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Your "Must-have" computers

njroadfan

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I'm only missing 2 big "must haves", as for some reason I like 16-bit era home computers with GUIs.

1. A sweet Amiga setup. I used the Amiga 3000 extensively as a Video Toaster in school, but I always wanted one for home.

2. An Atari ST/TT family machine. Same thing, cool machine.

I have thought about trying to find things like an Apple Lisa or Apple ///. Both are neat, but I don't have that kind of money.
 

Shadow Lord

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Just out of curiosity who would use their "must haves?" I.E. you don't want a museum piece but a computer to use? My Everex STEP Megacube is now in almost daily use. Granted its for entertainment (i.e. I don't do my surfing/email/business stuff on it) but I tinker with it instead of my modern system!
 

Druid6900

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One thing I have noticed since I joined this forum is that the most common use for vintage computers is playing games. It's usually the first thing mentioned when someone mentions acquiring a computer.

It would be interesting to poll the crowd and see how high the percentage actually is, but, since I'm not and (except for the ID Software phase) never have been a big gamer, I'll leave that to someone else to explore.
 

Mos6502

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When you post a new thread, you actually have the option to create a poll (I think), you have to check a box at the very bottom under the text box, etc.


As for uses. My favorite computer is my Kaypro because it's a great machine to type on. I can't use it for much else, but as a word processor it's still a very useful machine - and because it has such a nice keyboard it's much nicer to type on than many new computers.

My Commodore, I would love to have games for, but I mostly just like it because the PET looks so cool. I've programmed some games in Basic, but I don't own any "official" PET software.

I must admit that I would love to have an Intertec Superbrain, mostly because it is such a nice looking machine - but if it had as nice of a keyboard as my Kaypro I could see myself using it for word processing too.
 

Chuck(G)

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It would be interesting to poll the crowd and see how high the percentage actually is, but, since I'm not and (except for the ID Software phase) never have been a big gamer, I'll leave that to someone else to explore.

Never could get interested--I think things change when it's your job.
 

barythrin

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Sure I'd use the Honeywell Kitchen Computer for exactly what it's for! Put it in the kitchen, wake up for breakfast, sit down and look through the machine language book and program in a quick random breakfast recipe generator. Debug the code... .. around 5 or 6pm get to run the program. Mix the ingredients, prepare the oven, ok place food in the oven .. ... calculating.. 60 minutes later it wil tell me to cook it for 25 minutes.. ... extinguish "breakfast" .. sit back down to reorder code.. fun for the whole family!

Lately I've been lazy but generally I would play around with some games I always heard of or just to see what they'd look like on most of my vintage systems. I also have always tried to get programming languages for them and when time was available tinker around with writing small programs or see what I could do. Given as I get older that experimental time and lack of responsibility to other agendas has killed a lot of potential projects lately. Still wish to reorder life.. I know .. if I can get a honeywell I'll code a life organization program. It will calculate what order you should do daily tasks down to the minute for an estimated 70 years and let you know with a beep and a binary code what you should do. I just need a Honeywell.. anyone?..
 

Neon_WA

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IBM ATs in good condition are somewhat sought-after. Problem is the weight! They are heavy beasts, and shipping them anywhere is not cheap.

Tez

I'm glad I can find a new mint one of the side of the road.. as shipping to me is a huge killer.

bit off topic.. the keyboard I found with the XT has no model number or markings (no evidence that there was ever any). The badge on top just say IBM Personal Computer.
weighs a ton.. as I think it is all metal construction.. and function keys are all on the left side

anyway of telling what model it is?
 

Mr.Amiga500

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One thing I have noticed since I joined this forum is that the most common use for vintage computers is playing games. It's usually the first thing mentioned when someone mentions acquiring a computer.

