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Thursday, April 03, 2003

From David Ahl (DaveAhl@aol.com)

Hey, how about swapping links? I finally have a web site up and operational with a bit of a bio, some recent pics, and what's left of the Creative Computing archives for sale. I'd be happy to link to you from my links page (https://members.aol.com/Z321go/Links.htm) and I would appreciate a link from you to me. You can either link to my bio page:


Description: bio and photos of Dave Ahl, founder of Creative Computing, author of Basic Computer Games, and old curmudgeon.
or to my home page:


Description: Dave Ahl bio, clean jokes, patriotic pics, bargains on Creative Computing books, and much more!
If you want a little button /gif file, you can pick it up at https://members.aol.com/Z321go/Addlink.htm


Dave Ahl
posted by bruce 1:46 PM

From Ian (bluexseed@attbi.com)

hi, i stumbled upon this site searching for midi interfaces for my c64.

i am wondering if there is any help you can provide, maybe where to look, where to buy this midi interface? i saw you had a cart with it.. any idea where to get one of those, i desperately need one for music making =)

i would love any help you can give me, or any info on c64 music programs that are relatively easy to use. i'm 20 yrs old and i was like 4 when c64 came out =P i know a bit of dos, but i'm just saying that i'm a newbie. but ready to embrace c64!!! thanks sooooo much,

posted by bruce 1:44 PM

From John Barrett (eedeuce@tpg.com.au)
Hi Bruce,

I was the maintenance engineer of the first English Electric Deuce computer delivered to the Royal Aircraft Establishment UK back in 1956.

Being a bit of a hoarder (bower bird here in Australia) I still have the original Logical Design Manual Pt 1 & 2 and have tracked down a copy of the original Programming Manual.

My website about this neglected machine is under construction at www.users.tpg.com.au/eedeuce but still quite a way to go.

I have tried to make it look as near as possible to the original.

Cheers John
posted by bruce 1:41 PM

From Juergen

Maybe this is of interest for your mailing list:

The following site illustrates how the delays between successive radical breakthroughs in computer science decrease exponentially: each new one comes roughly twice as fast as the previous one:
posted by bruce 1:32 PM

Monday, March 17, 2003

From Brian Heise

Wow, be it ever so humble, there's no place like a good home for the PCjr. Myself and another individual are taking over the records of the last PCjr Club left (Eugen PCjr CLub in Eugene OR), and we have both been working on our perspective sites to try to bring back some level of knowledge of the PCjr as classic computing is coming back. I have about 7 PCjr's, all but 1 are in working condition, some with drive expansion chassis units and some other odds and ends that make life a bit more enjoyable while toying with the PCjr.

Those are some great photos of "jr". I even see software I strived to get as a kid but never got around to getting :) If you get the hankering to, you can check out the "PCjr Reborn!" website and visit our forum to see some of the interesting feats we have done, and are currently working on!

Again, great PCjr shots, great site and keep those oldies running!

Brian Heise

"PCjr Reborn" - https://www.micro-zone.com
posted by bruce 8:03 PM

Thursday, February 27, 2003

From: Les Connally (lesliec@theplanet.com)

Just came across your website..

I'm a computer hardware guy here in Dallas, Texas. I have in the warehouse (and will get photos for you ) a three cabinet Evans & Sutherland (?) 3-d system. all hand-wrapped boards, big power, all schmatics.

I couldnt afford to pay for freight to get it to you, but let me know if you have any interest.

The color is an ugly, what we called in art school "suicide yellow" the wire-srapped boards are quite attractive.

Les Connally (lesliec@theplanet.com)
posted by bruce 9:44 PM

Monday, February 10, 2003

From Russ (regjunk@agsoft.com)

Thanks for doing this. Great site. Can you help me find a Digital Rainbow 100? I looked on Ebay. No luck. Do you know of any sources for this beast? I see you have!!!!!

I'm looking for a good one with at least VB circa 1984-85.

Evanston, IL
posted by bruce 8:22 PM

From Eddie Thomas (pasnocone@earthlink.net)

Iíve been a hobbyist/engineer of PC systems since I can remember. I was introduced to computers in 1974. Iíve designed one 8086 system for the S-100 during the winter of 81/82 of which never made production. At that time I also laid out the concept of CABLE MODEMS for mass bi-directional public communications. The idea was too far fetched to be seriously taken into production back then. Itís amazing how things change Ö 20 years later!

