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MARCH Presents: Apple I Reproduction In Action At HOPE 9

Roblimo posted more than 2 years ago | from the old-computers-never-die dept.

Hardware 80

The name — MidAtlantic Retro Computing Hobbyists — might make you think this is a bunch of nerds who get together to enthuse over long-obsolete computer hardware and ASCII computer games. And that's exactly what it is. There are farmers who gush over antique tractors, drivers who love antique cars, and music lovers who dote on old phonographs. So why not old computers? Many people in the computer industry seem to have asked that question, so there are lots of computer museums around. MARCH was just the group Slashdot ran into at HOPE. Their website has lots of links that will help you connect with fellow antique computer buffs (assuming you are one), wherever you may be. See here a member showing off the MacGyveresque process that is booting BASIC and playing a game on a reproduction Apple I. Update: 08/01 15:20 GMT by U L : Evan Koblentz (the guy in the video) commented with a bit more information on MARCH (including info on the discussion list and computer museum).

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So why not old computers? (4, Interesting)

mister2au (1707664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841033)

easy answer to that

vintage cars will basically perform the same function often with more style ... let's say 1/2 the performance of modern as worst case ... same for vintage tractors

old phonographs will again perform the same function with 60 dB of dynamic range compared to ... completely adequate for the 10-20 db for range in pop music

computers on the other hand:
Apple I = 6502 @ 1MHz
Apple iPhone = A9 @ 800 MHz

completely different functionality that should not be compared to cars, tractors & phonographs! or even things like vintage amplifiers

however, there is a place for nostalgia - just recognise they will never have the cult following of vintage equipement that is functionality equivalent to modern stuff

Re:So why not old computers? (2)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841089)

Apple I = 6502 @ 1MHz
Apple iPhone = A9 @ 800 MHz

Its not quite that simple. With each machine running its contemporaneous software the perceived performance gap is much narrower.

Altering the hardware for convenience, but consider an Apple II running the VisiCalc spreadsheet and an iPad running the Numbers spreadsheet.

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841333)

Even with each machine's contemporary software, old stuff is still slower. Windows 98 is contemporary for my 1Ghz P3, Windows 7 is for my 3.3Ghz i5. It's not just clockspeeds at the CPU either - faster buses, solid state drives, better code, more hardware optimisations in the software.

There is always the nostalgia case, but in terms of practicality, usability and user sanity, most of it is just old hat. Frankly speaking, I'd apply the same logic to most classic cars and audio equipment too. If I have a component break on me, I can source a replacement within a day for a reasonable price. If the cam shaft on a 1963 Mercedes breaks, you're shit outta luck - and that isn't practical.

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841423)

I find that Windows 98 on my PII 266 is snappier than XP on my C2D. Just the UI, that is.

Re:98 on my PII 266 is snappier than... (1)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | more than 2 years ago | (#40842531)

You should see Win3.1 on a Pentium 90. You get a desktop from dos nearly instantaneously. Granted, that is before any of that scanning for devices stuff was included in the OS.

Re:So why not old computers? (2)

tekrat (242117) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841505)

And I would still rather have the '63 Mercedes. At least that's a car that's easily understood and not a tangle of wires, check engine lights for no reason, and frankly, was probably built like a tank compared to the paper-thin steel used today. If the "camshaft" breaks (the engine was more likely pushrod back then), and there's no source for a replacement (unlikely), then I have a machineshop make one of a lathe. Chances are the tolerances are not that tight, so as long as I come close, it'll work.

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#40842381)

Mercedes were way ahead of the curve, they were making OHC engines back in the 50s :)

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844525)

They were also doing mechanical fuel injection but still I would be willing to bet there are a number of places that would source you a new cam and have it out the door within a day for certain values of reasonable. In this case an old Mercedes is more like a specialty piece of equipment a better comparison would be to a '63 Ford, GM, or Chrysler. Parts for those things are common as hell and most auto parts will have parts for them at the warehouse and can be delivered same day if they don't have it on hand. Even for specialty vehicles if they have a following, like old British cars with the A-series engines, there are plenty of sources for components granted you won't find them at the standard auto parts store but then again those who run in those circles know where the local sources are.

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40843321)

And I would still rather have the '63 Mercedes.

Not me. Drum brakes rather than disk, no ABS, no air bags, 1/4 the gas mileage of a modern car with the same performance (carb rather than injection)... the only advantage to an old car like that was they were easy to work on. And who ever worked on their own Mercedes? Rich people don't work on their own cars!

Re:So why not old computers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40867329)

And that's pretty much the same reason lots of people like the old computers as well.

