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RE: Beehives...

>Didn't we have Beehive versions of a system status display program
>(something-DPY) and, of course, Beehive Star Trek? Funny, though,
>I can't remember if we ever had a visual editor for the Beehives?

SYSDPY.  (SYSTAT was the hardcopy predecessor.)

I think that the first visual editors I saw were in '78
on PDP-10s/DECSYSTEM-20s.  Was the first PDP-11
visual editor KED (Keypad Editor) or something
like that?

I think that the first visual editors I saw were EMACS and
TV/Video TECO in '78, on PDP-10s/DECSYSTEM-20s
with DEC terminals (maybe some other terminals too for
EMACS, but I doubt they were Beehives).  Was the first
PDP-11 visual editor KED (Keypad Editor) or something
like that?

I don't remember a Beehive Trek, although Bob Supnik at DEC
(a connection back to the simulators!) did a VT05? 50? 52?
version.  I don't know if it was descended from my TTY version
or from a later Delta Beehive version.

I remember preferring the MiniBee's keyboard to the SuperBee's.
(I didn't get into programming the function keys to do things.)
I also think that our Beehives (just the SuperBees?) had special
ROMs, so they weren't normal Beehives, let alone "DEC
compatible", but I don't remember why.  I guess it was some
control character handshaking that the SuperBees did and
RSTS didn't like.

The Beehives (from Beehive Medical Electronics, Salt Lake City)
were the first terminals that we had with *lower case*.  When we
got the LA36s we were thrilled to be able to *print* documentation
with lower case.  Later, 2741 terminal support showed up, so we
borrowed Doris' Selectric type ball and used it on the UDCC APL
terminals to print documentation.  (The grad students did this to
print theses.)  I also remember seeing my first daisy wheel printer,
it might have been in Willard Hall, but I don't remember when.
(I also remember seeing documentation -- at MIT LCS for the D
language and the Delphi operating system?? -- which was cool
because it had boldface generated by sliding the carriage a bit and
reprinting the character again.)  I think it was during the B5500
time frame (but I'm not sure) that we had ASR33 TTYs with
the integrated dataphone in the side panel and a plastic punch
card automatic dialer.  Then, years, until LA36s came out,
we had ASR33s with Bell DataPhones.  (I saw today that the
first 300 baud Hayes modem came out in 1978.  Before then,
only Bell could make something that you could connect to
the phone network.  If you didn't have a DataPhone, you
had to have an acoustic coupler (mentioned in another note)
to connect non-electrically.  (I won't remember when a teacher
came into the room at McKean and found that we'd partially
disassembled our TTY.)  To keep people at one school
from logging in under another school's account, LOGIN once
sent a WHO ARE YOU (WRU) ASCII character and read the
HERE IS drum response.  I think that the people doing this
quickly figured out how to remove the HERE IS drum.  (It is
a plastic cylinder with some number of rows of 8 plastic tabs,
which could be broken off to encode in ASCII a TTY ID.)
I guess you could log in anyway without the HERE IS drum.

I found my RSTS manuals last night, and a Project Delta doc set
with a mixture of documentation printed on the upper-case, 80
column line printer (mostly ECPRESS variables lists), the APL
terminals, and *shock!* *horror!* manually typed, including
manually drawn illustrations of how to load paper and ribbons
into an LA36.  (I forget what documentation got typed up by
one of the secretaries, who then sent the originals -- the only
copies -- mailed to another university.  We got it back, but we
got a mixture of originals of some pages and photocopies of
other pages.

A couple more stories about the RSTS manuals:
I think it was Gary Luckenbaugh who tried to order both the
BASIC Plus manual and the system manager's manual.  DEC
didn't send the later, since only system managers could get
it, but sent the first and issued a refund for the cost of BOTH
manuals.  Also, if you ordered that first Microsoft BASIC
interpreter, it didn't come with a language manual.  Instead,
they told you how to order the BASIC Plus manual from DEC.
(People thought that PEEK and POKE were such great
microcomputer innovations, but they came from RSTS.
Whether they were from DEC or EG&H, who originally
did the BASIC Plus interpreter for RSTS, I don't know.)

It is funny to hear people talk about Network Computers
and what a good idea they are for certain environments.
All they've done is to rediscover time-sharing!!  Albeit with
*very* fancy terminals and higher speed connections.
One thing that I think Delta did which was valuable and
lost with the microcomputer revolution was the social
sciences databases.  (IMPRESS [Interdisciplinary Machine
Processor for Research and Education in the Social Sciences]
from DTSS was rewritten, scaled down a bit and limited to
discrete data, as DEPRESS [Delta's IMPRESS] and, for RSTS/E,
ECPRESS [Ed's and Clark's IMPRESS].  Someplace else did the
continuous data functions in COSAP.)  We had a 2nd RP03
disk pack drive on the 11/50 which was for (during normal
school hours) the databases that we bought and gave the schools
access to.  Stuff like surveys conducted before many presidential
elections, opinions on abortion in 1969, etc.  I don't know if
any of that made it to the microcomputers, or now to the
Internet.  It has occured to me to rewrite ECPRESS in Java...)

We also had an Opscan (-17? -12/17?) scanner.  George wrote
a RSTS device driver for it.  [That assembly code was one of
the Great Mysterious Puzzles that I endeavored to understand.]
We used it to scan in surveys.  I don't know for sure, but I doubt
that we used it for scanning in test forms, because that wasn't
the Delta way: Besides delta being used for change in math,
DELTA=Delaware's Total Approach to computers in education.
We couldn't afford enough terminals (just 1/school, although
AI got a second one at some point) or CPU power to do CAI,
which was boring anyway, as Plato showed.  We did support
programming classes, and a lucky bunch of us learned about
system programming and management, but remember that
for most of the students in the schools, the computer was there
so that they could learn how computers were used in the
real word.  Besides the databases, simulations were big.
For either databases or simulations, the idea was to have the
class discuss it, collaborate on what to do next, and discuss
the results.  And yes, games were ok too, because they got
the kids over the hump of fear of the machine, and helped
them learn how to do basic things like dial up, log in, and type.
And a lot of games are really simulations anyway.
(My daughter is 13 and has been writing Niven's Known Space
series plug-ins for Escape Velocity, a really neat Mac "fly around
the universe and buy things on one planet to sell on another,
and deal with pirates and rebels and aliens" game.  I've tried
to use with the kids the philosophy that Teresa and Dave used
with us: There's the computer, go do something interesting with it.)

Oh, yeah, a secretary story plus ECPRESS story:
Ed & Clark dictated ECPRESS documentation into a tape
recorder while on a family vacation to Niagra Falls (IIRC)
and mailed the cassette back.  I think it was Doris who typed
it.  However, nobody taught her our terms, so "ASCII" was
typed up as "ask he".  There were a lot of other such typos.
Now, that is a piece of documentation that I'd love to see
again.  (These days, of course, "our terms" show up on TV
commercials daily.  Shortly after I started at DEC in '78, they
opened their first attempt at a retail store at the Mall of NH
in Manchester, and it seemed very strange when I first saw
an advertisement for DEC's store on TV.  It was late at night
during Avengers re-runs.)

Well, back to work on that real world stuff before I digress
further into my 16 years of Agony and Ecstacy at DEC...

- Aron

p.s. Yeah, I loved the Connections series.  Does it show?  (:-)