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I have a retro computer dream


tep392
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It is to find an unbuilt Altair 8800 kit, at a reasonable price (the dream part) and build it. It's something I wish I could have done back in the day. I'm sure I'll never find an unbuilt kit and if I did it would probably be way more than I could reasonably spend on a computer due to the rarity. But then I'm thinking if I can get my hands on the case, or maybe get a new one made, like Stockley did, I would just need to get boards made and collect the parts. It would be a reproduction, but I would still get to have the fun of building the kit.

 

Anyhow, that's my retro computer dream. :)

 

Anyone else have a retro computing dream they would like to share?

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Same thing except replace Altair with KIM-1. And then going forward to program it with real Watson Expert-System class artificial intelligence.

 

Another one, which became real many years later was my current emulation rig. Boring, probably. Any PC from Wal-Mart can fit the bill. But back in the day it was a heady idea. Having all the arcade machines and all the consoles built into one compact case.

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Mine all pertain to the TI994A.

 

 

I want to own a boxed copy of all Funware games

 

I want to own a boxed copy of all Moonbeam cassette games

 

I want to do full boxed releases of at least 2 new original games per year

 

I want to own a GRAM Kracker again

 

I want to link (via serial interface) two TIs in order to play 2 player strategy games vs my son

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Mine was to get a working Apple //e, with a Z-80 card to run CP/M, 1MB of extra ram, 1.44MB 3.5" Floppy Drive, a mouse, and connect it to the internet.

 

I'm half there. I've got the computer, the 1MB of RAM, and a lantronix it get it on BBSes. Still need that Z-80 card, mouse, and 3.5" drive.

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I dreamed for years (ever since the limited run from Australia) of obtaining a Phoenix motherboard for my Amiga 1000. And then I finally landed one. Now, I'd love to have the GB version, with an '030! (Without building one, waiting for parts, tracking down parts, programming pal's, ugh)

 

Usually make all my material possession dreams a reality before too long, but a dream that hasn't come true yet lies within the state of affairs of the modern computing experience. Believe it's too late though. Machines are too far crippled by crappy software or poor hardware decisions/designs to really ever make them as compelling as they once were. Even on the Amiga front, latest OS has little to show for all the development (in years anyway) and you're left feeling you've bought an overpriced machine with an incomplete/unfinished OS. Want some common and modern everyday features or fixes? Track this site down, hunt that program, library or file, install and hope to hell it plays nice with the rest of the system.

 

So I guess there you have it. My dream is to be able to kick Apple (M$ is long gone) out of the house and solely use fully featured out of the box, Amiga branded machines again. Today. Right now. With minimal "hobbyist" fuss. :love:

 

Talk about a dream, huh? :lol:

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Usually make all my material possession dreams a reality before too long, but a dream that hasn't come true yet lies within the state of affairs of the modern computing experience. Believe it's too late though. Machines are too far crippled by crappy software or poor hardware decisions/designs to really ever make them as compelling as they once were. Even on the Amiga front, latest OS has little to show for all the development (in years anyway) and you're left feeling you've bought an overpriced machine with an incomplete/unfinished OS. Want some common and modern everyday features or fixes? Track this site down, hunt that program, library or file, install and hope to hell it plays nice with the rest of the system.

 

Counterpoint.

 

I remember back in the day when I tried transitioning out of the Apple II to the Amiga. I had a bunch of files in various formats. And I wanted to bring it all forward into the modern 16-bit era.

 

Already there were signs of artificial limitations, obfuscations, and omissions present in the 16-bit machines' software. Making the job that much harder. The real limitations were being able to push files around and get them to transfer smoothly with the right amount <LF> and <CR>.

 

I remember all the adapting and formatting was done on the Apple II side, with the 16-bitter just absorbing the data. Ultimately I wasn't happy till I re-did the whole job again on a 486 DX2/50 with Win 3.1 and ProComm Plus. And then Word and Notepad allowed me, with ease, to clean up and generate plain text from all the early funky semi-proprietary formats of the early word processors.

 

Between ProTerm on the Apple II and ProComm Plus on the PC I had more serial/modem connectivity then I knew what to do with. I had a problem and those tools were versatile enough to create a solution without undue trickery.

 

I never went back to the Amiga after that. The gist of the experience with it was too much floppy swapping, no easy file management, slow ass disk access, and too many hoops to jump through. And too many specialty terminal packages. Had to get a different one for each incoming format it seemed. Very much like today's OS'es and dumbed down user interfaces.

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Thing is, I wouldn't have expected a totally different computer platform back then to so easily translate, read or otherwise manipulate data that originated on another computer. Amiga did promise and sort of delivered IBM compatibility out the gate, but wasn't until years later that we started seeing things like CrossDOS to handle some of the others, various emulators, utilities, Devs and Datatypes that dealt with other file formats and "standards". They did eventually come though and we had the A1020 to read the Apple and C64 disks or via serial connection. Admittedly though, access to the software was often limited or unheard of unless you belonged to a club, mailing list, knew who to dial up or had an excellent service center/retail outlet to depend on. Today and for the last 23 years or so, we have the excellent Aminet for quick and easy access to nearly anything that way.

