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RE: [midatlanticretro] starting out

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  • Evan
    Remember to trim long replies and threads. - EK _____ From: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com [mailto:midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Joe
    Message 1 of 21 , Sep 20, 2005
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      Remember to trim long replies and threads.
       
      - EK


      From: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com [mailto:midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Joe Giliberti
      Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2005 1:34 PM
      To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] starting out

      Jim Scheef wrote:
      Joe,

      Part of my collection is early DOS "near compatibles", like a Zenith Z-100.
      Someone was giving the computer away. My rarest find is a Seattle Gazelle
      (S-100 bus, runs DOS, uses an external ASCII terminal) that a guy in New
      Hampshire was giving away. Free is my favorite price, although the drive up
      and back from NH took about 8 hours. Every Thursday or Friday (it varies in
      different areas) grab the local newspaper and look thru the garage/yard/tag
      sale ads for computers. Then on Saturday, get on your horse and hit every one
      of thoses garage sales. The later in the day that you get there, the more
      likely they are to give you the computer just to get rid of it.

      Go for it. This is the fun part.
    • chrism3667
      Hey Jim, if the Gazelle can take S-100 cards, couldn t you plug a video card in, or is that not supported by the bios. I imagine there must have been either
      Message 2 of 21 , Sep 20, 2005
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        Hey Jim, if the Gazelle can take S-100 cards, couldn't you plug a
        video card in, or is that not supported by the bios. I imagine there
        must have been either S-100 or multibus video cards offered (I realize
        they're not the same thing though). Then there's the problem of
        drivers I guess...
      • Joe Giliberti
        ... Just out of curiousity, what is an S-100 card? -Joe
        Message 3 of 21 , Sep 20, 2005
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          chrism3667 wrote:
          Hey Jim, if the Gazelle can take S-100 cards, couldn't you plug a
          video card in, or is that not supported by the bios. I imagine there
          must have been either S-100 or multibus video cards offered (I realize
          they're not the same thing though). Then there's the problem of
          drivers I guess...



          Just out of curiousity, what is an S-100 card?

          -Joe
        • billdeg@aol.com
          S-100 was a leading bus standard for comptuer cards of the mid 70 s through early 80 s. Bus is another way to say how input/output is routed into the
          Message 4 of 21 , Sep 20, 2005
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            S-100 was a leading "bus" standard for comptuer cards of the mid 70's through
            early 80's. Bus is another way to say how input/output is routed into the
            computer processor, etc.

            Basically they were just like computer cards that you stuck into a computer
            today, and they had 50 double sided connectors (50x2 = 100). You can't put an
            S-100 card in a modern computer. They had different dimensions than today's
            cards, but they served the same purpose - add capabilities to a "base" system.
            For example you could get an S-100 memory card to add more memory to your
            computer. In those day's an S-100 memory card might only contain 16K.

            I am not personally aware of any major system that was launched to feature
            the S-100 (IEEE 696) bus much past 1980, but i do have electronics magazines
            with ads selling S-100 cards well into the 80's.
            Here is a link:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S-100_bus
            ...with an official definition and more details.

            Bill

            In a message dated 9/20/2005 11:55:49 PM Eastern Standard Time,
            starbase89@... writes:

            > Just out of curiousity, what is an S-100 card?
            >
            > -Joe
          • Chris M
            ... Joe...today we have AGP and PCI card slots (buses). In the past there was ISA, first 8-bit (IBM PC), then 16-bit (IBM AT), then Micro Channel (PS/2), EISA,
            Message 5 of 21 , Sep 21, 2005
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              --- Joe Giliberti <starbase89@...> wrote:

              > Just out of curiousity, what is an S-100 card?
              >
              > -Joe

