Looking for the Higgs-Boson
I grew up with a telephone – I guess I was about 12 years old (1961) when we got one. I used to spend hours chatting with my girlfriend. Can’t for the life of me remember what we talked about but we talked and talked on this wonderful device.
Five years later I was a technician in our local telephone exchange in charge of Power, Stores, and Junction Test. I was also in charge of the provision of new lines. I was working above my grade. The noise in the exchange was, well not deafining however imagine switches going up a bank of contacts and then in the bank. Electro mechanical devices were how we worked in 1968. Running wires on the main distribution frame and soldering contacts. The Telephone Exchange, the GPO, then a government building requiring a locked door and vetted entrance.
The Exchange was powered by electric motors turning out 50v and 3000 amps. We had a backup generator and I would swap them over every now and again. We also had a battery room, the acid vapour in which would rot your clothes. Health and Safety where were you?
Not a bad job I was a civil servant and could climb the ladder. However the lure of big bucks moved me on to a sales position selling Olivetti accounting machines. It went something like this
Addition went something like this: Plus ker-chunk plus ker-chunk total ker-chunk ker-chunk ker-chunk put it into memory ker-chunk print chatter chatter, electro mechanical beasts with the ability to run four seperate programs and costing £500 plus. I learned how to program them.
Then I discovered LSD; lived in a squat; went around the world; and during my first degree rediscovered computers. I had a ZX81 followed by a Spectrum with 16KB of RAM. (I have 32 Gigs of RAM in my PC). It was 1982 and I was studying for a science degree in Psychology. I had thre 6 month placements one of which thrust me into the cutting edge of computing.