[TUHS] Early Unix and Keyboard Skills

Charles H Sauer (he/him) sauer at technologists.com
Fri Nov 4 06:01:04 AEST 2022

On 11/3/2022 2:36 PM, Rich Morin wrote:
>> On Thu, Nov 3, 2022 at 11:19 AM Paul Winalski <paul.winalski at gmail.com> wrote:
>> The model 33 had a very fast and powerful carriage return mechanism,
>> good for cracking walnuts ...
> In 1968, San Francisco State College (now yclept "University") set up a "computer lab", based on a few IBM 2741 terminals.  These were hooked by leased lines to Stanford's Wylbur system and allowed us to do line-based editing, interactive Lisp, etc.
> Anyway, the terminals were based on the I/O Selectric, and the ball impacts were powered by a spinning bar with pretty much infinite torque.  One day, an insufficiently cautious TA got her long, straight hair wound onto the bar.  Each character that was printed pulled her head closer to the terminal.
> Fortunately, someone hit the OFF switch in time to avoid bloodshed.  Then, we were able to carefully unwind her hair and free her from the terminal.  IIRC, we didn't even have to cut any of her hair in the process...

I was nominally a music major at S.F. State at that time, in the midst 
of my self-imposed avoidance of computers, that started with disdain 
from my initial exposure to Fortran on IBM 1620 at U of MO-Columbia in 
1964 and ended with semi-abandoning my rock and roll pursuits in early 
1971 and starting C.S. studies at UT-Austin. I also took math courses at 
S.F. State in 1968 but was unaware of the above cited "lab".

Regarding keyboarding skills, I took touch-typing in summer school after 
9th grade, got a SCM portable electric typewriter that I might still 
have, and am still grateful for QWERTY facility that has served me ever 
since, on card punch, 2741, 3270, Displaywriter, and more obscure and 
more modern keyboards.


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