About Us

The IT History Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of knowledge about the people, products, and companies that together comprise the field of computing.

Since 1978 our organization, and its hundreds of members, have worked toward this goal, and we invite you to contribute your own knowledge and memories on this website! (read more)

The Sweet Spot

PC World recently ran an interesting piece about vintage DP equipment still being used on a daily basis, for practical purposes. They even found someone using punched card accounting equipment. I don't go back that far, but the other day I got a chuckle from a co-worker when I needed to do a simple calculation.  I pulled out my HP-41C calculator, still running great after three decades of heavy use. I don't keep it for nostalgia's sake; I use it because, after trying more modern devices, I continue to believe that the 41-C really hit the "sweet spot" of technology. Few gadgets can make that claim.

Then, by coincidence, someone sent me a photo of Buzz Aldrin using a slide rule on the Gemini 12 mission, flown in the fall of 1966. He later went to the Moon, carrying a 5" slide rule.  I still have my old slide rule, but I was glad to give it up.  Some technolgies are better left behind, but that does not automatically mean that all new devices are better. I'd be interested to hear if any of you feel the same way about older electronic equipment -- obsolete in terms of the technology, but not in terms of its value as a tool for human use.

Share this post