Wellcom to the hjbodmer Webpage.

Thought from my best friend Jgantz: I am on Facebook, therefor I am.


My name is Hans Bodmer. I am a freelance author. I live in Zurich, Switzerland.

I am presenting now the books I wrote:

1. CDC. The happy years with a very special IT Phenomena: The Control Data Corporation.
2. The OTHER Computer History

If you have a question, or you just want to contact me please use the contact form,

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    ISBN:  9783756228713  Publishing date:    09/28/2022
    Publisher: Books on Demand
    Pages: 96 Illustrations: 110 Words: 16718
    Amazon URL: http://amazon.com/dp/3756228711

    Editors notes:
    This book derived from the announced interest from readers of the authors’ recently published books ‘The OTHER Computer History’ and ‘Die ANDEREN Computer ‘Geschichten’.
    It is an essay to describe and analyze the ‘stormy’ years of the CDC from 1963-2005.
    The author’s thesis and conclusion will lead to controversial discussions.
    The services from Google, Wikipedia, and PONS were much appreciated. The help from Grammarly was pertinent.
    I like to thank Werner Knecht for his contribution. The information obtained from the Facebook Control Data Corporation Private Group was helpful.
    Please note that English is not the author’s native language. He is fully aware that the applied writing style is personal. And so are his handling of sentences, forms, and punctuation marks: Very liberal.

    Hans Bodmer
    All rights reserved.
    Set and cover design: Hans Bodmer
    Photo Back cover: Picture of the Author (In the presentation film from 1965 for the CDC6600 at CERN https://videos.cern.ch/record/43172)

    The histories of IT companies’ developments, success, and groundings could fill books of several hundred pages. This book here concentrates on the relatively short, but exotic life cycle of the CDC. For a long time, this Minnesota founded and later became a worldwide leader was only known to specialists. For normal people, it was just one of those IBM machines. CDC and IBM were bitter enemies. IBM survived. This booklet entitled: CDC contains historical, proven, and not so proven rumors intermixed with often humorous human anecdotes which always are related to CDC. The essay tries to explain to the non-computer freaks the hectic time that leads to the completely IT-oriented world in there we live today. In the case you are interested in a particular Chapter:
    Here is the Index


    1. Prologue                                                                       
    2. CDC 1604 and 160-A.                                                  
    3. CDC 3000 Series Mainframes.                                      
    4. CDC 6000 Series Mainframes.                                       
    5. CDC 6603 Disc Drive.                                                    
    6. Tape Drive Stations 606 and 626.                                   
    7. CDC Drum Storage and portable Disc Packs.                
    8. CDC Employment ‘Methods’.                                        
    9. Minneapolis. (‘Minnehopeless’)                                      
    10. Chippewa Falls.                                                          
    11. CDC at CERN.                                                            
    12. The first approach to Computer Networks
    13. The first step toward the interactive use of computers.  
    14. The CDC chaotic Cyber Series Story.                            
    15. Why this dispersion of resources?                                  
    16. The triumphal march of the Superminis and the PCs.    
    17. The UBISCO debacle.                                                    
    18. The ‘Grounding‘ of a Giant.                                            
    19. Homage to Seymour Cray.                                             
    20. Homage to William Norris.                                              
    21. Epilogue.                                                                          
    Pictures Index.                                                                      
    The Computer Evaluation in Pictures.                                  
    Appendix: The Author’s activities with CDC.                        

    Review from Jeff Murphy Nov. 2022:

    The history of the development of IT could fill books of several hundred pages.

    Author Hans Bodmer is quite right about that. He has chosen to tell us about the short, but explosive, history of the Control Data Company, CDC, for whom he worked. It’s a fascinating tale, told in a mixture of technological summary and wry anecdote. 

