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Technology Hardware

A Trip Down Computer Memory Lane 118

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the pigs-and-portables dept.
News.com has an interesting stroll down memory lane with a look at the "DigiBarn", a collection of technology from early mechanical calculators to modern web appliances. NASA contractor Bruce Damer and partner Alan Lundell run this "museum in transition" from a 19th-century farmhouse deep in the Santa Cruz mountains. In addition to notable success milestones, the company also includes some of the industry failures, like an Apple III Damer acquired from Apple's legal department.
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A Trip Down Computer Memory Lane

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  • wooo (Score:5, Funny)

    by sepelester (794828) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @01:21PM (#20286653)
    Could be called RAM Drive, but Computer Memory Lane is cool too
  • Handy link to TFA (Score:4, Informative)

    by iaculus (1032214) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @01:26PM (#20286677)
    Post links to second page; first page at http://news.com.com/A+trip+down+computer+memory+la ne/2100-1042_3-6203311.html [com.com] and almost-ad-free print version at http://news.com.com/2102-1042_3-6203311.html?tag=s t.util.print [com.com]

    Go on. Read the article. You know you want to. You'll find out why the museum has to be packed up every winter, and learn that Apple had a portable music player as far back as 1979. And more!
    • THey mention keeping a copy of (Integer) Basic on cassette. That got me thinking... I'm a little surprised that people haven't converted these old tapes to MP3s; the fidelity is far more than sufficient and once converted will be far more reliable than the original**. It would certainly make "offsite distributed peer-to-peer backups" easier. And it would be cool to hook up your iPod to your Apple ][ (or Vic20 or C64 or TRS80...) audio input cable and spend a few minutes loading Alkabeth or Visicalc "from t
      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @05:06PM (#20287885) Journal

        I'm a little surprised that people haven't converted these old tapes to MP3s;
        I think there are probably better ways of doing this. There are emulators that can read the audio data, and so it would be simpler to just store a digital copy of the data; I doubt MP3 could get the data down to anything like the size of the original, which is likely to be well under 64KB (it must be smaller than the amount of RAM the machine has, or it couldn't have been loaded. Even big programs that had to be loaded in segments weren't more than 100KB or so).

        A few emulators can read from WAV files of the tapes. MP3 should be okay bandwidth-wise, but the psycho-acoustic model throws away information humans can't hear, and I don't know if that is a problem for some data encodings. The WAV-reading only exists to load files from old tapes, it's not a sensible long-term storage mechanism.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jhalme (103458)
          At least on a ZX Spectrum, the psycho-acoustic models do damage the data enough to make it impossible to load. I exported a few .TZX files into .WAV, compressed them into MP3 and tried to load into my 48k Spectrum from a portable MP3 player. I didn't manage to load the program one single time as every attempt ended with an "R Tape load error". I also tried recording the .WAV onto a minidisc (old MZ-R90 portable) but still got similar results, so apparently ATRAC loses too much data as well. Burning the .WAV
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Richy_T (111409)
            Old hardware, ZX Spectrums. Gotta be an opportunity to mention

            heyhey16k [b3ta.com]

            FOR n=0 TO 2
            Those were the days
            NEXT n

            Rich
        • by ncc74656 (45571) *

          I think there are probably better ways of doing this. There are emulators that can read the audio data, and so it would be simpler to just store a digital copy of the data...

          There are also methods for transferring files over audio connections between vintage and modern hardware. ADTPro [sourceforge.net] works with the cassette ports in an Apple IIe, II+, or II. I remember reading recently about something with similar capabilities for the TI-99/4A, but I don't recall the name offhand. (Some quick looking-around turned u

      • by blincoln (592401)
        Anyway, the tape->MP3 conversion seems like a common sense idea, but a quick search didn't turn up anything.

