> going for a while. I don't know that Dr. Shoppa using all that classic
> DEC machinery at his Canadian university qualifies as doing "ordinary hom
> applications", although I'm delighted to hear that the old junk is still
> providing useful service (heck, at Hughes here, we have PDP-11s running
I have six all operational two get regular use. BEsides my CP/M systems
>from before the flood.
> >modern MAC or PC, they have NO idea what is bieng missed. web pages in fu
> >photo quality color, realistic games, PPP connections, Realaudio etc. I a
Well, much of this I used to do back around '85 using microvax in color with
a 1280x1024 19" screen! Asa to much of the other stuff it's all hardware
much of which saw it origins on s100, Q and other busses.
At 12:00 AM 6/28/97 -0400, you wrote:
>> also about enough ram space...NOT!
>> I have some software for the C=64 that plays back digital sound files. wit
>> the stock 64K of ram, I can hold a 6 second clip. with the 1764 ram
>> expansion with 512K of ram, I can hold a 60 second clip, but no longer tha
>Funny my s100 crate can playback easily 8mb and using a modified os 32mb
>of sound. In this case a well designed hard disk system (circa 1982)
>easily keeps up without eating ram. On a z80 at 4mhz. Oh, the disk size
>was limited by budget! Even in 1982 hard disks were plenty fast enough to
>support fast DACs or audio.
That is because the software you run want work well enough at 1 MHZ... and
if you want to edit, that is where the heap requirement goes up.
At 06:20 PM 6/27/97 -0400, you wrote:
>Well, much of this I used to do back around '85 using microvax in color with
>a 1280x1024 19" screen! Asa to much of the other stuff it's all hardware
>much of which saw it origins on s100, Q and other busses.
A microVAX or any of the VAXEN is NOT a home computer. I know that PC's
were not the first ones to do it and never claimed it, and what I am talking
about is the person who still uses his apple ][, and has never touched
anything else, saying everything else is junk. sure a Mini workstation can
do it, no question about it, but I *KNOW* that a kaypro, apple ][+ C=64,
coleco ADAM, 8 bit Ataris and other HOME computers of that era CAN'T handle it.
At 02:52 PM 6/27/97 -0700, you wrote:
>A different thought - I don't really buy the argument for owning a modern
>machine for the purposes of "better" games. But the Web browser thing is
>slightly different, being a VERY powerful and useful communication method.
I agree with you here, and games are fun, but that depends on what you like.
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.
>I have heard that the C64 and Atari 8-bit machines now have graphical Web
>browsers and PPP clients running on them. The TI community is working on
>a TCP/IP system, but we were debating the possibility of a Web browser.
I have dreamed of writing one, and I don't know if someone else has done it,
and if they did, I would grab a copy right away. The main problem that
everyone forgets is that having limited memory is a pain,
and TCP/IP alone uses 64K in ONE SOCKET ALONE as a buffer.
>The argument I and others made in its defense was, granted the stock
>hardware is incapable of SVGA-grade graphical displays, with appropriate
>decoding, you can get "close" (with sufficient processing time), and if
>you have to "scroll" around to see the entire page, so what?
You have a good point there, and it would work sorta, but patience runs thin
after awhile, as decoding images at 1 MHZ does take 1 min, times that with
10 or so inlines you will find at every web page, and waiting 10 mins for a
page to load would make it a fustrating experiance. heck, on days where
there is severe net lag (especially on fridays), it takes 10 mins for the
data to arrive even for fast machines! <G>
It is a cool idea though, and it would be interesting to see if this can be
>1. Am I correct in what I have heard of the C64 and Atari 8-bitters?
>2. Is this a reasonable argument for "home computers" being fit out for
>browsing? Or is it silly when $2000 (maybe even below $1000) can get you
>a Web-capable peecee?
You dont have to spend this much to have a fast PC (or MAC), all you need is
to hunt around...
AND NEVER BUY RETAIL SYSTEMS!!! like packard smell.....
>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
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
by much. also its about speed. The ability to cut and paste is underrated,
as in serious work, it saves gobs of time. I love command line interfaces,
as well as GUI's, but typing long commandlines to just load a directory, its
nice just to be able to type LS -l and get the same result. and if you think
about it, these nice classic machines we love EVOLVED to be the modern ones
we got now, and I understand the resentment of microsnot, as I hate them
too, but I can't understand the resentment of the modern machines. Yes some
say they cost too much, but that can be solved. I see people go gaga over a
PCjr, and while that make a nice collectors item, it is the least usefull
home computer EVER made.
and yes most apps used for home perposes dont need the latest and greatest,
however, a modern machine is far more veratle in the power department, and
the classics are more versatle in the hardware department.
>impossible to do these tasks on "home computers"? Is it worth the time
>and effort (even out of love) to write the software, or even create the
>new peripherals, to enable the old iron to do the job?
It is worth the time to develop the software when you need it only if the
results are the same if you used somthing already out there on a capable
machine. I wrote MANY small utilitys for the Commodore, simply because they
did not exist in my area. and while it is fun to do it out of love, it does
get tiring reinventing the wheel all the time. more time went into the
devleopment than in actual use when it was done. I did write a
budget/checkbook balancing program in BASIC, used it a few times, the it got
bit rot, because i never had any money left to manage :)
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
not got now. that is just the way the computing cookie crumbles.
Can anyone use a mess of BASF Extra 120 (ultra stabilized) tape
carthridges? I don't know much more about them beyond what is written on
them. We get these at work every week and my accountant just tosses them
because she has no use for them (we get records on them from PacBell for
accounting stuff). I could collect these and send them off to someone
every month if they want to pay for shipping in advance.
