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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how do YOU define a "tweener?"

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  • Malvineous
    I think to define a tweener you need to consider what exactly you are intending to transfer onto a modern computer. For most people it's probably floppy disks, so in that case you don't need much. If it's only 3.5" disks you can still pick up cheap USB floppy drives which makes building a tweener simple, or even unnecessary. But if you want to extend your capabilities further, into RLL/MFM hard drives, parallel port drives, tape drives connected to the floppy interface, old SCSI devices, hard cards, and so on, then that will dictate what type of tweener you want - probably as a result of what kind of drivers are available for the hardware, and what OS you have to run to use those drivers.

    I think we're getting to the point where it's going to be difficult to have a single tweener that can handle everything, with some technologies requiring multiple steps to get to a modern machine. Although interestingly it's becoming possible to add newer hardware to older computers, so things can now go in the other direction - instead of finding a newer computer that can still interface to older hardware, you can find an older computer that readily supports the older hardware, and add a newer interface to it.

    The main one for me is the IDE to SD-card interfaces you can get from China for a few dollars that allow SD cards to appear as hard drives on any machine that supports an IDE interface. I have a 286 booting off an SD card, with IDE support in ROM thanks to the XT-IDE project. With this machine I can use the SD card to directly transfer gigabytes of files between the 286 and a modern PC. Since the 286 natively supports RLL/MFM hard drives, that's my go-to machine if I need to read any data off those drives, or indeed anything that requires an ISA slot or a real parallel port and doesn't need 386+ protected mode.

    I have other systems too, but they are all based around what I want to read. Early on I tried to have a single system that could do it all, but I found hardware for it was not common and often commanded high prices. I didn't like the idea of building an expensive tweener only to have it break and need another rare part to get up and running again, so I went with the multiple cheap systems option. This has the advantage of there being some overlap, so if one system is not cooperating you can easily try another system and usually at least one will get the job done.

    So to answer the OP's question, I think a tweener is whatever you need it to be to read a format that can't be read on current-generation hardware.

    Leave a comment:

  • mR_Slug
    Originally posted by SomeGuy View Post
    The whole point of a "tweener" is to move data *between* truly vintage (such as PC/XT/AT or older) systems and lobotomized modern systems.

    Another example would be the Apple Mac Performer 630 I have to transfer data from my main PC to a Mac plus.

    Leave a comment:

  • NeXT
    A machine capable of running Windows XP on a single physical CPU core however does not use PCI Express.
    Minimum floppy requirements are generic support for 3.5" and 5.25" floppy drives.

    Leave a comment:

  • SomeGuy
    The whole point of a "tweener" is to move data *between* truly vintage (such as PC/XT/AT or older) systems and lobotomized modern systems.

    You would have a rather hard time these days finding a system that can run Windows 10 well and having even the minimum to act as a "tweener". It would need at minimum a real FDC and support for 1.2mb/720k/360k drives.

    And then any NT based OS (NT/2000/XP/Vista/7/8/10) has rather poor floppy support.

    In my opinion, an ideal tweener would:

    -Have any Pentium, K6, or Athlon era CPU
    -Have a generic AT or ATX case
    -Have BIOS support for *two* real, internal floppy drives.
    -Have Ethernet Networking (easy to add)
    -Have Windows 95 OSR2 or 98SE as the primary OS for easy DOS access (ME/2000/XP are more difficult)
    -Have USB ports for flash drives.
    -Have at least one ISA slot and plenty of additional slots (AGP/PCI)
    -Ideally the FDC should support FM encoding, but that is rather uncommon and hard to tell just by looking.
    -The motherboard should use a coin cell CMOS battery instead of a Dallas or Odin integrated clock/battery chip.

    There was a previous thread about tweeners here:
    And a test of some of the last motherboards with FDCs here:

    If you require a "modern" computer that interfaces directly with floppy disks, then you should look in to adding a Kryoflux or SuperCard pro.

    Leave a comment:

  • ScanDisk
    Something with Wndows 98SE, that has USB, CD, Floppy, network card.

    Leave a comment:

  • Casey
    started a topic how do YOU define a "tweener?"

    how do YOU define a "tweener?"

    Posted here for lack of a better place. Apologies if it's the wrong area.

    ...I've been wondering for a while how one defines a "tweener." A machine that can run both MS-DOS era software as well as Windows 10? A machine with more than one kind of floppy drive? A dual boot system?

    How do you define tweener?