PDP-8/e and terminals in West Sussex, UK

Jules Richardson jules.richardson99 at gmail.com
Thu Nov 6 07:47:11 CST 2008

Antonio Carlini wrote:
> Jules Richardson wrote:
>> Interesting question. Are we limited to production machines? For me,
>> prototypes actually seem to hold more interest - it's fascinating to
>> see how a prototype evolved into a final product (or how bits of it
>> were re-used in other products), or to see from the various hardware
>> hacks which bits the designers were having trouble making work.
> Is that just prototypes that made it out of the door in some form
> or other or any prototypes at all, including cancelled projects?

Oh, anything. Cancelled projects are just as fascinating - it's really 
interesting seeing where the designers were going in their thinking at a 
particular moment in time.

> I have various
> boards that were various projects that went nowehere. I have even
> more documents for project that never got as far as hardware!

Me too - and there's a subset there in terms of clone projects by third-party 
companies which were then pounced on by legal departments; some of those can 
be rather interesting (and in some cases the clones never got as far as being 
announced / marketed, so google etc. doesn't even turn up any evidence that 
they existed, even though in some cases they made it to real hardware).

Scouring any 'internal' media salvaged from some of these companies can 
produce a real goldmine of information which otherwise would end up being 
forgotten about.

> the first pass cards had all the bits on them (although
> not all necessarily glued on the right way by the factory!). 

Heh. I've seen some boards where they've even done things like make a 50-way 
IDC socket out of bits of two other sockets - you can just imagine hardware 
guys working late into the night to get something running for a demo the next 
day, and having to lash something up because they didn't have the right part :-)

> Perhaps protos that don't quite make it out of the door ("the market has
> moved on, this'll never sell") are more interesting.

Yep, that too. It's hard to make such items 'useful' of course, they're more 
for curiosity value than anything - but as I hinted at earlier, I suspect the 
majority of us actually run very little of what's in our collections anyway.



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