USING classic machines

From: tiborj <>
Date: Fri Jun 27 21:44:00 1997

At 08:59 AM 6/27/97 BST, you wrote:
>> I do use my old machines now and then, but if anyone here has never ran a
>> modern MAC or PC, they have NO idea what is bieng missed. web pages in full
>> photo quality color, realistic games, PPP connections, Realaudio etc. I am
>I have used 'modern' PC's (well, at least pentiums with 16 MBytes RAM,
>SVGA card, etc), and I know I'm not missing _anything_ by sticking to
>classic computers. Let's go through your points.
What I mean is that we must realize that there is only so much you can do
with classic computers. after all, if they were the best than why we have
faster and better?

>'Web pages in full photo quality colour'. Well, I access the web to get
>information, not look at pretty pictures. Most of the information I want
>is _text_, or at least monochrome graphics (things like IC data sheets).
>So I don't need 'photo quality colour'. And if I did, I could easily find

well at the moment you dont need it, but its nice to know that you can see
it when you need it.

>a classic system that could display them. Evans and Sutherland, Grinnell,
>Ramtek, I2S, PPL, etc all made high-res colour displays that make most
>PC's look like toys. And you can pick one up second-hand for less than an
>SVGA card + monitor.
SVGA a toy? I used many an apple ][ + and C=64 with 80 col RGB monitors, and
I can take only so much eyestrain. sharp graphics make your eyes feel good...
also I would like to clarify somthing. I am not a billy gates follower. I
despise his efforts and his software. and winsucks 95 is a laugh!!<G> but
the issue is machines, and if you run Linux, as I do, that pentium will
spring to life! so the PC is not the greatest machine, but if you run
software that was properly written, (i.e. not from microsuck) you get
fantastic results, that is why I like my commodore 64, it can do alot on 1 MHZ.

>'Realistic games'. I don't play many games, but I'll agree that modern
>games running on modern hardware do _look_ a lot more realistic than the
>text+block graphics we had on home computers 15 years ago. The problem is
>that IMHO (and YMMV) the old games are just more fun to play. That's a
>personal judgement, though.

 I have an Atari 2600, and the best racing game is from Acivision called Enduro.

>'PPP connections' Oh come on. I've run a PPP client on an _XT_. No problem
>at all. I'll happily believe they're available for other old machines as
well we all believe, but sadly, this does not always work that way. I have
an XT too, and yes you can load a packet driver, but then 640K is not big
enough except to run telnet or ftp from. I use my XT as a file server...

>'Realaudio' I assume that's some audio standard for modern machines. But

Realaudio is a standard, but it is an INTERNET standard for sending LIVE
SOUND from any web server. it has many uses, and the fun part of it is that
I live in Indiana, and when I lived in St Petersburg FL, there was a good
radio station there that I loved, and through Realaudio I can now listen to
it here. and this is not just for PC's, it runs on MACs, UNIX Linux, and
most Sun machines.

>we had good quality audio on PDP11's (thanks to a little board from 3RCC)
>in 1976. It's not exactly hard to add a DAC and a DMA engine or even a DSP
>to a lot of classic computers (and classic computer != cheap home micro so
>there's easily enough RAM space for a reasonable length sample).
to me, a PDP11 is WORLDS apart from classic HOME computers, If I had the
fortune of actually owing a PDP11, I would use it extensively..... :)

also about enough ram space...NOT!
I have some software for the C=64 that plays back digital sound files. with
the stock 64K of ram, I can hold a 6 second clip. with the 1764 ram
expansion with 512K of ram, I can hold a 60 second clip, but no longer than
>What I'd be missing by going to a modern machine would be :
>Documentation. Since I don't just run prepackaged software and plug in
>prebuilt hardware, I need good technical manuals. They just don't exist
I programmed in BASIC, and that is fun, and I tried 6502 assembler, and
almost had a working interrupt handler going, but my brain fried, the
opcodes are easy, but remembering memory addresses when deprived of caffeine
is hard! the interrupt handler was for a terminal program that I was writing
that utilized a 6551 UART in a commodore 64. I love hacking old hardware!
and it also had interupt driven multitasking, as in this terminal, you can
use the modem and play .sid music files at the same time!
that was fun!! now I program in C, and if you do it right, you can make any
machine dance to your beat.

>for most modern machines
>Repairability. I can fix classic computers with no problem at all. Just
I have never had any hardware failures in ANY of my machines so far (knock
on silicon), with the exception that I accidentally cooked a 6526.

>try getting a custom chip for a PC motherboard. And don't tell me to
>replace the motherboard - if the PC is a few years old I'd probably have
>to replace the CPU and memory as well.

that is just the ticket. A brand new 486 motherboard cost $90. with it you
get real functionality.
I know some who will pay twice that for a doorstop...

actually, you can get a decent modern PC together just by scrounging
computer shows and bargaining for parts. assembling a system from scratch
with old parts is very fun and rewarding. and the reliablity rate for modern
chips is very high. in fact the monitor or hard disk probably will die
before the motherboard will.
 also I am speaking of those who NEVER touched anything new, and passing
judgment. if you tried the
 new stuff, and hate it, that is fine, but I can't stand those who never
tried it then saying it sux.
Received on Fri Jun 27 1997 - 21:44:00 BST

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