Catching Up 5

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Pesky Gremlins Comic 391 – Catching Up 5

Catching Up 5

Buster has generously shared several photos from his personnel collection for this cartoon. Enjoy!

From a behind the scenes perspective, these old computer cartoons are surprisingly time consuming to do.  When I had the idea to do the old computer story, I though, this will be easy.  Just draw a bunch of colored boxes, some of which have circles on them to represent the tape drives.  The first sketches came out looking bad.  Well, actually AWFUL.  They have since been destroyed.  I then had to go search the internet for suitable examples of ancient computing hardware.  Fortunately, there are plenty of easy to find pictures of old computers.  Unfortunately, many of these example pictures were small and grainy.   So, I had to kind of fake a lot of the details.

These are all old IBM mainframes.  Anyone care to guess which ones they are?

11 thoughts on “Pesky Gremlins Comic 391 – Catching Up 5

  1. Big Iron from Big Blue. The folks that miss them the most are the precious metal recyclers and scrappers. Todays computers are not worth much as scrap.

    1. There are still people that miss the “Big Iron” days. I even have an old mainframe chip from the last mainframe our company had. It weighs about 5 lbs.

  2. It is amazing how much computer technology changed, and how much it changed the world.

    Your drawings look very accurate to me!

    1. It is amazing how far computers have come. When I was searching for suitable computer references, I came across some IBM sales literature that stated one of the above systems started at about $8,000,000 and took up the the space of an a large gymnasium.

      Thanks Peter! The drawings ended up being more or less representative. However, I kind of covered up some of my mistakes by the arrangement of the “photographs”.

      1. The old prices are amazing. I think it was a 10MB hard drive that I recently saw from the 80’s advertised for over $3,000. I have a 5 TB drive, which would be 500,000 times more storage…so that would cost 1.5 billion dollars back then.

        1. Computer technology has come a LONG way since then.

          After your 1.5 billion dollar comparison, I will appreciate my 10TB backup drive much more than I used to. 🙂

  3. Looks like you did a good job to me, man!

    When I was in the USAF, we had an oooooooold computer that was about the size of an average confectionary oven. It’s memory was 4kb. It’s only job was to count pulses from our visibility projector, and give a digital read out. In place of a ROM, it had a rotating drum with black spots. No chips, all diodes and transistors. Didn’t usually break though…

    1. Thanks RG! The backgrounds came out OK in the end. It just took a longer that I had expected to get them done. Ultimately, they are just background for Buster to tell his story.

      Were the Air Force computers part of the SAGE system?

      1. You would probably have to ask someone in programming about that. A lotta radar in the AF, so it was definitely a possibility. I worked on the weather sensing equip for the runway (which included weather radar) but I was maintenance, not operator.

  4. I’m not familiar with types of mainframes, but I am impressed by how they look.

    I think I have a computer system in a lab that Buster has been visiting since it was installed.

    1. Those old mainframe systems were impressive for their imposing size and, of course, their even more imposing prices. Oh yeah, Buster says “your welcome” 🙂

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