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FarmerPotato

Visit to TI Records Archive at SMU

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Posted (edited)
On 6/29/2021 at 10:58 PM, FarmerPotato said:

I need help with:

 

1. names of any TI employees listed on known Cc-40 documents. in case the individual is named in the catalog, but the material is not detailed. 
 

2. anyone have a list of project names? For example Armadillo for 99/8 and Ground Squirrel for 99/2, Spelling Bee for Speak&Spell. I have one lead to Armadillo, but it may be something different. 


What is SEA DRAGON?


3. Stumped by these acronyms:

 

TI divisions:

DSEG

ASC

OST: Objectives, Strategies, Tactics

IS&S


the Home computer material is not abundant. (It’s almost like all the HC engineers took their files home, hmm.) 

 

ASC: Advanced Scientific Computer. Anything you find there will be useful. This was TI's supercomputer, roughly concurrent with the CDC Star. 7 or so were built. Massive, power-hungry, and hard to keep cool, but a significant advance.

 

SEA DRAGON, istr was an ocean-going seismic research vessel operated by GSI. I believe it carried TIAC series computers, the 870, for instance. Again, this would fill in some gaps in what is publicly available online. 

 

Interested in seeing any 990 stuff you found. Also any info on the 9996. And while I sometimes feel I have been warned off digging into LISPM stuff,  the Explorers and NuMachines.

 

Edited by jbdigriz
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9 hours ago, OLD CS1 said:

I am a little surprised that these archives are not yet digitized.

Pandemic has hit libraries, archives, and museums hard, but, yeah, it'll be nice when all this gets online. Hats off to FP for taking the time to go look.

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7 minutes ago, jbdigriz said:

ASC: Advanced Scientific Computer. Anything you find there will be useful. This was TI's supercomputer, roughly concurrent with the CDC Star. 7 or so were built. Massive, power-hungry, and hard to keep cool, but a significant advance.

 

SEA DRAGON, istr was an ocean-going seismic research vessel operated by GSI. I believe it carried TIAC series computers, the 870, for instance. Again, this would fill in some gaps in what is publicly available online. 

There is a LOT of ASC material. Was not a priority. Alas.

 

Sea Dragon turned out to be a ship-based laser targeting system. It was installed and tested for one year on a South Korean vessel. No further orders were placed.

 

I didn't go looking for Sea Dragon--it was in a box with Datamath and some slides. Missing from the box: press kit for Magic Wand Speaking Reader. Did not find any other MWSR material.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, FarmerPotato said:

There is a LOT of ASC material. Was not a priority. Alas.

 

Sea Dragon turned out to be a ship-based laser targeting system. It was installed and tested for one year on a South Korean vessel. No further orders were placed.

 

I didn't go looking for Sea Dragon--it was in a box with Datamath and some slides. Missing from the box: press kit for Magic Wand Speaking Reader. Did not find any other MWSR material.

 

 

I stand corrected on SEA DRAGON. Thanks. And hopefully I will get out to Dallas in the reasonably near future, myself, and look at the ASC stuff among other things. Thanks so much for having done this, btw.

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1 minute ago, jbdigriz said:

Pandemic has hit libraries, archives, and museums hard, but, yeah, it'll be nice when all this gets online. Hats off to FP for taking the time to go look.

It's bigger than @OLD CS1 imagines. None of it can be published without permission from TI.  I guess labor is the limiting factor. And it is just one of many many archive collections.

 

They are continuing to digitize media such as slides, audiotape, photographs, and brochures. Which will go online.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, jbdigriz said:

I stand corrected on SEA DRAGON. Thanks. And hopefully I will get out to Dallas in the reasonably near future, myself, and look at the ASC stuff among other things. Thanks so much for having done this, btw.

Yeah, I think you will really enjoy it. Be sure to read this file too:

 

86-38 Mark E. Readinger - A History of the Early TI Computers.  Covers 1955-1966. SiesMAC(tm), magneDISC(tm), DARC, TIAC 827, TIAC 860/861, TIAC 870.