    Formed in 1957, CDC was a major player in computing right up until the late 1980s when a series of missteps led it to exit computer manufacturing. The remaining business is now Ceridian. Bodmer went to work for CDC in the 1960s. He had been working for the European computing company Bull, but was bored and unfulfilled. There were some cultural confusions in his interview but to his amazement, he got the job and from there it was off to Minneapolis and more culture shocks; some very funny. And there he was, at the very center of American computer development, working with luminaries such as Seymour Cray and William Norris.
    This short book crams in a lot – Bodmer covers CDC’s product development history in detail together with the surrounding social and business forces. We learn about how those big old computers worked, about the development of networking and the move from supercomputers to superminis. And eventually, to the demise of CDC itself, which was partly self-inflicted but also speaks to the failure of the financial markets to suffer temporary setbacks. . But the book isn’t dry or dull, mostly thanks to Bodmer’s own wry attitude to life and work. The whole thing is peppered with fabulous anecdotes and observations. For example, Seymour Cray orders all the champagne in Chippewa Falls when he sells a computer model for $2m. There were only three to be had!
    I found the book fascinating. I found out a lot that I did not know. It also made me think about genericization – when a brand or trademark becomes so popular that it becomes a generic term for all products of the same type. Hoover for vacuum cleaner is a good example of this. I’m not a computer specialist and I had never heard of CDC. And yet I had heard of IBM. As Bodmer points out, CDC and IBM were bitter enemies. IBM survived. But even before CDC’s demise, and when Bodmer is still new to America, he meets a girl and tells her that he works in computers. “Ah, with these IBM machines?” she says. Branding is powerful.
    The book ends with Bodmer’s reflections on the influence of computing and the internet in our lives today. He suggests that nothing comes without a cost. And he’s quite right about that.  If you’re interested in technology, or how we came to be as dependent on computing as we are, this little book is for you.

    The author’s activities with CDC.

    November 1963.
    For the first time in his life, I encountered the name Control Data. I was interviewed by a chief engineer from Minneapolis. Was his name Bob Moe?

    Helped to unpack the CDC 1604 for ETH Zurich. 
    First lessons in a Hotel (name forgotten) in downtown Minneapolis. Hands-on training peripheral devices in Bloomington, Minnesota: Card reader, Line printer, Magnetic Tape Stations, Disc Drive CDC 6603. Theoretical CE training for the CDC 6600 in Arden Hills, Minnesota. Hands-on training and active development in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, with Seymour Cray, Grec Mansfield, and Dave Cahlander.

    Installation and maintenance of the CDC 6600 serial Nr. 3 at CERN

    Hands-on training and active development of the CDC 6400 in Arden Hills.

    EIC for the CDC 6400 at CERN. Technical Support Engineer in Europe: ETH Zürich, Fides Zürich, TH Aachen, Germany. 

    Again in Arden Hills. My task was to write a hardware test and trouble-shoot program for the CDC 6603 Disc. In PPU assembler.

     A new start as a junior programmer for CDC at CERN. Introductory training seminar in Tel Aviv, Israel Installation of new COS releases, analyzing system crash postmortem dumps, and implementing CERN-specific changes to the COS.

    I was sent for training on the COS at Sunnyvale Software Development Center in Sunnyvale, California. Then he was an active member of the COS development team. The first task was to implement the at that time called ‘multi-mainframe’ feature. It allows more than one mainframe can access the same disc drives. And what is more important: The mainframes were able to ‘talk’ to each other. What was, as it turned out later, the first step towards computer networks.

    As a Senior System Analyst working as technical support at the university of Laramie, Wyoming, Vienna, Austria, and Bologna, Italy. Giving seminars at ETH and preparing benchmark Programs in Ljubljana

    Assigned to the DIOGENE project at the Hopital Cantonal Geneve. Programming systems recovery routines in CPU assembler. Several thousand lines of code.

    I was assigned to the CDC branch office in Lausanne. Undefined duties.

