Czech Plush Monkey's Adventures!
Monkey sees and does stuff.
(a glossary of terms is provided at page bottom)

Time-tripping back into the day, Opice visits the Mountain View, CA
Computer History Museum

Monkey is frustrated by this riddle:

"When does bigger, slower, and
heavier come in first?"

Can you help him solve the conundrum?

If you think you know, you may type your answer below:

(8086 words or less)
Frustrated Monkey at Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA.

You'll find Opice's solution to the riddle "hidden" on this page.  Meanwhile, here's a visual clue:
10 megabyte disk drive


Monkey can't believe his eyes."It can't be! It's bigger than I am and I'm a big guy.

"Is it really a 10 megabyte disk drive?! Wow, that's all sick!"

(Not only does 10 megs describe its storage capacity--it about measures the old drive's weight, too.)

In comparison, the 25¢ piece at right is the actual size of a contemporary microdrive which can hold 1 or more gigabytes of info.

Opice calls, "Dibs on the quarter!"

California quarter 25¢
Learn how2 turn a 1.44 floppy into the Starship Enterprise!

Computer History Museum Muse

Speaking of "back in the day,"
Monkey spies a gen-1 Cray.

The Cray came with couch and bubbles.
One could lounge during compu-troubles
And watch the way it's bubbles burst
As they cooled it's power thirst.

The Cray was way all that back when
SuperComputers looked smart in dens


Doggerel: it's not just for poets anymore. But have Monkey's clues helped solve the riddle yet?

Cray Computer/Couch
Interactive Johnniac -- which is nearly more than it was.

Before there was the Cray their was the John.  >:-)

Today computers are often referred to by processor or speed numbers (or fruit OSs, but that's another story*).

Around the 1950s people liked to name machines after the "ivac" or "iac."
Who knows what an iac** was, but it must have been very exciting because there was the: Univac,
ILLiac (but no Odyssiac); as well as the
fabulous! Neliac,
much loved Easiac,
unfortunately named Ugliac,
and Monkey's new fave: Johnniac.

Move your cursor over the foto above and experience more interactivity than the Johnniac ever delivered, especially if you click the pix, cuz that will take you where no Johnniac has gone before.

*Monkey does not care how people compute in the privacy of their own home and looks forward to the day when they all do it his way.
**IAC = Integrator And Computer. [Opice says, "Ivac? No Uvac!"]

The i(v)ac computers used vacuum tubes to compute rather than newer old-fashioned transistors.
Monkey speculates that one Johnniac could heat a family home for 2 adults and 2.7 children... in winter...
in Michigan's Upper Peninsula... with the windows open...

You might also enjoy visiting Montgomery's Mothballed Microcomputer Museum.
Ken's site has lots more old tech demonstrating how the rush to sell "cutting edge" technology is always a race where smaller/lighter, faster, cheaper arrives later. [the riddle's solution]


Monkey has "a friend" who cut his I/O teeth on punchcards and papertape. This friend (no relation to Opice) actually operated an IBM 1620 until an IBM 360-40 replaced it and students were banned from his university's computer center for fear they'd give the mainframe cooties.

The person Opice knows (but won't out) had to learn all the number systems from binary to hexadecimal (just in case computers were ever able to handle base-16) before he was allowed to begin programming (in assembly language!). No one was permitted to learn (the high level language) Fortran-I until they could store a number in a buffer and add it to another number in another buffer and then make the sum print out correctly on a sheet of large green perforated paper using only numeric codes. It was so not like today's drag-n-drop applets.

Anyway, there is a funny story behind this mythological university's room sized IBM 1620 (which had only 64k memory and 1/1,000,???,000th of the processing power of a palmtop). It is said that when the wealthy woman [Matilda Wilson-Dodge] created the college in the mid-1960s as her legacy, she was told that the Engineering Department needed a computer for research and teaching. And that the machine would also need to carry all the school's banal operations such as registration, scheduling, and faculty/staff pay processing. Mainframes were that expensive, only one per institution!

The person in charge worried what to buy. Ms. W-D was asked, "What kind of computer do you want?"

Whether she knew much about such matters or not is unknown. But Monkey's friend was told it was absolutely true that she answered, "I think I'd like one that comes in blue."

Thus Big Blue got the sale because the 1620 did, plus it had a pretty bank of Irwin Allen lights to show how scientific it was.


Go here for a real dictionary of computer terms.
Big Blue International Business Machines not  I B Monkey
mainframe a very large, expensive machine that makes people fee all that for a short while. (see Deep Thought)
punchcard / papertape a Zen-based system of storage where it's not the printing or material used that counts, but the space removed from medium that matters.

short for a Tekker's alma mater (dei)

Irwin Allen lights an entertaining array of randomly blinking colored lights specifically designed to fool people into thinking that a whole lot of computing's going on. Was replaced some time in the past by the "disk drive read light" which now represents exactly the opposite concept.
conundrum pseudo-Latin word for CarTalk Puzzler
floppy was 8" then 5.25" then 3.5" then it got zipped before jazzed. The 728 formatted version make excellent starships.
microdrive any commute within the Bay Area of less than 1 hour.
8086 1111110010110 in real numbers
Deep Thought per Douglas Adams: "the second greatest [mainframe] in the Universe of Time and Space"
42 ask a silly question, get a GIGO answer
GIGO garbage in -- garbage out
megabyte 1/1000th of a gigabyte
gigabyte one thousand megs of bytes
muse a goddess Monkey consults when rhyming.
Antonym: Win9x
gen-1 the original Star Trek
John Depending upon whom one asks on the street, any number of definitions apply. Whatever works for you.
vacuum tube a proto-transistor with more stuff inside (except air)
iac, occasionally ivac a suffix meaning "necessitating mass quantities of air conditioning"
keypunch machine a noisy bit of over-engineering used to remove chads from a ballot
applet an ornamental bit of fru-fru atop uniform shoulders designating rank such as Emperor of the United States
drag-n-drop a somewhat less reputable bar than the Clique-n-Drag.
OS operating system
No, really; some personal computers have this!
"a friend," "no relation," "this guy I know" an ego state often uncovered early in the psychoanalytic process(or). Synonym: they
3-finger-salute NOT what you may think. Rather, slang for the keycode Control-Alt-Delete used without affect when attempting to get one's DOS/Win based machine to stop doing what it wants to do and do what the user wants it to do.
alphabetization an artificial system used by wetware to find where carbon based units filed stuff. Computers refined the technique by imposing ASCII order where "!" precedes "1" which precedes "I"
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