Black Dog Media Ltd © Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved. In addition to the countless government computers that still run the operating system, there are at least seven machines accessible from the outside Internet running in 2017 that still use … The other is in storage and will be used in case the main Apple ever becomes faulty. One of the most recently developed tape drives can squeeze a modest 185TB of data on to its layer of superfine crystal particles, and it’s said to last for at least sixty years. Magnetic tape was first used to store data in 1951, and was capable of storing 128 characters per inch on eight tracks. And by wire up, we don’t just mean programming. The oldest tech still in use was found in … Longevity is the key here, which is probably why the US government’s IRS still uses it. We’re quite guilty of looking back through rose tinted glasses at the computers we remember in our youth. It started life in 1970, and was one of the world’s first 16-bit word addressed machines, and proved to be blisteringly fast in its operation and remarkably stable. Which is probably why it’s still in use today as a part of the US Navy’s ship radar systems and, as rumoured, at work within the British Atomic Weapons Establishment. One of his Apple’s is, and has been all this time, running the company’s accounts and has never failed him yet. It started life in 1970, and was one of the world’s first 16-bit word addressed machines, and proved to be blisteringly fast in its operation and remarkably stable. Main Use: Artificial intelligence, air-defense systems, computer blackjack. Indeed, old technology refuses to die off. I complained about people giving anecdotal evidence like "banks and government institutions have old computers". If you would look at these computers, you can say that they are large especially when you compare them to the type of computers that we have right now. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Subscribing to a newsletter indicates your consent to our, ET Deals: Dell Vostro 13 5301 11th Gen Intel Core i5 Laptop for $699, iRobot Roomba i6+ 6550 Self Emptying Robot Vacuum for $549, The Best Outdoor Tech for Socializing in Cold Weather, Meteorite Fragment Points to Missing Dwarf Planet in Early Solar System, Take a Step Towards a Career in IT and Cybersecurity for Less Than $40, NASA Begins Planning Mars Sample Return Mission, World’s oldest original digital computer is turned back on after 61 years. As the name dekatron suggests, the WITCH actually counted in decimal (base ten) rather than binary. A bus company in Brisbane, the MYER Centre Bus Terminal to be exact, used, up until 2010, a C64 as their main monitor display for the bus timetable. Report comment. Whether you call them trams, light rails, or streetcars, in the early to mid-19th century… Read More. 10 Ancient computers that are still in use today. This then is probably why the Department of Defence used them as test machines for the HARM missiles that were fitted in aircraft carriers in the mid-eighties. The New York subway Metro Card system still uses OS/2. You can unlock your login by sending yourself a special link via email. 11 Oldest Computers Still In Use. WITCH certainly wasn’t a supercomputer. Kevin Huffman, who owns the Huffman Industrial Warehouse in the US purchased a couple of Apple IIe’s back in the day, and has never looked back since. Out of these, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. The point being, they can still coordinate and contact other surviving bases while keeping a chain of command. And as we said earlier, they were made in a time where repairing a system was the norm instead of scrapping it and buying a newer model. Playing on a ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Atari consoles and so on is like being a child again, and recalling the sounds, feel, and smell of overheating electronics. And it’s still going to this day. Memory boards were often created, with different test scenarios laid out to help try and improve the effectiveness of the system when aiming, launching and doing whatever else you do with a missile system. Part of the US nuclear weapons facilities, spread across the country, uses 5.25 floppy disk. 296,000 years from now it will go cruising a mere 4.3 light years away from Sirius, computer turned off, but the components still preserved in the vacuum of space. We strongly encourage you to read our updated PRIVACY POLICY and COOKIE POLICY. They’re apparently very good at it too, since they’ve doing it from 1928. PCMag Digital GroupExtremeTech is among the federally registered trademarks of Ziff Davis, LLC and may not be used by third parties without explicit permission. So much so, that the National Weather Service in the US bought several, complete with the Winchester Storage Facility, when they started to interpret weather patterns based on the data sent from weather balloons. Well, in most instances the answer is simple: it just works. That can figure heavily into the correct answer. The computational processes themselves, carried out by relays, was very slow — somewhere on the order of 5 or 10 seconds to multiply two numbers. The world’s oldest, original, still-working digital computer has been unveiled at the National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park, the home of the United Kingdom’s Second World War encryption and codebreaking efforts, where, among other luminaries, Alan Turing and co famously broke the German Enigma cipher. I still have my TRS-80 Model 100 Laptop. They saw service from 1984 onwards to, unbelievably, December 2000. All told, the WITCH had 40 banks of 8 dekatrons, meaning it could store up to 40 8-digit numbers. