Xerox Alto on ebay (not mine!)

Tony Duell ard at p850ug1.demon.co.uk
Tue Oct 19 12:52:49 CDT 2010


> > Yep. The purpose of a computer is to 'compute' (whatever that may mean).
> > I try to get all my machines operationa, but I keep them as origianl as I
> > can. What I mean by that is that I replace the smallest part I can (chip
> > rather than PCN, for example), but I don't worry too much if the
> > rpelacement is not exactly the same as the original part (I'll replace a
> > 74xx with a 74LSxx if it'll work and I can't get the former). Of course I
> > keep =A0record of what I've done.
> 
> Good point.  My problem is that I know very little about the details
> of hardware.  I am a software guy, through and through, and while I

I often have the reverse problem. I am happy enough with a schematic and 
soldering iron, but trying to dowhat many here would consider to be 
trivial software-related tasks can be a major effort for me. But I 
generally find a work-around..

> > Indeed. Whike I generally keep the casaings on my machines (at least when
> > I am not usinfg them :-), _I_ am not very interested in the styling. Some
> > people woould want an HP2623 terminal for the rather odd styling, I'm
> > interested in it because of the little state machine to draw lines. And
> > thus my inteest comes from the intnerals, and they have to work to be
> > interesting.
> 
> Same here.  Styling is interesting (my kid was fascinated by the

I have no intetnion to belittle those who collect machiens because of 
their styling, all I will sway it that it's not _my_ primary interest. 
Becasue of my hardware interests, i find beauty in a well-designed bit of 
electronics, for example/

That aaid, I do like particularly unusual bits of mechanical design too. 
Like the HP9816 where all the PCBs apart from the PSU can be removed by 
undoing 2 quarter-trun fasteners nad removing 1 screw. 

> keyboard on my QX-10 because of the special function keys; he wondered
> why newer machines didn't have those things).

Err, don't they? What are the 'F1' to 'F12' keys on this PC keyboard, 
then? The 'Insert', 'Delete', 'Home', etc keys. The Windows-specific keys 
(which the keyboard driver here does nothing with, but they're still on 
this cheap keyboard)? 

If you mean very special and specific keys, I guess they rather limit the 
sort of software you can run, or at least which will make sensible use of 
the keyboard. 

-tony



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