Forum Rules and Etiquette

Our mission ...

This forum is part of our mission to promote the preservation of vintage computers through education and outreach. (In real life we also run events and have a museum.) We encourage you to join us, participate, share your knowledge, and enjoy.

This forum has been around in this format for over 15 years. These rules and guidelines help us maintain a healthy and active community, and we moderate the forum to keep things on track. Please familiarize yourself with these rules and guidelines.

Rule 1: Remain civil and respectful

There are several hundred people who actively participate here. People come from all different backgrounds and will have different ways of seeing things. You will not agree with everything you read here. Back-and-forth discussions are fine but do not cross the line into rude or disrespectful behavior.

Conduct yourself as you would at any other place where people come together in person to discuss their hobby. If you wouldn't say something to somebody in person, then you probably should not be writing it here.

This should be obvious but, just in case: profanity, threats, slurs against any group (sexual, racial, gender, etc.) will not be tolerated.

Rule 2: Stay close to the original topic being discussed
  • If you are starting a new thread choose a reasonable sub-forum to start your thread. (If you choose incorrectly don't worry, we can fix that.)
  • If you are responding to a thread, stay on topic - the original poster was trying to achieve something. You can always start a new thread instead of potentially "hijacking" an existing thread.

Rule 3: Contribute something meaningful

To put things in engineering terms, we value a high signal to noise ratio. Coming here should not be a waste of time.
  • This is not a chat room. If you are taking less than 30 seconds to make a post then you are probably doing something wrong. A post should be on topic, clear, and contribute something meaningful to the discussion. If people read your posts and feel that their time as been wasted, they will stop reading your posts. Worse yet, they will stop visiting and we'll lose their experience and contributions.
  • Do not bump threads.
  • Do not "necro-post" unless you are following up to a specific person on a specific thread. And even then, that person may have moved on. Just start a new thread for your related topic.
  • Use the Private Message system for posts that are targeted at a specific person.

Rule 4: "PM Sent!" messages (or, how to use the Private Message system)

This forum has a private message feature that we want people to use for messages that are not of general interest to other members.

In short, if you are going to reply to a thread and that reply is targeted to a specific individual and not of interest to anybody else (either now or in the future) then send a private message instead.

Here are some obvious examples of when you should not reply to a thread and use the PM system instead:
  • "PM Sent!": Do not tell the rest of us that you sent a PM ... the forum software will tell the other person that they have a PM waiting.
  • "How much is shipping to ....": This is a very specific and directed question that is not of interest to anybody else.

Why do we have this policy? Sending a "PM Sent!" type message basically wastes everybody else's time by making them having to scroll past a post in a thread that looks to be updated, when the update is not meaningful. And the person you are sending the PM to will be notified by the forum software that they have a message waiting for them. Look up at the top near the right edge where it says 'Notifications' ... if you have a PM waiting, it will tell you there.

Rule 5: Copyright and other legal issues

We are here to discuss vintage computing, so discussing software, books, and other intellectual property that is on-topic is fine. We don't want people using these forums to discuss or enable copyright violations or other things that are against the law; whether you agree with the law or not is irrelevant. Do not use our resources for something that is legally or morally questionable.

Our discussions here generally fall under "fair use." Telling people how to pirate a software title is an example of something that is not allowable here.

Reporting problematic posts

If you see spam, a wildly off-topic post, or something abusive or illegal please report the thread by clicking on the "Report Post" icon. (It looks like an exclamation point in a triangle and it is available under every post.) This send a notification to all of the moderators, so somebody will see it and deal with it.

If you are unsure you may consider sending a private message to a moderator instead.

New user moderation

New users are directly moderated so that we can weed spammers out early. This means that for your first 10 posts you will have some delay before they are seen. We understand this can be disruptive to the flow of conversation and we try to keep up with our new user moderation duties to avoid undue inconvenience. Please do not make duplicate posts, extra posts to bump your post count, or ask the moderators to expedite this process; 10 moderated posts will go by quickly.

New users also have a smaller personal message inbox limit and are rate limited when sending PMs to other users.

Other suggestions
  • Use Google, books, or other definitive sources. There is a lot of information out there.
  • Don't make people guess at what you are trying to say; we are not mind readers. Be clear and concise.
  • Spelling and grammar are not rated, but they do make a post easier to read.
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Younger collectors: What brings you into the hobby?

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    Younger collectors: What brings you into the hobby?

    The majority of vintage computer enthusiasts are as old, or older, than their areas of focus. This is likely due to nostalgia, or something related. Using myself as an example, I was born in 1971, so I can relate to anything from 1978 onward (essentially, anything I have memories of). So that is where my collection activities lie: I want to have the same fun I had when the systems were new, and learn more about them, and do things with them that I wasn't able to do when I lacked the skill or resources.

    Occasionally, I see posts like this:

    Originally posted by br44
    Furthermore i am trying to recreate the experiences I would have had as a kid. Since I was born in 1993 I experienced the early IBM computers long after they had come and gone.
    Originally posted by Hoot
    I'm a 20 year old college student. I was talking to one of my friends who's a big vintage computer enthusiast, and I mentioned how I always wanted to get into the hobby. He shot me over here, and I'm pretty pumped about learning this stuff.
    Originally posted by dosbox
    I'm a young guy myself (19)
    I am fascinated by this, and would love to hear from vintage computer enthusiasts who are much younger than their areas of focus: What brings you to the hobby? What is it about vintage computers that are twice as old or older than you are that is interesting or compelling? Are your vintage hobbies limited to computers, or are you fascinated by other vintage areas?
    Offering a bounty for:
    - A working Sanyo MBC-775 or Logabax 1600
    - Music Construction Set, IBM Music Feature edition (has red sticker on front stating IBM Music Feature)

    As a child of the mid 80's, i used a LOT of hand-me-downs. My father was really good at choosing the WRONG pc (and mac), compared to the general population. So I missed out on 99.9% of the popular games and devices, and could only lust after them in catalogs.
    It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.