Computer Historian, Programmer, Musician, Philosopher, Athlete, Writer, Jackass
At 01:25 PM 6/27/97 -0600, you wrote:
>On Fri, 27 Jun 1997, e.tedeschi wrote:
>>I wonder if anybody here has the *exact* months of introduction of the
>>three first *real* home computers introduced in 1977:
>>a) the Apple II
>Okay, all sources for the Apple II seem to agree that it was introduced in
>April, but what date? From memory I would've said April 17th. I decided
>to confirm this with a quick web search and came up with two dates!
>puts the date at April 20, 1977 while
>puts the date at April 17, 1977. Both of these sources have the
>credentials to be accurate. Which date was it? Surely someone here
Well... will have to find the program to check the dates, but the Apple II
was *introduced* at the opening day of the First West Coast Computer Faire
in San Francisco. (I was there - Jim Warren had some *great* stories
around that event!) It created the biggest buzz at the show as I recall...
And then there was that joke that Woz played on Jobs and all of the Altair
(but I'll get to that later)
The Computer Garage - http://www.rdrop.com/~jimw
Computer Garage Fax - (503) 646-0174
> also about enough ram space...NOT!
> I have some software for the C=64 that plays back digital sound files. wit
> the stock 64K of ram, I can hold a 6 second clip. with the 1764 ram
> expansion with 512K of ram, I can hold a 60 second clip, but no longer tha
Funny my s100 crate can playback easily 8mb and using a modified os 32mb
of sound. In this case a well designed hard disk system (circa 1982)
easily keeps up without eating ram. On a z80 at 4mhz. Oh, the disk size
was limited by budget! Even in 1982 hard disks were plenty fast enough to
support fast DACs or audio.
At 07:22 AM 6/27/97 -0800, you wrote:
>> > 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
>Really? Full photo quality? My early 1940's Speed Graphic makes
>4" x 5" (100mm x 125mm) negatives with roughly 160 dpmm resolution.
>(Admittedly, with a lens that's stopped down considerably...)
>That's roughly 16000 x 20000 pixels, using technology that's over
>50 years old. SuperVGA and CRT's have a long, long, way to go before
>they catch up.
you are technically correct,
viewing a photo on a CRT in 16 million colors is still 100% better than
having only 16 colors...<G>
The first GUI system was the Xerox Alto. It was desk-sized. The
commercial model was the Xerox Star, which was somewhat smaller (c.1977)
The Xerox Alto appears to have introduced:
- Bitmapped displays
- BitBLT raster operations
- Cursor changes to show system mode
- GUI menus and Popup menus
- Overlapped windows
- Tiled windows
- Scroll bars
- Push buttons, radio buttons, check boxes
- Dialog boxes
- Multiple fonts and styles visible in text
- Cut/Copy/Paste with a mouse
The Lisa UI appears to have introduced:
- Pull-down menus
- Menu bars
- Disabling (graying) of menu items
- Command-key shortcust for menu items
- Check marks on menu items
The book "Fumbling the Future: How Xerox Invented, Then Ignored, the
First Personal Computer" by Douglas Smith and Robert Alexander, states
that Xerox voluntarily offered the UI elements to Steve Jobs. Apple
does not appear to have "stolen" the ideas.
> From: Daniel A. Seagraves
> Reply To: classiccmp(a)u.washington.edu
> Sent: Thursday, June 26, 1997 2:11 PM
> To: Discussion re-collecting of classic computers
> Subject: Re: Lisa's scores
> On Thu, 26 Jun 1997 starling(a)umr.edu wrote:
> > > Actually, Xerox had a working GUI-based system (the name eludes me
> at the
> > > moment) well before the LISA, which is where Jobs got his
> Was it Smalltalk?
> I got a picture of that, somewhere...
Let's not forget that old machines were, in their day, designed to be used
by *mainstream* users. So, let's look at the people who would -- nowadays
-- use old machines.
1) Newbies/inexperienced users. Are these people willing to put up
inadequate documentation, unbelievably klunky software with *no* tech
support? No -- no more than they were willing to when the machines were
2) Power users? most would laugh at the idea of using a "relic". They would
be no more caught dead with one than a photographic toy-boy would with a
point-and-shoot camera (altho' many pros, with nothing to prove, use P&S's
as cheap backup cameras. Don't tell anyone <g>)
3) People who love it? few and far between. Sure, you can do e-mail, use
lynx to check out the web on an XT (I cheat...I use a 386SX lap top with a
2400 baud modem). Using an old machine to perform routine tasks -- tasks
for which the machines were originally designed and sold -- in no way
ennobles the person who does so...it's just a hobby, rife with the same
inconveniences that plague any undertaking. Most people have some sort of
hobby, (altho' usually not as technical) and go through the same
inconveniences we do, working with their love.
I do a fair amount of photographic retouching on my P-133. I need large
amounts of disk space (up to 30 MB per), memory, processing speed --
otherwise, I just can't do it. (I can't just go have a cup of coffee.) I do
publication and page layout, and WSYWIG is an enormous convenience. (sure,
LaTeX on the VAX gives me nice output. Give me Microsoft Publisher to get
work done a lot faster...I have to feed my family.)
As an engineer, I used to do finite element analysis on rubber products.
Running on a 486-50 (the fastest available at the time) a single job would
run overnight. Try *that* on a PDP-11!
The point? (He finally gets to one!)Many tasks can be accomplished easily
on an XT running 1-2-3 or QEDIT -- sure. But, many jobs are now possible to
do on a garden-variety PC (mac) which were impossible to perform on older