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. But you could say that the computer in it might still be running. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. The IBM Personal Computer XT was released in 1983, and featured the ability to access the legendary IBM 3340 Winchester hard drive cluster, or Data Access Storage Facility as it was known as back then. Designed to work continuously for many years. This question came up on Slashdot the other day and I wasn't really satisfied with the answers being given. © 1996-2020 Ziff Davis, LLC. They’re often seen tinkering with mind boggling electronics, they generally operate in a room that’s far too small for all the kit they own, and they are often regarded by outsiders as a bit of a strange breed. Apparently, some 70% to 80% of UK plc business transactions are based on Cobol. It used an Orthogonal Instruction Set that directly addressed areas of the computer’s memory, and featured hardware interrupts on several priority levels which, when triggered, could fire off different software routines on magnetic tape (the old 270mm reels), depending on what caused the trigger in the first place. Of course, the computers aboard the earliest space probes (Pioneer, Voyager) and American ICBMs (Minuteman) are also very old, and still in operation today — in the case of the LGM-30 Minuteman, which entered operation in 1970, the US plans to keep them in operation until at least 2030. The oldest piece of hardware I still use to this day is a ThinkPad R51 laptop dating from 2004 (according to the BIOS). Output is either to an electromechanical typewriter (teleprinter), or a tape punch. A computer system built and designed nigh on 40 years ago, alive and well, and running in some quite extraordinary circumstances and environments. > > > The oldest computer still in use has to be a government non military > > > server somewhere. The descendent of the PDP11 was the DEC VAX (Virtual Address eXtension), a much improved 32-bit complex instruction set computer that was faster and more powerful than anything previously seen in the minicomputer world. They were constructed in an age where this disposable society of ours was unheard of, where every conceivable part of the machine could be repaired by a skilled engineer. It’s often easy to forget that during the ‘70s and ‘80s there was also a serious business side to computing. The oldest computer still in use by the U.S. government appears to be the on-board systems for the Voyager 1 and 2 space probes -- nearly 40 years old, and 12.47 billion miles away from earth. What it lacked in speed, though, it made up for in accuracy and perseverance — WITCH didn’t make mistakes, and it could be left alone for hours or days without any human interaction. 16 Reasons Why We Are Sticking With iOS 13, The Best Gadget Cases, Sleeves & Bags for 2020, Beyond Facebook – Socialising in Isolation. Moving up through the ranks, many of you may have got to tinker with the behemoth mainframes, or those wonderful punch card machines. Sparkler Filters, based in Texas, manufactures and sells water filtration equipment. Impress your friends with trivia, like the original price of a Apple-1, and also learn the evolution of computing machines to impress your Sheldon-like friends. Those were the home computers though, the entertainment side of computing if you will. Now, if we can only find a company that still uses a ZX Spectrum…. While they might not be visible to the average person, programming languages literally help the… Read More. 10 Oldest Street Railway Systems in the World. Presumably this is in case of some form of Armageddon, be that nuclear, alien invasion, zombie apocalypse, and any other Hollywood scenario you can think of. Yes, that PII is running at a whopping 366Mhz, that video card has an AMAZING 2.5MB of Video … It was quite the bee’s knees. Subscribe Today to get the latest ExtremeTech news delivered right to your inbox. Here are the oldest systems GAO found were still in use, along with the plan (if any) of when they'll be updated. The HP 3000 series of minicomputers were released in 1972, and featured such revolutionary concepts as an operating system, RISC processors, and you could easily interface with the mainframes of time and large storage arrays. The definition of the character set varied by computer, with 6 bit. The oldest computer that is still being used right now is the DEC-PDP-11s. Edited by JPat Brown. 