JF Ptak Science Books Post 1741
Well, perhaps not "fun", unless that was an acronym for "fabulously understated nomenclature". The first mobile computers--as science fiction-y
The Mobile Digital Computer was intended to be a transistorized van-mounted computer used to store and route data as part of the U.S. Army’s Fieldata system. The machine was indeed built and deployed by 1959–as were the MOBIDIC A,B,C,D,E and 7a by the early 1960's–and it was a successful component, even though the overall network was not successful. Fieldata was supposed to integrate all manner of information and distribute it to battlefield recipients. My friend (Dr.) Carl Hammer (1914-1904), who I knew from being in the neighborhood in Georgetown, was a delightful man who had long and significant history in the development of the modern computer. He told me one afternoon–stopping in to visit on his constitutional–in his sly and amusing way about working on the MOBIDIC while he was at Sylvania. (He had just finished heading up Remington Rand’s UNIVAC European Division before going to Sylvania.) Anyway he started his story about the MOBIDIC by telling me that it was the world’s first portable computer (sitting in a 42-foot-long semitrailer) and that it had gun racks. The reason for the gun racks was simple–if something was made by the U.S. Army, and it had wheels, then it had to have a gun rack. Case closed.
Now, to the contender, the "other" first mobile computer, the DYSEAC on its computer trailer. Most of what I have read places the MOBIDIC with priority, but others clearly place the machine in operation in 1954, years before the MOBIDIC became operational. In any event the DYSEAC was the Second Standards Electronic Automatic Computer, a first generation National Bureau of Standards computer built for the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Here's the cross-section cutaway for it:
And so on to the battle between the two, outfitting them perhaps with crunching and sawing devices, metal biting bits, and so on, I wonder which might be the one to come out on top? I think I'd like to claim the MOBIDIC, if for no other reason than it was armed. And the name, of course.