        Back in the mid-90s, before mp3s became popular, a small company did a limited run of audio CDs that contained most/all of the games for the Starpath Supercharger [wikipedia.org] Atari 2600 add-on.
        • Back in the mid-90s, before mp3s became popular, a small company did a limited run of audio CDs that contained most/all of the games for the Starpath Supercharger Atari 2600 add-on.
          Which, converted to pure data, takes less than 200KB. In fact, you can fit pretty much every Atari 2600 game ever made in two or three floppies.
      • by Novus (182265) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @05:49PM (#20288141) Homepage
        With a little knowledge of the tape hardware and the way it's used to store data, you can store the data on a tape much more efficiently than an MP3 does (and get faster encoding and decoding to boot). Your average 8-bit with a tape deck (for example, a ZX Spectrum) essentially has a 1-bit ADC and DAC hooked up to the tape deck. Data is (mostly) stored on tape as a long series of pulses of two different lengths (each representing a 0 or 1). Therefore, to create a nice and small tape image file (even of data in a custom copy protected format), simply detect and store a description of these pulses in e.g. TZX format [worldofspectrum.org]. Especially Spectrum emulation users often work with tape files like these.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Alioth (221270)
        We have - certainly in the Sinclair Spectrum community. Nearly every piece of Spectrum software has been saved. Not in MP3 format, but in TZX format which gives a compact and accurate representation of the original tape. The World of Spectrum archive has several thousand programs for the Speccy stored in this way.
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        MP3 compression is lossy. You do not like audio drop outs on tape, you would not like the non-sense result of MP3-compressing a program saved to audio tape. I am not even sure the loss-less audio encoders would cut it. They are designed for a digital audio input (generally CD quality audio or below), not the A/D conversion back up format on circa 1980s audio cassette tapes.

        I remember not too long ago when hard drive prices were high enough people were dreaming up ways to back up their data to the video
      • >old tapes to MP3s
        For some strange reason, lossy compression is something you *really* don't want with program/data files.
    • by KlaymenDK (713149)
      It seems a bit odd that the article is so focused on the *artifacts*, when it ends in stating that the museum's purpose is to convey the stories of the *people* behind them.

      But I'm just jeleaous(sp!)really. I live too far away, I'll never get to make a visit.
  • Accuracy (Score:5, Informative)

    by spacefrog (313816) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @01:29PM (#20286691)
    Articles like this do more harm then good when they are filled with inaccuracies.

    Not everything in the collection is Apple, though. There's also an original 1979 Osborne I--one of the first computers my father ever owned--the giant suitcase-size portable computer, and a Kaypro II, which helped kill the Osborne due to its smaller, sleeker design.
    The Osborne I was introduced in 1981. The Kaypo II (there was no Kaypro I) was slightly larger then the Osborne, and weighed 6 pounds more.

    This article is crap.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The Osborne II, and news of its impending release, is what killed the Osborne I and the company. It is a cautionary tale in not releasing news of an impending product upgrade too early. Particularly when you have huge unsold stock of the prior product.

      They should include that famous Bill Gates quote in the article.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The one he never said, you mean?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by garcia (6573)
      One room over, however, was my first computer, the Commodore Vic-20, a 2K masterpiece on which a friend of mine and I would sit and write incredible programs in BASIC to do things like ask you your name and then print it on the screen an infinite number of times.

      He could be my twin brother, if I had one, as the Vic-20 was the first computer I used and I was programming in BASIC before I could knowingly spell or read (just imitating my father's keystrokes) and what I remember doing the most was printing my n
    • by Tablizer (95088)
      [smaller, sleeker design.] The Osborne I was introduced in 1981. The Kaypro II (there was no Kaypro I) was slightly larger then the Osborne, and weighed 6 pounds more.

      One of Kaypro's advantages was a larger screen IIRC. That may have made it look "sleeker".
             
      • by nurb432 (527695)
        There was an optional external video display for the osborne. But that does sort of blow it being portable.
        • by Dog-Cow (21281)
          Virtually every laptop produced today has a video out for an external monitor. Does that stop them from being portables too?
    • I'm sure there are plenty of other factual errors in TFA, then. I only skimmed and spotted the "2K VIC-20" part.

      I don't think a VIC-20 would even RUN with only 2K of RAM installed (and to get so little, you'd have to take a soldering iron to the main board). They shipped with 5KB RAM with 3583 bytes free for BASIC programs. Some of that would be around 0-page, some of it must be mapped higher for video.
  • by LordSnooty (853791) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @01:30PM (#20286703)
    The link goes to page 2 of the article.

