Guest Book & Personal Recollections of Computing History
Testimonials from the good folks who have visited our physical or cyber-museums
In reverse chronological order. Want to add to our guest book, send us some of your words!
Guest comments from years: 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007
Comments from Miles Hart
Feb 5 , 2007
Thanks for the video of the Xerox 6085 and star, I worked on these in the UK, developing PostScript drivers for the 4045, 4020 (color ink jet), 2700 and 3700 systems, and supporting vendors over europe.
I'ld tell all my friend and family what Xerox was doing with the desktop, and none of them would believe me. Even to this day, I can't believe how advanced we all were. Makes me mad when Apple keep claiming the mouse, the icon and the desktop.
Thanks guys. I'm sure I can't add to what you know already.
Comments from Petri Sakkinen
Dec 27, 2006
Now, this is something absolutely fabulous and extremely valuable! I was referred to this site just today and it seems that I'm going to waste countless hours of my immensely valuable time wandering here, reminiscing, marveling and wondering.
In the scale of things I am a fairly old (personal) computer user - started with a Sinclair, too! However, I had already visited a University Computer Room in the late 1960s and, unsuccessfully, tried to complete an "Introduction to Computers" course when I myself went to the Uni in 1971.
I may be wrong, but I think the Computer was a HP2000B -model time-sharing machine which had 32 terminals across the campus, running the new-fangled thing called Basic, through 300 bps modems. And what terminals they were - Teletype, of course, what else! For you youngsters, that means a semi-mechanic monster, in its other role called also Telex. You typed stuff, it was temporarily stored, then you had it punched on a paper strip.
Next time you managed to get access to the Computer, you took your paper tape from your U.S. Army surplus gas mask bag (yours truly - and make that 'crumpled bits of paper tape') or your shiny, new, fake-leather briefcase (engineering freshmen - with a neat roll of Perfect Perforated Paper), fed it into the strange contraption on the right hand side of the Terminator (sorry, Terminal), "loaded" your program - and off you went.
The C-cassette of the Sinclair was much harder to get crumpled...
Then to CP/M on Kaypro (4 & 10)! Does anyone remember dBase II, SuperCalc, WordStar? Ahh, memories are made of this!
But wait - I had kept a certain fruit company in my sights. A wealthy colleague bought an Apple Lisa and I was sold, too. A few of years later (and a 2 week test of the original Mac meanwhile), I was given the opportunity to place an order for a Mac Plus from the First Fleet to Finland. Hey, I did have the connections, I knew the right people, so I actually got one!
Now, some 20 Macs later, I've been an active user of various software packages, an "IT Consultant" (yes, I know...), an independent developer of CAD-software add-ons aand so on. By and large, have had a great experience, riding on the shoulders of giants, many of whom, especially the forgotten ones, seem to get the recognition they deserve here.
Comments from Mike Olson's blog (see his blog here)
Dec 21, 2006
Steve Wozniak gives my old Apple ][ a hug.
Bruce Damer runs the DigiBarn, a sort of alternative to the Computer History Museum. I enjoy the CHM, but in a lot of ways I think that DigiBarn is closer to the old-guard hacker ethos -- home-grown and eclectic, it's the product of Bruce's pesonal vision and efforts, rather than a well-funded corporate retelling of the story.
I met Bruce through a conference that we both attend with some regularity.
The first real computer that I ever used was an Apple ][ with 16K of RAM, upgraded periodically over the years. I still get enthusiastic about words like peek, poke and hires. I remember working past midnight with my stepdad, Bill Jellison, writing programs in 6502 assembler. I am still ridiculously proud of the first real computer game I wrote -- a horse racing game with ASCII graphics and betting that used random numbers to control outcomes and some trickery that I invented myself to avoid integer overflow in computing your bankroll after a win.
I was certainly a latent geek up to that point, but that Apple ][ is what turned me into an engineer.
My stepdad bought that computer in the first place, and he and my mom held onto it for years, even after its place on the desk was taken over by a Lisa, and then by a 128K Mac. When they moved out of the house, they shipped it, along with a bunch of other retro computer gear, to me.
I eventually donated the machine to Bruce and the DigiBarn. It was one of the very first Apples made -- serial number 495 -- and almost certainly assembled by the Steves in the garage. It was doing no one any good in my attic, and seemed to both me and Bruce to be a valuable addition to the DigiBarn's collection.
A week or so ago, Steve Wozniak visited Bruce while filming a program for the Discovery Channel. Steve Jobs gets most of the Apple glory in the press, but Woz will always be the original Apple to me. I know the story of the floppy controller redesign over Christmas. The Apple ][ was elegant, and Woz was the engineer in the company. It's really unbelievable what he accomplished with a bunch of MSI components and a connection to a television set.
