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What is your retro computing most "irrational want?"


rpiguy9907
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Permit me to rephrase some of that.

 

A physical computer or accessory is the end embodiment of a concept. Doesn't matter what it's for, to make money, to better the world, to complete a task, to entertain. Whatever.

 

It's very easy to get engrossed in the idea. Completely lost and absorbed in the possibilities. That's a fun thing to do whether you realize it or not. And as green kids back in the day, we had ample time and magazines to feed that. And with things tech there's always something new around the corner. So it even satisfies curiosity and discovery and learning. 3 powerful things.

 

So. Once a piece of vintage hardware is purchased, it's entirely possible it can immediately fulfill all that, particularly if said piece of vintage has evolved into some modern-day equivalent. All without spending huge amounts of time.

 

Currently I'm on a modem kick, soon to gravitate back into graphics. But am I going to splurge on modems on eBay? Not likely. But I will have fun reading some documentation and articles and advertisements from back in the day.

 

Will I go on a BBS calling spree? Not likely either. I may power up the external USR and fart around with the AT command set or something. Whatever. I can reminisce and continue learning something just be reading something I hadn't read before.

 

Maybe that's what's going on with the Kaypro thing?

Edited by Keatah
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  • 2 weeks later...

Not super Retro but I would like my Sony GDM-W900 back again. I like it more than the FW900 with the flat screen. I paid $200 from a wholesaler on eBay for it in 2003. I got tired of lugging it’s 100 poundness from apartment to apartment so I eventually gave it to goodwill. I’m sure someone was excited that day at goodwill.

 

I remember playing Counter Strike, Baldurs Gate 2, and just watching movies on it. I didn’t realize how good I had it. I’m hoping Oled will fill the gap for me at some point. So far my 2007 42” Panasonic plasma from 2007 that does 1920x1080 is still my second favorite computer screen of all time. It’s almost as good as CRT, but not quite.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 5/3/2021 at 7:38 PM, Keatah said:

Permit me to rephrase some of that.

 

A physical computer or accessory is the end embodiment of a concept. Doesn't matter what it's for, to make money, to better the world, to complete a task, to entertain. Whatever.

 

It's very easy to get engrossed in the idea. Completely lost and absorbed in the possibilities. That's a fun thing to do whether you realize it or not. And as green kids back in the day, we had ample time and magazines to feed that. And with things tech there's always something new around the corner. So it even satisfies curiosity and discovery and learning. 3 powerful things.

 

So. Once a piece of vintage hardware is purchased, it's entirely possible it can immediately fulfill all that, particularly if said piece of vintage has evolved into some modern-day equivalent. All without spending huge amounts of time.

 

Currently I'm on a modem kick, soon to gravitate back into graphics. But am I going to splurge on modems on eBay? Not likely. But I will have fun reading some documentation and articles and advertisements from back in the day.

 

Will I go on a BBS calling spree? Not likely either. I may power up the external USR and fart around with the AT command set or something. Whatever. I can reminisce and continue learning something just be reading something I hadn't read before.

 

Maybe that's what's going on with the Kaypro thing?

I'm glad I always kept all my old computer junk. I still have my USR V.Everything external modem which makes it extra special because it is not only a vintage modem but my modem, the one I used back in the late 90s when 56k was the cutting edge. Yeah if I got something like a Kaypro II I'm sure I would load up some old word processors with the idea that I'm actually going to do productive things with it. Play some text adventures and join a BBS, but it would be just like when I got my Atari 800 online. I signed up for a BBS and spent a few weeks checking in every day and posting messages and then I just got bored of it. It's nostalgic for a while and fun to learn old stuff but the modern internet is much more entertaining.

 

Old computers and consoles feels kind of like Pokemon; I want to collect them all but once I have them they're just cluttering up the place and taking up space. Retro stuff is way too expensive now anyway but it's still fun to window shop on eBay and look at all the photos of cool stuff I'll never have. ?

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Yes something like that.

 

It is important to define what pieces of retro equipment are important to you and what has meaning. This requires plenty of hindsight. And it's a bonus when you don't have to look further than your personal pile of junk.

 

I have my original MicroModem II and Apple-Cat II. And while I can get them on ebay it wouldn't be the same. My originals mean far much more than some ebay-bought item. Especially if the ebay item is to be a replacement for something once owned. It's a different item. The sequence of acquisition is different. It represents a different pocket of knowledge.

