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DEC Tech Talks

Here's a program we began in February 2022 -- DEC Tech Talks, via Zoom.   The purpose is to preserve our Digital stories, enjoy nostalgia with friends, learn what else was happening at DEC, and discuss what might have been. Coming up:

Tech Talk #6: January 11, 2023; 1 PM Eastern, 10 AM Pacific - Gale "Jake" Jacobs

Gale Jacobs joined Digital in 1973 and served in sales, marketing and management positions in Portland, Oregon, Mexico City and Acton, MA. His talk will feature cultural differences and the agony and ecstasy of serving as National Sales Manager in Mexico during a time when the country’s economic pendulum was swinging from soaring heights to abysmal lows, and Digital’s efforts to manage the challenges. Plus, the trials and tribulations of relocating from Oregon to south of the border and the transfer back north to Acton. If you enjoy tequila, mañana, music, cerveza and a good war story, be sure to join us for this Tech Talk!  Viva Mexico!  Viva DEC!

To sign up for Jake's Tech Talk, email info@decconnection.org. Provide your name, and email address for the Zoom invite (which will be emailed about a week ahead of the event).  We now ask that, to attend the Zoom session, you be a paid-up member of DEC Connection.  Here is where you can join or renew.

Generally, these sessions have run about an hour - 30-45 min. talk, 15-20 min. Q&A/discussion.  We record the sessions and post the links on this page.

To sign up to deliver a DEC Tech Talk, please email info@decconnection.org with your name and a bit about your Digital background and what you'd like to present.

Tech Talk #5: December 6, 2022 - Avram Miller

Link to amazon.com,

where you can get Avram's book.


Avram speaking to his project team, c. 1980.

Avram Miller gave a fascinating presentation on Tuesday, December 6.  Avram was the Program Manager for Digital's Professional Series of PCs in the early 1980s.  He worked directly with Ken, Gordon, and other industry icons to accomplish this challenge. He recently published a book on his personal experiences in technology and one of the chapters features Digital. You can read more about Avram's career on his blog, https://www.twothirdsdone.com, and his website http://www.avrammiller.com.

Avram refers us to a 36-min. video posted on You Tube by the Computer History Museum called DEC: Personal Challenge, 25th Anniversary Video, which can be found  at this link. This documentary was produced by DEC and chronicles the 2-year odyssey to bring three personal computers, the Professional Series (PRO-325 and PRO-350) and the Rainbow 100 to market a year after IBM launched their PC.  The narrative follows the challenges of the CT Program Group - Avram Miller (project manager), Michael Weinstein (merchandising), Ron Ham (software), Art Williams (hardware), and Vah Erdekian (manufacturing), as they race to develop a personal computer to show at the June 1982 National Computer Conference in Houston.

A link to the video recording of Avram's talk will be posted here. 

Tech Talk #4: October 19, 2022 - Nick Pappas

Our #4 Tech Talk was given by DEC Connection member Nick Pappas, who contributed at Digital both in Engineering and Services. Nick described his talk:

I started work at Digital in June, 1967 and left in 1994. My talk will cover the period from 1967 to 1975. For most of that time I worked in the Programming Department where I managed language development projects for the PDP-10 and PDP-11. I also implemented the unbundling and licensing of software late in that period. And finally, I worked for Tom Stockebrand as a product manager for a video terminal. My talk on October 19 is about the projects, the people, and the DEC environment that I experienced in those days.



Tech Talk #3: August 31, 2022 - Bob Nusbaum

Our #3 DEC Tech Talk was delivered by DEC Connection member Bob Nusbaum, another of our super-duper utility fielders - a great product manager. He spoke about "High-Tech Darwinism" -- his experiences and observations of Digital from his FMS and ALL-IN-1 product manager roles. Bob worked at Digital for 18 years (plus 4 at CPQ). Discussion continues as long as everyone wants afterwards.  


Link to Bob's presentation slides.

Tech Talk #2: July 12, 2022 - Nathan Brookwood

Our #2 DEC Tech Talk was delivered by DEC Connection member Nathan (Teichholtz) Brookwood, who worked at Digital from 1968-1978. During that time he created and coded the RSTS time-sharing operating system, and started DECnet. He discussed the history of Digital's RSTS with emphasis on the early days.


Link to Nathan's presentation slides.

Tech Talk #1:  February 19, 2022 - Bob Anundson

Bob Anundson, a DEC Connection member from Washington state, proposed that we organize short presentations about Digital products, engineering culture, and whatever else interests you, with Q&A/discussion time afterwards. In the time-honored tradition of Digital, he who proposes does, and Bob has graciously kicked off this series with a prototype session. He focused mostly on his Maynard experiences in Product Marketing using the PDP-11/10, 11/40, RK05, VT50/VT52, and software licensing as examples between 1969 and 1975, in the context of Digital culture.


Link to write-up of Bob's experience at Digital he shared with Maynard Public Library for their Digital collection.

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