 

Interesting note: Harley Hines reported that the 870A had 1 hardware fail / 6 months. Where the 827A had 1 fail/week. 

 

The 870 had 24-bit words, 16K words of core memory (ferrite), 2 drums with total 300K storage, 23 registers (some double-width or indexing), 65 instructions, 3 ALUs. Options for floating point units and up to 4 convolvers.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, FarmerPotato said:

Yeah, I think you will really enjoy it. Be sure to read this file too:

 

86-38 Mark E. Readinger - A History of the Early TI Computers.  Covers 1955-1966. SiesMAC(tm), magneDISC(tm), DARC, TIAC 827, TIAC 860/861, TIAC 870.

 

Interesting note: Harley Hines reported that the 870A had 1 hardware fail / 6 months. Where the 827A had 1 fail/week. 

 

The 870 had 24-bit words, 16K words of core memory (ferrite), 2 drums with total 300K storage, 23 registers (some double-width or indexing), 65 instructions, 3 ALUs. Options for floating point units and up to 4 convolvers.

 

 

Thanks for the tip. I can see I'm going to have plan an extended visit. Might have to get a job out there or something to finance the trip. We'll see.

 

Interesting you mentioned the 9650. I found some of these on a couple of ISA board modules from some kind of '80s Bausch&Lomb microfiche/film scanners. Lets the 34010 talk to the PC ISA bus. I'd have thought that redundant with the 34010, but they must have had some reason for using the multiprocesser interface. Performance, I guess, the 3-board stack has SCSI and printer I/O as well to handle.

 

Edited by jbdigriz
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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, FarmerPotato said:

Yeah, I think you will really enjoy it. Be sure to read this file too:

 

86-38 Mark E. Readinger - A History of the Early TI Computers.  Covers 1955-1966. SiesMAC(tm), magneDISC(tm), DARC, TIAC 827, TIAC 860/861, TIAC 870.

 

Interesting note: Harley Hines reported that the 870A had 1 hardware fail / 6 months. Where the 827A had 1 fail/week. 

 

The 870 had 24-bit words, 16K words of core memory (ferrite), 2 drums with total 300K storage, 23 registers (some double-width or indexing), 65 instructions, 3 ALUs. Options for floating point units and up to 4 convolvers.

 

 

Among the items the archive has already published, there is a picture of J. Fred Bucy at the controls of the SeisMAC, which was an analog computer. Very interested to find more details of its construction and operation. Bucy, of course, is the one who had the thankless and unenviable task of pulling the plug on  the Home Computer Division. I didn't realize till just today that he had passed away May 20th, so, in memoriam: https://digitalcollections.smu.edu/digital/collection/tir/id/104/

Edited by jbdigriz
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1 hour ago, FarmerPotato said:

It's bigger than @OLD CS1 imagines.

You have never been in my head :)  I imagine catacombs under the Vatican holding just the index.

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On 6/29/2021 at 10:58 PM, FarmerPotato said:

I need help with:

 

1. names of any TI employees listed on known Cc-40 documents. in case the individual is named in the catalog, but the material is not detailed. 
 

2. anyone have a list of project names? For example Armadillo for 99/8 and Ground Squirrel for 99/2, Spelling Bee for Speak&Spell. I have one lead to Armadillo, but it may be something different. 


What is SEA DRAGON?


3. Stumped by these acronyms:

 

TI divisions:

DSEG

ASC

OST: Objectives, Strategies, Tactics

IS&S


the Home computer material is not abundant. (It’s almost like all the HC engineers took their files home, hmm.) 

 

IS&S would be Information Systems and Services. Corporate IT, in other words. Some coverage of the mid-90s iteration here: https://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/2677/SWP-3978-40987560-CISR-299.pdf?sequence=1

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On 6/29/2021 at 10:58 PM, FarmerPotato said:

I need help with:

 

1. names of any TI employees listed on known Cc-40 documents. in case the individual is named in the catalog, but the material is not detailed. 
 

2. anyone have a list of project names? For example Armadillo for 99/8 and Ground Squirrel for 99/2, Spelling Bee for Speak&Spell. I have one lead to Armadillo, but it may be something different. 

