[TUHS] Loud machines (was Compatibility Question)

arnold at skeeve.com arnold at skeeve.com
Wed Dec 20 17:12:47 AEST 2023

As late as 1981, the university I attended had an IBM 1130. Mainly it
was programmed in Fortran IV (but only 5 letters allowed in an identifier,
not 6) but it also had a Cobol compiler.

The Cobol compiler read cards about 1 every 3/4 second. By contrast, when
the Fortran compiler was reading cards, it sounded like a machine gun firing.

I wrote a program similar to banner(1) but that made the big letters up
out of the actual letters in Fortran. Although the cards are long gone, I
still have the code. :-)


Douglas McIlroy <douglas.mcilroy at dartmouth.edu> wrote:

> > Paul -- you left out the other "feature" -- the noise, which was still
> deafening even with a model N1 and its cover.
> It was indeed loud, but GE out-roared them with a blindingly fast card
> reader. The machine had a supposedly gentle touch; it grabbed cards with
> vacuum rather than tongs. But the make-and-break pneumatic explosions
> sounded like a machine gun. A noise meter I borrowed from the Labs' tool
> crib read 90db 6 feet away.
> Doug

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