Your favorite computer trading card? 
Author Message
 Your favorite computer trading card?

Quote:
> Read the goverment concent decrees to see just how "high standards" this
> white collared mafia members were.

There were some business practices of Watson in the early days that are
not considered proper by today's standards.  However, all companies at the
time practiced them.  For instance, Watson mandated use of IBM supplied cards
in his machines.  Remington Rand had the same prohibition, and BOTH got
the government angry.

I maintain Watson trained and trained his salesmen better than anyone
else, thus the success of his business.  By training, I just don't mean
the "hard sell", like a car salesman.  His people knew how to set up the
machines and make them do useful work for their customers.  The rental
arrangement required the salesmen keep in touch with the companies and see
they were happy, else they'd lose the contract.

Quote:
> PS Sr. was convinced that a half dozen computers would satisfy the needs
>    of the world. In many ways he was very short sighted.

I've heard that mentioned but have never been able to find an accurate
source for it, and I wonder if that claim is a myth.  While Watson was not
interested in the ENIAC when it came out, he WAS interested in electronics
and had his company doing research in it during the war.  Watson also
funded computer development for Harvard and his own company.  His SSEC,
while not _technologically_ state of the art (being it was partly
electro-mechanical, partly electronic), was very sophisticated and a true
programmable computer.  The experience gained in developing,
manufacturing, and programming the SSEC was very valuable when the all
electronic computers came along.

Watson was also developing a tape processing computer, which was put aside
when the Korean War came out.  Further, they were studying automating card
processing, again which was deferred by the Korean War, and wasn't
released until later, as the 650, which was a huge success.

Quote:

> PPS I got to hear a couple of his world wide staff meeting speeches. He
>     was, in some ways, a nut.



Sat, 05 Feb 2000 03:00:00 GMT  
 Your favorite computer trading card?

Quote:
> Dr. Frederick Brooks, author of "the Mythical Man Month."

> Every idea in that book is 100% applicable today, even though the
> book dates from the mainframe era.

His ideas in the book, which I only recent read, helped me in my current
project.  Knowing (and having been burned) by management's desire to
subsitute people for time, I blocked out my project in logical blocks,
generally several related programs per programmer.  This way, the blocks
can't be split, and one programmer will work on related work, saving time.


Sat, 05 Feb 2000 03:00:00 GMT  
 Your favorite computer trading card?

[snip]

Quote:
> > PS Sr. was convinced that a half dozen computers would satisfy the needs
> >    of the world. In many ways he was very short sighted.

> I've heard that mentioned but have never been able to find an accurate
> source for it, and I wonder if that claim is a myth.  

It's a myth. I personally asked Charles Bashe, the official historian
of IBM, about this. He told me on the phone that there is no evidence
of TJ Watson, Sr. ever making such a claim. There are no speeches, no
memos, no notes, nada, zilch, nichts, nyechevo, even obliquely
referring to such a story.

It's a good story; somebody should have said it; but it wasn't Watson,
and I don't think anybody did.



Wed, 09 Feb 2000 03:00:00 GMT  
 Your favorite computer trading card?

Quote:


> [snip]

> > > PS Sr. was convinced that a half dozen computers would satisfy the needs
> > >    of the world. In many ways he was very short sighted.

> > I've heard that mentioned but have never been able to find an accurate
> > source for it, and I wonder if that claim is a myth.

> It's a myth. I personally asked Charles Bashe, the official historian
> of IBM, about this. He told me on the phone that there is no evidence
> of TJ Watson, Sr. ever making such a claim. There are no speeches, no
> memos, no notes, nada, zilch, nichts, nyechevo, even obliquely
> referring to such a story.

> It's a good story; somebody should have said it; but it wasn't Watson,
> and I don't think anybody did.

Not a myth according to the testimony & memos on the record of US Dept.
of Justice v. IBM, 1969 (the most recent antitrust suit). I was involved
during the defense phase of the trial and heard IBM's own witness state
this. I don't recall anything specific tying this to Watson, Sr, so that
aspect of it may be folklore, but I did hear & study the testimony (this
guy was on the stand for several days).

