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1 Dave Williams commented   Permalink No RatingsRatings 0

Great article Stephen. Back in the early 1970's I was one of those operators sat at the typewriter console shown in your photo. On those early System/360s the disks in the disk drives (I think they were 2314s?) were swappable. I was working for a UK bank at the time, and in a very early instance of “health and safety at work”, the Computer Operators were part of a very small cadre of Bank Employees who did NOT have to wear a suit and tie at work. The reason was that as the drawers of the disk drives were opened then our ties “could” get caught on the still spinning disks. A highly unlikely event of course, but as young men on the technological leading edge at the bank we liked to stand out!
My how some things have changed, and others haven't! Nowadays a disk that actually spins is becoming increasingly rare, and in a complete reversal of attitude, I think I'm the only guy at work who still wears a tie. Back in 1974 the bank was one of the first UK users of CICS. Now 40 years on I'm still developing and servicing CICS at the UK labs in Hursley. And why am I the only guy at work who still wears a tie? Heck, with all these dynamic young programmers coming on stream, I have to stand out somehow!
As for the advance of the mainframe over the past 50 years, I think the progress achieved is analogous to the progress of aviation industry in its first 50 years. The power of modern mainframe systems is truly astonishing ….. but I still miss the flashing lights.

2 Stephen Kinder commented   Permalink No RatingsRatings 0

Thanks for the great comment @Dave.
Before I started my career at IBM in 1988, I worked for the U.S. Government. I started as a Data Entry Clerk doing key punch on real cards. :) I followed with Key to Tape/Disk, Microfiche producer, print-ops, tape library, tape jockey, and end my career there as a Computer Operator... was exposed to Burroughs, Cyber-CDC, Tandem, NAS, and IBM mainframes.
Funny stories working midnights... just about anything is funny at 3AM... :)
Seems like yesterday, and it seems like forever ago.

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