Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Future Proof - College Presentation

I was asked a few months back to make a presentation at my local Palm Beach State College. The overall theme of the day was, "Future Proof - The Past, Present, and Future". I have been around to see much of the evolution of the modern computer, so I was seen as a natural to discuss the "past" part. The presentation was last Wednesday.  
PBSC Presentation 
November 23, 2022

I spoke for nearly an hour with a discussion about Grace Hopper's development of the compiler and why that was such an important step. I highlighted how in 1936 Alan Turing theorized “A Machine” with random access memory (RAM) and a central processing unit (CPU). This was the blueprint for all computers today. I spoke on how Gordon Moore postulated
 in 1965 that roughly every two years, the number of transistors on microchips will double. This is commonly referred to as Moore's Law. The most interesting factor for the future will be sheer physics. Will it be possible to have transistors near atom-size (0.5 nanometers)? Or will quantum computing continue the progress that Moore envisioned?

Also, I discussed how Bill Hulett of HP completely obsoleted my engineering school slide rule with the 1972 HP 35 Pocket Calculator. My slide rule that day became a museum relic. I brought my HP 35 to the presentation.     

I had a great time presenting and visiting my memory lane of computing. It was fun remembering my slide rule days, punch card days, mainframe, and early PC application developer days. How can I be that old? 

Jesse, thank you for the invitation and I hope to do it again.  


  1. Absolutely gorgeous look for you , Rhonda !!!

  2. Great look, fun times, but..."Hewlett". Cheers! -Juliet

  3. Congratulations on your speaking engagement. Very nice look. You are stunning.

  4. That sounds like fun! You look ready to take on the world in that photo. Go Rhonda! Lisa P

  5. So glad we were able to do this, thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience so generously, Rhonda! Can't wait to have you back! - Jesse

  6. You bring a lot of memories to me.
    Speaking of antiques..... About 10 years ago, I spied what could only be--an 'antique' primitive computer hard disc drive. It was at the Goodwill 'Last Chance' store.
    This device appeared to be a rustic, handmade, custom device, made from sheets of plexiglass. The cabinet was 4' tall by 3' x3'
    Inside the cabinet was 2 or 3 'hard discs'-made of plexiglass, but all covered in a metallic film all 30'' in dia. -- all stacked on a single vertical axis. Each disc had its own 'read write' head on its own traveling arm. The 'read write' heads looked hand wound. I wanted it, but how to store it? That is the last I saw of it. I still wonder who wound up with this 'thing' when 'vintage' computer equipment sells for tons of $$$.
    I also recall an encounter with a 'surplus' analog ''Redstone Rocket Fueling Computer'' (that what the sign attached to the top of the unit said!) at the local 'surplus electronics' 'yard'. The unit was about the size of a refrigerator-- only 7'' tall.
    Just ruminating. Velma

    1. I think the hard drives you saw are IBM 3330 removable disk?

  7. Rhonda, you look absolutely gorgeous! Love that suit outfit! And your hair is fabulous. Amazing how long it is getting with that volume. I am absolutely jealous!