*** The Public Open Day.***
*** July 10th 2005 ***
The Paper Tape Reader ( left ) and the Card Punch, on the day
The Console on the day
One of the side displays of a Core Plane.
2005 Open Day Summary !
Well the weather was nice and the day seemed to get of to a good start
on the second public open day of this project, and we started with an early
visit from a represenataive of the Computer Conservation Society, as we set
up the displays and opened the doors to the public.
The machine seemed to think it was a rest day (after all it was, a
Sunday) and gave us a fright when it would not load the demonstration
program. But as the temperature crept up we were able to load and run
the program from about 09:30 on. Just in time, as our first visitors
strolled up to the awning outside the computer room door, about 09:50.
I kicked off with a group of only about 6 people, and this was the first
time we had used a pre-recorded tape of the story behind the machine.
The numbers slowly increased as the day wore on, and I can now confirm
that at one point despite trying to limit the group numbers to about
twenty per session, we peaked at twenty six in one group. However it
does make the running of a demo and access to the tape player,
somewhat difficult to do when the room is full.
Again as last year it was nice to see the young faces and to hear the
sometimes very intelligent, questions about this elderly mainframe.
We also had about 12 people who returned, after seeing the machine
last year, just to see how we were progressing, and they paid an entry
fee for the privilege.
As the temperature continued to rise, I did start to fear we would
have to shut down the system, but we passed the after noon peak, with
the machine running the demo for over seven hours and it did not fail
even once, to twirl its tapes and rattle its peripheral devices around
on cue. Each event accompanied by a somewhat ghostly sound from the
system monitor speaker, which it was observed tied in nicely with the
pictures of Dr Who which featured in our " where did all the 1301
console's go " display.
The change in the reliability, we see as a direct result of the effort
which we have put in to date. Further we feel the machine with all its
covers fitted and dressed for the public viewing is nearer, to the
way it was designed to run anyway. So our new record is over seven hours
of continious running, of the same program, without error, in most
probably, not ideal conditions.
The head count for the day was over 250, as some just walked in without
the requested donation being paid, so it may have even been nearer
300. This directly relates to our move from free entry to
charging a small entry fee. It also meant we
had people through the door who were interested and as such a wider
range of questions were asked. Although the three favorite questions
1. How big is the 1301 compared to a PC?
2. How much does it weigh?
3. How much power does it use?
We have again learned from the experience and plan more of a rolling
and continuous talk, demo and questions session for next time. Allowing
visitors to join in, at any of three break points and depart when the
whole process starts to repeat.
It was with some trepidation, I placed a comments book at the exit,
and although we only had a few entries, all were quite glowing about
the display and the demo.
So will we do this again? the answer, is a
firm and definitive YES !
A big THANK YOU goes out to all our helpers on the day! including Stuart
Fyffe and Andy Keene, both previous owners of Flossie, it was great to see
you on the day ! Also to Morgan for her help with the crowd control,
we also thank Kevin Murrell of the CCS who was seen busy folding up
handouts as we rushed to be ready to open the doors, and also for
being our first customer to buy a copy of the brochure.
Last but not least, thanks to my long suffering wife and also my next
door neigbour Frank for their commitment to such a long day! We enjoyed a
good meal in the evening to unwind after this.
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