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Remember When...

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Snippets about IBM and Other Mainframe systems:

"I helped Christopher Gregory bring in the first computer to the University of Hawaii in the basement of Keller Hall."
-James Siu, Associate Professor, Mathematics

"We were on the old IBM 1401. Someone had a program that would make the printer sing 'Anchors Away' as it printed."
- Tom Shibuya, ITS Management Information Services

"I remember when Wes Peterson was the Computing Center director and he used to work in a dark office with John Davidson, Charley Bass, and Alan Kam. They were building a time sharing system for the UH."
-Drue McGinnes, ITS Special Projects


"These are the facts as well as I can remember them. It was in the fall, 1970, almost 30 years ago, about the time when Walter Yee took over the job of Computing Center director from me. The Computing Center was located on the second floor of HIG over the shop area."

"We had ordered a new disk drive for the IBM mainframe. At that time disk drives were pretty large and heavy. Walter was worried about whether the floor might collapse when we brought that thing in, so he called a civil engineer to find out whether the floor was strong enough. After examining the building and the plans, the engineer declared that that wing of the building had never been designed to withstand earthquakes, and the Computing Center had to be moved out of there within three weeks. Of course, you know that the university never did anything in three weeks."

"One beautiful sunny afternoon about three weeks after that, I recall being in a meeting in the HIG conference room discussing, among other things, where the Computing Center should be relocated to when suddenly it happened -- the earthquake. That was by far the largest earthquake I have experienced in my 35 years here. The building really shook. After things quieted down, we ran out to see what had happened to the Computing Center. Fortunately it was still on the second floor."

"After several more meetings and several more months, the Computing Center was moved to its current location on the ground floor of Keller Hall, where no one is worried about whether the floor will collapse. I never could figure out how that civil engineer knew that there would be an earthquake in three weeks."
-Dr. Wesley Peterson, former Director of the UH Computing Center

"Back in the IBM 360/370 mainframe days we had removable disk drives where you could mount your own disk packs: the IBM 2314 and IBM 3330 disk drives. My predecessors even had disk volumes named after themselves (DLEONG belonged to Diantha Leong, JAMESK belonged to James Kotaka, etc.)."
-Barry Masuda, ITS Systems

"I used to work with hundred and hundreds of pounds of computer tab cards. These tab cards came in heavy 60-pound cases. The Center once had a job that had about a hundred of these 60 pound cases of cards (or 1,000,000 cards) to read into the system for a tuna catch study project. This card to tape job took two 24 hour days to complete."
-Vince Masuda, ITS Operations

"Keller 105 (the site of the current ITS Help Desk) used to be a room full of keypunch machines. You had to wait in line to use a machine and it took forever to type out a 200 line PL/I program. I always had trouble with the spacing for those nested loops. Of course there was no such thing as a backspace... as soon as you made a typo, you had to throw the card away and start again."
- Linda Maeno, ITS Information Services


"I remember when you could buy punch cards from a vending machine near the consulting area in the Keller Lobby for 35 cents. I personally liked the ones with blue or pink tops so they wouldn't get mixed up with other people's yellow cards."

"I remember waiting 2-3 hours in the queue for my program output only to be disappointed with a very thin printout that just said 'ABEND.' The other extreme to this was getting a very thick printout that had an infinite loop which eventually aborted because it ran out of processing time. Made good scratch paper and book covers though."
-Iris Takamiya, ITS Director's Office

"I remember trying to get around batch queues by changing from CLASS=A to CLASS=B just because there were a lot less jobs in B."
-Jodi-Ann Ito, ITS Information Services

"I remember when the IBM 3081 came… I said Oh, we got this new machine! The University's never going to have to get a bigger mainframe than this. It will last forever! By the mid- 80s we ran out of gas."
-Bill Soong, formerly with ITS Systems


"When I was a student assistant, I remember being taught the fine art of prepping your punch cards for input into the card reader hopper. I thought the guy who taught me could have been a Las Vegas card dealer.
Obviously I was all thumbs and would get reader checks most of the time."