              Joe...today we have AGP and PCI card slots (buses).
              In the past there was ISA, first 8-bit (IBM PC), then
              16-bit (IBM AT), then Micro Channel (PS/2), EISA, VESA
              local bus, etc. There was NUBUS on the early
              expandable Macs. The purpose of a bus is to gain
              access to the microprocessors own bus, a set of pins
              that allow access to it's innards, and a way of it
              gaining access to external peripherals. Running
              between the micro and memory (ram or rom) is also a
              bus, but it's so generic it doesn't need a special
              name (the address/data bus, and the lines are common).
              Expansion buses can also be proprietary. Cartridges
              for consoles and puters are a bus system of their own,
              but for the most part only tie into the address/data
              pins. Essentially you're plugging in a new rom. IIRC
              the Commodore 64 had something in addition to it's
              cartridge slots. Many things could be interfaced in
              that way, including data collection hardware, radio
              packet stuph, etc. My heads starting to hurt...




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            • Jim Scheef
              Chris, Maybe. Probably. You answered your own question. The Gazelle doesn t have BIOS in the sence of what IBM put in the original PC. There is only a ROM
              Message 6 of 21 , Sep 21, 2005
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                Chris,

                Maybe. Probably.

                You answered your own question. The Gazelle doesn't have BIOS in the sence of
                what IBM put in the original PC. There is only a ROM monitor program that
                behaves like the DOS debug program. When you turn the machine on, the monitor
                has control. Assuming you have the floppy drives connected and a bootable
                floppy, you then press a reset button on the front panel and the monitor
                tries to find something from which to boot the machine. I have no idea if any
                of this will work today. If the machine does boot, the DOS is 2.0 so it
                supports loadable device drivers. When I last played with the machine I was
                trying to connect a hard drive to a MFM controller. My problem, like I told
                you when you were here, is that I never could interface an 8" floppy to a
                regular PC to get new programs (like device drivers) to the Seattle.

                The Gazelle's 8" floppies have 1024 byte sectors, not the 512 used by just
                about ever other DOS machine on the planet. If I had connected an 8" floppy
                to a PC, the sector size would become the next challenge.

                I should look for all that stuff before it's lost forever.

                Jim

                --- chrism3667 <chrism3667@...> wrote:

                > Hey Jim, if the Gazelle can take S-100 cards, couldn't you plug a
                > video card in, or is that not supported by the bios. I imagine there
                > must have been either S-100 or multibus video cards offered (I realize
                > they're not the same thing though). Then there's the problem of
                > drivers I guess...
                >
                >
                >
                >
              • Jim Scheef
                Joe, The MITS Altair 8800 (the first personal computer?) had its circuits on plug-in cards that were inserted into a chassis with a row of sockets. The cards
                Message 7 of 21 , Sep 21, 2005
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                  Joe,

                  The MITS Altair 8800 (the first personal computer?) had its circuits on
                  plug-in cards that were inserted into a chassis with a row of sockets. The
                  cards had 100 connectors. Other computers like the Apple II and the original
                  IBM PC also used an expandible (but different) architecture that allowed
                  plugging expansion cards into a bus. The Altair bus became known as the S100
                  standard, like the PC bus became known as ISA (industry standard
                  architecture). Many manufacturers supported the S100 bus back in the days of
                  CP/M. Seattle Computing was one of the few to make an S100 processor board
                  with an 8086. Type "s100 bus" into any search engine for moree info.

                  Jim
                • Vintage Computer Festival
                  ... Actually, the S-100 (IEEE-696) standard survived well into the 1990s. I have some magazines (Microsystems maybe?) that still had articles and
                  Message 8 of 21 , Sep 21, 2005
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                    On Wed, 21 Sep 2005 billdeg@... wrote:

                    > I am not personally aware of any major system that was launched to feature
                    > the S-100 (IEEE 696) bus much past 1980, but i do have electronics magazines
                    > with ads selling S-100 cards well into the 80's.

                    Actually, the S-100 (IEEE-696) standard survived well into the 1990s. I
                    have some magazines (Microsystems maybe?) that still had articles and
                    advertisements for S-100 stuff in the early 1990s. I'm sure there are
                    still many S-100 bus machines running critical applications to this day.

