Expensive Tape Recorder


Expensive Tape Recorder

Infobox Software
name = Expensive Tape Recorder



caption =
author = David Gross with Alan Kotok
developer =
released = circa 1959-1962
latest release version =
latest release date =
latest preview version =
latest preview date =
operating system =
platform = TX-0
language =
genre = Digital audio
license =
website = [http://web.archive.org/web/20050403151221/www.tixo.org/hacks.xhtml Tixo.org: Hacks (Internet Archive)]

Expensive Tape Recorder is a digital audio program written by David Gross while a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Gross developed the idea with Alan Kotok, a fellow member of the Tech Model Railroad Club. The recorder and playback system ran in the late 1950s or early 1960s on MIT's TX-0cite web
title=Photo: MIT TX-O Computer in 1953
author=Lexikon's History of Computing
date=1982-2002
url=http://www.computermuseum.li/Testpage/MIT-TX0-Computer.htm
accessdate=2006-12-29
] computer on loan from Lincoln Laboratory.

The name

Gross referred to this project by this name casuallycite web
title=Highlights from The Computer Museum Report Volume 8, Spring 1984
author=Attendees
publisher=Ed Thelen Web site
date=1984
url=http://ed-thelen.org/comp-hist/TheCompMusRep/TCMR-V08.html
accessdate=2006-06-24
] in the context of Expensive Typewriter and other programs that took their names in fun from Colossal Typewriter. It is unclear if the typewriters were named for the $3 million USDcite web
title=The Inflation Calculator
author=Based on $3,000,000 in 1960, the development cost of the TX-0 would be $19,010,262.79 in 2005 USD
date=11 December, 2000
url=http://www.westegg.com/inflation/
accessdate=2006-12-29
] development cost of the TX-0. Or they could have been named for the retail price of the DEC PDP-1, a descendant of the TX-0, installed next door at MIT in 1961. The PDP-1 was one of the least expensive computers money could buy, about $120,000 in 1962 USD.cite web
title=The Inflation Calculator
author=Based on $120,000 in 1960, the retail price of a PDP-1 would be $760,410.51 in 2005 USD
date=11 December, 2000
url=http://www.westegg.com/inflation/
accessdate=2006-12-29
] The program has been referred to as a hack, perhaps in the historical sensecite web
title=The MacHack 180 Year Retrospective: Frontispiece
author=Magnus, P.D.
date=1818–1918
url=http://www.machack.com/history/contents.html
accessdate=2006-12-29
] or in the MIT hack sense. Or the term may have been applied to it in the sense of ""cite book
last = Levy
first = Steven
title = Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution
url =
year = Updated 2 January, 2001
publisher = Penguin (Non-Classics)
id = ISBN 0-1410-0051-1
:*gutenberg
no=729
name=Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution by Steven Levy
] , a book by Steven Levy.

The project

Gross recalled and very briefly described the project in a 1984 Computer Museum meeting. A person associated with the Tixo Web site spoke with Gross and Kotok, and posted the only other description known.

Influence

According to Kotok, the project was, "digital recording more than 20 years ahead of its time." In 1984, when Jack Dennis asked if they could recognize Beethoven, Computer Museum meeting minutes record the authors as saying, "It wasn't bad, considering." Digital audio pioneer Thomas Stockham worked with Dennis and like Kotok helped develop a contemporary debugger. Whether he was first influenced by Expensive Tape Recorder or more by the work of Kenneth N. Stevenscite web
title=Photo: Professor Kenneth N. Stevens, Gordon Bell and the TX-0 computer at MIT
author=Unknown photographer, The MIT Museum
publisher=Computer History Museum accession number 102652248
date=February 1960
url=http://www.computerhistory.org/pdp-1/index.php?f=showitem&id=26.23
accessdate=2006-12-29
] is unknown.

ee also

* PDP-1
* Digital recording
* Expensive Typewriter
* Expensive Desk Calculator
* Expensive Planetarium
* Harmony Compiler

Notes

References

*cite web
title=Highlights from The Computer Museum Report Volume 8, Spring 1984
author=Gross, David
publisher=Ed Thelen Web site
date=1984
url=http://ed-thelen.org/comp-hist/TheCompMusRep/TCMR-V08.html
accessdate=2006-06-24

*cite web
title=Tixo.org: Hacks: Expensive Tape Recorder
author=Unknown authors, [http://tixo.org/index.php/Hacks retrieved] 24 June, 2006, also courtesy Internet Archive
publisher=Tixo.org
date=undated
url=http://web.archive.org/web/20050403151221/www.tixo.org/hacks.xhtml
accessdate=2006-12-29


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