I enjoyed your documentation on the ALTAIR 8800. I stumbled upon your site as I searched for S-100 prototyping boards. Although I currently live in PA, I believe I have the original schematics published in Popular Electronics (Jan í75) for the ALTAIR stashed in the attic in NJ. I also believe I have most of the Popular Electronics issues which addressed the S-100 based systems. I have not found any other rags that have this information available. Iíd be happy to forward the articles if youíd like. I will contact P.E. in regards to duplicating this info as to not violate copyright laws. S-100 was onto something before Big Blue stomped S-100 like a New York City roach.

Here's a question. I am currently searching for information for the ADDS Mentor 2000. It uses the Zilog 8001 segmented processor under the PICK OS. I have no background in PICK OS. So far the only confirmed operation is the POST. MENTOR 2000 specific manuals would be greatly appreciated. PICK OS manuals or souces to gain some tech knowledge into the workings would also be appreciated.

Trying some DOS and CP-M style commands yielded this: The machine attempts and fails to find a TAPE DRIVE and HARD DRIVE. The tape drive interface card is inoperative [installing it stops the POST]. The original 68 Meg H/D (Hitachi 511-8, ST-502 MFM) was reused years ago in a Netware Server. I am looking for hardware manuals specifically detailing hardware interface characteristics and/or this system's bus. I can engineer a compatible ISA interface for bi-directional communications to my Intel 302-25 PC if I can find the BUS pinouts. The Zilog 8000 series is similar to the Z80 in timing characteristics for BUS I/O operations.

In the event I can finally gain external I/O to this system I've located several OS's for the Zilog 8000 family, of which some re-writes will be required to gain full system functionality. It's apparent the OS is in two EPROMs, of which will be preserved.

It is my intention to engineer an updated I/O card to support Floppy disks, IDE hard drives, newer memory products and Ethernet. AT&T originally supported the ADDS systems. NCR (AT&Tís sellout company) would supply information as would some scarce sources for an exuberant price.

ALSO I would like to find information on the WD-1002 HDO hard drive controller card (used in the TANDY PC, I believe) Specifically, I need cable signaling information so possibly to use an IDE translator adaptor. I've found one source but have not heard back from them in about 6 weeks.

Hereís a list of what hardware is installed (original):

1: CPU Card ≠ Zilog Z8001 ≠ w/socket for 2nd processor (4 layer)
a) ADMIN Serial Port header
b) TWO WD-1002 interface port headers
c) Front Panel Control header

2: 16 RS-232 serial / 1 parallel port (4 layer)
a) Two 50 pin headers (to 2 banks of 8 9-pin serial ports on rear)
b) One parallel port header

3: 256K memory card ≠ Parity Checked (4 layer)
a) 4 banks of 9 4164ís

4: 3 port QIC-02 tape interface (defective) (2 layer, EZ 2 trace/repair)

5: Hitachi 511-8 68 MB H/D w/WD-1002-1 HDO daughter card

6: Archive 60 MB Tape Drive, Full height (defective)

Although the ADDS Mentor BUS is 100 pin, it is quite obvious it is NOT S-100 just by examining the power assignments.

I am currently diagnosing the TAPE DRIVE interface card ≠ hopefully have it back in operation soon. I have a newer Archive QIC-02 drive that should work. It can read/write 60, 120 and 250 MB tapes.

Any information, sites and/or folks wishing to get involved w/my resurrection of the ADDS Mentor 2000 are welcome to contact me at:


Please put ĎMentor 2000í in the subject line

Best of luck and congratulations on a great start with the Museum!

posted by bruce 12:23 AM

Saturday, February 08, 2003

From Jim Manley (jim_manley@hotmail.com)

I am a retired Naval Intelligence Officer, ocean engineer and computer scientist, and am currently working at TiVo, Inc., doing software development. I earned a BS in Ocean Engineering at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1976 and an MS in Computer Science at the Naval Postgraduate School in 1986. I lived in Japan for five and a half years, Guam for a year and a half, and California, Florida and Virginia for a total of 17 years, and grew up in New Jersey and New York.