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841595)

Windows 98 is contemporary for my 1Ghz P3, Windows 7 is for my 3.3Ghz i5. It's not just clockspeeds at the CPU either - faster buses, solid state drives, better code, more hardware optimisations in the software.

Additionally, clockspeed is horrible for doing even rough comparisons of performance. If you underclocked that i5 to only 500MHz, the single-core performance would still easily beat the 1GHz P3.

Re:So why not old computers? (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841257)

vintage cars will basically perform the same function often with more style ... let's say 1/2 the performance of modern as worst case

This depends very much on how you measure performance. My 1960 Dodge Dart Phoenix (2dr) with 318ci hemi (well, ambi-, but close enough) big block and carter 650cfm 4bbl got somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 mpg on the freeway if I drove it nicely, and with ~240hp and ~340ft-lb it was actually something of a monster. But it also weighed four grand or more, was 6.5 feet wide and 18.5 feet long, had four drum brakes and typical wheels/tires and could either brake poorly or lock 'em up and slide merrily along like the lead sled it was. But it also would have had nightmarishly bad emissions by modern standards and it could easily get only 10 mpg around town if you drove it, uh, spiritedly... and it was my first car. It had no safety features, which may not be performance but which is fairly critical if you want to exercise performance and not die, and it had no niceties whatsoever except a push-button automatic transmission.

Despite the sepiatone view of history, better and better stuff has become available over the years. Diesel-hydraulic tractors, for example. Laser phonographs. Even modern tube amplifiers which benefit from superior supporting components! And of course, all-wheel-drive, turbocharged, direct-injected automobiles. Which do fall down in one category that you did mention, that being style. That and cost are the only potential reasons to maintain a vintage piece of equipment. The vintage computers pass the style test if you're into that sort of thing, but they fall down on the cost test. Building an Apple I kit will cost you hundreds all told. For fifty bucks I can get a far more useful computer from a yard sale or flea market. You can often get Pentium IVs for free (I have one right behind me that I should unload before no one will take it, it's huge.)

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841905)

I've got to agree. While I'm nostalgic for my '63 Couple de Ville, I'm not sure I'd want to drive it on the expressway every day.

Recently, my wife and I house-sat for a friend who has a '58 Bel Air and he told us we could drive it if we wanted. I was excited to take it for a spin, and it does turn heads but it felt like a tractor compared to my Acura and didn't have a proper stereo anyway.

I'm somewhat sympathetic to "new-retro" cars like the new Thunderbird or Challenger or Camaro, but I notice nobody is building a modern car that resembles the '63 Coupe De Ville I had in college (aka "The Love Boat") with it's queen-sized bench front seat.

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#40845793)

Sounds like when I took my father's old Nova (not the crappy 4 banger from the '80s) that use to be his race car but was street legal out for a drive. It is a fun car nothing practical about it with the race built 350 crate motor, 4.11 gears, turbo 350 tranny, and posi rear end. It is shit your self quick, will light them up in all gears, and will pop the front tires off the ground about 6 inches, but it doesn't brake well, turn well at all, and drinks down the gasoline. If you want a modern car with old style then go get your self a Morgan [carpages.ca] or modernize an older vehicle. When it comes to classic cars that are a few schools of though. There are the purists who think everything should be as close to all original as possible, there are those who want something to race originality be damned, and there are those who want to have something fun originality be damned. The latter two groups create some remarkable vehicles with the 3rd being the ones who will create a vehicle with much more modern equipment that reuses varying amount of the original vehicle. These include the people who do the hot rods and customs. I fall into the 3rd group with my father being in the second. I have a '68 MG Midget but am going to be putting in modern suspension and brakes as well as swapping the transmission (I want a 5 speed with over drive and synchros on all gears) and making substantial engine modifications (my goal is to see if I can get 250 hp out of that little A-series engine). When every thing is all said and done I will probably have $20,000 sunk into it yet it would only be worth $8,000, but I will have had fun building it and I wanted a fun car to drive which it will be. The people who do these kinds of things do it because they like to and as a whole I think we as a society benefit as is preserves our shared history.

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40848149)

I've been in a Triumph TR4 with a 350 and a GM corporate posi rear, big edelbrock intake and carb, scary. And a friend has a spitfire with a Nissan GA16DE FWD engine transplanted, which must be a peach if you're skinny and of average height, which he is. At this point, I just want Chevy to come out with this new 3.0 liter turbodiesel and to cram one in my 300SD.

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

fotoflojoe (982885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40842323)

The Chrysler 318ci is neither a hemi nor a big block.
The 318ci is a small block. Chrysler big blocks are 383ci and up.
Only The 427ci is a hemi.

