Welcome to The DEC Connection!
The DEC Connection is an association dedicated
to preserving the unique culture of Digital Equipment Corporation by
reuniting the Digital family through face-to-face events, intra-personal and
group communications, and joint activities. We want to preserve
Ken Olsen's cultural, technical and
management legacies. We promote events of local ex-DEC clubs. Membership
is open to all former employees and contractors -
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DEC Tech Talks
DECtape (top and lower left) late
1960s, and DECtape II (lower
Our last speakers:
Gale "Jake" Jacobs
This is shaping up to be a great and well-received
Tech Talk #8: April 18, 2023 - 2
pm Eastern/11 am Pacific - A conversation with Tom Stockebrand,
with Bob Anundson
("Stocky") is a highly-respected computing pioneer who contributed to
Digital in amazing fashion over his 30-year tenure from 1960-1990.
Tom, who earned a mechanical engineering degree from Caltech, worked
with Ken Olsen and others for 6 years at Lincoln Labs prior to joining Digital.
There Tom worked on the predecessor to LINCtape, with giant 14" reels;
then he helped morph it into the LINCtape used with Lincoln Labs' TX-2 computer.
At Digital, Tom developed DECtape, which is, according
to CHM, a very reliable block-addressed tape drive
with a shirt pocket-sized tape reel (and probably the first commercial
personal portable digital storage). He
followed this up by starting a group that created the Digital VT
family of video terminals, beginning with the VT05 in 1970 and the VT50 introduced in 1974.
When Digital sold the terminals business in 1995, over 6 million VT
units had been shipped -- an unqualified success by any standards.
Tom recently recorded an Oral History (this OH is a
3-1/2 hour interview) for the Computer History Museum (CHM) in Mountain
View CA. It covers his professional life history so, if you want
to hear it just from Lincoln Labs through Digital, start the time slider
mark at hour 1 and stop at hour 3. That's still 2 highly engaging
hours of Tom's history, most relevant to us. Click
here to view it on YouTube.
The purpose of this Tech Talk is not to repeat
Tom's CHM OH, but to summarize 20-30 minutes of highlights of Tom's
career, and leave a lot of time for DEC Connection members' questions
and discussion. Bob Anundson, who gave our first DEC
Connection Tech Talk, was the product manager for Tom's products, and
Bob will serve as an interviewer. Bob and Tom have remained friends
since working together in the 1960s. They will be assisted in the
Q&A by Al Goldsworthy of our DEC Connection board.
Tom is clearly our senior DEC Connection member.
He recently introduced himself in this manner:
New DEC Connection member Tom
Stockebrand writes that he's an "old timer": Joined DEC in 1960 as
badge 614, with 330 employees at the time. Retired in 1990. My groups
or I developed several products over the years: DECtape, VT50-52,
Ceramic substrates. Groups got fired for low sales in first years of
introduction. Backpanel wiring machines. Lotsa good stories. Still
alive and kicking at 91. Working on Python code projects using
Raspberry Pies and Ham Radio.
We have announced Tom's session for mid-April
because he is scheduled for a knee replacement this month. We have
plenty of time to think up some great questions for Tom, and if you'd
like to give him some time to think about his response, please send your
firstname.lastname@example.org starting now, and she will compile them for
him to ponder during his rehab.
SO -- DO NOT MISS THIS GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY to meet
this nice, intriguing, legendary, and
genuinely modest fellow, and ask him all sorts of questions. Tom Stockebrand was in the room where it happened! (Apologies to
To sign up for Tom's talk on April 18, email us at
Provide your name, and email address for the Zoom invite (which will be
emailed about a week ahead of the event). Remember you must be a
paid-up DEC Connection member to participate in the Zoom session; though
recordings are accessible to all afterwards.
to join or renew your DEC Connection membership.
SAVE THE DATE! We're holding another
WooSox Family Day Baseball game/BBQ event at Polar Park in Worcester on June
11, 2023. More info coming soon!