That's because most other old software has equivalents on modern computers that are way better/easier/more useful to use. (I say "most" because there are examples of old software that are surprisingly better than modern equivalents)

Games, however, are more of an experience (audio/visual) and therefore have more of a nostalgia value. Modern computers can emulate old games fairly accurately, but when it comes to nostalgia, nothing beats the real thing.
 

kishy

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the keyboard I found with the XT has no model number or markings (no evidence that there was ever any). The badge on top just say IBM Personal Computer.
weighs a ton.. as I think it is all metal construction.. and function keys are all on the left side

anyway of telling what model it is?

Well, for starters, 'model' isn't quite right - frustrating that IBM used the terms 'Model M' and 'Model F', since those describe the keyswitch mechanisms, not the keyboards. It's quite misleading to people who don't know "way too much" about keyboards. Nothing wrong with referring to them that way, just need to add further descriptive terms for clarity.

But what you have is the original keyboard for the PC and XT, aka "XT Model F". It is significantly less valuable on the open market than the AT board because it is not 'plug and play' on modern systems or off-the-shelf USB converters.

Would seem to be damned easy to get converters set up though, particularly with the availability of user-friendly access to AVR microcontrollers like the Teensy (even if overpowered for the job, it's ridiculously easy to work with, so the additional cost is worth it as a headache-saver). There are a couple such initiatives (XT keyboard to AT, instead of the inverse which you find here) at that site whose name I mentioned a couple posts up.


---

As for my own 'Must Haves':

I'm into 'this stuff' for fun, so I have something to tinker with. I'm less interested, I suppose, in what I could use the system for, or nostalgia, or whatever (I'm 21, it's not really possible for it to be nostalgia)...which is why, after I got my 286 back on its feet, played a couple games, I more or less abandoned it for the XT rebuild project (which required actually building the thing).

My current project is attempting to max out the specs of that Dolch luggable system I linked to some time ago now. After it's all good to go I'll probably move on to something new.
 
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Druid6900

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Never could get interested--I think things change when it's your job.

Amen to that.

I remember when I first started doing this legacy/vintage thing on FeeBay, it was kinda fun. Fix this, put it up for auction, see what I get.

Then it became a chore. Writing up the description, taking the pictures, packing and shipping...The only fun part was getting the "You have a payment" e-mail.

Since I set up the website, it's a JOB, something I happily retired from and with the Legacy twist, I deal more with Fortune 500 companies that don't have clue one about what they need and you get these vague messages that turn a quick sale into an ordeal. The people that knew their old equipment have retired/been downsize/moved on/died and I'm the one that now has to handle the "Oh GOD!!!" situations.

Testing has become tedious, putting the stuff up on the site, just as bad as it became on FeeBay, shipping is as it's always been but, I'm not the type to sit around and do nothing, so, I keep doing it.

The stuff that needs to be tested/repaired never seems to get any smaller even though I've stopped buying/accepting almost any computer equipment.

I guess the most hellish jobs are the ones we design for ourselves LOL
 

barythrin

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Druid, reminds me of a certain someones beloved(?) work space named ComputerHell ;-) not to hijack but anyone talk to Terry much after his last two random sightings? Was kinda curious if he left the scene for a reason. Always in the back of my mind too if my must haves are beneficial enough for the community and myself.
 

Neon_WA

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Well, for starters, 'model' isn't quite right - frustrating that IBM used the terms 'Model M' and 'Model F', since those describe the keyswitch mechanisms, not the keyboards. It's quite misleading to people who don't know "way too much" about keyboards. Nothing wrong with referring to them that way, just need to add further descriptive terms for clarity.

But what you have is the original keyboard for the PC and XT, aka "XT Model F". It is significantly less valuable on the open market than the AT board because it is not 'plug and play' on modern systems or off-the-shelf USB converters.

Thx mate..
and I do also have 2 aka "model M"s with different badging ;-)
 

Ole Juul

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One thing I have noticed since I joined this forum is that the most common use for vintage computers is playing games. It's usually the first thing mentioned when someone mentions acquiring a computer.

It would be interesting to poll the crowd and see how high the percentage actually is, but, since I'm not and (except for the ID Software phase) never have been a big gamer, I'll leave that to someone else to explore.

