At 09:38 PM 6/25/97 -0400, you wrote:
>Unfortunately, it was a classic design at the time - a lot of people
>thought it looked like a dumb terminal (VT100).
An awful lot of people have painted pictures of pretty women... Still,
there's only one Mona Lisa.
Sometimes it just takes a slight modification to turn the ordinary into the
extraordinary. I still say the Lisa gets an out-of-the-park home run on
Uncle Roger "There is pleasure pure in being mad
sinasohn(a)crl.com that none but madmen know."
Roger Louis Sinasohn & Associates
San Francisco, California http://www.crl.com/~sinasohn/
> I love the internet, and I learned ALOT from it. sure a shell account with
> lynx is nice, as I use it for fast FTP, but when I read about a PDP11, it is
> nice to see a picture of one, rather just text.
Alternatively I could just pick up one of about 30 PDP11 manuals I have lying
about and not only see a picture of the outsides, but also see board layouts,
schematics, timing charts, microcode flowcharts, and other useful info
I've never found pictures of the outside of computers to be particularly
interesting. The useful diagrams (see above) are just as useful on a 1-bit-
> >3. What other apps are there that are REALLY useful for home use that
> >modern machines have and "home computers" don't? And is is really
> its not about apps, its about efficincy, and operator comfort. VGA or SVGA
OK, I'm using my (much hacked) PC/AT (true-blue IBM, and just about on-topic
here) at this moment. The display is a clone Hercules card driving that
Zenith monitor with the 'interesting' PSU. After I fixed the PSU and tweaked
the internal controls, I have an image _for text_ that's as sharp as any
cheap SVGA monitor I've ever seen. No eyestrain at all.
If you want colour, look at an old Barco (or Fimi, Philips, etc) monitor. Some
of those are very well focused and converged.
> is worth it becuse it prevents eyestrain, and you can use your system for
> longer amounts of time. I used color TV's before when I got started, and
> serious word processing was painful to the eyes. RGB's are better, but not
RGB simply means that the video signal is sent along 3 separate cables for
the 3 primary colours. Technically a VGA or SVGA monitor is an RGB monitor.
> all in all, if the machine you use now does all what you want, thats great!
> but the day WILL come where you just need to have a feature that you have
In which case I'll do what I've always done in the past when this happens. I'll
either find a classic machine that already has this feature or I'll build a
bit of hardware to add it to whatever machine I feel like.
> not got now. that is just the way the computing cookie crumbles.
Does anyone remember this machine :
it's a video game console (like the atari VCS) but which could sit on
a box which then converts it to a home computer.
The machine ran on a 6800 and had built-in basic.
It came out approx at the same time as the Atari 400/800 series
I remember seeing an ad on it and the heading of the ad was
In message <02440020302929(a)michianatoday.com> classiccmp(a)u.washington.edu writes:
> At 08:59 AM 6/27/97 BST, you wrote:
> >> I do use my old machines now and then, but if anyone here has never ran a
> >> modern MAC or PC, they have NO idea what is bieng missed. web pages in full
> >> photo quality color, realistic games, PPP connections, Realaudio etc. I am
> >I have used 'modern' PC's (well, at least pentiums with 16 MBytes RAM,
> >SVGA card, etc), and I know I'm not missing _anything_ by sticking to
> >classic computers. Let's go through your points.
> What I mean is that we must realize that there is only so much you can do
> with classic computers. after all, if they were the best than why we have
> faster and better?
And there's only so much you can do with PC's :-)
Seriously, It's obvious that the _real_ top end today is faster than the top
end 10 years ago. It's also obvious that the 'home computer' of today (which
is probably a pentium PC) is better than the home computer of 10 eyars ago
(say a Commodore 64). But it's not at all obvious that the home computer of
today is any better than a 10 year old top-end personal workstation or a
minicomputer, or a number of other things. And those are turning up very
cheaply if you know where to look.
> >'Web pages in full photo quality colour'. Well, I access the web to get
> >information, not look at pretty pictures. Most of the information I want
> >is _text_, or at least monochrome graphics (things like IC data sheets).
> >So I don't need 'photo quality colour'. And if I did, I could easily find
> well at the moment you dont need it, but its nice to know that you can see
> it when you need it.
I don't necessarily buy hardware on the grounds that I _might_ need the
facilities one day. As what I already have does all I need, then I see no
reason to upgrade (downgrade?)