That said, my first car was a '73 Dodge Charger with a 318 mated to a 727 Torqueflight transmission (not stock).
It was two blocks long, weighed more than most modern cruise ships, and I loved every second of owning it!
To stay on topic, I'm also nostalgic for my TRS-80 Model 1.

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40843073)

The Chrysler 318ci is neither a hemi nor a big block.
The 318ci is a small block. Chrysler big blocks are 383ci and up.
Only The 427ci is a hemi.

It would be cool if you knew what you're talking about, but you don't.
There was a big block 318ci from the late fifties into the early sixties, maybe until '62.
It doesn't have fully-domed heads like the 427, but it does have half-domed heads, and it's a sort of proto-hemi.

The original 318 was a big block. Look it up, but you'll probably need a book to do that, like an old Motors manual.

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

fotoflojoe (982885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40843741)

The engine you're thinking of is the 318ci wide block, so called because of its wide polyspherical heads.
It is absolutely a small block, interchangeable on a unit-for-unit basis with the 318ci LA (small block).
A polyspherical head is *not* a hemispherical head.

Chrysler big blocks are 383ci and up. Only the 427ci is a hemi.

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40844131)

It is absolutely a small block, interchangeable on a unit-for-unit basis with the 318ci LA (small block).

Completely untrue. It's based on the "B" block, though not the "RB" block.

A polyspherical head is *not* a hemispherical head.

It fulfills the same function.

Chrysler big blocks are 383ci and up.

They also offered the car with a 383 with dual quads on a cross-ram manifold.

Re:So why not old computers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40842535)

Posting AC because I'm at work.

A few years ago, my parents moved into an apartment so Dad passed on the family's 1967 Chrysler Newport Custom to me. It's fun to tool around in and it certainly turns heads but a modern car it sure ain't. It's a bright red four door hardtop with a white roof and a rare combination of buckets/console with the factory vacuum gauge. Drive it nice and it stays in the "economy" zone but get a little lead footed and it drops into the "performance" range with gas mileage to match.

Brakes? Four wheel drums but the full size Chryslers had the best brakes of any car of their time so they work okay. Emissions? I once hooked up a rubber hose to the exhaust and used it to kill gophers. Suck on pure carbon monoxide you furry little bastards! Safety? Yeah, no. Entertainment? An AM only radio with front and rear speakers. Maintenance? Needs a tune up or some kind of fiddling at least once a year.

On the bright side, parts are cheap and available, I can do practically everything on it myself and I've never lost it in a parking lot. Even better is when I park next to some pretentious prick with his new FIAT 500 (still kinda rare here in this part of Canada) and more people end up looking at or asking about MY car instead.

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40843255)

Entertainment? An AM only radio with front and rear speakers

Front and rear speakers? LUXURY! I had just one speaker in the middle of my dash, and I had to wait for the tubes in my AM radio to warm up!

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40843369)

Wow these old cars had internet access? Or only in Alaska?

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841269)

Vintage computers will basically perform the same function (gaming) with more style. No, emulators don't cut it.

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841535)

True that. Nothing more stylish than waiting for your C64 to spool the tape...

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

N Monkey (313423) | more than 2 years ago | (#40842759)

True that. Nothing more stylish than waiting for your C64 to spool the tape...

Speaking of the devil, I saw this on the BBC re the C64 turning 30 [bbc.co.uk] .
The video shows the tape failing to load :-)

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 2 years ago | (#40843177)

I am not sure what happened but about 80-90% of my C64/128 media no longer works. I havent cared enough to try and dig into it deeper but a handful of games and software will load without issue but the majority of it just causes the 5 1/4 floppy to keep spinning and clicking.

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841787)

No, emulators don't cut it.

I respectfully disagree... there is one emulator [mess.org] to rule them all [progettoemma.net]

nostalgia? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40841325)

nostalgia - I guess that would be my case.

Back in the Apple ][ days, programming had this feeling of wonderment, accomplishment, and fun. Computers, at least PCs, were new. Programs were programs with very little OS interaction and 'frameworks' never came into the picture. You write and run a highly functional program that was only a few hundred KB.

Things weren't so abstract. Even programming in Integer BASIC, you eventually had to hit metal in some way (PEEK, POKE) to something or another.

You felt like you were doing something more than figuring out what combination of API/Method calls would do the job for you. You want a UI? Start using ASCII or draw lines.

Implementing an algorithm and having the program output the text answer on that green screen that made everything you saw bleed red felt awesome. Today, with a couple of clicks through a wizard, I'll have a pretty functional program.that will just need some minor API calls and maybe a class/module to implement some algorithm. YAWN.

