[TUHS] Anyone else here remember Portapunch?

Dave Horsfall dave at horsfall.org
Mon Jun 22 02:06:54 AEST 2015

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Subject: Re: [GreenKeys] Replacing Chad, was: Black tape

On Sun, 21 Jun 2015, Jones, Douglas W wrote:

> The flaws in the Votomatic were a bit subtle, but in retrospect, if you 
> read the patents for the IBM Portapunch (the direct predecessor of the 
> Votomatic) and for the Votomatic, you find that the flaw that was its 
> eventual downfall -- at least in the public's mind -- is fully 
> documented in the patents.  Of course IBM's (and later CESI's, after IBM 
> walked away from the Votomatic in the late 1960s) salesmen never 
> mentioned those flaws.

Portapunch?  Arrgghh!

We had to put up with that Satan-spawn in our University days...  Only 40 
columns wide, it had specific encodings for FORTRAN words, and it was just 
as well that FORTRAN ignored white space (I know this for a fact, when I 
fed a deck into a "real" card reader one time).

Being but mere impecunious Uni students and having to actually buy the 
things, we resorted to fixing mis-punches by literally sticky-taping the 
chads back.

For some reason, the computer operators (IBM 360/50) hated us...

I really do hope that the inventor of Portapunch is still having holes 
punched through him with a paper-clip.

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