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Dr. Who used to rely on computers from Natick

All Tom Baker Doctor Who Prime Computer Ads

Artair Geal discovered these 1980s ads for Prime Computer, which turned the old Carling Brewery on the shores of Lake Cochituate into a minicomputer powerhouse, and which apparently dabbled in romance advice on the side:

Dr. Who: "I can design ships, run power stations! Oil, gas! Where would the energy industry be without Prime?"
Romana: "Ask it how to handle a woman."

Prime was one of several Boston-area companies that did to the mainframe what the PC and software companies of Silicon Valley later did to them.

When not making donuts, Fred the Baker found the time to work as an executive at a company that dared to turn against IBM by using Wang Computer systems:

Digital Equipment Corp., which took over an old woolen mill in Maynard, put out some spoof commercials, including one that played off a series of American Express ads with Karl Malden (take a look at the size of those floppy disks):

Data General in Westborough, which had one of its computers chronicled in a Pulitzer-winning book, took time out of the computer wars to defeat Bolsheviks:

Data General also liked doing Supremes covers:

And covering the Blues Brothers (but set in Massachusetts rather than Illinois):

As PCs came on the scene, Massachusetts tried to get into the act. For a time, Cambridge's Lotus Development ruled one software roost:



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but what about the size of that spokesperson's necktie knot?

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The system administrator account for the primos OS was called SYSTEM, and by default it had no password until SYSTEM decided to set one.

What could possibly go wrong?

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More from Artair Geal:

A) They're canon, sorta.

B) They only aired in Australia.

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It is always "Doctor Who," never "Dr. Who."

Now where did I leave that sonic screwdriver?

Edit: Aaaand I am noticing the ads made the same mistake! K-9 would know better.

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It wasn't a hardware shop, but Westwood's Cullinet had the best celebrity in their ad:

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