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Hardware Science

Amiga Community Collaborates On Restorative Gel To Brighten Your Old Plastic 225

jamie pointed out an Amiga community that took a discovery of how to restore old computer plastic, super-charged it, and then opened the process to the public domain. Time to spruce up those old dusty TRS-80s in the basement. "All of the initial tests were done with a liquid and we realized that for large parts this was getting expensive, so the next stage was to make a paintable 'gel' version that could be brushed onto larger surfaces. This was tried in Arizona in the sun and the UK under a UV lamp and was found to be just as effective as the liquid. We have now released this to the public domain for anyone to use as we can't patent it and we coined the nickname 'Retr0brite' for it, as it summed up what we were actually doing with it."
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Amiga Community Collaborates On Restorative Gel To Brighten Your Old Plastic

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  • by je ne sais quoi ( 987177 ) on Monday March 02, 2009 @06:09PM (#27045239)
    I immediately thought of old toys, like my precious ships for the star wars action figures, the imperial shuttle [] or b-wing [] whose plastic is all faded and yellowed. Now I can run around the room with them making laser noises and re-enact scenes from ROTJ just like I did when I was eight. Awesome!
  • by DnemoniX ( 31461 ) on Monday March 02, 2009 @06:31PM (#27045453)

    Really sounds like tooth whitening gel to me. Some of those procedures use high energy light to excite the peroxide which speeds up the process.

  • One man's patina... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RevWaldo ( 1186281 ) on Monday March 02, 2009 @06:32PM (#27045457) another man's sickly yellow. The basic rule of thumb for antiques/collectibles is to never remove its patina e.g. all that crap that's built up on its surface over the years, as it's an undeniable indication of its age (plus sometimes it just looks cool.)

    Then again, vintage car fans don't hesitate to break out the paint and the rust remover.

    Will diehard technology collectors prefer plastic as yellow as a smoking lounge drop ceiling, or returned to its brilliant off-whiteness?
  • Pluses and minuses (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ancient_Hacker ( 751168 ) on Monday March 02, 2009 @06:57PM (#27045757)

    What you're doing is applying an oxygenating bleach to the surface. Works quite well to remove the yellow. But anytime you apply oxygen to a surface you speed up the rate of .... oxidation!

    So while you're whitening it, you're also speeding up the deterioration of the plastic.

    If you've ever used an "ozone generator" to remove smoke odors you know it does that job very well, and it also destroys every rubber band, ballpoint pen, and bicycle tire in the area.

  • by mmontour ( 2208 ) <> on Monday March 02, 2009 @07:09PM (#27045869)

    Buy an A1000 and run some graphics demos on one. Then try to remember that it was made in 1985.

    Remember also that many of the main features of Microsoft's Windows 95 (32-bit code, preemptive multitasking, long-filename support) were present in the original "Amiga 85" OS.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Monday March 02, 2009 @07:35PM (#27046135) Journal

    Everyone blames Commodore, but let's face it, the early 90s was a rough time for the computer industry. Atari went bankrupt (goodbye ST), Commodore went bankrupt (goodbye Amiga), and Apple would have gone bankrupt too (goodbye Macintosh) if it had not been saved at the last minute by Gates. The industry was consolidating around the Intel 486 platform, and I don't think ST, Amiga, or Macintosh would have survived even if run by someone as brilliant as Andrew Carnegie. What they offered looked unattractive to early 90s computer users who believed alternative platforms were as obsolete as newspapers today, and that everyone should be using the soon-to-arrive Windows95. In fact I can still remember the near-hatred from my fellow students: "You use an Amiga??? Everyone knows companies use IBM, and so too should you. You wasted your money."

    Statistics show that less than 7% were interested in a non-IBM-compatible platform in 1994. That was quite a blow to Commodore who just eight years earlier controlled 40% of the market. Even now I can't believe Macintosh is still alive (3% share). I suspect if Gates focused his energies, and stopped Ballmer from making boneheaded decisions, he could kill-off the Mac fairly easily..... just as he almost succeeded in doing circa 1994.

    Point - Nothing could have saved Commodore. Just as nothing could save JVC from losing its VHS market. The market had changed. (link - [] )

  • by rs79 ( 71822 ) <> on Monday March 02, 2009 @10:41PM (#27047413) Homepage

    "Nothing could have saved Commodore."

    I should just repost old comp.sys.amiga threads and save eevrybody some time, and subtitle it "why am I doing this, I know better?". But anyway.

    I had an Atari 400, and made some hardhacks and sw for it. I had an A1000 with a HARD DRIVE. Yes, I rawked, utterly. I worked on a thing that was the precursor to flash, it came from the Amiga.

    One thing would have propelled the Amiga into stardom: Lotus 1-2-3. Lotus set the world on fire in PC land and you had to had one if you pretended you were in business. Word Perfect was the other one. These two were the first PC killer apps. VisiCalc was cute, Lotus sold computers.

    1-2-3 didn't run on the Amiga. Word Perfect did, but way too late and it sucked to the point where it wasn't as good as the MS-DOS version on PCs, remember this is all pre-windows.

    The Atari hung on cause it did Midi well. DTP and art queers kept the Mac alive. The Amiga was the coolest, but back then cool didnt't matter/drive sales. Lotus did.

    And before you freak out, some of my best friends are art queers.

  • Bingo - exactly (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @01:14AM (#27048135)

    Yeah basically, but the Mac was missing the key element of "helper" coprocessors.

    That's it exactly. Amiga was years ahead of the competition. The design was simply brilliant. We didn't have a lot of speed. The processor is 8 freaking MHz. But with clever and elegant design, the thing could do miracles.

    And the thought I have now is - what if this had been the main thrust of computing? What if this had become the dominant design paradigm? Add 20+ years of work and research onto that idea rather than the IBM beige box. Take the Amiga design concept and move that into a 3Ghz processor realm, with nVidia doing the Angus chip equivalent.

    Computers today would look like the things we see in sci-fi movies. It'd be unreal.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"