Robert Garner heard Don Luke say that Don had talked with John Von Neumann -
And Robert wanted to hear more of Don's past-
"Did you (accidentally) leave out some of your early IBM history on your 1401 web site bio:?"
"I worked for IBM for 36 years, starting in 1956 as a Unit-Record Customer Engineer. I joined the IBM Santa Monica office, shortly to become the Aerospace Office. At that time, the office had the largest concentration of computers in IBM.
"My primary assignment was the Douglas Aircraft company, which I had worked for previously in their Flight Test department. They had two 701 computers a 704 computer and two IBM 604A calculators, four 407 accounting machines along with approximately fifty various card machines. It was a 24-hour installation and because I had been trained on the 604A calculator, I was pressed into learning 701 and 704 computers.
"I became a field instructor on the 604A, 089 Alphabetic collator, IBM Transceiver and also transistor theory. I also covered the Rand Corporation on a rotating schedule and was lucky enough to meet John Von Neumann there in 1953-1954. He enjoyed talking to the IBM field personnel as we were the leading edge of the computing business. Once he mentioned that he had recently heard of an Englishman named Charles Babbage. He commented that Babbage's machine had the same logic and capabilities as the "Johniac" which was designed by Von Neumann and was there in the Rand building. I never heard Babbage's name again until his machine showed up in the CHM lobby.
"I learned the 1401 system in 1960 at the San Jose plant. I became a Technical Specialist in 1961, then came to the San Jose plant as an instructor to teach 1401 in 1962. I also helped write the 1405 instruction outline, which I taught. Incidentally, I also taught 1620, 1710, 1311, 1500 and 360 mod 20 computers plus the 360 I/O controller and some stoneware programming (FORTRAN, COBOL, BASIC etc.).
"I was one of the six-member staff who developed the 0nline Field Instruction System, a 24/7 world-wide IBM distributed training system with approximately 1,500 2740 Selectric typewriter remote terminals. IBM CE students used it for training on hardware and software. It took less time compared to lecture-lab courses and the majority of students appreciated not spending time at a school far from home. It saved millions of dollars for IBM and eventually logged more than three million student hours. Authors were charged with checking the online student question file for each course every two hours to assist students with questions about a course.
"My last assignment at IBM was in the Large System Test department at the Santa Teresa Programming Lab. I retired from IBM in 1991. "
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