[rescue] Score

John Lengeling John.Lengeling at radisys.com
Mon Nov 2 14:39:26 CST 2009

> When I was a teenager, my first major solo programming project was to
> write a program that would queue print jobs to a Xerox laser printer.
> The printer would accept input on 9-track magtape and print from the
> jobs based on the input.  The program I wrote took your input files
> and queued them locally to a spooling area.  Then once a week it was
> run with a separate switch to generate the formatted magtape for
> printing.  There were separate queues for the different paper types
> and the magtape formatting was kinda funky IIRC.  I really wish I had
> kept a source listing of that program as it was the first program of
> any significance that I wrote.  They used it at Project DELTA at the
> University of Delaware for a number of years after I wrote it.

Had a somewhat similar experience with 9700s at the university where I
worked.  We would receive 10-15,000 names of students taking the ACT/SAT
tests who indicated interest in attending the university.

The goal was to be the first letter the student received after taking
their ACT/SAT.  So there was a big push to turn these around an get them
in the mail as fast a possible.  We merged the names with a letter,
added customized paragraphs based on major and wrote them to 9-track
tape which was read in by a Xerox 9700.

Started using awk, nroff, and dd to generate the 9-track tapes, but this
took too long to run on a PDP-11/44 with BSD 4.3.   Replaced awk and dd
with a custom C program for more speed.  Also replaced nroff with roff.
We were able to then write all of the letters to tape in about 24 hours
versus days previously.

BTW: I hate 9-track tapes and SMD hard drives...back with techs swapped
out HD boards and hard disk assemblies...Where is CDC now days?

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