Winter 1975/6 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 the winter of 1975/6.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.

£1m ICL 2903 order from Germany A breakthrough in the highly competitive West German small systems market has been achieved by ICL with a single order, valued at more than £1 million, for 18 of its ICL 2903 computers. The customer is Bauer Verlag, one of Germany’s top publishing houses, which is an existing IBM mainframe user. (CW474 p1)

First local govt order for ICL 2900 The first local authority to go for an ICL 2900 is Lancashire County Council which is to have an ICL 2970 system worth £1.3 million. The order was placed soon after the new range was introduced over a year ago and the machine is due to go live in April 1977. (CW474 p1)

Scottish factory set up by DEC Joining the ranks of US computer manufacturers with manufacturing facilities in Scotland, Digital Equipment Co has signed an agreement with the Scottish Economic Planning Department to open a factory on the Mosshill Industrial Estate, Ayr, about 30 miles from Glasgow. (CW474 p3)

EMI updates scanner A new version of EMI’s revolutionary brain scanner, claimed to be four times faster than the original model, has been announced by the company. At the same time EMI has revealed that sales of its CT5000 general purpose scanner, introduced in April, have shot up from 16 at the beginning of November to 40 with a total value of over £10 million. (CW474 p3)

IBM’s satellite communications plan develops The intention of IBM to carve a niche for itself in the satellite communications business took another step forward on December 22 with the formation of a new company, Satellite Business Systems, SBS. The company is owned jointly by IBM, Comsat General and Aetna Life and Casualty, an insurance firm which joined the IBM-Comsat consortium in September. (CW478 p1)

Multi display system from Computer Automation A powerful multi display terminal/disc based system has been launched by the Computer Automation Commercial Systems Division, which was set up in mid-1975. Known as Syfa, it will enable mainframe users to establish networks of local computers. (CW478 p8)

ITT plans nationwide packet switching network for US A nationwide packet switching network in the US, capable of linking thousands of incompatible terminals, could be set up by ITT before the end of next year if the firm gets permission from the US Federal Communications Commission. (CW478 p8)

SRL takes over on EAL terminals Streamlining its business to concentrate on the analogue hybrid market, Electronic Associates Ltd of Burgess Hill, Sussex, has sold its entire terminal operation to Systems Reliability of Luton, the computer maintenance firm which also markets add-in memory and peripherals. (CW479 p48)

BP buys into French services market With the acquisition of a 100 per cent stake in the French bureau SETM, and the establishment of a new company, Alliance Computing, British Petroleum is all set to enter the French computer services market on a nationwide basis. (CW480 p1)

IBM PoS wins London Co-op order A second UK order for IBM point-of-sale equipment has been placed. This time the buyer is the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society in London. The sale includes 103 IBM 3653 PoS terminals, 16 IBM 3657 ticket encoders, two 3651 store controllers and at least three 32/75 VDUs. (CW480 p3)

ICL’s first 2900 order in Australia The first order for an ICL 2900 in Australia is for a 2970 valued at £1.15 million. The order was placed by an oil company, HC Sleigh Ltd, and the machine is due for installation this October in the company’s computer centre in Melbourne. (CW480 Int p19)

Biggest 2903 goes live in Denmark Implementation of the largest single ICL 2903 configuration is now nearing completion at the Danish Timber Co’s computer centre at Aarhus. The 48K system, valued at £250,000, has replaced 22 Singer invoicing machines. (CW480 Int p30)

Co-op plans major investment A long-term standardisation programme under way at the Co-operative Wholesale Society promises to bring ICL valuable business over several years. At present two £300,000 developments are under way which will bring CWS investment in computer systems to over £2.5 million. (CW480 p48)

Canadians move into Europe with Geac A Canadian computer manufacturer, Geac Computers of Toronto, virtually unknown in Europe until now, has slipped quietly into the UK and installed its first computer, a Geac 800 on-line system, in Bristol. (CW481 p1)

HP introduces high level language A high level programming language, HPL, claimed to be as flexible as Fortran yet as easy to use as Basic, has been introduced by Hewlett-Packard with its latest programmable calculator systems. (CW481 p4)

Rockwell closes Anita factory Now considered little more than a nuisance, the Portsmouth-based Sumlock Anita factory is in reality a monument to British inventiveness, for it was here that the world’s first electronic calculator, the Anita Seven, was invented and manufactured. (CW481 p15)

World first claimed by DRI The UK based disc drive manufacturer, Data Recording Instruments, of Staines, Middlesex, has claimed a world first with the introduction of a 12 Megabyte front loading single disc unit. This is the 3212, part of the Series 3200. (CW483 p28)

NATO system based on 2960 Despite the fact that official announcement of the ICL 2960 is not expected until late next month, the first customer machine has already been installed at the NATO joint headquarters in Northwood, Middlesex, where it will constitute the heart of the Opcom command and control system. (CW484 p1)

First university net goes live in SW The first mainframe network in British universities has gone live in the south-west, where five ICL System Four processors have been linked by 48,000 baud lines. (CW483 p7)

Classroom Classic The first Digital Equipment Classic computer in the UK has been installed at Oakham School in Leicestershire, and enthusiasm among pupils is such that they have taken over the running of the Computer Department. Neil Maycock, a seventh form science pupil must be the youngest operations manager in the country, while fifth former Robin Merrett is helping to supervise the Junior Programming Society. (CW486 p1)

IBM boosts power of 370/168 again In the wake of the Amdahl challenge, which has already hit seven major 360 and 370 installations in the US and Canada, IBM has announced a further enhancement to the 370/168 only 10 months after it introduced the improved 168-3 processor. (CW486 p1)

MoD approves DEC Coral 66 compiler The final accolade of UK Government approval has been received by Digital Equipment’s Coral 66 compiler. The combination of compiler and PDP-11 hardware has been included on the Ministry of Defence’s list of approved machines. This follows assessment by the Ministry’s Inter-Establishment Committee for Computer Equipment. (CW486 p9)

ICL installs 1,000th ICL 2903 Amid great ceremony, ICL delivered its 1,000th 2903 last week. Only a brass band was missing as the £100,000 computer was wheeled from an ICL lorry into the Stuttgart headquarters of Wohnpunkt-Moebel Herbert Bock. (CW486 p20)

Ferranti win Dryad contract A major, £4 million, contract to extend the training simulator at HMS Dryad has been awarded to Ferranti. (CW486 p40)

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