It's not just computers, it's also airplanes. I can't tell you how many professional pilots go and get a Piper Cub in retirement and learn to enjoy flying again. Dropping all the fancy electronics Going back to basic stick & rudder, compass and dead reckoning brought something old and primal.

As technology gets more advanced, it loses something. It feels less - human.

Re:nostalgia? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40843451)

That's very true, I hope the mods see it. My best programming experiences were on primitive machines, the TS-1000 and the MC-10. I wrote a battle tanks game for the TS-1000 in BASIC, but it was unplayably slow, so I rewrote it in assembly, then hand-assembled the machine code, POKEd ito into a REM statement, and I had to put loops in to slow it down. I had it read the keyboard directly, so two players could control their tanks at the same time from the same keyboard.

Much fun. After buying a repair manual for the MC-10 (I wanted to know how the things were put together) I discovered that its video chip was capable of 400x600 (iirc) resolution even though the computer itself would only output 80 pixels wide. I wound up writing a graphics program that would print your art on the MC-10's plotter, then wrote a word processor for it that used mixed case despite the fact that the MC-10 only supported upper case (I had to write the fonts), and it would output its mixed case to the plotter, too.

I was a lot smarter and a lot less lazy then.

Re:So why not old computers? (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841385)

LOL noobs always think "power" is "processor frequency".

"power" is defined by what you do with the computer not the rate that an arbitrary flipflip in the logic can be toggled.

I can run a 1960s mid size corporation data center inside my desktop as an emulator. Very interesting, lots to learn about design. The supposedly much more advanced desktop can ... merely run minesweeper or maybe solitaire. Booooring.

Another knee slapper is when someone claims their iphone has "100 times" the "power" of the computer that sent men to the moon (as if there was only one computer involved, LOL). OK well, 100 times the power would seem to imply you'll be landing on Pluto pretty soon with your much more powerful iphone, so write me when you get there. Oh, you say all your iphone can do is play Angry Birds. Oh, well, thats not quite so powerful and impressive anymore, is it?

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 2 years ago | (#40843655)

Clock speed is imprecise, particularly when comparing generations or processor families, but the industry is not quite ready to abandon conventional measures of hardware performance in favour of "lol vln can do 150 internets per hour on this bitch".

Re:So why not old computers? (4, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841389)

Hrmmm. Let's compare:

Boot time for my 8-core Lenovo Laptop == 20 minutes
Boot time for my Apple IIe == about 1 second.

I know you're going to have a hard time groking this; but I can actually be productive in a shorter time period on an older machine. My word processor is 16k and loads in a fraction of the time of MS word -- for basically the same results.

Heck, I can boot a C=64 into GEOS faster than Windows loads these days -- and still get a complete WIMP/WYSIWYG operating environment.

Old doesn't necessarily mean useless. Check out the TRS-80 Model 100 -- still in use out in the field by journalists with limited access to electricity -- it will run for months on 4 AA batteries -- and provide you with BASIC,. a word processor, a telecommunications program (built-in modem), and a few other goodies. Negroponte should have looked at THAT when he was designing the OLPC. Hackers today are still finding uses for it.

Re:So why not old computers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40841565)

Clearly you bought a shitty octo-core laptop because that super nice guy at Best Buy told you more cores = more processors = faster boot times.

Re:So why not old computers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40841671)

Just think of how fast Applesoft BASIC or GEOS would load on a modern computer.

The problem these days is the software, not the hardware.

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

mister2au (1707664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841911)

Now try that with an Apple I not IIe ... Or a Commodore PET not a C64

vintage vs old, perhaps? Old can be useful but vintage is just for nostalgia or true geeks :-)

Re:C=64 into GEOS (1)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | more than 2 years ago | (#40842605)

Haha I had GEOS. I still can't believe it took around 3 minutes to read 64k worth of data off the floppy drive...

Re:So why not old computers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40842865)

Citations requested.

still in use out in the field by journalists

Who? Where? I used and quite liked the Trash 100 into the Pentium era, and AFAIK the last pros stopped using these in the late 90s. Which was impressive and made a good story, but it's also a long time ago now.

it will run for months on 4 AA batteries

Nope. Weeks. Varies with battery quality, but nothing like "months" for actual daily use. Again, still impressive compared to mere hours, but your statements sound like surreal exaggeration to me. Cites would be appreciated.

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40843427)

Boot time for my 8-core Lenovo Laptop == 20 minutes?

What are you running on these?
My Lenovo Laptop boots up in about 6 seconds.
You are doing something wrong.

Re:So why not old computers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40843159)

I could make some flip remark about hooking my venerable 9900 systems up with a sexy new OMAP or RPi board, or maybe a GPU-based graphics sub-system, but I will only say that repaing my stone-age 990 mini only requires TTL chips, some passives, and a few transistors, coils, and diodes. Only need a meter, soldering iron, and a 20 Mhz scope . Something to think about with all the millenial scenarios afloat.

