I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.

16 Responses to “Orientation video for Bell Labs programmers, 1973”

  1. h knox says:

    The programmer for the IBM 370 has a pin up on his machine!

  2. Chris Burch says:

    Couldn’t Charlie have taken the girlie pic off the 370 at 5:39? I guess no one was going to sue back then…

    • quazi says:

       // EXEC PGM=TITPRINT,ENLARGE=Y

    • BillStewart2012 says:

      By five years later, when I started working there, that picture would have been long gone; the phone companies had been fairly thoroughly spanked about their treatment of women, and were starting to clean up their act.

    • Mike Dedmon says:

      I thought that was Raquel Welch. HR would have SUCH issues with this today. I guess it was so common, that even the film maker’s didn’t think to remove it. 

  3. Nash Rambler says:

    I don’t know what depresses me more; the general atmosphere of that office, or how little basic office architecture has changed in 39 years.

    • BillStewart2012 says:

      You missed the big architectural change, which was the walk-up windows where you submitted your jobs and the print-out rack where you got your results and punch-card decks back, and the separation between users and computer operators. 

      As a user, you’d use the keypunches out front, bring your deck to the operator who’d put it in the card reader, and some time later, after your job had run, the printer operator would put your print job out for you to pick up. 

  4. msbpodcast says:

    That’s exactly the type of batch entry environment I got into in 1975. Wow, we looked like dorks back in the day. :-)

    • Jake0748 says:

      Yep, I was doing this stuff back in 1975 too.  Brings back all kinds of memories.  And yep, we DID look like dorks.  :)

  5. hyljelyhje says:

    “Any technology sufficiently archaic is indistinguishable from science fiction.”
    Seriously; it’s like watching cavemen punching rocks, but at the same time it has some strange futuristic vibe with all the spinning drive thingys and endless reciting about “millions of bytes” and “thousands of lines per minute”.

  6. nixiebunny says:

    Did anyone notice that the AT&T web page caption was all Unix this, Unix that, whereas the actual movie was all IBM this, IBM that?

  7. schr0559 says:

    They used 1,000 lbs of paper a day… and my old laptop is more powerful than that whole office.

    • Malic says:

      Actually, I think your smartphone is probably more powerful than that whole office. No, not the one you have now, the one you upgraded from last year.

  8. Guest says:

    More than 10 years later, I found the noise level of a single small IBM 5125 dot matrix printer absolutely hideous… and there they had a whole machine shop of massive printers punchers and drives… I wonder how many operators from those days suffered hearing damage.

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