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re: [midatlanticretro] Re: Roll Call for VCF E

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  • B. Degnan
    ... Computer Club in California, where several founders of vintage computer companies, or principals in those companies, met and started. ... - in the era,
    Message 1 of 30 , Mar 1, 2013
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      > But "honmebrew" is a kind of reference to the now-iconic "Homebrew
      Computer Club" in California, where several founders of vintage computer
      companies, or principals in those companies, met and started.
      >
      > The phrase also refers to what Bill Degnan is talking about. People - we
      - in the era, were obliged to MAKE computers, and wire them up to things
      not meant for "computer control". That's because computers of the
      mid-1970's were not produced as ready-for-use, or for use by themselves,
      for applications alone - that's a modern view.
      >
      > The technology for a use, the need for an application, DID NOT EXIST YET,
      or was too new. The price of much of existing technology was ENORMOUS in
      modern dollars - costs greater than a running used car. Much of the
      affordable computing technology, was second-hand, in the used MINIcomputer
      market, and still not that cheap. and microcomputing technology was
      changing rapidly - standards we consider obvious today, were in many cases
      established in that era; thus surviving technology from the era is deemed
      "non standard" and therefore second-class.
      >

      It might not matter to everyone the same way, but TCF is the perfect place
      to help educate.

      It says something if you can accurately answer the question "...what would
      all this have cost in year x ...?"

      bd
    • s100doctor
      ... Just an annoying note: the actual RESISTORs straight-8 was already exhibited at TCF. ... As I posted, what s being called homebrewing , was normal
      Message 2 of 30 , Mar 1, 2013
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        Bill Degnan wrote:
        >
        > > Two ideas if you bring an '8:
        > > - Explain to visitors how big computers were often used to develop for
        > > little ones
        > > - Bring your Straight 8, and explain the connection to RESISTORS, Ted
        > > Nelson, etc.

        Just an annoying note: the actual RESISTORs straight-8 was already exhibited at TCF.

        Will Donzelli wrote:
        >
        > The PDP-8 line were certainly used in industry and academia
        > "homebrewing", as a cheap processor for all sorts of custom
        > installations (experiments, machine control, test rigs, etc.).
        >

        As I posted, what's being called "homebrewing", was normal practice in the era. Most everyone was adapting whatever they could get, old or new, to do whatever they were trying to do.

        About PDP-8's. It's fair to say they were the period alternative to having a microcomputer, until microcomputers became available. It's useful to see a PDP-8 or some other minicomputer to compare and contrast. Some kind of DEC computing widget, should be at every VCF.

        Um, there's actually a lot I could bring from around 1975. It's hard to decide among single-boards like KIM, or systems like the Northstar Horizon. I've committed to bring the Xitan TDL system, it's a "local" product, but it won't be running. Its Z80 board was pretty early.

        I've got a couple of thoughts about a running system. The Northstar Horizon is pretty "clean" but age-appropriate - you guys won't call it "homebrew". But it runs, CP/M at that. So does (or did) my Heath H-8. I suppose I could add an ADM-3A to keep it all period. But it's not like I can run Spacewar, or even Adventure, just not my thing to run games. I could at least show a papertape system with it (the H-10 reader/punch), again not running. I did not expect this event.

        One of the more unusual computers in retrospect, is "the digital group", now kind of scarce. the model I happen to have certainly LOOKS "homebrew" as it's hot-wired up in various ways. Again, not running. It's in-theme by date and appearance. But as I've posted I have mixed feelings about showing stuff that looks wired up (in other words, NORMAL for 1977) just to be ridiculed as hopelessly primitive.

        I won't bring it all, I'm an old man not a pack mule. And I dont' want to crowd other MARCHians out. If people have some particular preferences, I'll follow the thread every few days, see what is said. I have some ideas and themes I'll consider in the meantime, see what I can wake up.

        Herb
      • B. Degnan
        Herb, ... decide among single-boards like KIM, or systems like the Northstar Horizon. I ve committed to bring the Xitan TDL system, it s a local product, but
        Message 3 of 30 , Mar 2, 2013
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          Herb,

          > >
          >
          > Um, there's actually a lot I could bring from around 1975. It's hard to
          decide among single-boards like KIM, or systems like the Northstar Horizon.
          I've committed to bring the Xitan TDL system, it's a "local" product, but
          it won't be running. Its Z80 board was pretty early.
          >

          I had written earlier that it'd be better for this particular exhibit that
          we try to bring one complete and functional "system" rather than a
          hoge-podge of stuff. Don't feel obligated to bring the XITAN, if it does
          not work.

          > I've got a couple of thoughts about a running system. The Northstar
          Horizon is pretty "clean" but age-appropriate - you guys won't call it
          "homebrew". But it runs, CP/M at that. So does (or did) my Heath H-8. I
          suppose I could add an ADM-3A to keep it all period. But it's not like I
          can run Spacewar, or even Adventure, just not my thing to run games. I
          could at least show a papertape system with it (the H-10 reader/punch),
          again not running. I did not expect this event.
          >
          > One of the more unusual computers in retrospect, is "the digital group",
          now kind of scarce. the model I happen to have certainly LOOKS "homebrew"
          as it's hot-wired up in various ways. Again, not running. It's in-theme by
          date and appearance. But as I've posted I have mixed feelings about showing
          stuff that looks wired up (in other words, NORMAL for 1977) just to be
          ridiculed as hopelessly primitive.
          >

          If you want to keep it simple, an SBC that turns on a light when you change
          the value of a memory location would be just fine and would demonstrate the
          homebrew principles we discussed. But a Horizon that works is fine too. I
          assume Evan will be bringing the Apple I, which is effectively an Apple II
          without a case, not really homebrew in the traditional sense except that
          you could buy the kit version. But it's a crowd pleaser.

          Please don't stress this. We have a small classroom, not much space.
          Choose a nice compact, labeled system. I will be bringing (probably) my
          Altair 680 with hacked SWTPc RAM cards. Not sure what kind of terminal.

          We'll do another roll call of items being exhibited in about a week.

          Bill

          Bill
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