Category Archives: Retro computing

So many adventures, all the same

My first contact with Adventure – or Colossal Cave, if you will – was in 1984. I was working on the launch of a magazine for MSX computer users and, to help things along, our innocent publisher had fixed us up with a Telecom Gold account. Aside from providing us with an email account, this also gave us access to online databases… Read more »

Something useful

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If you’re into retro computing, or building stuff based on SBCs such as the Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone, you’ll be familiar with a certain refrain from your significant other and even those you consider your friends. They’ll look at your latest project — perhaps a restoration of a 1980s home micro, or a simulation of a 1960s mini computer, or something… Read more »

Networking VAX OpenVMS on SIMH & the Raspberry Pi

[Update 10/03/2017: some broken links were fixed] We’ve already had some fun getting a VAX up and running with OpenVMS under SIMH on a Raspberry Pi. And boy, what a mouthful that is. I’m building my installation on my lovely PiDP just because it seems appropriately retro. I mentioned at the time that the next step would be getting networking… Read more »

SIMH on the Raspberry Pi

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Installing the software for the PiDP, Oscar Vermeulen’s re-imagining of the PDP-8/I, couldn’t be easier. But that wasn’t going to stop me making life harder for myself. I mean, why do we play with machines like this? It’s to learn, to explore, to discover, to take things apart and occasionally to break them. I haven’t done that last one yet,… Read more »

Computing the ’60s – Raspberry Pi style

As soon as I heard of the PiDP I knew I would have to have one. Created by Oscar Vermeulen, whose KIM Uno kit I’d previously bought, it’s a brilliant recreation of a PDP-8/I using SIMH running on a Raspberry Pi. What’s more, it has loads of blinkenlights. So why did the kit sit in my office for eight months… Read more »

VAX OpenVMS on the Raspberry Pi

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The answer to the question you’re dying to ask is, ‘why not?’. One of the reasons I bought the PiDP kit is that I wanted to learn a little more about the computing of yore, when programmers wore starched white shirts and pocket protectors. [UDPDATE: 15/08/2019 – Not everything on the Internet lasts forever. I’ve been told some of the… Read more »

Forward to the past

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This photo is just a teaser for a couple of forthcoming blog posts. Both of these are, in effect, glorified cases for the Raspberry Pi. And I know what you’re thinking … “kinda big, ain’t they?”. On top is the PiDP – Oscar Vermeulen’s recreation of a PDP-8/I. In this picture it’s in its not-quite-finished state. Below is a 1960… Read more »

CP/M on the Beeb

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Well, not exactly on the Beeb – more like via the Beeb. Ever since I built my copy of Grant Searle’s Multicomp I’ve had a hankering to hook it up to my BBC Master. There’s really no good reason to do this. The Zolastar 2000 (as I inexplicably called it) has perfectly good keyboard and VGA interfaces. And yet… Maybe it’s because… Read more »

Connecting it all together

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Someone in a BBC Micro community on Google+ asked members to post pictures of their setups. So I quickly snapped this. There’s quite a lot going on in there – at least, there will be when I get the time to finish it. Alongside the BBC Master Turbo is a single 3.5in FDD and the TurboMMC storage device that I… Read more »

PiDP: The next project

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Well, this is exciting. My PiDP kit has just arrived from Oscar Vermeulen. I couldn’t resist pealing back the protective cover on the acrylic front panel. It looks fantastic – and will be so much better when it has all the blinkenlights. I haven’t decided yet whether I will use one of the Raspberry Pi A boards I have lying… Read more »

Out on the trailing edge…

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I was raised in an eight-bit era. My first computer was a Sinclair Spectrum, but I hated the dead-flesh keys and the clumsy method of editing Basic programs. So I upgraded quickly to a BBC Micro (first B, then Master). But while I cut my teeth on Z80- and 6502-based micros, there’s lots I missed out on – stuff I… Read more »

Return to the Master

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So I bought an Acorn BBC Master Turbo… Again. My introduction to computing – my gateway drug, if you will – was a Sinclair Spectrum 48K. I ordered one at the time of launch and then waited. And waited. And eventually a friend sold me his (he’d been earlier in the queue) and I cancelled my order. He’d decided the… Read more »