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Logical Machine Corporation (LOMAC)

The Adam was the first computer released by Logical Machine Corporation (LOMAC) in 1976. In 1978 they produced Tina which stands for "TINy Adam". It seems to have the same specs as David but with two 8'' floppy disk drives. There was also the Goliath, a data storage server with 5MB hard drive. Goliath could be connected to up to 20 Davids or Tinas. David and Goliath names makes a clear reference to the mythical story found in the biblical Book of Samuel.

Tina is a four-piece unit consisting of Video Display Unit (VDU), keyboard, dual disk drives and printer. The keyboard is a standard typewriter keyboard with additional special control keys and a 15-key numeric keypad. The keyboard can be snapped into the VDU base or may be placed away from the VDU with connection by cable. The second portion of the “control console” is the VDU with a 12-inch diagonal screen that can display 24 lines of 80 characters each. Tina’s brain, which is housed inside the console, is a 48K KB, 170 nanosecond, 16-bit processor. External storage consists of 8'' dual-sided, double density drives. Capacity for the diskettes is 1.25 megabytes each for the file disk and vocabulary disk.

Tina includes a standard printer featuring upper and lower case a 7 X 9 dot matrix and bidirectional print head. Speed for the unit is 60-character lines at 67 lines per minute. Type size is 16.5 characters per inch with 8-inch maximum print width for 132 characters per line. An alternate printer features upper and lower case, 9x9 dot matrix and bidirectional print head with a speed of 100 lines per minute for 60-character lines. Type size is 10 characters per inch with a 13.2-inch maximum print width to give 132 characters per line.

Tina, which may serve as a stand alone unit or as a terminal to the Goliath disk file system, has communication capability with an RS-232 serial interface built in.

But the most original feature of the Tina is not its hardware or cosmetic details, it is its operating system and language !

Logical Business Machines was an american company based in Sunnyvale, California. It was founded by John Peers, prior to buying ‘The Byte Shop’, one of the first successful chains of personal computer stores. His studies in human learning in the 70s led him to a neurological emulations approach in computing, now better-known as neural networking technology. In 1982, Mr. Peers also founded Novix, Inc., specializing in the design of high-speed microprocessors and software optimized for neural and massive parallel computing. John McAfee was vice President of engineering at Logical (at least in 1983/1984).

This historical background is necessary to explain why the Tina computer was so special. The philosophy behind the Tina and its operating system/language is that the user is not necessarily a computer expert. Thus the system let the user create its own language based on verbs, words, nouns, numbers or expressions, a bit like Forth programming language. Verbs call actions for example and can be used to create and index files, manipulate data, prompts the user to enter data, while nouns represent the user's data. Thus the user communicate with the computer via a "natural" language conceived by the user itself. It's the difficult to explain how it works, but the concept was revolutionary at the time. This natural language was the predecessor of PRAGMA (that is still used today).

Sadly, these computers and their concept didn't sell well and very little is known about them. Any testimonies or memories are welcome !

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NAME  Tina
MANUFACTURER  Logical Machine Corporation (LOMAC)
TYPE  Professional Computer
YEAR  1978
KEYBOARD  Fullstroke keyboard with numeric keypad
CPU  Intel 3000 bit-slice processor (one 3001 Microcontrol Unit + eight 3002 2-bit Arithmetic Logic Unit slice + one 3003 Look-ahead Carry Generator)
RAM  48 KB
TEXT MODES  24 lines x 80 characters
COLORS  Monochrome display
SOUND  Unknown
SIZE / WEIGHT  Heavy !
I/O PORTS  Serial, Parallel
BUILT IN MEDIA  2 x 8'' floppy disk drive
OS  Logical Natural Language
PRICE  $14,995 (USA, 1978)
$15,000 (USA, 1980)

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