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Thread: Why are terminals still so expensive?

  1. #1
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    Default Why are terminals still so expensive?

    I noticed when browsing Ebay the other days that terminals still go for quite a bit of money. Is there a particular reason for this?

  2. #2

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    I wouldn't say "still". There was a point when they could have been gotten for a song, but it appears those days are over.

    Due to their obsolescence, and the general disdain for CRTs, terminals are now rare due to so many being "recycled". The keyboard nuts aren't helping the situation.

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    There was a huge move in the 80s to replace terminals with PCs. Added functionality by doing so (and not spending a lot more for it) was the reason--that, and taking workload off of a mainframe. Eventually, thin clients just about completely displaced any remaining terminals.

    To compete, there were a few outfits like Wyse that came out with rock-bottom priced terminals (e.g. WY50). Ultimately, it wasn't enough.

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    You can still get terminals such as the WY-50 for not a lot of money

  5. #5

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    Those are really nice terminals. I bought one when (unfurbished, but good working condition) they commonly went for $20 on eBay a few years ago. It's one of those "I could kick myself" for not buying half a dozen..

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moogle! View Post
    I noticed when browsing Ebay the other days that terminals still go for quite a bit of money. Is there a particular reason for this?
    1. There was a time when people thought that they were junk and trashed them.
    2. There are still companies that use these old terminals on their equally old computers. I had a friend of mine that, 5 years ago, was still supporting an installation that used VT100 terminals. It was in a small company that was going to go away when the owner retired, so they didn't want to spend the money to update their system. Those companies are willing to spend the bucks to get a terminal, since updating their whole computer system is more expensive.
    3. And when these companies get rid of their old computer systems, they will think of them as junk (and they will be mostly correct) and trash them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC9UDX View Post
    Those are really nice terminals. I bought one when (unfurbished, but good working condition) they commonly went for $20 on eBay a few years ago. It's one of those "I could kick myself" for not buying half a dozen..
    The WY50s had an annoying issue in that attributes (blink, highlight, etc.) occupied a character position. That meant that if you wanted to show, say, "highlight", you couldn't do it without the annoying space for the attribute. Of course, I can see why this is--if you want to have "invisible" attributes, you had to have a separate attribute RAM, which raised the cost of the terminal. Unix termcap has a field to describe this behavior.

  8. #8

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    I use mine regularly and have never noticed. Perhaps I don't use attributes enough.

  9. #9
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    Oh, it's there in the manual--and the WY50 wasn't alone in this. Termcap has a bunch of mumbo-jumbo on this:

    # The Wyse 50 can support one attribute (e.g. Dim, Inverse,
    # Normal) without magic cookies by using the protect mode.
    # The following description uses this feature, but when more
    # than one attribute is put on the screen at once, all attributes
    # will be changed to be the same as the last attribute given.
    # The Wyse 50 can support more attributes when used with magic
    # cookies. The wy50-mc terminal description uses magic cookies
    # to correctly handle multiple attributes on a screen.
    And from "curses":

    Terminals with the "magic cookie" glitch (xmc) deposit special "cookies" when they receive mode-setting sequences, which affect the display algorithm rather than having extra bits for each character. Some terminals, such as the Hewlett-Packard 2621, automatically leave standout mode when they move to a new line or the cursor is addressed. Programs using standout mode should exit standout mode before moving the cursor or sending a newline, unless the msgr capability, asserting that it is safe to move in standout mode, is present.

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