R.I.P. Wesley A. Clark

Back in 1979-1980, I spent a year working at the Computer Museum at Digital Equipment Corporation’s Marlboro facility. I was tasked to get running and maintain vintage computing gear. This included machines like the short cab DEC PDP-12, the DEC PDP-11/45, the MIT Lincoln Labs TX-0 (the first transistorized computer).

One of the machines I had a blast working on was the LINC computer that Wesley A. Clark designed at MIT. Dr. Clark was on the TX-0 project along with a few of the computer pioneers that went on to form successful computer firms. Dr. Clark designed, what we would call, the first “personal computer”. It was a laboratory computer in nature, for it had a number of digital to analog and analog to digital converters, as well as instructions to read those devices. It used a wonderful device called LINCTape. LINCTape was the predecessor to DECTape. LINCTape was block oriended, and read in the forward direction. DECTape was the same, except, it could read/write in both directions. And improvement on LINCTape.

Digital Equipment Corp. was commissioned to build these LINC computers and sold a number of them. Later, they designed the LINC-8, which consisted of PDP-8 and LINC CPUs with a common I/O subsystem and used DECTape. Later, the PDP-12 replaced it, having one CPU that could execute the instructions of a PDP-8 or LINC in the same CPU. All of these were targetted to the labratory market.

I was fascinated with how the LINC came about being. I travelled to Cambridge, Ma. and met with Dr. Clark and talked about the LINC in detail, and its operating system, LAP4 DIAL. Dr. Clark eventually came to one of the museum’s lecture series to talk about the computer to all who attended. These events were great, because you would be talking with people like Gordon Bell, Alan Kotok, etc, all who were processor architects of DEC’s computers. I got to demonstrate a working LINC running LAP4 DIAL and right next to it, it’s grandson, the PDP-12 running LAP6 DIAL. A wonderful evening.

I established a nice repore with Dr. Clark. I lost contact with him over the years, and found out he had passed away, yesterday. I am saddened. He was a major influence on me, and taught me a lot about those machines at MIT in the early day (Whirlwind, TX-0, TX-2, LINC).
R.I.P. Dr. Clark, and thank you.

Here is the New York Times obituary for Dr. Wesley A. Clark.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/business/wesley-a-clark-made-computing-personal-dies-at-88.html?smid=tw-share&_r=2&referer=https://t.co/BVO1SkFoXn

I’m back

Welcome to the new blog. I have decided to just use Tumblr for a blog and not worry about WordPress, or static S3 sites, etc. This should take a couple of days to propogate out to name servers.

Fiscal Cliff

When are politicians going to wake up and smell the coffee? Everyone is posturing to see who’s dick is bigger than everyone else’s. What the American people wrought upon themselves is a House of Representatives of dumb-asses. When an un-educated electorate votes in Cletus McFuckWagon as a rep, who’s goal is to “kill” the US Government, the entire country suffers. It is so sad to see America decline like this. No decent person will run for congress anymore, because they will be seen as “moderate” and cannot be elected by the dumb-ass voters.

Congress needs to STFU or GTFO. There is no reason for someone over 400K a year to not pay a percent more for taxes. There is no reason that the biggest pile of waste, defense, could stand a little trimming back. These un-educated congressmen, need to be (in there parlance: edumacated) in how to govern.

Serious, there should be a constitutional amendment requiring all congresspeople to pass a basic civics test. Some of these fuckwads think Jesus wrote the constitution . Apparently they failed US history in school. (In fact, most of them want the Dept. of Education gone, so people will not actually be educated, so they can stay in congress, because dumb-asses beget dumb-asses).

The founding fathers are rolling in their graves.