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  • Mike Loewen
    I ve been adding to my Old Technology site, mostly in the Books and Media sections. I acquired a small pile of books on BASIC programming for the TI-99/4A,
    Message 1 of 13 , Nov 11, 2008
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      I've been adding to my Old Technology site, mostly in the Books and
      Media sections. I acquired a small pile of books on BASIC programming for
      the TI-99/4A, Atari 400/800, Timex Sinclair 1000, ZX81 and TI Compact
      Computer 40. I also added more tape formats to the Magtape page and a
      Sony Magneto/Optical cartridge to the Rigid Disks page.

      http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/Oldtech/Media/
      http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/Oldtech/Books/

      I've also added several Sun workstations in the past few months:

      http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/Oldtech/Sun/


      Mike Loewen mloewen@...
      Old Technology http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/Oldtech/
    • B Degnan
      Bob, Very nice. I heartily recommend anyone interested in computer history to take the trip to Baltimore to see the museum for themselves. The exhibits go
      Message 2 of 13 , Nov 11, 2008
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        Bob,
        Very nice. I heartily recommend anyone interested in computer history
        to take the trip to Baltimore to see the museum for themselves. The
        exhibits go well beyond microcomputing. There are also displays
        exploring pre-industrial counting devices, mechanical computers,
        mini/mainframes, the evolution of memory, and storage devices, etc. I
        have been there three times myself. Two or so years ago I helped Bob
        rescue a Linotype machine. Now restored it's safely in its new home.
        Bill


        syssrc wrote:
        > See http://www.syssrc.com
        >
        > Click on the image.
        >
        > Thanks to March Members Bill Degnan and Evan Koblenz for their help
        > with the museum
        >
        > Bob Roswell
        > broswell@...
        >
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • B Degnan
        I m due for an update myself. I have been quietly gathering together the next installment of vintagecomputer.net Thanks for the post, I will take a look. -
        Message 3 of 13 , Nov 11, 2008
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          I'm due for an update myself. I have been quietly gathering together
          the next installment of vintagecomputer.net

          Thanks for the post, I will take a look. - But first check the link, I
          can't get to it, maybe the server is down? It's after 12AM.

          Bill

          Mike Loewen wrote:
          > I've been adding to my Old Technology site, mostly in the Books and
          > Media sections. I acquired a small pile of books on BASIC programming for
          > the TI-99/4A, Atari 400/800, Timex Sinclair 1000, ZX81 and TI Compact
          > Computer 40. I also added more tape formats to the Magtape page and a
          > Sony Magneto/Optical cartridge to the Rigid Disks page.
          >
          > http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/Oldtech/Media/
          > http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/Oldtech/Books/
          >
          > I've also added several Sun workstations in the past few months:
          >
          > http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/Oldtech/Sun/
          >
          >
          > Mike Loewen mloewen@...
          > Old Technology http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/Oldtech/
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
        • Evan Koblentz
          ... trip to Baltimore to see the museum for themselves Note to the public: it s not really a museum ; it s a private collection in a private company s
          Message 4 of 13 , Nov 11, 2008
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            >>> I heartily recommend anyone interested in computer history to take the
            trip to Baltimore to see the museum for themselves

            Note to the public: it's not really a "museum"; it's a private collection in
            a private company's building.
          • Mike Loewen
            ... Sorry about that - I should know better than to post at midnight: http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/Oldtech/Books/
            Message 5 of 13 , Nov 12, 2008
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              On Wed, 12 Nov 2008, B Degnan wrote:

              > Thanks for the post, I will take a look. - But first check the link, I
              > can't get to it, maybe the server is down? It's after 12AM.

              Sorry about that - I should know better than to post at midnight:

              http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/Oldtech/Books/
              http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/Oldtech/Media/
              http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/Oldtech/Sun/


              Mike Loewen mloewen@...
              Old Technology http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/Oldtech/
            • Herb Johnson
              I followed the Web link to the museum s Web site. It s a visually impressive set of Web pages on a variety of devices related to computing and digital
              Message 6 of 13 , Nov 12, 2008
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                I followed the Web link to the museum's Web site. It's a visually
                impressive set of Web pages on a variety of devices related to
                computing and digital technology or information processing. Broadly
                defined, even a lineotype machine fits in those categories. That's
                fine by me.

                But I was *not* impressed with the text associated with the Web pages.
                I saw this description on the "almost computers" section, which
                stopped me cold:

                > Almost Computers were computers were just that, computers
                > who almost offered the complete package to end users, but
                > somehow how missed the mark. Computers that didn't have
                > decent input or output like Pong.
                >
                > Pong hooked up a TV to a microprocessor for text and
                > graphical output because it didn't have a monitor packaged
                > with it. Or like the AIM. The AIM was a real computer, but
                > it didn't have a practical display, it was more like a
                > calculator than monitors of today.
                >
                > The RCA almost got it right. The RCA lacked a decent OS
                > forcing users to enter data in HEX.

