An interesting site and a question...



#34

Firstly a very interesting site on 1970's calculators can be seen here:

1970's Calculator Display List

Although their are no HP (nor Programmables) on the site in the current 550+ calculators it still is quite interesting to see the oldies. The initial page is interesting showing thumbnails of the 1970's scene.

A Question:

1973 Elka101g Calculator

This is apparently a 1973/74 Bulgarian produced calculator. Now, in those days even before being designated as part of the "evil empire" they seem to be using US Manufactured chips..i.e:

1 x cpu: Rockwell A1030PE 15330 7431 (week 31 of 1974) 42 pin staggered DIL, 0.6" width
2 x logic chip Texas SN75492N 7426 16 pin DIL, 0.3" width
11 x transistors

Now if Bulgaria had them, Russia certainly had better. So is that to say during the early 70's Russia had access to actual US chip technology in large quantities? If so didn't that have military implications?

Many thanks.


Edited: 9 Nov 2008, 10:45 a.m. after one or more responses were posted


#35

Quote:
Now if Bulgaria had them, Russia certainly had better. So is that to say during the early 70's Russia had access to actual US chip technology in large quantities? If so didn't that have military implications?

Judging from the result, it didn't ;)

#36

Still a surprise to me Walter :)

I didn't realize that US chip technology was being used in Soviet Manufactured goods in the early 70's!

I did recall reading on the Memories page of a guy who was part of an HP trade delegation to the Soviet Union back in 1975 though.


#37

Hello,

The Soviets did acquire HP equipment legally on the 1970s. In the Memories sections the story can be found.

Following a trend that started under Stalin and Beria, the Soviets acquired and copied as much western technology as they could. As Beria himself sometime pointed out, it cut development costs and avoided dead ends.

The IBM 360 was copied and modified to some extent in the BESM series of mainframe computers, and FORTRAN was the programming language of choice on the Soviet Bloc. Eastern Germany developed a programming language, known as INKA (Interpreter-Kalkulator) but its use was restricted to East German equipment.

In the late 1970s there were rumors of Western chips being used in the guidance packages of Soviet ICBMs, but nothing else was known. Rumors aside, the problem with Soviet ICBMs was not guidance packages but rocket motors reliability and fuel technology. Not until the mid 1980s a reliable solid-fueled missile system could be deployed.

The Soviets did develop chip technology of their own, and liked RPN for their calculators. ElektronorgTechnika, known as Elorg, took charge of this and even prouced some interesting models. Some Soviet ICs were round instead of square, just to use up all the space available for connections.

As for the military implications, Western technology acquisitions, whether legal or illegal, helped in the design and deployment of a number of weapons systems throughout the Cold War; the US denounced such activities every now and then. In the end, we all know what happened. The arms race caused important quality of life declines in the US and the collapse of the Soviet state.

Just my two cents.


#38

Thankyou Juan.

Didn't they run IBM Operating Systems such as OS/360... and then later OS such as MVS anc VM on the 370 copies etc.

I know they copied the PDP and VAX (much beloved by many of us I think as much as HP due to their ubiquity in University Labs).

I also found it interesting that the Soviets favoured RPN. Must be to do with the great Russian Logical Mind.

Again many thanks!

#39

I don’t think these were Russian. I think they were made by Rockwell in Europe and sold to the eastern European market. I have an elka 101 (orange version), it’s design and operation are similar to the Anitas (also later made by Rockwell).

For example the * and / operations work normally, but + and – work in RPN, or rather, the 4 basic ops work like a desk calculator. This was the case in the anita handhelds because all the desktop versions worked in the same way, people had not realised at the time, that a handheld should not operate like a traditional desk calculator.


#40

thanks hugh - I assumed they were made in Bulgaria as the web site stated such.. however it did seem a bit strange!


#41

They were definitely made in Bulgaria by ISOT, I witness that ;)

Cheers,

Reth


#42

Sourcing the latest Western Chips as well then reth... thats quite fascinating for at the height of the Cold War, when most comrade citizens were living in utter poverty and locked out of the west... it just shows you that every coin has two sides. And I am sure a fascinating story.

It makes me more curious to know what technology HP sold to the Russians.

Again from the memories page I recall a Former Soviet Bloc Member of the community purchased an HP Programmable from a local distributor way back in 1979.

I guess "glasnost" came earlier to technology trading than it did to the millions of people!


