The Rise of Retrocomputing

erek

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"“I bought a Silicon Graphics Indigo at auction, which was used by Steven Spielberg when he created ‘Jurassic Park,’” he said. “On the front cover it says ‘The Steven Spielberg edition, 1 of 1,’ and on the inside, there are two business cards from S.G.I. executives with personal notes to Steven Spielberg.”

Ryan Horan, 22, has just three reasonably priced vintage computers in his collection: two Atari STs and one Commodore 64. He sees retrocomputing as a glimpse into a world he has never experienced.
“I was born at the tail end of the ’90s,” Mr. Horan said. “I just heard stories of things from my grandparents back in the ’50s and my parents back in the ’80s. So I’ve never been able to experience what those things were apart from stories and having physical things that were from that time that are still perfectly functional.”
Consider this next time you think about tossing a supposedly obsolete iPhone.
Correction: Jan. 8, 2021
An earlier version of this article misstated the year when the Intel Pentium III was released. It was 1999, not 1995."


https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/08/style/retrocomputing.html
 

HeadRusch

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Anyone know where someone might get a vintage Apple II+ recapped and rechipped? At the very least I'd be shocked if the belts in the Disk][ Drives are still good, figure I plug it in, it starts to make that familiar boot-up sound...........and explodes, releasing the all-powerful Blue Smoke that we, in the know, understand is the magic that computers run on........

So long as I don't plug it in and try to get it to work, it still works in my mind.
 

OutOfPhase

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I kick myself (and sometimes others) periodically for dumping all my old computing stuff. I had atari 8 bit, c64, and an apple ][e I used to develop software. All gone, and lordy I feel stupid.
 

erek

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Anyone know where someone might get a vintage Apple II+ recapped and rechipped? At the very least I'd be shocked if the belts in the Disk][ Drives are still good, figure I plug it in, it starts to make that familiar boot-up sound...........and explodes, releasing the all-powerful Blue Smoke that we, in the know, understand is the magic that computers run on........

So long as I don't plug it in and try to get it to work, it still works in my mind.
wouldn't the recapping and rechipping cause it to lose historical value for being unoriginal form?
 

HeadRusch

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wouldn't the recapping and rechipping cause it to lose historical value for being unoriginal form?
Good question, the reason (if it breaks or indeed is now broken) I want to have a repair-path for it is because its financial value is irrelevant to me, it belonged to my grandfather who was writing a book and jotting down memories about his life at the time of his passing in the late 80's. He also had an Apple SilentWrite thermal-paper printer (Fax paper) but sadly those documents he saved-off have faded due to the relatively temporary nature of how fax paper works and how it was stored.

I still have the discs, still have the software (Bank Street Writer among others) and so if the hardware still works (it's been kept temperature and humidity controlled, not in a garage or attic) I'd like to be able to try and explore that option for repair if need-be. It might be lost to time, it might not, but if there's a dedicated community that repairs stuff like this I figured this was a good place (and thread) to ask in.

Last time I fired it up was probably a decade ago, and it worked fine, read discs......played a game of Dr. J vs. Larry Bird on it and then shut it down hoping the caps would last another 100 years.

Its amazing to pop the cover on those things and see where it all began. Typing LIST $ and BLOAD (well maybe I am mixing my Apple and Commodore syntax but I digress) was my first step to getting into tech which turned into a career to this day, so its more about the feelz than the dollars.
 

erek

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Good question, the reason (if it breaks or indeed is now broken) I want to have a repair-path for it is because its financial value is irrelevant to me, it belonged to my grandfather who was writing a book and jotting down memories about his life at the time of his passing in the late 80's. He also had an Apple SilentWrite thermal-paper printer (Fax paper) but sadly those documents he saved-off have faded due to the relatively temporary nature of how fax paper works and how it was stored.

I still have the discs, still have the software (Bank Street Writer among others) and so if the hardware still works (it's been kept temperature and humidity controlled, not in a garage or attic) I'd like to be able to try and explore that option for repair if need-be. It might be lost to time, it might not, but if there's a dedicated community that repairs stuff like this I figured this was a good place (and thread) to ask in.

Last time I fired it up was probably a decade ago, and it worked fine, read discs......played a game of Dr. J vs. Larry Bird on it and then shut it down hoping the caps would last another 100 years.

Its amazing to pop the cover on those things and see where it all began. Typing LIST $ and BLOAD (well maybe I am mixing my Apple and Commodore syntax but I digress) was my first step to getting into tech which turned into a career to this day, so its more about the feelz than the dollars.
also what about fixing prototypes / engineering samples that may have been produced into a broken state to begin with?
 

