Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Computer History Museum - David and Gaynell Larsen Visit Silicon Valley & Museums

Computer History Museum
Computer History Museum   
My wife and I made a tour out West in October 2013 to visit our  computer collector friends and the museums in the Silicon Valley area.  Many years ago - like 51 years ago - 'dog gone it ' I am getting older - I lived in  Mountain View California the current home of Silicon Valley (SV). Silicon Valley was not a reality in 1963. I remember lots of Prune Orchards, farms and a lot less people and freeways.  The SV was in the starting stages then with Fairchild Semicondnuctor being one of the start ups. Fairchild had been in business only 8 years when I worked for them in 1966 - I did not last long as the job was no fun and I moved on to Varian Associates.  Hewlett Packard was already big in 1966. Interesting current history - Hewlett Parkard purchased Varian about a year ago & is the largest instrumentation company in the world.

It has always been fun for us to visit the area and this our second visit to the Computer History Museum and Lyle Bickley gave us a personal guided tour. Lyle is part of the Digital Equipment PDP 1 team at the museum and helped restore the PDP 1 minicomputer into working condition. This is the only PDP1 in the world that is operational.

The Computer History Museum is a must visit place for all computer collectors, historians and people that just like knowing about the computer revolution. The staff includes hundreds of volunteers & employees is to be congratulated on what is most likely the best computer museum in the world.

Here are the video's I made during our visit to the Computer History Museum and the area. I think you will find several of them interesting.

PDP1 minicomputer
Lyle Bickley at consold of  PDP 1

PDP1 Computer a Digital Equipment Corporation DEC at the Computer History Museum HD Lyle Bickley is a volunteer at the museum and is on the PDP1 team. Lyle not only demonstrated the PDP1 but gave us a complete tour of all the displays. This is the only operational PDP1 in the world.

PDP1 minicomputer
PDP1 on switch 

 Bill Gates and the PDP1 Computer at the 'Computer History Museum' HD Lyle Bickley PDP1 team member describes Bill Gates visit to the Computer History Museum and his interaction with the PDP1 Computer. This is most interesting. 

PDP1 minicomputer
Lyle Bicklly telling PDP1 / Bach story
PDP1 Digital Equipment Corportion DEC Minicomputer Plays Music BACH HD Lyle Bickley demonstrated the PDP1 minicomputer playing Bach on the only PDP1 in the world that is in running condition. It has been reported that only 3 of these minicomputer are known to exist. Pete Samson designed the hardware and software for playing music on the PDP1 computer.

Hollerith Punch Card machine
Hollerith Punch Card machine
Herman Hollerith Punch Card Machine HD The Hollerith machine is more than 110 years old and is so interesting. This was before electronic systems were available and is great example of electric and mechanical adding.  Some automation with the punch cards and this made adding the census totals 100's of time faster than by hand.

 D17-B computer
View looking onto the D17-B computer
Minuteman 1 ICBM guidance D17-B computer David Larsen's 1960 computer experience HD The D-17B computer -  it is an all solid state and used DRL ( diode- resistor- logic) , DTL ( diode transistor logic ) was used only for gain or inversion. The computer was a 24 bit machine and could execute almost 13,000 additions per second. It build with ( Approximate ) 6000 didoes,1000 capacitors,500 resistors, 1500 transistors, 75 circuit boards, memory of 5500 words and weighed 60 lbs.

Below is audio post about how Digital Equipment Corporation got it's start making minicomputers.

Vintage Computers -First PDP computers from Digital Equipment Corporation early 1960's

The story teller is Lyle Bickley at the Computer History Museum

Napa California Halloween Festival 2013
Napa California Halloween Festival 2013
Napa California - Halloween Festival HD
The Napa , CA visit was a nice bonus and we found the town folks here having a Halloween Festival. All the merchants were giving out treats to the young ones.  The town was crowded with beautiful and unique costumes.

David G Larsen
David G Larsen
These videos are only a tiny representation of the Computer History Museum in Mountain View California. Take a look at there web site or make a personal visit - you learn a lot and be well rewarded for your time. Thank you Llye Bickley and the Computer History Museum for allowing me to make these videos and present them here on my blog.

"by David Larsen"  KK4WW Computer Collector Historian   
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