Hack A Day Goes Retro in a Computer Museum

vt100_HAD Our friends over at Hack42 in the Netherlands decided to have some fun with their computer museum. So far, they’ve been able to display the Hack a Day retro site on three classic computers — including an Apple Lisa, a DEC GIGI, and a run of the mill DEC VT100. We had the opportunity to visit Hack42 last October during our Hackerspacing in Europe trip — but just as a refresher if you don’t remember, Hack42 is in Arnhem, in the Netherlands — just outside of Germany. The compound was built in 1942 as a German military base, disguised as a bunch of farmhouses. It is now home to Hack42, artist studios, and other random businesses. The neat thing is, its location is still blurred out on Google Maps! Needless to say, their hackerspace has lots of space. Seriously. So much so they have their own computer museum! Which is why they’ve decided to have some fun with them… [Read more...]

Hackaday Retro Edition: AppleTalk

retro

If you do a survey of what makes and models of classic computers manage to pull off a Retro Success by loading our Web 1.0 retro site, you’ll notice a disproportionate number of classic Macintosh computers, the cute, small all-in-one boxes with a nine-inch black or white screen. Part of this is the nigh indestructible nature of these boxes, and part of this is the networking built into every classic Mac – AppleTalk.

The physical connections for AppleTalk is just a small breakout box with two Mini-DIN connectors (or RJ11 phone jacks for PhoneNet) attached to one of the serial ports on the Mac. This isn’t just a null modem connection, though. An AppleTalk network can support up to 32 nodes, file transfer, networked printers, and in later updates booting an Apple IIGS from a networked drive. Whenever you have a few classic Macs in one room, an AppleTalk network is bound to appear at some point, especially considering the limitations of an 800kB disk drive for sneakernetting and the fact the AppleTalk software is supplied with every version of the operating system.

[Chris] had an old dual disk Macintosh SE he had brought back from the dead, but his modern expectations of Internet On Every Computer meant this cute little compy was severely lacking. Yes, SCSI to Ethernet adapters exist, but they’re surprisingly expensive. Modems are right out because of landlines. How did he solve this problem? With AppleTalk, of course.

After picking up a pair of PhoneNet adapters, [Chris] plugged one into a PowerPC mac running OS 9. MacTCP, the Apple TCP/IP control panel for classic Mac operating systems, is able to encapsulate IP traffic into AppleTalk Packets. After turning the PowerPC mac into a router, [Chris] managed to get his all-in-one SE on the internet.

The only problem with this setup is the browser. NCSA Mosaic doesn’t have the ability to send traffic to a proxy server, but another classic Mac browser, MacWeb 2.0c does. This allowed him to load up our retro site using forgotten and long unsupported technologies.


If you have an old computer sitting around, try to load our retro site with it. Take a few pictures, and we’ll put it up in one of our Retro Roundups

Hackaday 68k: A New Hackaday Project

68000 It’s no secret Hackaday loves retrocomputers, classic hardware, and vintage tech. Now that we have a great way to present long-form projects, it only makes sense that we combine our loves with a new build. Over the next few months, I’ll be developing a homebrew computer based on the Motorola 68000 CPU, documenting everything along the way, and building a very capable piece of hardware that will end up hosting a few Hackaday webpages. I already have a solid start on the project and will be posting on our front page to discuss the major parts already in progress, and those yet to come.

There are a few reasons we’re taking on this project. With few exceptions, most of the homebrew projects we see are based around 8-bit micros – specifically the 6502 and Z80. 16 and 32-bit CPUs really aren’t that much more difficult to work with, and if we can spearhead a renaissance of the 68k, 65816, or even a 386 (!), we’re all for that. Also, it’s been suggested that we host the Hackaday Retro site on retro hardware, and what better way to do that by documenting a build on our new project hosting site?

That’s a very brief introduction to this project. Let’s take a closer look at what hardware we’ll be using, what software we’ll get running, and what you can do to help.

[Read more...]

Hackaday Retro Edition: Retro Roundup

retro

We’ve rebooted the Hackaday Retro Edition and again we’re getting a few submissions for retro successes – old computers that somehow managed to load our crappy, pure-HTML, no-javascript edition.


