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BIOS Reaching Its Limits

 
 
Bruce Sinclair
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      08-08-2010
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, Matty F <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
(snip)
>> Yep, who the hell needs more than 64K of memory? Or more than 500MB of HD
>> space, or a date past 1999?
>>
>> A few barriers, all smashed. This one will be also before it affects Joe
>> user

>
>Back in 1982 my boss decided that 256 MB hard drives were big enough
>for most customers so in his database he catered for addressing only
>up to that amount. Then we got a customer who wanted a 700 MB drive so
>the boss added an extra byte to addresss up to 65 GB. We should have
>gone straight to addressing 16 TB in 1982 but who would know that?
>As a customer neared the next level of addressing it required a
>horrible conversion program to be run in order to add an extra byte to
>all the addresses in the database indexes.
>Is 4 PB enough? One day it won't be.


Quite. And yet, all those other transitions seemed to go smoothly enough.


As an aside, I've yet to see anything useful done in 2 GB ram and 300 of
disk that hasn't been done years ago in an apple II+. OK ... it's a bit
faster now.

 
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Matty F
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      08-09-2010
On Aug 9, 10:59 am, (E-Mail Removed)
(Bruce Sinclair) wrote:
> In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, Matty F <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> (snip)
>
> >> Yep, who the hell needs more than 64K of memory? Or more than 500MB of HD
> >> space, or a date past 1999?

>
> >> A few barriers, all smashed. This one will be also before it affects Joe
> >> user

>
> >Back in 1982 my boss decided that 256 MB hard drives were big enough
> >for most customers so in his database he catered for addressing only
> >up to that amount. Then we got a customer who wanted a 700 MB drive so
> >the boss added an extra byte to addresss up to 65 GB. We should have
> >gone straight to addressing 16 TB in 1982 but who would know that?
> >As a customer neared the next level of addressing it required a
> >horrible conversion program to be run in order to add an extra byte to
> >all the addresses in the database indexes.
> >Is 4 PB enough? One day it won't be.

>
> Quite. And yet, all those other transitions seemed to go smoothly enough.
>
>
> As an aside, I've yet to see anything useful done in 2 GB ram and 300 of
> disk that hasn't been done years ago in an apple II+. OK ... it's a bit
> faster now.


In the 1970s, Southern Cross medical insurance was the largest in NZ.
They got more new clients in a year than all the other companies had
in total. SC had some 20 or more terminals running in 30 K bytes of
memory on an IBM mainframe. Response times were less than a fifth of a
second. I doubt if their new system is as fast.
Basically the same operating system is still running today, around the
world. I discovered that it's running in New York at the moment.
 
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Bruce Sinclair
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Posts: n/a
 
      08-09-2010
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, Matty F <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>On Aug 9, 10:59 am, (E-Mail Removed)

(snip)

>> As an aside, I've yet to see anything useful done in 2 GB ram and 300 of
>> disk that hasn't been done years ago in an apple II+. OK ... it's a bit
>> faster now.

>
>In the 1970s, Southern Cross medical insurance was the largest in NZ.
>They got more new clients in a year than all the other companies had
>in total. SC had some 20 or more terminals running in 30 K bytes of
>memory on an IBM mainframe. Response times were less than a fifth of a
>second. I doubt if their new system is as fast.
>Basically the same operating system is still running today, around the
>world. I discovered that it's running in New York at the moment.


Ah ... terminals. I remember them well.

 
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Matty F
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      08-10-2010
On Aug 10, 11:02 am, (E-Mail Removed)
(Bruce Sinclair) wrote:
> In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, Matty F <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:


> SC had some 20 or more terminals running in 30 K bytes of
> >memory on an IBM mainframe. Response times were less than a fifth of a
> >second. I doubt if their new system is as fast.


> Ah ... terminals. I remember them well.


Well, they looked similar to the computer monitors that we use today.
Except that they had green text on black and graphics were minimal.
Quite adequate for use in many businesses.
The IBM terminals/monitors weighed so much that two IBM engineers were
needed to move one.Of course an IBM engineer was required to plug the
monitor in.
 
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Enkidu
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      08-10-2010
On 10/08/10 18:23, Matty F wrote:
>
>> Ah ... terminals. I remember them well.

>
> Well, they looked similar to the computer monitors that we use today.
> Except that they had green text on black and graphics were minimal.
> Quite adequate for use in many businesses.
> The IBM terminals/monitors weighed so much that two IBM engineers were
> needed to move one.Of course an IBM engineer was required to plug the
> monitor in.
>

IIRC (and I'm not sure that I do) they were powered by the cable that
also carried the signal, that is they only had one cable.

Cheers,

Cliff

--

The ends justifies the means - Niccol di Bernardo dei Machiavelli.

