Friday, 8 November 2013

I.T Dinosaur

'Flossie' the Dinosaur is to be brought back to life …. That got your attention didn’t it? Visions of a T Rex or Brontosaurus flooded your imagination, as your minds eye version of ‘Jurassic Park’ kicked in … and yes I know there is no such dinosaur as a ‘Brontosaurus’ … but there was when I was kid!

No, this particular ‘Dinosaur’ is the Information Technology version of a dinosaur – the 'ICT 1301', which was one of the first commercial large mainframe computers produced for businesses, and originally used to produce exam results for students at the University of London in the 1960’s.

It should be noted for historical purposes that the original valve computers were so large and hot that T.J. Watson of IBM allegedly said that "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers", which although never proven as a quote, makes the point about what a breakthrough the ICT 1301 and other similar machines were. Indeed you wouldn’t be looking at this on your, desktop PC, Laptop, Tablet or Smart phone if not for this breakthrough. 

Now ‘The National Museum of Computing’ has taken delivery of what’s believed to be, the last ‘working model’ left in the world of this particular computing dinosaur  … or rather it will be when they get it rebooted and running again in about 3 yrs time. It was originally saved from destruction, when a bunch of Nerds and Geek students bought it at scrap prices, and one of them stored it on a farm. 

ICT 1301 aka "Flossie" Had An Interesting Life

Strangely this model type has a bit of movie glamour, as its ‘computer looks’ meant that models featured in shows such as Doctor Who, the Pink Panther and the James Bond movie 'The Man with the Golden Gun', which all featured ICT 1301's as props …..  Now if only it was programmed to sign autographs the museum could be on a winner. 

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