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DIVAIR
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01 Mar 2021, 8:41 pm

Howdy folks! Any of you collect old PC's?

I've got a bunch of old laptops: the one I'm working on right now is a 2001 Compaq Presario 700. I've got three, but one's for parts: I needed to swap out the mother board as the video card died. I think they look great aesthetically, not just an ugly black box; very stylish and don't look like anything else... 8)

I'm going to use one for writing stories on, and the other, along with a slave-drive, to burn my old 78-RPM records with.

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QuantumChemist
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01 Mar 2021, 9:31 pm

I have some that I ended up with over the years. One is an original Apple Macintosh that still works. I put it away in storage with my Commodore 64 system. Most were garage sale finds over the years. I never paid more than $10 for any of them.

I missed out on an functional early Apple II with all attachments. It was my cousin’s first computer that he bought around 1981-2. My aunt put it in their burn barrels out on their farm when he moved out in the early 2000s, along with their huge NES/SNES collection. Boy she was sad when I told her that it was worth some serious coin now. Some of the games that they had were unplaced versions in unopened factory sealed boxes. He likely had many of the rarest games. They had Rob the robot still in the original box. All now ashes blowing in the wind in rural Nebraska. Probably a thousand games went up in flames that day.



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04 Mar 2021, 7:48 am

I have a 1983 TRS-80 Model 100


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Fnord
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04 Mar 2021, 9:45 am

I still have one of the original IBM-XTs, with DOS 6.22, a CGA, a maths coprocessor, and a few custom mods to enhance its capabilities.  I use it mostly to run my home security system.

I was also able to acquire a full set of manuals and schematics to help me keep it running.


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Steve1963
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04 Mar 2021, 10:25 am

Fnord wrote:
I still have one of the original IBM-XTs, with DOS 6.22, a CGA, a maths coprocessor, and a few custom mods to enhance its capabilities.  I use it mostly to run my home security system.

I was also able to acquire a full set of manuals and schematics to help me keep it running.

Does it have a 10MB hard drive? Can you imagine...a mere 10MB? You couldn't do anything with that amount of storage these days...



Fnord
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04 Mar 2021, 10:50 am

Steve1963 wrote:
Fnord wrote:
I still have one of the original IBM-XTs, with DOS 6.22, a CGA, a maths coprocessor, and a few custom mods to enhance its capabilities.  I use it mostly to run my home security system.  I was also able to acquire a full set of manuals and schematics to help me keep it running.
Does it have a 10MB hard drive?  Can you imagine...a mere 10MB?  You couldn't do anything with that amount of storage these days...
No, forty megabytes on an MFM hard drive!  The last 10MB hard-card I had spun out back in '93.


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kraftiekortie
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04 Mar 2021, 10:52 am

I had an early 90's Mac that had about a 10 MB hard drive.



DIVAIR
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04 Mar 2021, 12:38 pm

Is the IBM-XT beige, or gray? That sounds really cool actually :)

For me half the fun is getting them to work again: I find them at thrift stores for cheap. I found two Sony Vaio laptops, a first and second generation: they are small even by today's standards. I use them for writing my stories on. I was able to find RAM for them to max them out.

As I'm not at all a gamer I've never played "The sims", but just to be silly, I bought a copy on eBait so my wife and I can play it together :heart:

My oldest machine is a 1993 Acer my buddy gave me: it runs Windows 3.1. It came with a 120-MB HDD, which didn't work, then I tried to replace that with 344-MB, which is the largest the manual recommends, but that wasn't working when it arrived :( I've been told that I can perhaps fix the problem with a some power management software.

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04 Mar 2021, 5:57 pm

I scratch the itch with TIS-100.


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Fnord
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04 Mar 2021, 6:02 pm

DIVAIR wrote:
Is the IBM-XT beige, or gray? ...
Beige, and it looks like a sewing machine laid on its side.

Image


Not much good for gaming, unless you are playing the original Colossal Cave Adventure.


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DIVAIR
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04 Mar 2021, 9:07 pm

UH! 8O That thing is totalllllly cool!

I love old tech and learning how to use it: I have an old cap and ball revolver that is such a PITA to load, but that's what makes it fun. I always joke to my friends that it's not good for home defense, "Uhhh, hang on, gi'me five minutes, then I'll shoot you..."

The old Compaq I'm restoring has a weird feature to it: portions of the inside the case have been copper plated for grounding the components. I've never seen hat done...