 

 

For #1 - that would be in the CB Wilson scans.  Stephen Reid would likely also know relevant names.

 

For #2:

CC-40 was "Lone Star ️" also named "Advanced Language Calculator" or ALC

CC-40 two line variant was "Pole Star" - no documents exist, very short lived

CC-70 was "Super Star", just mockups done, and some failed silicon.  Stephen has the original code.

there was also a "PEARL" - no idea what that was, asking Stephen.

 

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On 7/1/2021 at 11:31 AM, jbdigriz said:

Thanks for the tip. I can see I'm going to have plan an extended visit. Might have to get a job out there or something to finance the trip. We'll see.

 

Interesting you mentioned the 9650. I found some of these on a couple of ISA board modules from some kind of '80s Bausch&Lomb microfiche/film scanners. Lets the 34010 talk to the PC ISA bus. I'd have thought that redundant with the 34010, but they must have had some reason for using the multiprocesser interface. Performance, I guess, the 3-board stack has SCSI and printer I/O as well to handle.

 

Maybe it uses the 9650 as a dual-port RAM. 

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, FarmerPotato said:

Maybe it uses the 9650 as a dual-port RAM. 

If you mean as VRAM, no, it's got plenty of dual-port VRAM on the 34010 board. Also I have to apologize, it's Bell&Howell, not Bausch&Lomb, and it's  AT bus, not 8-bit. I'm not sure if it's a PC add in or some kind of embedded setup. I took it apart a while back to take pictures, but I haven't had time to fool with it since then. Still haven''t identified it, other than "IRIS". Seems to be missing a chip, looks like a DAC.  42727553_2020-05-2013_49_36.thumb.jpg.8f9cddaf8e8f5228b7285afe17a4cee2.jpg1157106901_2020-05-2013_56_29.thumb.jpg.aaccb2b45a5eb595e097f382fb750363.jpg1056835566_2020-05-2013_58_26.thumb.jpg.f550f8cfc6df46c48276c1e734de2c94.jpg

Edited by jbdigriz
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On 7/1/2021 at 11:11 AM, jbdigriz said:

I stand corrected on SEA DRAGON. Thanks. And hopefully I will get out to Dallas in the reasonably near future, myself, and look at the ASC stuff among other things. Thanks so much for having done this, btw.

For ASC, there were new items in http://www.bitsavers.org/pdf/ti/asc/ recently.

 

For instance, 930039-2_ASC_Programmers_Guide_to_the_Central_Processor_197605.pdf

 

 

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50 minutes ago, FarmerPotato said:

hopefully I will get out to Dallas in the reasonably near future,

Maybe shoot a few photos of the entire SMU archive situation? That would be nice to see and helpful for others who may visit after you.

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Maybe someday we will figure out what happened to all the source code to the 99/X.

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7 hours ago, Airshack said:

Maybe shoot a few photos of the entire SMU archive situation? That would be nice to see and helpful for others who may visit after you.

 

Only the DeGolyer Library curator can go into the stacks for you. So you won't get to see that. Visitors use the reading room, fill out a request slip. The requested materials are brought out on a cart.

 

I think I requested about 1% of the total archive, during two days. And half of that was neat databooks. To go through papers is much more time consuming.

 

I thought I took a photo of the reading room cart, but all I see on my laptop are these box photos. (I took those to save time jotting down titles.)

 

So here are some book box photos.

 

Small box of folders:

 

half-box1.thumb.jpeg.21060d919a465e342c351312120dbbbb.jpeg

 

Inside are Gene Frantz Speak&Spell and 0285 speech chip engineering papers. Also laser-guided bomb. Because they were archived at the same time?

