Friday, May 7, 2010

Photos from my time at Cap France

My friend Yves Tallineau has just sent me a couple of photos dating from 1969, when we were working together in Paris in a software company named Cap France. More precisely, we were operating an in-house training department, located in the Avenue du Général Foy (near the St-Augustin church), aimed at teaching groups of fellow employees of Cap France how to program the IBM 370 computer.

In those days, programmers usually told computers what was to be done by recording programming instructions in the form of punched cards. These were produced manually (generally by the programmers themselves) on IBM card-punch machines. Here we see one of our trainees punching cards for her program, which was probably developed in the Cobol language.

As an extra task, Yves and I once produced a couple of audiovisual presentations concerning the company's two software products, called Autoflow and Sysif. In the following photo, I'm using scissors and adhesive tape to edit an audio tape on a Revox tape recorder.

In fact, at that time, I was attending evening classes organized by Pierre Schaeffer in the musique concrète studios of the research service of the French Broadcasting System. That explains how I had become proficient in audio tape editing.

A few months after the time at which this photo was taken (towards the end of 1969), I decided to leave Cap France and accept an offer to work as a salaried engineer with Schaeffer. As a result of that change in my professional existence, I soon became involved in computer music, television production, artificial intelligence and writing. But that's another long story.

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