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Fenn
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29 Mar 2021, 9:25 pm

I have two Apple IIe machines in my garage - haven't fired them up in a while. I have an old laptop a co-worker gave to me - it has Windows on it and I replaced it with Linux - I had to get it to boot from a floppy, load the hard disk driver then boot from the HD. I still have Linux on two 3.5 floppys "tom's root and boot" for emergency hacking. Got a dead Lenovo Tower that probabbly just needs a new hard drive (when i get a "Round Tuit"). I have an Ancient mac laptop which runs the original MacOS and a Power Mac. Both my two older kids used the Power Mac to learn to read and play games on.

I had many other "treasures" but my wife made me get rid of them when we had our third child and we needed to renovate to create a third bedroom.


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CarlM
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29 Mar 2021, 10:13 pm

Here's the first "PC" I used:

Image


Those switches allow you to enter a program bit-by-bit. The Intel 8080 was 8-bit data and 16-bit address. The 2 banks of 8 switches enter the address and then one enters the input port data and one the memory data. It wasn't as crude as it sounds though, the one I used had a floppy drive, CRT terminal and operating system. The operating system was NSDOS by Northstar Computer and you could run Basic programs. Or of course you could just do machine code and skip all those pricey peripherals :lol:.

The operating system and your program had to fit in 65536 bytes. It was probably the rapidly improving DRAM memory chips that made this huge memory affordable in a microcomputer ("PC" had not been coined yet).

I should try to buy one before the price goes too high.


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JustFoundHere
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04 Apr 2021, 4:17 pm

The 'Computer History Museum' in Silicon Valley is worth a future visit:
https://computerhistory.org/



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08 Apr 2021, 12:02 am

I think my oldest one is an Apple II (although it's the Platinum version, so 1987ish). Otherwise it's the Atari 600XL (1983).

I've got three 486 computers (one is a laptop, one has no case). Wish we still had at least one of our IBM PCjrs, or something from this huge lot of old monochrome IBM compatibles we had (I did keep all the IBM Model-M keyboards, I love those things). Would've been nice for those really old games. But a 486 with a lot of stuff disabled and maybe MoSlo added almost does the trick.

Earlier last year I was spending a lot of time with a top-of-the-line 1999 setup. Pentium III and a Yamaha sound card...I had grown up with pretty basic MIDI, so hearing it beefed up is pretty cool (well, most games sound better, anyway).


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Fenn
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09 Apr 2021, 5:54 pm

My High School had a Northstar 80 computer with two "glass terminals" and a printer.
One time I saw the two math teachers with a ruler in hand studying the printer and talking in an animated way.
They explained to me that "I wouldn't understand" and "I hadn't gotten to it yet" but they were trying to figure out how to make the printer draw a circle using text as "pixels". They figured that it would require trigonometry because the would have to find the radius based on the x (letters from the left in a fixed width font) and y (lines from the top of the page) but the number of characters per inch and lines per inch were different - they show this to me with the ruler.
A few days later I solved it and wrote code to draw the circle using BASIC and a two dimensional array or numbers (two dimensional string or character arrays didn't exist in Northstar 80 BASIC). I didn't use trig I just used the Pythagorean Theorem. I think this impressed them (and annoyed them a little). I scaled the circle to the measurements given by the ruler so it was actually round (but a bit bumpy on the edges of the circle). I modified the code to make a target type pattern with circles inside circles too - it was fun. I liked doing things the teachers couldn't figure out or thought I couldn't do.
The first college I went to had one of those computers where you put in the binary one switch at a time with a "go" button to push it into memory, but I never used. Sometimes I like to read articles about people doing cool things with obsolete computer equipment.
I haven't thought about the Northstar 80 in a long time.
I used to have a "CT Machine" which was made by Convergent Technology - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convergent_Technologies - they were later bought by UniSys, but for a brief period of time made MimiFrame computers built on the Motorola 68010 - the VP had gone to my second college and gave them some equipment running CTIX (a unix-like OS). The equipment was "for educational use only" so they could not get rid of it - unless they gave it to students to "learn" on. Some friends of mine got two of these monsters (the box was twice as big as the average tower PC at the time) and cannibalized one for parts to make a "super-frankinstein" type box. The new box had so much equipment in it that it over taxed the power-supply - so they cut a hole in the cabinet and put the second power supply next to the box with wired running thru the hole - to keep the thing from shorting out (which it did from time to time) when people touched the loose wires they put a plastic milk crate on top of it. The happy box ran a BBS for a few years - people could modem in.
My CT machine mostly took up space in my basement - but I always "had plans" for it.
I cannot even find a picture of this thing.


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