The ICT 1301 Resurrection Project.
*** The Public Open Day.***
*** July 13th 2008 ***
Flossie dressed for an Open Day !
2008 Open Day Summary !
08:10 am and the first thing was to see if flossie was going to work at all today ?
and 'yes' she did. The demo program was loaded from the drum and ran at "only" the
Whilst the machine ran in the background, it was the usual panic to set
up the small Gazebo for the visitors and the signs pointing to the event.
The first visitors started poking thier heads around the door at about 09:12
and we were off!.
Help this year was from Stuart Fyfe and Morgan, Stuart had driven a long way to
be with us today and it was nice to see him with Flossie again, for Stuart
was an original member of the Galdor group who owned flossie after her Lon,Uni years.
Also around today was Andy and Steve, great to see
you fellows and I know you will understand when I quote ABBA and say " Thank you
for the Music " well done .
On that subject the twin cassette deck which has supplied the music and talk about Flossie
for years failed on the right channel ( today of all days ) would you believe it !
So it was fallback time and a small HDD player was used to deliver the talk cycle and we
had to forgo our carefully prepared rolling Video Presentation.
These 'Open Days' are a rolling cycle of running the story, then the demo and then just stopping
and talking to the visitors, however about the middle of the day it was a relief
to stop for a while and Stuart took over.
Now was my chance to talk to John Prockter who had driven down from around the Norwich area,
and take himself and another Engineer behind the display area and show them the Real nuts and
bolts area, and the stock of spares that fuel this project. This area is replete with some of
the largest spiders I have ever seen, and a past helper no longer joins in since he saw one
legging it across the floor.
We estimate we demonstrated flossie to about 205 visitors. ( this is an estimate
as this year, as we have no firm count ) but over 20 groups passed through. Groups varied from
as little as 4 to over 18 at onepoint. Visitors collected under the gazebo and
each group had about 11 min to listen to the story of flossies early life,
then experience the Demo running on only five of our now working devices.
At least two mag tape units, the card reader, the printer
and also the paper tape reader / Punch. The day was quite warm with both direct sunlight and Patches of
cloud, but we had to be carefull not to let flossie get too hot.
Planning ahead I had brought a powerful I/R cotrolled fan which was positioned over the
second Drum and I could switch it's speed up and down from the front of the machine using the remote control.
This helped as we have no Air Conditioning and running a machine which delivers
over 13 kilo-watt of heat on a hot day is an act which involves a delicate balance. This is also
the reason we limit the demo run time to let the decks cool a little and although each visitor gets
a few mins experience, the demonstrator get the noise all day. Boy'o' boy do the birds outside
sound sweet after a few hours of demo banging.
Which might explain why I never made it as a drummer :-)
As usual the response from the public was great, from those who had experienced
such machines from over fourty five years ago to the youngest, who just goggled
at the sheer size of the machine, but enjoyed the sound of all the devices
working together. And that I have to say is quite a ' Unique Sound ' .
I mostly enjoyed handing out short pieces of Paper Tape to all the little ones, these had
ICT1301 punched in Clearwrite so it was readable, freshly punched before them on the day.
However talking to those who recognised the MAINFRAME period was fun, Well done the Lady who
worked in Education and used a language called CECIL, and the fellow who developed Software
for Tandy's TRS ( Trash ) 80 ( you do know it's an in joke don't you ? ). The Lady who sneeked up to
the top floor of an AA building to see the BIG Computer ( Kept behind locked doors ) and also many conversations
with those who recognised the term ' Sorting Needle ' Aaaha ! That one's got you ?
Click for Pre Open Day Movie
A suitable and very Regal ( G/R ) no less, comments and contact book was provided by Stuart,
and although we only had a few entries, most were quite glowing about
the display and the demo, But who was this Visitor ' Micky Mouse ' anyway ?
So will we do this again? the answer is, health permitting, a definitive YES and Yes !
But only after I get my voice back ( and it usually takes two days ).
A big THANK YOU goes out to all our helpers on the day! including Stuart
Fyfe, Morgan, Andy and of course the Owner Roger.
Eeerrr ! did I forget to mention the Lady Herself ( Flossie ) most remiss of me !
I understand that I failed to meet up with James Boyle today, So sorry to
have missed your visit, if only I had known you would have been around !
Engineers who worked on this machine are now a rare ( and dare I say it ' Dying ' breed )
to have missed you when you got so close is sad, very sad, So Sorry James.