 

I always wanted USRs and hi-speed Hayes' modems from back in the day, enjoyed them vicariously through advertisements and articles and cordial discussions. Wanted them so bad I would often dream of having them and waking up to disappointment. I was able to pick up several USRs over the past years in the 5$ - 20$ range. Some NIB CIB. But its not quite the same as having experienced them back in the day. Not quite the same coming from ebay as it was trekking to Comp-USA and exploring the new tech back then.

 

On the other hand the USRs and early Hayes' ingot modems are still meaningful to me in that I seriously wanted them as a kid but couldn't afford'em. In this way it's different, much different, than seeing a piece of arbitrary retro equipment and buying just to buy it because old, because vintage. Here there's still some aura and connection to the past.

 

Like if someone plopped down an Osbourne, or C-128, in front of me.. I wouldn't really care even though they are of the same vintage. I had little interest back then. And less interest now.

 

Many ways to examine this state of affairs.

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My most irrational computing want still remains as a full IMSAI 8080 setup, with serial port, z80 card, lots of RAM, printer, ADM 3A terminal and a Model 33 Teletype...

 

However, a few have been added to the "irrational dreams" list: Apple Lisa 1, Twiggy Macintosh prototype (read a few old threads at 64kmla and applefritter that had interesting stuff that keatah said 15 years ago), blue bezel and label PET (like the one in my pfp), Tandy 6000, and to top everything off, an IBM System/1.

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  • 1 month later...

My irrational want is any of the SORD SMP 80/x series microcomputers. First of all, I think they look great, love the front panel on this SMP80/20.

Sord SMP80/20

I'm also really interested in them because they seem to be largely unknown. There is very little information about them online, despite being an Intel 8080 microcomputer that was announced and released before the Altair 8800. According to this profile in The Home Computer Advanced Course magazine, it was even fairly popular. A few websites English and Japanese language websites devote a paragraph about them and I've found a document or two with SORD ads but that is about it.

 

I recently picked up a handbook for the SMP 80/50 (Z-80), which seems to be a Z80 version of the SMP 80/50, and it is a model I've never seen mentioned anywhere online. For that matter, aside from this book I've never seen any other documentation online or for sale about any of the models. Sadly it is stuck with my brother in Japan due to COVID-19 shipping issues. But he sent me a few photos and I am intrigued. I don't know what info is actually contained inside, but I have dreams of tracking down more and cobbling together enough information to make an emulator or building a replica. I've attached those photos if anyone else is interested in looking at the little that is available.

0203112942_601a0a96dcffb.thumb.JPG.fe90ae54f7afb54cc7e91f1d97827923.JPGpage1.thumb.jpeg.9fd4e81c6118fb21534c011962d5977e.jpegpage2.thumb.jpeg.55cf4e78663f62e0dbae9343e5c08a8a.jpegpage3.thumb.jpeg.9e8e279ffb511068959bd881f623a939.jpegpage4.thumb.jpeg.4dc3a538a7c57cbe5c9fc6abe2454052.jpeg

 

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Yes, I became aware of this Sord SMP 80/x a number of years ago and was surprised that Sord would have predated the Altair, but perhaps what happens in Japan usually stays in Japan, at least for another couple of decades. I agree that it looks cool, though I would not have the slightest clue how to use it, just as little as I would know how to use any other S-100 bus system.

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25 minutes ago, carlsson said:

Yes, I became aware of this Sord SMP 80/x a number of years ago and was surprised that Sord would have predated the Altair, but perhaps what happens in Japan usually stays in Japan, at least for another couple of decades. I agree that it looks cool, though I would not have the slightest clue how to use it, just as little as I would know how to use any other S-100 bus system.

Yeah, a lot of Japanese things just don't get noticed elsewhere. Though the SMP 80/X seems to be universally unknown. Surprised by how little Japanese language information there is out there, not much better than English parts of the web. Rather than going unnoticed completely a website might have a sentence about it. Given the number of people interested in retro computing in Japan I thought there would be more, but after talking to a few people there it is clear they are every bit as starved for information. I'm going to try to scan the book I got and donate the hard copy to one of the retro computing groups there.