ChadD

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I cleaned up just a few years ago... and apparently I tossed a old PC that had cool things in it like my old Voodos, and a upgraded gravis ultrasound (I think I also tossed the boxes for all of em just a couple years ago) I found the ultrasound floppy disks just the other day. Such a dummy I tossed the old commodores years ago, and I had some interesting rare stuff that I tossed to. Pretty sure I had a Kenwood truex drive working in a box that went to a donation box. haha I'm not sure whats worse knowing that the donation people likely tossed it all into their garbage bins... or that someone there lifted out the good stuff and ebayed it. :)
 

w1retap

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wouldn't the recapping and rechipping cause it to lose historical value for being unoriginal form?
Nah, it is similar to old cars being sold at Barrett Jackson. People want a working example of something, not a rusted out chassis that is un-usable.

Meanwhile, sitting next to me from the article..
7IFjWAT.jpg
 
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w1retap

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Not retrobrited. And I wish I had a C65, lol. I only have a few C64's.
 

GoodBoy

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i still have an old ass 486-100 that was loaded with netware 3.12 or maybe upgraded to 4.0 cannot remember any of those commands, hasn't been powered on since the 90's.

I got several old soundcards... device=c:\something\something.dll -irq=7 -blah blah
I had a soundcard with the midi daughterboard connector, and a roland scd-15 on it. Doom was so cool that way.
 

erek

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Krenum

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would retro-briting diminish the value of a collectible then amongst recapping, rechipping, etc?

coin collectors are hardcore, and improrer cleaning can destroy a coin's value. some even do sub-surface / electron microscopy relating to coins

https://www.jcms-journal.com/articles/10.5334/jcms.1021204/

View attachment 317194

Usually retro brighting will lower the value because you have to take the equipment apart. Like anything else that is collectable, altering it from its original condition / state will lower the value. But some people like it and will pay more, especially vehicles. I guess it would depend on the person. I personally like the old look.
 
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w1retap

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Depends on what you're retro-briting I guess, and how well you did it. I know myself, I would rather not buy a completely yellowed retro PC, and would in fact pay less for one that wasn't stored properly. The plastic on PC cases turns yellow from light exposure primarily, chemical exposure, and hot/cold/humid cycles.
 
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Krenum

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Nah, it is similar to old cars being sold at Barrett Jackson. People want a working example of something, not a rusted out chassis that is un-usable.

Meanwhile, sitting next to me from the article..
View attachment 317171

That's pretty impressive that you've been able to keep in from yellowing all these years. For certain there is Bromine in the plastic.
 

Krenum

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Depends on what you're retro-briting I guess, and how well you did it. I know myself, I would rather not buy a completely yellowed retro PC, and would in fact pay less for one that wasn't stored properly. The plastic on PC cases turns yellow from light exposure primarily, chemical exposure, and hot/cold/humid cycles.
It turns yellow because of a chemical called Bromine, a fire retardant used / mixed in plastics.
 

w1retap

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It turns yellow because of a chemical called Bromine, a fire retardant used / mixed in plastics.
Yes, from exposure to UV light breaking it down. This is why if there was a sticker (or the underside) not exposed to the light or outside elements as much, the plastic is saved from the yellowing.
 

sunruh

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^--I have boxes (well, tubes) of new old stock 8088's at work. We still use them in our primary containment monitoring system computer. Waiting for the day we retire the old bugger so I can grab some before they go to the e-waste bin. :p

yours will be used...mine is brand spanking new...and 40ish years old ;)
 

sfsuphysics

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I don't, that crap takes up space and I don't have room for a museum in my house.
Exactly my rational on it. Because 1) you don't know what it's going to be worth in the future, because if you did you would keep it and if others did as well then it wouldn't be as rare and hence worthless (time travel paradox!) and 2) How much money would I really get? Is it worth storing that shit for 35-40 years? Yeah I had an Atari 2600, C64, A500, etc.. whatever.
 

pendragon1

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having lived through a tonne of this "retro" stuff, i say they can have at 'er and experience all the PITAs that come with it. id rather not deal with dips and jumpers and irqs and all that...
 

defaultluser

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What the....

And Intel part with and AMD logo?

You win. Please explain.


Intel needed second sources to win such a big contract for the IBM PC they added AMD first, and late added more.

Commodore had to do something similar with the MOS 6502 to get as many design wins as it did (Rockwell and Synertek).

I actually had an IBM PC AT that had a different chips maker from either of those two : Siemens , if you would believe that!

Second-sourcing big hit chips is really your only option (Intel was also making DRAM during those early days)...Intel didn't have the fab capacity to move all it's manufacturing back in-house until the Pentium days.
 
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pendragon1

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Kids these days have it too easy, I wonder how many of them would still be "gamers" if they had to learn about using "loadhigh" and "himem.sys" before they could play their games.
oh god, i forgot about those...
 

OutOfPhase

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Kids these days have it too easy, I wonder how many of them would still be "gamers" if they had to learn about using "loadhigh" and "himem.sys" before they could play their games.
Bragging about your free lowmem was a thing for a long time!

I remember having a few different boot profiles, each for a different case. Max lowmem gaming, EMS based gaming, word processing (had to load a print spooler TSR!), etc.

I think of it fondly, but... I don't want to go back really.
 
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