Deep LA Conference at The Huntington

I’ll be presenting a paper at the “Deep L.A.” graduate history conference taking place at The Huntington on October 3rd.

The conference is sponsored by UCLA and USC, with a focus on Los Angeles and Southern California regional history: http://lahistoryconference.tumblr.com

I’m presenting a portion of a chapter in my dissertation, which focuses on mainframes, paperwork, and the electrical utility company Southern California Edison during the postwar era.

Deep LA conference image

Punch Card Jam Needs Some Force

In 2010, representatives from the Computer History Museum visited a company in Texas still using an IBM 402 mainframe for everyday accounting jobs.

forcing punch cards in mainframe
“Jam needs SOME force” (image caption at http://ibm-1401.info/402.html)
jammed punch cards - front view
“Card Jam Front View” (image caption at http://ibm-1401.info/402.html)

The photographs on for the CHM trip are pretty interesting, especially the punch card jams: http://ibm-1401.info/402.html

The article below mentions the CHM trip to Texas, and a few other old computers still in use:

If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It: Ancient Computers in Use Today, by Benj Edwards at PCWorld

The biggest problem with maintaining such ancient computer systems is that the original technicians who knew how to configure and maintain them have long since retired or passed away, so no one is left with the knowledge required to fix them if they break.