Plus Too

Anything to do with New Zealand Classic or Vintage Computing not covered in the other forums

Plus Too

Postby gavo on Sat Oct 29, 2011 6:50 pm

In support (somewhat) of my rant over in the Trademe forum - check this out http://www.bigmessowires.com/plus-too/

I mean, how cool is that!! What excites me the most however is the prospect that there might one day be a hardware based floppy emulator for the original compact Macs. That would be useful (for the next 10 or so years anyway).

There are some very smart people in the world.
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Re: Plus Too

Postby tezza on Sat Oct 29, 2011 9:49 pm

I am in awe of people that can make such things.

That being said, hardware emulation like the Plus Too doesn't excite me. I guess because while it takes pains to replicate the hardware processes to run the software it doesn't look or feel like the original machine. It uses a PS/2 keyboard and a standard screen (I note that the aim to to add ports for the original Mac keyboard and mouse though).
As a vintage experience, does it add much more than a software emulator?

On the other hand, replicas that re-create the look and feel as well as run the software (I'm thinking of the Altair replicates here) are a different kettle of fish. Or hardware emulators you can sneak in an old case and screen to replace the mainboard. The machines still look and feel authentic even though the stuff hidden inside is not.

Other hardware things going on which I love to see are things like virtual disk drives. My X-profile in one of my Lisas is one. It's hidden away where the Widget drive would be, so the machine still looks the same (I only wish they had added drive sound effects). The PetDisk is another. It sits behind the PET so you wouldn't even know it's there. I guess the Mac drive Gavin mentioned is another, and there are many other devices out there. Drives are the hardest pieces of vintage kit to keep alive and it's great to see these storage options being produced.
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Re: Plus Too

Postby gavo on Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:37 am

tezza wrote:As a vintage experience, does it add much more than a software emulator?

Thats an interesting point. My take on it is that these (with the exception of things like the Replica 1 - Apple 1 replica) are essentially just software emulators using modern dedicated hardware for it (which in my mind is no less impressive btw!). I prefer the original hardware, but would be happy with something like this as an alternative once the original becomes unobtainable (either because it costs too much, or there are simply none left).

tezza wrote:On the other hand, replicas that re-create the look and feel as well as run the software (I'm thinking of the Altair replicates here) are a different kettle of fish. Or hardware emulators you can sneak in an old case and screen to replace the mainboard. The machines still look and feel authentic even though the stuff hidden inside is not.

I suppose once you have the hardware emulation sorted out, this becomes more achievable - a good example would probably be vintage arcade machines. You can buy brand new units that look excatly like they did back in the 80's with all the decals and cabinet features of the originals, but they are manufactured brand new today. Internally they contain emulators to run the original game. This is something I'm also happy with.

Its a murky line I admit.
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Re: Plus Too

Postby Gibsaw on Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:51 am

gavo wrote: I prefer the original hardware, but would be happy with something like this as an alternative once the original becomes unobtainable (either because it costs too much, or there are simply none left).

I can admire these FPGA enthusiasts and they certainly have produced some very faithful hardware reproductions that are even more accurate than the emulators... and have new features sitting around the periphery. (like VGA support and PS/2 Keyboards.)

I'm inclined to say that if you go too far trying to make it a modern machine, then just use a modern machine.

gavo wrote:Its a murky line I admit.
Indeed... I can't help but feel that for certain machines (like the Apple I) if you're going to go to that level of effort to reproduce the original, I'd rather see Mike Willegal's work (Mimeo I) than Vince Briels.
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Re: Plus Too

Postby lizardb0y on Sun Oct 30, 2011 6:44 pm

Gibsaw wrote:Indeed... I can't help but feel that for certain machines (like the Apple I) if you're going to go to that level of effort to reproduce the original, I'd rather see Mike Willegal's work (Mimeo I) than Vince Briels.


The Mimeo 1 is an incredibly accurate replica. (http://www.willegal.net/appleii/apple1.htm)

I did buy Vince Briel's 8800micro kit (http://www.brielcomputers.com/wordpress/?cat=11) because it will reproduce the experience of using the Altair 8800 without costing a fortune. I was very keen on Grant Stockley's kit (http://www.altairkit.com/), but it was too expensive for me, and all sold out anyway. I'd pass on either of them if I could get a real one though.
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