Thursday, March 16, 2017

Retro computers

I started with computers in 1978 when we had a teletype in our high school and it accessed the mainframe in Princeton. We really didn't learn too much about computers but we were introduced and I got the bug. In College, the engineering departments used the Unix machines on the PDP11 (BASIC) and on a SBC 8085 (assembly language). I helped start the college's PC support and repair center. We supported IBM PC and Apple IIs. For my first computer, I purchased an Atari 800xl so I had a lot of background in different systems. And I spent a lot of time in the library (the internet before the internet) reading every computer magazine and book I could get my hands on. My first job I worked for an engineer firm and I learned about Microware OS9 (LI and LII), Flex and embedded computers. My next job, I worked network support and learned about a lot more computers (PCs, Unix and Mainframes).

So jump forward to the present. I've collected a lot of computers and I've given most to VCF at InfoAge in Wall, NJ. Now I've got a few more that I'm going to mix modern parts with the vintage to allow these machines continue to run. I've taken a liking to the Raspberry Pi W and Linux as the intermediary for the other computers. The older parts are getting harder to find, like floppies. I have plans to give at least one OS9 computer to VCF. OS9 is a multiuser, multiprocess, Unix like OS for the 6809 (and 68K). The good news is that I can get a connection to a Linux server instead of disk drives. I think I've found a way to do the same with my Atari ATR8000 with CPM, and I know I can do the same with the Atari 8 bit computers. I intend to share this with VCF so we can keep more systems running. I want folks to see and play with these computers. It will be a few months before I can get that far but I'll add it to the work pile.