IBM 5100

ibm5100

>John TitorJohn Connor

>Terminator(1984):-The number 14239 appears above
the entrance of the Alamo Gun Shop-

The first Sarah Connor’s house on the list,
which has the address 14239
-The address of the Tiki Motel 14329- [14 [23] 9 ] : [14+9]=23

>Introduction by Major Dale J.Long , USAF(Ret.)

To really do justice to the last 20 years, we need to start just
a bit further back: the 1970s.
It was during this period that the pioneers of personal computing
developed the first systems designed for individual users.
Many people credit Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, of Apple computer fame,
with developing the first personal computer (PC).
As the story goes, both of these bright young men were fresh
out of college in 1976. Much to their dismay,
they discovered that their access to the university mainframe
had been terminated when they graduated.
As they were both allegedly Net Trek addicts,
this was an interminable situation
— the Federation needed them!
When they pleaded for access,
they were essentially told that if they were that desperate to save
the Federation from the Romulan Empire they should go build their own computer.
And so 13 days later they did.
The Apple I debuted in April 1976 at the Homebrew Computer Club in Palo Alto,CA.
It was basically a circuit board based around the 1 megahertz MOStek 6502 chip
with 8 kilobytes of RAM (expandable to 32KB)
and an optional cassette tape-interface.
The circuit board sold for $666.66,
but you had to build your own case and plug it into a TV to get a display.
However, the Apple I wasn’t actually the first personal computer on the block.

The IBM 5100 Portable Computer, circa 1975, was the world’s first integrated,
transportable computer.
At a cost of $20,000, the 5100 was the computer world’s equivalent of the Duesenberg.
The 5100 featured a built-in CRT monitor,tape cartridge,
and included the APL and BASIC programming languages
and startup diagnostics in its 48KB of read-only memory (ROM).
It could hold 16KB to 64KB of plug-in RAM, used a serial input/output bus,
and came with a leather case.
However, the MITS Altair 8800 microcomputer, also from 1975,
is the machine that really launched the PC industry.
It employed an Intel 8080 Central Processing Unit (CPU),
which was originally used to control traffic lights,
a standard memory of 256 bytes (yes, that’s bytes, not kilobytes),
four expansion slots, and 78 machine-language instructions.
A kit cost $439 and a fully assembled version cost $621.
MITS offered 4- and 8KB Altair versions of BASIC,
the first product developed by a little startup named Microsoft
run by a couple of guys named Bill Gates and Paul Allen.
Another line of influential early computers came from Commodore.
The Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor)
was also introduced at the 1977 West Coast Computer Faire.
Commodore produced a long line of inexpensive personal computers that brought computers to the masses.
The Commodore VIC-20 was the first computer to sell 1 million units,
and the Commodore 64 was the first to offer a “huge” 64 KB of memory.

> How John Titor swindled poor people
by Patrick Stephenson (Rochester Magazine):
However, warning of future events, and becoming a Cassandra,
were not among Titor’s foremost objectives.
He felt that the destruction he’d predicted was inevitable.
His real mission, he said, had been to travel to Rochester,
Minnesota in 1975 and make contact with his grandfather,
an engineer on the team in charge of developing a computer
called the IBM 5100, which Titor needed to acquire.
He claimed the 5100’s future value came from an ability
that hadn’t been revealed by IBM upon its release,
and that this then unknown function was required
by scientists in Titor’s time to resolve a computer problem
they’d encountered.

According to Bob Dubke, the second engineer on IBM’s 5100 team in Rochester
(who now co-owns a locally-based company called eXport Ventures Corp.
and also works for Edina Realty),
that secret function was his contribution to the design of the computer.
The function, which IBM suppressed because of worries about
how their competition might use it,
was an interface between the assembly code
surrounding the computer’s ROM exterior,
and the 360 emulator hidden beneath it.
(IBM declined to comment for this story.)
The 5100’s emulator gave programmers access to the functions of the monstrous,
and much less portable machines, that IBM had produced during the 1960s.
An imprint of a hook on the outside of the 5100 symbolized the ability
of Dubke’s interface to drop into what Titor called “legacy code,”
and scoop out any necessary operating instructions.
A hook is an appropriate symbol for Titor’s story.
His posts ended in March 2001, after his supposed return to the future.
In the wake of his disappearance,
the claims he’d made about the 5100 became the starting point
from which all manner of Internet kooks conducted searches
for proof of his claims.
Unlike his vague predictions of future doom,
the information he’d relayed about the 5100 was concrete,
and filled with statements that readers could research.
It’s a surprise,
then, that Dubke hadn’t heard about the Titor debacle until
we contacted him in July.
Period documentation Dubke provided calls
the computer a “dramatic step forward,”
and reveals that the 5100 team were justifiably excited
about their project’s release.
According to Dubke, they’d been set free from bureaucratic controls,
and so had worked smoothly and efficiently on the 5100’s design.
The end result was a computer that, though antiquated
in comparison to current technology,
was an engineering marvel. Bulky but functional.
When Dubke first heard about John Titor,
his main question was not of whether John Titor was a time traveler,
(“I’m not a �Star Trek’ watcher,” he says, “or into building fantasies”)
but of who among his team had the right sense of humor
to orchestrate the furor created by Titor’s posts.
“Somebody is trying to tickle somebody else,” Dubke says.
In response to our inquiries, he mentally reviewed the list of engineers
with whom he’d spent turbulent and fun times at IBM.
One candidate who emerged, a man with a “caustic” sense of humor,
seemed to Dubke to be the most likely jokester.
However, as he reviewed Titor’s posts,he dismissed them as being “too simple”
to be the product of any of his friends, and his eyes stumbled
over the sight of the phrase “legacy code,”
which, he says, no members of the 5100 team would ever use.
He concludes that Titor’s 5100 material was merely
“derived from information available on the Internet.”

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