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On 9/18/2019 at 10:11 PM, mozartpc27 said:

Great idea for a thread, enjoying the many responses.  The things I know I want but can’t get and if I could I couldn’t justify the price for run in roughly this order:

 

1. Commodore 65.  Even getting the soon-to-be, I hope, Mega65 will probably be a fight.

 

2.  Commodore Amiga 4000 not T tricked out.  Toyed with buying one once but couldn’t justify the $1700.  Am intrigued by these machines but not truly infatuated the way I am with the Commodore 8 bits.

 

3.  Coleco ADAM Disk Drive.  Most likely totally useless to me (I have an ADAM but putting together ADAM program disks would be a chore) but I do like it and its rarity.  Maybe the most strictly irrational thing on this list.

 

4.  That Atari 1450XL prototype... yeah.  

 

5.  Atari 1200 - Obtainable but what would I do with it if I had it?

 

6.  That TI peripheral that acted as a VCR controller and even I think would have allowed VCR tapes used as storage for TI-99 programs.  Whatever Atari device that acted as a LD controller that I saw at VCF East this year as well.

I think now that I am here almost two years later in 2021, I would add the following items:

 

1.  The Ketek Command Center for the Commodore 128.  Just an external housing/desk organizer/power strip deal that was meant to make your Commodore 8 bit look more like a then-modern PC box set up.  Silly now but GOD I WANTED IT in 1992-1993.  Saw one for sale once with a huge bunch of crap, asked the dude to separate, but he declined.  Would have had to buy a couple of truck loads of crap to get it... my wife would have murdered me, wasn't worth it.  Today I am not even sure I would use it.  If anyone has one in the back of a closet somewhere, do let me know.

 

2.  A ZX Spectrum.  The original small black one with the rainbow on the diagonal in the right hand corner.  I would never, ever bother doing what would need to be done in order to make the thing usable in the USA --- so this is truly irrational, because it would be purely decorative.  On the other hand, this means I could take someone's non-working unit, which means some day when I've had a few and I am surfing the net, I may yet buy a cheap one and import it.

 

3.  A Commodore 8280 - the dual 8" disk drives.  I am fascinated by those.  Indeed, I bought an 8" disk, just to have.  Of course, in order to have the drive be worth anything, I'd need a computer to go with it, so...

 

4.  Something in that CBM-II/PET-II Commodore line that was actually designed in house but was always rumored to be designed by Porsche.  Don't really want or care about the computer as a computer particularly, but man those machines as little art pieces are dead sexxxy with that monitor and everything yeahhhhhh

 

In terms of my old wants combined with these, I think I would order them now:

 

1. C65 (obviously)

2. Commodore 720 (CBM-II) / Commodore 8280, even though they do not match styles.

3. Commodore Amiga 4000 not T

4. Ketek Command Center

5. Coleco ADAM Disk Drive

6. ZX Spectrum

7. TI-99/4A VCR controller deal

8. Atari 1450XL

9. Atari 1200

 

I'd maybe throw on the TI voice module thing, but that is very obtainable, so if I ever really want it I'll buy it, so I don't know if it counts.  Just can't see dropping half a hundy on something I'll play with once or twice then forget about.

 

Anyway my strongest irrational wants right now are a portable wind-up gramophone and a reel-to-reel tape player.  I also have my 1983 Chrysler LeBaron Town & Country Mark Cross Edition Convertible to spend money on, so I should probably calm down (that car supposedly talks using that same logic that TI used, but right now that whole system doesn't work, so one of my irrational wants is to look into getting that done).

 

 

Edited by mozartpc27
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5 hours ago, mozartpc27 said:

2.  A ZX Spectrum.  The original small black one with the rainbow on the diagonal in the right hand corner.  I would never, ever bother doing what would need to be done in order to make the thing usable in the USA --- so this is truly irrational, because it would be purely decorative.  On the other hand, this means I could take someone's non-working unit, which means some day when I've had a few and I am surfing the net, I may yet buy a cheap one and import it.

 

4.  Something in that CBM-II/PET-II Commodore line that was actually designed in house but was always rumored to be designed by Porsche.  Don't really want or care about the computer as a computer particularly, but man those machines as little art pieces are dead sexxxy with that monitor and everything yeahhhhhh

If you by chance would have a monitor or TV that accepts PAL composite video input, there would be very few steps to make a ZX Spectrum usable in the USA. Open it up, desolder the wire that goes into the RF modulator, solder a new wire through the spare hole in the same modulator and connect it directly to the RCA jack. The signal might be a little on the weak side, but it is composite video. An experienced modder would do the fix within 5 minutes, a less experienced one perhaps needs 15-20 min to get the wire in place. For power, there is nothing magic. It takes 9V DC with center negative polarity. No need for step-up converters as such, just use something from a Sega Genesis Mk1 or any other system that has 9V with negative polarity (IIRC Atari Jaguar does too).