That is indeed worth some study. I don't have any interest in games either. Indeed, I was truly shocked to find out that people in their 20's and even older, do that kind of thing. I've since discovered that they are generally very nice people and otherwise mature. :) It's an interesting modern cultural shift.

Mos6502:
As for uses. My favorite computer is my Kaypro because it's a great machine to type on. I can't use it for much else, but as a word processor it's still a very useful machine - and because it has such a nice keyboard it's much nicer to type on than many new computers.

Nice to see someone feels the same way about the practical use of some vintage kit. I do a lot of my writing on a DOS machine because I know it well and have yet to see a comparable level of functionality on another OS. I find networking in DOS to be very simple as well, so it occasionally wins out there as well.

What is interesting, in the context of this discussion, is that for us to realize the advantage we feel we have with CP/M or DOS does not actually require vintage equipment, but that it can make practical use of it. Doing text processing on a vintage computer is writing in style. Much like driving a model T has style. I have actually built a box with a P1 and 128MB of memory in order to have the ultimate DOS box, which is not exactly a classic machine, but it is still "old stuff". I suppose it could be called vintage, and I'm sure some would. Anyway, in my world, that machine is definitely a must have. :)
 

Druid6900

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Druid, reminds me of a certain someones beloved(?) work space named ComputerHell ;-) not to hijack but anyone talk to Terry much after his last two random sightings? Was kinda curious if he left the scene for a reason. Always in the back of my mind too if my must haves are beneficial enough for the community and myself.

Yeah, I can't say that when I think of VCF, I don't think of Terry first thing. We spent a lot of time talking on the phone before he stopped showing up, but, despite phone calls and letters and short of going to his last known address and beating his whereabouts out of someone, I haven't heard a peep from him.....

It's like when the favourite character on a show you've watch from the start disappears suddenly. The show ain't quite as good anymore.
 

barythrin

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I could be wrong, you're certainly a wealth of information for a lot of those less common systems as well. Who in your research would be considered the first portable IBM compatible system? I've mostly just read the compaq portable was the first 100% (maybe that's the catch) IBM compatible portable computer but if the sources I read are incorrect that's usually the limit of my research ;-)

Didn't you publish a book or have one lined up in another thread where you had a better idea on what the first laptop would be? I thought you didn't divulge the info though.

- John
 

per

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I've mostly just read the compaq portable was the first 100% (maybe that's the catch) IBM compatible portable computer but if the sources I read are incorrect that's usually the limit of my research ;-)

At least the first 100% compatible, popular and legal IBM compatible. There were some earlier which directly used the IBM binaries (thus being 100% software-wise), breaking IBM's copyright, or used less than 100% compatible BIOSes.
 

MattCarp

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I don't think it would be possible for one to even be close to comprehensive in the mini- and microcomputer systems area. There must have been a thousand brands and tens of thousands of models, many of which most have never heard of.

I went down the path of trying to buy an example of every "significant" computer architecture, from micros to workstations and minis. Mainframes, I don't have the space, money, or personal attachment to those creatures. Don't get me wrong, I find some of the old mainframes to be extremely interesting. I'd love to learn more about them.

Anyway, beyond the 8-bit machines, I managed to get a MicroVAX 3300, then a small deskside AS/400 to represent the whole IBM System/3, 32, 34, 36, 38 family (I know there are major differences, but still same 'family'). I also found a PDP-11/73. I was on the hunt for a Data General machine, but never saw a decent one pop up. I'm not sure I would have included any of the other better known minis from HP (HP3000), TI-990, AT&T 3B2, NCR, Wang, Prime, or Tandem.

I did start down the workstation path, picking up a Sun Ultra 5, which are fairly common. I really wanted a Silicon Graphics machine, but kind of ran out of gas in my acquisition phase. I decided to skip the HP/Apollo machines (seemed kind of boring), and certainly the Intergraph CAD machines.

I'd say I was pretty satisfied when I stopped buying machines, but if something interesting from the 1960s or 1970s crossed my path, I'd take a close look at it!
 
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