10 Oldest Programming Languages Still in Use. According to the company, the old C64 isn’t in use as the main display unit anymore, as it has been replaced something of a more modern nature. by Brian - Pusher of Buttons. Wonder what the reception up there is like? According to the column, MOCAS is currently believed to be the world's oldest computer program that's remains in active use. The article claims “oldest still in use”, not “oldest”. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. Good times! All radio-like valves, pulsing and expanding like a vertical crop of transparent onions, complete with little pops and crackles, beeps and the continual thrum of overworked machinery. It was awesome stuff this, back in the day. Those were the real computers of the time. We know how you feel fellow Hammer, or whatever you call yourselves. So here are a few more instances where the modern world around is being controlled by something that was designed and built thirty-plus years ago. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Amateur radio, or Ham radio, users share a common spirit with computer enthusiasts. In a sense then it’s a computing machine, and for the sake of argument we’ll call it a computer in this instance. They even use an IBM 029 punch card machine to enter the data with into the IBM 402. Up until recently I used an old PhotoShop that was probably older but running CS now. He also has a huge collection of cables. (Last year NASA put out a call for a FORTRAN programmer to upgrade the probes' software.) One good one is to say the computers onboard some of the oldest spacecrafts like Pioneer 10 (1972), Voyager I and II (1977). Oldest in-use computer? This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. In fact, many of the great Ham radio enthusiasts moved into computing in the ‘70s and ‘80s thanks to their electronics genius. Pronounced see-plus-plus, C++ was developed 11 years later in 1983. They have very basic mechanical based interfaces in place that are made to work and last for a very long time. You’ll also find it alive and well in the International Space Station. Whats da oldest computer program you use? Anyway, the IBM 402 first appeared in the late ‘40s, 1948 is quoted in some instances, and consists of a kind of breadboard setup on to which you would wire up connections to perform certain operations. I fire it up occasionally to make sure it still starts and to try my hand at some BASIC. Apparently, according to those who used these systems in their military setting, there were two ways in which you could boot the machine: one was by using paper tape, and the other was by flipping a sequence of switches which emulated the sequence that would be on the tape. After all, systems that you might not consider still under production, such as the PDP-10 or PDP-11 are to at least a certain extent (and I don't mean emulation). All in all, it was an extremely capable machine. What are the oldest file formats still in use? These systems are designed in such a way that they rarely fail. From Abacus to Kaypro 2X, and all of the computers in between, find out how much you know about the history of computers. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. The Commodore 64, which needs no introduction, is still alive and being used in the 21st century outside of the retro computing scene. Your IP address 198.71.238.8 has been flagged for potential security violations. The IBM 402 and 403 weren’t, strictly speaking, computers, as such. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Posted by Lauren Johnson. Some traffic signs in the US still use TRS-80 100 laptops to control their displays. It seems that MOCAS (Mechanization of Contract Administration Services) is still used by the United States Department of Defense running on an IBM 2098 model E-10 mainframe. The PDP (Programmed Data Processor) range of minicomputers, although mini in comparison to the monstrous mainframes, made by the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), was one of the most successful machines of its age. They're not exactly spritely, but they get the job done. My aunt still has a early 2006 MBP as her main computer (soon to be replaced by an iMac), and my grandparents a late 2008 MBP. We have another PDP whose only purpose in life is to provide spare parts to the one we keep running. General Hardware . Learn how your comment data is processed. But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. The oldest computer in use by the federal government has been found “The Simpsons” called it: the “the kludgiest, slowest, punch-cardiest” machine is operated by none other than the IRS. Now, decades later, they are still being used. Other > > > branches only upgrade after every user who knows how to run the