Classic 1950s IBM Short Film on the Making of the RAMAC, the First Computer with Magnetic Disk Storage | #retrocomputing
Check out the classic IBM video below detailing the inception of the first magnetic disk storage computer, the RAMAC (Random Access Method of Accounting and Control) – mind you the ‘hard disk’ is fifty 24″ platters! The video is filled with some pretty silly shots, such as the RAMAC installed on a dock adjacent to some water, or some ‘cuts’ of men walking back and forth between rooms to suggest the passage of time. On that note the video is filled with plenty of male-centric shots and suggestions, like only hiring men out of college – “each man selected” – and men dictating ideas that only women write down. (Here at Adafruit it’s safe to say we’ve dismantled that stereotype.) But it does also show some interesting backstory, such as suggesting magnetic ‘disk’ design, and the arm that searches and retrieves data from it, was at least in part inspired by the phonograph and its ability to quickly ‘seek’ ahead on a vinyl record with a simple lift and relocation of the stylus. (Did I mention there’s a shot of the RAMAC situated on a dock adjacent to water?)
At 2:28 in the video above you can see the following building where the creation of the hard disk took place – the building was designated a historic landmark (PDF) in 2002 by the San Jose City Council. The sign on the building suggests it was currently available to lease as recent as October 2017 (via Street View):
Segments from the archival IBM film above can be seen in this more-modern voice-over video by Michael Bazeley for the San Jose Mercury News – along with additional footage and high-res shots woven in:
8-6-2021 (August 6, 2021) is the Snakiest day of the year and it’s also this year’s CircuitPython Day! The day highlights all things CircuitPython and Python on Hardware. See you there!
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.