by Darius Kazemi, May 6 2019

In 2019 I'm reading one RFC a day in chronological order starting from the very first one. More on this project here. There is a table of contents for all my RFC posts.

NASA graphics

RFC-126 is titled “Ames Graphics Facilities at Ames Research Center” and authored by John McConnell of the NASA Ames Research Center. It's dated April 1971, with no date but presumably was submitted alongside RFC-125 on April 18th.

The technical content

The author is providing, for informational purposes, a description of the graphics facilities available at Ames on their IBM 360/67. Devices available include:

They are trying to create a front-end that simplifies access to all of these diverse devices.


A “storage tube” CRT is a monitor where you can write an image to it and then you don't have to constantly update the image to keep it on the screen. The tube itself “remembers” the image you've sent it and continuously displays the image as long as it has power.

Further reading

Hardcopy Camera on the SC4020, showing a computer the size of 5 refrigerators side by side being operated by a woman.

Hardcopy Camera on the SC4020, June 1968. © Science and Technology Facilities Council, available from http://www.chilton-computing.org.uk/

The SC4020 was a massive machine that I am only just now learning about. As best I can tell, it's a multimedia production machine, capable of acting as a printer or creating animated films and who knows what else! There is a massive history of the SC4020 at Chilton Computing that I'm going to have to devour at a later date.

You can read about and see some poorly scanned ARDS storage tube CRT systems in this military supply documenation from 1967.

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About me

I'm Darius Kazemi. I'm an independent technologist and artist. I do a lot of work on the decentralized web with both ActivityPub and the Dat Project. You can support my work via my Patreon.