And if I did ever need to display a 'photo-quality' image, I can find a few
systems around here (all over 10 years old) that could do it trivially.
> >a classic system that could display them. Evans and Sutherland, Grinnell,
> >Ramtek, I2S, PPL, etc all made high-res colour displays that make most
> >PC's look like toys. And you can pick one up second-hand for less than an
> >SVGA card + monitor.
> SVGA a toy? I used many an apple ][ + and C=64 with 80 col RGB monitors, and
Compared to the machines I've named, SVGA is a toy...
> I can take only so much eyestrain. sharp graphics make your eyes feel good...
This, alas shows how little you know about the state of graphics 10 years ago
Give me a break. I am _NOT_ talking about home micros. I am talking about
professional graphics displays with hardware anti-alliasing of displayed
objects. I am talking about 512*512*30 bit images. I am talking about
broadcast-quality TV images (if you should need to go to such a low scan
rate). I am talking about 3D displays with LCD spectacles. Etc, Etc, Etc.
I've had more than my fair share of eyestrain from impossible-to-converge
SVGA monitors. I've battled with the service manuals for _hours_ on some of
them and not been able to get the convergence right. I'm then pleased that
Barco, Fimi, Sony (the older ones at least), Philips, Moniterm, KNE, etc, etc,
etc did make decent, easy-to-set-up monitors 10 years ago or more.
> >we had good quality audio on PDP11's (thanks to a little board from 3RCC)
> >in 1976. It's not exactly hard to add a DAC and a DMA engine or even a DSP
> >to a lot of classic computers (and classic computer != cheap home micro so
> >there's easily enough RAM space for a reasonable length sample).
> to me, a PDP11 is WORLDS apart from classic HOME computers, If I had the
> fortune of actually owing a PDP11, I would use it extensively..... :)
AFAIK, this is a classic computers list, and not a classic home computers list
Anyway the PDP11 is a home computer now. I know dozens of people who run
one or more at home.
I've payed a lot less for any of my PDP11's that you'd pay for a pentium
motherboard + CPU. That's complete PDP11's with disks, realtime I/O,
terminals, graphics options, SCSI interfaces, etc, etc, etc.
> >for most modern machines
> >Repairability. I can fix classic computers with no problem at all. Just
> I have never had any hardware failures in ANY of my machines so far (knock
> on silicon), with the exception that I accidentally cooked a 6526.
Maybe I've been unlucky, but I have had hardware failures.
> >try getting a custom chip for a PC motherboard. And don't tell me to
> >replace the motherboard - if the PC is a few years old I'd probably have
> >to replace the CPU and memory as well.
> that is just the ticket. A brand new 486 motherboard cost $90. with it you
> get real functionality.
Wait a second. ISA graphics cards are already getting hard to find. So,
presumably, if I have a not-too-old PC with an ISA graphics card and some
custom chip dies, I have to buy a PCI graphics card, a new motherboard,
a new processor, and either new memory or some SIMM converters. No thanks -
I'll stick to my classics where repairing consists of picking up the service
manual, finding the dead chip in about 10 minutes, and replacing it with one
>from either my junk box of the local electronics shop.
> actually, you can get a decent modern PC together just by scrounging
> computer shows and bargaining for parts. assembling a system from scratch
> with old parts is very fun and rewarding. and the reliablity rate for modern
> chips is very high. in fact the monitor or hard disk probably will die
I've had modern custom chips fail for 'no good reason'.
> before the motherboard will.
Monitors can often be repaired for a lot less than the cost of a new one.
Yes, the motherboard will probably outlast the hard disk, but that's
(IMHO) because modern hard disks are darn unreliable (I've had several
die on me, and without a clean room there's not a lot I can do). That doesn't
mean the motherboard won't fail, though.
> viewing a photo on a CRT in 16 million colors is still 100% better than
> having only 16 colors...<G>
There was a thing that came out in 1979/1980 called an I2S model 70 image
processor. It used (in at least one configuration) _30_ bits per pixel,
although only at a resolution of 512*512 pixels.
If you're only used to home micros I can understand why you think old machines
can't display 'photo-quality' images, but there were plenty of larger machines
that are now turning up second-hand at prices that collectors can afford that
have significant graphics abilities.