BTW, if a company comes up with a market forecast of 12 units, they cost
out the R&D, etc., over the first 12 units - any sold after the first 12
are all profit (less maintenance, of course). Remember that IBM used to
be the Microsoft of the DP business, and they manufactured *hardware*,
as well as software (didn't even start to charge for software until
1969, when IBM "unbundled"). It costs lots of $$$ to run a high-tech
manufacturing business, and IBM's plants were state of the art - people
came from all over (inc. Japan, I think) to see them. IBM could stamp
machines out cheaper than anyone else - something about economies of
scale.

Regards,
Bill {*filter*}

PS: Putting aside what Tom, Sr, may or may not have said regarding 6 (or
8, or 12) computers, do you agree that Tom, Jr., and the other senior
execs had to wrest control of IBM away from shortly after WW2? I cannot
remember what year Tom, Jr., became CEO - I'm sure there's someone out
there who either knows or has the right book to look it up in.



Thu, 10 Feb 2000 03:00:00 GMT  
 Your favorite computer trading card?




:
: [snip]
:
: > > PS Sr. was convinced that a half dozen computers would satisfy the
needs
: > >    of the world. In many ways he was very short sighted.
: >
: > I've heard that mentioned but have never been able to find an accurate
: > source for it, and I wonder if that claim is a myth.  
:
: It's a myth. I personally asked Charles Bashe, the official historian
: of IBM, about this. He told me on the phone that there is no evidence
: of TJ Watson, Sr. ever making such a claim. There are no speeches, no
: memos, no notes, nada, zilch, nichts, nyechevo, even obliquely
: referring to such a story.
:
: It's a good story; somebody should have said it; but it wasn't Watson,
: and I don't think anybody did.
:

Not a myth, but not said by Watson (Jr. or Sr.) either.  It was _written_
in a letter from an IBM V.P. to John V. Atanasoff, then of Iowa State
College (Ames, Iowa) while IBM was berating him for rewiring some IBM punch
card equipment into his first programmable electronic computer.  The letter
used to reside in a safe on campus (I've seen it) and I presume it is still
there.  The letter was written in the 1940's (or very late 1930's) as I
recall... Atanasoff did his original research in the mid-30's to mid-1940's
at ISU.

The letter was revealed in the Honeywell vs. Sperry Rand patent battle in
the 1970's in Minneapolis Federal Court, where the Court ruled that Eckart
& Mauchly had basically stolen Atanasoff's ideas & work, given him neither
credit nor consideration.  His lab assistant (Clifford Berry) died under
mysterious circumstances years prior to the court battle.  

The major surviving component of their machine (The ABC - Atanasoff-Berry
Computer) is the drum storage device, now housed in the Smithsonian (on
display, as of a few years ago.)  John Vincent Atanasoff would be my
nominee for a computer trading card.  

The Rand Corporation (the Defense "Think Tank") also wrote it in a report
in the late 1940's or early 1950's.  The quote is widely attributed
(correctly) to that source.

--
Tom Schmidt
Madison, WI



Thu, 10 Feb 2000 03:00:00 GMT  
 Your favorite computer trading card?

Quote:




> :
> : [snip]
> :
> : > > PS Sr. was convinced that a half dozen computers would satisfy the
> needs
> : > >    of the world. In many ways he was very short sighted.
> : >
> : > I've heard that mentioned but have never been able to find an accurate
> : > source for it, and I wonder if that claim is a myth.
> :
> : It's a myth. I personally asked Charles Bashe, the official historian
> : of IBM, about this. He told me on the phone that there is no evidence
> : of TJ Watson, Sr. ever making such a claim. There are no speeches, no
> : memos, no notes, nada, zilch, nichts, nyechevo, even obliquely
> : referring to such a story.
> :
> : It's a good story; somebody should have said it; but it wasn't Watson,
> : and I don't think anybody did.
> :

> Not a myth, but not said by Watson (Jr. or Sr.) either.  It was _written_
> in a letter from an IBM V.P. to John V. Atanasoff, then of Iowa State
> College (Ames, Iowa) while IBM was berating him for rewiring some IBM punch
> card equipment into his first programmable electronic computer.  The letter
> used to reside in a safe on campus (I've seen it) and I presume it is still
> there.  The letter was written in the 1940's (or very late 1930's) as I
> recall... Atanasoff did his original research in the mid-30's to mid-1940's
> at ISU.