                My first read of this was confusion. Did he say Pong was an "almost
                computer"? Or that the RCA video game or the AIM (6502-based computer)
                were "almost computers?" I fired off a complaint to the developer of
                the Web site, with details to make my point: this is not an
                historically accurate or technologically accurate consideration of
                these devices.

                I don't want to argue the details here, in case the discussion would
                seem mean-spirited. This person and their company should be commended
                for developing and preserving a collection of "vintage" computers and
                related technology, creating a Web site, and allowing people to see a
                private collection.

                But I take issue with something I see very often, and I'll mention it
                here in general. It's the tendency to review PAST computers in PRESENT
                terms, and then to say that "computers" of the past were "off the
                mark" or "deficient", or as in this case, "almost" computers.

                For example, it's unfair and even inaccurate to call many early video
                games "almost" computers, because many of them could NEVER HAVE BEEN
                "computers". "Pong" in particular was a collection of small digital
                logic chips. No microprocessor, no memory, no software, no firmware,
                no programming language, no way to add ANY of these items.

                And yet, it was "digital", it *was* successful, and it led Atari to
                build some early computers which, without doubt, *were* computers. So
                it's signifigant, but it's not an "almost computer". It is what it
                WAS, an early digital video gaming machine.

                (I have a lot more to say about this, but I know Evan has stopped
                reading this already as it's too long. So I'll just wrap this up.)

                In summary, looking at old computing and saying "they failed because
                they weren't modern enough", simply blames them for being old - using
                the technology and tools of the time. If that is an acceptable thing
                to do, then why bother with "old" computers (or old video games) at
                all? Why collect them, why write about them? And, why would a museum
                have them around, just to say "here's some failures, too bad"?

                One point I'll have to explain. ONe can learn FROM THE PAST. Even if
                it's about old stuff, about old people, and dead technology. You can
                learn about people, about companies, about design, even about
                technology. Why make the same "old" mistakes, over and over? Even if
                you don't like history, maybe you want to avoid old mistakes.

                Herb Johnson
                retrotechnology.com
              • Bob Schwier
                When I chose a computer for my daughter in 1980, I wanted a general machine that would hook up to the television because being a student living on GI Bill, I
                Message 7 of 13 , Nov 12, 2008
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                  When I chose a computer for my daughter in 1980, I wanted a general machine
                  that would hook up to the television because being a student living on GI Bill,
                  I was not exactly rolling in the type of wealth that could handle both the
                  computer and the monitor.
                  bs






                  Quoting Herb Johnson <herbjohnson@...>:

