Show: Retro Computers

Erich_H

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Just a calculator, not really a computer.
But back then, I think it was 1977, the thing was absurdly expensive.
And it still works.
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Yes. That is a computer, with some pretty useful built in algorithms! And it's programmable too. You can change the variables that the algorithms are using. Last, but not least: it's got the PC designation!
 

AJ68

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Any thoughts on this??? 😏

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Any guesses on what it might be???
 

AJ68

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One of these 1980s Sinclair ZX8x Homecomputers of british origin?
A Spectrum box, probably 48 K... Or a ZX81 box. Ecchh. Who cares? It's MINE!!!

All good guesses... but not correct! This is a Sinclair Scientific Calculator from 1974! 🤓

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Quoting from Wikipedia: "Significant modifications to the algorithms used meant that a chipset intended for a four-function calculator was able to process scientific functions, but at the cost of reduced speed and accuracy. Compared to contemporary scientific calculators, some functions were slow to execute, and others had limited accuracy or gave the wrong answer, but the cost of the Sinclair was a fraction of the cost of competing calculators."

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Sinclair used clever algorithms to run scientific operations on a chip with room for just 320 instructions. Constants, rather than being stored in the calculator, were printed on the case below the screen to save on the number of instructions used! For the same space saving reason it also uses RPN entry which is explained on the inside top of the case it came with!

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A little cleanup of the battery terminals and away we go! 🙂 It works just fine! It is really small so I added a lenscap for size comparisons!

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OldRex

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Well, it turns out I was not as diligent in my purging of past computing devices after all! Not all were mine, some were donated to the "museum"
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AJ68

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Well, it turns out I was not as diligent in my purging of past computing devices after all! Not all were mine, some were donated to the "museum"

That tends to happen sometimes... One forgets stuff in the haste of the purge! 😂

I just happened to stumble on this while looking for some things for @Erich_H!
A nice Sharp Elsi Mate EL-8131 from 1977-1978... working like a charm after some restoring!

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It's good not to be TOO diligent sometimes! 🤓
 

AJ68

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I recently visited @Erich_H in order to bring gifts and good tidings... Everything went well until he asked me if I had seen his TWO cats! I have only ever seen ONE cat! Even cuddled it and gave it treats! All that I have ever seen of the fabled "second cat" is a dark, fuzzy streak along the edges of the furniture with an excessively, inordinate amount of motion blur! 🤔

A while ago after a visit he emailed me and said that after I left, the cats had come out of hiding, first one and then, an hour and a half later, the second! After this latest visit he emailed me again and this time there were only 10 minutes between the apparision of the first and second cat! 😮

In order to prove his innocence and that he really does have two cats he gave me a calculator that I could use to try to extrapolate the probable length of time it would take before I would be able to see the second cat with my own eyes! 🤣

It was a really nice and minty fresh Hewlett Packard 48GX from 1993 with soft case!

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Popped some fresh batteries in and hey presto! Working! 😎

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He promised me that he in fact DID have two cats and has showed me pictures! I am not saying that he is lying and the pictures he has shown me were photoshopped but...
When I used the HP 48GX and tried to calculate the odds of ever seeing that second cat I got the following result! 🤓

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Not really sure how to interpret this... 🤪
 

Erich_H

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In our family it is the oldest brother who bakes the cookies! :whistling:
And I am the younger one!
Our family is not a democracy.
The elder is in absolute command.
His orders must be obeyed at all cost.

This includes, but is not limited to, purchase, or manufacture of, and delivery, of suitable amounts of delicious cookies 🍪 ...
 
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cjoliprsf

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I doubt you can go more retro than this one....

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And it still works perfectly without having to change the batteries.
 
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BosseBe

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Our family is not a democracy.
The elder is in absolute command.
His orders must be obeyed at all cost.

