[TUHS] Names of famous, historical UNIX machines?

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Thu Feb 2 11:29:20 AEST 2017

Sorry -- I Hit send too soon - cut/pasted from slashdot.

Bill - if I can find a hardcopy. I'll scan it.


On Wed, Feb 1, 2017 at 8:18 PM, Clem Cole <clemc at ccc.com> wrote:

> The creator of that little gem was Dick Hustvedt, a brilliant engineer
> with a wicked sense of humor. He was one of the inventors of VAXclusters,
> as well as of the SD730 Solar Horologue Option - see end of this post.
> When in the VMS SYSGEN utility, and you asked for a list of the
> parameters, the list included the units. The TIMEPROMPTWAIT parameter was
> unusual in that values in one range did one thing, while values in another
> range did something else. Dick wanted to encourage users to go read the
> manual for the full explanation, so he had the units listed as
> microfortnights, hoping that puzzled readers would go search out the
> details.
> Sadly, Dick suffered severe brain injury in a car accident many years ago,
> and was unable to return to work.  The VMS team named a conference room in
> his honor at the Nashua, NH facility where VMS engineering lives, and if
> you visit it, you can see the prototype SD730, which was introduced as an
> April Fools joke one year. Here's the text from the "Product Information
> Sheet" for the SD730.
> VAX-11/730
> SD730 Fixed Head Solar Horologue
> Overview
> The SD730 is an option for the VAX-11/730(TM) that provides an inexpensive
> solution to the problem of setting system time correctly following a power
> failure. An astronomical reference is used to assure accuracy. Reliability
> is assured by the simple, elegant design which employs well-proven
> technology.
> Description
> The SD730 is a gnomonic high noon detector that provides a simple, but
> elegant solution to the problem of setting system time correctly following
> a power failure. This option is particularly valuable for processors
> lacking battery backup for their time-of-year (TOY) clock.
> Highlights
> - Gnomonic interference high noon detector
> - High accuracy assured by low-drift astronomical reference
> - Connects to existing DR-11C port on VAX-11/730
> - Proprietary high-moon rejection design
> - Offline mode for standalone time measurement
> - User installable and maintainable
> - Reliability assured by minimal component count and proven technology
> - Heavy duty construction resists solar wind
> - Anti-corrosion coating prevents gnomonic plague
> Description
> The SD730 provides a single bit of data via the DR-11C port of the
> VAX-11/730 that encodes all of its sensory information. Decoding is
> accomplished by measuring the on/off intervals of this sensor channel.
> Derivation of the time and date is accomplished by the SD730 Shadow
> Processing Support Software.
> Accurate high-noon sensing is obtained by measuring the solar transit time
> and computing the midpoint. This algorithm also corrects for variations in
> gnomon width, latitude and season. In the event that a cloudless night
> permits a high full moon to be seen, it will be differentiated from an
> authentic high noon by comparing observed transit time against a reference
> solar transit time.
> Within 24 hours following power restoration, the SD730 driver software
> will restore the correct system time.
> Power outages in excess of 24 hours can be accomodated once a reference
> year has been accumulated. Day length, solar transit time and their rates
> of change are used to recognize the day within the year.
> Installation
> The SD730 is user installable and comes complete with an installation kit
> consisting of a lensatic compass. All software is self-installing and
> self-calibrating. The only requirement is that system time be set correctly
> and that at least one clear day be allowed for self calibration.
> The SD730 will not operate reliably when installed at latitudes greater
> than 60 degrees.
> Maintenance
> While the SD730 is simple and reliable, some environments may necessitate
> periodic cleaning of the gnomon and photo-detector. Although the gnomon
> shields the photo-detector from debris, this may not be sufficient for
> particularly hazardous locations subject to overflights by large flocks of
> migratory birds. To assist in problem detection, error log entries will be
> made for days without sunshine and weeks without a high noon.
> Support Software
> A driver and other support software are supplied with the SD730. All
> software runs on VAX/VMS.
> An optional package is available to produce a local almanac sprinkled
> liberally with gnomic sayings and weather predictions, all derived from one
> year's solar date.
> Options
> For severe or hostile environments, a conversion kit consisting of a
> fiber-optic cable and adapters is available to convert the SD730 to an
> SD730-Tempest.
> Specifications
> I/O Adapter
> DR-11C Connector (single bit)
> Power Requirements
> 9 volt battery (alkaline recommended)
> Battery not included
> Optional solar cells available
> Physical Characteristics
> Packaging Free Standing Unit
> Weight 4.5kg (10 lbs)
> Height 86cm (34 inches)
> Width 32cm (12.5 inches)
> Depth 32cm (12.5 inches)
> Operating Environment
> Temperature 5 to 32 degrees C (41 to 90 F)
> Relative Humidity 0 to 90%
> Maximum Altitude 4.5km (15000 ft)
> Latitude 0 to 60 degrees North (*)
> Performance
> Long Term Accuracy 1 second per year
> Operational Reliability Consult your local weather service
> *NOTE For installation in the southern hemisphere, order model SL730-SL.
> On Wed, Feb 1, 2017 at 5:44 PM, William Pechter <pechter at gmail.com> wrote:
>> One of the best things about DEC was the lack of taking itself too
>> seriously.
>> 11/730 product announcement for the Solar Horologue...
>> See the above in Google and Slashdot.
>> Wish I had a pdf to post.
>> Bill
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Clem Cole <clemc at ccc.com>
>> To: Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com>
>> Cc: TUHS main list <tuhs at minnie.tuhs.org>, Noel Chiappa <
>> jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu>
>> Sent: Wed, 01 Feb 2017 17:28
>> Subject: Re: [TUHS] Names of famous, historical UNIX machines?
>> On Wed, Feb 1, 2017 at 5:11 PM, Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> wrote:
>> > I visited Portland and Santa Clara and I have never
>> > seen a more grey cubicle farm in my life.
>> >
>> ​I don't remember which comic it was, but about 8-10 years ago one the
>> late
>> night comedy guys brought a film crew to SC and made that same exact
>> observation.​
>> While Intel does do many things well, this one is part of company culture
>> and I'm not in a position to change it.  I wish I could.  I think the
>> place
>> would be a small bit happier if it did not take itself quite so seriously,
>> but that's just my personal opinion.
>> As the late Roger Gourd used to say: *"Bring me to a sacred cow, and I'll
>> start up the sacred bbq." ;-) *
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