Roland G. Noel
Rolly was born and raised here in the Edmonton area. As a side note, in 1991 a group of us from the Network and Data Communications Group had arranged a tour at Dow Chemical in Fort Saskatchewan. The tour was for us to see their Fiber Optic network installation. As we were crossing the North Saskatchewan River, Rolly pointed out the location of the Log cabin that his Grandfather had lived in when he first came to Alberta in the late 1800's or early 1900's. Rolly is a true Alberta pioneer and his career here at the UofA brings that fact into focus.
Rolly is married to Joanne- they met here at CS when Joanne worked in the Operations area. Rolly and Joanne have three children - Marc (a pilot), Lise (studying Alternative medicine in Australia), and Colin (still attends school in St. Albert).
Rolly first started with the University in September 1967 with the "Department of Data Processing" as a Cobol programmer.
On January 20, 1969 Rolly joined "Chemical and Petroleum Engineering" and worked as a programmer on a PDP8 frontend to the IBM 1800 process control Computer - the communications rate at that time was 110 baud which is about 11 characters per second.
On October 15, 1971 Rolly joined Computing Services as a Senior Analyst in the Systems programming Group (the photo below is from 1974)
Left to right; John Stasiuk, Daryl Webster, Alan R. Davis, Elaine Soetart, Garry Jackson, Rolly Noel, and Gerry Gabel (Manager).
When Rolly started, CS had mostly an IBM shop but we were running MTS (Michigan Terminal System). We put Rolly to work on the IBM 2703 Telecommunications Controller connecting the IBM 2741 Terminal (a Selectric Typewriter adapted to be a terminal) we have this gift of a Selectric Type Element for Rolly. It will either bring back memories or nightmares, you can ask him which it is.
Rolly's next task was to evaluate Telecommunications equipment for the MTS system and recommend what would provide the best Terminal support for the UofA. The IBM equipment was very expensive and there were many terminals cheaper that the 2741's and the 3270 coax units (called 2260's in those day).
It was decided that the University would invest in the DEC PDP 11/45 and install Gandalf PACX units and Gandalf LDS 105/125's (the old Blue Boxes which I also have one for Rolly to take with him) these were used to provide the ASCII support on Campus. Rolly was assigned the task to program the PDP 11/45 (we do not have one of these for Rolly to take with him and I am sure that he is happy about that). I believe that Rolly worked closely with Al Davis, Daryl Webster, and Bob Engley to develop the early versions of software needed to make the environment for the LA36 DecWriters and thus replace the IBM 2741's with a much quicker and less expensive hard copy Terminal.
Later on the Data Communications Group was formed and Rolly moved into it and became the Section Leader for the FECP section, with the task to provide an ASCII Video Terminal into MTS.
Here's Rolly in his AJ days!
The University had over 400 AJ Terminals installed in Public Labs and Offices around campus.
Over the years various people came and went from the FECP section (i.e. Richard W, Ken Kates, Richard W, Keith Mills). But the main stays were: Rolly, Bob Engley, and Ken Crossman. As did Technology … with the Advent of the MAC and PC, Rolly's section was charged with providing an interface to them from MTS and as a result MACTie and PCTie were birthed from the FECP Team
Computing Services FEP section:
Left to right; Rolly Noel, Ken Crossman, Bob Engley and Keith Mills
Rolly and the above pictured group developed the Communications applications that were used to replace the AJ510 terminals and lead the way toward the client server environment that we have today.
As the 1990's approached, so did the end of MTS. Rolly and his team were thrust into the new era of Internet and a new FDDI network here at the UofA. Rolly played a very important role in planning the new Network environment as a result he had to attend many meetings as was forced to give up his programming role. I remember many conversations with Rolly where he would lament
Undaunted with this change of roll, Rolly became a Team Member in Network Operations where he continues to provide; Network Planning, Modem Pool support, Sniffer expertise, and Video Conferencing expertise.
Comments from some of his "friends"
"Rolly loves new Technology and he will do almost anything to get his hands on it"
"Was one of the code writers in the department"
"Was an Apple bigot from the getgo"
"No one in the department quit smoking more that Rolly or John before finally successful. Rolly always said you only had to be successful once."
It has been an extreme pleasure to work with Rolly over his almost 35 years here at the UofA and I would like you to all join me in a round of thanks to Rolly for all he has been to us here at CNS.
Best Luck to you Rolly!