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Old 11-24-2014, 08:58 PM
11,101 posts, read 13,114,203 times
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Originally Posted by swagger View Post
A mainframe would have been, but no school I ever saw had terminals for the students to use. A mainframe would have given access to the faculty to manage student records and whatnot. A production mainframe wouldn't have any educational value, as they're not going to allow the students access to the same system that stores their grades, attendance, etc. I can't see any high schools installing a second (very expensive) mainframe just to teach students databases...

Computer labs were filled with whatever the "desktop" of the day was. At my junior high school, around the same time, we had Commodore PETs and IIRC, some Apple ][ machines. A few had FDDs, but most had cassette storage. None were networked - it wasn't even fathomable in that environment at that point in tech history.

Note that I'm only relating my own experiences - I can't speak for how things were done in other places, but I do have over twenty years of I.T. experience now, and except for maybe a few isolated cases in very wealthy areas, I can't see that many schools would/could have been much different.
I went to high school in the 80's and there were several computer science classrooms chock full of mainframe terminals. They taught BASIC language (and whatever else). I think each classroom might have had ONE PC, such as an Apple. But mainframe terminals were very abundant in the 80's high school.

Just like when I went to college in the 90's. A computer lab with several dozen mainframe terminals. Many of the students used them for primitive email/internet at the time. The computer science students used the same terminals for programming.
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Old 11-24-2014, 09:50 PM
Location: Heart of Dixie
12,446 posts, read 11,245,432 times
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I was known for my antics on mainframe terminals. If you had an admin account you could copy files to other terminals or dump program output to a terminal - flash warnings, display images, script output, etc. There isn't a rendering lag because the images aren't rendered - they are raw data copied to the terminal. I made many a newcomer disappear from the computer room when their screens would warn them of a radiation leak from the monitor at which they were seated. Our mainframe supported several types of monitors - text-based and graphics-based.

So, yes it's possible - I did it on many occasions. Just ask my wife - I got a date with my wife through her monitor (darn, that sounds geeky) .
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Old 11-27-2014, 06:09 AM
Location: Madrid, Spain
48 posts, read 56,213 times
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My theory:

The computer was a Televideo TS-803.

Starring the Computer - Pretty in Pink (1986)

OLD-COMPUTERS.COM musem ~ Televideo TS-803
The Televideo TS-803 was used in the Library scene of the movie "Pretty in Pink," and as usual for Hollywood movies, the computer was shown to do impossible things (for that time.) In particular, the computers were networked together like modern ethernet office computers, and the video images were impressive even by today's standards (ie, impossible for the day.)

But the graphics were from an Amiga, it had the best graphics back then:
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Old 11-29-2014, 04:26 PM
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
735 posts, read 751,702 times
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Originally Posted by ABQConvict View Post
I don't question the image quality, per se (though only a top of the line monitor would have had the resolution to display that image at that level of detail) but the speed at which it appeared on screen was definitely science fiction at the time :-) In real life, it would have taken minutes to render, line by line.

Another good 'fake' computer scene from the 80s is from Revenge of the Nerds where the nerd, Gilbert, through simple keystrokes hacked a girl's computer, then drew and animated a recognizable caricature of himself dancing with the girl whose computer he hacked, all in seconds.
Maybe not. That type of computer supposedly had an 8088 processor, and if the graphics was anything like the old Hercules type monochrome graphics (not sure if it was or not), the pixel information could be written to an inactive page in the graphics RAM then quickly displayed onto the monitor by making the inactive page active.

However, the display of those pictures look a lot more dense than 640 x 240 pixels which is said to be the graphics mode resolution of that computer.
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