Watchtower Computer Engineering Research Lab

by VM44 37 Replies latest jw friends

  • cyberguy

    Gary Horn, who was a majority shareholder in a White Plains company that designed and manufactured computer components for IBM, sponsored it. His sister was married to a prominent guy on the Factory Committee. They setup a for-profit company that was connected with his White Plains company, and was staffed by Bethelites (free labor of course) and software/hardware guys from his company (who were full-time employees).

    This initial goal was not what turned into the MEPS, but a "dumb" terminal connected to a minicomputer (IBM Series-I), and finally connected to an IBM Mainframe to do the text layout. Later, the "design" was changed so that the MEPS consisted of a custom-configured, 4-processor box (Intel 8086), custom manufactured by Gary?s company. Of course, as PC?s came into market, they replaced the original custom box and the only remaining portion is the software.

    Also, there was some development at the farm of a custom-typesetting machine, but they bought the laser and film transport mechanisms from somebody, developed a microprocessor controller and did the controller programming. They also developed the fonts and technique for scanline-conversion.

  • CaptainSchmideo

    I work with an "ex-NASA guy", and he is no rocket scientist.

    The guy who puts in the chip on a board that goes in a satellite may be "working for NASA", but that don't make him Werhner Von Braun.

  • The Thinker
    The Thinker

    good point CaptainSchmideo. I knew a guy who worked for IBM, but he was just a simple job, answering phones or some kind of deskjob, he had no real qualifications.

    Also, I do remember how they boasted that no where was a program like this MEPS program was available in the world, but it was probably because no one else needed it or wanted it. And they sure make themsleves look like geniuses.

  • gitasatsangha

    I like bashing the Society as much as anyone, but MEPS was pretty cool, for its time. If it wasn't ahead of it's time, it was definately at the edge.

  • Jim_TX

    It's interesting what pops up doing a Google search with "Multilanguage Electronic Phototypesetting System" as the search phrase.


    Jim TX

  • gitasatsangha

    I didn't know about the IBM thing. I think they have at least one HPUX box there, or did back in 99.

  • Nosferatu
    They used a laptop (with no markings that I could recall.. and this was in 88.. there were no whitebox laptops to my knowledge so they were probably deliberately making them generic), with a small laser printer (remember the year), packed together so that the whole tihng could fit in a small suitcase.

    Compact computers in 1988:



    Compact computer in 1982:


  • drwtsn32

    Compact computer circa 1945:

  • Nosferatu

    That would have been better, drwtsn! The Watchtower should have installed Eniac computers in 1980. Imagine getting the WT Library on a spool of tickertape, or punch cards!

  • Elsewhere


    Wow! I used to have one of these a looooong time ago.

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