    I'd be interested to learn more about the "iPod prototype" - described as a Mac in a briefcase - how was the music stored on this? If it were on separate medium such as cassette, disk or somesuch then is it really a prototype of anything? Would it not be a similar, more cumbersome version of the Walkman, which had already appeared by 1980. Since it's a Mac I'd like to say the files were in AIFF format, 'cept WP says that was developed in 1988. What was the state of audio compression at the turn of the eighties? Uncompressed audio seems unrealistic on yesterday's storage media.
    • by jimicus (737525)
      I don't know about early Apples, but in the early 1980's it was fairly common for personal computers to use audio cassettes for data and program storage. Wouldn't surprise me if someone built a computer which had a built-in audio cassette player which could be used for both audio tape playback and loading software.
      • Quite, only I had one of those with my ZX Spectrum, as long as I disconnected the EAR lead. Hardly a "prototype portable music player" though...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by OakDragon (885217)
        My 2nd computer was a TRS-80 Color Computer II. Unfortunately, I could not afford the disk drive for it. Here are a couple of ways I used the tape drive to provide music for my programs.

        The first was really a demo. I made a BASIC program to fill the screen with the James Bond "007" logo as the tape drive played "View to a Kill" (which I "downloaded" by holding the tape recorder up to the radio speaker). The program loaded, and started drawing to screen, while the sound played through the computer's hardwa

        • by TopShelf (92521)
          My first computer was an Atari 400, and the Kingdom game (a Hammurabi clone) did something similar, playing title music and an audio introduction through the tape drive...
      • by RedMage (136286)

        There was - it was called the PET. While the 4032 and 8032 (and the later SuperPET) used an external (but still proprietary) cassette recorder, the 2001 had it built in, next to the keyboard. Actually, I don't remember exactly if the PET could play audio through the cassette drive, but I do remember that it was a little more reliable than, say, the TRS-80, for loading, as long as the tape alignment was good.

        Someone else mentioned the Spectrum...

        I never actually used in anger a cassette tape for data storag
      • by rbanffy (584143)
        Actually, quite a few computers in the late 70s and early 80s had cassette tape drives built in. I remember the PET, of course. There were some ZX Spectrum-based machines (in the post-Sinclair life-cycle) and I remember a TRS-80 model I clone made by Dismac (I am from Brazil) that had one next to its keyboard.

        A trip to http://www.old-computers.com/ [old-computers.com] should turn up a lot of them.
      • Really clever people like Atari used stereo data recorders with their machines. On software like 'Conversational Spanish', one track would load data while the other talked away giving examples of words & pronounciation etc. Some games had the load music on the audio track for extra quality.
    • by zlogic (892404)
      My guess is that it's either MIDI or something algorithmically-generated (e.g. looping samples need to be stored only once).
      • by RedMage (136286)

        Depending on the time frame, I'd say it was probably pre-MIDI. MIDI was first available on the Yamaha DX7, which was released in 1983. I would guess it was voltage control, as used on many analog synths of the time. Digital audio, as we use it today, would have been a non-starter in a portable system. Even commercial samplers were up in the I-Need-A-Mortgage realm of cost.
    • When I was a kid, my father brought home an IBM 5100 a few weekends for us to mess with. It included a massive tractor-fed line printer. There was one program for it that used the sound side-effects of the line printer to play the William Tell Overture. This was in about 1975. It clearly constitutes an 'Ipod Prototype' that is earlier than anything Apple produced. Why, in 1975 all that Apple Computer's founders were doing was selling dope and blueboxes to steal telephone long distance time.
    • by bobdinkel (530885)
      I was pretty curious about the "iPod prototype" as well. I was able to find a little more info, but not enough to satisfy my curiosity. Link to more info [digibarn.com]
      • by Fred_A (10934)
        I think they intended to add a slot for LPs under the screen.

        I might be wrong though ;)
    • Thats why none of our prototypes ever got off the ground. Storage meida was just to expensive and compression was limited.
  • The article says:

    In fact, with the early Macs, you needed a "Mac Cracker," a funky metal device that looks something like a book stand, to open the machine.

    I remember needing just a putty knife and a foot-long Torx wrench (the screws that held it together were seated at the top of the machine, but only accessible through deep holes in the bottom)....

    • For the SE and Plus and probably some others, you needed the "Mac Cracker" in addition to the long T-15. The cracker was a spring loaded device that pushed parts of the case outward in order to open it.
      • I have opened SE's, and Pluses, and SE/30's using just a long handle T-15. In fact I don't even have the long handle T-15. A long handled flat bladed screwdriver (in fact, one of the common ones most large hardware stores stock) will wedge into the splines on the torx screws on the Mac to back them out.

        I have never needed any special tool once the screws are out. You just lay the Mac face down on a pillow or some padding and do a little 'heft' action and it slides open.

