IBM 5100

From: Tony Duell <>
Date: Sat Aug 7 16:53:50 2004

> John - the time traveler made the following claim of the 5100
> It could translate between Basic, APL and UNIX

Which would appear to be a totally meaningless statement.

> Did it even have a terminal program or a serial port or some other
> way to connect it to a Unix machine or a mainframe?

The HP9830, which pre-dated the IBM5100 by a couple of years, but which
had somewaht similar facilities -- all-in-one machine, built-in display,
keyboard, tape drive, BASIC in ROM (no APL for the HP machine), etc, had
a terminal emulator ROM cartridge which worked with a special bit-banged
serial interface (not the serial interface used to, say, link up a serial
printer). This not only let you use the 9830 as a terminal, it also let
you store the incoming data in memory as if it was a BASIC program
(obviously syntax checcking was disabled), and you could then save said
'program' onto tape. And of course you could reverse the process and
upload the data back to the host mainframe/mini. The idea was to avoid
having to pay the storage charges for your files on a timesharing system.

One day I must assemble the terminal emulator ROM code from the patent,
do any modifications that are neccessary due to differences between the
machine in the patent and the production version (I know there are some
hardware differences, but they shouldn't matter), and then buld the
bit-banging interface and give the whole system a go.

Received on Sat Aug 07 2004 - 16:53:50 BST

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