#43

Hi Ed,

I can only speculate on this issue, I was never in a position to know it "first hand"; rumours were - Bulgaria imported electronics (often as parts which put together would make a whole product) from the USA under formal agreement not to re-export it for the USSR. In reality the re-export happened and again, rumours were that fact was known to both sides;
Cheers,
Reth


#44

Money makes the world go round - or: traders will trade whatever and wherever they can, regardless of politics. Another proof ;)


#45

Exactly!

#46

Sitting in between the blocs, ill-fated Yugoslavia was probably the main hub of west-to-east technology leak during those times.


Americans didn't have any technology export restriction policy for Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia didn't have any export restriction policy for the East. Perfect deal.


I remember a story I heard in the mid-80s about Digital VAX 78x mini-computers which were simply relabelled with "Iskra Delta" stickers and that was it - they were ready to be sold on to the Soviets. They didn't even try to seriously conceal what it was all about... the stickers were peeling off easily.


A bit off-topic: the main manufacturer of Yugoslav (desktop) calculators and adding machines was Slovenian company "Digitron".
Maybe someone on the forum will know if they were original designs or Western. I don't know. Desktop models had decent keyboards, from what I vaguely remember.
Amusingly, the colloquial word for "calculator" in most of the languages of the region is to this day "digitron". This is pretty much like vacuum cleaner will forever be "hoover" to people living in England...


#47

But there are rumors that the CIA was very well aware of the VAX deals - and delivered "bugged" machines back in 1982, which ultimately lead to exploding pipelines :)


#48

Quote:
delivered "bugged" machines back in 1982, which ultimately lead to exploding pipelines

Ahh, that was the cause! I admit I had different causes in my mind ;)

#49

OK, maybe neglecting service and a chilling -40oC did help as well ;)


#50

Hello,

A buggy computer is just part of a pipeline failure.

Pipelines in Siberia were built using GULAG workers well into the 1980s. The Soviet Union depended on this kind of slave labor for its infrastructure projects, and although projects were completed, their quality was dubious because a slave worker cares less about his/her job than a paid one. Add a desing with wrong results provided by buggy computers and poor maintenance, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Several engineers and scientist questioned this "method" in the 1930s and were promptly denounced and shot. Time however, proved them right.

My two cents.

#51

Quote:
Sitting in between the blocs, ill-fated Yugoslavia was probably the main hub of west-to-east technology leak during those times.

This statement confused me a bit, as I'd always believed that Yugoslavia was a member of the Communist bloc (the so-called "2nd world"). Further superficial examination using Wikipedia indicates that the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, while modeled after the Soviet Union, was never a member of the formal military alliance known as the Warsaw Pact.

So, would it be correct to state that SFR Yugoslavia was aligned, but not formally allied?

-- KS


#52

Karl,

depending on his age, Dusan will know better. For the time being, however, please let me explain:

IIRC Yugoslavia was neither aligned nor allied, but an independent state in Europe "sitting in between the blocs" as Dusan wrote already. Under Tito, it was one of the major players in the movement of the so-called "Blockfreien" (like India, Egypt, etc.). Yugoslavia frankly condemmned the Soviet action in Cechoslovakia in 1968. With its natural beauty and moderate prices, Yugoslavia was a popular vacationland for people from Western Europe in the Seventies and Eighties of last century at least.

Just my personal memory, of course.

#53

While Wikipedia seemed to get it right to some extent, I never trust Wikipedia. Every time out of curiosity I look up something that I know very well--professionally for instance--Wikipedia has errors--sometimes quite remarkable.

The problem is that people who really know their fields, generally do not have time or inclination to contribute to a house 10,000 monkeys built.


#54

Quote:
While Wikipedia seemed to get it right to some extent, I never trust Wikipedia. Every time out of curiosity I look up something that I know very well--professionally for instance--Wikipedia has errors--sometimes quite remarkable.

As this thread deteriorates to OT, I use it to win a new wikipedia author!

All of you who are so very knowledgeable in your field, please contribute to the wikipedia article you're reviewing instantly, while reading it and while finding errors. That's the beauty of the wikipedia project. Make it even more beautiful by correcting it!

Edited: 12 Nov 2008, 7:24 a.m.


#55

Hi George,

I appreciate your enthusiasm, but I think it is an unrealistic expectation. In the few years that Wikipedia has been around, I have watched the few efforts I've made so washed by the tide that only fragments of what I added of value remain, and new problems pop up where there was clarity before. So what's the point of contributing, when one's work is washed away by the unwashed?

Finally, what's really in it for me? I'd be better off publishing my work--getting credit for my work--either money or recognition. In Wikipedia, that work is simply lost.

