A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO POMONA!
Yesterday in a phone conversation with a Friend in Arizona, I was reminded of a funny incident which happened about 1964. In 1963 I left Burroughs Corporation and joined Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation (later TRW) to help set up a Test Lab for the first militarized (MilSpec) minicomputer, the AN/UYK-1. That is where I was working the morning that JFK was shot.
After the Test Lab was operational, I transferred into Field Engineering and also spent time helping in the Training Department. Probably the most interesting AN/UYK-1 I installed was aboard the USNS Kingsport Satellite Tracking Ship which controlled the Syncom 2 Satellite. In August 1963, President John Kennedy made the first intercontinental satellite telephone call between heads of government via the Syncom 2 Satellite. It was made to Prime Minister Abubakar Balewa aboard the USNS Kingsport which was docked in Lagos Harbor, Nigeria.
But back to the funny incident I flashed back to yesterday. When I was working in Field Engineering, one my our customers was Honeywell Corporation in Pomona, California. One day I received a faux panic call from the lady who was the chief programmer on the Honeywell project. She told me, "Bill, my AN/UYK-1 is pregnant! (short pause) It has everything but a period!"
As you can see from the photo below, the only console input/output device on those computers was an IBM Selectric typewriter. And her IBM Selectric would type any character - except a period. Therefore, her computer was pregnant! Hey, those are the days which made working long hours fun. And believe me, I have never forgotten that phone call.
God bless, have a wonderful, blessed day,