> The letter was revealed in the Honeywell vs. Sperry Rand patent battle in
> the 1970's in Minneapolis Federal Court, where the Court ruled that Eckart
> & Mauchly had basically stolen Atanasoff's ideas & work, given him neither
> credit nor consideration.  His lab assistant (Clifford Berry) died under
> mysterious circumstances years prior to the court battle.

> The major surviving component of their machine (The ABC - Atanasoff-Berry
> Computer) is the drum storage device, now housed in the Smithsonian (on
> display, as of a few years ago.)  John Vincent Atanasoff would be my
> nominee for a computer trading card.

> The Rand Corporation (the Defense "Think Tank") also wrote it in a report
> in the late 1940's or early 1950's.  The quote is widely attributed
> (correctly) to that source.

> --
> Tom Schmidt
> Madison, WI


Tom,

Thanks for filling in some blanks.

Regards,
Bill {*filter*}



Thu, 10 Feb 2000 03:00:00 GMT  
 Your favorite computer trading card?

Quote:
> PS: Putting aside what Tom, Sr, may or may not have said regarding 6 (or
> 8, or 12) computers, do you agree that Tom, Jr., and the other senior
> execs had to wrest control of IBM away from shortly after WW2? I cannot
> remember what year Tom, Jr., became CEO - I'm sure there's someone out
> there who either knows or has the right book to look it up in.

Tom Watson Jr wrote a book "Father, Son & Company" describing in detail
the transition years.  Also, Emerson Pugh wrote "Building IBM".

I recommend both books.  Watson is pretty candid.  Pugh, part of the IBM
historical research team with Basche, is more polite.

I would NOT say "Tom Jr had to 'wrest control' from his father".  In
hindsight, it seems the father handled it pretty well given the circumstances.

Tom Watson Jr was, well, a playboy in his early years.  He barely squeaked
through high school and college--he spent his time partying.  He went into
WW II (not bothering to go through normal training) but matured during the
war.  When he came out, he felt he was ready to run IBM, but given his
past, his father properly expected him to prove himself, and also really
learn the business.  I think Tom Jr was a bit{*filter*}y right after the war,
and his father needed to temper that.  It was not easy time, the two of
them fought bitterly.

Both books say Watson Sr WAS in favor in going into electronic computers.
Watson Sr got into electronics during the war, and had his research
people looking to apply vacuum tubes to his punched card line.  Remember
Watson Sr built the SSEC, which was a sophisticated programmable machine
that had considerable electronic parts.  [I think the SSEC should get a
lot more attention than it does because of its logical architecture, which
to me, was quite advanced for its day.  It suffered because it still had
electro-mechanical components.]

Anyway, Watson Sr gradually turned more and more responsibility over to
Tom Jr in the post war years, finally giving 100% control to his son shortly
before his death in the mid-1950s.



Thu, 10 Feb 2000 03:00:00 GMT  
 Your favorite computer trading card?

Quote:



> > [snip]
> Not a myth according to the testimony & memos on the record of US Dept.
> of Justice v. IBM, 1969 (the most recent antitrust suit). I was involved
> during the defense phase of the trial and heard IBM's own witness state
> this. I don't recall anything specific tying this to Watson, Sr, so that
> aspect of it may be folklore, but I did hear & study the testimony (this
> guy was on the stand for several days).

> Regards,
> Bill {*filter*}

> PS: Putting aside what Tom, Sr, may or may not have said regarding 6 (or
> 8, or 12) computers, do you agree that Tom, Jr., and the other senior
> execs had to wrest control of IBM away from shortly after WW2? I cannot
> remember what year Tom, Jr., became CEO - I'm sure there's someone out
> there who either knows or has the right book to look it up in.