        It's entirely within the realm of l
        • "Expensive tools"? I don't know how much it cost, but it didn't look like it was worth more than five bucks, and I doubt I spent more than that on it at the time. At the time it was easy to get one (most companies that sold ram for the thing sent along the tool with the ram), so I'm not sure I agree with your point about Apple trying to keep joe sixpack from opening the box.
          • I didn't buy my SE/30's until long, long after there were places to casually order the tools to open them. I specifically acquired them to run NetBSD on.
        • >just a long handle T-15
          The same T-15 some people used to bullseye Whomp Rats?
    • by zakezuke (229119)

      I remember needing just a putty knife and a foot-long Torx wrench (the screws that held it together were seated at the top of the machine, but only accessible through deep holes in the bottom)....

      I remember the mac cracker... it was actually a very useful tool for things other than macs. Mine was just a small blunt blade about 1.5 inches in length attached to a plate, attached to a right angle connector which connected to your universal screwdriver. Which I still had it as it would be handy for laptops without screwing up the plastic.

      The torx screws in those old macs however were a royal pain... I can't remember exactly what I did but it did involve the use of an allen key with a segment of the

      • That reminds me of the Lisa. If the computer locked up, you have to dismantle it to get the floppy disk out... or at least that's what the computer lab operator at Virginia Tech told me. I found it hilarious how user hostile the early Macs and proto-Macs could be.
  • by niceone (992278) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @01:54PM (#20286851) Journal
    ...that this is a just another computer museum, rather than one dedicated to computer memory, I was getting excited by the thought of all those glass cases full of SIMMs, DIMMs and maybe even some magnetic core.
  • by ruiner13 (527499) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @02:11PM (#20286963) Homepage
    Is it that hard to put a link to the actual museum [digibarn.com] instead of to page 2 of an article that talks about said museum? Are the mods asleep today?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ruiner13 (527499)

      s it that hard to put a link to the actual museum instead of to page 2 of an article that talks about said museum? Are the mods asleep today?
      There are no ads on the museum site, so no revenue to drive up by linking to it.
    • by badc0ffee (969714)
      Because they have a wish list http://www.digibarn.com/help/index.html [digibarn.com] of *junk they want. My last move, I tossed a lot of old computer stuff like WORM drive, Diablo daisy wheel printer, paper tape reader, teletype, monochrome monitors, Rockwell AIM-65, manuals, old operating systems, and the list goes on.

      But I kept my first computer, a Geniac, for no good reason. Ah, the memories when you turn 0100 (octal).

      *Junk = the **stuff you throw away.

      **Stuff = the *junk you keep.

      • WOW, I thought I was old a couple of years back when I turned 040! Of course, I too have a lot of computer memories, I have been programming since I was 011. And I learned basic TTL logic and how to count in binary up to 10000 when I was 111. I must have burnt myself with a soldering iron -1 times that year!

        (Thanks for the link -- email sent)
  • by 3seas (184403) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @02:44PM (#20287119) Journal
    the article forgot Amiga....
  • by twitter (104583) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @02:53PM (#20287163) Homepage Journal

    Ah the irony, a computer museum filled with old M$ OS. Bill Gates once boasted that he would keep a copy of gnu/linux for his computer museum but would eliminate it otherwise. Yet nothing is more useless than an old copy of Windoze. They can be fun, but they are tied to a particular set of hardware and software that's all rotting away. Emulation is interesting but difficult thanks to all the built in traps. Still, it's nice someone is keeping these things around.

    Roughly Drafted has a set of articles detailing the OS wars that would complement the physical collection. If you are looking for a trip down memory lane, here it is:

    They are all well written, entertaining and accurate.

    • Yet nothing is more useless than an old copy of Windoze.

      Several problems. You claim that old versions of Windows are useless because they are tied to specific hardware. So, I presume you are anticipating driver issues. How is this Windows's fault any more than the lack of Linux drivers is Linux's fault? I have a Win 95 box (well, laptop) used to play old games. I have an XP box used for newish games, and testing apps I write. I have a Vista box for ubernew games (still waiting on one of those worth

      • I think he is actually saying that because his only experience with 'older copies of windoze' is that his Ma once had a Packard-Bell 486. It came with a 'Windoze' cd installer (actually just a recovery CD) and he thinks that's all any of us ever have gotten.

