ICT1301 Computer Flossie Brought Back To Life

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ICT1301 Computer Flossie Brought Back To Life

Post  wyatt1 on Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:36 pm

One of the world's oldest computers has been rebooted by two dedicated engineers, who spent nine years working on it in a garden shed.

Roger Holmes and Rod Brown have returned the ICT1301, known as Flossie, which was originally bought for £250,000 in 1962, back to working order, although they say they need more time to recover much of its stored data.

The machine, which measures 20ft by 22ft, was once used by London University to organise the grades of A and O-level exam results and print certificates.

After it was replaced by new technology, Flossie was sold to a group of students before being passed on to Mr Brown and Mr Holmes, who have been renovating it in Ashford, Kent.

The computer has 12KB of memory, alone weighing half a ton. There are 1024KB in a megabyte (MB) and a normal modern smartphone has 8GB, which is 8192MB.

That means it has a fraction of the capabilities of today’s basic devices.


A smartphone can fit in a hand - Flossie takes up a whole room
Flossie’s 16,000 transistors and 4,000 logic boards have the sort of power which can now fit on a couple of modern-day 10mm silicon chips.

Each piece of memory was handwired with five pieces of wire threaded through it.

Mr Holmes, a volunteer for the Computer Conservation Society, said: "It is a unique piece of history. People who come to see it are so amazed by it, that computers were ever so big.

"It's important as it puts modern stuff in context."

Mr Holmes is currently in negotiations with various centres to find a new home for it.

He said: "It's a big beast. I would like it go somewhere they will continue to keep it running.

"If it is kept behind a case, people will not be able to experience what it was like in the 1960s.

"With it working people can walk in, hear it, smell it and almost taste it and have a flavour of how it was back then."

The front panel from a broken-down Flossie which had been dismantled for scrap was used as a prop for the 1974 James Bond film The Man With The Golden Gun, as well as in Doctor Who and Blake's 7.



http://news.sky.com/story/1000317/ict1301-computer-flossie-brought-back-to-life



Hardly a Laptop :face:
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Re: ICT1301 Computer Flossie Brought Back To Life

Post  mattiducatti on Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:32 pm

@wyatt1 wrote:One of the world's oldest computers has been rebooted by two dedicated engineers, who spent nine years working on it in a garden shed.

Roger Holmes and Rod Brown have returned the ICT1301, known as Flossie, which was originally bought for £250,000 in 1962, back to working order, although they say they need more time to recover much of its stored data.

The machine, which measures 20ft by 22ft, was once used by London University to organise the grades of A and O-level exam results and print certificates.

After it was replaced by new technology, Flossie was sold to a group of students before being passed on to Mr Brown and Mr Holmes, who have been renovating it in Ashford, Kent.

The computer has 12KB of memory, alone weighing half a ton. There are 1024KB in a megabyte (MB) and a normal modern smartphone has 8GB, which is 8192MB.

That means it has a fraction of the capabilities of today’s basic devices.


A smartphone can fit in a hand - Flossie takes up a whole room
Flossie’s 16,000 transistors and 4,000 logic boards have the sort of power which can now fit on a couple of modern-day 10mm silicon chips.

Each piece of memory was handwired with five pieces of wire threaded through it.

Mr Holmes, a volunteer for the Computer Conservation Society, said: "It is a unique piece of history. People who come to see it are so amazed by it, that computers were ever so big.

"It's important as it puts modern stuff in context."

Mr Holmes is currently in negotiations with various centres to find a new home for it.

He said: "It's a big beast. I would like it go somewhere they will continue to keep it running.

"If it is kept behind a case, people will not be able to experience what it was like in the 1960s.

"With it working people can walk in, hear it, smell it and almost taste it and have a flavour of how it was back then."

The front panel from a broken-down Flossie which had been dismantled for scrap was used as a prop for the 1974 James Bond film The Man With The Golden Gun, as well as in Doctor Who and Blake's 7.



http://news.sky.com/story/1000317/ict1301-computer-flossie-brought-back-to-life



Hardly a Laptop :face:



Is an interesting story, and it's good that it is been salvaged and restored.

It is of important historical and scientific value today, even though it may not have a current value in terms of practicable usage.

I read that they bought it for a couple of hundred quid and it has the computing power of about 100 times less than one of todays 'smart phones'.

Amazing really that NASA landed men on the moon with similar such 'primitive' technology, you could even say unbelievable!
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Re: ICT1301 Computer Flossie Brought Back To Life

Post  wyatt1 on Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:42 pm

@mattiducatti wrote:



Is an interesting story, and it's good that it is been salvaged and restored.

It is of important historical and scientific value today, even though it may not have a current value in terms of practicable usage.

I read that they bought it for a couple of hundred quid and it has the computing power of about 100 times less than one of todays 'smart phones'.

Amazing really that NASA landed men on the moon with similar such 'primitive' technology, you could even say unbelievable!




"Amazing really that NASA landed men on the moon with similar such 'primitive' technology."

Now that really is amazing and not many people realize it.


Last edited by wyatt1 on Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:43 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)
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Re: ICT1301 Computer Flossie Brought Back To Life

Post  mattiducatti on Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:13 pm

@wyatt1 wrote:




"Amazing really that NASA landed men on the moon with similar such 'primitive' technology."

Now that really is amazing and not many people realize it.


......or unbelievable!
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Re: ICT1301 Computer Flossie Brought Back To Life

Post  Flap Zappa on Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:53 am

@wyatt1 wrote:
@mattiducatti wrote:



Is an interesting story, and it's good that it is been salvaged and restored.

It is of important historical and scientific value today, even though it may not have a current value in terms of practicable usage.

I read that they bought it for a couple of hundred quid and it has the computing power of about 100 times less than one of todays 'smart phones'.

Amazing really that NASA landed men on the moon with similar such 'primitive' technology, you could even say unbelievable!




"Amazing really that NASA landed men on the moon with similar such 'primitive' technology."

Now that really is amazing and not many people realize it.

they landed on the moon with computers that probably had less computing power than a digital watch.
What is really amazing is that apollo 13 made it back home by eye for the final burn. that and the fact that they knocked up air scrubbers from scratch from what was available onboard.
those guys really had THE RIGHT STUFF

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Re: ICT1301 Computer Flossie Brought Back To Life

Post  mattiducatti on Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:40 am

So what level/sort of computing power was required to sustain the mission(s) at the moon shuttle landing end? And how much space/weight would this computing power have taken up in the craft?

Also, wouldn't the camera technology of the day been also too primitive and unable to record/transmit anything given the enormous amounts of radiation that it would be exposed to through and beyond the 'Van Allen' belt and undoubtedly more so if on the surface of the Moon?

Not a conspiracy follower but more a student of science, physics and maths.

Thumbs up
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Re: ICT1301 Computer Flossie Brought Back To Life

Post  gerber on Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:20 am

@mattiducatti wrote:So what level/sort of computing power was required to sustain the mission(s) at the moon shuttle landing end? And how much space/weight would this computing power have taken up in the craft?

Also, wouldn't the camera technology of the day been also too primitive and unable to record/transmit anything given the enormous amounts of radiation that it would be exposed to through and beyond the 'Van Allen' belt and undoubtedly more so if on the surface of the Moon?

Not a conspiracy follower but more a student of science, physics and maths.

Thumbs up

I remember watching it live in the telly. Completely taken by James Burkes's fabulous commentary.

Now I have always wondered where they filmed it in the USA ?
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