 

Guess I didn't quite have the same experience as you since I didn't care or accepted the fact that different platforms back then were *different*. BTW: Amiga had a Notepad of course and found it super easy to use. Clipboard as well and various filters for translating. But if I had a spreadsheet/database, picture, sound file or whatever for something that originated on another (older) machine, probably didn't want to use it on my new machine anyway - especially when it came to graphics and sounds. Fancy proprietary word processing (they were *all* proprietary back then, but we did have Word) or database stuff... if you had to re-type what you had into the next new program on the next system, was all part of the "fun" back then. Helped get used to a new keyboard, program, peripherals, etc. Again, computers were new and didn't mind the hobby aspect of it at all back then. Oh and we were younger - had the time to monkey around with all that stuff! :)

 

Your Apple to Amiga story is kinda strange… if you wanted to transition from the Apple ][ (was obviously important to keep your old files for whatever various reasons) to something better, I'd have stuck with the ][gs. Or the Mac, ha! …can just imagine ][ users "translating" their files on that tiny b/w screen, non-numeric keyboard and all, but again - you didn't see the easy access and manipulation of your ][ software on a Mac either, did you? Probably six of one compared to the Amiga that way. ;)

 

Was natural that Commodore 64 people (and the handful that bought 128's eventually) went with Amiga. And we had disk/file manipulation of C64 stuff early on.

 

And I assume most of the A8 folks went to the ST. Did/does the ST have a bunch of programs capable of handling A8 disks and files? Probably the same boat as Amiga and Mac.

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I didn't expect it to be super easy. But there were things I wanted to do, things I knew had to be done. Matching protocols, stop bits, handling EOL, linefeeds, eliminating some control characters, tedious stuff like that - and couldn't quite find the right package on the Amiga.

 

Mind you I didn't get the Amiga for this job specifically. The purpose of the Amiga was to get into the 16-bit era cheaply. I tried that with the A1000 and got disgusted with the lack of arcade games. And Textcraft was 2x slower than anything I had on the Apple //e. No software to do anything with. Got rid of it faster than a dustcart could pick it up. That was in 1985-1986. I now had no intention of moving away from the Apple II and resigned myself to waiting for something, what, IDK.

 

But eventually the //e became limiting, naturally. And I tried the Amiga again in 1987, this time the A500. It was cheap, and I was fixated on graphics and rendering. I soon became disappointed that my $700 purchase (monitor, console, 512k + clock upgrade) couldn't really do anything the salesman promised without more expensive upgrades still.

 

I got a digi-view digitizer and had fun with that for a while. Played with PhotonPaint and Deluxe Paint and that was cool. But the Apple still remained my main productivity machine. What with the 10MB HDD I could still save files instantly.. Faster than the Amiga.

 

I considered the IIGS, but it was too expensive and my wArEZ buddies didn't have any GS stuff, so no gains there. And it felt like a dead end, believe it or not. The hybrid-ness didn't feel quite right. I considered the Mac, but couldn't afford it either. Ditto on the ST lineup from Atari.

 

I’m sure the Mac would have fit my needs except for the cost.

 

All this brainbeating back and forth was making me crazy in the head.

 

Then I went into some bulk warehouse and got fixated on a 286 machine that ran Xenix! I ohh so wanted that, but again couldn't afford it. I would even go there just to look and gawk at the boxes piled 10 meters high. I still even have the original brochures! By the time I saved enough money the 486 was in full swing. And I got one of those and was as happy as can be. The Gateway guy made me feel like a million bucks!

 

I soon upgraded it with a sound card and CD-ROM "multimedia" kit. An 8MB card, 2nd parallel port, a 3rd hard disk, wavetable, speech recognition. 14.4 modem.. The beautiful spreadsheets, the monster-sized databases, Word Perfect, WordStar, MS Word, and more! Procomm Plus. Everything was perfect! PERFECT! I had great interoperability and conversion with all the Apple II stuff. And I could play with things like Fractint. And soon enough Doom and Raptor.

 

Eventually the Amiga sat for years un-used and I gave it away.

Edited by Keatah
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  • 5 weeks later...

 

Counterpoint.

 

I remember back in the day when I tried transitioning out of the Apple II to the Amiga. I had a bunch of files in various formats. And I wanted to bring it all forward into the modern 16-bit era.

 

Already there were signs of artificial limitations, obfuscations, and omissions present in the 16-bit machines' software. Making the job that much harder. The real limitations were being able to push files around and get them to transfer smoothly with the right amount <LF> and <CR>.

 

I remember all the adapting and formatting was done on the Apple II side, with the 16-bitter just absorbing the data. Ultimately I wasn't happy till I re-did the whole job again on a 486 DX2/50 with Win 3.1 and ProComm Plus. And then Word and Notepad allowed me, with ease, to clean up and generate plain text from all the early funky semi-proprietary formats of the early word processors.

 

Between ProTerm on the Apple II and ProComm Plus on the PC I had more serial/modem connectivity then I knew what to do with. I had a problem and those tools were versatile enough to create a solution without undue trickery.

 

I never went back to the Amiga after that. The gist of the experience with it was too much floppy swapping, no easy file management, slow ass disk access, and too many hoops to jump through. And too many specialty terminal packages. Had to get a different one for each incoming format it seemed. Very much like today's OS'es and dumbed down user interfaces.

 

 

Oh man, ProComm Plus...

 

I remember that, and Telix, Telemate, etc. I used those to call BBSes all the time.

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My current computer holy grail is a Commodore PET 2001 with the bizarro non-staggered chiclet keyboard and built-in tape drive.

Otherwise the Ohio Scientific, Altair, and Apple I replicas from Briel are just too cool to not lust over. I'd have to have a quasi-authentic keyboard, though; IIRC Briel had new sets of repro keycaps made for the OSI kit.

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