#56

Further superficial examination using Wikipedia indicates that the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, while modeled after the Soviet Union, was never a member of the formal military alliance known as the Warsaw Pact.

Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was NEVER part of Warsaw Pact. It was part of Non-Aligned Movement. In fact, it was one of the fathers of Non-Aligned Movement ... more info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-Aligned_Movement


#57

Ugh. I didn't want to spark a political/history discussion, especially not on such a touchy and controversial subject as Yugoslavia. I just mentioned that the country I grew up in was a well-known hub for leaking technology to the East.


(I'd much rather have sparked a controversy on this forum with a "How Sharp built considerably higher quality hardware than HP in the 80s even though we refuse to believe our own eyes a quarter of a century later" thread ;)




I'll try to close this as quickly as possible with a few notes:


1) Yugoslavia indeed had a communist coup/revolution during the WW2, on top of the Hitler-sponsored break-up into a number of occupying zones and 'independent' states. Tito put the country back together after he won the war in a spectacular style, deposed the king, removed the middle class, and set up a communist rule.


2) Tito was admired and supported by both East and West. He was the best totalitarian dictator of his generation. (Woody Allen once remarked that you can't put the word "best" next to just any word. You can't say "best totalitarian dictator" or "best plumber". But there you go.)


3) Tito cut the ties with Stalin in 1948 and Yugoslavia never became a member of Warsaw pact. It was a communist regime, with its own version of communism/socialism, while the air force in the 50s had F86 Sabres, which sort of says enough about the schizophrenic nature of the politics Tito led in the early years of Cold War.


4) In the 60s, Tito founded the "Non-aligned" movement with some other dictators (Nasser) and democrats (Nehru) who said they had enough of Cold War polarisations (or in other words, who wanted to get cash loans from Americans and arms from Russians at once ;) He also sort of reconciled with Russians, starting massive exports of goods which Russians didn't or couldn't produce at the time. He never joined the Warsaw pact, but the Sabres were replaced with MIG 21s.


5) My generation grew up with aging Tito who had a divine status like some sort of a pharaoh. Like Kim in Korea or something. Yet at the same time we had rock'n'roll, punk and new wave. We had Audi Quattros and Trabants on the streets. The nation was simultaneously force-fed Marxism and Dynasty from the TV sets. We watched Rublev and Star Wars in the cinema, we had a leading European jazz and film festivals... And of course, we geeks had programmable calculators and home computers. Geekdom seemed to be striving in such a mad country. University courses were strong, jobs promising, in other words - roses.


6) Yeah, roses. In years after Tito's death it all went horribly wrong because such a schizophrenic society didn't nurture only geeks and rock heroes. It somehow managed to nurture quite enough maniacs to destroy a whole country three times over. The rest is in the history books and it is not one bit amusing.


#58

Hi Dusan:

Thank you for your notes; they are very well written and interesting. I like the way you use the fighter jets as analogs to political policy. I have a feeling you might be a poet when not programming calculators!


#59

Thanks for the compliment Bill, but I am no poet, unless we start counting Oracle as poetry. Nah, even RPN doesn't count as poetry, so neither does Oracle :)


#60

In 1984 Yugoslavia did an outstanding job of hosting the Winter Olympics at Sarajevo.

During the heyday of the TI-59 Dejan Risanovic and Jovan Puzovic were two of the "superprogrammers." Dejan still hosts a site dedicated to the TI-59.

#61

This can be said even shorter and summarised in the following form of 7 miracles of Yugoslav Self-Management Type of Socialism (found elsewhere on the Web, as translated from Croatian-Serbian-Bosnian-Montenegrin-whatever language):

The seven Miracles of YU Socialism

1st - Everybody had an employment,

2nd - Though everybody had an employment, nobody actually worked,

3rd - Though nobody actually worked, all the plans were fulfilled,

4th - Though all the plans were fulfilled, shops were almost empty,

5th - Though shops were almost empty, everybody had everything he/she needed,

6th - Though everybody had everything he/she needed, everybody was stealing,

7th - Though everybody was stealing, nothing was ever missing.

#62

Priviet (is it the same in Serbian?) Dusan,

In fact, it is sometimes said that Yugoslavia was the only "battle" that Stalin lost or, the only Eastern Europe country that he failed to have as a satellite.

Being in the middle of East and West allowed Tito to get stuff from Bith sides. Sabres gave way to MiG-21s, and Aérospatiale Gazelle helicopters were armed with Soviet AT-3 Sagger anti-tank missiles.

