Thursday, December 30, 2010

What is it?

I uncovered this while sorting out all the Apple // stuff.  It has no other port on it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Operation: Defrag

It's time to get the house in order. There's the basement, the garage, the office, the office closet. I want to stack like with like - a shelf of Kaypros, a shelf of DEC stuff, a shelf (or three) for Commodore. I'm not sure, short of inventorying everything (not going to happen until it's organized) and mapping it all out in Visio first, if this plan will work. So I will employ a more haphazard algorithm, one common to many human endeavors: I'll just start doing it, hope for the best and make it up as I go.

What can I store safely out in the garage? It will be subject to some great temperature swings (it probably doesn't get more than a couple degrees off the house heat) but it's mainly dry. I've had terminals, desktops, routers, etc out there for couple years with no visible damage. I guess the easy answer is "the cheap stuff." So I'll be moving the SOL-20, etc inside...

Pictures when it's all done? Sure. But it will never be done!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

New Acquisition: Pravetz 82

I've been looking for one of these for about a year now. I've got a contact (umm, eBay seller) in Bulgaria who qualifies as about 20% of the classiccmp scene over there. First he sent me a Pravetz 8M, a dual CPU machine that I exhibited at VCF-MW this year. But this is the beast I was after: the first of the Pravetz line, their clone of the Apple //+.

The build quality is definitely a step behind the 8M. The plastic is odd: flexible yet brittle and with a weird texture (which I tried to show in the pics.) The system ROMs are real Soviet chips, which I did not find in the 8M (I have yet to photograph that one in detail.) The PSU is downright scary and the input current is not switchable. The 8M's PSU appears to be a clone of the ones Apple used. This one is definitely home-grown. I have a voltage converter from Fry's which should do the job.

At VCF I used Apple-branded drives and an Apple Disk ][ controller in the 8M. This time I have real Bulgarian disk controllers (he was kind enough to send two this time to make up for the lack of one last time) and floppy drives. The drives don't seem to have been made under the Pravetz label. Instead they are marked with the "Kocho Tsvetarov" name, which appears to be some sort of electronics factory.

Here's a whole gallery of pics I took last night. And here's an interesting document: a US Gov (financed, at least) report on Eastern Bloc tech circa 1984. I found it when googling the name on the back of the floppy drives I got with the Pravetz 82. I OCR'd it and rehosted it in case it goes away.

Friday, October 29, 2010

SA600 Update

Back on Monday I attacked the front door panel to the SA600 rack with some cleaner, some CLR and some naval jelly. Amazing stuff! I don't think I'll even repaint it now (since I'll never get the color matched right.) Have a look at the before-and-after.

Next is getting that rear cable manager and side panels on.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Random Project

I'm keeping a gmail task list of projects I could be/should be working on, but the usual "decision paralysis" sets in once it grows larger than five or so items (I think it's up to about 20 now.) So I just chose one at random and spent a bit of time on it tonight: re-assembling the DEC SA600 rack I picked up last weekend in Madison, WI. It came with two RA90 (SDI interface, 1.2gb - in 1989!) drives, which weigh about 50-60lbs each, and judging from the blank plates in the front panel, it probably held six at one time. It came from UWM, so who knows what data might lurk on those platters...

I bent the panel mounts getting the rack in and out of the truck but I've got them more-or-less straight now. I put a side panel on and she's looking pretty sweet. The major job that needs doing now is addressing the rust on the bottom third of the front panel. A trip to Home Depot is in my future, and a purchase of harsh steel-wool and some Rust-o-leum primer. Then I have to figure out how to match that distinctive DEC beige so I can re-paint the panel. I'd settle for a near-match if it weren't for the painted logo on the panel - if I fail to mask that perfectly (and I will,) I'll have a section of original paint around it that will be an obvious mismatch to the repainted sections.

Quite a bit of work for something I'll likely end up giving away, or worse :(

Monday, September 20, 2010

Kick Start This Thing

I'd like to start posting here again. I'm thinking about blogging some tech projects. I'm surrounded my infinite things to work on, so it might provide some focus and motivation, not to mention some entertainment, to record my work. Now, what to do first.........

Meanwhile, VCF-MW was a blast. I learned a few things about organizing a show and just how much stuff I can't do at the same time. I gained a lot of ideas about how to fine-tune things for next year. I've been collecting attendees' photo galleries on the main page:

There's some really great stuff there. Check them all out.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hacked a VoIP Router

Picked up a Linksys WRTP54G at Goodwill tonight for $20. It was in the box and even in plastic, but had clearly been used before. It had a WEP key configured for wireless. It's also missing the antenna, but I don't plan to use it for wireless anyway.

Unlike the Vonage box I got a few months ago and tried fruitlessly to open up, I actually found a procedure that worked for this device. Here it is for future reference: