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Child of NABU Founders Working on Network Emulation

ajacocks

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Folks,

I love seeing the community doing work like this. The family member of several of the key NABU engineers is working on the project to get the network emulator working here:


That video is some corporate history, that I thought folks here might be interested in. There are some others documenting his progress.

- Alex
 

bsd64

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Very interesting! Once they get the network working, perhaps someone will get one of these NOS units connected to it! For those that are interested in the NABU hardware - someone is selling "one thousand" of these NOS systems and network adapters right now on ebay... For those that build z80 systems, the system comes in a nice retro case with power supply and keyboard, and the motherboard has a z80a, TMS9918 video chip, and AY-3-8910 sound chip. All for $59. All in all, it looks like an interesting project system.
 

Timo W.

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I'm actually still quite shocked that a university did this already over a decade ago and won't share what they did.

On the other hand, I don't get the fuss about it either. It's a now-useles MSX clone that had no impact whatsoever. Even if it will be usable (again) at some day, all you will get on it is ported MSX stuff. Unless you are deeply into Canadian computer history, that thing is just a door stop.

All for $59.
Don't underestimate all the costs you will have to ever get that system to do anything useful.
 

ajacocks

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Even if you don’t care about the history of the machine (it actually predates the MSX) it’s a really nicely built unit for $59. The empty chassis are available, as well, amd would make a very interesting project box.

Not sure why the shipping costs are so high to you @NeXT . I’m guessing that it’s unfortunately one of the many auto-calculated shipping listings. I really wish that eBay would fix that.

- Alex
 

1985MR2

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I wrote Prof Stachniak at York University’s NABU Network (YUNN) asking whether they would host some of the original NABU programs they acquired for the Museum. Here is his reply:

“Thanks your kind words regarding my presentation. I'm aware of the "resurgence of interest in the NABU
network" -- our museum is receiving very many requests to share information, software, etc. We are
helping several individuals in their work to recreate the network. Unfortunately, the original applications
software is, in large part, preparatory and we cannot distribute it. On the other hand, everything
developed at our museum can be shared.

Best

Zbigniew”

I hope that info is helpful.
 

Mr.Amiga500

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Not sure why the shipping costs are so high to you @NeXT . I’m guessing that it’s unfortunately one of the many auto-calculated shipping listings. I really wish that eBay would fix that.

- Alex

The $60 shipping to Canada is actually "reasonable" these days for something so big and heavy. The problem is the lousy exchange rate and customs fees. With everything added up, eBay is showing me a price of $187.53 CAD.

I would definitely get this nice paperweight for $59.99, but not $187.53.
 

shirsch

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Very interesting! Once they get the network working, perhaps someone will get one of these NOS units connected to it! For those that are interested in the NABU hardware - someone is selling "one thousand" of these NOS systems and network adapters right now on ebay... For those that build z80 systems, the system comes in a nice retro case with power supply and keyboard, and the motherboard has a z80a, TMS9918 video chip, and AY-3-8910 sound chip. All for $59. All in all, it looks like an interesting project system.
That item is no longer available on eBay. He probably realized that it cannot actually be shipped for $18 (not sure where that number comes from). A friend of mine was in the area where the seller lives and priced out shipping at about $50 per unit.
 

NeXT

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This is a good time for anyone here who knows a friend or relative to ask if they can hold/forward a parcel for us canadians. This is also a chance we probably will not see again and it's basically like finding a shipping container full of new Telidons.
 

bsd64

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That item is no longer available on eBay. He probably realized that it cannot actually be shipped for $18 (not sure where that number comes from). A friend of mine was in the area where the seller lives and priced out shipping at about $50 per unit.
I believe he took down the original post for the unit with the keyboard and then relisted it. He may have adjusted the shipping cost. It shows available today with a shipping cost of $31US from MA to GA, so my original post should have included the shipping I suppose - $91 was the total for my order (w/o tax). Considering what the rc2014 and similar z80 systems go for on Tindie, it seems pretty reasonable for the system - quirky keyboard and all! I really appreciate the "new old stock" or "new in box" stuff when it shows up. It's like opening up a small time capsule from the past. The old Heathkits are the best when you can find them new!
 

