Another Hi-Tech Title

(Good?) Housekeeping
Stuff of Nightmares

Computers in Society - cover

Computers in Society

Submitter: I know you’ve already got a few outdated books on computers, but the best part about this is that it comes from a music conservatorium library (I don’t work there, but found it on the “free to a good home” trolley. Why a music school ever needed a textbook on computers is beyond me – there isn’t even a section on computers in music (if that existed back in 1981). A couple of the scans show the various parts (including a desk-sized central processing unit) and explains EMMS (primitive email).

Holly: I can’t think of a reason why MOST libraries would keep this book!

317 Organizations, Offices, and Computers

Computers in Society - Pages 36 and 37


  1. Even the bank they’re talking about is long gone. I think it was Bank of America that swallowed Continental in the mid 90s.

  2. Is that a heat map on the cover?

    Fun for past history, not much for modern libraries, especially a musical one!

  3. I’m very impressed that 8000 pages of text can be stored on a disk. You know that we would never need more memory than that. As a librarian in a technical college, this would be out the door on my first sweep. Yes, I want computer history, but a couple of books on the history of computers will take care of that nicely.

  4. The book dates from about the time I was getting into computers – but at a university, so no word processing to speak of. I did a long paper entirely in BASIC comments. All caps too, because that’s what the printer had. Made an A. We had better terminals than the ones shown, but no heat-sensitive portraits. Darn, that would have been fun.

    This book might fit into a private individual’s 1970s nostalgia collection. Now I’m visualizing the room where they keep it – all nubbly orange and brown, with hanging lamps – OK, enough of that!

  5. Although I’m not a musician, I do remember composing simple songs on our first home computer, which was in the early 80’s.

  6. Re. computers in music:

    It could be argued that yes, computers were being used in music before 1981. The MOOG synthesizers were (and are) strictly analog, but sequencers and the ARP 2600 synth during the 1970s used both digital and analog technology.

    If you run across it, pick up a copy of Jean-Michel Jarre’s 1978 album Equionx. He set a pretty high bar for electronic music at the time.

  7. More on computers and music in 1981: They existed, if you were willing to pay for them. Early digital workstations like the Fairlight CMI and the Synclavier were around then, but they also commanded 5-6 digits in US dollars at the time. They were pretty much the realm of studios, top-tier music schools, and diehard synth geeks like Stevie Wonder. Also, most of the first popular polysynths had 8-bit CPUs in them to scan the keyboard and manage the presets; the Prophet-5/-10 and the Oberheim OB-X(a) used ’em. Still expensive, but wouldn’t break the bank like the workstations.

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