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re: [midatlanticretro] Re: Roll Call for TCF E (!! NOT VCF !!)

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  • B. Degnan
    TCF IS March 16th, 2013 - 9:00am until 5:00pm Sorry, The subject of the email thread says VCF in error. We are talking about the Trenton Computer Festival.
    Message 1 of 10 , Mar 2, 2013
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      TCF IS
      March 16th, 2013 - 9:00am until 5:00pm

      Sorry, The subject of the email thread says "VCF" in error.

      We are talking about the Trenton Computer Festival.

      That said - Herb can you do any mid 70's or earlier plotting? I know you
      have expertise in this area. Analog computing? Should I bring my EC-1?

      Bill

      -------- Original Message --------
      > From: "B. Degnan" <billdeg@...>
      > Sent: Saturday, March 02, 2013 9:05 AM
      > To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: re: [midatlanticretro] Re: Roll Call for VCF E
      >
      > 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
      >
      >
      >
      > ------------------------------------
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
    • s100doctor
      ... I have a plotter, but it s the same as MARCH s, and likewise not hooked up, but MARCH has the pens for it! I have some HP X-Y plotters, but that s lab
      Message 2 of 10 , Mar 2, 2013
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        --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "B. Degnan" <billdeg@...> wrote:

        > That said - Herb can you do any mid 70's or earlier plotting? I know you
        > have expertise in this area. Analog computing? Should I bring my EC-1?
        >
        > Bill

        I have a plotter, but it's the same as MARCH's, and likewise not hooked up, but MARCH has the pens for it! I have some HP X-Y plotters, but that's lab equipment! In 1975, the question was "how do we get ahold of a computer?" or "what do I hook to my computer?" not "how do I drive my plotter?".

        Analog computers? I have some stuff but it's not homebrew, they were not in vogue in the era, they were kind of leftovers from the 60's and earlier. some Princeton professors designed some analog instrumentation for Heathkit - again, lab equipment, for student labs in this case.

        Herb
      • David Gesswein
        If anybody wishes to comment on what they think will fit best with the event I have listed what I can bring below. If you think you have enough exhibits that
        Message 3 of 10 , Mar 3, 2013
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          If anybody wishes to comment on what they think will fit best with the
          event I have listed what I can bring below. If you think you have enough
          exhibits that fit better not exhibiting is fine also.

          > B. Degnan
          >
          > Please feel free to bring any pdp 8 that would have been fully depreciated
          > by 1979. Lucky techs took home old pdp's after they were de-commissioned
          > by the original company/institutions and given a new life for home use.
          >
          My guess is depreciation would be at least 10 years so only the Straight
          8, 8/I, and 8/L would meet that.

          The 8/I is a 6' rack and takes noticable power so was assuming based on
          event description that wouldn't be the best choice. My 8/L isn't operational.

          Next options is 8/E 1970-1978. Not sure when mine was made. This is
          linear supply some still somewhat power hungry and somewhat a pain to
          extract from the rack.

          And last is my 8/M 1972-1978. Also don't known when mine made. Smallest and
          lowest power. This is what I was planning to bring. Mine has a sticker
          saying educomputer over the digital logo. Educomp sold rebadged systems
          to schools.
          You can sort of see it at the bottom of the blue rack on the right.
          http://www.pdp8online.com/wall_big.jpg
          Unmodified looked like
          http://www.timefracture.org/PDP8.html

          For storage I assume DECtape is the best option. I have 8" floppies
          also but I assume some of the other systems will have them.
          http://www.pdp8online.com/tu56/pics/front.shtml?small

          > B. Degnan (to Herb)
          >
          > That said - Herb can you do any mid 70's or earlier plotting?
          >
          It sounded like Herb didn't have a functional plotter. I can bring the Calcomp
          plotter I have brought before. Anybody else bringing one?
          http://www.pdp8online.com/563/563.shtml

          I was planning to bring VT10x terminal. Is someone bringing a teletype
          or should I bring it instead? I can bring the high speed paper tape
          reader/punch if desired.
          http://www.pdp8online.com/pc04/pc04.shtml

          I can bring a couple DEC wirewrap boards for them to show the homebrew
          aspect. One is 8/E unwrapped. Other is double wide wrapped. Also can bring
          some pictures showing PDP-8's embedded in equipment and info DEC provided
          showing you how to design boards for the machine.

