Anyone use a vintage computer for a task today?

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Anyone use a vintage computer for a task today?

Postby tezza on Mon Sep 05, 2011 1:23 pm

Most people on this forum have a collection of old iron. But apart from the occasional workout, does anyone use their machines for a modern day purpose?

I do. I’m presently in a local theatre production and have LOTS of lines to learn (hence vintage computing has taken a back seat). I’ve dragged out my PS/2 30-286 and programmed a small “reader” program (with the text in DATA statements) which allows me to reveal the script line by line (and also erase the script from the screen going backwards) simply by pressing on appropriate keys. The script can unfold and when I come to the line before mine I can recite my line, press a button and check if I’m right. If I'm not, I can reverse up and try again.

Now I know there are lots of other ways to do this. I could record the lines on an audio data recorder, then leave a gap for “my” lines, reveal the lines with a piece of paper in the script or ask my wife to read the other lines. I could even write a similar program in a modern programming environment or using Virtual PC if I wanted the old BASICA. Heck, even scrolling down with a double-spaced Word document would do it!

But…it was a nostalgia blast to do that old BASIC programming again so why not! Why a PS/2 30-286? Basically because of all my old machines it’s very reliable and has a small footprint on the desk. Also it has the Model M IBM keyboard. I programmed a lot of BASICA, QUICKBASIC and TURBO PASCAL code on that keyboard.

Anyone else played with their old machines recently?
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Re: Anyone use a vintage computer for a task today?

Postby Gibsaw on Mon Sep 05, 2011 3:33 pm

tezza wrote:Most people on this forum have a collection of old iron. But apart from the occasional workout, does anyone use their machines for a modern day purpose?

My Apple II+ entertains my 1yo daughter (attached to a 55" LCD :) )

Wrote some "hit any key / draw a geometric shape" programs. They're a tad slow being written in APPLESOFT, but I just don't have time to do the full re-implementation in ASM.
(Handling the Apple II's funky hi-res screen in ASM is not fun to say the very least. :? )

Oddly enough, I was looking at an Apple II card that does chip testing on ebay... although the purpose of that would be somewhat circular in that it's primary role would be to assist in fixing Apple II's.
"dsakey" on trademe. Apple II's are my thing.
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Re: Anyone use a vintage computer for a task today?

Postby tezza on Mon Sep 05, 2011 3:51 pm

Gibsaw wrote:My Apple II+ entertains my 1yo daughter (attached to a 55" LCD :) )


Yikes! (*imagining how much fun a 1-year old would have pulling out cards and tasting them*)

Her Apple II+ use is supervised, I assume! :)
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Re: Anyone use a vintage computer for a task today?

Postby Gibsaw on Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:00 am

tezza wrote:
Gibsaw wrote:My Apple II+ entertains my 1yo daughter (attached to a 55" LCD :) )


Yikes! (*imagining how much fun a 1-year old would have pulling out cards and tasting them*)

Her Apple II+ use is supervised, I assume! :)


Yeah, but not for that reason. She is not aware that the top lid comes off. (...and long may it stay that way :) )

The more imminent danger is her falling over and banging her head on the corner of the coffee table. She's walking, but not perfectly stable yet.
"dsakey" on trademe. Apple II's are my thing.
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Re: Anyone use a vintage computer for a task today?

Postby pavery on Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:08 pm

My wife uses her TRS-80 Model 100 a lot. Whenever she returns from the shops, she enters her spending into it, and it pops back with a monthly total. While a spreadsheet could easily achieve this, I chose to write a Basic program that totals amounts held in a data file. This makes *using* "Budget" easy as you update your spending using the excellent in-built Text Editor, then run the basic prog occasionally to give a total.

Also yesterday she used her M100 to type up a 3-page hand-written article for a newsletter which I produce. This is for the Military Vehicle Collectors Club. The M100 from 1983 has an excellent keyboard - quality seldom seen on today's products.

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Re: Anyone use a vintage computer for a task today?

Postby Carcenomy on Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:39 pm

My CDTV is installed in my every day home theatre setup - it acts as the CD player, loungeroom clock and a quick way to jam out some Alien Breed if I feel the need :)

Other than that, the vintage machines live in their own room and aren't typically used on a daily basis - maybe once a month they'll get a run up.
Just the local Commodore hobo and middle-aged PC hoarder.
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Re: Anyone use a vintage computer for a task today?

Postby tezza on Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:04 pm

pavery wrote:Also yesterday she used her M100 to type up a 3-page hand-written article for a newsletter which I produce. This is for the Military Vehicle Collectors Club. The M100 from 1983 has an excellent keyboard - quality seldom seen on today's products.


I agree about the M100 keyboard Philip. It's great to type on. I only wish the cursor keys were in a diamond like the NEC 8201a. That's the only thing I don't like about editing on the M100.

Good to see vintage machines being used though. I know your Kaypro gets a workout now and again too. Actually the Kaypro II looks like it belongs in one of those jeeps of yours. :)
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Re: Anyone use a vintage computer for a task today?

Postby XOR on Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:38 am

I use an original DEC VT100 terminal most days. It's the primary console for a Perle terminal server that I use for managing some old Sun servers.

According to build sticker on the back it was manufactured in late 1979.

It still works perfectly.
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Re: Anyone use a vintage computer for a task today?

Postby WelshWizard on Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:08 am

the one 800xl was used for either control of lights or blowing eproms it went into some disuse due to the old style eproms not being needed and a $12 timming switch
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Re: Anyone use a vintage computer for a task today?

Postby lizardb0y on Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:22 am

I use a Sinclair Z88 for note taking with some regularity. Its 20 hour battery life on 4 x AA and one year standby, combined with a very usable full size keyboard and light weight, make it very good for this purpose. Unfortunately I can only get the serial transfer working at 9K6, but better than a punch in the face nonetheless.
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