Hackaday retro edition roundup

Retro

The Hackaday retro edition hasn’t been updated in a while, and for that I am very sorry. Still, digging through my email reveals quite a lot of very cool retro computers that were able to load the retro edition over the Internet, and it would be a terrible shame to let these awesome submissions die in my inbox. Without further adieu, here are the best retro computers that have been sent in over the last few months:

[Scott] got his Mac SE to load up the retro edition. This was a chore; after getting a serial connection from his SE to the outside world, [Scott] realized he didn’t have a browser on his retro mac. 800k drives are a pain, it seems. He eventually got everything running in a terminal session, and the retro edition loaded beautifully.

How about another Mac? This one is [Raymond]‘s Mac II, the first not-all-in-one Macintosh. NuBus Ethernet card, Netscape 2.02, and 26 years of history behind this machine.

Here’s a weird one: it’s a Siemens interactive display originally used for a building management display. It has a 10 inch touch screen display at 640×480 resolution and runs Windows CE 5.0. After fiddling with some files, [Nick] managed to get the networking running on this machine and tried to load Google. Anyone who has played around with the class of machines we seen for retro submissions knows what happened next (nothing), but luckily [Nick] remembered Hackaday has a retro site. The rest is history.

[Kyle] has a really cool box on his hands. It’s a Compaq 486SX overclocked from 25MHz to 33MHz. 20 Megabytes of RAM, network card, and a Soundblaster 16 make this computer from 1993 a very respectable box for old DOS gaming. It can also browse the web with Arachne.

Finally, [cnlohr], the guy who made his own electron microscope  never mind, he’s still awesome and can manufacture glass PCBs at home, found an old green screen CRT while cleaning out a friend’s place. He hooked it up to one of his glass PCB AVR microcontroller things and did the usual text terminal fare; ASCII Star Wars with telnet and using lynx to load up the retro site. It’s only a 48-column display, but the retro edition is surprisingly readable. Very cool.

Hackaday Retro edition: The Macintosh SE/30

In 1988, Apple introduced the Macintosh IIx, an upgrade of the Mac II that included a Motorola 68030 CPU. The IIcx – a compact version of the IIx, also with a 68030 – was introduced in 1989. That same year, product designers at Apple created a more powerful version of the all-in-one Macintosh SE using the same CPU found in the IIx and IIcx. Unfortunately, the naming convention didn’t hold but the Macintosh SE/30 is still the greatest computer Apple will ever build.

Earlier this month, [Greg] sent in a submission for our retro edition successes. A huge mac fan, [Greg] connected his Powerbook Duo to an Ethernet adapter and loaded up our retro edition. [Greg] is back again, this time with an SE/30.

In the three pictures [Greg] sent us (in the gallery after the break), you can see his extremely clean SE/30 booting into System 7 and loading up our retro site. In the third picture, you can see [Greg] playing Bolo, one of the first network-enabled games ever made, and still a very fun waste of time today.

If you’re wondering what makes the SE/30 so great, consider this: the SE/30 is able to address up to 128 MB of RAM. Keep in mind this computer is from an era when one or two Megabytes of RAM would be more than enough to get just about any job done. The SE/30 also made a fabulous server. Even today it would be a capable home media server if it weren’t for its relatively slow networking capabilities and 2 Gigabyte file size (not volume size) limit.

[Greg] has a very cool machine on his hands here, and we’re pleased as punch his SE/30 could make its way over to our retro site.

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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.

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Hackaday retro roundup, this time with a PowerPC and a PET

Thought we forgot about this, didn’t you? Well, the Hackaday Retro Edition is still going strong, and this time we have a few more retro successes that were able to load our retro site with ancient hardware.

First up is a submission by [rusbus]. He had a Power Macintosh 6100/60 lying around – the first Macintosh with a PowerPC processor instead of the Motorola 68k – and loaded up our retro site. There are some weird quirks about the 6100, notably the AAUI Ethernet tranceiver connected to a 10BASE-T network.

Although some browsers are available for the 6100, notably iCab (it’s not great, but it also works on 68k machines), [rusbus] had to settle for Internet Explorer 3.01. He eventually got it working and has a picture to prove it.

On the subject of finding a proper web browser, [azog] loaded up the retro site with a Commodore PET. There aren’t any web browsers for a PET, you say? Well, [azog] had to make one.

