A Contribution from Leo Collins

Leo offered us some unconnected memories triggered by other items he read on our site. We offer them as he sent them to us.

Our offices were in old Navy? barracks that were raised a foot or so off the ground. The space heaters were in this area and evidently a large cat was snuggling near the heater and was asphisciated by leaking gas. Well this souvenir was a constant source of fun. Someone would put the cat in a secretary's desk drawer and when she found it, and let out an appropriate scream. Someone else would quickly collect the cat and hide it away for the next incident.

When Norman Hardy would work very late he would ride down the white line to home. One moonless night he was on his bike and bang - he bumped into another biker on is way to the lab. They both fell off their bikes, got up, without a word and continued on their way. Norman never new who the other biker was.

Tad Kishi was teaching a class of about 30 new employees how to use the 650. After a week or so, during which time I could never understand what binary was let alone bi-quinary. The smart people in the class finally figured out how to solve the class problem - calculate a square root. Tad had us all together and he picked on me to try my program. It worked and you never saw a more surprised person than Tad. He took me by the arm and told the class to wait until he returned. He took me to several executive offices and introduced me as the first person to ever solve a problem the first time on a 650. We returned to class and he discovered to his chagrin that everyone had the same program, but the damage was already done. I felt, that as a result of this rousing introduction to our leaders, that I was assigned to some very nice programs.

Roland, Bill Schulz and I were running 24 hours a day on the 701 in preparation for a extremely important operation. Roland and I would work all night, I keeping the machine going and Roland looking at the printouts. As you remember the 701 Williams tubes would fail every few minutes or so, and it was necessary to keep watching the output so that you could restart from the last good card dump. Well Roland would fall asleep, leaning on the printer. One time the printer started to cycle but not print. There was something hanging up in the relays which were behind a panel at the bottom of the printer. Roland got so mad he, with a curse, gave the printer a good kick, and it started printing, much to his delight. I decided that a better way to awaken Roland would be to have the printer cycle without printing rather than yelling at him to wake up. I fixed a sense switch to make the printer cycle and whenever he slept too long I would start the printer cycling. He would wake up, kick the printer and shout "I have you, you dirty bastard. I know how to control you." While I was sad to have to wake him up, it was such a pleasure to see his joy at controlling the 701.

Four of us occupied a room in the barracks. Charles Miller, myself and two others. We were all cigar smokers. We would buy a box of King Edwards for about 4 1/2 cents a cigar and a big can of smoking tobacco. When we took a cigar we would put a nickel in the kitty and this paid for the cigar and any tobacco we wanted to smoke. Well this went on for a couple of weeks when the secretaries kept coming by closing our door into the hall way. In another week they made it clear that the door MUST remain closed at all times, except where entering or leaving the room. After this ultimatum I looked around the room, seeing for the first time how much smoke there was and I realized that I could not see clear across the room. It was not long afterward that we moved to the new building and I gave up smoking cigars.