        I have a full retail boxed copy of Windows 1.03, have Windows 2.1, 3.0, 3.1, 3.11, 95, 98, 98SE, ME, NT 3.1, NT 3.51, NT 4.0 and 2000 install media. All of which is generic and can be installed on essentially any x86 hardware with the drives to read it
        • The only old copy of Windows I've found to be tied to a particular computer was Windows 1.03 that came with an Apricot machine I picked up (and only managed to boot twice before it failed completely). The Apricot used an unusual format floppy disk (standard 3.5" disks, but a strange data layout). Apparently you could read these disks on standard PCs with some special software, but I never got it to work, and the disk was so dusty I didn't want to put it in an important machine.
          • In the bad old days, there was a key difference between PC-DOS and MS-DOS. PC-DOS was useless for clone machines if the user wanted to program in BASIC. At the time, IBM was putting the BASIC interpreter on chip, there as a basic.com file that would call up the interpreter. MS-DOS was distributed with BASIC and then later GW-BASIC, and finally QBASIC. I think IBM stopped with the BASIC ROMS when the XT came out.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by hawk (1151)
              PC-DOS assumed the ROMs of the IBM PC, but thi was a throwback.

              MS basic (BASIC-80) used to come in three flavors,

              ROM, the minimal level
              Extended,which was in ROM
              Disk Basic

              In the early 16 bits, IBM had extended basic in ROM, and BASICA on floppy extended this to disk basic.

              MS-DOS, not being able to rely on having those IBM ROMs (disk basic usually relied on extended basic being in ROM and extending it, rather than replacing it) has GW-BASIC ("Gee-Whiz BASIC"), which was the same thing (but for machine depende
              • Utterly OT: when are you getting your blog back online?
                • by hawk (1151)
                  When I find a few hours to set it up :) I could launch an actual blog, I suppose, but dochawk.org is really a series of mainstream op-ed articles.

                  I've found my old content with the wayback machine, but but godaddy is still holding my code hostage after their billing errors. I also need to convince myself that I really will write at least a couple of columns a week once I get the site up(hmm, a reason to buy another laptop :).

                  hawk
    • On the contrary, old copies of "Windoze" are extremely useful, now more than ever, because so much software was written for the platform that you never know when those old floppies and CDs are going to come in handy. A few years ago I helped a friend of mine get some data he had in the files of a shareware PIM application that wouldn't install on Windows XP. I just made a copy of my VPC Windows 95 image, installed the PIM from the shareware CD it was in, opened his files and exported them to Access 97. Then
    • Windows 3.1 runs on dosbox.

      It's the only way I can run 16-bit software, as you can't run 16-bit programs under today's 64-bit OSs. Not that big of a loss really, and I get the authentic feel of running it in Win3.1.
      • WINE has supported pretty much all Win16 APIs for years, so you might try that (and then get working copy-and-paste, at least for text, with newer apps too).
        • That doesn't help with the fact that I can't run a 16-bit executable (16-bit code) under a 64-bit OS. It's physically impossible to switch the cpu from 64-bit mode to 16-bit mode, so a full emulator is the only option (and wine is not one).
  • I come from that era (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kurt555gs (309278) <kurt555gs@@@ovi...com> on Sunday August 19, 2007 @02:56PM (#20287175) Homepage
    I remember when I got my 1st Radio Shack Model 1. I remember when I bought a Kaypro II. ( I still have it ). I remember how much I loved writing Z80 Assembler on CP/M.

    I started out fooling around with these computers, sharing information on CP/M bulletin boards, learning how computers worked from the ground up.

    I also remember having the opportunity to meet industry leaders like George Morrow, and work for Takioshi Shiina of SORD computer of Japan. I got to travel, and live in Japan working for SORD.

    I remember COMDEX when there were competing operating systems and unique hardware before Microsoft got a strangle hold on innovation and creative thinking.

    I remember a time where software patents were unheard of and the thought that ideas for software not the software itself could be owned by some one.

    I think of how lucky I have been being able to work on projects where the ideas of creative people not the lawyers and accountants counted the most.

    I have been lucky to have grown up in that time.

    Thank you Mr Shiina

    Cheers
     
    • I remember my first computer was a M68 ; I still have it, and it works well. I loved SGL, it was so sleek at the time to describe graphics in actual words instead of peeking and poking at vram. You are a lucky person to have worked for such a brilliant company. I was too young at the time.
      • by kurt555gs (309278)
        The M68 was my favorite also. The IS-11 was another that I loved working with. It is great to see some one here has heard of SORD. SORD was really years ahead of any other computer company at the time and Mr. Takayoshi Shiina never seems to get the credit he deserves.

