Presenting the Univac

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Nothing much changes, does it? With the famous Univac, the poor old programmer — even though he’s described as the most skilled member of the team (far more so, obviously, than a mere ‘Unitypist’) — still looks like a soulless drudge. There are moments in this video when you have to recalibrate. “Here’s the brain,” the narrator says, the (admittedly… Read more »

The dream machine

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My More Significant Other (MSO) sometimes has trouble sleeping. She’ll wake in the night and can’t drift off again. So she bought a hypnotherapy recording and a headband/blindfold thing with built-in headphones. And she played the recording on her iPod Nano that some fantastically thoughtful husband once bought her. There was a problem with that set-up, though. Getting the iPod… 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

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. A couple of years ago or so I installed OpenVMS on a Raspberry Pi, running on… 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 »

The search for the perfect keyboard

Keyboards are very person things. What suits one person won’t suit another. And I’m very, very picky. After 35 years of using computers, I know what I like, and what I like is what I’m typing on right now. I’ve always been a fan of keyboards with a positive click. The classic IBM keyboard with a buckling spring was my idea… 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 »

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 »

Waking up with an RPi – pt.5: summing up

  The dawn clock is working well. To recap, here’s how it works: And here’s a basic description of how it works (more info & functions in previous posts): One hour before alarm time (configurable), the first LED is switched on. Subsequent LEDs are switched on at the rate of one each minute. To simulate dawn, the first 8 LEDs are… Read more »