                    --

                    Sellam Ismail Vintage Computer Festival
                    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    International Man of Intrigue and Danger http://www.vintage.org

                    [ Old computing resources for business || Buy/Sell/Trade Vintage Computers ]
                    [ and academia at www.VintageTech.com || at http://marketplace.vintage.org ]
                  • Joe Giliberti
                    ... But isn t s-100 even slower than ISA?
                    Message 9 of 21 , Sep 21, 2005
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                      Actually, the S-100 (IEEE-696) standard survived well into the 1990s.  I
                      have some magazines (Microsystems maybe?) that still had articles and
                      advertisements for S-100 stuff in the early 1990s.  I'm sure there are
                      still many S-100 bus machines running critical applications to this day.



                      But isn't s-100 even slower than ISA?
                    • Chris M
                      probably, 1 mhz, 4 mhz, whatever. For the applications that are operating on s-100 systems, I m sure speed isn t critical. CNC (Computer Numerical Control) for
                      Message 10 of 21 , Sep 21, 2005
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                        probably, 1 mhz, 4 mhz, whatever. For the applications
                        that are operating on s-100 systems, I'm sure speed
                        isn't critical. CNC (Computer Numerical Control) for
                        instance doesn't require alot of speed (CNC lathes,
                        mills, etc.). Often these apps are programmed in
                        interpreted (as opposed to compiled) BASIC.
                        Interpreted languages are popular in robotic systems.

                        --- Joe Giliberti <starbase89@...> wrote:

                        >
                        > >
                        > > Actually, the S-100 (IEEE-696) standard survived
                        > well into the 1990s. I
                        > > have some magazines (Microsystems maybe?) that
                        > still had articles and
                        > > advertisements for S-100 stuff in the early 1990s.
                        > I'm sure there are
                        > > still many S-100 bus machines running critical
                        > applications to this day.
                        > >
                        > >
                        >
                        > But isn't s-100 even slower than ISA?
                        >




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                      • Chris M
                        ... I would have guessed that it s version of DOS is customized just like all the sort-of-compatibles. But I had thought that MS-DOS utilizes (perhaps heavily)
                        Message 11 of 21 , Sep 21, 2005
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                          --- Jim Scheef <jscheef@...> wrote:

                          > If the machine does boot,
                          > the DOS is 2.0 so it
                          > supports loadable device drivers.

                          I would have guessed that it's version of DOS is
                          customized just like all the sort-of-compatibles. But
                          I had thought that MS-DOS utilizes (perhaps heavily)
                          the programming interfaces built into the bios rom. I
                          could be wrong. But if that's so, I'm surprised there
                          was a version of DOS available for it at all. Was
                          there a DOS available for Multibus 8086 systems?
                          Regardless of the fact that it runs DOS 2.0, I think
                          it's a function of the bios to search for a rom
                          associated with a graphics controller.

                          > The Gazelle's 8" floppies have 1024 byte sectors,
                          > not the 512 used by just
                          > about ever other DOS machine on the planet.

                          I'm too lazy to do a simple search right now, but I'm
                          thinking all 8" drives use 1024 byte sectors. Bracing
                          for possible incoming *eggs*, my APC has 8" floppies,
                          so my guess is that they're both compatible in that
                          way at least. The Xerox 16/8 had as an option 8"
                          drives, but those I don't have with mine (it is
                          available though).
                          The program written by Dave Dunfield (ImageDisk)
                          would handle all that though I think. If you need
                          particular help with something, he's very
                          knowledgeable. The owner of one of the more notable
                          vintage sites has a Gazelle Jim. You could enquire
                          about software from that dude. If you're too busy,
                          I'll do it for you. I want to see that bad-boy
                          running, and even if it means taking a trip up there
                          (with my APC) at some point, I'm willing.

                          > If I had
                          > connected an 8" floppy
                          > to a PC, the sector size would become the next
                          > challenge.

                          I've been told recently that 8" drives can be readily
                          replaced with high density 1.2 meggers. Not sure if
                          it'll work the other way around though. I'm going to
                          be playing with this stuph more in the coming weeks....



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