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Re: [midatlanticretro] Re: For Sale: PDP 11 and some old HP's in PA

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  • Jim Scheef
    Herb and all, I hope we can have a couple of relatively big machines at our museum, however, we don t need to run them to demontrate vintage computing of
    Message 1 of 7 , Oct 30, 2006
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      Herb and all,

      I hope we can have a couple of relatively 'big' machines at our museum, however, we don't need to run them to demontrate 'vintage' computing of the multi-user type. Running DECnet in the museum would allow us to connect all sorts of stuff to a single network. A VAX would probably be easier to keep running and make it easier to obtain interesting software to demonstrate. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not against having a runnable PDP-x or two in the collection!

      Someone (you or Bill P.?) already warned that we need to be carefull we don't fill all our space with a few pieces of "big iron" and run out of space for all the interesting early micros that were the original impetus for this group.

      Jim


      ----- Original Message ----
      From: Herb Johnson <hjohnson@...>
      To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Friday, October 27, 2006 4:11:13 PM
      Subject: [midatlanticretro] Re: For Sale: PDP 11 and some old HP's in PA

      --- Tom Owad <owad@...> wrote:

      > Nobody expressed interest, so I put the item up on eBay Monday. Then
      > I received this interesting email:
      >
      > "I'm fairly certain that I (and the eBayer who sent the
      > link) built a
      > good part of this system in between '83 and '87 for CGL (Computer
      > Graphics Lab), a subsidiary of New York Institute of Technology.. .
      >
      > From a little more research, it appears this computer may have been
      > used to produce "The Works", which would have been the first 3D
      > computer-animated movie, had it been released ...from what I've
      > read, [the DGL] was a pretty impressive and historically
      > significant group.
      > I'm really curious what's on the RL02 cartridges now (especially the
      > "special effects" one) and nobody had bid on the auction,
      > so I pulled
      > it from eBay. My hope now is to take it down to InfoAge and perhaps
      > we'll be able to get it running and recover some interesting old
      > animations.

      *Now* we're talking!

      A Dec-20 (from the other discussion) is a big beast, but people have
      run PDP-11's in all kinds of environments. Certainly, MARCH can run
      this or some kind of '11 with just a little bit of site fuss. A
      reasonably clean room with some kind of air conditioning (or not run
      it in the summer); some decent electrical power which InfoAge
      certainly has available. Might need a power conditioner, UPS,
      something of that sort - those are available to me from time to time.

      This is a do-able thing for MARCH. They already have some loose DEC
      stuff. But I assume this system is reasonably complete as it is. For a
      number of reasons it looks like it's worth keeping AND RUNNING if it
      can be run. I have some PDP-11 experience, I'm sure other members do,
      and we might attract still other people local to InfoAge who have some
      PDP-11 interest.

      Tom, if you want to do more than just dump it onto MARCH, why don't
      you get those hardware images you already have, the description you
      have, and set up a part of your Web site to support some kind of
      acquisition, restoration and USE of this system? You've already done
      some homework on it, so put that up on your page; as people inform you
      about it you can add to the page. Find out ALL YOU CAN from the
      previous owners. If you don't want to sustain a Web
      page for this system, someone else will probably pick up that ball
      when things get organized, if not do it on MARCH's Web site.

      In my own opinion, the value of an institution like InfoAge, and as
      MARCH intends to be, is that they are set up to provide SUSTAINED
      support for long-term projects, and projects involving preservation
      and public display and use. It may be early to say, but it's possible
      that this PDP-11 might be a good demonstration of 1980's minicomputing
      and also preserve a bit of computer graphics history. If not, it's
      good practice. I'm sure other projects like "the green screen
      experience" which has been talked about in this maillist, will follow
      some similar course.

      In any event, presuming MARCH has an interest, I assume that anyone
      who has an interest will want to know the state of the system: where
      it was, how long it sat, when it ran. Also some inventory of the
      system, beyond the images. Oh, and how to go about moving it, where
      and when and how much it weighs!

      But "adopting" a PDP-11 system like this is like adopting a cat or
      dog; you've gotta think it through. It's still a serious project; it
      will still take time, effort. It could be stored for awhile; but it's
      GOT to get attention, or it will fall apart sitting there. Guaranteed.
      Parts will get lost, things will get rusty, people will forget what
      cable came out of what card. It's not even clear if it is COMPLETE!

      So, what's the plan?

      Herb Johnson

      Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey USA
      <a href="http://retrotechnol ogy.com/herbs_ stuff/"> web site</a>
      <a href="http://retrotechnol ogy.net/herbs_ stuff/"> domain mirror</a>
      my email address: hjohnson AAT retrotechnology DOTT com
      if no reply, try in a few days: herbjohnson ATT comcast DOTT net
      "Herb's Stuff": old Mac, SGI, 8-inch floppy drives
      S-100 IMSAI Altair computers, docs, by "Dr. S-100"


    • Alexey Toptygin
      ... Speaking of VAXen, you just reminded me that I have a MicroVAX II and a bunch of extra boards for it in untested but probably working condition sitting in
      Message 2 of 7 , Oct 30, 2006
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        On Mon, 30 Oct 2006, Jim Scheef wrote:

        > I hope we can have a couple of relatively 'big' machines at our museum,
        > however, we don't need to run them to demontrate 'vintage' computing of
        > the multi-user type. Running DECnet in the museum would allow us to
        > connect all sorts of stuff to a single network. A VAX would probably be
        > easier to keep running and make it easier to obtain interesting software
        > to demonstrate. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not against having a
        > runnable PDP-x or two in the collection!

        Speaking of VAXen, you just reminded me that I have a MicroVAX II and a
        bunch of extra boards for it in untested but probably working condition
        sitting in my basement. I have no plans to use it in the near future, so
        let me know if you guys want it.

        Alexey
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