[TUHS] A/UX [was Linux is on-topic]

Jon Steinhart jon at fourwinds.com
Sat Aug 15 11:33:11 AEST 2020

Rich writes:
> > On Aug 14, 2020, at 10:39, Jon Steinhart <jon at fourwinds.com> wrote:
> > 
> > ...Was actually really
> > nice to have a pretty bug-free system available.  But, in the tried and true
> > bad management style that was Tektronix, nobody every asked whether there was
> > any customer value proposition.
> Some years ago, I asked a engineer friend about the ceramic terminal strips
> (and accompanying spool of silver solder) that I had seen in Tektronix scopes.
> He responded by asking me what a terminal strip was supposed to do.
> Erm, make connections and provide physical stability between some wires while
> keeping all the connections insulated from each other?  He said "yup", that's
> what these strips do.  In particular, they aren't capacitors, resistors, or
> inductors to any significant degree...
> On a vaguely related note, I found it amusing that there was a well known hack
> for Cray's (or perhaps 6600's) which were misbehaving: put a Tektronix scope
> probe on a test point that generally had one there during final system checkout.
> The load (extremely mnimal by design) was just enough to stabilize the system.
> -r

Well, this is kind of off topic, but that wasn't my experience at Tek.  There was
an internal course called AFTR (amplifier frequency and transient response) which
was basically a guide to black magic design, then things that you had to know if
as we said, you needed to design amplifiers that were flat from DC to daylight.
This is where one learned about things like t-coils which compensated for bonding
wire impedance in ICs, hook (dC/dV of circuit certain circuit board dialectrics),
and so on.  Plus, we had a policy of making things bulletproof.  Relating it back
to workstations, it was a problem.  We were unable to convince management (well,
there really wasn't any management at Tek) that while customers expected a mil-spec
scope to bounce and keep on working when dropped off of the back of a truck, the
folks who bought workstations expected them to break when dropped.  That's why we
couldn't build an empty box of air for less than a thousand dollars.


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