The network adapter is a Retroswitch Flyer Internet Modem, and after finding some network-aware projects on the Retroswitch site such as an IRC and Telnet client, [azog] put together an extremely crude web browser. In BASIC. Old BASIC. We’re impressed.

With [azog]‘s browser, the PET opens up a channel to a URL, reads the text coming in, and processes it. There’s only 1kb of video RAM and 32kb of system RAM, so small luxuries like scrolling are nearly impossible. An amazing piece of work, really.

Finally, [Bob] from Portugal sent in a neat Flickr gallery of a Schneider euro XT he found in his basement. It’s based on the IBM PC/XT running an Intel 8088 processor, but is enclosed in a ‘the keyboard is the computer’ form factor reminiscent of a C64 or TRS-80. He hasn’t gotten it on the Internet yet, but it’s still a cool piece of kit.

Hackaday retro edition roundup

In case you’ve forgotten about it, we still have a retro edition of Hackaday. It’s our simple, hand-coded HTML site featuring a few random hacks from Hackaday’s 8-year history. There’s also a retro successes page where our readers can log on with their old boxxen and claim their prize as a master of retrocomputing. Here’s a few retro successes that came in over the past month or so:

Our second OS/2 Warp submission comes from [Chris]. He got an HP Omnibook 800CT running OS/2 Warp 4 to load up our retro site.

A few of you may be wondering what the upper bound of what we consider a retro computer is. [Witek] used a Wyse thin client from the year 2000 to pull up our retro edition. These terrible computers used a Compact Flash card plugged directly into an IDE port to load up Windows CE. Yeah, it’s technically a SSD. [Witek] put the GRUB bootloader on one and loaded up our retro edition with Debian Squeeze. We have too many bad memories of these thin clients, and we’ve got to commend [Witek] for putting the effort into doing something useful with one.

[leadacid] is on a roll. He gave us our first OS/2 Warp submission and has since moved onto an IBM RS/6000. Previously, he got a Macintosh 8100 and a Quadra 840AV to pull up the retro site. Nice job.

Those are all the retro submissions for now, but if you have an old computer lying around, try pulling up our retro site and send it in.

Two retro successes with a Commodore 64

Slowly but surely, Hackaday readers have been logging onto our retro edition with some very old hardware. Of course we’re featuring the coolest as retro successes. [azog] and [logik] entered the pantheon of brave souls who loaded up Hackaday with a Commodore 64 this week, and their builds are pretty impressive to say the least.

[logik]‘s build was nearly doomed from the start: he used a C64 found dumpster diving one day with a bad power supply and half-dead VRAM chips. The first order of business was getting the C64 talking to a PC with the help of a MAX232 serial IC and loading up 64HDD to transfer a copy of Novaterm. From there it was a simple matter of connecting to an Ubuntu box and pulling up our retro site with the help of a text-only web browser.

[azog] didn’t want to abuse Lynx with his submission so he connected a Commodore 64 Ethernet card and loaded up Contiki. The banner image (above) is the ASCII Hackaday logo rendered with the C64′s PETSCII character set, something I did not foresee when I created our retro edition. Still, freakin’ awesome.

As a small aside, we’re going to open up the comments for this post to suggestions and recommendations you’ve got for the Hackaday retro edition. What would you like to see? The Retrocomputing guide is woefully inadequate, we know, but there’s a project in the works (getting WiFi over a serial port on a 68k Mac) that should be well received.

Hackaday retro submission: Browsing with an Apple IIc

We’ve had the retro edition of Hackaday up for about a week now, and already a few people have sent in a few neat builds that use an ancient computer to pull this page up. The latest comes from [RetroAppleFanToday] who used an Apple IIc to browse the Internet.

To load our humble retro edition, [RetroAppleFan] used a serial connection between the Apple and a Mac Mini to get a terminal running on the 30-year-old computer. From there, it was a simple matter of running lynx to browse the Internet.

There are a few more retro submissions cataloged on our retro successes page including a NEXT cube. If you have an old computer lying around that can pull up our retro site, don’t feel shy about sending it in; it’s pretty much guaranteed to get a mention.

As far as the development of the retro site is going, we’re posting 5 random stories every day. There’s a script to generate the front page every day, but if we get enough complaints or compliments we may just generate a new front page for every visitor.