Montana - Bozeman

by Kimp 21. November 2014 12:27

Photo Blog (Click to view)


Bozeman is the home of main campus of "Montana State University".

It's in a very interesting location, because there aren't any cities within 80 miles (130 km) of Bozeman. Entering from any direction we are driving though the wilderness for more then an hour, and all of a sudden a city of about 40,000 people appears out of nowhere.

Nelson Story, was a gold miner from Ohio, who had struck gold in nearby Virginia City. Wanting to get out of the prospecting business, Nelson bought 1000 head of Longhorn Cattle. In 1866, he and his partner drove all of the cattle down the Bozeman trail, looking for a good place to graze them and set up a homestead. The Bozeman trail was a trail that connected Virginia City with the Oregon Trail.

In 1866 the area around the Bozeman trail was heavy with hostile Indian tribes. The US Army wanted to turn them around to protect him and his partner, but they disregarded the warning and took an evasive measure to get around them.

When they got to the beautiful valley of Paradise near the small town of Bozeman, they made a claim and set up a homestead.

Nelson became a very successful rancher and later donated land for the establishment of Montana State University.


Bozeman's main industry is Montana State University, with side industries dedicated to laser optics, bio technology and software engineering.

The large university population gives Bozeman an average age of 25 years old.

People are attracted to Bozeman for its activities such as fly fishing, hiking, white water, mountain climbing, skiing; its scenery; and its quality of life.   

American Computer Museum

Having been in the industry for a very long time, I have two very old and rare personal computers in storage, that I have been wanting to donate to a museum for a long time. One is a very early business PC and another is a very early portable computer. I think I have found a good home for them.

The "American Computer Museum" is the largest museum in the United States that is dedicated to personal computer history. It also has a complete history of computing devices that pre-date personal computers.

I have yet another computer that I will donate, but it might end up in the trash or in a cobweb filled dark corner in the basement never to be seen again. That would be the Kimpel 1 and only 1.

When I was in the US Navy, in the early 1980's, I built my own S-100 bus computer for personal use. In the Navy, I had access to and developed PC software on a  very high end, Vector Graphic computer. Vector Graphic computer's pre dated the IBM PC and were about 10 times better and faster then the first IBM PC's for only about 5 times the cost. I remember seeing the first IBM PC and thought it was just a toy when compared to the Vector Graphic I had been using for years. My exact thoughts were, "Who would buy that cheap piece of crap?". 

The S-100 bus was what all of the early personal computers were based on. It was called a passive back plane design. Rather then having a mother board, like modern computers, the central processing unit was in a daughter card that plugged into the back plane. A back plane is just a row of sockets with 100 pins in each socket (picture is in the photo blog). Say 6 sockets, which meant 600 hand soldered connections, in my case.

I can remember the hassle I had purchasing some of the integrated circuits to support the Central Processing Unit. In those days, some of the cheaper Integrated Circuits are only 25 cents each and because they were so cheap, the weren't sold separately. I had to buy them in a batch of 50 or 100. What I did was purchase a whole batch, then take one out and send the rest back saying that I had ordered the wrong item, getting my money back. I had to use different distributors, so they didn't catch on. I justified that practice by purchasing other higher cost items from them, that I intended to keep.  I had no plans of mass production, this was just for my own education.

I got it running using the CP/M (Control Programing/Monitor) operating system at first and later was able to get it running under MS-DOS. CP/M is the only computer software that I would characterize as an art form. It was beautiful in its simplicity and amazing in what could easily be built upon it. 

I used that computer at home for about 10 years, developing software, being an active forum member on CompuServe,  and writing articles for several early software magazines with it. The Kimpel 1 still runs, but eventually I needed something that was faster.

When you've invested a lot of time and thought into building something for yourself, it sure is hard to part with.

Museum of the Rockies (Dinosaurs)

The Museum of the Rockies has the largest Dinosaur Collection in the United States.

Sam and I meet a beautiful young Montana State University student who was volunteering there. Yowsa, Yowsa, Yowsa, sure wish I was 20 something again. Besides the great smile, she gave us a sweet looking dinosaur sticker, said that was her favorite part of the museum, and gave us a great description of what was inside, and gave us directions to get to that part of the museum. I was hoping a free tour was going to be offered, but we had to go that one alone.

I used to think that humans would have become extinct, if we existed during the age of the dinosaurs. But what I learned from this museum has changed my mind.

I now believe, that humans would have been able to conquer even the huge predator dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurs Rex. My basis is on the fact that there were many dinosaurs much smaller then humans, who were able to survive and thrive in that environment.

Enjoy the pictures.


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Comments (1) -

Jim Patrick
11/23/2014 11:00:16 PM #

Funny about the computer museum.  At my first real job, we used to fight over the suitcase-sized Compaq "portable" computer with the orange 6"x6" screen.  Here at work we are all Mac and we keep an old Apple SE30 in the back and some parts for the famous Duo Dock.  The dock would sit on your desk attached to a monitor and staff would swoop in from the field with a little folding laptop which would plug into the dock like a cartridge and boot up.  We used to have a Newton for which you had to learn Graffiti shorthand you would use with the nifty telescoping stylus.  The Newton was too big to fit in your pocket, but was a precursor to better things.  My boss handed it to me one morning and said see if this is of any use to us.  Not many had the patience to fool with Graffiti.


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