The Exploratorium devotes a fairly large amount of resources to exhibit
maintenance, so they have more operational exhibits than most museums of
As to making stronger I/O devices, the first thing you need to do is observe
a bunch of grade school/middle school kids when they come to a computer in a
museum exhibit: they don't look at what they are supposed to do, they just
start _pounding_ on the keyboard/input.
What we did at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago (where I
designed and programmed 10+ computer "interactives" for exhibits in the
early 90's) was to use arcade-game trackballs and switches made by Happ
Controls. At the time we started, these trackballs were not PC compatible.
They did use standard slotted wheel sensors, though, so I just desoldered
the sensors from the circuit board of an inexpensive Microsoft compatible
mouse and ran wires to the sensors on the trackball instead. The mouse
switches were also removed and wired to separate game-unit buttons. I made
the first interface about 10 years ago, and I am still using it (at this
very moment, in fact, hooked to an IBM laptop.) It's in a big foam-core box
(10x9x4 inches), so it is not the sharpest looking thing, but it has never
given me any trouble in 10 years of use. (Try that with a mouse!)
Some museums use touch screens, but at that time, we could not find any that
were reliable enough and precise enough. I later did a game fro the
Brookfield Zoo that used a touch screen, but needed to use large on-screen
"buttons" with good separation to get reliable picking.
Using a trackball for input means that any character/numeric input must be
done through on-screen selection, which is a bit klunky, but better than
having a non-working exhibit.
The one program that used (and still uses) keyboard input is the "Voyaging
Game" located in the back of the Pacific exhibit (a dark and quiet area). It
has benches in front of the screens for the users to sit at. Here, in a more
tranquil setting, the visitors do not pound on the keyboards, so they have
survived fairly well. (They even survived having holes drilled through them,
when some exhibit installers mounted a label on the case surface above the
keyboard, and drilled too far!) The biggest problem is someone will
occassionally pop off a keycap, even though they are recessed in the case.
From: Mike Cheponis [mailto:mac@Wireless.Com]
Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2001 12:05 PM
Subject: Re: Museum Computers (was Re: Washington D.C. Trip
Perhaps these so-called "museums" need to visit SF's Exploratorium? There,
everything is meant to be "hands-on". This doesn't mean that things don't
break from time to time, but the percentage of operational exhibits there
is greater than any other public museum I've seen.
Mind you, I'm not saying people should put an Eniac cabinet out where
people can slobber over it, but I think it would be cool to be able to
remote-control these older machines (I dunno, like a 360/50 or something)
via modern interfaces - safely away from the original equipment, but
yet behind glass - so you can see the original machine running.
So yeah, Chuck, I agree!
On Thu, 31 May 2001, Chuck McManis wrote:
> Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 09:04:39 -0700
> From: Chuck McManis <cmcmanis(a)mcmanis.com>
> Reply-To: classiccmp(a)classiccmp.org
> To: classiccmp(a)classiccmp.org
> Subject: Museum Computers (was Re: Washington D.C. Trip
> >The problem with working machines with millions of people tocuhing them
> >the years
> >is that the machines tend to break. Even the modern display terminals
> >used for
> >presentation are
> >in constant need of repair due to fingers smashing and otherwise folks
> >don't respect the equipment out of common courtesy. Computers don't hold
> >well to abuse. Its a shame but the way that it is.
> This is one of the problems I think would be fun to attack if I had a
> suitable patron. Building I/O devices that could stand up to the kind of
> abuse that museums get.
I got a H89 with was seems like intermittent vertical problem.
The usual jiggling, tapping and connector checking does not seem to get the
vertical going or not.
It was there at a few power ons.
Yoke ok, 330uf on board just before yoke connector was replaced because
Id like the schematics (scanned/emailed would be fine) for the board in the
bottom of the H89 (video circuit).
On May 31, 8:41, Jonathan Engdahl wrote:
> [ Attachment (multipart/alternative): 2810 bytes ]
> A couple of these machines are missing the disk controller. RQDX3's seem
> to be readily available, and there is adequate documentation of the card
> on the web (jumpers, cable pinouts, etc). Will the KDF11-AA be able to
> boot from an RQDX3?
Not in the sense of running boot code from an RQDX3 as it has no boot ROM.
It's possible to use a KDF11-A or KDJ11-A with an MXV11-B -- those were
common combinations -- with the MXV providing RAM, SLUs, and boot ROM in a
single slot. An alternative is an MRV11-D which supports the same boot
ROMs. Or you could use microPDP-11 boot ROMs in a modified BDV11, but that
would take up two slots.
Pete Peter Turnbull
University of York
>From: Eric Dittman <dittman(a)dittman.net>
>> What I meant was Dennis's personal LNW-80. As a fan of his articles
>> and book, being able to buy his personal LNW-80 was neat.
>I agree... I also bought a Model 1 monitor off him long time ago. ;) And
>speaking of LNW... Anyone have docs (service or any) for the LNW (bare
>board) EI for the Model 1?
That's like a couple of years ago I had the opportunity to buy Roy
Soltoff's TRS-80 Model 2000 he had bought for development purposes. He even
had the original receipt with it. It's nice knowing the history of a given
Along with VAX, Alpha, and PDP-11, I collect TRS-80s. I've
got three different clone TRS-80s. One is the Cyzern 7000, which
I built myself from a kit. I've had this one for a long time.
The other is Dennis Bathory-Kitsz's LNW-80, which I bought from
The other one I have is one I've never heard of before. I got
the unit in a bunch of other TRS-80 equipment. The case is a
hacked TRS-80 Model I keyboard, with a standard TRS-80 Model I
keyboard with built-in keypad (very late Model I keyboard).
The power, video, and cassette connectors are a match for the
Model I. The CPU board has a built-in floppy disk controller,
and is a Model III clone. The manufacturer appears to have
I need to know what the name of an Apple A90303 printer is, hard to test the
sucker when you don't know the name (e.g., ImageWriter II, etc.)
Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com
> Does this mean I might eventually run PLATO on a
> simh-emulated CYBER system?
Not an impossibility, but we gotta have an OS before
we can even think about running PLATO...
> Now, if I could just remember how to play 'Airfight'... :-)
Hmmm.. Don't remember that, but I do remember Empire,
and some other Star Trek game... as well as the coolest
LISP and Pascal interpreter environments I ever used.
DC always has some nice stuff
and the best part is that the Smithsonian is free
I'm out there most weekends, and have seen the "Computers and Flight" exhibit several times...
although i haven't been into the American History Museum in a long time...I'm gonna need to check that out...as soon as i can...maybe this weekend
On May 30, 20:47, Larry Anderson wrote:
> As for hub rings I heard they were required (for gripping purposes) for
> the older Apple drives (the metal boxy ones), maybe even for the 4040s,
> but I know without them on those old lever drives, you could sure mangle
> a non-protected center hole clamping down on one.
Yes, the main reason for hub rings was to minimise the damage when you did
that :-) Our Apple Disk ][s and Commodore 4040/8050 drives never needed
disks with hub rings when they were new, and the ones I have now still
> Anyone have a hub-ring kit still? (reminds me of today's CD stompers)
Alas, no. I remember them, though.
> > As others have said, you need disks intended for single-density or
> > density, not HD. I've also met one 1541 owner who swears that disks
> > without hub rings won't work in his drive (and never did) because the
> > mechanism doesn't grip them tightly enough (though I'm fairly sure
> > just due to a soft spring or a missing screw on the frame somewhere).
Pete Peter Turnbull
University of York