Monday, March 22, 2010

Visit from Jean Bartik, ENIAC Programmer

Jean Bartik and her friend Jeanne Collins dropped by the market Saturday. She tells an interesting story about Betty Holberton designing the UNIVAC console layout with a "secret" power button off to the side so it would not be flipped accidentally. The next person who came in said "Hey what's this?" and flipped it!

Jean mentioned Doug Wendell always pretending to fall when he went down the basement stairs.I will have to ask him about this...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Visit from Al Gudknecht

Al Gudknecht visits the Ridge Ave. site with a floor plan as he remembers it, crystals for the delay lines that were made on this site, many interesting documents and his sister Louise who was so amazed that she later wrote [They built the first electronic computer (ENIAC) for the U.S. Army at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946. Later on, they moved to a building on Ridge Avenue where the BINAC and UNIVAC were assembled. The importance of this achievement cannot be exaggerated. The BINAC and UNIVAC were forerunners of all of today's commercial computers.
The story of how and why Mauchly and Eckert got together for their historic undertaking, how they managed to recruit men and women who would eventually become pioneers in an industry that covers every facet of our lives today, and how those men and women succeeded without any experience or training in transforming a dream into reality---is a story that must be told. And it must be told in Philadelphia.]
her full letter