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What's your dream machine?

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    What's your dream machine?

    Last night I was out with some friends who are in town for a few days. They are staying with me and were rather surprised to see a 30 year old TRS-80 sitting on my desk. Phil, who was a Commodore 64 user back in the day, had heard of the TRS-80 line of computers but had never used, or even seen, one before and thought it was very "nice" and could totally understand my obsession. I think he might be online looking for a C-64 sometime soon. Jan thought I was mad and couldn't understand why anyone would want one. The kids thought it was "cool", and liked some of the games.

    Anyway, last night we were out having dinner, and the conversation got around to vintage computers. Nothing too technical, just talking about the computers we used back in the 1970s and 80s. Then I was asked what was the one computer I really, really wanted. Tough question as there are a lot of computers I'd like but the computer of my dreams is the TRS-80 Model II, which is pretty rare in Australia, and American Model IIs won't work on our power.

    So, I was thinking, what's your dream machine? What's the computer you'd love to own? Or have you already found that computer, and it's sitting in the middle of your collection?
    A Brit Downunder
    www.abritdownunder.org
    Old programmers don't die, they just GOSUB without RETURN...

    #2
    Well, an ETA-10 is on my short list:



    But I probably couldn't afford the liquid nitrogen to run it. So an ETA-10P. Some of those actually were given to high schools--I have no idea what became of them.
    Reach me: vcfblackhole _at_ protonmail dot com.

    Comment


      #3
      Honestly, with my finally having a decently-specced Amiga setup again and having just acquired a PDP-11, I'm doing pretty good for dream machines. I still do think it'd be fun to own a real cabinet minicomputer setup (as opposed to my minicomputer-in-a-large-tower MicroPDP-11,) but I don't know that I'm likely to have either the space to keep one or the play budget to acquire one in the near future. Still, a TI-990 would be fun...for now, though, I suppose I'll just keep scheming up that TMS-9900 homebrew project as I learn more about electronics design...
      Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
      Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/X5DR, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Proteus/2, Moog Satellite, Oberheim SEM
      "'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling." - Bjarne Stroustrup

      Comment


        #4
        I'd go for either a Packard Bell Corner Computer or an IBM 1401 mainframe with the giant printer, 1402 punch card reader, and 729 II tape reader. I saw one in action recently and got to operate it. That experience made that computer onto the list.
        ~Ian~

        Remember, wherever you go, there you are.

        Comment


          #5
          My dream computer would be one with enough space to hold all the software, manuals, magazines, and videos of everything I like to collect and enough RAM and CPU power to have all of it searchable like it was my own Google.
          What I collect: 68K/Early PPC Mac, DOS/Win 3.1 era machines, Amiga/ST, C64/128
          Nubus/ISA/VLB/MCA/EISA cards of all types
          Boxed apps and games for the above systems
          Analog video capture cards/software and complete systems

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by DOS lives on!! View Post
            I'd go for either a Packard Bell Corner Computer or an IBM 1401 mainframe with the giant printer, 1402 punch card reader, and 729 II tape reader. I saw one in action recently and got to operate it. That experience made that computer onto the list.
            The 1401 wasn't much for compute power--it was the low-end entry into the market for the folks with unit-record equipment. The architecture was kind of weird, even for the day. I think I still have a core frame from one somewhere.

            Now, a 7090, that was a computer.

            Although the two machines together did have a unique place in creating a new acronym--SPOOL.
            Last edited by Chuck(G); July 26, 2012, 07:38 PM.
            Reach me: vcfblackhole _at_ protonmail dot com.

            Comment


              #7
              #1 Asus p65up8 motherboard with c-p6nd daughterboard
              #2 decked out Quadra 840av with that monitor that had speakers built in.
              #3 decked out ti-99/4a
              #4 the S478 system I had in highschool...

              thats about it. :P

              edit:

              oh and a dual tualaltin setup, based of the serverworks he-sl chipset...
              It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Unknown_K View Post
                My dream computer would be one with enough space to hold all the software, manuals, magazines, and videos of everything I like to collect and enough RAM and CPU power to have all of it searchable like it was my own Google.
                lol, so you're dream computer is a few year old system with a few TB drives and google desktop installed? On the bright side yours might be the cheapest of the lot.

                Dream system for me is probably a tie between an Altair 8800a and an IBM 5100. I finally acquired an 8800bt which is great once I get around to that project but the flip switches were always the dream. I certainly dreamt about the 8800 first though so that's probably it.