    A review from onlinebookclub:

    A passionate, engrossing, and detailed guide…
    Bodmer writes a lively account of his own experience from the very early days of computer evolution in his debut. He vigorously and lucidly details the initial days of computer science, his first job as a data transmission device mechanic in Swiss Army Air Force and later as a programmer in Zurich, and his time in Paris, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Along the way, he covers the beginning of the computer era (the term ‘computer’ was vaguely used and they were called electronic data processing machines instead.), to the famous disc storage unit CDC 6603, the Supercomputer, its architecture and hardware, to the introduction of software and networks. He writes in engaging prose and is excellent when it comes to explaining many detailed technical descriptions. Bodmer’s individual stories are deeply engaging, and the accompanied pictures beautifully detail all kinds of old electronic devices. Readers curious about the early days of computer technology will find The Other Computer History a doggedly cleareyed guide to computer’s history.

    Review from Grady Harp, December 21

    Swiss author Hans Bodmer has served in many IT professions – maintenance engineer, operating systems programmer telecommunication specialist, and marketing manager for network equipment. He also is an actor, a poet, and essayist, and makes his literary debut with this book – THE OTHER COMPUTER HISTORY.

    At this moment in time, everyone from the very young (games), the youth (online info gathering and dating), to young, middle age, and seniors (reading, investigating, questioning, shopping, Facetime, social media, Zooming, business transactions, etc) – all of us are ‘computer dependent.’ In this fascinating book, Bodmer explains how we got to this point. His manner of writing – Bodmer is the ‘main character’ and he relates the history from his own stance and his father’s history – and in doing so makes the information extremely entertaining as well as informative.

    ‘Question 1: What was the world before the Computers and THE NET? There are not so many any more who are able to remember that time. He [the author] can. It was for a long time not realized what this ‘thing’ later called IT (Information Technology) did to the world. An entirely new dimension ‘hit’ humanity…Today he is no longer so interested in the details of the almost crazy development of IT. And he’s afraid of all its abuses.’

    In relating his personal history as a young man when computers were created through the various enhancements of the computer and its impact on humanity, Bodmer presents one of the most informed, intelligent, accurate, and extraordinarily entertaining history books about computers/IT to date. With his father’s history and his own – from his first job as a Programmer to the present, the rapid developments of computers – both the positive and the negative aspects are explained. Bodmer adds many color photographs to make his comments visual. For everyone who is computer dependent, this book is a ‘must-read! Very highly recommended. Grady Harp, December 21

    Goals for the Book:
    To tell computer-interested readers the early development of  Computers, the IT business in general, the Internet, and email. To write down, facts that have never been published.

    Target audience:
    Higher technical Institutes, Universities, IT museums.
    IT students, IT teachers, IT ‘freaks’, and computer-nostalgic addicts

    The writer, an elderly man, writes his experiences from the early days of computer science until 2004. At that time, it was not recognized for a long time what a gigantic transformation it will bring in human history. Successes of the IT and thereby also the so usual ‘flops’ as well as its own will be described as subjectively as possible. It is attempted by non-technical examples and ‘parables’ and precise translation of the computer-specific terms to make the whole ‘thing’ for laymen in this area a little more ‘digestible’. The inevitable associations coming up while writing it down resulted in human anecdotes, amusing episodes, and the description of picturesque situations. But he soon returns to reality and his own ‘theses’ and ‘philosophic’ illusions. With a laugh and tears and a blinking eye, he now says to his ‘buddies’: Goodbye. We had an excellent time…

    1. Peculiarity of the story. The book contains factual reports from the early days of IT. In part previously unpublished episodes from the era of punched card data processing, ‘stories’ about Seymour Cray, the father of supercomputers, the first real supercomputer at CERN, detailed descriptions of the work of Operating Systems Programmer, experiences from the time of the super-mini computer, and from the first days of the internet. The whole thing is loosened up with narratives of events that only indirectly have to do with computers. And again and again, the author is tempted to write down very personal ideas, illusions, and philosophies

    2. Main characters and locations. The main character is the author. So, the book is also a biography. The locations are Zurich, Stockholm, Paris, Minneapolis, Chippewa Falls, Wis., CERN Geneva, Sunnyvale, Cal, and various cities in Europe.
    3. The author. He was a computer scientist from 1959-2004. Since his retirement, he has been a freelance writer and amateur actor. The idea of writing down his computer experience was triggered by an intensive conversation with his son Stephan Bodmer. He was asked to put his vast experience in all areas of IT on paper. Otherwise, valuable information would be lost forever.

