Video clips (was Re: modern serial terminal)
jeffj at panix.com
Mon Nov 12 00:13:34 CST 2007
replying to ard at p850ug1.demon.co.uk (Tony Duell)
Subject: Re: Video clips (was Re: modern serial terminal)
Message-ID: <m1IrKbM-000J3RC at p850ug1>
> I am not a 'normal' computer collector, if such a thing even exists.
> For one thing I am primarily interested in the hardware design
> (if I can get a machine running properly so that it boots the normal OS,
> or runs the ROM software, or..., then I tend to lose interest in it).
> I am interested in the electronics/engineering aspects,
> the fact that the devices happen to be programmable computers is secondary to this.
I think I'm in that camp too.
I adored pulling apart old electronics to see the immense
worksmanchip and craftsmanship required just for the assembly.
Old military stuff was designed for reliability, maintenance,
repairability, upgrade/replacement, etc.
Even just verifying in-spec operation ment test points,
built-in meters, test lamps, status indicators, etc.
Things that are TOALLY MISSING from today's equipment.
Will I ever build anything that magnificent by myself?
Unlikely, but I can still aim high.
[a quick rant: I've been having problems with my cable internet.
I knew it was the modem by watching the status leds as it kept rebooting.
How's anyone to diagnose things with only a power LED?
Yea, it's sure great to buy 500+ gig hard drives for $100
but without a REAL activity LED,
how am I to assure what drive is active?
Some drives used to even blink diagnostics on their LED.
New PCs are sure fast but without activity LEDs,
how is one to isolate faults?
That's a far cry from the mainframes
with diagnostic LEDs on each card or part for fault isolation
Yea, remote diagnostics and SMART give more details
but after all that, someone still has to touch the hardware!]
> This has several implications. The first, which I think is on-topic,
> is that I am equally interested in peripherals as CPUs.
> I want to run my PDP11 with RK05s and RK07s and RL02s, and...
> Not an IDE drive pretending to be the above.
> The design of the servo system in an RK07
> is every bit as interesting to me as the processor.
I both agree and disagree.
Yes, it's amazing seeing things in motion
(particulalry linear motors) and motion control systems
where you can SEE the feedback sensors and signals
(not just a black-blob of a DSP doing all the work).
BUT - when those drives were in common use,
there was a support infrastructure.
You could buy new disks and the cleaning kits
and hire people to clean and check the disks and drives
for "preventive maintenance".
The drudgery of doing all that maintenance myself
made me give up many such projects of running old equipment :-(
-- Jeff Jonas
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