Bruce has posted pictures of Woz's visit, including several of his cuddling up to my old Apple ][. You need to scroll down to the middle of the page for the pictures I like best, or you can just look at this one.
Woz, that is exactly how I feel about that computer. Thanks, man.
Comments from Guy Werry
Dec 21, 2006
Just an interesting story. While on a Carribean cruise in Feb of 2005 our ship was delayed leaving port. The hotel we were staying at put on a large buffet and I wound up at a table with a white-haired fellow who looked to be in his 80s. We got talking. He had retired from IBM and had started out working on ENIAC, at his university! Being a computer person who also has a big interest in history, I was flabbergasted.
He went on to work heavily on the SAGE air defence system of the mid '50s. He was a radar specialist and worked heavily on the interfacing of the radar units to the computer. He has two patents to his name ... on from 1958 was only just de-classified, it related to national defence.Unfortunately, I wasn't smart enough to get his name! Duh! I was so blown away that I didn't think to. I myself go back to the punch-card era, but to meet one of the pioneers of the industry was just phenominal!Then, when I started researching SAGE a bit, it got weirder. I live in a central Manitoba mining town named Flin Flon (honest) that's a long ways from anywhere. 45km south of us is a village named Cranberry Portage ... which actually had a radar installation that was part of the southern extension of the DEW line, in a belt of stations that was called the Mid-Canada line!
Comments from Richard Pearce
Dec 12, 2006
Love the site and have added it to my favourites. My first computer was the Sinclair ZX spectrum. At school we used the BBC micro. How things have changed now but I loved writing my own programs as a kid in basic.
Some of the computers you have listed, I have never even heard of, thanks for all the effort you have put in to make this great site.
Comments from Steve
Dec 16, 2006
A random train of thought led me to search Google for "pdp-1 spacewar" and led me to your page (www.digibarn.com/history/06-09-21-Spacewar/index.html) about, sure enough, Spacewar on the Pdp-1.
Someone at MIT showed me Spacewar on their Pdp-1 sometime in the early '60's. I was amazed. The program was stored on paper punch tape. This must have been among history's first "video games". It's possible that a copy of that paper tape exists somewhere at the bottom of some long forgotten box of junk. Computing sure is getting interesting. The first thing I ever built had 1K of memory (yes, K, not MB). What will exist the same amount of time into the future is too incomprehensible to imagine.
Very interesting stuff here on your site.
ttfn.. ~ thanks, Steve
Comments from Ian Hefford
Dec 1, 2006
I was just showing my daughter some of the old systems I worked on in the 1970's. For instance the Elliot Brothers 803B, core logic, paper tape and magnetic film drives at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, UK. I was a field service engineer for a obsolete computer repair company. We maintained a wide range of old systems. I joined Fairchild and moved to the states. I remember going down to SCI, Arab Alabama, just outside Huntsville in 1981. I installed and set up a Fairchild series700 ATE system for them to test motherboards for the very first IBM PC's. Just another job at the time, but now I think about it! If Bill from Microsoft reads this, I chatted with you at the bar. Why the h*** didn't you offer me a job?
The strange thing is I was trying to show my daughter how it is I knew how to construct a PC from all the bits last weekend.Those were happy days.
Comments from Dan Ackerman
Nov 15, 2006
I must say that the museum website is amazing. I'm in the process of trying to educate myself as much as possible on the development of copiers and printers from the mid-80's as they evolved. After seeing the vast coverage of computers and printers you have on the site, I was wondering if you could recommend anyone who was an expert in the field of copiers (I'm guessing Xerox was one of the biggest) around that time. Thanks for any assistance.
Comments from Dave Hey
Oct 30, 2006
I saw in your list of things you are waiting patiently you mentioned "Sinclairs of all types except ZX-81". I have a Timex Sinclair 1000 in its original box an intact with the manuals and such. If you would like it I would be happy to send to to you.
I love Digibarn!
Comments from Zandr Milewski
July 28, 2006
Just thought I'd drop you a note. Bill and Linda McDaniels pointed out that you and I are nearly neighbors (I'm off Irwin near town) and that I should know about the museum.I've been around the microcomputer business as long as I can remember, and my sibling rivalry when I grew up was with a startup in the spare bedroom. (The Software Works, if the name rings a bell) Browsing the online collection was certainly a trip down memory lane.I look forward to making it to an open house in the near future. Keep up the good work, you have a great collection!
