My MEGATRONICS Consulting page.

My Consulting Business, set up in 1970, but operated mainly from 1988.

[Specialist Support of DEC [digital equipment corporation] PDP-11 Computer Systems]

  • 1942 Born, at the (then) new King George V Hospital in Camperdown.
  • 1955 - 1959, Secondary education at Homebush Boys (selective) High School, member of school chess team.
  • 1959, Leaving Certificate with a Commonwealth Scholarship to University of NSW.
  • As a teenager I had been given a book “The Boy Electrician” but it did not mention computers. BUT, in 1958 and 1959, I had visited Sydney University on OPEN DAYs and had been fascinated with the SILLIAC demonstrations, especially the music.

    1960 to 1971+ Tertiary education at University of NSW (Ultimo, Kensington and Randwick campuses) and Sydney Technical College (Ultimo, St George and North Sydney College campuses).
    I don’t recall any formal mention of computers during the Electrical Engineering course at UNSW. Very little mention of semi-conductors.

    1963 to 1969 Laboratory Assistant, Institute of Highway and Traffic Research, University of NSW.
    In mid-1964, Stan Yan (Professional Officer in charge of the IBM-1620) organised a week’s worth of Fortran Programming sessions from 8:30 to 9:30 am for all those interested.
    I soon realised/decided that the brainwork involved in computing was somewhat more desirable than the heavy or physical work that was often associated with professional engineering.
    I have since done too much work on ‘heavy’ hardware.

    I was later assigned to work with Ron KEITH in the Electronics Laboratory on the “Traffic Analyser” Project.
    Ron Keith had worked on ‘ATROPOS’ at Woomera – a 5MHz parallel processor, in the 1950s / early 1960s.
    The Traffic Analyser was a dedicated Analogue to Digital computer system that was able to input analogue recordings of traffic flows and produce paper tapes that were input to the IBM-1620 for statistical analysis.
    After Stan Yan resigned (about 1967) I was put in charge of the IBM 1620.
    I was also responsible for some design changes for the Traffic Analyser.

    1965-1969, Worked with IBM 1620 (installed 1963?) at Institute of Highway and Traffic Research, University of NSW.
    The 1620 normally ran FORTRAN-IID. [ie Intermediate/temporary compilation files were stored on disk.]
    Please see my list of various IBM manuals (coming soon).

    1967 Technical Review of Pocket Calculators, Tharunka, University of NSW.
    1968, Part-Time Demonstrator for School of Surveying, University of NSW. [Computing strand based around IBM-1620.]
    1969, Part-time Lecturer for School of Surveying, University of NSW.
    1969, Completed - Certificate in Traffic Planning & Control, Graduate School of Traffic Engineering, University of NSW.

    1969 to 1977 Laboratory Technician, School of Civil Engineering, University of NSW.
    1969 - 1974?, IBM 360/50H in Computing Centre, University of NSW.
    1970, Qualified as a Full Member of the Australian Computer Society [recommended/nominated by Prof Allen?].
    1970+ Ongoing Professional Development through IREE and Australian Computer Society and IT courses and conferences.
    1971, I was invited to attend Computing Science Honours Lectures by Professor Murray Allen at UNSW. [ No first degree yet ! ].
    1971, WANG 720 model Programmable Calculator, School of Civil Engineering, University of NSW. [A—Z keyboard].
    I actually enrolled in the Computing Science subjects in 1970.
    Mid-night to dawn (8am) shifts on the IBM-360/60 in Electrical Engineering as Shift Manager !
    1972, WANG 3300, multi-user Mini-Computer, School of Civil Engineering, University of NSW. 32K or 64K of 16 bit memory, 4-user BASIC.

    1975?, Cyber 72-26 in Computing Centre, [with remote batch input stations, DEC PDP-11/40s, running RSX-11 operating system], University of NSW.

    1976 Major spinal injury at University of NSW in 1976. Medically retired in 1977.
    1978 to 1984, Senior Programmer, Renal Unit, R.P.A. Hospital.
    Also Acting Manager of Computer Services Department as necessary.
    1985 to 1988, Senior Associate BHSA (Macq. Bank subsidiary) working on wholesale banking systems.
    1988 Fujitsu, Contract as QC Analyst, testing role for LISP utilities package. I actually remembered some of the JCL from the IBM-360 days, much to the surprise of the Fujitsu Project Manager who thought that only IBM trained JCL programmers could understand JCL. At the time, I thought that it was a relatively trivial chunk of JCL.

    Lots of experience on DEC systems, and Communications, and Networking.

    After 10 to 15 years – and lots of work on many heavy DEC machines.

    1990, Annual DECUS Conference, Canberra, attended with display of PDP-11 equipment.
    This was 20 years of PDP-11 systems.
    1991, Certification as 'Practising Computer Professional' by Australian Computer Society.
    1994 – 2007. Foundation / Honorary Treasurer of the Australian Computer Museum Society Incorporated.
    1994, Lead article in ACMS Newsletter, Issue 1 - re my Introduction to Computing. Later reprinted in IEEE Annals of Computing History.
    1997 onwards, Chief Engineer, Burra Valley Railway, Track & Signal Division.

    1999 Anti-Family Court takes away my home and business premises. Bankruptcy and ‘depression’ pending since.
    Inpromptu presentation at CSIRAC Anniversary – noting that Australia has had calculating and computing equipment – mechanical and electronic imported from America, Europe and the United Kingdom.
    The ACMS needs to succeed – because Australia has been a marketplace for the rest of the world – we have had systems here that have not been sold in ALL THREE of the main producing areas.

    Some Digital PDP-11 Systems owned

    PDP-11 systems were normally [originally] classed as mini-computers in the 1970s and 1980s, because of their 16-bit architecture.
    Now that were are blessed with 32-bit desktop toys, the size and the ability to do ‘real work’ seems to be a better method of classification - hence current naming as Main-Frames - possibly also because they competed with BIG systems in many places.

    Now back to other business....

    Site quick

    Sound Locomotives


    (not golf)

    DEC Modules

    Computer Systems

    HP-Desktops (soon)
    HP-Vectras (soon)

    16-bit Real-Time

    (start only)

    50 years of UNSW Computing (start)

    Community and Social

    Peugeot Car Clubs
    in Australia

    Family Law Web Guide

    Pearl Beach
    Holiday Lettings

    National Model Railroad Assn in Aust.

    My Career and

    Highway & Traffic
    Research, UNSW

    Civil Engineering
    University of NSW

    Royal Prince
    Alfred Hospital

    Megatronics PDP-11

    Snail mail contact:   MEGATRONICS,   p. o. box s – 5,   HOMEBUSH SOUTH, nsw, 2140.

    Or simply send e-mail to:

    Site set up by:   John GEREMIN, MEGATRONICS,   phone     0427 10 20 60     in Australia.

    [vers 1.03, 11-feb-10.]     © John GEREMIN, 2010.