Update: 2/5/2018

Recently, the ideas have been flowing like a river…

I’m currently working on a couple articles. A new Throwback Thursday (TBT) entry will be coming this Thursday, and I’m anticipating on releasing a post about my top five most wanted computers sometime this weekend.

I’ve also started some entries that will take somewhat longer. The main one is regarding mainframe computing in the modern world, and the other is about the PCjr. Since those projects require some research, they will take longer. I may even begin another entry project that will be based on something I will discuss later in this post.

A New Project

I’ve officially began working on a research project that will take up a slight amount of my time. My University has no readily-available information about the history of their computing system/computer science/data processing departments, while other Universities have that information right on their website. I’ve embarked on a project to research the history of data processing/computing at my University.

This research will be tedious, slow, but (in my humble opinion) well worth it. It is requiring going through book after book, looking at newspaper after newspaper, and scanning document after document.

The faithful IBM ThinkPad T42 (yes, the T42) has been the real workhorse for this project. Since Windows 7 has a better system of viewing images (again, IMHO) in comparison to Windows 10, the T42 was chosen for the task of verifying images of scanned documents. So far, it hasn’t given me any major problems – except not being able to use Paint due to the limited memory.


The (IBM) ThinkPad T42 displaying an image of two employees operating a (IBM) System/360, with another IBM-made item in the background.

The T42 has been receiving a lot of action and has been out and about.

I’ve been using the machine to verify that the cantankerous scanner/photocopier in the archives room scanned documents properly, as well as saved them to the proper place. Since creating folders on the photocopier is a pain in the neck, the T42 also gets that task, as well. In the image above, the T42 is displaying a photo of two employees looking at data being printed out by an IBM System/360, with another IBM item in the background. (Can you guess what that “mystery” IBM item is?)

The IBM T42 has also been used as a “music player” of sorts. It’s nice to be able to listen to music while working at my desk at work, which has a computer with the headphone jack in a horrible (impossible to reach) spot.

Today, the T42 also got a more serious use. In a class, I forgot to bring my laptop (the T420) to do research for a class project. I had the T42, which was better than no laptop.

Despite its age, the T42 is already proving its worth. While it may not be as fast as my T420, and can’t do nearly as much, it is surprising what you can do with Windows 7 on only 512MB of RAM!!!

IBM Clocks

In a previous entry from October, I talked about an IBM bell that I located in the art building on our University campus. Believe it or not, I found another IBM item.

If you couldn’t guess the object from the photo with the T42, I’ll give it away – the clock. It’s an old (pre-1956) IBM clock!

In case you didn’t read the bell post where I discussed some of the non-computer items IBM made, IBM wasn’t just a manufacturer of tabulating machines and computers. Their most well known item was electric typewriters, although (until 1958) the company made fire alarm systems, bells, microphones, clocks. They also made dictation machines and other “business machines” until they focused primarily on computers and computer peripherals.

Not much is know about the clock. It is older than 1956, as it uses the old (pre-1956) IBM logo. IBM stopped making clocks in 1958 as they sold their time recording business (who also made fire alarm systems, bells, and other things) to Simplex. You can actually find IBM “schoolhouse” clocks online for sale, but they’re fairly expensive and highly collectible – like their typewriters, computers, and memorabilia.

Here are some pictures of the clock:

A full view of the clock.
A close-up of the IBM logo.
The electrical connections of the IBM clock. Note the age of everything (especially the fuses) and the *exposed* wires and contacts that would’ve had line voltage present. This was on top of the clock.