 

The CBM-II story still is interesting. Supposedly it was the Porsche industrial design company, which is related but partly separate from the car manufacturer, who came up with a design that may have been unpractical to manufacture. The final design was made by Ira Velinsky but it isn't clear if he touched up the Porsche design or made bigger changes. Given how many press clips back in the day mentioned Porsche, I'm leaning towards the overall design came from them but Velinsky tuned it into an usable state.

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5 hours ago, carlsson said:

The signal might be a little on the weak side, but it is composite video. An experienced modder would do the fix within 5 minutes, a less experienced one perhaps needs 15-20 min to get the wire in place.

You could probably wire up a fairly simply transistor/resistor buffer-amp circuit in-line with the composite and get a much better picture, and avoid any risk of damage to the ULA in the Speccy as well.

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5 hours ago, carlsson said:

If you by chance would have a monitor or TV that accepts PAL composite video input, there would be very few steps to make a ZX Spectrum usable in the USA. Open it up, desolder the wire that goes into the RF modulator, solder a new wire through the spare hole in the same modulator and connect it directly to the RCA jack. The signal might be a little on the weak side, but it is composite video. An experienced modder would do the fix within 5 minutes, a less experienced one perhaps needs 15-20 min to get the wire in place. For power, there is nothing magic. It takes 9V DC with center negative polarity. No need for step-up converters as such, just use something from a Sega Genesis Mk1 or any other system that has 9V with negative polarity (IIRC Atari Jaguar does too).

I do not have such a monitor (unless the 1084S does it and I don't know about it), but it's good to know it's easy if I ever give in.  Thank you!

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My most irrational retrocomputer want is pretty simple. I’d like to acquire an Apple IIe or IIc. The IIc because it’s the only Apple II I ever used at all back then, as a teacher’s aid in high school for one of my teachers, who brought in his computer to type up and print forms, quizzes, etc.  The IIe is on the list because of its expandability, compatibility and how ubiquitous they were generally, though I never had one myself. 

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Usually 1084 monitors appear to be limited to the video mode most commonly matching the input voltage, so to speak. Newer TFT/LCD TVs are more likely to support multiple modes, but I know that is particularly true here in Europe. Sometimes I wonder if TVs and monitors were cheaper in America because you got fewer features.

 

The suggestion about an amplifying circuit is good. While it is unrelated to this thread, I found a kit for a more thorough conversion.

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9 hours ago, carlsson said:

Usually 1084 monitors appear to be limited to the video mode most commonly matching the input voltage, so to speak. Newer TFT/LCD TVs are more likely to support multiple modes, but I know that is particularly true here in Europe. Sometimes I wonder if TVs and monitors were cheaper in America because you got fewer features.

 

The suggestion about an amplifying circuit is good. While it is unrelated to this thread, I found a kit for a more thorough conversion.

Gee, you are going to drive me to the irrational want zone.  It would be fun to be able to play with Euro computers.

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I posted in this thread ages ago, but it got bumped, so I'm posting again because it's changed. ;)

 

If I had space, money, and desire, I'd really like a C128, 1571 drive, and one of the 1802 monitors since that would mirror the setup from when I was a kid.  3 boxes of bootleg floppies too, since we mostly used ours in 64 mode. ;)

 

Yes, there's a million different ways to do this better now, but that's why this is irrational. hehe

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On 8/11/2021 at 10:44 AM, digdugnate said:

I posted in this thread ages ago, but it got bumped, so I'm posting again because it's changed. ;)

 

If I had space, money, and desire, I'd really like a C128, 1571 drive, and one of the 1802 monitors since that would mirror the setup from when I was a kid.  3 boxes of bootleg floppies too, since we mostly used ours in 64 mode. ;)

 

Yes, there's a million different ways to do this better now, but that's why this is irrational. hehe

1802? So you didn't have a way to use the 80 column VDC screen? And yes, I know the 1802 could do monochromatic 80 column with a special cable, but it wasn't common or even very readable. Really, you should get a C128 system (best 8-bitter ever!) but skip the 1802 and get a 1902/2002/1080/1084 or something that does the VDC justice.

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