While fooling around with this now halfway to classic status 2008 Pentium Dual Core system, I did a few FreeDOS, DOS 6.22 and XP boots. XP you could tell it was happy as a clam with the newfound performance, but DOS? It wasn't really that noticeable a difference.

Re:So why not old computers? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40843585)

old phonographs will again perform the same function with 60 dB of dynamic range compared to ... completely adequate for the 10-20 db for range in pop music

It depends on how old the turntable is. Turntables made before about 1960 or so had very heavy tonearms which would wear out records (and even cheap phonographs from the '80s and '9-s had heavier tonearms than good turntables, but not as bad as old ones), and most turntables and phonographs before around 1960 were monophonic. About 1970 or so they came out with four channel "quadraphonic" system, today we call it "surround sound".

As to the dynamics, rock produced in the '70s pushed the limits of LPs' dynamic range. Many albums made then from analog masters actually have more dynamics than their digitally mixed CD counterparts!

The thing about analog is, a good system sounded way, way better than a cheap one. With digital, there's a difference between cheap and expensive, but not much of one.

I think today's sound engineers just aren't as good as back then. CDs have a bigger dynamic range than LPs, incompetence is the only explanation why the Presence LP has more dynamics than the Presence CD. A CD you make from an LP will often sound better than the digitally remastered CD, and that just shouldn't be.

As to vintage computers, I wish I still had my old IBM XT, for nostalgia purposes. At one point it was possibly the fastest IBM XT on earth -- I'd replaced everything but the case, power supply, and keyboard. Later I put it back together with its original parts.

HANDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40841083)

i don't know what to do with them

that me do? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40841127)

i love wife me best friend, she is Russian sexy girl/ [aboutrussi...ygirls.net] . That me do?

this is good but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40841161)

...I have a VMS orange wall gathering dust in a garage in Sussex (England), and I haven't found anyone willing to take it off me.

I also have boxes of old crap which I don't know what to do with, but I'd never dare throw anything away. I mean I know the VAXstation 4000/60s and such probably have hobbyist or even industrial spares value, and goodness knows I need to do something with the DECmate III, but there is still a pile of Sparc boxes etc which have probably suffered circuit rot by now. This is all the remainder from some guy's collection which he asked me to redistribute For The Good Of The Collector Community - bits no-one wanted to take even when I offered it all for free. And I'm sure I have at least five VT2xx to VT5xx.

Whatever do I do with the remaining bits?

Re:this is good but... (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841577)

Did you talk to the classiccmp mailing list folks?

http://www.classiccmp.org/lists.html [classiccmp.org]

when I offered it all for free.

There is no "free" other than locals within maybe 10 miles or so, and there might not be any locals within 10 miles, so... The main problem I see is in your first line "Sussex (England)". The density of historical re-enactors or classic enthusiasts or whatever you want to call us, is pretty light on the ground in England, despite the cluster of people that hang around Bletchley Park.

If you were my neighbor, I'd take the VAX off your hands, sounds like fun to play with, I would even pay you a bit or buy you and your family a nice dinner, but there's that little "Sussex (England)" problem stopping us... Lets just say neither of us probably want to pay for the shipping required to guarantee it'll arrive in one working piece across the pond and halfway across the continent. Unless you've actually recent done transcontinental shipping of electronics, you have no idea what you're in for. Lets just say that properly shipping the vax to the other side of the planet might be "around a nice car payment"... for a start... for something that might not work when it arrives and is wired for 220. Its a non starter, sorry.

Also your stuff isn't old enough to be taken seriously by the serious collectors. The guy who owns a DEC straight-8 might have the resources to grab your terminals but a 500 series VT? Not old enough to be "interesting" yet.

Also as for the orange wall bitsavers and archive.org have killed doc collecting as a research and operational tool. All that's left is for doc collectors is collecting for the sake of collecting, and historically interesting trophies like my collection of yellowing PDP-8 semi-promotional material manuals. So unless bitsavers wants to scan your personal copy, or there is a rare undocumented manual stuck in between the binders or whatever, just recycle it. The pdf's are better than the paper originals in most regards. My ipad has probably spent most of its life on a hourly basis displaying pages from the DEC TOPS-10 software notebooks series (we all have our dirty little secrets I guess)

Re:this is good but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40841773)

Thanks for the informative response. Some of the more interesting stuff had lived in Milton Keynes many years before!

