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Dawn of The Computer Age ~ Documentary outtakes from 1979 (David Hoffman)

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Mar 23, 2020 - 5:46:11 AM
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8837 posts since 7/1/2006

This is a little something different and caught my attention for lots of reasons.

Some of you may be familiar with the documentary filmmaker named David Hoffman. It seems he was at the crossroads, or at the pulse, of lots of changes and movements during the 1960s and on. He's the filmmaker who followed Earl Scruggs around for a while and documented some pretty memorable stuff that's been out there for years now.

So this clip below are outtakes from a 1979 documentary he made for television, where he explores the brand new emerging technology of ... micro computers ...

It's interesting to hear folks from 41 years ago, had insight and some foreknowledge of how this would impact us ... in there here and now, hearing this stuff ...

Just a little something different, voices from the past ... interesting stuff ...

Mar 23, 2020 - 9:03:56 AM

2259 posts since 7/20/2004

That's really interesting to me, as I lived near Cedar Rapids back then and was heavily involved with the earliest microcomputers. My first system (in 1976) was a SWTPC kit system, wired for me by a good friend who was an engineer at Rockwell-Collins, now Collins Aerospace Systems. There was a bunch of Collins guys, and a physician or two, who were active in starting the first computer club in CR. By 1979, when this video was made, things were really taking off. The father made a passing reference to the Osborne portable computer, which was my 2nd system. I introduced my brother to computers and actually sold him an Osborne. He was the first architect in Iowa, and among the first in the nation to start doing his designs with CAD, (not on the Osborne, lol). I didn't know the father and son in the video, but if it had been shot 3 years earlier I probably would have.

Mar 23, 2020 - 5:15:45 PM



674 posts since 4/12/2004

In the late Seventies, I bought a Texas Instruments TI-99 home computer. You had to program it in "Basic" computer language to be able to do anything with. Basic was very similar to the Fortran computer language I had studied in college.

At the time, I was working for the company that manufactured Hamilton music stands. One day, I was telling the president of the company about buying the computer and he asked if anyone really needed a computer in their home. I told him that based upon the capability of the TI-99 I had, I didn't think it would be of much use for the typical household.

I did however tell him, and I'm not making this up, that if there was some way to connect home computers together through some kind of network so that people could share information, there might be a potential market. You can imagine how annoyed I was when Al Gore took credit for inventing the Internet.

Mar 23, 2020 - 5:27:20 PM

2259 posts since 7/20/2004

Back before Al invented the internet, there was a thing called CompuServe. Actually, a lot like the forums of today. Before that, there were some early email services. I had a 300 bps dial-up modem in the Osborne and maintained contact with an old Navy buddy of mine who was at that time the head of communications services at VPI.

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