Autumn 1975 from the pages of Computer Weekly

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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 Autumn1975.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.

Viewdata to be based on GEC 4080 Although news of the Post Office’s latest telephone information service has been in the air for some time, the capabilities of this new interactive system were not made known until this week at the Eurocomp conference. At the same time an order for a GEC 4080 computer, on which the Viewdata system will be based, has been placed by the Post Office. CW464 p40

The dominant technology The annual dinner of the British Computer Society held last Friday evening was marked by the attendance of the Duke of Kent, as a guest of honour. In a well-informed speech the Duke avoided the solecisms to which the layman speaking about computers is so frequently prone, and commented that “We are not far from the point, if we have not already reached it, where computing is the dominant technology of today’s world”. CW466 p1

Micro family from Texas Instruments A family of 16-bit microprocessors and microprocessor-based computers, together with fully compatible software, has been announced by Texas Instruments. Known as 990/9900 family, the units were developed at the company’s Houston location and are scheduled for first deliveries in the UK from next March onwards. CW467 p3

ICL goes for the small systems market In a bid to win a share of the potentially lucrative market for small business systems, ICL plans to launch a machine known as the 2903/20 next month. Aimed essentially at the small first time users, the new system is a considerably scaled down version of the highly successful 2903, which now gets the designation 2903/40. CW468 p1

System to improve white blood cell analysis A system that could ultimately revolutionise the organisation of haematology departments in hospitals and research centres has been released in the UK by the medical division of the US corporation, Corning Glass. It is the first computer system to function as a tool within the hospital, designed specifically for operation by trained medical staff. CW461 p7

Nixdorf bid to challenge System 32 The German manufacturer Nixdorf has made a bold attempt to increase its market penetration in the US with the introduction there of an American version of the 8870 small business system announced in Europe at the end of last year, but still not available in the UK. CW462 Intl Ed p24

UK PoS system for European market Seeing a big potential market among cash and carry wholesalers all over Europe for purpose-built interactive point of sale terminal systems, a UK minicomputer systems house, Real Time Controls, has produced an inexpensive system for which major orders have already been placed by one of the biggest cash and carry firms in the UK, Nurdin Peacock. CW462 p32

Natwest offers 24-hour on-line service The first major on-line banking system offering services outside bank premises is to be set up by the National Westminster Group using NCR 770 financial terminals. The bank has ordered 100 units, worth over £1.5m, to be installed outside selected branches and at remote sites and linked on-line to Natwest computer centres at Kegworth, Derbyshire, and at Woolgate House in the City. CW462 p32

Datasaab and CTL to share in maintenance An imaginative co-operative venture has been established by Computer Technology and Datasaab to pool their service and maintenance resources in such a way as to enable both companies to achieve a wider geographic coverage and faster response, and benefit from economies of scale. CW463 p3

Add-on memory ‘undercuts ICL’ Something of a marketing breakthrough has been claimed by Systems Reliability, of Luton, which has just added 32K of its monolithic memory to an ICL-maintained 1902A operated by Tucker Fasteners, a Birmingham manufacturer of industrial fasteners. CW 463 p21

Telex gives up the fight The great IBM-Telex anti-trust saga came to an abrupt end on Friday when Telex announced it had withdrawn its petition to the US Supreme Court for a rehearing of its suit against IBM. CW466 p1

EMI wins £2m NHS order for scanners A world leader with its computer controlled brain scanner system, EMI has scored its latest sales success in the UK, securing an order for 15 systems, worth £2 million, from 15 hospitals in England and Scotland. CW466 p6

Plessey building £2m ATC radar project A major air traffic control contract, involving some 60 Digital Equipment PDP-11 minicomputers and worth £2 million, has been awarded to Plessey by the Civil Aviation Authority. CW468 p40

Users win round in disc battle ICL users have won the first round in a battle to make large scale disc drives available for use with pre-2900 series computers, and a decision on this point is expected from the company before the end of the year. CW472 p1

Siemens seeks Fujitsu deal Following the collapse of Unidata, Siemens is seeking to counter its weakness at the top end of its current range by concluding a deal with Fujitsu. According to a report in the Japanese newspaper Nikkan Kogyu Shinbun, an agreement in principle has been reached whereby Siemens will assemble the M190, Fujitsu’s version of the Amdahl 470. CW473 p1

Triad to market the NPL Scrapbook system Many ingenious software products are hatched within government and university research departments and are regrettably never commercially exploited. As a refreshing exception to this rule, the National Physical Laboratory’s novel Scrapbook textual information handling system is now to be generally released through Triad Computing Systems. CW473 p9

DEC announces disc-based PDP-11V03 The first disc-based version of its PDP-11/03 microcomputer, complete with operating system and high level languages for £6,380, has been announced by Digital Equipment. Called the PDP-11V03, the system is built around the LSI-11 microprocessor which uses the 400 plus instruction set of the PDP-11/40 minicomputer. CW473 p12

£50m System X orders by PO Development contracts worth at least £50 million over the next 5 years for the all electronic System X telephone switching system are to be announced by the Post Office before Christmas. Plessey, GEC, STC and Pye TMC are the companies involved in the system which is due to be implemented in the 1980s. CW473 p17

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