Despite the name, and in spite of
the times, not a political organization....
The R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S. was one of
the first computer clubs in the United States, meeting in the sixties
and seventies in central New Jersey. We're not going to tell you what
the acronym stands for; if you don't know, you weren't a
R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.! And no, Bill Gates wasn’t a R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.
We had the first (and last?) R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S. reunion over
Memorial Day weekend, 1998, at the Barn in Hopewell, New Jersey. 45
former R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S. and friends attended, along with 15 kids, two
horses, and a large number of kittens. Here are some pictures!
The R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S. Reunion
Maybe you missed the chance to go to the Reunion in 1998? Maybe
it was such a great reunion, that you are willing to return to New
Jersey for the next one. If so this is your chance!!! The
donkeys are gone, and a few other things have changed, but the Burroughs
205 is still there.
We exhibited at computer shows, we
taught each other to program, and we fooled around. The stuff we did
with computers would be perfectly normal for kids to do now, but we did
it before personal computers existed. Some of our programming used punch
On a Saturday night, when the
temperature dropped, the cold grease in the Friden Flexowriters
caused them to jam up with every character printed. The best thing
to do was go inside and discuss the future of computing. Many
lively discussions revolved around the concept of a Home
Reckoner. This multi-tentacled creation served as a home
controller, entertainment for the owners, and a tool for everything from
baby sitting to stock market analysis. Did today's Personal
Computer evolve from the Home Reckoner? Judge for yourself.
Many of us argued that the future lay with an in-home computer which
would permit the user to write programs, play solitary games, and
control the household. Others maintained that all an individual
needed in the home was a simple dumb terminal with the capability of
connecting to a large central computer which provided a powerful
processing resource, large quantities of memory and the ability to
interact with other users. Until the internet took off, it looked
as if the proponents of the home computer had been right. Then
both were proven right.
The Trenton Times wrote an article
about the club in 1967. The Newark Sunday News wrote an article in May 1967.
We went to the Spring
Joint Computer Conference in Atlantic City and provided a remote
terminal over phone lines to a PDP-8. Although computer time
was offered free at the SJCC, you did have to take a
number. When you got your turn, and your program didn't run
immediately, then you had to think.
Where did the funding come from?
The dogs mostly. A
breeding pair of malamutes. Every spring they produced a litter of
7 to 9 puppies. Each sold for $125. They did have to be bailed
out occasionally after a night spent roaming. Because the fines
were less than the puppy price, they kept us in the black. One of
the malamutes destroyed a model 33 ASR Teletype as it flew
threw a doorway. No lives were lost, but the model 33 was never
We also sold light bulbs and were not even above begging.
Contribute your own stories here. (good taste is necessary,
historical accuracy is less important)
At a show where we exhibited the
PDP-8, a well dressed man walked up and watched the RESISTORS program
for a while. Then he asked what the "PDP" stood for in PDP-8.
Bob explained that it stood for Programmed Data Processor.
The man paused for a minute and then asked, " What does the
Programmed Data Processor do in relation to the computer?" Bob
said "That is the computer". and without a word the man walked off.
We took a bus ride up to New
York for the IEEE show one year. Although we did not mount a
formal exhibit such as the hallway terminal shown at the SJCC, we
nevertheless made our presence known. On the long bus ride up, JB
had brought a can of peanut brittle. She offered some to fellow
RESISTORS and then walked up the aisle of the bus holding out the can to
the other passengers. One kindly looking gentleman saw the outstretched
can, reached in his pocket and then dropped in a coin. I don't
recall if the coin went into the RESISTORS treasury!
Early R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S. wrote programs in SAM76, and even
wrote a primer about the language.
Dave Fox set up the first R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S. web page, at http://www.foxthompson.net/dsf/resistors.html
This page is at http://www.resistors.org/index.html. Last updated
4/15/03 by Don Irwin. For information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org