Feeds

DEC founder Ken Olsen is dead

Silence at the Mill

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Obituary Ken Olsen, the founder of minicomputer and client/server company Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) died on Sunday. He was 84 years-old.

Olsen started out a maverick, pioneered and drove the minicomputer and supermini revolutions, and then became a dinosaur. But unlike many other senior DEC executives he remains a much-loved and revered figure based on what he did and even taking into account what he stopped DEC from doing.

His legacy lives on at HP, which bought Compaq, which bought DEC, and at Xiotech, where Steve Sicola's ISE team started at DEC.

Ken Olsen

Digital Equipment Corporation co-founder and CEO Ken Olsen (Digital Equipment image).

Ken Olsen was an engineer first and foremost. He was born on 6 February, 1926, the son of Norwegian and Swedish parents, and served in the US Navy from 1944 to 1946. After the war he went to MIT and achieved a BSc and then an MA in electrical engineering.

He gained experience there with transistorised computers and started up DEC with co-founder Harlan Anderson in 1957 at an old mill in Maynard, Massachusetts. IBM was then riding high and Olsen and Anderson were upstart mavericks who thought they could build better and much more affordable computers than IBM's mainframe behemoths which dominated IT at that time.

The two gained $70,000 seed financing from George Doriot's American Research and Development Corporation and set to work. Olsen worked on and received patents for a switch, a line printer buffer and magnetic core memory in the 1960s.

To avoid competitor radar screens, the first computing product was not called a computer. Instead DEC called it a PDP, a Programmable Data Processor. It was an 12-bit machine, and used ribbons of paper tape to control it. The PDP had a colourful front switch panel – the switches could be used to set register values.

It became popular in university labs because it was vastly cheaper than a mainframe, ran real-time programs instead of batch jobs, and didn't need a raised floor, air-conditioned data centre, being just another piece of lab equipment.

PDP_8_front_panel

PDP-8 front panel (Wikipedia image).

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Next page: Minicomputer boom

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast
USB-usiness in the front, micro-USB party in the back
AMD's 'Seattle' 64-bit ARM server chips now sampling, set to launch in late 2014
But they won't appear in SeaMicro Fabric Compute Systems anytime soon
Brit boffins use TARDIS to re-route data flows through time and space
'Traffic Assignment and Retiming Dynamics with Inherent Stability' algo can save ISPs big bucks
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.