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This does not compute

The Brooklyn Paper

Where did all the slide rules go — and where do all the books fit with all these computers on the desks?

These were the questions in the air last week at Brooklyn Technical HS as the techies of times bygone descended upon their Fort Greene alma mater for a reunion.

“I remember one computer in the whole school,” said class of 1967 grad Philip Morris. “It was the size of two refrigerators and had its own language.”

“We started it with a punch card,” chimed in his one-time classmate, Jonathan Goldman.

“Every time I got mad at the teacher, I used to bend the card so the program wouldn’t start,” the gray-haired former geek said.

Morris and Goldman sat in a computer lab — it was a metal shop when they went to the school — marveling at the transformation Tech had undergone since their salad days.

But they were certainly not the most wowed over by the digital-age makeover of the 85-year-old engineering, math and science school.

John Lyons, a member of the class of ’67 who showed up in his letter sweater and a few valedictorian pins, explained the difference in three words: the personal computer.

“Students went from drawing with pen and ink to using a mouse,” Lyons said.

Everyone seemed to understand how much the meaning of the word “tech” had changed over the decades.

“We had blacksmithing and a foundry,” said 1947 grad, Mark Drummond. The retired telephone engineer recalled building sections of naval ships in shop class.

“I graduated before the transistor was invented,” he said, patting a desk that he said once would have had a tool vise attached to it.

“But we had a computer, too,” he said. “It was called an abacus.”

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