Technology, Obsolete and Not Obsolete

I ran across these two images last week. They were in the same envelope and I’m thinking it’s the same kid. They’re not dated but mid-1980s is my wild guess.

I’m not at all sure what was being demonstrated but what I learned is that some things change quickly and other things are more difficult to improve upon.

Bonus: This made me smile on my walk in this morning.

Who got married? Joe and Marla!

A bit further along, up turns this in the Ray Courtyard. Mazel tov!

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10 Responses to Technology, Obsolete and Not Obsolete

  1. effegee says:

    The computer appears to be an HP Series 200, model 236. Official model number “9836”. Following HP’s well-developed notions of technical/scientific vs business, this was a “technical” computer introduced at the end of 1981 following the introduction of the IBM PC by a few months. Original price was $11,950. See HP Museum

  2. Dig the flat wheel on the upper left corner of the keyboard. That is a scrolling wheel. Later, we had mice.

    The 9836 could control many, many instruments from Hewlett-Packard and other manufacturers. Those instruments were really expensive, usually $25k and up. So $12k to automate them wasn’t a crazy idea. A friend worked on a signal generator that cost $250k.

    Also, the printer appears to be an HP ThinkJet, which was introduced in 1984. The fat cable between the 9836 and the ThinkJet is an HP-IB (IEE 488) cable. Which means it was the HP-IB model of the printer.

    I joined HP in 1985, so my first personal computer was an HP 9920, basically a 9836 with a separate keyboard and monitor.

    • Bill Harris says:

      My first was a 9845 or 9845C, as I recall–part of the old HP3047 phase noise measurement system. Where I was, I think we called the wheel an RPG (rotary pulse generator) or a knob. AFAIK, RPGs were common on HP instruments for some time before the 9836. I don’t know if there was any causal connection, but they look related to the R1’s crank.

      If you /really/ like RPGs, try

  3. I like the contrast between the shiny new computer and the dusty old scale.

  4. I have found that the enduring technology related to computers is the IEC removable power cord. I save those when the rest of the machine goes in the E-cycle bin.

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