Comments from Peter Rosen of Michael Woodward
July 20, 2006
I just read the best selling book "The World is Flat". One item that was briefly covered was 'in those days' the computer enthusiasts would often share knowledge and idea's freely. There was little worry about "intellectual property" and we all wanted to see progress. Even if we were not the ones to carry it out or were to benefit financially from it. There were RBBS's everywhere helping people and a very active Public Domain library. And public domain meant FREE, not today's versions of Nagware, Crippleware or Demoware. An example of this attitude was the SOG where we had meetings and discussed things like memory optimization (Remember Dr. Dobbs Journal Credo - Running light without Overbyte?), or Controlling real world I/O through the Parallel port. I will try and find some time somewhere to look under the cobwebs to see if I can find any other Kaypro Stuff. Hopefully I can find a copy of MicroCornucopia or some of those old publications.
Comments from Peter Rosen of Creativity Cafe
July 14, 2006
Actually i have some designs and printout of the 5.25" disks that the Apple II ate as well as images (on the media and printed out) from the IBM system, 8 bit graphics at its best from my stint as a coordinator of the CREATIVE COMPUTER exhibit at the California Museum of Science and Industry. I also have slides, negatives and video from those days kicking around in my archives that live in my living room, that I keep airconditioned even when not on Maui to protect these resources until proper archiving and digitization can be afforded or found.
I will look through some negative books (over 10K images with less than half having contact sheets or prints) to see if i can find my chronicles of the set up over there.
This photo is from those days with my FIRST EVER computer rendering behind (3D ball and moonscape - right of my head):
Comments from John Carpenter
July 16, 2006
Wow, what a sprint down Memory Lane!I just discovered this site, and I am impressed -- both with the site itself, and with the huge project and resource that Digibarn represents. Thank you for your hard work, and for your efforts to preserve the piece-parts, ideas, stories, and culture that transformed business and culture, worldwide.
This is long, but maybe there's a story in here that will be helpful to the cause.
I'm old enough to remember a lot of this stuff, and to have used much of it. My first encounter with computers was at Fresno State. I had a friend, Raymond Chan, who was tutoring students from the school's Fortran classes, and I was his experiment - Ray figured if he could teach me Fortran, he could teach anybody! So, I became the first English major at Fresno state to earn an operator's license for the the computer center - for their IBM 1620 in 1967. The operator's license was to check out the computer at night, which was the only way to use it interactively. Punch cards, printouts via a 704 Accounting Machine, sorter - the whole Holerith experience. CSUF didn't get an IBM 360 until 1968, and then they almost lost it when the computer center was fire-bombed in a campus protest. I wrote a few data analysis programs, and attempted a computer-poetry program. The foundation of that was a lexicon based on Roget's Thesarus index numbers - how to get meaning into computer poetry!
My next computer was an HP mini at Gavilan College in Gilroy, CA, in about 1973. I was one of three teachers who had redesigned the remedial reading lab (we served about 300 students), and we needed something to keep track of all the individual skill work, test profiles, inventory, etc. to operate the lab. So, Gavilan donated the computer time, and I learned HP Basic to get the program started. It never was very elaborate, but it was a good early example of using a computer to solve an information problem in another discipline. Problem was, we couldn't find money for the phone line and modem, so I had to drive to Gilroy to use the computer. So, the program was never fully utilized. Access is one of the keys to success.
In 1977, I came East to Massachusetts to find out what else I could do with my English major. I discovered the computer industry, which was just getting started here. First editing, then writing manuals, then managing publications and training departments, I got my technology education the hard way, by climbing a number of learning curves quickly. I wrote user manuals for the NEC Astra (8-bit micro, but built into a desk like a mini), when it was first being introduced to the US in 1969. They only had one Astra machine, as a demo model. The word processing for the manuals was done on Wang equipment. I remember the day another writer and I marveled at an 8-inch floppy diskette - "Imagine! a million characters can be stored on this little thing!" The Astra came with a pretty good suite of software, including an application generator called SMART.
From the contract at NEC, I joined Avco Computer Services in Wilmington, MA in 1979. It was an IBM mainframe timesharing service bureau, with internal customers (other Avco divisions) and commercial timesharing customers. Some customers dialed-in, while others had Remote Job Entry stations or 3270 clusters. The 3278 was a huge, expensive terminal, but it ran full-screen software, had email messaging, and was linked to the magical mainframe down the hall along with at least 100 other users. When I got there, the mainframes were 370/158s. By the time I left three years later they had 3081s and were a large scale MVS shop. We did our typesetting and graphics on an Information International FR-80 graphic recorder. It was a huge machine that used a CRT to transfer an image to photo paper. By trading-out the photo paper rack, one could turn it into a microfilm or microfiche imaging machine. It was ahead of its time. For formatting, we used University of Waterloo SCRIPT. That's a direct descendent of the Script and Runoff programs that originated from MIT Computing Center in Cambridge, MA.