"And I remember showing my nephew the most awesome computer game at the time on the UH mainframe:
Football on TSO!"
-Jaime Yago, ITS Management Information Services

"Yes, I remember that Football on TSO game quite fondly. You typed in the plays you wanted to call (SP for short pass, LP for long pass) and the computer would respond with the play results. My favorite was the SP for a first down, West Coast offense ala 49ers."
-Clifford Yago, Jaime Yago's nephew

"…the one thing is that we would always be busy with something…always something new and different… every year. That's what made it so interesting. It's been a fun trip."
-Walter Yee,
former Director of the UH Computing Center and ITS Special Projects staff member

"Way back in the 60s, Population Genetics had its own CDC 3100 with a card reader, four tape drives, 16K of memory, and no disk storage. I had to write a program to calculate the coefficient of inbreeding of an isolated Alpine village by 'mating' every person in the village with every other person in the village. Since the sexes of the pairings were irrelevant, the result was several million 'matings.' After several hours and when the job was almost done, the tape fell off the drive. Too many rewinds had loosened the tape from the drive. The operator who had been tending to the job then asked me to add his name to the data on the tape before rerunning the job."
-Shirley Yee, ITS Information Services


Snippets about Interactive and Timesharing Systems:

"I remember sitting with Eileen Anderson, the state budget director, when she came to the UH for a presentation on PLATO. Geoffrey Ashton told her, and a rather large audience, that PLATO was the end all, the ultimate technology for classroom teaching. Others said there would never be computers in the classroom."
-Drue McGinnes, ITS Special Projects

"It was my first day as a student assistant. Helen Carey was introducing me to the UHCC staff members. When I was introduced to David (Lassner), he showed me a dumb terminal that someone had shot during finals week."
-Lee Ann M. Lee, ITS Information Services

"I remember the Harris and when we had to 'vulcanize' our programs."
-Jodi-Ann Ito, ITS Information Services


"I remember when we all had dumb terminals at MSO and word processing was done on the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) VAX systems. The output was routed to a very noisy DEC Spinwriter that was so loud that it had to be housed in a sound insulated box."

"I also remember the old DEC VAX 750 Systems. They took up an entire 25' x 50' make-shift computer room. Today, a single desktop PC has more speed, power, and disk space than that entire room full of 750s."
-Darrel Enoki, ITS Operations


Snippets about desktop systems:

"640K ought to be enough for anybody."
-Bill Gates, Circa 1981

"The first PC was brought into the computing center in 1981 by Dan Arashiro. I looked at it and said… this thing is a toy! …I didn't even want to go touch it! And then I got involved with the PC so then I said eh, this stuff is pretty good!"
-Bill Soong, formerly with ITS Systems

"I remember being a student help at Campus Operations and we got the 'new' IBM AT. We were so impressed with the 'speed' and advanced technology."
-Jodie Fujita, ITS Management Information Systems

"Back in 1984 when (at that time) the UH Computing Center conducted its first IBM PC sale, I remember going to Kapiolani CC to help set up the PCs. Walter Yee, director then, anticipated sales of about 500; but sales were closer to 1000 units. It was almost assembly line testing each monitor and cpu. I also got in on the terrific sale...an IBM XT with 256KB RAM (that's kilobytes, not megabytes!) and 10MB hard disk (wow, would we ever fully utilize such a spacious disk? (ha!) All of that for the discounted price (40% off current IBM prices) of $3500! That system lasted me for almost 10 years though, unlike the fast paced industry of today..."
-Naomi Okinaga, ITS Information Services

"I remember when we converted the classrooms in Keller 213 and 214 into the PC Lab. We set up the lab's 20 IBM PC's, all with 640K of memory. The PC Lab also had printers, including an Okidata dot-matrix printer."
-Gary Lew, ITS Systems

" February 1986 was the first time I was exposed to a graphical user interface. I was hired as a student monitor for the then brand new Macintosh lab. My jaw dropped when I used MacWrite, MacPaint and MacDraw for the first time."
-Julio Polo, ITS Systems


Snippets about Distance Learning:

"On June 10, 1990, the University was to broadcast the first statewide two-way video class on the Hawaii Interactive Television System (HITS), and we weren't receiving video from Maui Community College. Fortunately, they were connected five minutes into the class making the course truly statewide - connecting UHM, Kauai CC, Maui CC, UHH, Molokai Education Center, and Lanai Education Center."
-Hae Okimoto, ITS Distance Learning and Instructional Technology


"On January 17, 1999, ITS successfully webcast its first event, the 1999 Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC) Conference. Anyone with Internet access and a Web browser could view the conference in real time."