Yes, I recall making a post to that mailing list many years ago - that's how I managed to find some interested parties. Some people wanted lighter stuff shipped (that was OK) and some even drove from northern Europe! It's just sad to see all this remaining "junk". There's something difficult about saying, "This thing is amazing by the standards of humanity, and it still works, but it's totally worthless right now."

In the '90s I had a schoolfriend whose dad worked at UBS, just as the older Unix boxes were finding their way onto hobbyist desks. He told stories of how top-of-the-line hardware would be crushed to minimise the risk of information leakage. I'm sure, in the scheme of things, it's wrong to be emotional about the recycling of metal and sand, but there you go.

Re:this is good but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40843531)

Please don't be harsh with bitsavers, archive.org, or other orgs and sites, like TUHS.org The problem with doc and code collectors is that they are, sadly, mortal. There are notorious examples of critical, heavily relied-upon collector sites that have disappeared upon their owners' demise, that were never mirrored anywhere.

My only criticism with Kahle's site is that often you will see files listed, but the links don't work since archive.org generally doesn't, or didn't, follow ftp and download links, or because they were hidden behind scripts.

Many, many thanks to Kossow for all his work, and for seeing to continuity via the Computer History Museum, and to all the fine folks behind that effort.

Re:this is good but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40843703)

And there's really no reason not to put up a serious research and operational tool, as you put it, just because of bitsavers and archive. There's still a bunch of undocumented stuff out there, and your take on it. :-)

Re:this is good but... (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40847271)

There are notorious examples of critical, heavily relied-upon collector sites that have disappeared upon their owners' demise, that were never mirrored anywhere.

I remember that happening to the CP/M site.

Please don't be harsh with bitsavers, archive.org, or other orgs and sites, like TUHS.org

Agreed those guys are awesome. If you want to call out individuals Jason Scott (now at archive.org) has archived a lot of stuff ... I've donated a fair chunk of change to him over the years to keep on doing what he does... Some people donate money to the ballet, some to the orchestra, I think /.ers should send their "cultural donations" to those type of sites (Oh and the EFF too)

What could Apple make one for? (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841163)

I can't help but wonder what Apple could make a modernized replica Apple II for. Not something literally compatible. A little Apple TV style box with a USB connector, a network connector and a HDMI connector. Simulating the original graphics modes on the HDMI output, etc.

If they could do something like that for $100, the Apple TV price, they probably could sell a decent amount due to nostalgia and curiosity.

Re:What could Apple make one for? (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841469)

I would prefer a replica with a full size Apple II case with a hand crank on the side. When you move the crank, it plays Pop Goes the Weasel with a Wozniak bobble head popping out at the end.

Re:What could Apple make one for? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841531)

You mean a Raspberry pi with an Apple II emulator? Apple probably could sell something like that, but not for the kinds of margins they are used to. Commodore and Atari have licensed reproductions, the C64 DTV and Atari 2600 flashback, which were fairly successful. But neither of them are the most profitable company in the world right now. Apple wouldn't bother, they want people to forget about the times that Apple was an open, engineer driven company anyway.

Re:What could Apple make one for? (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841953)

I can't help but wonder what Apple could make a modernized replica Apple II for.

It'd be funnier if Samsung made one.

Re:What could Apple make one for? (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 2 years ago | (#40842433)

I am sure that you could fully emulate the Apple //e in software on an Apple TV as a tiny software application. Makes me wonder if some apple employee hasn't considered doing that as an easter egg.

Re:What could Apple make one for? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40843447)

Most USB keyboards don't have a reset button on the bottom.

Reproduction? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841189)

Interesting...

Re:Reproduction? (2)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841715)

Checking the article, "reproduction" is indeed a more accurate description than "clone".

Usually, a clone copies functionality of the original machine, using whatever tech is available / preferred currently. For example you could replace rows of old RAM chips with 1 larger, modern RAM chip.

In this case it seems they copied the original board, used same components etc. Which is a very unusual way to produce a 'clone'. I guess it's not so much for people who want to run Apple I software on real hardware, but rather for those who want to have an 'Apple I motherboard' in their hands. Which is understandable if an original is extremely rare and expensive.

Re:Reproduction? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40842085)

I thought clones were identical, while reproductions were recombinant from two parent donors getttin' jiggy wit it

MARCH? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40841273)

Come on Slashdot editors. Get on the ball! I know you guys are slow, but this is ridiculous!

You're just getting around to discussing MARCH? It's now August for crying out loud!

Awesome (1)

Danzigism (881294) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841639)

I really love vintage computing. I didn't even know this repro company existed until now. Very cool! It's hard finding old parts for these things and guys on eBay are starting to realize their collector's value. Now is not a bad time to get in to this market considering the people already having nostalgia from 30 year old computing.