A side story, since this is a computer history site: Waterloo SCRIPT was the "user developed program" that became IBM Script. The Waterloo version was written in Waterloo Assembler G, and was maintained by Dr. Bruce Utley and his team at the university. If a user had a significant and reproducable problem, Bruce graciously provided technical support personally. The Script language was a full procedural language, and was the basis for several companies' use of the technology to generate customized form letters and custom reports. Of course the dot-commands weren't user-friendly enough for some, so Waterloo and IBM came up with a macro language that used publication-oriented terms, and used angle brackets instead of a period as delimiters. It was called Generalized Markup Language. Later on, a subset of that layout/markup language became the basis for Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), which we all know and love today for formatting Web pages.
Back to my oddessey through the high-tech boom of the 1980's, my next stop was a manufacturing database company, MITROL, which was becoming part of General Electric Information Services Company. They used GEISCO's mainframes remotely, and had Magnusson clones of IBM 4381 mainframes. The MITROL Industrial Management System (MIMS) was a full-up relational database management system, programmed in PL-1 (what else for an IBM environment??). After writing a half-dozen user manuals for their new MRP application system, I got an opportunity to manage my own department again at a hobbyist microcomputer company that had just been bought by M/A-COM. It was Ohio Scientific, and became M/A-COM Office Systems, Inc (to keep the OSI initials). The parent company wanted OSI to become a business computer, so we did a lot of application integration. The new MasterKey product line had three processors - a Mostek 6502 (same as Atari, Apple, and Radio Shack), a Zilog Z-80, and a Motorola 6800. The system booted in the Basic monitor (Bill Gates' original product), and then you could run a script to switch to one of the other processors and boot an OS. Of course, most of the application software was in CP/M, so except for games, the common practice was to boot CP/M right away. After about six months we ran an experiment and omitted the Motorola 6800 from the board -- no one complained. No one was using it for business computing. We had a successor product line developed with 16-bit chip sets, a network, and the TurboDOS operating system, when the IBM PC was announced. The OSI business evaporated overnight. The insight from the OSI experience was that 95% of what I used to do on an expensive computer down the hall, I could now do just as well on this little box on my desk. What a breakthrough. But it was interesting that those of us who thought it was time to buy a computer of our own, didn't buy OSI - we bought Osborne-Ones. I still have mine, white case and all.
From OSI, I went to ZTEL, a voice and data network company that was a venture capital startup. They had a market window, just after the Bell breakup, and were building a token-ring campus network that linked many processor boxes. Each processor box would connect to a large number of digital telephone sets. Each phone set had an RS-232 plug in the back. The goal was to do "data call processing," where the processor box would convert protocols, and one could use any terminal or other peripheral to connect to any brand of computer. It almost worked. The hardware worked fine, but the voice processing, data call processing, and sys admin software was a bigger challenge than anticipated.So, I got out before they locked the doors, and went back to the IBM world, this time to ADAGE, which was making CADD terminals to work with Interactive Prance CADAM on IBM mainframes. ADAGE was an interesting company, having started with analog computers, and then concentrating on the terminal business after the Digital PDP-11 dominated the mini market. Adage did fine until AutoCAD and similar programs on the PC made computer-aided design affordable. Then Adage evaporated, too, about 1985.
By then I was working for Encore Computer, first in their Resolution Systems terminal diviion, working for Charle Rupp. There was a multi-protocol high-resolution workstation version, and by adding a computer board to the base unit, it became a Unix workstation. From there I went to the main company, where I was the publications and training manager and taught many Honeywell field service techs to install and service the Encore Multimax. Also taught them to make Ethernet hose taps, and to set up the Annex terminal server. Fun stuff. The Multimax was one of several computers in 1985 to utilize symmetric parallel multiprocessing (thanks to Ike Nassi's incredibly smart software team). Elements of that technology survive in many multiprocessing versions of Unix.
From there I moved on to the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, where I applied what I learned and managed a small technical support group as an on-site contractor. I saw and used lots of good technology there, including the Xerox Star, and did a lot of desktop publishing with Word Perfect and MS Word. I did most of my draft writing using PC-Write, which had been developed by Bob Wallace, a Microsoft founder who left MS early. In my spare time I Beta-tested PC-Write versions, Beta tested Windows 95, and was one of the original forum moderators on the Microsoft Network. I was also a forum moderator on Boston Citinet, during the dial-up bulletin board system era.