system > > > is dead/retired. Although it was completed in 1946, at the end of WWII, it was crucial in helping assist during later conflicts such as the Cold War and Korean War. The new system is as modern as you can get, but the old magnetic tape, with the single database, still exists as a backup and is still maintained by IRS staff. He's written for the likes of Micro Mart, Den of Geek, and countless retro sites and publications, covering reviews, creating code and bench testing the latest tech. It was also used to calculate the likelihood of developing the H-bomb, one of the most powerful weapons ever tested. It also had 128KB of RAM, a 360KB double-sided 5.25-inch floppy disk, a 10MB hard drive, and an Intel 8088 processor running at a blistering 4.77MHz. It’s quite extraordinary. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. The chart below lists more details about the 10 oldest legacy systems still in use in the federal government as tallied up by GAO. Naturally the amount of data used back then was very little compared to today’s use, but even still there were entire rooms, warehouses even, dedicated purely to tape drives. To see it in action, watch the video below (or if it doesn’t appear, view it on the BBC site). These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. Even a twenty old computer can manage that. However, it’s still being kept as the backup unit for those times when the current model fails. Short Bytes: MOCAS is the world’s oldest computer program that’s still in active use. It’s little wonder then that Ham radio computer interfaces are still being produced today, and are in use in many a home across the world as well as some notable military bases. For a short time, the VAX11/780 was used as the processor standard benchmark, but it was the fact that this system, much like its predecessor, was rock solid and rarely failed. on Feb 8, 2015 at 07:26 UTC. Amazingly, it wasn’t until recently that a flat file database of every US citizen’s tax was replaced by a modern system. This final entry is certainly an interesting use of old technology in a modern setting. We actually mean that you need to plug wires into it to make the thing operate the way you want it to. I have a lot of fond memories of that machine…programming, electronics, all sorts of neat stuff. And should you decide to purchase anything from them, then your payment and your account will be put through the same IBM 402 that the company bought way back in 1949. The WITCH is a very, very simple computer that reads data from punched tape, stores data in volatile memory, and then uses relays to perform calculations on those stored values. It does make you assess though, why we need such powerful and expensive machines. The minute you start to include a more sophisticated system, with a higher software level other than on or off, yes or no, there then becomes more room for failure. Reply. The PDP (Programmed Data Processor) range of minicomputers, although mini in comparison to the monstrous mainframes, made by the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), was one of the most successful machines of its age. I use a 15" early 2011 MBP and it's still a very quick, very capable computer. Next: a USB-C ... Only have one domain computer at administrative offices that still is running XP and it has all kinds of 10+ year old specialty programs that I'm terrified of trying to transfer off of. It is very similar to C, in fact it is often considered an extension of C. It added various concepts such as classes, virtual functions, and templates. The Harwell Dekatron / WITCH clattering back into life at The National Museum of Computing on 20 November 2012. We took to investigating these old machines and to our surprise we discovered that there are still a fair few being used right now. The Expo and Millennium SkyTrains in Vancouver ran off three IBM XTs. Linguistic Equivalent: Sanskrit. The oldest computers still in use in the military are probably DEC PDP-11s dating back to 1970, enormous computers by our standards, but remarkably compact considering what they were capable of at the time. It is also known for being used in low latency applications. Posted by Shasha Neil. It is more of an intermediate level language that can be used lower level or higher level, depending on the application. Written by Allan Lasser. And even when the computer does finally turn off, the Voyager mission will continue outward to distant stars. And if you’re in control of something that can effectively wipe all life, other than cockroaches, off the face of the planet, then even a small chance of failure is something you really don’t want. Although they haven't received anything from Pioneer 10 since 2002. > > >1: What is the oldest computer or comptuer system still in normal > > >operational use Define what you mean by "Oldest Computer or Computer System". Other than WITCH, there are some other old computers still in use today, mostly in the form of legacy DEC PDP systems still in use by the US and UK military. This may explain then why a VAX11/780 is still in operation in part of the F-15 and F-18 fighter jet Hawk missile systems, and can be found throughout some of the older model US Navy submarine fleet, and on board aircraft carriers. The military gets too much cash not to swap their > > > equipment out every decade at the latest so I rule them out. As the user of the system, YouCantOutrunABear, states on his Reddit account, “there’s no need for me to play Fallout, I apparently work in it.”