TCC NEWSLETTER VOLUME 3, NUMBER 6
All 7287 pounds of the DECsystem-20 arrived on the moving van late Halloween night. The installation crew from Digital Equipment Corporation started their work on the following Monday, November 7th, and by the following Monday evening, November 14th, we had a running system complete with all the software we ordered. There are still a few odd jobs to be completed before we officially accept the system from the manufacturer, but It's essentially complete.
The Computer center staff is busily learning the new idiosyncricies we have to contend with. For the most part, it is a very enjoyable task. Finally, we have an operating system that is friendly to the user. No more "//-stuff"...Job Control Language is finally gone, ... or will be by mid-January when the 360/44 goes away.
The video user terminals are here and we expect delivery of the hardcopy/APL terminals within the next couple of weeks. The preparation of the computer room was carried out splendidly by the Tech Physical Plant crews, and we indeed owe them a big THANK YOU for all their efforts, The carpentry, electrical, and plumbing tasks were all completed right on schedule. One of the greatest concerns during the remodeling was keeping the computer room clean, and the bulldlng custodians did a remarkable job under pretty adverse conditions.
We've got one more major task planned for the carpentry crew... that of making the user area bigger (and hence the computer room smaller) so we can fit 12 terminals and a few keypunches in. We hope to do that during semester break so that we won't uproot TCC many users. Between now and the end of the year we need to do the following:
That doesn't sound like a very big list, but there's still a lot of work involved.
IF, and that's a big IF, things continue to go as smoothly as they have been we will have public terminals available in the "keypunch room" sometime during semester break so that anyone who wants to use the new computer can do so.
We will devise an accounting scheme for all users very soon, and the next Newsletter will describe the resources that will automatically no given to student users. As before, Research and Administrative users will be given "privileges" based on their needs.
The conversion of existing data will be a very big task, especially for the administrative data case. Other users may also find this the biggest problem in shifting from the 360 to the DEC-20. Please consult with the Computer Center staff it you need help. Since our new card reader is VERY slow, it would behoove card oriented users to copy all punched card data onto a disk file and then use the facilities of the text editor to make changes rather than physically correcting a punched card and then re-reading the entire deck. Below is an example of the DEC-20 batch job which will create a disk file and copy the contents of punched cards onto it.
$JOB user-name /JOBNAME:CREATE
Where the capitalized words are keywords, and the words printed in lower case describe information which Is to be supplied by the user.
Although this may not mean much to some users, it will all become clear when you start using the system.
Some of the new reference manuals have arrived at the Tech Bookstore. Some were backordered but they should arrive before the end of the month. The documentation being prepared by the computer center Is nearly finished and should also be available in early December from the computer center ... not the Bookstore. This document will cover "getting started" and the text editor.
Software to support the Calcomp plotter will arrive before the end of the semester, and we'll check this out fully and then provide you with information about it. All indications are that your FORTRAN programs which now use the Calcomp subroutines will not have to be changed (the CALLS, that is). Initially there will be no preview capability, but we hope to get a graphics display terminal next year so that you can see your plots before they are actually plotted on the Calcomp.
Since the last Newsletter, we have made some progress on the dial-up communication service. We now hope to have that available during January. We'll say more about this in the next Newsletter.
The Computer Center will hold an "Open House" before the end of the semester so that faculty. staff, and students can have a look at the new computer and its remodeled home. Maybe we'll have a dual purpose gathering ... the 360/44's eleventh birthday and the DECsystem-20's first (month).
Everyone keeps asking ... "Will we be able to play games on the new computer"? The answer is yes ... but ... there will be some necessary restrictions. There are some really fascinating games available, and we'll let you play them AT SPECIFIC TIMES. The exact schedule has not been determined, but "game time" will be evenings and weekends only, and will be limited to only a few user terminals in the user area so that other people can do useful work. We'll tell you about the available games and the exact schedule in a future Newsletter.
As you have no doubt noticed, this Newsletter looks a little different than previous ones ... the reason is that it was printed on the new printer attached to the DEC-20. It was created by using the EDIT program and formatted using a program called RUNOFF... the DEC equivalent of FORMAT44. I can't tell you how much easier it has been compared to the way we did it previously by punching cards, etc. ... you'll have to try it tow yourself. You will be pleasantly surprised!
All this miscellaneous rambling has been a rather quick attempt to let you know what's going on behind the scenes in YOUR computer center. Although it may appear to be complete turmoil and chaos, l really think we're going to make it by January !