                  > I followed the Web link to the museum's Web site. It's a visually
                  > impressive set of Web pages on a variety of devices related to
                  > computing and digital technology or information processing. Broadly
                  > defined, even a lineotype machine fits in those categories. That's
                  > fine by me.
                  >
                  > But I was *not* impressed with the text associated with the Web pages.
                  > I saw this description on the "almost computers" section, which
                  > stopped me cold:
                  >
                  > > Almost Computers were computers were just that, computers
                  > > who almost offered the complete package to end users, but
                  > > somehow how missed the mark. Computers that didn't have
                  > > decent input or output like Pong.
                  > >
                  > > Pong hooked up a TV to a microprocessor for text and
                  > > graphical output because it didn't have a monitor packaged
                  > > with it. Or like the AIM. The AIM was a real computer, but
                  > > it didn't have a practical display, it was more like a
                  > > calculator than monitors of today.
                  > >
                  > > The RCA almost got it right. The RCA lacked a decent OS
                  > > forcing users to enter data in HEX.
                  >
                  > My first read of this was confusion. Did he say Pong was an "almost
                  > computer"? Or that the RCA video game or the AIM (6502-based computer)
                  > were "almost computers?" I fired off a complaint to the developer of
                  > the Web site, with details to make my point: this is not an
                  > historically accurate or technologically accurate consideration of
                  > these devices.
                  >
                  > I don't want to argue the details here, in case the discussion would
                  > seem mean-spirited. This person and their company should be commended
                  > for developing and preserving a collection of "vintage" computers and
                  > related technology, creating a Web site, and allowing people to see a
                  > private collection.
                  >
                  > But I take issue with something I see very often, and I'll mention it
                  > here in general. It's the tendency to review PAST computers in PRESENT
                  > terms, and then to say that "computers" of the past were "off the
                  > mark" or "deficient", or as in this case, "almost" computers.
                  >
                  > For example, it's unfair and even inaccurate to call many early video
                  > games "almost" computers, because many of them could NEVER HAVE BEEN
                  > "computers". "Pong" in particular was a collection of small digital
                  > logic chips. No microprocessor, no memory, no software, no firmware,
                  > no programming language, no way to add ANY of these items.
                  >
                  > And yet, it was "digital", it *was* successful, and it led Atari to
                  > build some early computers which, without doubt, *were* computers. So
                  > it's signifigant, but it's not an "almost computer". It is what it
                  > WAS, an early digital video gaming machine.
                  >
                  > (I have a lot more to say about this, but I know Evan has stopped
                  > reading this already as it's too long. So I'll just wrap this up.)
                  >
                  > In summary, looking at old computing and saying "they failed because
                  > they weren't modern enough", simply blames them for being old - using
                  > the technology and tools of the time. If that is an acceptable thing
                  > to do, then why bother with "old" computers (or old video games) at
                  > all? Why collect them, why write about them? And, why would a museum
                  > have them around, just to say "here's some failures, too bad"?
                  >
                  > One point I'll have to explain. ONe can learn FROM THE PAST. Even if
                  > it's about old stuff, about old people, and dead technology. You can
                  > learn about people, about companies, about design, even about
                  > technology. Why make the same "old" mistakes, over and over? Even if
                  > you don't like history, maybe you want to avoid old mistakes.
                  >
                  > Herb Johnson
                  > retrotechnology.com
                  >
                  >
                  > ------------------------------------
                  >
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • trailingedge.geo
                  ... Evan probably stopped at I followed... ... video ... I clearly remember one that was: I recall getting way excited in 1978 when Bally introduced the
                  Message 8 of 13 , Nov 12, 2008
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                    --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "Herb Johnson"
                    <herbjohnson@...> wrote:

                    > (I have a lot more to say about this, but I know Evan has stopped
                    > reading this already as it's too long.

                    Evan probably stopped at "I followed..."

                    > For example, it's unfair and even inaccurate to call many early
                    video
                    > games "almost" computers, because many of them could NEVER HAVE BEEN
                    > "computers".

                    I clearly remember one that was:

                    I recall getting way excited in 1978 when Bally introduced the "Bally
                    Professional Arcade." I was managing an amusement arcade at the time,
                    it was still mostly pinball machines back then, and was pretty into
                    video games (the Atari 2800 was still king!) I was also very excited
                    about the possibilities of "personal" computers such as the recently
                    introduced Apple II but being fresh out of school, I had NO money to
                    spare for either a video game system OR a computer. And then along
                    comes this machine that could play *multiple* video games AND with a
                    few "optional accessories" also be a REAL COMPUTER! Imagine the
                    possibilities of that! Well, I never did manage to scrape together
                    enough to get it but I stayed in love with the idea enough that I did
                    finally pick one up on eBay a few years ago.

                    --Dave Sica
                    dave@...


                    --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "Herb Johnson"
                    <herbjohnson@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > I followed the Web link to the museum's Web site. It's a visually
                    > impressive set of Web pages on a variety of devices related to
                    > computing and digital technology or information processing. Broadly
                    > defined, even a lineotype machine fits in those categories. That's
                    > fine by me.
                    >
                  • B Degnan
                    ... The Bally Astrovision you mean? It ran BASIC and Z-GRASS languages. Here is a good article on the subject (Winter CES 1981) that includes some stuff about
                    Message 9 of 13 , Nov 12, 2008
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                      games "almost" computers, because many of them could NEVER HAVE BEEN
                      "computers". 
                          
                      I clearly remember one that was:
                      
                      I recall getting way excited in 1978 when Bally introduced the "Bally 
                      Professional Arcade." I was managing an amusement arcade at the time, 
                      it was still mostly pinball machines back then, and was pretty into 
                      video games (the Atari 2800 was still king!) I was also very excited 
                      about the possibilities of "personal" computers such as the recently 
                      introduced Apple II but being fresh out of school, I had NO money to 
                      spare for either a video game system OR a computer. And then along 
                      comes this machine that could play *multiple* video games AND with a 
                      few "optional accessories" also be a REAL COMPUTER! Imagine the 
                      possibilities of that! Well, I never did manage to scrape together 
                      enough to get it but I stayed in love with the idea enough that I did 
                      finally pick one up on eBay a few years ago. 
                      
                        
                      The Bally Astrovision you mean?  It ran BASIC and Z-GRASS languages.