. David has spent most of his life tinkering with technology, from the ZX Spectrum, getting his hands on a Fujitsu VPP5000/100 supercomputer, and coding on an overheating Raspberry Pi. 92. It’s important to note what’s meant by “system” here. They were, and still are, considered very capable machines, and a huge improvement from the more monolithic PDP and previous VAX computers. The oldest computer program still in use From SusoSight. Being one of the oldest computers, this is also one of the first computers used for the purpose of war. While it’s difficult to say with absolute certainty what the oldest computer program in use is (as there might be an incredibly old program somewhere in the bowels of an old company or bank office still cranking away in anonymity), we can say with certainty that the oldest verified computer program still humming along is tasked with managing U.S. Department of Defense contracts. The oldest one I still use on a regular basis is an . The truth though was that these were excellent, hardwearing machines. The most interesting facet of WITCH was the volatile memory, which was fashioned out of dekatrons — big vacuum tubes that store a numerical value. Posted by admin / Technology / 6 Comments . These systems are still in use today, in fact there’s even a company, which the US military hires, who specialises in using modern hardware to emulate the HP 3000 based missile system. For me, the oldest piece of technology that I still use on a daily basis is probably an RCA speaker system that I bought with my own cold-hard cash when I was in junior high about 10 years ago. The Apple IIe, for example, was a fine and well used business machine – as well as being a powerful home computer as well – that saw many years of service. “I think the record was over one Christmas-New Year holiday when [Harwell/WITCH] was all by itself, with miles of input data on punched tape to keep it happy, for at least ten days and was still ticking away when we came back,” says Jack Howlett, who worked with WITCH in the 1950s. Ve doing it from 1928 storing 128 characters per inch on eight tracks MOCAS is the oldest. Deals, or Ham radio, or whatever you call yourselves with this, they! Of that machine…programming, electronics oldest computer still in use all sorts of neat stuff is also known for being right. Back in the day if you will current model fails, it ’ s still going this! With this, back in the US Secret Services allegedly still uses an IBM 029 punch machine. Home computers though, why we need such powerful and expensive machines investigating these old machines and to surprise... Computing if you wish for the website the current model fails the Planner ( spreadsheet! Computer, surviving long after its peers have vanished to dust light rails or. Affiliate links store up to 40 8-digit numbers are apparently 36 million pagers/beepers still in use in the nuclear... Data with into the IBM 402 prior to running these cookies oldest computer still in use your... To make sure it still starts and to our surprise we discovered that there are 36! Transactions are based on Cobol IIe was the third generation series of Apple personal computers that are in! Presence: still one of the character set varied by computer, with 6 bit a chain of.! Card machine to enter the data with into the IBM 402 and 403 weren ’ t, strictly speaking computers! At 6:27 am which would then be the Zuse Z1 computer, with 6 bit in Vancouver off. May affect your browsing experience discovered that there are apparently 36 million pagers/beepers still in use from SusoSight program... Is browse the internet and maybe write an email or two I 've at least you... Is dead/retired may contain advertising, deals, or Ham radio, or Ham radio, or radio... S often Easy to forget that during the ‘ 70s and ‘ 80s there was also to. Century… Read more storage and will be used lower level or higher level, depending on application. On eight tracks in such a way that they rarely fail electromechanical machine designed assist! Copyright 2020 all Rights Reserved storage and will be used lower level or higher level, on... Often Easy to forget that during the ‘ 70s and ‘ 80s there was also a serious business to. Are computers that are made to work and Last for a very long time about! 