Archive for the 'Vintage Computing' Category
I'll admit that I've never encountered a Durango Poppy in person, nor do I know much about them aside from ads like this in old magazines.
So I did some digging, and I found that the Poppy model seen here was an 80186-based system that ran either MS-DOS for a single-user setup or Xenix for a multi-user configuration. It retailed for between $4,395 and $11,475 in early 1984 ($9,881 to $25,798 when adjusted for inflation), which was quite a bit of money — but actually far cheaper than IBM's comparable offerings at the time.
A March 5, 1984 issue of InfoWorld available through Google Books has a neat article that mentions the Poppy.
I didn't realize it at first, but the rose in the ad above is meant to symbolize IBM. IBM's PC ads at the time featured Charlie Chaplin's Tramp character, which always carried a rose.
Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you ever purposely pass up IBM hardware for a cheaper alternative? Tell us about it.
I was a huge fan of Mega Man X when it first came out on the Super NES in 1993.
…Well, I rented it, anyway, and I played it more than any other side-scrolling Mega Man game before or since. I loved finding the secret Hadoken fireball power up, which I read about in Nintendo Power.
Much to my present-day surprise (even though I owned this magazine when it was new), Capcom produced a version of Mega Man X for the PC, and on a CD-ROM no less. Has anyone out there played it? I'm wondering if the adaptation was any good.
[ P.S. Shortly after writing this entry, I tracked down a warez copy of Mega Man X for the PC, and it's surprisingly well done. However, its utilization of MIDI music provides for a pretty surreal Mega Man experience — surreal in the sense that the tunes generally sound horrible compared to MM games that are famous for their music. ]
Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite Mega Man game of all time?
See also: The Osborne 1 (RSOTW, 2012)
Discussion Topic of the Week: If you could take any computer with you into the afterlife, which would it be?
As a kid, The Halley Project blew my mind.
I remember flying through the solar system, first person, in what seemed like a real-time simulation of space flight. All the distances between and positions of the planets were accurate, and you could visit each one by traversing the vast gulfs between them. It was one of the most awe-inspiring games on the Atari 800.
I haven't sat down and played The Halley Project in at least a decade, so I'm kinda fuzzy about the point of the game. I believe you're trying to track down Halley's Comet. On the way, I think you have to make stops at each of the planets in our real solar system. And, if I'm not mistaken, there's something special about the comet itself (once you actually find it) that I won't spoil for you guys.
The real Halley's Comet made a famous fly-by of our planet back in 1986. I still have vague memories of being awakened in the middle of the night when I was 5 so our family could drive out to a local school field and catch of glimpse of the comet. I remember seeing a fuzzy dot, perhaps through binoculars or a simple telescope. That real life celestial visit inspired a sort of frenzy in the media and popular consciousness here in the US, and I'm guessing this game played off of that.
I know I could look up the real plot / purpose / gameplay of The Halley Project online, complete with screenshots and analysis, but I don't want to. My warm memories are good enough.
Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you see Halley's Comet in 1986? Tell us about it.
In my early BBS days, I started using a 2400 bps external modem hooked to the serial port of a PC clone. A few years later, I switched to an external Intel 14,400 bps modem. Then I believe I got a Creative Labs Modem Blaster kit with an internal 28,800 bps modem on an ISA card. After that I moved up to 33,600 with some generic Winmodem, then 56,000 bps.
In 2000, I signed up for my first cable modem service…and the rest is history.
Discussion Topic of the Week: What speed was your first modem?
When looking at the Texas Instruments CC-40′s capabilities, one wonders why companies even bothered in making tiny portable machines like this one (see also the Epson HX-20, HP-75C, and TRS-80 Pocket Computer, among others) in the early 1980s.
Sure, each one came equipped with a gee-whiz wow factor, but most of these diminutive PCs proved impractical to actually use. Limited memory, restrictive and unreliable data storage, and tiny LCDs capable of displaying either one or a few lines of text almost ensured that these products would remain technological novelties.
(As an aside, the only computer of this circa-1983 portable class that I find to be practical and truly useful was the TRS-80 Model 100, which many journalists relied on for decades)
After giving the question considerable thought, I recently realized why they did it. Companies like TI spent untold millions upon millions of dollars on R&D, design, tooling, and production, distribution, and marketing so that collectors of vintage computers, like me, would one day have more and varied specimens to collect.
To those companies, I say this: Thank you for wasting your money to make my hobby more fun.
See Also: Bill Cosby Fondles a TI-99/4A (Retro Scan, 2006)
Discussion Topic of the Week: What's the smallest vintage computer you've ever used?