Origin of the term minicomputer (was Re: PDP-1 as minicomputer

Tony Duell ard at p850ug1.demon.co.uk
Mon Aug 23 14:53:11 CDT 2010

> On 2010 Aug 23, at 11:10 AM, Tony Duell wrote:
> >>>> Looks like a quite fascinating machine!  I'd love to try lunar 
> >>>> lander on
> >>>> one.
> >>>
> >>> I don't rememebr a lunar lander for it (there's a very famous one 
> >>> for the
> >>> DEC GT40 terminal...), but anyway.
> >>>
> >> The only reason I think there is one is that the web site page at
> >
> > Oh, there quite probably was. The HP9830 is not a 'natural' for this 
> > sort
> > of thing because there was no graphical output as standard. I suppose 
> > you
> > could link up an HP1350 graphics translator (HPIB was available for the
> > 9830 -- in fact I think it was the first desktop machine to have that
> > interface), but it wasn't a commonly-done thing.
> The thermal line printer was a pretty standard piece of equipment with 

Indeed it was. It was the HP9866 (a -A, which is what I have was 
upper-case only, a -B could do lower case as well). It has a 7 bit 
parallel internface similar in concept to the Centronics interface but on 
a 19-pin Mil-spec connector (I forget the type number). There were 
interaces for this printer available for many HP machines (heck, it could 
even be used with the 68K-based HP9000/200 series some 10 years later), 
but the HP9830 had a built-in interface for it (possibly becasue there 
was no built-in printer on this machine). The interface is a few logic 
chips on the top of the I/O backplane, BTW.

The printer will sit on top of the 9830, and looks like part of the machine.

> the 9830, and it was a quick printer. One could do character-based 
> graphics with it.

But AFAIK no version of the 9866 allowed dot graphics (in fact I think 
that would be impossible, as you suggest the 9866 had a fixed printhead 
with some 400 heater elements (5 dot for each of 80 characters) and they 
were not evenly spaced (to provide gaps between the characters).

Incidetnally, if anyone has one of these printers, thermal fax paper 
works fine in them.


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