skate323k137

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I believe he took down the original post for the unit with the keyboard and then relisted it. He may have adjusted the shipping cost. It shows available today with a shipping cost of $31US from MA to GA, so my original post should have included the shipping I suppose - $91 was the total for my order (w/o tax). Considering what the rc2014 and similar z80 systems go for on Tindie, it seems pretty reasonable for the system - quirky keyboard and all! I really appreciate the "new old stock" or "new in box" stuff when it shows up. It's like opening up a small time capsule from the past. The old Heathkits are the best when you can find them new!
I'm not seeing it any more, hopefully it pops back up with just adjusted shipping information.

I have a pretty beefy RC2014 Pro; I was pondering if what I had learned from building that might help me Frankenstein something usable out of a NABU, but it's a pretty low priority idea for me at the moment.
 

vwestlife

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Just because it's similar to MSX hardware doesn't mean that getting MSX games to run on it will be as simple as a ROM patch. 8K of ROM isn't enough to give it anything even close. First-gen MSX machines have 16K of system ROM plus another 16K ROM for Microsoft BASIC.
 

EtchedPixels

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Don't underestimate all the costs you will have to ever get that system to do anything useful.

As far as I can see you need a serial adapter that can do the HCCI port signalling, and that's about it. Load CP/N (not CP/M) via the download protocol then switch to running a CP/NET server and you have an instant diskless CP/M system with a nice keyboard.
 

misterblack

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Just because it's similar to MSX hardware doesn't mean that getting MSX games to run on it will be as simple as a ROM patch. 8K of ROM isn't enough to give it anything even close. First-gen MSX machines have 16K of system ROM plus another 16K ROM for Microsoft BASIC.
I did a quick look at the schematics, and it would easy to give the system 32K of ROM. Just a simple mod and running the extra address linse to the ROM socket.

Of course, that won't make it MSX compatible because of the different IO ports. At first glance the interrupts are handled differently too. And of course the keyboard works completely differently as well... So yeah loads of differences.

I would say would not be hard to port something designed for the MSX if one had the source -- fixing the IO ports and changing the keyboard routines should theoretically do the trick, and wouldn't be that hard.
 

misterblack

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That item is no longer available on eBay. He probably realized that it cannot actually be shipped for $18 (not sure where that number comes from). A friend of mine was in the area where the seller lives and priced out shipping at about $50 per unit.
The seller mention to me the eBay froze the listings because he was too far behind shipping stuff out. Once he gets caught up, the listings should work again.

(A viewer visited in person and told me there were an estimated 2200 units although it's unknown how many of those actually work. The seller tests them first before shipping.)
 

NeXT

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I still wanna know the story behind this. Even if they had been sitting on this for 30 years what on earth justifies just storing that many unused machines and what was the original plan?
There's no way this was just for liquidation. They would of been written off decades ago.
 

ajacocks

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I think this was mentioned somewhere. Apparently, the machines were intended to connect to a Massachusetts-based cable network that the previous owner had planned. That business venture fell through, and the machines were left gathering dust, ever since.

- Alex
 

EtchedPixels

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I still wanna know the story behind this. Even if they had been sitting on this for 30 years what on earth justifies just storing that many unused machines and what was the original plan?
There's no way this was just for liquidation. They would of been written off decades ago.

The value doesn't matter. When a business is liquidated all the assets have to be disposed of. In fact they may well have been on the books as a charge based on their estimated removal and disposal cost. If it costs to dispose of them and you don't need to dispose of them yet why bother?

I've given up being amazed at the stuff that turns up in large warehouses when they finally need the space or have to clear them due to closure or ownership change. My IIe has a pair of mint condition brand new clone drives from a batch someone found a few years ago.

2000 machines sounds a lot until you think about the floor space they'd occupy stacked something like 10x10x20 and how much they'd have cost to actually clean up and dispose of versus just leaving them there if you don't need that bit of the floor space.
 
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