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From: Douglas McIlroy <>
To: TUHS main list <>
Subject: [TUHS] Coastal cultures, collaboration, creativity and Sun vs DEC
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2022 22:38:56 -0500	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)

> most, if not all of these things were after I arrived.

That may indicate the youth of the narrator more than  a lightening of
the culture. Some practical jokes and counter-culture customs from an
earlier day:

When I joined the Labs, everyone talked about the escapades of Claude
Shannon and Dave Hagelbarger--unicycle, outguessing machines, the
finger-on-the-switch box, etc.

When John Kelly became a department head he refused to have his office
carpeted. That would have kept him from stubbing out cigarettes on the

Bill Baker may have worn a coat and tie, but he kept a jalopy in his
VP parking space. Another employee had a rusty vehicle with weeds
growing out of the fenders.

As early as 1960 BESYS began appending fortune cookies to every
printout. The counter where printouts were delivered got messed up by
people pawing around to see others' fortunes.

One day the audio monitor on the low bit of the 7090 accumulator
stopped producing white noise (with an occasional screech for an
infinite loop) and intoned in aTexas drawl, "Help, I'm caught in a
loop. Help. I'm caught in a loop. Help  ..."

A pixelated nude mural appeared in Ed David's office. (Maybe this no
longer counts as a prank. It is now regarded as a foundational event
in computer art.)

Ed Gilbert had a four-drawer filing cabinet labeled integers,
rationals, reals, and balloon. The latter held the tattered remains of
lunchtime hot-air experiments. He also had a chalkboard globe with a
world map on it. It sometimes took several spins before a visitor
realized that you really shouldn't be able to see all the continents
at once--the map appeared twice around the circumference of the globe.

CS had a Gilbert-and-Sullivan duo, Mike Lesk and Peter Neumann, who
produced original entertainment for department parties.


             reply	other threads:[~2022-01-12  3:39 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 21+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2022-01-12  3:38 Douglas McIlroy [this message]
  -- strict thread matches above, loose matches on Subject: below --
2022-01-11 18:36 Dan Cross
2022-01-11 18:45 ` Larry McVoy
2022-01-11 18:50 ` John Floren
2022-01-11 19:34 ` John Cowan
2022-01-11 20:17   ` Rob Pike
2022-01-11 20:25     ` George Michaelson
2022-01-11 20:44       ` Rob Pike
2022-01-11 20:57         ` Jon Steinhart
2022-01-11 22:17         ` John P. Linderman
2022-01-11 22:41           ` Andrew Hume
2022-01-12  0:15             ` Rob Pike
2022-01-11 22:14       ` Theodore Ts'o
2022-01-13 15:44     ` Dan Cross
2022-01-12 23:15   ` Greg 'groggy' Lehey
2022-01-13  1:34     ` Adam Thornton
2022-01-13 15:37   ` Dan Cross
2022-01-13 16:32   ` Bakul Shah
2022-01-13 16:48     ` Richard Salz
2022-01-13 17:20       ` Bakul Shah
2022-01-13 19:56         ` John Cowan

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