My first computer was a kit made of styrene plastic, metal rods, and rubber bands, that was manually clocked and used the presence and absence of soda straw-like tube segments about an inch long on stubs on the edges of the styrene parts to represent ones and zeroes. My next encounter with computing was my very own account with 32KB of drum storage on a GE 635 mainframe at the Naval Academy, that I programmed with Dartmouth Timesharing System BASIC and FORTRAN V from 1972 to 1976. The Academy received Evans and Sutherland Picture System I, serial number 2, in the Spring of 1976, which featured real-time, interactive, black-and-white vector 3-D graphics controllable by light pen, dials and command line input, and included a 1 MB static RAM module in a cube-shaped rack that was about four feet on a side, dual DEC PDP-11/70 minicomputers, and a four-pen high-speed horizontal plotter that was about six feet square, where the pens were on an electromagnetic module that could move at up to 10 feet per second.

A few years later, I was stationed in Japan as a watch officer and the first data systems officer at an intelligence facility that used Wang word processors and Tektronix 4014 vector 2D graphics terminals integrated with a dual PDP-11/70 system that had dual RP-04 and RP-06 multi-platter hard disk drives, and an RK-05 floppy cartridge drive. The hard disks drives were each the size of washing machines, held several hundred MB of storage on removeable disk packs, and spun at over 10,000 RPM. The system was used to plot and analyze intelligence data on ships and aircraft world-wide, and data on the graphics terminals could be sent to the Wang word processors for editing into intelligence documents and messages, which could then be transmitted to Navy ships, military units, command centers, embassies, and other government and classifed contractor facilities anywhere in the world via a high-speed (2400 bps!) serial interface connected to Automated Digital Information Network (AUTODIN) military/government store-and-forward message handling systems.

My first personal computer was an Apple ///, running Apple SOS (applesauce, get it?) Sophisticated Operating System (on massive 130KB floppies). I bought the Galaxians video game on floppy disk before I had even bought the computer, since I was on leave in the U.S. between my tours in Guam and Japan, and I didn't know if I would be able to find it anywhere else before I left for Japan. And so, this is when I first learned that software drives hardware sales! I still play Galaxians on my Handspring Prism color PDA! I later bought Apple ][ and //c microcomputers while stationed overseas.

My next encounter with computing was at the Computer Science labs at the Naval Postgraduate School, where I wrote software in the C and Ada programming languages for class projects and my Masters thesis on VAX 11/730-780 minicomputers, an IBM 360 mainframe, MITS Altair 8080, Apple Macintosh 128K, 512K (Fat Mac) and Mac Plus, and IBM PC/XT clone microcomputers. I wrote my thesis in Microsoft Word 1.0 on a Fat Mac and printed it out on an original Apple Laserwriter. I only needed to print it once for my thesis advisor and first reader to write their comments on, and a second time to submit to the registrar for reproduction and submission to the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC). My classmates edited their theses on the campus mainframe via IBM 3270 terminal emulators on their PC/XTs and ATs, and then spent the better part of the last month at school trying to get their thesis to fit in the transparency templates that the registrar's clerks used to verify format before submission for reproduction and dissemination. When it comes to just getting things done, Macs have always ruled!

With my freshly-minted MSCS, I moved to Virginia and worked at the Naval Intelligence Command and the Pentagon for several years on research and development of intelligence processing systems for the Navy and Marine Corps, on everything from Macs and PCs up through supercomputers. I then spent two years aboard ships as the Intelligence Officer for an amphibious squadron, where I supported Navy and Marine Corps operations during Gulf War Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm to liberate Kuwait from invasion by Iraq, protect and deliver aid to the Kurds during Operation Provide Comfort in Northern Iraq after the Gulf War, and protect and rescue aircrews flying humanitarian relief missions into Bosnia/Herzegovina during Operation Provide Promise. I operated and worked on improvements to a prototype secondary satellite imagery dissemination system that allowed forces overseas to receive encrypted imagery within hours of acquisition by satellites.

I completed my shipboard tour and returned to the Naval Intelligence Command and Defense Intelligence Agency, where I managed research and development of intelligence processing systems for U.S. Department of Defense forces and organizations world-wide, including projects coordinated with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), working with some of the same people who developed the technology on which the Internet is based.