 

half-box.thumb.jpeg.caba04514d55dda381a7eeec20432a07.jpeg

 

Databooks:

 

databooks_1975.thumb.jpeg.d9e49f3094a7c584f611b1a6400ca9c4.jpeg

 

databooks_1977.thumb.jpeg.471c35b623f7b8a6c132f8f9982de455.jpeg

 

databooks_1987.thumb.jpeg.02236d45dd2ddf53c1d601bd5d0b6ae2.jpeg

 

This batch went into the small box:

 

databooks_1986.thumb.jpeg.845ab66e68608aa8ad2b70a0cbb0e5e3.jpeg

 

These are just 4, out of 13 boxes I was interested in.

 

 

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Some other databooks I did not know of before:

I don't have permission to publish these, except under fair use (e.g. quotations).
But I have those whole books photographed (by phone) for reference.

1982 Speech Education Module User's Guide
1987 TSP6100 Speech Products Data Manual
    * (TSP, formerly TMS)
1987 TSP50C40A Speech Products Data Manual
1987 TSP5110A Voice Synthesis Processor Data Manual
1987 TSP5220C Speech Synthesis Data Manual
    Theory of Operations, Electrical Specifications
1987 TSP5220C User's Guide
    Demonstration Board Operation, Functional and Circuit Descriptions 
    and Applications


Some others I did not know of:

1977 SBP0400 Applications Manual and Guide to Microprogramming
    https://en.linkfang.org/wiki/Texas_Instruments_SBP0400
1977 (UK) Total Integration: TI Shortform Catalog of ICs, 2nd ed.
1978 SBP9960 Programmable CRU I/O Expander Data Manual
    how is this different from 9901?
1979 TM990/306 Speech Module Manual Update (single board for use with TM990/101)
EPIC(tm) Advanced CMOS Logic
    Design Considerations
1986 Programmable Logic and Memory 
    FPGA
1987 TMS34010 Font Library User's Guide
    This is an older version. Fonts have a magic number/fonttype of $9000.
    The content appears, revised, in the
    1990 TMS340 Graphics Library User’s Guide. At this point, font files have an
    incompatible header and magic number $8040.
    Both sources have pictures of most fonts in each size.

 

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 Papers relevant to home computer, in various employee folders:

The Texas Instruments TMS 9940 and TMS 9985 One Chip Microcomputers:
Their Market Potential Through 1983.  Adam Osborne. July 1979.

Frank Walters: 1980 memos on home computer distribution, marketing, advertising, Pascal vs GPL.

Home Computer Sales Training Guide. 1979.

TI Microprocessor Strategy. Bernie List. Objectives, Strategies, Tactics Division.  1978.

These are all block-busters. I need time to write articles about them.

 

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9 hours ago, FarmerPotato said:

Indeed. I see that the ASC PAD disc subsystem manual that was on Ebay is no longer available, though. Perhaps it will show up on bitsavers as well at some point. One can only hope. 

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9 hours ago, FarmerPotato said:

Some others I did not know of:

1977 SBP0400 Applications Manual and Guide to Microprogramming
    https://en.linkfang.org/wiki/Texas_Instruments_SBP0400
1977 (UK) Total Integration: TI Shortform Catalog of ICs, 2nd ed.
1978 SBP9960 Programmable CRU I/O Expander Data Manual
    how is this different from 9901?
1979 TM990/306 Speech Module Manual Update (single board for use with TM990/101)
EPIC(tm) Advanced CMOS Logic
    Design Considerations
1986 Programmable Logic and Memory 
    FPGA
1987 TMS34010 Font Library User's Guide
    This is an older version. Fonts have a magic number/fonttype of $9000.
    The content appears, revised, in the
    1990 TMS340 Graphics Library User’s Guide. At this point, font files have an
    incompatible header and magic number $8040.
    Both sources have pictures of most fonts in each size.

That SBP0400 Applications Manual looks interesting.

The SBP9960 is essentially a bipolar version of the TMS9901, less the interrupt controller. That functionality is available from the SBP9961 companion chip.

Stuart Conner may have info on that speech board.

ISTR TI sold the FPGA and Programmable Logic business to Altera, I think, sometime in the '90s, IIRC.

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Fond memories of the time before the internet. :) 

Thanks for this thread.

 

databooks_1975.thumb.jpeg.d9e49f3094a7c584f611b1a6400ca9c4.jpeg

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