Dec 9, 2022: Acton MA Information
Oct 17, 2022: Last Colorado Springs CO
Oct 1, 2022: Pittsburgh PA
Sun., June 19, 2022:
Afternoon BBQ at
the WooSox Baseball Game
Sun., Sept. 19, 2021: Maynard
MA Sesquicentennial (150th Birthday)
11:30 am - Tour of Mill for paid-up
1-4 pm, Parade/Maynard
displays and events
4-7 pm, DECconnection Dinner
at Maynard Elks Lodge with
Videos of events have been added to
WRAP-UP, CLICK HERE.
Fri. July 30, 2021,
summer get-together at Kimball Farms.
Sat., 2 Nov. 2019,
Recap from our
Summer Italian Festa in Marlborough MA at Bob Alessio's home
Sat., August 17, 2019
Sun., 2 June 2019
Management Sciences Consulting Group
Thu, 25 Apr. 2019, Colorado Springs
DEC Connection Summer BBQ-Picnic on Sat. afternoon, Aug 18,
2018 in Marlboro at
the Hunters' house
Maynard Mill get-together at the
Battle Road Brewery House was Sunday, May 20, 2018.
See the writeup and photos here.
Aug. 20, 2017 Kimball's Summer Get-together
Sat., Oct. 8, 2016 BBQ and Tour of
Mill and Main
CLICK HERE FOR RECAP and
10/18/16 Beacon-Villager coverage of our Event
Visit "Mill and Main" online:
click on link above for details
John Shebell, 75, Stow MA, 7 December
David Mark's Zoom lecture on
Digital History (14 June 2021) -
here is link to
recording on YouTube. About 200 DECcies tuned in.
Link to their stories in the zoom chat is on our DEC
Stories web page.
Where to Sell or Donate your old Digital
Where to purchase
official Digital logo products - from
DEC Connection member Jack Rahaim. Now a "Pop-Up" store, 2x per year.
Next coming in May!
DONATING OR RECYCLING COMPUTER EQUIPMENT
It's that time of year when you may be thinking of
donating older electronic equipment to a Charity. For those who have
already done this, let us hear from you on the organizations you would
recommend. For Massachusetts readers, it has come to our attention that
there is a local cancer charity that you may want to put on your list. This
charity is 100%
volunteer cancer scientists, survivors, and information technologists.
The name of the organization is
Recycle Computers4 Cancer [www.recyclecomputers4cancer.org]
and it donates all proceeds to help Cancer patients and their families
through the SMCAC (Scientific & Medical Coalition Against Cancer). They have
securely erased all data on hard drives that are donated for the past 12 years,
including major pharmaceutical companies, banks, individuals, law firms, and
financial institution. Also, all computer donations are tax deductible with
no donation considered
too small or large.
can be dropped off or arranged to be picked up. Items accepted for
donation are listed at
For free pickup, fill out and send in the donation form at
The contact for RC4C is Eric Grund at
VAX and PDP-11 still live!
Sue Yarger for
sending in this note from the UK Register:
NASA dusts off
FORTRAN manual, revives 20-year-old data on Ganymede - Analysing Galileo's
Jovian moon results
to Jack MacKeen
for this gem, same source:
are back thanks to RPi revival of the PDP-11 Retro computing fans wrap
classic DEC fascia round world's fave hobby machine
60th ANNIVERSARY DIGITAL!
See article in the Telegram for pics and nostalgia.
click on the link under “US Alumni Product Purchase Program”. Then
follow the instructions to register for the program.
HP Alumni also
suggests reading feedback:
There are lots of moving parts involved in HP
product discounts (and discounts on non-HP products).
Suggest you refer your members to the HP Alumni Association
pages on discounts:
The first PBS showing of Digital_Man/Digital_World
was 21 Feb 2012 in Indianapolis - here is a link to the 57-minute video
on their website to watch on your computer!
The DVD of Digital_Man/Digital_World is no longer available.