"In the following month, on February 3, the ITS monthly cable show High Tech Hawaii was delivered via webcast, due to lack of cable programming time slots. Since that date, each show has been simultaneously presented on TV and the Web."
-Kenwrick Chan, ITS Distance Learning and Instructional Technology


Snippets about Network and Telephone Systems:

"I remember working one weekend and seeing a bunch of guys digging a trench and pulling a yellow cable through my office. It was David Lassner, Jeff Blomberg, and Torben Nielsen. They were pulling the cable for the first ethernet network on campus."
-Lee Ann M. Lee, ITS Information Services


"I started as a campus phone operator in 1974 on the University of Hawaii's main telephone exchange. Two other operators and I were stationed in front of an old plug in cord switchboard in the basement of Hawaii Hall. When a call came in, one of the free lines would light up. We would plug a cord into the line to receive the call, then connect the call by plugging another cord into the right extension. I believe the switchboard could handle a maximum of 25 simultaneous calls."

"Organizationally, telephone operations were a part of Auxiliary Services. Les Murakami was our manager and also the baseball coach. Our office was affiliated with Campus Security and the Parking Office, and we had a radio dispatcher to contact them for on-campus emergencies. There was no 911 service at the time so campus callers would dial '0' in case of emergencies. We would contact the police, fire department, and ambulance for campus callers."
-Jackie Wong, ITS Telecommunications

"I remember sending out a mass voice mail message regarding Hurricane Iwa. There were so many people calling in or checking their voice mail messages that the voice mail system actually shut down and had to be re-enabled. That was the last time we sent out a UHM systemwide message via voice mail. Thank goodness for e-mail!"
-Ralph Yoshioka, ITS Telecommunications


Snippets on Student Registration:

"I first registered as a freshman in fall 1964. We got our course approvals and picked up our computer punch cards (one per course) in the Hemenway Hall Lounge (which was the entire second floor) from tables staffed by departmental representatives. From there, we walked to Sinclair Library, handed in our course cards, and paid tuition (which was all of $85) to cashiers that were lined up in what is now the reserve reading room."
-David Robb, UHM Director of Admissions and Records

"I still remember that I had to psych myself out during registration time: as I entered Klum gym, I would run to the tables of the courses that didn't offer too many sections of that course, or didn't offer many sections that started later in the day. After receiving an IBM punched card, which tells me I'm enrolled in the class, I would scramble onto the next table and so on. You really needed a pair of good sneakers in those days. Then came the days of Building 37. Everyone would wait in long lines until your scheduled time arrived. When it was my turn, I sat next to a staff person who punched in my courses on a terminal. If a course was already closed or you are missing some type of approval, you would need to run over to the department or thumb quickly through the Schedule of Classes for an alternate course. Nowadays students can register and pay by phone or over the Web thanks to PA‘E. They also can do much more, such as check the status of a course, view grades, request for parking, etc. Can you imagine if we had to do the Klum Gym routine again?"
-Sammy Lee, ITS Management Information Systems


 Snippets on How Technology has Changed How We Work:

"Remember back in those old days when secretaries had to do their jobs using typewriters? I remember having to type drafts of the same lengthy report over and over again. No such thing as pointing the mouse to highlight, click, delete, insert, or cut and paste."

"Setting up meetings with a group of people have been made easier and faster too. I remember calling a group of people only to find out that the last one couldn't make the meeting on a specific day and time and having to start calling everyone all over again."

"I also remember getting lots of exercise walking all over campus to hand deliver rushes. Faxing is wonderful."
-Doreen Taga, Secretary, Director's Office

"The greatest technological advance in the last 35 years? It wasn't a computer. In my opinion, it was the photocopier! Xeroxing sure beats using carbon paper, ditto masters, or stencils!"
-Shirley Yee, ITS Information Services

"I remember when, at the end of our meetings at MSO, everyone would open up their Franklin planners to record important deadlines and to schedule subsequent meetings. These days, we use Meeting Maker and the trendier people whip out their palm pilots."
-Mike Sahara, ITS Systems

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