Computing in the winter of 1974/75

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40 Years Ago ... from the pages of Computer Weekly

compiled by TNMOC Volunteer Archivist, Brian Aldous

A selection of stories from Computer Weekly in the winter of 1974/75. The full archive of Computer Weekly can be seen at TNMOC, where there are special rolling displays of front pages from 25 and 40 years ago. This article appears in the latest issue of Resurrection, the newsletter of the Computer Conservation Society.

ICL launches 2903 challenge to IBM Challenging IBM on its own ground, ICL has set up sales and support offices in New York, Toronto and Montreal to market the 2903 in direct competition to IBM’s System 3. (CW 423 p32)

60,000: That’s CW’s requested circulation figure in the UK. The total circulation of Computer Weekly is even higher. But what we’re proud of is the fact that 60,000 computer people in the UK have personally requested their names to be added to the circulation list. (CW 426 p1)

Nixdorf goes in with 8870 challenge A formidable challenge for the European small business systems market has been launched by Nixdorf Computer, in the shape of the 8870, first of a new family planned by the West German manufacturer. (CW 426 p24) (And now there is the Heinz Nixdorf computer Museum in Germany.)

Ferranti recruits to meet Argus success Dispelling some of the uncertainty that surrounds the company, Ferranti reports that it has the largest order book ever for civil computers. As well as doing extremely well with the Argus 700, it has more orders outstanding for the older Argus 500 than ever before. (CW 428 p1)

Fujitsu bids for big European order A massive £20m order from CTNE, the Spanish national telephone company, for six Fujitsu computers could make the long awaited Japanese invasion of the European mainframe market a reality. (CW 432 p1)

DEC closes gap with the big mini Narrowing the gap between the PDP-11 range and its large DEC system 10 computers, Digital Equipment has announced a new machine, the 11/70, which brings the first use of cache memory and the first multi-function operating system to the PDP-11. At the same time DEC has released a low cost 16-bit microprocessor, the LSI-11. (CW 433 p1)

PoS comes to the petrol pumps Point-of-sale processing now looks like being extended to petrol service stations with the launching of an electronic pump system, the Avery-Hardoll Mark IV. This can be interfaced with digital data loggers and with data transmission modems linked to a remote computer, as part of an on-line PoS network. (CW 434 p13)

CTL Enhancement to Modus 4 launched Determined to corner its share of the lucrative small business systems market, CTL has announced a powerful enhancement to the successful Modus 4 O/S, called Transaction Application Driver. (CW 422 p32)

CAP wins NPL network contract Another contract from the National Physical Laboratory has been awarded to CAP, involving the software and systems house in a study of the problems involved in linking the NPL network to EPSS, the Post Office’s planned new Experimental Packet Switched Service. (CW 422 p32)

RRE dilemma over Algol 68R suggestions The emergence last year of a new definition for Algol 68 has led to something of a dilemma for the RRE, developer of Algol 68R, the first compiler for the language. It appears that the RRE is now being encouraged by various supporters of the new version to bring Algol 68R ‘into line’, but is hesitant to do so, since this would cause inconvenience to the compiler’s 200-300 strong user community. (CW 424/425 p5)

GEC 4080 to aid RRE on Coral 66 work To assist both on its own Coral 66 work and the Government-sponsored standardisation effort for the language, the Royal Radar Establishment has installed a 64K byte GEC 4080. (CW 427 p18)

System 32 for first time users Designed specifically for the first time user, the IBM System 32 office computer, described as the smallest and lowest-priced general business computer ever announced by IBM, extends the company’s commercial range well below the System 3, while offering up to 32K bytes of main memory, fixed disc and diskette storage and a VDU for operator guidance in batch or on-line processing. (CW 428 p7)

Philips adds to Unidata range In a move which seems calculated to infuriate the French, and quite possibly the German small systems manufacturers, Philips has introduced another of its business computers under the Unidata logo. The new series slots in at the low end of the small business systems market, and looks like a competitor for IBM’s new System 32. (CW 429 p1)

Rockwell launches 8-bit micro system An eight-bit microprocessor is now on offer for evaluation from Rockwell International, and two new European companies are to introduce minicomputers built around it. Designated the PPS-8, for parallel processing system, the microprocessor offers options for 12 different I/O controllers and a full complement of memories.. (CW 431 p6)

More orders for BCL equipment The orders keep flowing in for BCL equipment. Following the Computer World Trade group’s announcement of £300,000 worth of new orders since the formation of Business Computers (Systems) Ltd, the company has now released details of further business to the value of about £100,000. (CW 431 p56)

Europe launch for Telex 300 terminal Moving into the computer terminal market, Telex in Europe has announced the Telex 300 portable printing terminal for both interactive work and remote job entry. (CW 432 p3)

Russian tyre plant control by Argus Under a contract worth £25 million to British process control specialist Simon-Carves, the Wythenshawe division of Ferranti is to supply 13 Argus 700E systems and associated peripherals for rubber processing at the Nizhnekamsk tyre factory complex currently being built on Russia’s River Kama. (CW 433 p32)

UKAEA technique for Coral 66 compiler An important contribution to Systems Designers’ development of a portable Coral 66 compiler is currently being made by the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s Harwell research establishment. Under a “substantial” research contract from SDL, Harwell is tailoring its own “syntax recovery” techniques for inclusion in the compiler. (CW 434 p10)

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