Great idea to include peripherals. Never thought of that.
I would rather you see a sample of the book before making a purchase
decision. Please reply with your postal address and I send a few pages -
don't have scanned copies for faxing or emailing.
> Here's an interesting idea, now that mini Linux seems to be up and
> running, there appears to be a good code base for porting it over to othe
> old 8 bit and 16 bit chips. The TI-99/4a, RS COCO, PDP-11, and old S-100
> based z80 (with MMU) boxes appear to be good candidates. Yes... there is
UZI unix was on the z80 already so it's doable.
> Yes yes yes yes. SVGA is a *TOY* compared to what was available
> to those with million dollar budgets 20 years ago. The old hardware ran
> slower in clock speed but was most certainly capable of *extream* high
By 1986 1280x1024 color was about $25k and small (allowing for the 19"
monitor). MicrovaxII/gpx... now you can find them in dumpsters.
> PDP-11 hardware is still widely available. You could build
> youself a functinal Qbus LSI-11/73 or 83 for less than $500 easy. Most o
> this hardware is sitting in old factories and still in production. There
> are many hardware outlets out there such as ELI in cambridge MA, which
At $500 I'd have a killer PDP11. Most of mine are scrap/salvage or trades.
I'm letting a PDP11/23b go for very little as I have one and they are common
enough and powerful enough to run multiuser OS or one of the unixes out
> ;-) You might also want to think of a decent used microVAX.... wonderful
> machine based on the same Qbus.
I got a working vs2000 from someone elses dumpster trip so they are common
and they can do eithernet, PPP, 1280x1024 graphics (color was an option),
6-16mb of ram in a 1cuft box witha 160w powersupply (small PC!). The real
trick is getting a disk (rd54 was the largest supported at 150mb) as SCSI
is there but not bootable other than DEC tk50 tape. The other problem is an
OS though DEC has made VMS6.1 available with a free license, compared to VMS
DOS is a toy! There are people doing a netBSD for it as well.
Other boxsized vaxen are 3100 and friends most being very high performance
(2.5-3VUP, a 780=1VUP).
larger MicrovaxII configs are common and generally free to cheap and most of
the same thing apply save for bigger. Even the BA123 boxed VAXen are under
500w in practice, since most pcs are in the 230-270 watt range it's not as
bad as it would seem. Other small vaxen in the "Sbox" incluude the 3400,
3500. they are faster and still pre-1990..
The older Vax 780/1/2/5 systems are three good sized racks plus and serious
power. The later smaller (slower) 730s are one to two short (40") racks
and under 1000w for mall configs (save 1 or 2 ra80/81 disks). RA81 is 200mb
IMS. The next faster was the 750 and that can also run on household power
but, just barely.
PANASONIC HANDHELD UPDATE:
This is the latest message from Mike who has the hundreds of Panasonic
HandHeld computers. In case its not obvious what's going on, I put in an
offer of $10 each for 50, $9 each for 100, $8 each for 150, etc. I don't
have $2000 lying around with which to buy them all up. I have a plan,
but first read what Mike had to say:
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 28 Jun 1997 10:39:01 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: EPROM Burners re: Classic Computers
I believe the total number of HHC's available will be about 400.Based on
your offer I assume that for 150 of the units you would be willing to pay at
the rate of $10 for the first 50,$9 for the next 50, $8 for the next 50 and
$7 for the next 50 whcih would come to $1700 for 200 units.Would you be
interested in 300 units for $2000 even?To make the offer even sweeter I'll
throw in the memory expander trays with each unit.The cost for each tray
alone was well over $100 when they were purchased,as well as a quantity of
the MCM 68674 8K eprom chips that the programs were written on.
As always Best Regards,
So here's my plan...anyone and everyone who is interested, reply to ME
(do not reply to classiccmp! People will hate you and want to drown your
pets!) telling me how many you want. Do this soon. I will save all of
your e-mails and then at the end of say, 10 days I will tally up the
total and make Mike an offer. So again...
Reply to ME only (dastar(a)crl.com)
Tell me HOW MANY of the Panasonic HandHeld Computers you want.
Do it SOON.
You have about 10 days.
Price will be NO MORE THAN $10 EACH.
I'll get back to everyone in 10 days or so.
Computer Historian, Programmer, Musician, Philosopher, Athlete, Writer, Jackass