Here's a report on the 30th Anniversary celebration for 36 Bits, which was held May 10, 1995, at the Washington, DC DECUS Symposium. We began with the 36-Bit Magic session, chaired by me and Rich Alderson. We had a pretty good turn out (all things considered...!) of about 40 people. All constituencies were represented, including customers, Digital developers and marketing folks. Even DEC execs were represented by none other than Rosanne Giordano, who many of you will recall was at the helm of the LCG sailboat when the infamous announcement was made in St. Louis in 1983. (We considered having a couple of armed guards escort Rosanne into the room, just to make her feel at home! ;-)
A show of hands revealed that we had folks who had used every type of 36-bit system ever produced, going back to the PDP-6. Winner of the oldest old-timer award was probably Bruce Corbin, who worked for Digital in the early 60's and was one of the original engineers on the PDP-6 team.
Our guest speaker was Len Bosack, who worked with 36-bit systems at Digital from 1973-79, and then at the Stanford Computer Science Lab from 1979-84. He was the founder of Cisco in 1984, which he left in 1991 to found XKL Corp., producer of the latest generation of 36-bit systems, namely the TD-1. Len gave a fascinating talk which provided some interesting insight about the road he has traveled and his decision to form XKL.
The floor was then opened to anybody who had war stories to tell, both new and old. We observed the passing of Jim Flemming, Tony Wachs, and Peter Conklin by showing excerpts from the 36-Bit Pioneer's Roundtable session, held at our 20th Anniversary Celebration in 1984, which Jim and Tony had participated in.
The balance of the session was devoted to the awarding of a couple of dozen door prizes, including some 25th Anniversary VAX-Buster T-shirts, several original LCG mugs, and a couple of 20th Anniversary editions of the Large Systems Newsletter. All attendees were also provided with a special edition of the famous sailboat patch, produced especially for the 30th Anniversary.
Following the session, several of us adjourned for dinner in nearby Chinatown. A sudden downpour upon exiting the restaurant caused us all to dash away for cover, vowing that we would meet again for the 36th(!) Anniversary in the year 2000.
I am sorry to report that for some unexplained reason, DECUS did not record the 36-Bit Anniversary session, and therefore there is no audio tape available. I also regret that we didn't pass around a sign-up sheet to record who was there for posterity. Perhaps those of you who attended could send me lists of those you remember, and I will consolidate them.
I do, however, have a supply of the special sailboat patches available. The patches are rectangular, about 1.5" x 2.5". The sailboat is colored blue and orange (naturally!), on a light blue background with dark blue lettering which says "30 YEARS 36 BITS". If you would like one, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:
Clive Dawson 1409 Quaker Ridge Dr. Austin, TX 78746(A donation of, say, $2 per patch would be much appreciated, but is not required unless you want more than one.)
Regards to all,