Vintage parts for repairs & reproductions (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841963)

Besides folks on eBay also people scrapping old electronics will realize the value of some of the parts on old boards. I'm mostly thinking of poor chaps in China that demolish e-waste from the west with their hands & crude tools. But it might apply to others in this chain.

The next step is firing up an old IC production machine, produce a few batches of different parts, put the newly produced IC's in housings that are made to look like they're 30 years old, and apply markings to suggest the same. Wouldn't surprise me if that's already been done for some sought after / expensive vintage IC's, it has been done for modern IC's (fake IC's are a well known problem in the electronics industry).

Next step after that is do the same, but acknowledging what was done, like sell such IC's as actual reproduction IC, with correct (current) date codes etc. Which AFAIK, has not been done yet. Perhaps the market for these is too small, who knows.

Re:Vintage parts for repairs & reproductions (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 2 years ago | (#40842163)

Its already happening. Fake Commodore SID chips are common.

Apple is the only company that matters. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40841669)

When was the last time you saw anyone talk about old IBM atari or commodore p.o.s. computers like they do Apple computers? Never. Once again we witness how Apple invented an industry by being not just first, but best in every way that matters. A level of commitment to things like quality, security, performance, and usability that the dipshit amateurs who write Lin-sux cannot match and the morons at Microsoft don't even want to try to match. If you love computers, you owe Apple *everything*.

Think different.
Think BETTER.
Think Apple!

Re:Apple is the only company that matters. (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40842223)

When was the last time you saw anyone talk about old IBM

LOL every collector / enthusiast / re-enactor / whatever we are has a certain date they don't go before and often pretend nothing existed before then.

If you're willing to go before the mid 80s, the IBM mainframe guys are at least as much into their mainframes as the apple collectors are into their apples.

If you love computers, you owe Apple *everything*.

I think you owe the original '360 developer team. The 1960s IBM 360 mainframe development team, not the xbox 360.

Re:Apple is the only company that matters. (1)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | more than 2 years ago | (#40849263)

If you're willing to go before the mid 80s, the IBM mainframe guys are just as much into their mainframes as the apple collectors are into their apples.

You got that right. I'd just about kill for a working 2741 terminal with an APL keyboard.

Re:Apple is the only company that matters. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40846411)

When was the last time you saw anyone talk about old IBM atari or commodore p.o.s. computers like they do Apple computers?

Look in the comments above, I specifically mentioned that I wished I'd kept that old XT, and many others mentioned Commodore and Atari. Which, BTW, were NOT pieces of shit; they were as solid as Apples, just not as expensive.

Once again we witness how Apple invented an industry by being not just first, but best in every way that matters.

Wrong, fanboi. Commodore had a fully functional PC before the Apple II. The Apple I was not fully functional, and was predated by the Altair. I saw my first computer at age 12, when Gates and Jobs were in diapers.

As to "best?" Best, how? Yes, their products are pretty and shiiny, and they're more expensive than the competetion, but most are less powerful than other brands.

A level of commitment to things like quality, security, performance, and usability that the dipshit amateurs who write Lin-sux cannot match and the morons at Microsoft don't even want to try to match.

As a non-Apple user I can't comment about useability, except, well, what other computer company ever had a mouse that looked like a hockey puck and only had one button? When my kids went to school, that's what the Apple mice there looked like. As to security, Linux wins hands down. As to performance, a good high-end gaming rig running Windows will run circles around a mac.

And your to "amateurs who write Lin-sux", boy, first, fuck you, and second, I have seldom seen such an ignorant comment. You're saying that the guys at Red Hat and Cannonical and all the other companies contributing to Linux are amateurs?

The fact is, if Apple had never existed, the computing scene would look pretty much like it does now, except there would be no Macs and Google and Microsoft would be fighting over the smartphone and tablet market (both of which Apple were Johnny-come-latelys).

As Buggsy would say, "what a maroon." Go back under your bridge with your revisionist history and leave us alone.

Shit, I bit a troll. Someone should mod me down :(

To people asking why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40842175)

Preemptively, I post my feelings which might help to understand the "why".

Picture yourself doing a lone journey, going through deserts, limelight cities, industrial districts and miner villages... just looking and learning but never quite feeling at ease.

Then one day you cross a pass and enter a valley with small houses and people who make incredible fine craftsmanship artifacts -- and speak a long forgotten language with weird freedom-related concepts. Then you look, smile and know you want to live and die there.

You're home, finally.

