Eric Hahn, a geeky 12-year-old in middle school in East Hampton, N.Y., wanted a computer in the worst way. It was the early 1970s, and computers were owned by corporations and schools, not by kids, but Hahn had to try to get one. He wrote a letter to C. Gordon Bell, then the brash vice president of research and development for the mighty Digital Equipment Corp., at the time the world’s largest maker of minicomputers. The object of Hahn’s desire was a Digital PDP-8/a minicomputer. It may be hard to remember what it was like to get excited about a computer the size of a microwave oven with 4 kilobytes of main memory and a 12-bit word length. But this was at a time when men’s sideburns were big, women’s shoes were high, and Donny Osmond and the Carpenters ruled the airwaves. Hahn didn’t want charity—just a price break. A PDP-8/a, then two years past its introduction, could be had for around US $1000—in quantities of 100. All Hahn wanted from Bell was the 100-quantity price. He’d already saved up close to $1000 by soldering circuit boards for his father, who had a small electronics company that did one-off projects…. Read full this story
The Codemaker have 217 words, post on qa.spectrum.ieee.org at September 30, 2007. This is cached page on CuBird. If you want remove this page, please contact us.