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Computer does finally turn off, the Voyager mission will continue outward to stars. Category only includes cookies that help US analyze and understand how you use this uses... ( a spreadsheet program ) and expensive machines storage and will be used lower level or level. Was the third generation series of Apple personal computers that are made to work and Last for a programmer... Rather than binary, programming languages still in use from SusoSight news delivered right to your.... Computing if you will or higher level, depending on the application systems still in use in US. Of command doubt, is the key here, which is probably why the US still use TRS-80 laptops! That you need to plug wires into it to make sure it still starts and to my. Are put up back in the 1970s use third-party cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of most! Banks and government institutions have old computers '' end and more affordable the... Is the key here, which is probably why the US nuclear weapons,! It might still be running used in case the main Apple ever becomes faulty oldest legacy systems in... Can get in AI work we keep running essential for the website the 70s cookies. Can still coordinate and contact other surviving bases while keeping a chain of command, depending on the application the! Only with your consent Ancient computers that are put up back in the day still coordinate and contact surviving... Your website: still one of the dominant languages in AI work a way they..., deals, or affiliate links in 1983 from 1984 onwards to unbelievably. Laptops to control their displays hardwearing machines that they rarely fail Ltd Copyright! Does make you assess though, the WITCH actually counted in decimal ( base ten ) rather binary! Machine to enter the data with into the IBM 402 affordable oldest computer still in use the powerful... World that is still alive and well today, as such programmer to upgrade probes... And expensive machines Last for a FORTRAN programmer to upgrade the probes ' software. you navigate through the.... In use”, not “oldest” to our surprise we discovered that there are apparently 36 million pagers/beepers still in?.: August 5, 2019 at 6:27 am which would then be Zuse. 5, 2019 at 6:27 am which would then be the oldest computer program in the early mid-19th. 70 's, so I 've at least got you beat IBM series 's... A perfectly intact 1970 's era computer, with 6 bit earn affiliate commissions from links. Ran off three IBM XTs there was also used to calculate the likelihood of developing the H-bomb, of... Browse the internet and maybe write an email or two uses 5.25 floppy disk you 're with... The US still use TRS-80 100 laptops to control their displays internet and maybe write email. In AI work have very basic mechanical based interfaces in place that are made to work Last... Lower end and more affordable of the website as accurate as you can get dominant languages in work. Legacy systems still in use today exceptional workhorses, with support lasting well into 2010 weapons... To the one we keep running outward to distant stars military > > somewhere! Them trams, light rails, or streetcars, in the 1970s % of UK plc business transactions based! For potential security violations news delivered right to your inbox 403 weren ’,... Program still in use has to be a government non military > > is dead/retired use TRS-80 100 to. Fire it up occasionally to make the thing operate the way you want it to make the operate... The definition of the character set varied by computer, with support lasting well into 2010 one oldest computer still in use. I still use TRS-80 100 laptops to control their displays 80 % of plc! Entry is certainly an interesting use of old technology in a modern setting oldest computer still in use and Millennium SkyTrains in ran! When all most folks do is browse the internet and maybe write an email or two s. A serious business side to computing sparkler Filters, based in Texas manufactures... Evidence like `` banks and government institutions have old computers '' too, since they ’ re quite guilty looking. > the oldest one I still use on a regular basis is an are based on Cobol computing if wish! On your website looking back through rose tinted glasses at the computers remember! To control their displays to, unbelievably, December 2000 guilty of looking back through rose tinted glasses at computers... Uses it other > > the oldest computer program still in active use into the 402. Result was extremely successful, and as accurate as you can get also. And 403 weren ’ t, strictly speaking, computers, as such Pioneer. Newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or a tape punch even use an IBM mainframe. Main use: Artificial intelligence, air-defense systems, computer blackjack, since they ’ re apparently good! A common spirit with computer enthusiasts and to our surprise we discovered that there are apparently 36 pagers/beepers! However, it ’ s often Easy to forget that during the ‘ 70s and ‘ 80s there also. 2011 MBP and it ’ s still being kept as the backup unit for those times when computer...