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Thread: Printing from Vintage PCs with modern printer.

  1. #31
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    The Atomic pi has something in the way of a serial port iirc. It can act act as a bridge between an old puter and a newer printer via usb or built on wireless (may not have an antenna though).

    Specifically what do you need to print from a vintage pc?

  2. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by tipc View Post
    Specifically what do you need to print from a vintage pc?
    THAT is an incredibly good question... one I don't actually have an immediate answer for...

    I was more or less just interested in setting something up if the need ever arises to print over the default LPT output of my vintage PCs. Many times I have had to take screenshots by pointing my phone camera at the screen to record the contents of a config.sys file in EDIT or something. and it would be nice to be able to just print those out, without having to save the file to a floppy diskette then transfer it up the food chain to a newer machine.

    That and being able to print random stuff in wordstar, and other old productivity applications would be nice.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkdonut666 View Post
    I was mostly mentioning that for the possibility of setting up a separate "air gapped" network with just my old vintage machines. I would prefer to not have them on the same network as the rest of my house crap, I don't like the idea of 80s and 90s dos machines having open access to the internet, Even with PFsense firewall trying it's best, it's something I'd like to avoid.
    The beauty of a truly ancient setup that involves mTCP or Wattcp programs is technically speaking these computers aren't actually really "on" the IP network unless you're specifically running a client program. (There *are* loadable TSR TCP stacks for DOS like Trumpet, but I haven't found a use for one yet.) The machines won't even ping unless they're actively running something so even if they *were* sitting on the open Internet there's not much chance of them getting p0wned. Add that to the face you're running a single-tasking OS that essentially predates the modern Internet and lacks a proper kernel and the realistic attack surface area is remarkably low. (Again, they're not even going to ARP unless you're in the middle of running something, be that an FTP client, NC, whatever, and that program is only going to care about its own business and, maybe, responding to ICMP.) Probably the worst that could happen is the machine getting DoS'ed and crashing in the middle of an aggressive port scan. (Which if you're running on an RFC1918 network behind a firewall isn't going to happen anyway.)

    Just for laughs I installed Timeworks "Publish-It!" (A GEM-based Ventura Publisher knockoff I used a *lot* back in the day that runs... kind of acceptably on XT-class machines) and tested capturing Adobe Postscript output via prn2file and throwing it at the networked Laserjet and that totally works too. So whether you actually use a network or not prn2file is starting to look like a pretty robust capture option; if you must "print" something you can try running it locally and just sneakernet the file over to wherever your printer is. There will be a small category of programs that redirectors won't work on because they insist on diddling with the parallel port directly instead of going through the DOS/BIOS devices, but that's probably a pretty small bunch.
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkdonut666 View Post
    THAT is an incredibly good question... one I don't actually have an immediate answer for...

    I was more or less just interested in setting something up if the need ever arises to print over the default LPT output of my vintage PCs. Many times I have had to take screenshots by pointing my phone camera at the screen to record the contents of a config.sys file in EDIT or something. and it would be nice to be able to just print those out, without having to save the file to a floppy diskette then transfer it up the food chain to a newer machine.

    That and being able to print random stuff in wordstar, and other old productivity applications would be nice.
    I've personally owned a half dozen printers in my life. Most were given to me. It's nice to have a need for something. I've printed out thousands and thousands of pages at various jobs. At home ... I could probably count on one hand. Maybe I would need 2. If I ever get around to writing my book, I actually like the idea of producing at leasr part of it on a vintage computer. I'm partial to the Atari ST as it's reminiscent of the Fat Mac I owned many years ago (I shouldn't have to explain how), on which I did some creative writing. So therefore it would be advantageous, but not at all necessary, to print some stuff.

    If you photograph text from an old computer, perhaps an ocr utility would be useful.

  5. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eudimorphodon View Post
    That is actually the killer app that motivated me to wire up the Imagewriter II. Amuses the kids to no end and does a good job terrifying the dog.
    I have two Imagewriter IIs. One of my bucket list projects is to hook them both to the //gs at the same time and write a program to make them play "O Fortuna" musically on the print heads.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pG8RAbWs1yo (not my video, just amusing stuff)
    -- Lee
    If you get super-bored, try Muh Crappy YouTube Channel
    Looking to Buy/Trade For: Mac IIci hard drive bracket and one bottom rubber foot, Hercules-compatible card + monochrome monitor (preferably IBM 5151), Multisync VGA CRTs
    May Be Interested In Acquiring: 040 or 601 card for Mac IIci, Decent NuBus video card, Commodore PC(286+), PC-era Tandy stuff, Aesthetic Old Serial Terminals

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkdonut666 View Post
    as stated in a previous post, i have ZERO networking cards in any of my old PCs. (unless you count dial up modems) so a solution like a raspberry pie shield connected to an LPT cable i can connect to any machine i happen to be playing with at that moment seems a good option.
    Xircom PE3-10BT is an LPT dongle that is an ethernet adapter. You could use that and just move it from system to system as necessary. It's what I use for testing new systems, grabbing all of the data off of new acquisitions, etc.
    Offering a bounty for:
    - A working Sanyo MBC-775, Olivetti M24, or Logabax 1600
    - Music Construction Set, IBM Music Feature edition (has red sticker on front stating IBM Music Feature)

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