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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After the Class of '86

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    After the Class of '86

    There is a slightly odd human population distribution in "Vintage/Retro Computing" communities - they seem to be almost entirely populated by people that attended high-school between 1975 and 1986. The IMSAI/Altair generation being the oldest members and the Amiga generation being the youngest.

    An entire world of TRS-80, Apple Lisa, Altair, C64, Spectrum, ZX80, Imsai, 8-bit Ataris, KIM-1 kits, an occasional PDP-11 or Rainbow, Osborne luggables, VIC-20, IBM 5150, Apple-II, Mac Classic, Atari ST, Amiga, and their contemporaries; but nothing either earlier or later.

    I myself attended high-school from 1976-1982, so I'm in that generation too, but although I have memories of the ZX80, Commodore PET, ICL One-Per-Desk, my Mums' old Mac Classic, the C64 and its' irritatingly unreliable CBM 1541 disk drive, and so on, my current computer collection feels a little out of place here... "vintage" in several cases, but nowhere near as "veteran":

    Silicon Graphics' Indigo R3000 (1991)
    Sun SPARCstation-10 (1992, upgraded with 1996 CPUs and a 2005-vintage SATA disk drive)
    Sun SPARCclassic (1993)
    Toshiba 4000CDT laptop (1997)
    Sun Ultra-10 PGX24 (2000)

    My main day-to-day-use machine is the SS10, now over 19 years old, for which I have a collection of 15 CPU modules of 8 different types. No shortage of CPU spares there!

    I wonder what will happen to all the "vintage computer" sites and fora when the human class-of-1986 visits the great swap-meet in the sky... Where have all the younger retro-computing people gone? Were they ever "here" at all?

    I'm class of '99 and have a garage and 1.5 rooms in my new house dedicated to 80's and 90's computing.

    My collection starts around 1983 and goes right up to ~2000. Mostly it's PC based, but I do have a few side shows like the Acorn A4000, Commodore 64C, VIC20 (did anyone else watch that 1980 advert and think DENNY CRANE?), Amiga 2000HD, and I'm wanting an Amstrad CPC if I can get my grubby little hands on it. The IBM 6150 is a nice bit of late-80's office furniture too.

    Just wanted to let you know that we're out there. Seen a few members turning up that are younger than me as well.
    I actually first started playing with old computers when I was only about 14 - my oldest back then was a CP/M-86 Terminal Server from ICL (Intel 8086, dates were around 1980ish) - I just wish the sensible people never convinced me that they were just 'junk' - fools!
    Twitter / YouTube


      I was BORN in 1986. Plus retro is 'in'.
      This space intentionally left blank [ ].


        The problem is .. who has 1960's computers to tinker with? How to you "fix" a Silicon Graphics mother board? People write about what they can acquire and are capable of working on. Communities grow among those who need help, looking for answers. The 8-bit era dominates most vintage computing boards because there are ample computers to locate cheap, and most people can learn how to fix them. With that in mind is actually is one of the most diverse I know of. Check the pre-Altair section of this board, some of the most interesting posts are there.

        For you, a April 1965 product announcement for the DMI 610. I have only seen one of these, in a museum.
        Last edited by billdeg; March 4, 2013, 07:15 PM.
        @ BillDeg:
        Twitter: @billdeg
        Youtube: @billdeg
        Unauthorized Bio


          Originally posted by shelldozer View Post

          I wonder what will happen to all the "vintage computer" sites and fora when the human class-of-1986 visits the great swap-meet in the sky... Where have all the younger retro-computing people gone? Were they ever "here" at all?
          They're here, thankfully

          -- Jim, class of '89
          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)


            Originally posted by billdeg View Post
            For you, a April 1965 product announcement for the DMI 610. I have only seen one of these, in a museum.
            Only in the 60's was a chair included in a computer purchase.
            I have a Major in Post-Apocalyptic Economics.
            Wanted: Any PC-Compatible Reciprocation Dingle Arm


              I went to High School between 1966-1970.
              I'm here because I can now afford to buy computers that I only heard about and certainly couldn't afford to buy all that long time ago.
              I subscribed to quite a few magazines and spent a lot of time drooling over all the good stuff out there.
              Now I am fortunate enough to actually be able to play with some of it.



                Class of 1998 here. Yes, the age of Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys, and Windows 98 (although I was still using DOS and Windows 3.1 at the time).


                  Class of 1969 here. The first computer language I learned was MPLII which was Burroughs assembler. The first machine I worked on you IPLed it with a papertape. Which reminds me of terms such as "ABEND", "IPL" and "NDL" amoung others.


                    Class of '71 here. I still have my copy of the Jan '75 issue of Popular Electronics magazine that featured the plans & kit for the Altair 8800. I drooled over that but as a young, married, college student never had the money to buy the kit. Didn't get my first PC until 1984.


                      Class on 86' here, so barely making the cut as usual.
                      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


                        Joining the old farts contingent (my Popular Electronics collection starts in 1957 ).

                        Started on punched card IBM tabulating equipment; not quite as old as these:

                        More like these:

                        Like Jimmy, my first computer language was Burroughs assembler; started getting paid for playing with other people's computers around '69 or so and finally bought my first 'personal' computer around '78, a blue-label white-screen chiclet-key PET which is still in the basement somewhere:


                          Wow, I'm sure glad that the breadth of respondents (ages and gear) was so great, I'm not feeling quite so "out of it" anymore.

                          Thanks for the interesting histories too; and I guess I must apologize for presuming too much.


                            Well this thread is making me feel - pleasantly young I guess. I'm high school class of '05, but my interest in vintage computing stems from my first computer - a Corona Data Systems XT clone with DOS 1 and GW-BASIC. Got into programming on that thing and kept using it until the power supply died. My next computer was a PS/2 386 (don't know which model number but I suspect it was a 55SX) my dad brought home from the local university surplus - ran that thing into the ground too.

                            I've always loved tinkering with hardware, and now that I can afford to keep a small collection of vintage computers I figure it's as good a hobby as any for me.
                            Atari 800XL (fully working) - Ranasystems 1000 (status unknown - won't boot any of my current disks)
                            Commodore VIC-20 (mostly working)
                            Corona Data Systems PPC-400/luggable XT clone (hard drive dead, boots from floppy)
                            Packard Bell 486DX2-66 - SB16 clone, Intel Pro 8/16 NIC, 512MB CF "hard drive"


                              My 9 year old son has already expressed an interest in vintage computers....He helps me solder/repair stuff, work on simple electronics. At the vintage computer festivals there are always lots of kids playing with the old machines (games)
                              @ BillDeg:
                              Twitter: @billdeg
                              Youtube: @billdeg
                              Unauthorized Bio