Saturday, November 8, 2008


Closest thing we have in the Midwest to a Weird Stuff.

** UPDATE **

The Haul:

IBM Model M "Industrial" version (grey color)

SQ312RD drive/SQ200 cartridge - an MFM Syquest drive? Yes!

5.25" Bernoulli drive (SCSI)

50' (?) DEC AUI network cable and a smaller one

A bunch of 8" floppy disks, some 3M and some individually packaged pre-formatted ones.

Some odd IBM serial cables with huge molded connectors

Ameritech Cellular sales tape (Wisconsin market)

3x IBM CGA video cards

Some kind of ISA Twinax card (terminal emulator for System/36? network?)

Not a bad haul and better than most hamfests I've been to in the last five years. Of course, none of their stock will be replenished any time soon, so it's kind of a one-time deal.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Viking Metal!

Dragons!  Swords!  Blood!  Snow!  Beer horns!

Amon Amarth at House of Blues tonight. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

ECCC 2008 Photos

My camera was not on duty due to forgotten batteries, so I only snapped a few pics with the Blackberry:

Mike Lee has a few more here.

Also, note the new link in the roll at right - I've started cataloging my hardware collection again. It's a sizable list as of tonight, and nowhere near done.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Kids: Stay in School!

This is proof that education does pay off:

I knew the fair lady scientist Ms Nekaris mentioned in the article when she was in Chicago in the mid 1990s. When she left the area we exchanged letters when she was doing her "cute little monkey" research in India, after which we lost touch. Now look where she turns up, playing Scully to some heroic Cryptozoologist's Mulder.

Anna, if you're out there somewhere, I couldn't be more proud.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Going soft

So I was rooting around the storage unit today and I decide to open a plastic bin of phones I received in a large lot last year and never sorted through. Immediately I'm hit by a foul, stale smell, sort of like a plastics factory full of old socks. I dig around in the bin and find this phone:
I was never certain whether I had any soft-plastic 500s in my horde, but there isn't much doubt with this one. The texture of the case in noticeably different, almost rubbery. The sound made when the handset meets the cradle is a dull tap rather than the sharp plastic clack of the newer plastic. And of course, there's the smell. I had always read about that, and I don't know how many of my phones I stuck up to my nose trying to detect it :) But with this piece there is no need to get that close!

Now, as for the color...I'm trying to determine if it is "light beige," "dark/rose beige" or perhaps something else. I don't think my photo (taken on a Blackberry PDA in clouded sunlight) is accurate color-wise. To my eye, I'd call it a tan or "butterscotch" color. It's definitely not Grey. Of course, the original color is likely faded and darkened with time and dirt.

Update: Thanks to the good folks on the TCI list, we have determined that it is a "Dark Beige," sometimes known as Rose Beige, also known as color code 55.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ready for Action

Moto Guzzi in army green with bolted-on ammo cans.  Mods vs. Rockers bike show, Lincoln Ave., Chicago.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Lego Transformer

At Downtown Disney.  It's made of regular Legos to look like it's made of giant Legos.  Dual layers of cool!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Goin' Down South

Time for more work-sponsored travel! I'm off in the morning for adventure in sunny (!) Orlando, Flordia, staying at the big corporate resort, doing big corporate things. Won't be much time for treasure-hunting down there, but as always I'll report any notable events.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Yes, it fit.

Why yes, that *is* a big piece of plywood with a 1A2 key system and a bunch of 66 blocks on it. Another trip to a local treasure horde. Amongst the haul: DEC VT05 terminal, a couple Columbia portable PCs with no drives, a very minty first edition, possible first printing of Ted Nelson's "Computer Lib" (1974,) some interesting old DEC sales lit and programming guides, and no small number of splinters in my hand from carrying the above board.

Now that it's in the car (I had help,) I'm not sure how to get it out.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday, May 4, 2008

After the 'fest

Sunburned neck, aching feet, another fine Spring morning spent outdoors. Getting up earlier than I do most work days, I traveled 60+ miles each way to Sandwich, IL for another round of the junk-hunt. Today's haul:

- Kaypro 1 computer (actually their last machine, not their first)
- Informer terminal
- 1940s-era Western Electric 302 no-dial phone in (an) original box (not sure it belongs to this phone)
- Rotary Princess phone in *black*
- A bunch of XLR cables
- A bunch of random Mac and phone cables and parts
- A couple handy parts boxes with a lot of unknown stuff in them
- Western Digital WDXT-GEN2 Plus ISA MFM hard drive controller in-box
- Radio Shack CPA-1000 dialed number recorder
- Three new Black and Decker tool batteries that I'll take apart for some project
- I'm sure there was some other stuff, but my feet hurt and I can't see the rest of the pile from here

At the hamfest

The fairgrounds at Sandwich, IL

Monday, April 28, 2008

Weekend Haul

Nearly everything acquired over the weekend at VCF Midwest 4.0:

- Commodore Pet 4016 Computer
- Commodore Model 8050 Dual Drive Floppy Disk
- Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 1 Computer and Realistic cassette drive w/cables in "serious business" travel case.
- Matching Radio Shack TRS-80 Video Display also in travel case (from a different vendor than the CPU.)
- TRS-80 Mini Disk 5.25" external floppy (with dust cover!)
- TRS-80 Line Printer II (not really a line printer :( )
- Wang 360 Calculator central processor
- 3 Wang 360KT Calculator terminals (to go with a 300 terminal I already had)
- An Anderson Jacobsen acoustic modem!
- Not pictured: a big ol' tub of MFM hard drives and Hard Cards, an HP plotter transparency kit, some HP plotter paper (shrinkwrapped,) a bunch of RS/Tandy catalogs and other TRS-80 literature

All in all an excellent haul, though the Wang setup stands out as a "never thought I'd find one" piece. I will update if/when I get it working!

Here's a link to a short video I made of Pat's Vax 11/780.
And here's one to a Flickr photoset.

Oh, and there's this, too:


Friday, April 25, 2008


Just south of IN-24, which was the road to grandma's many years back. Just over the edge of that wacky staggered time zone.

Back on the road

Left work 15:45, got to Lansing meet-up 17:30. Leaving now in heavy rain for Purdue.


Just sittin' around in Lansing, waiting to move on.

Prepping to go

A few hours of work left (less if I can sneak away) and I'm off to West Lafayette, IN again for VCF Midwest. Won't be showing any gear this time - no time to prep and I wasn't even sure I was going until yesterday. But photos and reports from the scene will be filed!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sunday, January 27, 2008

And here it is

Dec half-rack containing Micro PDP-11/73 and TS05 tape drive. On top is a bonus: a DEC VT05 terminal, about 15 years older than the equipment below it. I'm afraid to turn it on, lest it smoke and never live again. The PDP I hope to test out later today.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ah crap

I just won my first[1] PDP-11 on ebay. It's a Micro 11/73 in the DEC half-rack with the TS05 9-track tape drive. Great. Another "first-floor only" machine. Where am I going to put this thing? On the other hand, it's a PDP-11, and that's pretty cool. Now I have to recruit some help to get it going.

[1] Except for the three Micro-11s I had in my old apartment and gave away because they were heavy. But we won't talk about that.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Thanks, Craigslist!

All in-box from the original owner. I don't yet have an external 3.5" disk (which I should be able to use to read Pro-dos formatted disks written on an old Macintosh,) but I do have one with my //gs. Will it work?