[TUHS] Date madness

Paul Winalski paul.winalski at gmail.com
Sat Dec 16 02:41:35 AEST 2017


On 12/13/17, arnold at skeeve.com <arnold at skeeve.com> wrote:
>
> ISTR that the vaxen did have such things.  Or rather, I ran some BSD 780s
> for several years and I don't remember having to set the date / time
> every time I did a reboot.  They sat in a data center, so I may have never
> done a cold boot from power on.  It was a LONG time ago now, so there's
> undoubtedly lots that I just plain don't remember.

The first two VAXen, the 11/780 and 11/750, both had TOY clocks that
ran when the machine was powered off.  The 11/730 was designed to be a
low-cost VAX, and one of the ways they lowered the cost was
elimination of the TOY clock.  VMS (and I assume also UNIX) asked you
to enter the time whenever you cold booted the 11/730.

After the 11/730 came out, Dick Hustvedt (lead VMS architect and
engineer) and Stan Rabinowitz put together an elaborate April fool's
hack.  On April 1, the 11/730 in the VMS group's machine room had next
to it a pedestal with a sundial on it and a ribbon cable leading into
the 11/730, with sales brochures placed next to it.  The sales
brochures announced the SD730 Fixed Head Solar Horologue, a sundial
with a photocell for detecting noon that could be used to
automatically set the 11/730's time-of-day clock.  The thing actually
worked--it was connected via a UNIBUS real-time device controller, and
Hustvedt had written a VMS device driver for it.

All VAXen after the 11/730 had TOY clocks.

-Paul W.


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