Computers of the future in the past
Recently I was going through a whole bunch of stuff in my garage and came across a whole bunch of glossy literature for equipment that one of my previous employers, Signal Science, used to sell to the government. It has been a good four years or so since I have seen a real VT100 type terminal in use anywhere. For the time, this puppy, the ELPS-97 system was state of the art. Now I am pretty sure that you could do all the same ELINT tasks performed by this system on a desktop PC and 200watts of power, versus 5KW!
You may ask, what is this young lad's connection to this...
In college I had the task of surplussing the last of these systems that was used in house. With elbow grease and a hack saw (yes, a manual hack saw and a package of several blades) I cut up one of these into small enough chunks to fit on the lift gate of the truck from either Halted Specialties or Weird Stuff Warehouse. Sometimes I wonder what was done with the VAX 11/780. I hope that someone was able to salvage it and build something similar to the VAXbar built by Vance.
Signal Science was a great place to work. That is where I got my real start in the IT industry and exposure to people that I still consider close personal friends today. Even though I had a lot of tasks to do there that nobody else wanted, I also received encouragement and mentoring at a young age. I just hope I have the ability to give some sixteen year old kid the chance to cut up a Sun server cluster so I can pass on the IT torch.
And if you like those, check these these oldies:
SigSci-ClassicCorporateOverview.pdf - The Signal Science Corporate Overview
SigSci-DPS100.pdf - The DPS100 processor
SigSci-FlashPoint.pdf - The FlashPoint DSP system
SigSci-SpreadSpectrum-SSDS-11.pdf - The SSDS-11 Spread Spectrum system