If I recall correctly, it was early 1971 that Jr. was going to have all
the salemen back in long sleeve white shirts, so I presume it was a
year or two earlier.

Another famous (??) story is about Sr. in an elevator at IBM with
a customer, and a gentleman in a Hawaiin sport shirt. Watson said
to the customer "I am suprised you let your people dress that way."
The customer said, "He is not one of mine. He is one of yours."
I heard further (don't really know) that the sport shirt was
John Selfridge (PhD math UCLA, editor of math review, currentl a
professor at Northwest). Knowing John (a little - wored wih him
for 2 years), I believe it. Doesn't make it true, but cute.

At a presentation at SHARE, many years ago, on the use of DES,
with an audience that seemed to be 10% NSA, someone in the
audience said that John claimed to have cracked DES. Several
of the "blue suit" NSA immediately left the room.

I have never asked John about some of these stories. I really
should. The answers might be funny, false, ....



Thu, 10 Feb 2000 03:00:00 GMT  
 Your favorite computer trading card?



: >
: > Not a myth, but not said by Watson (Jr. or Sr.) either.  It was
_written_
: > in a letter from an IBM V.P. to John V. Atanasoff, then of Iowa State
: > College (Ames, Iowa) while IBM was berating him for rewiring some IBM
punch
: > card equipment into his first programmable electronic computer.  The
letter
: > used to reside in a safe on campus (I've seen it) and I presume it is
still
: > there.  The letter was written in the 1940's (or very late 1930's) as I
: > recall... Atanasoff did his original research in the mid-30's to
mid-1940's
: > at ISU.
: >
: > The letter was revealed in the Honeywell vs. Sperry Rand patent battle
in
: > the 1970's in Minneapolis Federal Court, where the Court ruled that
Eckart
: > & Mauchly had basically stolen Atanasoff's ideas & work, given him
neither
: > credit nor consideration.  His lab assistant (Clifford Berry) died
under
: > mysterious circumstances years prior to the court battle.
: >
: > The major surviving component of their machine (The ABC -
Atanasoff-Berry
: > Computer) is the drum storage device, now housed in the Smithsonian (on
: > display, as of a few years ago.)  John Vincent Atanasoff would be my
: > nominee for a computer trading card.
: >
: > The Rand Corporation (the Defense "Think Tank") also wrote it in a
report
: > in the late 1940's or early 1950's.  The quote is widely attributed
: > (correctly) to that source.
: >
: > --
: > Tom Schmidt
: > Madison, WI

:
: Tom,
:
: Thanks for filling in some blanks.
:
: Regards,
: Bill {*filter*}
:

If you have a _lot_ of time on your hands (and it won't seem to wash off)
try the following URL
        < http://www.*-*-*.com/ ;

The following is a (fair use) introductory quote from the web site:
"

                                                Honeywell, Inc.

                 Honeywell vs. Sperry Rand Records, 1864-1973.

                                                     (Bulk: 1925-1973)

                                                          CBI 1

23 boxes

20.75 cubic feet

March 1991

By: Bruce H. Bruemmer

ACQUISITION: The records were given to the Charles Babbage Institute by
Honeywell, Inc. in 1984, accession 985-007.

ACCESS: The collection is unrestricted.

COPYRIGHT: Most of the records in the collection are court records and are
in the public domain. Researchers may quote from the collection
under the fair use provisions of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code).
Please cite the collection as follows: Honeywell, Inc. Honeywell vs. Sperry
Rand Records (CBI 1), Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota,
Minneapolis.

HISTORY

The Honeywell-Sperry Rand suit grew out of the ENIAC patent, which covered
basic patents relating to the design of electronic digital
computers. After the patent was granted to the Sperry Rand Corporation in
1964, the corporation demanded royalties from all major
participants in the computer industry. Honeywell refused to cooperate, so
Sperry Rand then filed a patent infringement suit against Honeywell in
1967. Honeywell responded in the same year with an antitrust suit charging
that the Sperry Rand-IBM cross-licensing agreement was a
{*filter*} to monopolize the computer industry, and also that the ENIAC
patent was fraudulently procured and invalid. Honeywell filed suit
against Sperry Rand and its subsidiary, Illinois Scientific Instruments,
Inc., in U.S. District Court (Minnesota District, 4th Div., No. 4-67-Civ.
138).

