Two remaining technical objectives in 1974 were integrating BASIC and some alternative to the Norelco Carry-Corder tape system. Joe George attempts to examine various disk-based solutions, but ultimately the 3M DC300 tape system is used.
01/02/1974 Talk of Kitty completing a “Text processing package design”. “WT OPD”, unsure what OPD means (assume WT is World Trade building in New York, or organization) but they need/want a larger screen (80×60); this “OPD” project could also fund their “file system” development. Also reference to University of Hawaii, presumably a 2 year study on using these systems for a state wide medical service.
01/03/1974 Some struggles in going to 80 character columns (recall the IBM 5100, and so presumably also the SCAMP, was 64 column screen). Roger Abernathy is helping on this study.
01/07/1974 Discussion with Dennis (Roberson) of going with the 3M tape storage device, and that the BASIC integration needs 128KB. Part of that is a 24KB workspace that BASIC needs, which seems to be intended to be on the 3M tape device (APL had a tape based workspace, but that never appeared in the BASIC implementation). Also mention of an Owego (location) office, “hardened PALM” (perhaps a ‘design freeze’ of sorts), interested in using the hardware possibly in adaptation for use on an aircraft.
01/07/1974 Joe is still trying to advocate for GEM (processor). Paul doesn’t seem too interested himself at the time (needs more backing, shoves the technical work off to a student).
John Coleman mentions use of a Sony 12″ Model CVM-112 (apparently for use with the SCAMP or IBM 5100 system). Bob Kay mentions 9″ Miratell CRT (or Igar 9″ CRT).
01/09/1974 Paul Friedl mention a collaboration with Stanford Computer Engineering students, with a demo to be prepared for January 11th. [ the jives with some IBM 5100’s being present at Standford Computer Club later in the decade, in use during some runtime performance comparisons ]
01/09/1974 Appears to be some dispute by an “IBM File group in Rochester” on using IBM in house tape versus OEM tapes. That is, still the old thinking of using only in-house sourced components.
01/10/1974 Appears to be good news from Dennis (Robinson) that a BASIC solution can work for 16K RAM systems, needing less resources than previously thought. But there is also a discussion on a concern about the power supply – “thought Roy had quit.” (Roy Harper?). There was an earlier discussion asking of “Roy had given up?” answered with “No.” Obviously they made a workable power supply eventually into the IBM 5100, but it seems there were some technical challenges of that component.
01/14/1974 Another set of discussions related to word processing. And also that this development work “can lead to electronic mail application.” i.e. one of the earliest mentions of the idea of e-mail.
Early system block diagram of the processor ALU. Perhaps in preparation for documentation work that was starting up at this time:
01/15/1974 Tape IPL program. Similar to early PDP-8 type systems, you enter an “initial program load” that sequences how to load a ROS Program (generally from a tape, in this case probably still from the Norelco unit). This should be an example of early PALM machine code.
01/22/1974 Another discussion with Paul Friedl, this time in relation to “Text Editing” (as opposed to “word processing.”). Joe and Paul seem to be estimating the cost of getting some developer help on this software.
01/29/1974 Another complaint about the poor tape quality (from “Dell”). Mention of a “SCAMP cost increase” from $2100 to $2170 (presumably IBM internal cost estimate) of a base model with 32K. Recall the earlier systems use 8KB RAM modules. Also a call from Dennis, about a George Price wanting to integrate some kind of typewriter with the system. Finally, also a mention of “1st machine mid March” with a project “phase review” coming up February 28.
01/30/1974 Mention of “TACO – OPD micro processor” and another mention of “IGAR” but unsure of the context, says “comparable to PALM.” In a conversation with Bill Morrison. Also on this date is a diagram referred to as “dutchess tri state function.”
02/26/1974 Discussion related to questions on SCAMP availability, attaching a printer, and a programming package.
03/11/1974 Joe spends several pages on computations of a theoretical storage capacity of various sizes of disks (from 3″ to 6″), and speed and power requirements (and notes how the edge portion of the disk are a “no man land” of not actually being able to store data reliably). Also, a note that “These figured are based on MFM recording.” which has a certain per sector byte overhead.
