortran just so I would know the methods of logic used to write a program. In a couple of months I had the college Mainframe doing my transformer designs for my job...right after I typed them in on a teletype machine in the school library. :D

    ps, The guy with the green and white paper turned out to be my first father-in-law. I still haven't spoken to him. :)
     
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  19. cmartinez

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    Aaaaaaannnndddd... did he find the bug?
     
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  20. JoeJester

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    Apr 26, 2005
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    The form designer would be the vertical scale of 6 lines per inch and the other scale is a small font that produced 132 characters across an 8.5 inch paper width. The middle two are form designers. The rest are "programming flowchart" templates. Used in a manner that those in electronics would use "block" diagrams.

    Attached is a Visio screenshot of the flowchart symbols.
     
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