Interestingly, a lot of electronic warfare equipment was procured in the West, to be operated by the Yugoslavian Air Force. It was of some use against NATO air attacks during Operation Deliberate Force, but suffered severe losses. It was later badly beaten during the Kosovo crisis, and a little of it survives today.

One can only guess that so much technology needed many educated people (read geeks) to operate it. But that is just my opinion.

Unfortunately, the unity forced by Tito did not survive him, but that is another story and too sensitive an issue to be discussed here.

Regarding poetry, for the Russians is the most elevated art form. Since the Serbian and Croatian languages are similar to Russian, and both Russians and Yugoslavians are of Slavic origin, again it can be guessed that Yugoslavians held poetry in the same condition the Russians did. Just my humble opinion.


#63

Quote:
One can only guess that so much technology needed many educated people (read geeks) to operate it. But that is just my opinion.

The reason why YU had so many educated people wasn't the army demand (or industry demand, for that matter).


Education on grand scale was a "genius" economic concept: delayed adulthood. Hundreds of thousands of grown up people were living as dependent children with their parents well into their twenties, sometimes even into their thirties. That was a relief for slight problems the regime had with unemployment and housing...


Anyway, see Nenad's post on YU Miracles :)

#64

I think a society that "produces lots of geeks" is partly asleep; it points to and admires the intellectual achievement and output, while others, who think they are even smarter, maneuver and manipulate in the shadows because they cannot do as well overtly as the geeks.

Then, when political chaos erupts, these shadow types are used to political machination, so they take over and dominate... and sometimes even take away the geeks' HP calculators, and other goodies.

I haven't seen too many effective (not necessarily good in the moral sense) political leaders who were the geek type, though I heard maybe at least one of the Duvaliers was a M.D. Maybe too strong a knowledge of math blocks the ability to do political calculus.

#65

Other Eastern Block countries were not as equal as Russia - they were somewhat more "open" towards western technology. E.g. GDRs Minirex 73 and 74 used MOSTEK/AMI/TI CPUs - later on they were replaced by own parts (U820D, probably a TI clone). Funny enough, when switching to LCD technology, they didn't have CPUs ready (but the LCD itself was eastern made) so they used Sharp/Toshiba CPUs instead.
Btw. one has to remember that "communist money" wasn't accepted for purchases by western companies. So eastern countries either had to gain "Valuta" by selling eastern block made stuff (electronics and watches - cheap but good quality) or by ripping off visitors ("Zwangsumtausch" - forced exchange rate way below real value). In return, this made goods assembled from imported parts *extremely* expensive. The Minirex 74 was 3100,- (Eastern German Marks), considering the *average* wage was about 600,- Marks, one can assume that no one ever "personally" purchased one...


#66

http://www.datamath.org/Related/RFT/JPEG_RFT73.htm

PCB's of the Minirex 73, 74 and 75. (I assume being 1973,74 and 75?)

Fascinating that they cost almost 6 months wages! They also seem "hand assembled" given the quality of soldering work.

Many thanks for all the replies. Not strictly HP, but Calculator related at least!

Edited: 10 Nov 2008, 4:56 p.m.


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  HP-80 History, Design and Interesting Facts BShoring 1 173 11-30-2013, 08:50 AM
Last Post: Xavier A. (Brazil)
  OT: a math competition site Pier Aiello 0 131 09-16-2013, 06:03 AM
Last Post: Pier Aiello
  WP-34S on German Auction Site Joerg Woerner 3 236 09-08-2013, 04:36 PM
Last Post: Maximilian Hohmann
  Jacques Laporte's Fantastic Site BShoring 3 221 06-15-2013, 08:36 AM
Last Post: aj04062
  10C, 11C, 12C logos on The Auction Site Peter Murphy (Livermore) 0 125 06-14-2013, 11:24 PM
Last Post: Peter Murphy (Livermore)
  O.T. Aston Martin mentions Golden Ratio on their web-site. Pavneet Arora 1 161 01-24-2013, 06:12 PM
Last Post: Mark Scheuern
  New HP 39gII programs on my web site Namir 10 382 12-23-2012, 06:04 PM
Last Post: Eddie W. Shore
  Interesting TI Nspire CAS CX programming features Namir 5 290 04-15-2012, 04:11 PM
Last Post: Namir
  An interesting riddle Don Shepherd 15 497 03-13-2012, 11:54 PM
Last Post: Don Shepherd
  Interesting patterns for HP-42S Tom Grydeland 6 262 03-07-2012, 07:40 AM
Last Post: Tom Grydeland

Forum Jump: