RE: Good Old (Tech) Days....WAS "Can this career be saved?"

Subject: RE: Good Old (Tech) Days....WAS "Can this career be saved?"
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: Chantel Brathwaite <brathwaitec -at- castupgrade -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 8 Jun 2011 14:40:12 -0400

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Chantel Brathwaite
[...], but the work load
> was light and advancement was extremely limited. So, I ended up
> spending most of my time teaching myself the Wang wordprocessor (anyone
> else remember that?),

In 1981 I started work with Micom, a direct competitor to Wang.

Shortly after, Micom was acquired by NV Philips. They
kept making dedicated word processing machines for a while
longer, while a lovely big manufacturing facility was built
by the Trans Canada Highway in Montreal, and then began
switching over to building IBM PC clones.

I remember the Micom WP machines having refrigerator-size
hard disk and CPU units, with multiple satellite
workstations. I got to debug the various boards inside,
and the overall systems. The early PCs started to have
hard disks when producers began making 5 megabyte units
small enough to fit in a desktop chassis. I also recall
the overlap where I'd stuff a 5MB 8-inch HD brick into
a PC and the same day I'd replace a dinner-plate sized
5MB HD in one of the last dedicated Word Processors.

Does modern MS Word make even a one-word file small
enough to fit in 5MB?

When the first few commercially-usable word processing
programs became available for PC, the dedicated Micoms
and Wangs were quickly phased out.

Philips, however, didn't lose sight of the dedicated
WP market. Too bad their project development times
were so long in those days. By the time I'd gone from
a factory-tech job, through a staff third-line support
position, to my first formal TW job (still in Philips),
it was the mid-eighties and half of the TW department
in Montreal was working on the docs for the future
Philips documentation system. A highlight was a portrait
oriented 11- or 14-inch monochrome, high-res monitor
that they called "Paper-white". The system had myriad
features to make the creation and output of documents
easy and professional. It was intended for use by
secretaries and by professional documentation departments,
as well as by research labs and so on.

It was canned in 1989. Never saw the light of day.

Meanwhile, Philips - which enjoyed deity status in
Europe in those days, had no clue how to market in
North America, so most of our production of PC clones
went back across the pond and almost none of the
hoped-for American sales ever happened. So they closed
the place in 1990. Norelco, Sylvania, Magnasonic and
about 18 other household-name brands were actually
Philips, but they never made the connection that
would have capitalized on all that brand recognition
for the parent company.

They were a lovely incubator for budding TW's, while
they lasted.

- kevin
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Re: Good Old (Tech) Days....WAS "Can this career be saved?": From: Chantel Brathwaite

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