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.

28 thoughts on “Hackaday Retro Edition Roundup

      1. We’ve thought about that, but there’s no way to monetize it.

        Right now, the only way HaD makes money is through the banner and text ads we have (if you don’t see them, try disabling Adblock. That would be really cool of you.)

        If we had a live version of the retro site, we wouldn’t have those ads and would probably lose a lot of money.

        I mean, yeah, we’d love to do it, but we gots to get paid.

      2. @HaD

        That’s truly sad. We (at the very least I) “hack” and “make” for the journey. The journey of learning and experiencing and overcoming. Money only comes into it insofar as, could we “possibly” afford it? And if the answer is “probably” then we’re on!

        It is sad that you consider da moneh more important than the passion. Don’t give us the false argument about cost – hosting is cheap and you’re not producing any regular in house content. Time, what? You say you understand about hacking and making but want to squabble about time?

        Please turn your “cash cow” back into our “sacred cow”, please…

        Much Lurve.

        1. hosting a site with this much traffic actually does cost something. I’m not going to debate our operating expenses, but you should know that we all also hack on our own time. Writers aren’t free either.

          We keep our advertising as unobtrusive as possible, no popouts, no word rollovers, no video ads etc. We are a business like any other.

          If you somehow think that this is truly a “cash cow”, you’re mistaken.

          p.s. we do produce regular in house content (look at the sidebar for a few recent examples)

  1. >These terrible computers used a Compact Flash
    >card plugged directly into an IDE port

    Anyone would think that CF cards natively supported interfacing via IDE/ATA!!! OMFG they guys that designed those thin clients were crazy right?

    >Yeah, it’s technically a SSD.

    Ugh.. why does the bus type have anything do to with it being an “SSD” or not… if it’s flash (Solid state) memory routed over 9600 baud RS232 it’s still an “SSD”. Why do you guys needs to over state really trivial things as if they were earth shattering?

    1. Take some Valium, man, geez.

      I have a Compaq Portable II with a beautiful green-phosphor tiny screen that I’d just love to send you, but I can’t for the life of me get a browser to work on the damn thing. IRC yes, browser no. Grrr…

  2. Whoo! Go me!

    Sadly my RS/6000 used in the pictured died IMMEDIATELY after taking the photo. 18 year old power supply run continuously for probably 16 years. I was amazed it lasted as long as it did.
    I’m hoping to get some photos of my OTHER RS/6000, a few HP-UX boxes, and my SUN 386i.

    Finally, my true calling! Posting photos of my ancient computer crap on Hack a Day!

  3. OS2 Warp 4 hardly seems retro. It was a wonderful operating system and if you had the tcpip stack, it browsed the web better than windows(admittedly a low standard).
    Reading the retro page, I saw an entry using trumpet winsock. I have an old DOS machine I wanted to connect to the network. The part I have not figured out is how to install the network drivers to talk to trumpet. I have spent hours searching online and have not found anything useful. Does anyone have some good pointers?
    Good computing to you,

    1. Looked at my kid’s old beater today — and it is an HP Omnibook 800CT running XP! I honestly don’t remember how I did it (probably did the install in a better computer, then swapped the drives), but it brings up regularHaD if I’m patient enough.

      I had several students who worked at HP that got their hands on 800CTs as well. They used OS/2 Warp as well (this was in 2003) because I happened to have the floppies for it. Don’t remember if they had a good browser or not, but they did do their homework on the things.

    2. Ahhh, OS/2. I haven’t been a “fanboi” of anything since I was a “fanboi” of OS/2. Awesome operating system. I have fond memories of the joy I had after I wrote a script(for Warp 3; I think Warp 4 supported this “out of the box”) to allow me to launch a Windows application in a window on the OS/2 desktop. Of course, since Warp 3 didn’t support windowed Windows applications, my script simply took a screenshot of the OS/2 desktop as it appeared at the time of application launch, and then replaced the background of the full-screen Windows session with the desktop image of the OS/2 session. I ran a background task in each Windows session that would switch back to the OS/2 OS when I clicked outside of the foreground window in the Windows session.

      Good times…

    1. Lots of Amiga users use CF cards in CF->IDE adapters these days so they’re probably afraid to show themselves because they’ll get told of for their crime against SSDs.

  4. That’ll be one well earned t-shirt!
    How’s an i4004 (4K of program memory and 640 bytes of RAM) going to load a 20,559 byte compressed (163.9K uncompressed) image. Even dropped to 1bit it comes out at ~6.8K uncompressed.
    Never mind address a display 470×119?

  5. Wake up guys, Wyse thin clients are damn useful, I’ve got one (9150SE) as my home NAS. Cost about the same as a raspberry Pi (but before they were thought of, and it has its own case) from eBay, runs from a wall-wart drawing ~6W MAX, the one I’ve got even has 2 serial ports (YES, real serial ports) which are hard to find on anything these days.

    If you’re looking for a small, silent, low-powered computer for a project they’re ideal. Some of the newer ones aren’t even that low-powered.

  6. Sad part is, if the main site was coded correctly with a wee bit more semantic a markup, a wee bit more separation of presentation from content, and with a wee bit more of a mind towards graceful degradation from building it up progressively…

    You wouldn’t need a retro-site, as it would gracefully degrade properly to that — while still having all the bells and whistles for modern browsers.

    But of course with the endless div for nothing, content-less LI, wasteful/pointless use of the TITLE attribute, list abuse around non-list elements, static scripting methods inlined in the markup, and the endless pointless idiotic ‘class on everything’ nonsense that proves that wordpress developers have no malfing business making markup in the first place… well…

    Not so much.

    1. Well, I tried for about 3 hours to find a browser that is HTML 1.1 compliant that works on a Mac Classic, with 4MB RAM… None exists.

      I cant get to retro.hackaday.com due to the host header “retro.”. Host headers require a 1.1 compliant browser. Ancient browsers are 1.0.

      Any ideas?

  7. Recipe for Psion 5mx Retro Hackaday.


    Psion 5mx
    Psion 5mx Serial cable

    Raspberry Pi
    Wireless Adapter
    USB serial adapter
    Wired LAN Cable


    1) Set up Raspi as Wireless bridge (or just fire it on the lan)
    Full details of how to cook up a WiPi Access point..

    2) Set up USB port in /etc/inittab
    Either set it up for a getty as a vt100 … or if you are feeling very brave, install pppd and use the Psion built in browser

    3) If you skipped the pppd bit above, then go for the easy “heres one I prepared earliet option”
    In other words, use the Pi to see the interweb.

    sudo apt-get install links (or w3m or lynx or whatever you favoured text based browser is)

    4) Fire up the mighty 5mx, log in to the pi and enjoy the full fruity experience…

    lemon@mr-kipling:~$ links retro.hackaday.com

    5) Take a photo, just to prove you didn’t make the whole thing up.

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