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Thread: Old computers to the rescue!

  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by whartung View Post
    I thought Gerber files were tool agnostic. Why would it matter what system generated the Gerber file? Or have the Gerber files changed over the years to where an older version is no longer being supported by board makers?
    Maybe I'm wrong on the file type because I'm still new to that (prior to working in CM2000 I've been using Veroroute and a Laser Printer for everything so I'm still learning) - could just be Circuitmaker 2000, I'm trying to find the site I found that clearly stated we could use CM2000 files. If it is the "gerber" files they are using though, that could explain why the continued support. And I'd figure that is also the case because certain factories still use very old hardware for some basic things like making PCBs, building structures, plasma cutters, all that jazz.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mad-Mike View Post
    I think "usefulness" is subjective and dependant on many factors specific to the individual use-case and the individual user.

    For myself personally, I harbour a very special skillset in using pre-Pentium hardware really well, and have a bit more knowledge than most people in that area. So to me, I can literally get by on a 486 DX4 system of some sort with little to no trouble save for one or two things (E-mail and social media in particular). So for me, sometimes even an 8088 can be pretty handy if it's loaded with the right software, right drivers, and tuned properly for my use.
    You can do quite a bit on older machine, if only the software itself supported it. MOST of what I do on my computer, I could do on my now 19 year old Duron 700MHz machine. The problem I have with older computers is software support more so than hardware support. For example, I usually listen to YouTube podcasts by downloading the audio only, which YouTube-DL can do. Now, this won't run on older computers due to lacking hardware, but due to it not having the full software stack that script relies on.

    Linux is useful here, as you can find a distro that will run.


    But for other people, the things I do from memory/experience is not something they possess, so to them I'm just some weirdo trying to make a giant paperweight do some "insane" things. Some people still get by on XP just fine, or even as we see here, Windows 2000. I'm not 100% sure but Toastytech was still doing cool stuff with Windows 95 on an Athlon the last time I read the site. Then you have crazies like me who can get Windows For Workgroups or bare DOS to do productive and cool things other than gaming. I'm not saying certain other people can't pull off cool stuff on those other platforms - another part of it is the whole thought of "why would you want to?". For me, it's exploration and showing off, and also getting some useful things done.

    A 486 DX4 or even early Pentium with Windows 95 OSR 2.5 can be a real tool in my hands - I actually got my DX4 to do multitrack digital audio using Cakewalk 5 pro audio because I bumped up the system disk to an SSD and put on the PIO drivers for my HDD controller card. That's pretty high up there for a 486 to be pulling off. Also seems I can get the tweaked version of Thunderbird to work on my Google Account on there too. That's why I own FIVE of these (home-built 486 DX4-100, NEC Versa 40EC, NEC Versa M/75, NEC Versa P/75, and an NEC Ready 9522). the M/75 and DX4-100 almost count as daily drivers because of how much and what I use them for. The P/75 and Ready also are quite useful.....but I need to finish building them "up" first.
    I have four 486/Pentium/Pentium II machines ranging in speed from 66MHz to 700MHz. There is a way you can use these machines as a thin client to a Linux desktop. I did this years ago, and it allowed you, simply by booting from a floppy or boot ROM, to turn the machine into a terminal accessing a faster machine. With a decent keyboard, monitor and mouse, you could be sitting in front of a 486, but using your brand new Ryzen superbuild.

  3. #23

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    As many have stated, using older machines and operating systems is challenging for internet use, but computers were around doing real work well before the internet. I have a collection of Pentium 3 and P4 machines running for the most part Windows 2000. I use these for architectural work using Autocad and 3D Studio. None of them see the internet, I have my laptop for that. Since they are not used for the internet, they don't need anti this and anti that, they are just machines that need routine hardware maintenance, as any machine or piece of electronics gear would. I've used newer versions of Autocad on newer machines at various firms I've worked for but the only difference I see are added bells and whistles which don't necessarilly make for more efficient work.

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