    Sample Reading:


    Question 1: What was the world before the Computers and THE NET?

    Question 2: Could the impact of IT in the development of humans, the whole society, and almost everything, not be compared with the invention of gunpowder? Or even with the atomic bomb? End of ‘psychological’ somersaults. Back to reality. Back to the text of: “The Other Computer History”.

    What is coming now may not be of interest to many. Unless she or he is really an overwhelmed ‘computer freak’. In 1955, there was no evidence of something like this. And also the ugly German word, ‘Informationstechnolgie’ was most likely not in the ‘Duden’. ‘Duden’ was and still is the most important wordbook in German.

    It was much easier, even for a born Swiss, to write the technical parts of what now is to be read in English. After all, English is the language of computer people. Not just for them. Children all over the world are eager to learn it already in kindergarten.

    He is very, very familiar with the computer and everything related to it. Therefore: The ‘DU’ in the title of the German version of this book. They have been working together for 45 years. Sometimes friends, sometimes enemies. Deadly sad mood and joy followed in high frequent order. A kind of hate-love. It was definitely a very close relationship.

    He was there. From the beginning. He was there until 2004 when he ‘switched off’. Or better: He wanted to do this. With only half a success. As was so often the case in his computer-oriented life. Today he is no longer so interested in the details of the almost crazy development of IT. And he’s afraid of all its abuse.

    He has become a normal ‘user’. But that too is becoming a burden. The daily battles with Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Word are getting harder every day.

    But he’s not (yet) completely out of service and away from that ‘stuff’. In an intensive conversation with his son on his already somewhat advanced birthday, he recognized his defeats and victories with the machines which so often gave him big problems. But they also brought a lot of joy during his long professional career.

    But writing it down is a very different ‘story’.

    It seems to have made a big impression on his son what he heard from his father. Of course: He is also a computer scientist. With a diploma and more. Not like his father. At his time, there were no signs of a possibility to study computer science. The term, as said, did not even exist. He has no official certificates. The only official document is the paper, which certifies that he has passed the exam in this hated profession as a precision mechanic.

    He received the certificate that he had completed his apprenticeship only after the second agonizing examination. And only because he made a sacred promise to the examiners that he would never work in this profession. Which he obviously would never have done.

    In the ‘Stone Age’ of computers and data transmission, the universities did not see their future. The glamorous potential of the new techniques has long been ignored.

    He saw it very early. But it was only by the conversation with his son that he realized what a great deal of knowledge he now has. The question of all the questions: Does it bring money? Is this not the only final criteria for almost every decision in life? This book will certainly not bring lots of cash!

    He replied to his son: “No pig will care about my stories”. The millions of young people who gesticulate today on laptops, smartphones, and whatever will come are only interested in the photo of the lover, dirty pictures, the games, the news about the next upcoming events, and demonstrations,

    “I am on Facebook, that’s why I am”. (Quote Rodolfo Bodmer).

    So, it’s a pretty hopeless project to write a book with forgotten facts about technical details and their problems. Or tell the world about the amazing moments he had together with a genius like Seymour Cray. Or the imagination you need to fix Supercomputers.

    In addition, it will be extremely stressful to concentrate for two or more hours a day for weeks and months. Not to mention the dozen hours spent searching on the internet for forgotten abbreviations, correcting names, verifying facts, and so on. And to fight the attempt to follow the guaranteed arising ‘brain associations’. Force yourself to come back to the topic as soon as possible: To the Other computer history.

