Hackaday retro edition roundup

It’s time for another update chronicling the adventures and misadventures of getting really old computers to load our retro edition!

First up is [Andrew Hull] and his brilliant use of a Raspberry Pi to get an old Psion 5mx PDA on the Internet. The Raspi served as a wireless bridge, taking in Internet from a WiFi dongle and sending it back out via a serial port. Here’s a great guide for enabling PPPD on the Raspi, and giving just about anything with a serial port an Internet connection.

It may push the limits of being a retro submission, but [Glen]‘s use of a modem to get on the Internet calls to us like a siren song.

Did you know Corel made computers? Well, [Victor] has one, and it’s actually a pretty interesting machine. ARM processor, an actual hard drive, and dual Ethernet ports. It was built in the late 90s and the hard drive has since died, but [Victor] booted it into Red Hat over his network and loaded up our retro site.

Finally, we come to [Greg]‘s submission. He could have sent in a Mac SE/30 submission, but figured that was old hat (do you see one on there, [Greg]. No. And it’s the best computer Apple will ever make). Instead, he had an old Powerbook Duo 2300c with a Duo 230 screen lying around.

Powerbook Duos are pretty weird; they only had two ports – a single DIN-8 serial port and a dock connector. [Greg] had a Powerbook Duo dock that surprisingly had an Ethernet port. Third-party peripherals to the rescue, it seems. After plugging his Duo to his network and launching iCab, [Greg] was able to browse both the retro and main Hackaday editions. Picture Not bad for the smallest laptop Apple made before the Air.

Oh, [Greg] was also cool enough to write a tutorial for getting just about every Macintosh on the Internet. We’ve put that up on the retrocomputing guide portion of our retro site, and we’re always looking for new submissions.

You can check out the pics from all these submissions in a Web 2.0 WordPress gallery after the break, or head on over to the retro site and view them the way the gods of HTML intended.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


  1. Josh Malone says:

    I remember those Corel ARM boxes. Cool machines – very inexpensive if memory serves, but I don’t think they made very many.

  2. Finder says:

    Actually, Opera was available for the Psion 5MX. I think it even had Java support.

  3. rasz says:

    wait what? driver of external modem? Wow im old (or he is too young).

  4. Jim says:

    Brainstorming here…what if someone were to set up a BBS, upload JPGs of HaD pages, and then use an ancient machine to physically dial into the BBS and download and display the page images? Would that count?

  5. Mr Foo says:

    In what way is a powerbook duo dock having an ethernet port “surprising”? It was a standard feature, after all.

    • The Apple-branded ones didn’t have them.

      At least not the ones built for the 68k ones I’ve seen, although that weird ‘plug the computer into this box’ thing did have a nubus slot…

      • mr foo says:

        Yes they did. Admittedly it was an aaui port, so it didn’t look like an ethernet port and you needed a dongle to connect it, but all the duo docks had ethernet.

        Yes, I have one in front of me…

    • Greg says:

      Apple Duo MiniDocks don’t have them. The full size Duo Dock can have them but they are preposterously large. The only Duo “MiniDock” that has an Ethernet port is a eMachines EtherDock, which is not compatible with the Duo 2300c. It is better to hunt for a MiniDock or something with Ethernet because the Duos are practically useless without a dock.

      Otherwise, you can get one of those hard to find UltraDock 16sce models (the 16sc has a RJ11 jack) or a EtherDock. It is just like a Duo floppy micro dock except it has an Ethernet port. Haven’t seen many of those floating around.

  6. NewCommentor1283 says:

    maybe H.A.D. could serve-up a BBS access number for people that arent reading this right now lmao … cuz they cant yet read the http

    lol just kidding, seriously, i’d check it out!
    any chance of getting a TTY->BBS bridge so we can “browse” H.A.D. from a payphone with TTY keyboard??? lol that’d be SWEEEET

  7. andrewjhull says:

    Y’d think HAD could get my pic of the 5mx and the Pi the right way up, I’ve got a crick in my neck now.

    BTW the above link tells you how to set up the Pi as a wireless access point and/or wireless bridge, not set up pppd.

    If you want to set up pppd (and why would you not want to?!) start here. http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Leased-Line/pppd.html

  8. JJ says:

    ARG. To access http://retro.hackaday.com you need an HTTP 1.1 compliant browser. 1.0 browsers wont work due to the host header “retro.” in the URL.

    The site isn’t fully “retro” compatible!

    (I’ve mentioned this a few times before with no response)

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