Computer news from the summer of 1975

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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 Summer 1975.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.

Teletext decoder launched A small Leicester-based company, Jasmin Electronics, which specialises in research into and development of digital systems, is offering a Teletext decoder to meet the anticipated demand for systems to evaluate the BBC Ceefax and IBA Oracle transmissions. (CW 448 p32)

Domestic teletext by phone project Viewdata is the name given to a research project currently under way at the Post Office. The idea behind it is that the telephone might be used to supply a visual text service in the home similar to the BBC and IBA’s experimental teletext services, which use blanking lines in the television signal to carry data which can be displayed on a normal television set with the addition of a decoder. (CW 457 p32)

Packet switching service takes step forward Preparations for the introduction of the Post Office’s Experimental Packet-Switched Service have taken another step forward with the interchange of packets between the Post Office in London, using an Interdata 50 mini, and ICL at Letchworth where a 7503 RJE terminal was linked to a 1903A. Transmissions were at 2,400 baud, up to the level of packet interchange, indicating compatibility between two independently designed terminals. (CW 460 p3)

Array processor cost cut by CLIP A unique low-cost all-British array processor with considerable sales potential in industrial and medical fields has been developed at University College, London, with a £71,000 grant from the Science Research Council. It is expected to be ready for operation early next year and a private manufacturer has already expressed interest in the system. (CW 448 p1)

US forces consider Coral 66 The policy of the US armed forces on the development of real time computer languages is in the course of a dramatic re-assessment, with the aim of standardising on one language for all defence applications. One of the candidates to be considered for this position is the UK standard language, Coral 66. (CW 448 p11)

ICL’s top-down policy backfires A harsh blow to ICL’s ‘top-down’ approach in introducing its 2900 series has come in the shape of a £750,000 contract awarded to Honeywell by National Freight Corp for a 192K 66/20 which will replace two ICL 1900 machines. (CW 449 p1)

Challenge to Intel from AMI A determined challenge to Intel’s dominance of the microprocessor market with its 8080 has been launched by AMI Microsystems with its Motorola MC6800 based S6800 chip. (CW 449 p7)

UK group to build British Steel net As part of a £56m development programme the contract for the data communications network to link British Steel’s commercial DP centres, production planning and control centres in the UK has been awarded to UK companies Ferranti, Leasco, Logica and STC. The contract is valued at more than £5.5m. (CW 449 p32)

Massive orders lined up for ICL 2900 Massive investments in ICL 2900 systems are being considered by ICL’s two largest commercial customers, Hawker Siddeley Aviation and Plessey. Each has about £6m worth of equipment on rental. (CW 450 p1)

Versatile micro from Intel Process control, traffic control and point-of-sale processing are just some of the wide range of applications areas seen by Intel for its single PC board microcomputer module, the 4-43, based on the Intel 4040 four-bit processor. (CW 451 p7)

Molecular range boosted on BC(S)L’s birthday First birthday celebrations at the Brighton offices of Business Computers (Systems) Ltd last week coincided neatly with the company’s announcement of what it claims to be the lowest-cost disc-based configuration in the world, the Molecular 3M(E), and the largest member of its family, the Molecular 18M(E). (CW 454 p3)

British Steel contracts for GEC The rolling of high quality stainless steel is to be controlled by GEC 4080 computers at the British Steel Corporations’ Special Steels Division Stainless Works at Sheffield. (CW 454 p28)

CAP UK all set to go it alone Reports of upheavals in the CAP Europe software group have now been officially confirmed. Events now seem almost certain to culminate in the withdrawal of CAP UK from the European company, leaving it and its various subsidiaries under the full control of the CAP France-Sogeti consortium. (CW 454 p28)

Xerox pulls out after 6-years of losses Six years after its entry into the computer business, in the course of which its computer operations have steadily lost money, Xerox Corp. Has decided to pull out of the manufacture of mainframes, writing off some £38m in the process. (CW 455 p1)

BBC to get 2960 for bureau use On the lookout for a replacement for its London-based ICL 1904S, the British Broadcasting Corporation has sent a letter of intent to ICL regarding a 2960, the machine which is not expected to be officially announced until October. (CW 455 p1)

Trivector develops 8080-based micro Industrial process control and scientific data acquisition are the two main application areas seen for the System 80 microprocessor system now being built and sold by Trivector Systems Ltd of Henlow, Bedfordshire, a firm set up a few months ago by three ex-Digico leading lights. (CW 455 p7)

The end for exchangeable disc storage? Heralding what could be the beginning of the end for exchangeable disc storage at big installations, IBM has announced the 3350 and 3344 fixed disc drivers, compatible with the 3330 and 3340 respectively, but with up to four times the capacity. Meanwhile, CDC now offers a compatible high capacity drive, the 9766, as an OEM product to IBM’s mainframe competitor. (CW 455 p32)

Post Office order for three 2970 machines One of the biggest but least surprising contracts for ICL 2900 series computers has been placed by the Post Office, which has ordered three 2970s worth £6 million to replace ageing Leo 326 machines at its Edinburgh and Derby telephone billing centres. (CW 456 p48)

CAP subsidiary for European market The first independent European venture by software house CAP UK, and hence the first visible “crack” in its uncertain relationship with CAP Europe has now materialised. CAP UK has founded a subsidiary, to be known as Computer Automated Products, which will act as a holding company for software products sales ventures in six European countries and the Middle East. (CW 457 p1)

First two customer 2970s go in The first two customer ICL 2970s have been delivered. One has gone to Edinburgh Regional Computing Organisation, to provide a service for the universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strathclyde. The other has been installed at the Swindon HQ of W. H. Smith, the newsagents. (CW 457 p1)

Centronics to open head office in Britain With something like 4,000 of its printers now installed in the UK, Centronics is setting up a direct selling operation here and intends to open a UK head office at Cheam, Surrey, sometime this month. (CW 457 p3)

Coral 66 compiler for Mk 2 Nimrod A cross-compiler likely to be used in the development of software for the Mark 2 Nimrod marine reconnaissance aircraft will be developed by CAP, under a contract from Marconi-Elliott Avionic Systems. The Coral 66 compiler will generate object code for Marconi’s 920 Advanced Technology Computer. (CW 459 p9)

More headlines from the Computer Weekly archive:

1973 summer
1973 autumn
1973/74 winter
1974 spring
1974 summer
1974 autumn
1974/75 winter
1975 spring

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