My personally owned computers have included the Ozzie, an Amstread PC, and a series of IBM PC clones (does anybody call them that anymore?). What a wild ride it has been! If anyone has questions about these companies or how some of these changes came about, please email me and ask. I promise to not be this verbose, unless you ask a really major question.
That's probably more information than anybody wanted, but if you read this far, thank you!
Comments from Dan Pinchbeck
July 4, 2006
I'm a researcher based in the UK currently studying first-person perspective gaming and am wondering if anyone knows of a Maze War emulator that will run on Windows (XP)?
Any pointers would be really gratefully recieved - this site is really, really useful!
Comments from Rick Meints
June 21, 2006
Thank you for having such a wonderful website available. I enjoyed the trip down memory lane.
I was leafing through some of the magazine sample pages you have on your website. In particular, the Nov-Dec 1978 issue of People's Computers caught my eye. By any chance, you wouldn't have PDFs or JPGs of the article on Runequest that appeared on pages 13-16?
Comments from Chris Roberts
June 17, 2006
Hey! What ever happened to some of the very first Apples given to Steven Tyler and Ike Turner?
Also, has anyone heard of a high-speed external hard drive for a Commodore? I can't seem to find one and I've been hearing they exist for years now.
Also, did you know that the head honchos at Commodore offered to buy Apple when it was still in the "garage phase" and were told they could for $100,000.00 and an annual salary of $36,000.00? But Steve Jobs began looking into the history of Commodore and realized they were a bit on the shady side and decided not to go through with any sort of deal with them.
A little story for you...
I'm 30 years old, and I've been using computers since I was 7 years old.
My family's first computer was a C-64 and I remember we had it hooked up to te TV in the living room of our house and couldn't figure out how to start it. Then, one of our neighbors (who'd had a Vic-20) came over and spent the better part of a day figuring out the following familiar line:
LOAD "*",8,1. Unless, of course, it was a game made by Electronic Arts, in which case the load command line was LOAD "EA",8,1.
In 1985 (I think) we sold the C-64 and bought a C-128. It was a lot nicer, but the only program we had that took advantage of the 128K was GEOS, which we didn't use very often. I remember we always had to switch the compter to C-64 mode to play games and you'd have to type GO 64 and the screen would turn from gray and green to dark and light blue. Then, I'd spend the next 12 hours playing Ultima IV (I was about 10 years old then).
We used the Commodore faithfully until 1992 when we made the mistake of buying a USA Flex IBM-compatible PC. Ooops! And I thought my dad got mad at the Commodore!
In school, we always used Apple IIe's. I absolutely loved them and begged my parents to buy one. They'd always say, "We already have a computer!" or "They're way too expensive!".
Now, I have quite a few Commodores including an unused C-128, our original, sun-faded C-128, lots of C-64s of both body styles (one older one unused), all kinds of origianl disk drives and accessorites including cassette drives, joysticks, printers, etc. I also have about 300 software programs and games. I think my wife questions my sanity sometimes (so do I, but...)
Comments from Mike Boyd
June 9, 2006
Try this with AM RadioI worked at BYTE SHOP #4 (Portland), put a AM Radio on top of the AltairAnd a local TV station came in and video-taped it
000:003 Inx BX001:170 Mov A,B002:241 And C003:075 Dec A004:302 Jnz 000:003005:003006:000007:303 Jmp 000:000010:000011:000
Thiry years ago, and I can still remember the instruction setFor fun, change the AND C with XOR CMichael BoydN7DKQ
Comments from Gary Hopkins
June 8, 2006
Since 1985(?) I've had a slightly unique Mac 128. I purchased it barely used from a Drexel University student. Drexel was the first college to require students to have a personal computer, and they specified the Macintosh. What makes this Mac unqiue is that it not only has the usual Apple and Macintosh logos on it, it also has an embossed Drexel "D" logo on the case as well. Obviously there were thousands of these produced, but I've never seen another. I wonder how many were made, and whether Apple did this for any other notable schools--Stanford, CalTech, MIT, etc. Unfortunately, my 128 had all of the available upgrades along the way so it's no longer "original", it's a Plus.
Wonderful site, by the way. I know it's not your purview, but I worked as a typesetter in the days of transition to fully electronic systems (from hot lead, that is), and there were some wonderful, flaky, gadgety computers in those days (late '60s to late '70s), combining paper tape, 8-inch floppies and such, and driving all manner of spinning electromechanical devices and flashing strobe lights.
The video-based editors we used then were often superlative, very, very well-designed for their jobs with extra keypad(s) for specialized typesetting tasks. But I also remember one of my favorite paper-tape editing terminals only had a 32-character display! It was the upgrade model--the standard model had no display and was quite popular for a time due to its relatively low price.
I just hope that someone somewhere is saving info from these other niche-technology markets for researchers of the future!