MARCH Computer Museum / VCF East (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40842225)

Hello Slashdot! I'm the guy in the video ... I know, not exactly the world's best on-air presentation. :) Anyway: my user group, MARCH (Mid-Atlantic Retro Computing Hobbyists) formed in 2004. Anybody can join (it's free, as in beer) although our focus is on the northeast quadrant of the USA. Our bricks-and-mortar museum is in Wall, N.J. (InfoAge.org); we're solely run by volunteers. The computer museum is open Sundays from 1pm-5pm and other times by appointment; InfoAge itself is open Wednesday / Saturday / Sunday also 1pm-5pm. MARCH itself has a very active discussion list at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/midatlanticretro (we'll probably switch to a real listserv one of these days). We also host the annual Vintage Computer Festival East (vintage.org); and we frequently have tech days, museum work days, social events, etc. .... if you're within a few states then please join us and you'll get to come play with our Apple 1, Altair, a Cray supercomputer, DEC PDP collection, IBM 1130, all the 8-bit stuff, and even our UNIVAC! - Evan Koblentz (MARCH prez / co-founder) - contact: evan [ at ] infoage.org

Re:MARCH Computer Museum / VCF East (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844897)

Didn't realize you guys had that fascinating site, Evan. Great job you're doing.

Just gotta ask: Are those old Tiros dishes still in any kind of operational condition? Dunno if you're familiar with it but there's a something simliar at pari.edu. Ex-NASA, not Army, but similar.

jbdigriz

Re:MARCH Computer Museum / VCF East (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40846651)

Ah, you mean the massive dish down the street from our main campus. I'm told there is a group of astronomers from Princeton U. are looking to get the dish working again. Email me (evan-at-infoage-dot-org) for more info.

Perfect for Kickstarter (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40842275)

Count me in. I still search Ebay for original Altair computers and IMSAI 8080 machines. There's still something cool about computers with switches and lights on the front. Probably why I also like steam punk.

Re:Perfect for Kickstarter (1)

bpechter (2885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40843323)

Try something bigger. More lights and fun. And the fan noise. I had a PDP11 in my kitchen. Power up both 14 inch disk drives and watch the breaker for the 20 amp circuit blow. 8-(

The SIMH emulator can run PDP11 software and give you the 11/40 blinking lights in a window. I put up RT11 and did some toggle in programs to test it. Amazing. I just wish we had the 11/45 and 11/70 light panels to watch as well.

Re:Perfect for Kickstarter (1)

hson (78256) | more than 2 years ago | (#40850363)

Not a real machine but Briel Computers sell (kit or assembled) a "mini replica" of the Altair 8800. The i8080 CPU is emulated with an ATmega but you get the front with LEDs and switches. With a add-on card it can even run CP/M. :)
He also sells the Replica 1 (Apple 1 clone) and Micro-KIM (MOS KIM-1 clone). They, however, use true 6502 processors.
http://www.brielcomputers.com/wordpress/ [brielcomputers.com]

Re:Perfect for Kickstarter (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851385)

Sweet. Now I'd also like to see a Connection Machine CM-5.

Video professionalism (1)

Georules (655379) | more than 2 years ago | (#40842307)

What was the point of the part with the "special effects created by a professional on a closed course, do not try at home"?

Re:Video professionalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40842409)

Just some levity while the Lunar Lander game takes 40 seconds to load.

MARCH Guys are good guys (1)

Splat (9175) | more than 2 years ago | (#40843279)

I spoke with Evan at HOPE 9, and also attended the Vintage Computer Fest East in Wall, NJ recently. Evan, and the others, are all cool guys who are doing a great job keeping this history alive. The repros showed at HOPE were very cool, and even though I follow this stuff I did not a lot of the stuff they showed existed. If you're on the east coast and Evan or others from the club are around be sure to check it out.

Re:MARCH Guys are good guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40846701)

Thank you! I'd never claim to be "cool" but maybe in an uber-nerdy way.

But why reinvent.. (1)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | more than 2 years ago | (#40843811)

..the wheel, of oppression?

Re:But why reinvent.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844433)

What's any of this got to do with fiat currency?

Games & software are why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40847277)

My old PIII runs Win98se on a 440BXrevII chipset/Abit BH6 mainboard, overclocked & air-cooled (substituted some large, slow fans to keep the jet-roar down). That machine went through a full upgrade process (video cards, memory, etc) and performs beautifully on old Win or DOS games. It also has a ton of peripherals including a Sidewinder Force Feedback, an Aura Interactor cushion, Bose speaker set, Soundblaster & etc. Add either the 19" NEC Multisync or the Samsung SyncMaster (both in excellent condition) and an ATI Rage 128 running alternate drivers and you're ready to game in crispy color & response.

If I get tired of that, I mess around with my Thinkpad 700c & experiment with older Linux OSes :)

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