The Anonymous Widower

The Queen’s First Computer System For Her Horses

In The Queen Was Well-Briefed, I mentioned a lunch with a Hewlett-Packard engineer and that he had done some work in Buckingham Palace.

This article on NBC is entitled When Did Queen Elizabeth II Last Visit San Francisco And The Bay Area?, where this is the first paragraph.

Queen Elizabeth’s visit to the Bay Area included a serenade by Tony Bennett, a meal at Trader Vics in Emeryville and a dinner at the De Young Museum with President Ronald Reagan and the First Lady.

The visit was in 1983 and these two paragraphs describes her visit to Silicon Valley.

On March 3, 1983, the Queen visited Stanford University and the Hewlett Packard factory, the technology company based in Palo Alto.

At Stanford Queen Elizabeth dined at the Hoover House with university president Donald Kennedy.

Hewlett-Packard presented the Queen a HP 3000 computer on which to plan and organise the breeding of her race horses, to mark her visit to the company.

I should say, that the engineer, who I’ll call Bob, was well-known to me, as he’d been the engineer, who’d serviced my HP 21MX computer, when I was programming Artemis in the 1970s. He was very good at his job, but hadn’t expected his job to take this direction.

Hewlett-Packard had behaved very professionally and had obtained a licence for suitable software from the Aga Khan.

The installation of the computer in the basement of Buckingham Palace had gone well, with the user terminal being placed in the Queen’s apartment.

When everything was working, the Queen’s equerry, with whom he was dealing, announced they would be going to France to get the software from the Aga Khan’s stud at a chateau to the West of Paris.

The equerry arranged with the engineer to meet him at the VIP suite in the Queen’s Building at Heathrow in a few days time. He was also told he’d be staying one night in France.

So at the appointed time, he gingerly opened the door to the VIP suite and walked in. Almost immediately he bumped into Mrs. Thatcher, who was leaving. Luckily, he was spotted by the equerry, who beckoned him over.

He asked the equerry about the flight and was told that they would be flying in a Dominie of the Queen’s Flight to Beauvais.

I can remember him saying that that was the way to fly.

They were met by a limousine on arrival in France and taken to the chateau.

He was then shown to his room, which he described as an extravagant tart’s boudoir.

After a period of time, the equerry knocked on his door and announced the plan for the visit.

They would have dinner in half-an-hour with the Aga Khan and then in the morning his software guy would show you about the software and hand over a copy.

The engineer did admit to being a bit out of his depth, but the equerry just told him to copy him and he’d be alright.

Thirty minutes later the equerry collected the engineer and they were shown into a room, where the meeting would take place.

There was a curtain across the room, and as it drew back, all the flunkies prostrated themselves on the ground. The engineer was watching the equerry, who just stood there. So he copied him.

When the curtain finally revealed the Aga Khan, the engineer felt it best to just stand there.

However, the Aga Khan approached him and said. “Hello! You must be Bob!”

The rest of the visit went without incident and the software was duly collected.

 

September 10, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Price of an Artemis 1000 System in 1984

In going through my papers for possibly the last time, I found this invoice for an Artemis system. Or at least for the hardware required.

A Metier Invoice for an Artemis System

Effectively, my recollection is that this was about the time we sold the company to Lockheed and it was for old-times sake more than anything.  I have a feeling I actually bought my old development mchine from the attic.  It’s still in my shed now and I suspect it is the only one left!

November 18, 2010 Posted by | Computing | , , | 4 Comments