Again, thanks for the site!
Comments from Todd Julander
May 30, 2006
I've been sitting here, was quite consumed with your extensive site!
Dang. Silicon Valley as a place that built computer hardware is almost all but a forgotten memory. I was there when the Eagle guy died...it was University Ave, actually.
Plunged into Lake Vasona as I recall...in a Ferrari.
I used to test and repair hard drives that cost upwards of 100K that held 20-40Mb.
Also other board level repairs. QA, and inspection.
Ha. I wish I had something from 4 phase to contribute...but it's all long gone...
formed in 1970 as an offshoot of Fairchild...
4 phase refered to the 4 separate clocks.
One for the kybd, one for the memory, one for...
you get the idea. They did hardware, software, and even made their own memory chips onsite. By 1980 they were flailing...bought by Motorola for thier fortune 500 marketing organization and stripped....
Ah, how about Covalent technologies? One the first Unix boxes...Foothill used to have a bunch.
I do have a very nice brochure from NCR's training facility that i attended...
in Dayton...I'llhave to scan it for you....
it's history too....months upon months of training for 8 hours a day, with folks from all around the world...all on all the company dime....
110 classrooms, 500 dorms...all conected....cars you could sign out...just put gas in!
Party all night....sleep from 3pm till 9, Party till 4 am...then no doz and school from 6 am till 2:30. repeat. Weekly expense checks, no questions asked. No report to file!
Ha....yeh....were those the days? I'm not sure...but it was fun.
4 phase was a front end for the IBM 360. A "Mini" not a micro.
Les Junque by todays standards....ha. You booted it up with
24 on/off sets keys grouped in Octal sets on the front ....37705121?
They made their own processors too....and memory!!! The first non-core memory ever used.
1K chips. Everything including documentation was made right there at De Anza and 280.
24 bit! Yup. Not 8, 16 or 32. 24.
Software custom written for 24 bit....
hot stuff in 1970....I was there from 80-84.
I also was quite an expert in "SCADA" sytems made by "Moore Sytems"
the model "6800" but not likely to see one of those...they were for the utility industry.
Toddand earlier I was half asleep the other night, watching TV, when I sat straight up in bed...dang, I know that guy!
Well, I guess it's been a few years since we've seen each other, and certainly it appears your life has been anything but boring!
Very cool piece with William Shatner. In case you need your memory jogged, I used to spend a lot of time hanging with Chris Gordon, was at Avatars 97, 98, and....99? Once at your house, and came with my ex-girlfiend, Kris North. Played music on the stage, though not sure about the quality. Also, came to the Winchester mystery house event with you as well.
Hey, any chance you have a Four Phase System in the digibarn? My first job was as a tech for them. They had like 3000 employees. The thing was a toy by today's standards. They buldozzed the buidlings to build the new apple campus.
The advent of the IBM PC killed them, but yes, I remember the days of early silicon valley...trident computers? Magnason? So many brands....they escape me.
Comments from John Earnshaw
May 24, 2006
Well done on the collection I to collect for personel use and do minor restoration and at the moment I am trying to link them up with my Ham radio gear ie RTTY ,Packet etc.
The information is regarding the IMSAI 8080 .I don't know if you know but it was made famous in the film WAR GAMES starring Mathew Broderick and made by warner brothers.
One thing I am struggling with is I have an epson HX20 but require a battery and charger for the said item any ideas where I might get one .In my collection I have various sinclair spectrums and a ZX81 ,Acorn electron ,BBC B ,BBC master,Atari 400 and ST a Commodore 64 a GEC Dragon 32 ,Tandy 200 ,Epson HX20.I am always on the look out for the old pocket series ie Casio and Sharp models .Well off to poke and peek a few new locations so take care not to get RSI from micro olympics .
If you require any documentation or help just Email me and if I can help I will.
Comments from Arthur Blackwell
May 21, 2006
I was one of the people that was part of the Development Team that created the X-MP and Y-MP.
I worked with Steve Chen, Doug Paffel and Ed Priest. Those people have an INTERESTING history by themselves. The creation of Supercomputer Systems Incorporated, but you probably wouldn't be interested in that...You can check my Bona Fides at http://www.excray.com/I also worked at Cromemco for a short period of time as well as at DG Sunnyvale and AMD Sunnyvale.I owned an IMSAI 8080 and a NORTHSTAR with the WOODEN cabinet. A BYTE-8 too.
We called the " Photo-Op " that JR commissioned, the " Lee FREELOADER " book, but that is another story..
Comments from Jose Carlos Valle
April 22 , 2006
I am curator of computer Museum Brazil. I would like to talk a litle bit abou my Museum, my project.