    Yes, and let no mistakes creep in. A potential reader would not like this and the writer will receive malicious criticism. He prefers to leave mistakes to the computer. Better: To those who create the programs. The benefits of a computer are only as good as the programmer who wrote the software. A computer is a tool. Nothing else. Like a lathe. Only: To work with a lathe and to use it correctly has still to be done manually.

    Today, the computer is the boss. Nothing works without it. But also a lot goes wrong with it.

    Quote: “The computer creates us today the problems which we earlier did not have”.

    Much about this unpleasant reality can be read from now on. The beginning of the ‘essay’ was quite difficult. Will it ever be finished? Qui vivra verra!

    Quote: “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”. (Matthew 26, 41 in the Bible).

    Oh, excuse me for slandering the Homo sapiens. But like most things in life, the accused machine also has very excellent and useful skills. For example, it can perform calculations very quickly. Learning arithmetic in elementary school will soon have become redundant. No more hated and strenuous learning of multiplication tables. The students need no longer to construct grammatically correct sentences. They now have time to chat, send text messages and tell each other the usual nonsense. Or to play computer games. A very productive activity.

    But without the word processor with all its ‘features’, problems, and errors, this text could never be written. Today, almost nothing is put on paper by human fingers.

    In Switzerland, there is an important exception:

    The last will !!!

    Review from SanFranciscoBookReview.com. 18.8.2021

    Star Rating: 4.5 / 5

    It is almost impossible to live without computers today. Many things we do—from how we make payments and communicate to how we enjoy music, sleep, and more—are heavily influenced by computers. It’s easy to forget about the magnificence of this man-made phenomenon, never bothering to find out about its origin. In The Other Computer History, Hans Bodmer details how he took on different jobs during the early phase of the computer revolution, including hanging on roofs and lamp posts as a telephone soldier in the Swiss Air Force, taking up machine servicing jobs with BULL (an IT company in France directly competing with IBM), working as a technician for a company’s supercomputer CDC 6600 in Minneapolis, USA, and more. Read the captivating story of how Hans worked and troubleshot for a number of big companies in different countries, attended several parties hosted by the companies, met and discussed computers with Seymour Cray, and got to witness different breakthroughs in the world of computers.

    What a privilege to read about someone who was present in the era and the environment that the supercomputers were born in. The Other Computer History is highly detailed with helpful technical information, which would appeal to tech-savvy readers and professionals in the technological world. However, readers like me, who are not professionals in technology, would also find Hans Bodmer’s different exploits relatable and exciting. I was greatly inspired by how a foreigner in a new country learned the language—English—and a lot about supercomputers while dealing with angry bosses, unknown parking rules, and the failure and rise of the different companies he worked for. Also, I was completely immersed in the book due to its descriptive recounts; it was thrilling to imagine “the roar of the winter storm” and a pilot’s three approaches to land an airplane in tough conditions.

    The Other Computer History is mightily educational, immersing, and inspiring as it made me feel like a part of the events and showed me the harsh realities and tough phases that people with dreams and ideas have to go through to achieve great feats. Some companies succeeded, while others failed embarrassingly; ultimately, a new, phenomenal reality was born out of the collective works of different companies and individuals such as Hans Bodmer—who might not be as glorified as the celebrated names, but who were surely important contributors to the creation of world-changing supercomputers.

    Reviewed by Foluso Falaye



    A slightly confused older gentleman goes on a hike from Zurich to Geneva. On hiking trails, whenever there are. But the goal is to go to the destination as quickly as possible: to Café de la Place, 1217 Meyrin GE. The adventures and encounters are more numerous and unforeseen than expected. The experience brings smiles, laughter and a sense of achievement. Also, unpleasant ones, teeth grinding and suffering. He has time to explore his thoughts and follow the associations which arise from the events. He inevitably ends up in complex, exuberant pipe dreams and bizarre, surreal spheres. For those, he often ends up in the virtual desert. He does not care. He wonders, ponders and provokes constantly. 

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