Although I love the power and sophistication of today's computer systems, I still have nostalgic memories of the old machines, including their support systems like paper tape readers and writers. (See: How it was: Paper tapes and punched cards.)
In fact, one of my most prized possessions -- one that makes me smile every time I come into my office -- is the ASR-33 Teletype Terminal with integrated paper tape reader/writer, which I acquired last year. (See: Feast Your Eyes on My ASR-33 Teletype Terminal.)
My beautiful ASR-33 Teletype Terminal sitting outside the door to my office.
This machine has attracted a lot of interest from readers. For example, I just received the following email from a guy we will call David Chesler (because that's his name):
Dear Mr. Maxfield, I still have the first program I ever wrote (a BASIC program to calculate factorials, written at the Bronx High School of Science for an HP 2000E in 1976) preserved on paper tape, and would enjoy being able to read it. (I got a lot of mileage out of that program, and the question "What if we throw it other than a positive integer?", leading to a Math Fair entry on the Gamma function that actually had very little to do with the question, and eventually an ongoing career as a software engineer.)
If I send you the tape, would you be able to read it for me? I would of course be more than happy to compensate you for your expenses, efforts, wear and tear on the ASR-33, and so forth. And if not, would you know where I might be able to get it read, either physically, or through optical recognition, or through hand-entering the thousand or so bytes that make up the program?
Of course I immediately replied that -- if my ASR-33 were fully functional -- I would be delighted to do this for David. Sad to relate, however, I'm still trying to find someone who can come and service the little rascal (my ASR-33, not David). Although the paper tape reader appears to work fine, the carriage-return / line-feed needs some attention.
I communicated this sad state of affairs to David. I also suggested that we could ask other EE Times readers if they could help, which leads us to this blog. Do you have the ability to read his ASCII-formatted tape and print out its contents? If so, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll connect you to David. Alternatively, do you know of someone who offers such a service? If so, please post this information as a comment below.
— Max Maxfield, Editor of All Things Fun & Interesting