Upon retiring from the Navy, I moved to Silicon Valley, and began software development and project management for Teknowledge, a small software development company doing work for DARPA and other government and commercial organizations, fulfilling a dream that started with that plastic binary computer - working with computers on sophisticated projects with world-shaping impact. I also performed software development of user interfaces and state machines for Ellipsys Technologies, a startup company that developed automated phone and data protocol analysis hardware and software for telecommunications company troubleshooting of PBXs, switches and circuits. I was the Director of Technology for another startup, RivalWatch.com, where we developed software to acquire description, selection and pricing data from hundreds of on-line retail WWW sites, analyze the data, and generate standard and customized reports for clients. I am now the architect and senior engineer for software development for Audience Research and Measurement for Linux-based digital video recorder designer and service provider TiVo, Inc. Linux rules, too!

I love reminiscing about the good ol' computing technologies, but also can't wait to find out what new technologies will be unveiled each day, and help develop some more!
posted by bruce 9:39 AM

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

From Huge (Huge@huge.org.uk)

Oh. My. Ghod.

I worked for Xerox for 13 years, until 1994, initially in the European Data Centre in Bushey, Herts., UK, but latterly in the European Engineering Centre in Welwyn Garden City, Herts, UK., internationalising the user interfaces of various Xerox products, but principally Viewpoint (GlobalView) and what became the Docutech. I still get a warm glow when I see a DocuTech - "I worked on that!" I spent 11 years of my life sitting in front of a Star and then a 6085 (1186 - The DocuTech UI was designed in Trillium, which was written in InterLISP, and then loaded into the real machine to drive the hardware!). OTOH, the way Xerox p*ssed away its technological lead still makes me cringe to this day. And I always smile when Windows weenies drone on about some feature or other (AD is the latest) which Xerox had implemented a decade or more ago.

I used to have 2 6085's at home, but sadly they went to the great scrapyard in the sky a couple of years ago. You have no idea how pleased I am that someone is preserving the Xerox workstation heritage. 'Cos Xerox surely aren't.

Where do I send the money?
posted by bruce 12:11 AM

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

From Audrey Mullis (amullis@bluemarble.net)

My son bought a computer that is a KAYPRO, its not one of the portable ones, it looks like it was in an office at one time. I am trying to find information about this computer so we can use it for school work and such. It came with a printer called Citizen Premiere 35, Phoenix Software, Rom B10sver203.

Thanks for any information
posted by bruce 11:01 PM

From Mark Harris (stefanlirous@austin.rr.com)

I am moving in the next few months and would prefer to find a good home for some of my vintage S-100 and other equipment rather than scraping it.

The base machine is an IMSAI 8080 S-100 system, vintage 1976 (original power supply, which had to be modified to work) with various additional cards into 1982 or so. I think a Cromemco Z-80 board, 3 4K static memory boards and several bigger boards, static and dynamic, a tape cassette board, at least two EPROM boards. I have a pair of 8 inch disks in a homebrew cabinet. The system was running CP/M.

There is also an additional S-100 system in a 19 inch box that I was running as a satelite system to the main box. A lot of 8 inch disks with CPM user group software and some commercial software.

I have never done an extensive inventory, which is why it is still here even though there was a museum on the west coast a few years ago which was interested. I can get the serial number on the IMSAI and such.

I also have an Apple II clone board. Manuals for much of the Processor Technology software and probably the original software on cassette tapes.
posted by bruce 9:57 PM

From gordon rocca (phelp.masti@verizon.net)

Is it true that there was a personal computer sold (I think at a local department store here) in the 1980 that had a case shaped like a Tuba case? The monitor apparently was articulated and swung out horizontally over the rest of the keyboard and CPU box. It sounds funky, but I haven't been able to spot it in any of the historical collections. It may have been manufactured by Lennox??? or maybe it was Honeywell and was sold in the Washington area at the now equally defunct Woodword and Lothrops. I just though it might ring a bell with you. Thanks for any ideas you might have.

posted by bruce 9:48 PM

From Bruce Damer:

Hello DigiBarn Bloggers, I just returned from Washington DC where I had the pleasure of visiting the Smithsonian Institution's Information Age exhibition, which includes a small section on personal computing. I think you will enjoy my photos and commentary at:
posted by bruce 9:37 PM

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