        Any M68 Questions? , email me any time.

        Cheers
    • by Tablizer (95088)
      I remember a time where software patents were unheard of and the thought that ideas for software not the software itself could be owned by some one.

      If they had software patents back then, imagine how much slower things would have moved. You'd pay a fortune for GUI's and cut-and-paste. But at least we wouldn't be bombarded with Flash ads.
               
  • "..the Commodore Vic-20, a 2K masterpiece.."

    2K? 2k???!? Its 5K, sir, I will have you know!

    http://www.viceteam.org/ [viceteam.org] (VICE VIC20 emulator..)
  • by dharmadove (1119645) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @06:56PM (#20288467)
    They should take some of the crap in my garage. My retirement investment. You never know when someone might want a Type 80 rectifier, CK722s, BC-348, RTL chips, JSR Model 15, 1401 core memory, bubble memory, 8080, etc... Not mention the magazines / books, LOTS of books. My wife loves it. Not...
    • Ahh, but do you have a wire recorder? :)

      Mine is actually a cassette recorder. OK, the cassette is about 5 pounds, but . . .

      [explanation: A WWII or earlier vintage machine, it recorded autdio on spools of wire. The specimen I have uses a cartridge, about three inches tall and deep, 8-12 wide (I'm not going out to check), with spools. I actually have a (broken) second spare cartridge. Some day I'll get the whole thing working.]

      hawk, whose collection also includes ancient test meters, memory boards with 210
  • Open PC BIOS. (Score:3, Informative)

    by burnttoy (754394) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @07:06PM (#20288517) Homepage Journal
    The article states that the IBM PC was an open architecture. In fact it wasn't.

    Whilst the OS, CPU, RAM, UARTs, DMAs etc could all be purchased from 3rd parties (Intel, Microsoft, Motorola and friends) they were not open in the OSS sense, the BIOS was proprietory. Compaq then Phoenix had to write clean room BIOS's to make a compatible machine. The same is true of the video BIOS.
    • by RedMage (136286)

      Yes, sort of... The BIOS was proprietary, but IBM did publish the source for it. The reason Phoenix had to clean room it was because it was published they needed to deliberately avoid tainting their efforts. IIRC, what they did was have two teams - one team read the IBM code and wrote descriptions of the routines, and the other team took those descriptions and wrote the code from them. This was how they managed to have such a high level of compatibility without actually copying the IBM code.

    • Open in as much as the manual you got with a PC came with the BIOS assembly listing as an appendix.

      I remember looking through the hard cover (was it purple) ring bound manual in the late 80s.

      You want to know how to write to the display, look for the interrupt vector 0x10 and follow the code.

      Perhaps the average use couldn't copy it, but hey, why would you want to, you've already got a PC with a BIOS.

    • It was open for most practical purposes until Microsoft was able to wield a long enough but to close it down.
  • Back in the day, with the Scalectrix [wikipedia.org] that I had, I had a couple of circular "mechanical computers" that looked alarmingly like that navigational aid from TFA [com.com]. They were speed calculators, from what I remember, but they were simply a circular slide rule, of sorts.

    Basic, but functional. Even if the power went off you could work out how fast the cars might go ;)

  • by DirtyFly (765689) on Monday August 20, 2007 @04:17AM (#20290995)
    I really dont know why do article come out pointing to an half baked computer museum,check this one out , http://www.homecomputer.de/ [homecomputer.de] , and tell me wich one should be on the news ! Jorge Retro Review Magazine http://www.retroreview.com/ [retroreview.com]
  • You see a lot of old hulks there- a fascinating excursion down memory lane. The museum is located in an old SGI building, slowly being engulfed by the Google Ameoba up the road.
  • Here are some videos I took of the digibarn last fall. Unfortunatly, my camera malfunctioned when I tried to take more videos during Bruce's most recent tour.

    1. http://youtube.com/watch?v=gYz8tsHbkYM [youtube.com]
    2. http://youtube.com/watch?v=I6CN1rpPJQY [youtube.com]
    3. http://youtube.com/watch?v=OUizzaTIJTk [youtube.com]
  • Not computer's memories. I thought it was, like, a bunch of guys hanging around and nostalgically reminiscing about when a meg of RAM cost a thousand bucks.

    --Rob

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