      I'm in my 20's so I'll probably be one of the younger collectors on here.

      I was attached at the hip to my Pentium II Dell Inspiron 3500 as a kid. I would always take everyones junk computers before I was even a teenager. I put the parts together in different ways to build new systems and play around with them. All this was Win98 and up though. I had never experienced anything older. But I've always had an interest in computers. To this day I still have everyone I know run their old computers through me so I can salvage the useful parts for tinkering

      I started out collecting with video games from when I was a kid(years ago before the market exploded thankfully). As I got all the systems I knew I started going for the older systems from the same manufactures. Given my interest in PCs in general, the move from vintage game consoles to vintage computers was pretty easy. Vintage computers are more rewarding than video games. So I'm becoming more interested in those than video games over time.

      Another reason I really like them is as a software developer I enjoy seeing how these technologies have evolved over time. It's a learning experience as well to see why and how decisions were made that have set the course of computers for decades.


        I'm pretty young I guess (born in the 90s). As a kid I always played older games on the family 486 because my parents were quite frugal and I had a big family which was a constant source of hand me downs. When I got a little older and wanted a computer of my own my Dad pointed me to a bin of old hardware from his business and I put together my first computer. Fast forward to a couple years later, I had just gotten into programming (Visual basic, ugh) and was over at a friends house when we stumbled across his father's commodore 64, we immediately set it up on the tv and I was of course captivated by this mysterious machine, this experience inspired me to revisit my own "roots" and started looking for those old dos games again. Fast forward again and I had purchased numerous old pieces of hardware and learned to be a pretty good programmer and finally understood how these things worked.

        The thing I love about old computers is really the simplicity, someone can actually understand the entire inner workings of one of these machines. I attribute my interest in vintage computers to my breezing through my computer architecture course in University. Most people were still trying to come to terms with what a register is when I had read Abrash's books in highschool and written games for dos. I don't think I would have any idea of how a computer works if I didn't start with figuring out the C64.

        Vintage computers have also taught me how to solder which has been invaluable in my other hobby: maintaining vintage instruments and recording equipment.
        Currently working on new DOS game, Chuck Jones: Space Cop of the Future, Check out my Dev Blog. WARNING: contains rocket powered El Caminos

        Vintage Computers:
        Unitron Apple II clone, 2x Commodore Vic-20, Commodore 64, Commodore 128, Amiga 500, Macintosh Plus, Macintosh SE, AST Premium 286, 3 386sx PCs, Atari TT030


          I'd definitely fall into this category, as I was born long after all the machines I own. I think for me, it really started with videogames, as did most things. We had an ancient (at the time) Dell running 98 until I was 8 or 9 and I spent a good portion of my time playing dos games and other things on that. While my family later moved on to Macs, I kept an older toshiba latop as a daily use machine until just last year, when the motherboard gave out. The vintage part probably stemmed off of my videogaming love. I started by collecting Gameboy stuff (still have my backlit SP) and eventually I just migrated gradually into emulation and other things to play the games I never had the money to buy.

          I discovered virtualbox, and began playing around with that, first Win95, then dos, OS/2, the whole lot. Eventually I decided real hardware was the place to go, and I've been gradually started assembling a small, wide variety of computers to use. Collecting is an interesting endeavor because I haven't got a lot of money or space for dozens of machines. That means whatever is cheap/free is priority, and I usually have to do some repairs. Nevertheless, I've got what I think is a respectable collection in progress and I foresee myself in this hobby for quite a long time.

          As for what actually draws me to vintage computers, I find both the design and the experience of using them much nicer than new electronics. Old computers have personality. Given that I was born after the fall of Commodore, TRS, and many others, holding a piece of computing history and discovering how it works is incredibly rewarding. I've never had more fun and learned more than I have with old computers.


            What really blows me away is the number of 20- and 30-somethings in our hobby who collect/restore S-100 and minicomputers.
            @ Founder, Vintage Computer Federation -- resigned Dec. 2019
            @ Author, Abacus to smartphone: The evolution of mobile and portable computers
            @ My homepage
            @ My Lego Robotics Page


              Evan: I agree! I mean, I can understand S-100 as those are sort-of "proto PCs" but the minicomputers surprise me.

              I want to thank everyone that's responded so far. I'm starting to see some common threads between "we were there" and "we weren't there" enthusiasts, such as:

              • We like to tinker
              • We want to experience stuff we wanted when we were younger but couldn't have

              In a way, I envy younger enthusiasts, because they didn't have to live through the agony of defeat when their favorite platform (C64, Apple II, Atari, Amiga, etc.) lost the home computer wars. It is easy for the older folks to get stuck wandering the maze of "the way it could have been", while the younger folks just get to simply enjoy the vast diversity of the landscape without the burden of "turf war" memories.
              Offering a bounty for:
              - A working Sanyo MBC-775 or Logabax 1600
              - Music Construction Set, IBM Music Feature edition (has red sticker on front stating IBM Music Feature)