The end excuses any evil - Sophocles
 
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Matty F
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      08-10-2010
On Aug 10, 10:25 pm, Enkidu <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> On 10/08/10 18:23, Matty F wrote:
>
> >> Ah ... terminals. I remember them well.

>
> > Well, they looked similar to the computer monitors that we use today.
> > Except that they had green text on black and graphics were minimal.
> > Quite adequate for use in many businesses.
> > The IBM terminals/monitors weighed so much that two IBM engineers were
> > needed to move one.Of course an IBM engineer was required to plug the
> > monitor in.

>
> >

> IIRC (and I'm not sure that I do) they were powered by the cable that
> also carried the signal, that is they only had one cable.


There appear to be the terminals that we used, IBM 3270:
http://www.columbia.edu/acis/history/3270.html

I don't remember the cable. I don't think the terminals could be
unplugged while the controller was connected to the mainframe.
The 3270 accumulated data until Enter was pressed. That saved
interrupting the mainframe for each key press.

However, shortly after that, the system was ported to minicomputers
and PCs where an interrupt was caused for every keystroke, and they
were very fast. One guy had 18 monitors running off a 286 PC, and
response times were under a second.
 
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Lawrence D'Oliveiro
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      08-11-2010
In message
<(E-Mail Removed)>, Matty F
wrote:

> The 3270 accumulated data until Enter was pressed. That saved
> interrupting the mainframe for each key press.


Block-mode terminals. They were expensive, the mainframes were expensive,
and the megabit-per-second synchronous lines connecting the two were
expensive.

DEC and the other vendors of “mini” and “supermini” computers led the charge
away from this, with their much cheaper machines and terminals, connected by
low-bandwidth RS-232C lines that interrupted the CPU on every input
character.

> However, shortly after that, the system was ported to minicomputers
> and PCs where an interrupt was caused for every keystroke, and they
> were very fast. One guy had 18 monitors running off a 286 PC, and
> response times were under a second.


It helped that the operating system was designed to cope with the interrupt
load of interactive operation. I remember a CS lecturer saying that the CPU
overhead of running a batch-mode operating system was about 15%, that of an
interactive OS more like 30%. But CPU power was getting so cheap, this
didn’t matter, and the extra responsiveness that the users got was worth it.
 
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Enkidu
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      08-11-2010
On 11/08/10 11:01, Matty F wrote:
> On Aug 10, 10:25 pm, Enkidu<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> On 10/08/10 18:23, Matty F wrote:
>>
>>>> Ah ... terminals. I remember them well.

>>
>>> Well, they looked similar to the computer monitors that we use
>>> today. Except that they had green text on black and graphics were
>>> minimal. Quite adequate for use in many businesses. The IBM
>>> terminals/monitors weighed so much that two IBM engineers were
>>> needed to move one.Of course an IBM engineer was required to plug
>>> the monitor in.

>>
>>>

>> IIRC (and I'm not sure that I do) they were powered by the cable
>> that also carried the signal, that is they only had one cable.

>
> There appear to be the terminals that we used, IBM 3270:
> http://www.columbia.edu/acis/history/3270.html
>
> I don't remember the cable. I don't think the terminals could be
> unplugged while the controller was connected to the mainframe. The
> 3270 accumulated data until Enter was pressed. That saved
> interrupting the mainframe for each key press.
>

Almost correct. The Enter key was only one of a small set of keys called
AIDs (can't remember what it stood for) such as the PF keys, enter and a
few others. Hitting one of these keys sent the buffer to the mainframe.

Cheers,

Cliff

--

The ends justifies the means - Niccol di Bernardo dei Machiavelli.

The end excuses any evil - Sophocles
 
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Sweetpea
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Posts: n/a
 
      08-11-2010
On Wed, 11 Aug 2010 14:50:28 +1200, Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:

>> However, shortly after that, the system was ported to minicomputers and
>> PCs where an interrupt was caused for every keystroke, and they were
>> very fast. One guy had 18 monitors running off a 286 PC, and response
>> times were under a second.

>
> It helped that the operating system was designed to cope with the
> interrupt load of interactive operation. I remember a CS lecturer saying
> that the CPU overhead of running a batch-mode operating system was about
> 15%, that of an interactive OS more like 30%. But CPU power was getting
> so cheap, this didn’t matter, and the extra responsiveness that the
> users got was worth it.


Now PCs using M$ Windows need to be very fast high-spec'd multi-core
machines just so that a current M$ email client doesn't have noticeable
lag between typing a key and seeing the corresponding character appear on
the screen.


--
"Filtering the Internet is like trying to boil the ocean"
 
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Lawrence D'Oliveiro
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      08-11-2010
In message <(E-Mail Removed)>, Crash McBash wrote:

> Poll-select as a networking technology is hugely more efficient by
> design than networks where terminal key depressions are seen by the
> server CPU ...


Interesting use of the term “network”. Simple terminal connections were not
what we called “networks”.
 
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