Monday, March 15, 2010

Tools - 1973

In 1973 "State of the Art" tools were different than today's. Above is a picture of the main tool we were provided with - a flowchart template. This is the actual official IBM one I was given and that I still have it is telling.

We used this tool for two purposes. First, during class we used it to create a diagram of our logic and then wrote COBOL code from the diagram. For most of us this use ended when the training class did. Second, this template was used for creating work flow diagrams that accompanied job requests to the actual operators in the Computer Center.

When I arrived in Management Financial Services we used magnetic tapes for data storage. At that time programmers would actually duplicate production tapes or create tapes with partial data sets from the original production tapes and use those for testing their programs. Depending on the size of the project we had stacks of tapes on and around our desks. The programmer would create the Job Control Language (JCL) program on a series of punch cards, put those in front of the punch cards containing the program code to create a deck and use the template to draw a diagram for the computer operator to show him or her what tapes would be called for, when they would be called and how they were to be mounted on drives for the program. The diagram was drawn on a special form (white, 8 1/2 x 11 with identifying info in boxes on the top) which was wrapped around the punch card deck and attached to the tapes for the job with elastic bands. These were placed on tables located around the department and picked up at various times by people who came around with carts. Finished jobs were delivered with output the same way. It was not uncommon for a programmer to go directly to the Computer Center when he or she had an important ("priority") job.

When the Tower was built the bottom floor was designed as the Computer Center and had ceiling to floor windows so the company could show off its million dollar computer hardware. After a series of bombings at some universities in the early 70's, the windows were replaced with thick concrete walls and later the entire Computer Center was moved underground.

No comments:

Post a Comment