                      Here is a good article on the subject (Winter CES 1981) that includes some stuff about the Bally Computer.  I have never seen one before, do you have pictures?

                      http://vintagecomputer.net/CISC367/Creative%20Computing%20March%201981%20International%20Winter%20Consumer%20Electronics%20Show.pdf

                      Bill
                    • trailingedge.geo
                      ... do ... The first incarnation that hit the market was called the Bally Arcade. Then (call it version 2.0) it was renamed the Astrocade. This was after Bally
                      Message 10 of 13 , Nov 12, 2008
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                        --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, B Degnan <billdeg@...> wrote:
                        > The Bally Astrovision you mean? It ran BASIC and Z-GRASS languages.
                        >
                        > Here is a good article on the subject (Winter CES 1981) that includes
                        > some stuff about the Bally Computer. I have never seen one before,
                        do
                        > you have pictures?

                        The first incarnation that hit the market was called the Bally Arcade.
                        Then (call it version 2.0) it was renamed the Astrocade. This was after
                        Bally was no longer involved. IIRC, I was careful to get the first gen
                        version. I'll have to dig it out and see. I'll take some pictures. I
                        could even display it at InfoAge if that was appropriate.
                      • Evan Koblentz
                        ... to make my point: this is not an historically accurate or technologically accurate consideration of these devices. Just to clarify, although Bob cited
                        Message 11 of 13 , Nov 12, 2008
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                          A few thoughts:

                          >>> I fired off a complaint to the developer of the Web site, with details
                          to make my point: this is not an historically accurate or technologically
                          accurate consideration of these devices.

                          Just to clarify, although Bob cited myself and Bill Degnan, we both had very
                          little to do with the result. Bill and I got involved a year or two ago,
                          and our involvement was short-lived. I can't speak for Bill, but I
                          personally am not endorsing anything here.

                          >>> But I take issue with something I see very often, and I'll mention it
                          here in general. It's the tendency to review PAST computers in PRESENT
                          terms, and then to say that "computers" of the past were "off the mark" or
                          "deficient", or as in this case, "almost" computers.

                          I agree 100% with what Herb said.

                          >>> but I know Evan has stopped reading this already as it's too long

                          :-)

                          >>> One can learn FROM THE PAST. Even if it's about old stuff, about old
                          people, and dead technology. You can learn about people, about companies,
                          about design, even about technology. Why make the same "old" mistakes, over
                          and over? Even if you don't like history, maybe you want to avoid old
                          mistakes.

                          Again, I agree 100%. That's something I learned from Sellam a few years
                          ago. Anyone can say, "Here's the past" -- and for some people that is
                          sufficient -- but I think it gets interesting when we say, "Here's what we
                          can LEARN from the past."
                        • Jim Scheef
                          The video was cool but some transitions were either not smooth or were incomplete as a few images were never shown clearly - even if I let the entire file
                          Message 12 of 13 , Nov 25, 2008
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                            The video was cool but some transitions were either not smooth or were
                            incomplete as a few images were never shown clearly - even if I let the
                            entire file download before playing it.

                            The content was quite interesting. I like the fact that they included a
                            One Laptop Per Child XO-1 (the instant collectible from last Christmas)
                            as they flashed thru a bunch of portables.

                            Jim

                            Evan Koblentz wrote:
                            >
                            >
                            > A few thoughts:
                            >
                            > >>> I fired off a complaint to the developer of the Web site, with details
                            > to make my point: this is not an historically accurate or technologically
                            > accurate consideration of these devices.
                            >
                            > Just to clarify, although Bob cited myself and Bill Degnan, we both had very
                            > little to do with the result. Bill and I got involved a year or two ago,
                            > and our involvement was short-lived. I can't speak for Bill, but I
                            > personally am not endorsing anything here.
                            >
                            > >>> But I take issue with something I see very often, and I'll mention it
                            > here in general. It's the tendency to review PAST computers in PRESENT
                            > terms, and then to say that "computers" of the past were "off the mark" or
                            > "deficient", or as in this case, "almost" computers.
                            >
                            > I agree 100% with what Herb said.
                            >
                            > >>> but I know Evan has stopped reading this already as it's too long
                            >
                            > :-)
                            >
                            > >>> One can learn FROM THE PAST. Even if it's about old stuff, about old
                            > people, and dead technology. You can learn about people, about companies,
                            > about design, even about technology. Why make the same "old" mistakes, over
                            > and over? Even if you don't like history, maybe you want to avoid old
                            > mistakes.
                            >
                            > Again, I agree 100%. That's something I learned from Sellam a few years
                            > ago. Anyone can say, "Here's the past" -- and for some people that is
                            > sufficient -- but I think it gets interesting when we say, "Here's what we
                            > can LEARN from the past."
                            >
                            >
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