DEC Connection Zooms: Tech Talks and Corporate Talks


Our DEC Connection Zoom program has really taken off!  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.  Attending the Zoom session is now a member benefit, so join up or renew if you're not a (current-in-dues) member.  Recordings are available for all sessions, see the links below in each speaker's synopsis.

To volunteer to deliver a DEC Tech Talk or Corporate Talk, please email info@decconnection.org with your name and a bit about your Digital background and what you'd like to present.  We will get back to you.


To sign up to attend any Tech Talk or Corporate 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).  Remember you must be a paid-up DEC Connection member to participate in the Zoom session, though recordings are available to all below afterwards.  Sessions last about an hour - 30-45 min. talk, 15-20 min. Q&A/discussion.


Corporate Talk #1: December 13, 2023 - 11 am Eastern/8 am Pacific/4 pm GMT - The UK's Reading Digital Revolution

Sandy Mackenzie, DEXODUS

Brendan Carr,
Reading Museum

Jacqui Garrad,
The National Museum of Computing
Gavin Clarke,
Blended Past

Ian Severn,

Peter Thomson
We are excited to present the first discussion of the history and plans for the UK's Reading Digital Revolution project.

This will culminate in June 2024 in a display at the Reading Museum, and in 2025, a celebration of the 60th anniversary of Digital's opening its Reading UK office in 1964. Digital's foothold began the build-up of a technology center that over the years built a thriving economy in Reading, and led to creation of a center of technology and computer education.
The entire effort is an effective and motivated partnership between once-private industry (Digital UK's DEXODUS and UK DECUS), government (UK Reading Museum, the National Museum of Computing, and the UK National Lottery Fund) and private education (University of Reading Computer Science Department).

The first presentation featured 6 speakers: an introduction from Sandy Mackenzie from the DEXODUS team; Brendan Carr, Reading _Digital Revolution_ project director from the host Reading Museum; Jacqui Garrad, Director of the UK's National Museum of Computing, and her consultant Gavin Clarke, a technology journalist;
Ian Severn, Chairman of UK DECUS; and Peter Thomson, a former Chairman of DEXODUS.  Each speaker will describe their role in the original organizations and with this project, commenting on the impact that Digital and the technology center had on Reading and its economy over the years.  

The recording is 1 1/2 hours in length (and totally captivating!).

       Link to Video Recording:  1-1/2 hours
       Link to Brendan Carr's slides

         Our moderators:

      Alan Goldsworthy,
      DEC Connection
     Rod Sutherland,
 Digital's Ambassador to 55 countries

Tech Talk #8: April 18, 2023 - 2 pm Eastern/11 am Pacific -  A conversation with Tom Stockebrand, with Bob Anundson

Tom Stockebrand

Bob Anundson


Tom Stockebrand ("Stocky") is a highly-respected computing pioneer who contributed to Digital in amazing fashion over his 30-year tenure from 1960-1990.  Tom, who earned a mechanical engineering degree from Caltech, worked with Ken Olsen and others for 6 years at Lincoln Labs prior to joining Digital. There Tom worked on the predecessor to LINCtape, with giant 14" reels; then he helped morph it into the LINCtape used with Lincoln Labs' TX-2 computer. At Digital, Tom developed DECtape, which is, according to CHM, a very reliable block-addressed tape drive with a shirt pocket-sized tape reel (and probably the first commercial personal portable digital storage).  He followed this up by starting a group that created the Digital VT family of video terminals, beginning with the VT05 in 1970 and the VT50 introduced in 1974.  When Digital sold the terminals business in 1995, over 6 million VT units had been shipped -- an unqualified success by any standards.


Tom recently recorded an Oral History (this OH is a 3-1/2 hour interview) for the Computer History Museum (CHM) in Mountain View CA.  It covers his professional life history so, if you want to hear it just from Lincoln Labs through Digital, start the time slider mark at hour 1 and stop at hour 3.  That's still 2 highly engaging hours of Tom's history, most relevant to us.  Click here to view it on YouTube.

The purpose of this Tech Talk is not to repeat Tom's CHM OH, but to summarize 10 minutes of highlights of Tom's career, and leave a lot of time for Tom's stories and DEC Connection members' questions and discussion.   Bob Anundson, who gave our first DEC Connection Tech Talk, was the product manager for Tom's products, and Bob will serve as an interviewer. Bob and Tom have remained friends since working together in the 1960s.  They will be assisted in the Q&A by Al Goldsworthy of our DEC Connection board. 


Link to Presentation and Products

Tech Talk #7: February 23, 2023 - Kerry Bensman

We recently enjoyed the discussion from Avram Miller about the Professional 3xx Series of Personal Computers, with references to the two complementary Digital products in the personal computing space.  One was the Rainbow 100 Personal Computer, a product about which Kerry Bensman can tell us quite a lot!  Kerry, who at the time worked for the late Barry James Folsom, will share the history of the Rainbow 100, DEC's relationship with Microsoft, and his own anecdotes about the PC industry in the early days.

After graduating from M.I.T. with a B.S. in E.E., Kerry joined DEC in December 1969. As a mill rat, he spent a couple of years in TOPS-10 and then transferred to Denver as a Software Specialist, covering one fourth of the U.S. He was promoted to Northern California District SWS Manager in Northern California and then Northeast Regional SWS Manager in Waltham. After a short stint in  Customer Services Marketing, he joined the Rainbow Group as Group Product and Applications Manager. He was responsible for the Rainbow 100B and CP/M and MS-DOS. Following the cancellation of the Rainbow, Kerry moved on to TOEM as the Basic Industries Manager and left the company in 1990, a few months after completing the Harvard Business School International Senior Managers Program. He then spent a couple of years at Wang Laboratories and later relocated to Boulder, CO as Director of Software Business for IBM's Printing Systems Division.  After leaving high tech, Kerry served six years as a City Councilman for Lafayette CO, and now lives in the St. Louis MO area, enjoying his family including a young granddaughter.


Tech Talk #6: January 11, 2023 - 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!


Link to Jake's presentation slides on our website.

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

Link to amazon.com,

to 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 few slides Avram used in his intro.

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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