I have some of old computers in my Museum, and, I would like to became a member of your comunity, if is possible, of course. My Museum, do not have any support, any sponsor, just some friends help me. But, I am very pround when I saw some kids in at Museum and said: It is beatiful I never saw computer like that. My congratulations.
It is very important to me.. to preserve, save, and keep that computer for next generation.
I am a 60 years old, technician since 1961, at Friden calculators, like STW, etc.
I have a history to count:
Last month, I was very sad, when I saw the Computer History Museum, got $ 15,000.000.00, from Belinda Foundation, NOt sad, happy of course . I will try to explain , 1 years ago, I sent a request to Belinda Fondation for help our Museum, and they said, We can not because we do not support Computer Museum like yours, and now help the Computer History Museum.. You gotto it?
Jose Carlos Valle - curator
Comments from James Humberd on his Computer Memories writing "Memories of Early Computer Days"
April 10 , 2006
I sent you an email moments ago that listed my computer memory site ashttp://www.travel-tidbits.com/tidbits/003673.shtml
I should have added that most of that story is also shown on the IEEE site at
Comments from Patricia Stanich
March 15, 2006
Good Morning Bruce and Museum,
I love your site and was just reading my email about the Vintage Computer Festival. I have a few questions.
What was the Altair capable of? What can you do with it now? Do you have to make the replacement parts yourself?
Was it particularly valuable? Does it hold a special place in the PC world?
Thanks for the efforts on documenting and preserving these cool machines.
2005Comments from Vincent Marcellom
December 2005I have put together ana rticle titled: Internet Explaned at:
It is in seven parts and covers a fair bit. I placed a link to your site within the article about Ethernet, you can find this on the Ethernet page.I wanted to ask if you would not mind placing a link on your site to the article? I think you may like it and so would your visitors.
Thanks for your consideration.
Comments from William Shatner
September 2005, Los Angeles[The Digibarn is]... one of the most remarkable museums in the world. (excerpted from How William Shatner Changed the World, Discovery/History Channels)
Still getting through all the emails to extract 2005 guestbook comments!
Comments from Tracy Fullerton
March 26, 2005
Here are the pix from our visit to the DigiBarn. Hope you enjoy them!
Comments from Tobey Crockett
March 15, 2005
Hi Bruce - I am working my way thru your site - signing up for stuff and emailing you and everything. LOL.
Having fun!!! Love that you're using the Creative Commons License, love the possible podcasting - you're cookin'!
Still getting through all the emails to extract 2004 guestbook comments!
2003Comments from Steven Stengel of oldcomputers.net (email@example.com)
March 15, 2003
Wow, The DigiBarn is GREAT! So many wonderful computers, so little time...
Steve of http://oldcomputers.net
Comments from Nele Abels (firstname.lastname@example.org)
January 22, 2003
I have just browsed your site and watched the digital tour. Great stuff! I myself have grown up with microcomputers from a very early age on. (Over here in Germany, the development of computers obviously had a retarded start. When I finished high school in 1987, systematic computer education was still a thing unheard off.) I am 35 now and still have some half-faded memories of a 4bit SC/MP board in operation, including binary programming via switches, later the same set hooked to a *huge* TV. I have seen and used many different machines - TRS80 Model I, Apple II, Kaypro, Amigas, diverse PCs, and I still own a C64 as a hobby. I remember improving my English by browsing through a pile of American computer magazines from the early 80's.
Thanks for bringing back those memories. Unfortunately I will probably never be able to visit your museum personally - it would be a bit too far... :)
Comments from Victor Galvez (email@example.com)
January 15, 2003
Picture from Victor
It was fantastically pleasing to see the many historically significant computer artifacts showcased and well taken care of, and most importantly, open to the public. I took a tour of the DigiBarn as part of the Vintage Computer Festival, and it was a fitting exclamation to that weekend. Thanks so much for sharing that with us. I mentioned to you that I had picture of an old Macintosh computer in front of a CRAY super computer. I thought it would look good printed out and placed next to the CRAY at the DigiBarn. The Mac (a Mac Plus I think) is made to look like it's connected to the CRAY, but can't really tell. It probably isn't, but I thought it was cool none-the-less. I've had it for a while, I just recently found it, and I can't recall where I downloaded it from. I couldn't send it through this form, so I'm posting so you can take a look at it and download it yourself. Here's the URL: http://shell3.tdl.com/~vixbox/CrayXMP.gif I hope you get a kick out of it, I did. I'll keep in touch to let you know how the vintage software repository is coming along. Talk to you later!