This includes, but is not limited to, purchase, or manufacture of, and delivery, of suitable amounts of delicious cookies 🍪 ...
So another example of an elder brother with delusions of grandeur!
We younger ones know that the elder ones are often wrong and don't have a firm grasp on reality!
But that is OK, we will not abandon them!
We will let them have their delusions and just nod and agree to get along! 😎
They are after all our brothers and trying to change them is futile!
 

Erich_H

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So another example of an elder brother with delusions of grandeur!
We younger ones know that the elder ones are often wrong and don't have a firm grasp on reality!
But that is OK, we will not abandon them!
We will let them have their delusions and just nod and agree to get along! 😎
They are after all our brothers and trying to change them is futile!
I'm suspecting you are correct about the nod and agree syndrome. Oftentimes @AJ68 just says yes to my very reasonable demands, whereupon this happens: NOTHING. But trust me: Almighty God will punish you, eventually.
 

AJ68

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Another little batch of "unpurged" calculators as @OldRex so eloquently put it! 🤪

This time around it is the Casio family that take their turn in the spotlight...

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From left to right there is the Casio FX-82 that came out in the early 1980's, closely followed by the Casio FX-180P that also came out in the early 1980's!
Last, but certainly not least, is the Casio FX-3900P from the early 1990's... This is another gift from @Erich_H that now has a proud place in the collection!
 

AJ68

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Another one of the ongoing projects is finally done! 😁 This one is a Microbee 128 computer from 1983 and it is really interesting to me personally for a number of reasons!

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The Microbee computer was made in Australia by Applied Technologies, first as a kit, then as a prebuilt computer in various models! It was of course very popular in Australia but it also, for different reasons, found some love, on the opposite side of the globe, here in Scandinavia!

After the success of the Swedish Luxor ABC-80 computer in the ongoing computer literacy project, at the time, to put computers in every school, that started in 1980, the Swedish school board decided to look at the next generation of requirements of a new computer for the schools!

This revision started in late 1982 and the systems being looked at included the Swedish Luxor ABC-800 and Facit DTC computers that in 1983 were selected as the computers to recommend for higher education! For lower levels of education, however, the school board found the Microbee to be just what they wanted. This was a fairly powerful system that more importantly allowed cheaper access to more standard disk based software than the ABC-80 could offer!

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The dual diskdrive was using more standard drives and controllers than the ABC drives and the expansion card to allow the use of diskdrives was mounted in the computer itself instead of in an expansion box as the ABC-80 required!

The Microbee 128 used a motherboard in a pretty standard fashion.

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On top of that you could put one of a few different expansion boards, known as the core-board, which in my case is the disk controller board! Other core-boards included a BASIC board with battery backed up memory!

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Since this system used more standard drives and controller circuitry, than the often bespoke solutions that the Luxor computers used, it also lent itself perfectly to running more standard software as well!

This was, at the time, one of the cheapest ways to run CP/M on a reasonably well priced computer! And the computer I have here is the same one that I got to use CP/M 2.2 on for the very first time back in 1983! It needed a lot of love to get back to working order, mainly renovating the disk unit and the keyboard both mechanically and electronically... But now it works!!! 🤓

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Also included in the photo is some additional amber screen porn... 🤪

The version of CP/M that was supplied with the Microbee computers included a "graphical" user interface! In the case of the version sent to us up here in Sweden it also included an executable named ABC80.COM that, when run, emulated ABC-80 BASIC so that you could use your old software on your new computer! 🤓

In the end, however, the Swedish school board sadly decided to end the Microbee pilot project in favour of another competing computer project from the Swedish company Telenova called COMPIS (COMPuter In School) in 1984!
 

OldRex

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Wow! What a trip down memory lane that was. Applied Technologies was a local haunt for me in the late 70's early 80's. I lusted after a Microbee back then, but was a poor Uni Student working on becoming a not-so-poor uni-student. I never ended up buying one of these but i spent a chunk of time in-store playing with one. I eventually bought a gen-1 Mac in late 1984 which I ended up cracking open and doing a memory upgrade on. I also built up a CP/M card for my girlfriends (now wife) Apple II. Love these journeys! Thank you.
 

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