                Still the flip on the subject is what system would I be risking my life for in an emergency (fire/flood, etc etc) and that is my Zenith Z-151. It's our first computer that came to the house and all the memories and firsts I got to experience are with that system. So push comes to shove the collection is second to the system that started it all for me.
                Looking to acquire: IBM 5100, Altair 8800

                Comment


                  #9
                  Addendum: I've just become aware of the Geneve 9640, a mega-upgraded TI-99/4A-compatible design with the MSX2 video chip, a faster CPU, and a ton of (presumably 16-bit and definitely non-video) RAM. This is the new object of my tech-lust.
                  Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
                  Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/X5DR, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Proteus/2, Moog Satellite, Oberheim SEM
                  "'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling." - Bjarne Stroustrup

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by barythrin View Post
                    lol, so you're dream computer is a few year old system with a few TB drives and google desktop installed? On the bright side yours might be the cheapest of the lot.
                    It would take more then a few TB to house all the software, drivers made for Mac, PC, Amiga, atari, etc plus all the magazines and manuals in high rez searchable PDF form plus all my favorite TV shows and movies in HD. Basically I want everything I could ever use at my fingertips so I could then not need the WWW anymore and could quit searching and just enjoy what I have.
                    What I collect: 68K/Early PPC Mac, DOS/Win 3.1 era machines, Amiga/ST, C64/128
                    Nubus/ISA/VLB/MCA/EISA cards of all types
                    Boxed apps and games for the above systems
                    Analog video capture cards/software and complete systems

                    Comment


                      #11
                      i would like a modern computer with an old style marketing plan. all the computers from the hobbyist age were fantastic. computers were ruined when the average person became the main customer. now it isn't worth investing time in writing code for fun. you are forced to learn APIs that become obsolete before the year is out. and there is so much wasteful overhead that uprated hardware barely improves speed.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by teigan View Post
                        i would like a modern computer with an old style marketing plan. all the computers from the hobbyist age were fantastic. computers were ruined when the average person became the main customer.
                        That was the beauty of DOS, it was a real operating system simplified for the non-profesessional, but before the marketing departments started specifying the code. In fact that's why I've kept using it for 25 years - it still works. In fact it works better than it used to, specifically because it hasn't changed.

                        now it isn't worth investing time in writing code for fun. you are forced to learn APIs that become obsolete before the year is out. and there is so much wasteful overhead that uprated hardware barely improves speed.
                        Apart from my all-time vintage favourite - the XT clone - I would like a machine with human style speed. Humans aren't very digital, and any machine/OS which has more than a 50 millisecond wait for ANY operation is fundamentally and deeply flawed. I crave a computer that works like a hammer: Bang!/Ouch!
                        WANTED: Cardinal 2450MNP modem.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          My version of the DM would be a Norsk Data ND-5700 32-bit minicomputer with lots of RAM (comparatively), and a beefed-up ND-120/CX 16-bit sidekick CPU (running the OS), with intelligent SCSI and other I/O controllers with their own MC68K CPUs and mini-OS, and some Z80 CPUs in the I/O cards for the ND-120/CX. Great for Fortran, C, and Pascal programming, and Planc programming, and 32-bit assembly programming, and 16-bit assembly programming, and programming of microprocessors. All in one machine.

                          OK most of you will have no idea about what I'm talking about. But that particular machine existed exactly as described above, and I used to work on it whenever I went to Italy. And it was scrapped, maybe 15-16 years ago. I should have done something, at least I could have asked. I did ask when the next round of scrapping came around (not long ago), and they did give that one to me (*nix machine), shipped from the other side of the globe.

                          Oh well. I still hope to find one of those machines, maybe a smaller model but of the same type at least. There's a colleague hinting now and then that he might possibly have one stored away in his basement. But he's very vague about it.

                          -Tor

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I feel so pedestrian in my choice of dream machine, with all these wonderful mini's on people's lists! I wish I had the skills, and room, to have and maintain some of these classic machines. It's such a shame that many of them went to landfill or the scrap heap. Before I moved to Australia I did some teaching at a College in Sussex (UK). This was in 1998. They had just scrapped a few hundred Commodore Pets... just sent them to the local landfill site. It was verging on the criminal! I really think it's great that there are people here prepared to keep these machines alive.
                            A Brit Downunder
                            www.abritdownunder.org
                            Old programmers don't die, they just GOSUB without RETURN...

                            Comment


                              #15
                              For me, a dream machine wouldn't be all about power and capabilities, more or less for looks. I wouldn't mind a System 360 setup either.
                              ~Ian~

                              Remember, wherever you go, there you are.

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