Comments from Kenneth Inman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
January 9, 2003
I cut my teeth on the SOL/20. I even wire wrapped an expansion memory board for it. My step father taught me the basics of boolean algebra and TTL logic when he loaned this increadable machine to me. This computer and his tutoring started me on my career of 19 years now as a programmer/DBA/Network Administrator. Your site has brought back many great memories of those times.
2002Comments from David G
December 21, 2002
I'm really happy that you keep updating the site, I showed my sister and she began telling me about how she used to have a job loading the tape reels into an IBM computer during the early 80's as well as describing programmer antics in those days and how SUN came and replaced their giant room filling IBM with a small box that did the same job. I also showed my uncle, which brought back memories to him of when he used to sell computers, such as the Altair and Commodore PET, as well as how he sold the Nintendo Famicom system, that is until Nintendo worked out a deal with Toys 'R Us and terminated their deal with him!
David G (email@example.com)
Comments from Arthur Lemay, a veteran in the computer business and founder of the Computer History Museum
December 2, 2002
Very interesting. I am a founding member of the Computer History Museum, and I worked with Gene Amdahl at the time he and I contributed funds to the museum. I am astonished that you have done this. BRAVO! I am a really old timer (64 years old), now retired, and have had the pleasure of seeing the same computers I programmed as 20'ish year old Navy Officer in the computer museums in Boston and Moffett Field. And, for what it is worth, I programmed the prototype UNIVAC I as a freshman at Harvard when I took the first computer science course taught at the University in 1956. I have a keen interest in the subject, and a very long memory about the industry since I started with the UNIVAC stuff and maintained it with my Navy experience, but then I joined IBM in the early 60's and saw the whole evolution of the mainframe, mini-computers at DEC, and, more recently with the micro chip computers of Intel, etc. I retired a couple of years ago after a career in computers, software, telecom and related areas. I moved from the East Coast some years ago, and AMAZING TOO, I live in Boulder Creek. I would love to come visit, and, and I need to give my Ferrari a run, so please tell me if I can come to see you soon.
Arthur Lemay (firstname.lastname@example.org )
Comments from Sarah Tasker, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
September 16, 2002Our students from UC Berkeley Haas School of Business visited the DigiBarn in September 2002 as part of fulfilling their projects on the history of business processes in the computer industry. I was especially impressed by how curator Bruce Damer answered the students' questions. When one of our students asked "what's a bus?" Bruce didn't miss a beat but just gave her a warm look like you appreciated her question and gave a wonderful explanation using the people on a bus analogy. From that moment I knew my students were in extremely capable hands. I was delighted by (and proud of) how relaxed and curious they became - a reflection of the magic of the Digibarn!
Our students went on to produce video documentaries on a number of subjects, which featured their experiences at the DigiBarn.
Comments from David Kulka
September 14, 2002
First, thanks for putting up such a wonderful site. I spent most of my day yesterday poring over it, and liked the Apple 20 page bruchure and 1949 Pop'tronics story so much that I printed them. Even my wife enjoyed them. Thanks again. I didn't see an address in the site but the Cray story suggests that you're somewhere near the Santa Cruz mountains. As my mom lives in the Bay Area we come up a few times a year, and I'd love to see your collections one of these days. PLease let me know how I might pay you a visit some time and in the meantime, I really appreciate your outstanding website.
Comments from Lee Felsenstein
September 14, 2002
I browsed into your site after following a link from the VCF Speakers page. Very interesting indeed. I looked at the Sol-20 page and noted that you credited it as "1978 - Designed and built by Lee Felsenstein". While I was indeed the sole designer of most of the SOl-20 circuitry and worked hard to manage the circuit board through to manufacture, I must protest that many others were involved in the "built by" phase. Gordon French was the project manager and the primary mechanical designer (his bridge-quality reinforced sheet metal design set a standard that has rarely been duplicated in personal computers). Bob Marsh designed the power suppy and the audio cassette interface (which I was reluctant to approach). Aram Attarian II and Vern Muhr did much of the heavy lifting, debugging and tech work in the process.After reading more about the DigiBarn (I had not heard about it before) I began to wonder whether it wouldn't be a good idea to hold a reunion of the Processor Technology survivors (Gary Ingram diead a year or so ago) and record many of the stories we have, since such recording seems to be a specialty of DigiBarn. I put the idea out in the realization that I would not have thetime or energy to organize it. [A group of us] organized the "76ers" industry get-together in 1981, and has expressed interest in further reunions.
Let me know if you think this is a god idea. I hope to see Bruce Damer at the VCF (I help judge the exhibits). And please accept my congratulations on the work you are doing to preserve not only the artifacts but also information regarding the unique confluence of trends and individuals which gave us the personal computer.
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