8-bitters and multi-whatever
ethan.dicks at gmail.com
Wed Sep 12 02:02:57 CDT 2007
On 9/11/07, Allison <ajp166 at bellatlantic.net> wrote:
> There were a few simple schemes but excluding myself how many hobbiests
> back then had two or more systems?
In 1982, the year you quoted for those Arcnet networks, at age 16, I
had 4 systems, a PET, a C-64, a Cosmac Elf, and a PDP-8/L (that I was
trying to repair - took until 1984, when I finally tracked down a
printset), but I'll grant you that at the time, the number of folks
that had multiple systems were probably dwarfed by the number of folks
who had only one. Of those, due to minimal I/O and/or functionality,
only the PET and the C-64 were "real" systems.
Since I couldn't afford an IEEE-488 disk drive, rather than just move
files back and forth on tape, basing it upon the cable and software
from a contemporary "Byte" magazine, I fabricated my own
nybble-with-handshake cable between the user ports of the PET and the
C-64, and moved stuff from one to the other over that. I might have
used serial, if I'd had an ACIA-based port for my PET (there were a
couple that sat in an expansion ROM socket), or if I'd understood more
about the nature of serial comms and crufted up my own bit-banging
routines for the PET (the C-64 had that in ROM already). I understood
parallel communications, so a nybble at a time it was.
Later, around 1983, when I picked up a VIC-20 on clearance for around
$70, I would certainly would have liked to have had a Commodore
network (based around the user port, most likely), but was unaware of
anything I could build for myself, and certainly couldn't afford any
of the "disk sharing" hardware I'd seen advertised to share PET disks
amongst multiple machines.
It took me a few more years to learn enough about serial comms and
computer networking to be able to roll my own hardware and/or
software, but working for a serial comms networking company had a lot
to do with that. I would have loved to have been able to buy or build
something inexpensive, no matter how slow, but even a multi-serial
solution would have strained my high-school budget, as I presume it
would have strained most hobbyists' budgets, or perhaps home
networking would have gotten rolling before the days of Arcnet.
I think the first network I had any hands-on experience with was
AppleTalk/LocalTalk, when I helped my mother with a Corvus disk drive
and a room full of 512K Macs, just before she started her own business
(fortunately, by the time she did, she could afford a 20MB drive per
CPU, so the network was for printing only).
AppleTalk was a great step forward for home networking. It's a shame
that other vendors didn't follow in Apple's footsteps for many years.
I think I had an Amiga for four or five years before I attempted to
even do any serial networking (using DNet). It was well after 1990
before I was able to stick an Amiga on an Ethernet network, and that
was with a $300 card! (there was a Zorro Arcnet card - the A2060, but
I knew I wasn't going to bother with Arcnet by that time).
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