What's the rarest or most unusual computer-related item do you own? [Tek 4132]

Paul Koning paulkoning at comcast.net
Tue Jan 17 11:36:46 CST 2017

> On Jan 17, 2017, at 12:13 PM, william degnan <billdegnan at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 17, 2017 at 12:09 PM, Chuck Guzis <cclist at sydex.com> wrote:
>> I find it curious that what seems to be collected in the minicomputer
>> area seems to be gear of major brands.
>> Does anyone collect Varian minis?...
> I think it's simply an availability thing ...I have manuals for a lot of
> the non DEC minis, have to settle for simH, where am I going to get a
> Varian?

Yes, they are bound to be harder to find.  But with decent manuals you can add them to SIMH.  It's not that hard.  Then it becomes a matter of finding software.

Things seem to be worse yet with non-US computers.  You see very little mention of those, and (apart from BESM) nothing in SIMH.  UK computers get mentioned once in a while, other parts of Europe even less.  As a former Dutchman, I've wanted to find Philips computer documentation -- it seems to be non-existent.  The first machine I did significant work on was a Philips PR8000; the grand total coverage of that machine on the WWW appears to be a one line entry in a book listing computers manufactured in the 1970s.  Similarly, I know Siemens made minicomputers, because I used a precision plotter driven by one of those -- a machine used around that time to draw postage stamp and paper money designs for the Dutch government.  Haven't seen that one either.

It may be that some of those computers aren't all that interesting, in the sense of not offering any unusual capabilities or architecture wrinkles.  But that's certainly not true for all of them; the PR8000, for example, has an approach to interrupts that's quite efficient and one I haven't seen since.


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