Quoted: on the evolution of computers — and the workplace

“You don’t even know what a miracle you’re living in.”

Eleanor Kolchin, a former “computer” for IBM, on the advances in technology since she worked as a programmer at the Watson Scientific Computing Lab starting in the 1940s. Kolchin, now 86 and still maintaining a website, told the Huffington Post that she had to figure out how to solve math equations, then “enter it into the machine.” Computers used to take up entire rooms, and “people had to go to big computing centers where there were these big machines they could use.”  Now, she says, it “boggles” her mind that her husband’s iPod mini holds 13 symphonies. And speaking of husbands, Kolchin said she got married in secret, because it was against IBM’s rules at first. The Atlantic notes that the 1951 memo rescinding the policy reads in part: “A female employee will not be required to resign from the company upon marriage.”


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  • As one who ran IBM mainframes in the ’60’s, this is a great story.

    Full disclosure: This comment uses no tape drives, punch card machines or massive chain printers. And I am not in an air-conditioned room with wiring running under a false floor.

  • sonika

    nice and an effective quote about computers which is making world smaller.