Inspired by the Palm Lifedrive in the previous retro roundup, [Bobby] dug out his Palm TX and loaded up the retro edition with the Blazer browser. Given this device has WiFi and a browser, it’s not much, but [Bobby] did run in to a bit of a problem: Palm never released WPA2 for personal use, and this device’s WPA abilities are buried away in a server somewhere. Interesting that a device that’s relatively young could run into problems so easily.

How about another Palm? [nezb]‘s first smartphone, back in 2003, was a Treo 600. He dug it out, got it activated (no WiFi), and was able to load the retro edition. Even the Palm-optimized edition of Slashdot works!

How about some Xenix action? [Lorenzo] had an Olivetti 386 box with 4MB of RAM with Xenix – Microsoft Unix – as the operating system. The connection was over Ethernet using a thinnet card. Here’s a video of it booting.

[Eugenio] sent in a twofer. The first is a Thinkpad 600, a neat little laptop that would make for a great portable DOS gaming rig. It’s running Mandrake Linux 9, his very first Linux. Next up is the venerable Mac SE/30 with a Kinetics Etherport network card. It’s using a telnet client to talk to a Debian box.

Here’s one that was cool enough for its own post: [Hudson] over at NYC Resistor salvaged an old Mac SE with a BeagleBone Black connected to the CRT. This effectively turns the SE into a modern (if low powered) ARM Linux box. Emulators are always an option, though, as is loading our retro edition in xterm.

Links to the pics below, and you’re always welcome to dust off your old boxxen, fire it up, and load up the retro edition. It’s new and improved! Every half hour or so, five classic hacks from the first 10,000 Hackaday posts are converted to pure HTML. Take a pic and send it in.

[Read more...]

Hackaday Retro Edition And Retro Roundup

Retro-Roundup

About a year and a half ago, We launched the Hackaday retro edition, a small off-shoot of the main edition that is written in pure HTML, with no Javascript or any other Web 2.0 cruft. It’s designed so you can load this edition on any computer, from an Apple Newton to a Commodore 64. And people have done just that.

After a long period of neglect, we’re re-launching the retro edition with a new feature: every hour or so, five random Hackaday pages, going all the way back to the very first post will show up on the retro site. Yes, this was a feature we originally planned for the retro site, but now Hackaday has awesome devs working behind the scenes. I mean, they can set up a cron job! It’s amazing!

As always, you’re more than welcome to load our retro site with any vintage hardware, take a picture, and send it in. Odds are, we’ll plaster it up in one of these semi-frequent retro roundup posts.

No retro roundup post would be complete without a few examples of people loading the retro edition on old hardware. You can check a few out after the break.

[Read more...]

Hackaday Links: August 11, 2013

While we’re not much for fashion hacks, we’re reasonably impressed with [Karolina]‘s faux Chanel bag made of chips. Apparently a grid of black squares is one of Chanel’s trademark looks, and a thousand or so QFP chips makes for a reasonable substitution.

News of the death of our retro edition has been greatly exaggerated. [Brandon] got an old Apple IIe up on the Internet and loaded up our retro edition, so we’re sort of obliged to mention him. He’s using a Super Serial Card connected to an OS X box running lynx. With getty running, he can shoot the output of lynx over to the Apple. Awesome.

Take an old Yamaha organ, convert the keyboard to MIDI, throw in a few Arduinos, thousands of LEDs, and a handful of bubble machines. What you end up with is the bubble organ, as seen at the Bass Coast Festival last weekend. If you want a hands on, you can also check it out at the Rifflandia festival in BC, Canada this September.

Some guy over on reddit created the smallest Arduino in the world. We’re looking at a rank amateur here, though. I’ve been working on this little guy for the last 18 months and have even created an open source cloud based github design for the production model. It’s less than half the size of a Digispark, and also Internet of Things 3D interactive education buzzword buzzword.

[Moogle] found an old Super 8 camera at an estate sale. No big deal right? Well, this one is clear, and it uses light-sensitive film. Your guess is as good as ours on this one, but if you know what’s up, drop a note in the comments.

One day [John] decided he would put a PC inside an old G3 iMac. After a year, it’s finally done. He took out the CRT and replaced it with a 15″ Dell monitor. The G3 was discarded for an AMD, and the internal speakers and slot-load CD drive still work. It’s a really, really cool piece of work.

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.

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