The Retrocomputing Thread

Started by Bella, April 28, 2010, 06:23:22 pm

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Nice, Bella.  What processor did that 3.1 tower have?
Red_Machine: Flouting the Windows Lifecycle Policy since 1989!


The more I look at it...that Macbook looks a LOT like the one I had a few years ago.


@Red: I'm not sure, the shop owner didn't know. He had just gotten it in a bit before, hooked it up and tested it out-- still wasn't sure about the exact specs. :\

@Nejin: it probably is the same model. You said yours ran OS 7.5, yeah? That's the OS the 190 came loaded with.


That seems about likely. Too bad I have absolutely no idea of where it is...might still remain at home, but I digress.


Macbook looks like my glorious old Windows 98 machine.


bella, idk where da fuk that is. GIVE ME DERICTIONS. I WILL BUY THAT DESKTOP.



Is that a fact, Stewart? I quite like the design of the Powerbook, aesthetically speaking.

I'm not going to give you directions here Choco, I too shy. ;v;  You could PM me or email me if you're really interested, though. (But I can assure you that it would be QUITE a jog across our fair state).


So, today I headed over to Old Computers R Us (aka the local used computer shop) to buy that ~1993 Windows 3.1 machine. The owner retrieved the machine from the back room, put it on the work-table and fired it up. The BIOS settings seem to have been a bit scrambled in its years of disuse, so I left to take care of other business while he got everything together.

When I returned, the computer was up and running 3.1-- I even played around with it for awhile. It has a lot of programs installed (even MS Word 6.0!) and ran fine. But upon rebooting, it ran into trouble... it sometimes won't boot up. D:

I bought it anyway, though... he told me that, should I not be able to get it running again, I can return it and get my $50 back. I forgot the damn power cord, though, so I have to go back tomorrow and pick it up. ><;;;

Some VERY interesting info about the hardware: the computer was custom assembled by a local computer-builder called Diacad Associates (still have a website). Not entirely interesting, considering the high numbers of "homebrew" IBM clone computer companies back in the early 90s. But get this: the manager of Diacad is a man called David Ecklein. It says he's an MIT graduate and constructor of the world's largest homemade computer -- one I had never heard of until I googled the company -- 1959's EMAG III. And I mean... it is LARGE.

I feel like calling the number and asking him about it. I can't find a shred of info about it online... it's weird. Half of me wants to think this is the result of some deft photoshop hoaxing, the other feels like I've just stumbled across another piece of my region's lost computer heritage. :\

Other weirdness: the monitor is from Universitat Bremen, a German university.

The keyboard is a lowly Gateway, and the mouse is... unknown. It's one of 'em old-timey three-button kind though.

But wait! Things get even crazier! Somehow, Mr. Computer Shop and I began discussing historic OS emulators, which led to a discussion of Dartmouth Timesharing System and the DTSS Reborn emulator. Mr. Computer Shop mentioned visiting to Dartmouth U in his youth, and participating in a live demo of the university's mainframe computers... he played tic-tac-toe on one of them. O.o


But wait, it gets a little weirder... no, actually, this isn't very weird compared to the rest of that stuff, but it's pretty cool! He has a first-gen iMac that I can have for free. He says he can't sell it due to un-upgradibility issues and offered it after I mentioned having a penchant for Macs. So yeah.


Wow, free stuff.  We'll both have iMac G3s now!

Cool info about that 3.1 tower, and that machine is HUEG!
Red_Machine: Flouting the Windows Lifecycle Policy since 1989!

Aurora Borealis

That huge tower is one of the coolest-looking PCs ever, but it must be really hard to maintain though!

You all are so lucky to find places that sell old computers. There aren't any I know of in my area. There was one that sold old computers, equipment and woodworking stuff, but either their stock of computers has been sold out for months, or they're about to close down. :(


Hm, I wonder if they'd still have plans to build that thing.... ask the dude for me Bella.

My old 3.1 had all sorts of kids games on it, really fun ones.

Going about that TRS-80 tomorrow.


@Red: You have a G3 iMac? Cool. ^^ I'm not sure what the condition is like on the one I might be getting, but hey, it's free. I'd use it as a doorstop at that price. xD

@Aurora: Not quite a PC, more like a two-story tall checker-playing machine. I found a little more info about it online:

Apparently, the thing's from Iowa and was an entry in the NATIONAL SCIENCE FAIR. Yep. A school kid built it. @@

It takes some looking to find these sort of places... I wouldn't have ever known about our local used electronics shop had I not stumbled across it. ^^;

@Stew: Why d'you want plans? Do you have a few thousand vacuum tubes lying around that you want to put to good use? >:b

My 3.1 machine has a lot of art programs on it... mostly kids' stuff, but some other things too (like a needlework plotting program, haha).

Speaking of which...

A needlework sampler for the real world

I got 'er up and running! Took a little fiddling with the BIOS initially. And damn, it has a CRAZY BIOS-screen if ever I've seen one... if that's what it is, that is... it's all point-and-click, GUI stuff. D:

Visible: the two floppy drives, a CDR drive, the status lights and the power, reboot and mysterious "turbo" buttons.

It's bootup time is about a second, she's a fast computer! Has 16mb ram, a 1.6gb hd and 133mhz processor and takes 5.25 AND 2.5'' floppies. The monitor Shamrock Brand, and was used at Bremen University if the sticker's any indication. It's a cool monitor... during bootup and shutdown, it has a line of chase-lights that strobe across the bottom. It's very minicomputer-retro in that respect. xD

Windows 3.1 and DOS 6.22 are installed; I can't believe how stable and fast it is, it hasn't given me any hangs or crashes or anything.

Posing with the iMac


That was the thing with my 3.1 machine, one of the most stable computers I ever used.

TRS-80 pictures tomorrow, if I haven't managed to accidently break the fscking CPU power cord.   It's a beast; three minidisk drives, an Expansion interface, Model I moniter & CPU, and line printer.


Wait, what. 2.5" floppies?
Sure looks like a 3.5"

Back in my old school where there was one education line for clothes and textile, they still had old pattern machines that used only 5.25-inchers.
This was in 2003-06.

Oi, I have an iMac as well!
Well, 2 actually...

I never got around posting proper pics of the working one.


Gentleman, behold!  This is Lily.

26-1142 Expansion Interface with 32k RAM (bottem), TRS-80 Line Printer II (left of moniter), Model I moniter and Model I keyboard CPU 16k Level II (center), three Minidisk 5 1/4" flop disk drives (right).  So, all told Lily wields a total of 48k RAM and comes with a wide variety of games and TRS-DOS (if I can get the drives to work properly).