          I've found some homebrew and industrial customization info that I can bring
          some info on. For example
          This ACS newsletter pg 58/76 etc shows people thinking about making
          homemade computers from DEC designs/architecture.
          http://archive.computerhistory.org/resources/access/text/2012/03/102654910-05-01-acc.pdf#page=1&zoom=auto,0,790

          Also some DECUS stuff showing the user group/sharing of software that is
          similar to that which grew up around the home computers also.

          > Systems Glitch
          >Does the back seat still come out? We were able to get a PDP-11/05 comfortably
          > in the back of the Rabbit with the seat just folded up.
          >
          They aren't intended to come out but fold up reasonable. All this fit in it
          http://www.pdp8online.com/shows/vcfe11/vcfe11.shtml
        • Evan Koblentz
          ... That s perfect.
          Message 4 of 10 , Mar 3, 2013
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            >> And last is my 8/M 1972-1978. Also don't known when mine made. Smallest and lowest power. This is what I was planning to bring. Mine has a sticker saying educomputer over the digital logo. Educomp sold rebadged systems to schools.

            That's perfect.
          • B Degnan
            Dave Anything with a front panel would be wonderful, the 8e would be just fine. -- Sent from my PDP 8/e.
            Message 5 of 10 , Mar 3, 2013
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              Dave

              Anything with a front panel would be wonderful, the 8e would be just fine.
              --
              Sent from my PDP 8/e.
            • B Degnan
              Or the 8m is perfect too, yes. -- Sent from my PDP 8/e.
              Message 6 of 10 , Mar 3, 2013
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                Or the 8m is perfect too, yes.
                --
                Sent from my PDP 8/e.
              • s100doctor
                ... Is this the Educomp you brought last April to the MARCH Fix-it thingy? It s a nice machine. Any small 8 is a nice machine of course. ... DECtape is pretty
                Message 7 of 10 , Mar 5, 2013
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                  --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, David Gesswein <djg@...> wrote:

                  >
                  > Next options is 8/E 1970-1978. Not sure when mine was made. This is
                  > linear supply some still somewhat power hungry and somewhat a pain
                  > to extract from the rack.
                  >
                  > And last is my 8/M 1972-1978. Also don't known when mine made. Smallest and
                  > lowest power. This is what I was planning to bring. Mine has a sticker
                  > saying educomputer over the digital logo.

                  Is this the Educomp you brought last April to the MARCH Fix-it thingy? It's a nice machine. Any small 8 is a nice machine of course.

                  >
                  > For storage I assume DECtape is the best option. I have 8" floppies
                  > also but I assume some of the other systems will have them.

                  DECtape is pretty impressive in my opinion.

                  As I said - I don't care about the rules for bring-to. In the mid 1970's, the PDP-8 was the GOLD STANDARD for "a computer I want in my basement". For most it was too much money to spend. My Bell Labs engineering buddy was considering building an 8, before the 8080 appeared.

                  If those first-hand statements help to bring a PDP-8 to the show, that suits me.

                  > It sounded like Herb didn't have a functional plotter. I can bring the Calcomp
                  > plotter I have brought before. Anybody else bringing one?
                  > http://www.pdp8online.com/563/563.shtml

                  My functions but has no pen and nothing connected to it. I actually picked up a generic USB-binary interface and was about to poke at it for the Calcomp, when these TCF plans emerged. No time to do that now....

                  > I was planning to bring VT10x terminal. Is someone bringing a teletype
                  > or should I bring it instead? I can bring the high speed paper tape
                  > reader/punch if desired.

                  I can bring the low-speed Heath H10 reader/punch. I'd have to check but it should be late 1970's at least. Haven't fired it up lately...I have a sick cat ..yard needs raking...usual responsibilities...

                  My list of to-brings is getting long. I COULD bring an ADM-3A, that's absolutely "period", but I can only hustle so much stuff...A VT52 would be earlier than a VT100..

                  > I've found some homebrew and industrial customization info that I can bring
                  > some info on. For example
                  > This ACS newsletter pg 58/76 etc shows people thinking about making
                  > homemade computers from DEC designs/architecture.
                  > http://archive.computerhistory.org/resources/access/text/2012/03/102654910-05-01-acc.pdf#page=1&zoom=auto,0,790

                  That would be a good thing, I think! Make the young'uns read actual paper documents - like we had to do, by candlelight, as we wire-wrapped our I/O cards....Anyway, people were making their own logic machines in the absence of microprocessors.

