JWG (jwg) wrote,

Honeywell Part 1, phase 2 - 1964-65

Continuing my career description here is a summary of the next two years of my career at Honeywell - mostly political/bureaucratic.
After the H800 Fortran compiler was done our team started on one for a new scientific machine, the H300. Several months into this (the project leader was the evil Sal) they decided to not make the machine (soon after that they bought Computer Control Company which made scientific machines) so we were idled for a bit.

In our department there was another compiler project for the H200 and it was in trouble. I pitched in and wrote another reverse assembler so that the object code could be debugged more easily. Then I took over system test. I built a database (using punched cards) to describe language elements, test status, and who was assigned to writing the tests. I assigned everyone test programs: Sal, the department manager, people in that project and anyone else I could find. Every couple of days I took my printout around and asked people what they had done, marked it up and then fixed the appropriate cards. Sal never did his assignments, although everyone else did. We got that release out.

Soon after this there was an attempted coup to get rid of the department manager by Sal and another senior guy; it backfired. This was then the opportunity for me to raise some issues with the Director (my manager's boss). Soon after Sal was gone!

There was a highup manager who was concerned about the fact that people came to work late. He would stand up on the roof and take down names and call the manager. This was completely ridiculous since many of the targeted people were those who were working late. I was one of those who worked late and I discovered quickly if I came to work after 9 (starting time was 8) he was already gone from the roof - I guess he did have a real job although we could never figure out what he actually did.

Now it was time for yet-another Fortran compiler for a faster version of the H200. We had to build the compiler and an operating system to go with it. I was named Project Leader. I had a really good team; now I reported to a different manager who was ideal from my point of view. He always did exactly what I told him to do! This was a good project; we met all of our objectives and got it out on time.
For this project we had moved to another building with High Security - meaning we had to wear badges. If you didn't bring in your badge they had temporary badges that you could sign out. I noticed that if you didn't return them they didn't contact you. So I had this great idea: I'd get a new one every day until they ran out! I had a desk drawer with more than 50 when one day I got a letter from Security. After sweating a bit I opened it. It said we noticed that you have several badges signed out that you haven't returned and listed I think three. So I found those 3 and returned them. I then stopped signing out new ones since because I did have a real job. At some time around then they dropped the badge requirement
The machine room was controlled by Marketting (we were Engineering) and they had a rule that you had to wear a tie and jacket in the machine room in case there were customers present (which was very rare). I still usually wore a jacket and tie but some of my people didn't. One of them, Stan, had to go to the computer room quite frequently. So for a while every day I'd get a call from the Head Operator about this. I would have a discussion with Stan - I refused to demand that he wear the costume since I thought it was a ridiculous requirement and I'm confident he wouldn't have done it any way so it was just a charade. These were fun because it seemed that they frequently occurred while he was preparing to brush his teeth. So there he was waving his hands around with a brush in one hand and a tube of toothpaste in the other hand (not yet having put the paste on since these were not held in the mens room).
Tags: career

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