The ENIAC patents were filed in 1947 by John W. Mauchly and J. Presper
Eckert arising from the work conducted at the Moore School of
Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1946, Eckert
and Mauchly left the Moore School and formed their own commercial
computer enterprise, the Electronic Control Company, which was later
incorporated as the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation. In 1950
Remington Rand acquired Eckert-Mauchly and the rights to the ENIAC patent
eventually passed to Sperry Rand as a result of a merger of the
Sperry Corporation and Remington Rand in 1955.

Following extensive discovery procedures the case went to trial in June
1971. Over 32,000 exhibits, some of several hundred pages each, were
introduced as evidence. The trial transcript was over 20,000 pages long. In
April 1973 Judge Earl Larson found that Honeywell had infringed on
the ENIAC patent, but the patent was invalid because the ENIAC had been in
public use for over a year before the application was filed. The
1956 agreement between Sperry Rand and IBM was determined to be a
"technological merger" and a {*filter*} in restraint of trade in
violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act because the two companies
together had 95 percent of the relevant market at the time. No damages
or court costs were awarded to either party of the dispute.

The court also declared that the invention of the ENIAC was derived from
the work of John V. Atanasoff at Iowa State University. Atanasoff and a
graduate student, Clifford Berry, had developed a prototype electronic
computer in 1938, later named the Atanasoff Berry Computer (ABC).
John Mauchly visited Atanasoff in 1941 and was aware of the ABC, and
Atanasoff believed that the design of the ENIAC was based on the
ABC. This meeting became an important issue for the plaintiff during the
trial.

SCOPE AND CONTENT

This collection contains pretrial depositions, plaintiff exhibits,
deposition exhibits, trial testimony, trial exhibits, the final opinion and
judgement,
and indexes from the 1971 Honeywell vs. Sperry Rand suit. The trial
featured extensive testimony by many early computer designers and
engineers detailing the efforts in the United States to build the first
digital computers, and included thousands of exhibits which include early
research reports and notebooks, pictures and descriptions of early
computing machines and programs, and films on the ENIAC. Honeywell, Inc.
donated most of the materials in the collection and all of the indexes. A
copy of the final judgement was donated by Judge Earl Larson.

The final computerized plaintiff's brief contains the plaintiff's and
defendant's arguments and replies, and the actions of the court on motions.
The
brief is arranged by event statements, statements alleged by the plaintiff
to be fact. The defendant then challenges or agrees with these
statements. The final brief is available only on microfiche. "

For further entertainment, try "Atanasoff and ABC" as a web search
argument.  The Dept. of Energy's Ames Lab. devotes a considerable amount of
space to Dr. Atanasoff, his history, etc.  There's a little bit there on
Clifford E. Berry, too.  Use "Clifford and Berry and ABC" as a search
argument for Dr. Berry.

(I'm still looking for a copy of the letter from IBM to Dr. Atanasoff.)

--
Tom Schmidt
Madison, WI



Fri, 11 Feb 2000 03:00:00 GMT  
 Your favorite computer trading card?

[snippage]

Quote:
> Another famous (??) story is about Sr. in an elevator at IBM with
> a customer, and a gentleman in a Hawaiin sport shirt. Watson said
> to the customer "I am suprised you let your people dress that way."
> The customer said, "He is not one of mine. He is one of yours."
> I heard further (don't really know) that the sport shirt was
> John Selfridge (PhD math UCLA, editor of math review, currentl a
> professor at Northwest). Knowing John (a little - wored wih him
> for 2 years), I believe it. Doesn't make it true, but cute.

I heard the same story. In the version I heard, the employee was
anonymous, but the customer was supposed to be Rockefeller, the
CEO of Chase.

Do ask Selfridge. Personally, I'm suspicious of any story that is
so good it ought to be true. I've been stung too often.



Fri, 11 Feb 2000 03:00:00 GMT  
 
 [ 13 post ] 

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