TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Apple Computer 30th Birthday

Re: Apple Computer 30th Birthday

T (
Fri, 7 Apr 2006 19:07:52 -0400

In article <>,

>> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Lisa, we _need_ a good article on
>> disk drives for our archives in the history section. Would you
>> mind preparing one I could keep on file here? PAT]

> Yes, I'm trying to put something together in time for the annivesary.
> I don't know if IBM is doing anything or not.

> In short:

> In the early 1950s Tom Watson Jr, now president of IBM, wanted to
> attract promising college grads from the west coast, but they weren't
> interested in coming east. So he established a new IBM library in San
> Diego. Previously IBM facilities was mostly in the NY state area
> based on train travel. Watson Jr was very much into aviation, being a
> WW II air corp pilot.

> IBM recognized it needed a random access memory instead of just tape.
> The mag drum of the time was too small. They developed the disk
> drive. They had to invent a very flat surface, even dispersal of mag
> coating, a disk arm mechanism, a disk read write head, a way to ensure
> the thing would fall down on the platter yet stay close enough to
> read/write; and a way to randomize records.

> It was announced as a product in Sept 1956. For such a momentus
> product, the business and trade press of the day were largely silent,
> just a minor few lines mentioned IBM announced some new products.

> The earliest disk drive held only 5 meg--5 million characters. Then
> they got it up to 50. The disk was HUGE and part of a bigger machine.
> It was very expensive.

> It some years to get the cost down and space up, and then disks was
> available in other products. But for many years tape was the way to
> go. Even the early PCs had provision to connect a tape drive
> (actually an ordinary audio cassette recorder) for lowcost storage,
> but soon disks got so cheap it wasn't needed and tape was too slow.

> The IBM history web page, on their site, has more information.

Wow -- and I'm all depressed that my new laptop has only 512MB of RAM and
a 60GB hard drive.

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