                  > Also some DECUS stuff showing the user group/sharing of software that is
                  > similar to that which grew up around the home computers also.

                  Yep, the minicomputer folks were well organized before the microcomputer folks were...

                  Back to the basement I go...

                  Herb Johnson
                • David Gesswein
                  ... Yes ... Do I remember your missing the whole solenoid assembly? I ve made some more of the parts I was missing for the other pen types but not the
                  Message 8 of 10 , Mar 5, 2013
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                    On Wed, Mar 06, 2013 at 01:56:57AM -0000, s100doctor wrote:
                    >
                    > Is this the Educomp you brought last April to the MARCH Fix-it thingy? It's a nice machine. Any small 8 is a nice machine of course.

                    Yes

                    >
                    > My functions but has no pen and nothing connected to it. I actually picked up a generic USB-binary interface and was about to poke at it for the Calcomp, when these TCF plans emerged. No time to do that now....
                    >
                    Do I remember your missing the whole solenoid assembly? I've made some more
                    of the parts I was missing for the other pen types but not the solenoid.
                    Tom Mikulic has gotten a Rasberry PI working to control his.
                  • s100doctor
                    ... yes, Tom and I have been in correspondence for some time. I need to wind a solenoid for my Calcomp plotter to operate a pen. Meanwhile...tonight, in the
                    Message 9 of 10 , Mar 8, 2013
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                      --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, David Gesswein <djg@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > >
                      > Do I remember your missing the whole solenoid assembly? I've made some more
                      > of the parts I was missing for the other pen types but not the solenoid.
                      > Tom Mikulic has gotten a Rasberry PI working to control his.
                      >

                      yes, Tom and I have been in correspondence for some time. I need to wind a solenoid for my Calcomp plotter to operate a pen.

                      Meanwhile...tonight, in the dim recesses of my underground lab...the swish-swish sounds of rotating diskettes....the grunt-grunt of heads, seeking the operating system....and then, with a A440 beep....

                      ACTION? <BOOT> BOOT

                      SYSTEM HAS 48K OF RAM

                      VOLUME 062, MOUNTED ON SY0:
                      LABEL: (NULL) HDOS 1.5

                      HDOS VERSION 1.5
                      ISSUE # 50, 03, 00
                      DATE (DD-MMM-YY)? >

                      Over thirty years after they were formatted, Heath's HDOS is loaded from diskettes, into the H-8's memory and mighty 2MHz 8080 processor. Dusty manual pages are turned, commands entered. Disks are read and dup'ed before the heads scrape the bits away.

                      Now, how do I show off this ancient technology? What can this computer do, to stir the hearts of users today? What wisdom of the ages speaks to us?

                      YOU ARE IN A VALLEY?
                      s
                      AT YOUR FEET ALL THE WATER OF THE STREAM SPLASHES INTO A 2-INCH
                      SLIT IN THE ROCK. DOWNSTREAM THE STREAM BED IS BARE ROCK.

                      the adventure continues....

                      Herb Johnson
                    • s100doctor
                      I continue to assemble memorabilia and factoids for my H-8 exhibit at TCF. I m working up a Web page about it also:
                      Message 10 of 10 , Mar 12, 2013
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                        I continue to assemble memorabilia and factoids for my H-8 exhibit at TCF. I'm working up a Web page about it also:

                        http://www.retrotechnology.com/restore/h8_tcf.html

                        Email me with corrections and comments directly, c/o my site. But I won't have time to do much about them. It's very challenging to represent mid-1970s personal computing history, to people who never knew a day when a computing device was not at hand. I note 1978 prices for cars and gas and memory cards.

                        Of course, talking about "personal computing" in 2013 is archaic; one might as well talk about "personal transportation" (cars) or "personal instant communication" (smart phones). But how do you do personal computing before computers? Share software before networks, even modems? My Web page notes the existence of "clubs" and their paper newsletters and "disk libraries".

                        I'll bring copies of things to exhibit, the originals are a bit precious. I don't expect someone to read an 8080 listing, or a catalog. I'm reluctant to bring a foot-tall stack of manuals, same deal. Photocopies of a cover will make the point: people once printed manuals, and owners read them thoroughly with interest and even enthusiasm.

                        Herb Johnson
                        very-retrotechnology.com
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