04/01/1974 Two interesting notes on this date. First, John Rood (Reed?) asks for an update on SCAMP and suggest that for legal reasons “machine should be left in its original state.” (with an exception perhaps for the keyboard). Second, “Room with SCAMP unlocked and door open. I arrived at 8:15am – what kind of security is this?” (note that April 1st is traditionally April Fool’s Day; but is also evidence that SCAMP was guarded at least as a “corporate secret”).
04/05/1974 Some notes that appear related to deciding the material to be used for the tapes. A higher quality material may mean better reliability/quality of those tapes or larger storage capacity. Mention of “he tried this concept 10 years ago”, “negotiating with Dupont” (Dupont is known still today is relation to paint and other excellent materials), and “Crolon = chromium Dioxide.” (or crolen?).
04/08/1974 A lengthy set of notes related to Bill Emmons about a review of the SCAMP keyboard (some issues with how function keys are used, how they are “SACRED?”, and which edge of press gets a “click” sound). IBM takes their keyboards very seriously.
04/16/1974 A hand draft memo that appears to be intended to be typed into a “file” letter to be mailed. It was for an important meeting to be held April 25 and 26th. There are journal notes for this dates later, indicating that the meeting seems to be related to “file” work (that is, deciding disk size and producing an integrated disk solution within a year). At that meeting, a comment of “suggest 4.75″ diameter disk” is noted, and a reference to someone named Si-Kee.
04/19/1974 “They are encasing palm 3 for general purpose FSD contractor – low end. Very interested in GEM.”
04/23/1974 Joe continues calculations related to capacity of different disks size. Recall that Wang Systems is said to have ultimately come up with the 5.25″ disk size format, at around this time of mid-1970s.
04/26/1974 and 04/28/1974 Again “electronic mail” is mentioned as “main effort.” Also, some IBM internal politics is revealed “He ‘thinks’ SJ does not want Rochester o have Know-How.” While a business may be “one company” the business units do compete with each other in terms of talent and contracts.
05/01/1974 Conversation with Paul Friedl with a reference to “reverse APL notation.”
06/18/1974 Several references to “Bubble group” “Bubble devices” and “near term bubble memory.” But the technology is still a few years away (“late 77 early 78”).
October 1974 thru December 1974 are topics related to “Mag Card IO” and “High Performance Typewriter” attachments, additional notes related to Bahia printer attachment, a conversion table from “scamp internal to TWR” (where I think TWR is a type of printer or teletype, or a company that makes one), and issues dealing with tab on attached printer/typewriter like devices (including a three page sequence of “TWR Micro Code” – presumably in PALM machine code – related to handling the tab).
January 1975 – Additional notes on micro code and schematic related to the TWR typewriter attachment approach.
01/09/1975 Continued discussions and interest in using a “GEM” processor (as opposed to “PALM”).
02/04/1975 Continued GEM vs PALM discussions.
March and April 1975 – More notes/discussion related to Bahia printer integration.
May 1975 – Much of the notes at this time appear to be in preparation related to a celebration of the SCAMP development. The notes are a name-list of who to invite to the ceremony, and also discussion on who is paying for the gift related to a Fellow Award for Roy Harper (and what that gift should be).
“Jon Richard suggest Gold Pocket watch like railroad engineers. Beth suggest something to complement his Edison collection. Betty has clippings from Roys many accomplishments.”
“Betty gift -Edison antiques has hydro electric panel and meters, etc.” (presumably these are antiques related to Thomas Edison).
05/27/1975 Notes on names to invite, if they are current IBM employees, how to send invitations, where to reserve the dinner, and where to send the bill to. This dinner is scheduled for around June 8-10th.
07/01/1975 Work/discussions continue related to the GEM processor. By this point it seems Joe George is less involved with SCAMP and has transitioned his focus to new product development.
07/02/1975 Paul Friedl discussion again, with an Async Logic Array “useful for creating parallel processors.” Also a “new IDEA for new machine… magnetic bubble storage.”