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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My collection in NorCal

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    My collection in NorCal

    IBM 3270 PC AT/GX - This is a monster only IBM could build. The monitor has a warning label noting that it weighs 35 Kilos (77 lbs)! The base unit also weighs in at about 50 lbs. This unit was supplied to a company I worked for as a loaner, then the company that loaned to us said they didn't want it back. My boss told me to get it out of there, so I did. The system was OEM'd by Valid Logic Systems. In addition to the 19" 1024x1024 monitor, it has the 3270 AT base unit, the Display Attachment unit, and the massive 24 function key 3270 kb. In order to run the Valid Logic software, the system has an Opus card with a NS32016 processor so it can boot ATT SYS V Unix and run Valid GED. This system took the trifecta at the 2000 VCF, best in class (post 1981), best presentation, and best of show. I brought it back up just recently. It has 2 MFM hard drives (20/80MB), and a 5.25" floppy. The tons of manuals (IBM + ATT + Valid) are what got me best presentation for completeness. At the VCF, I was drawing logic schematics on screen and printing copies for people. Some specs: 5373 System unit, 5378 Display Attachment Unit, 5279 type C (color) monitor, Model F-122 kyb. The MB appears to be the same as a 5170 Type 1, but with a unique BIOS. In fact, all 4 of the ROM sockets near the rams are populated. The APA display card connects to the 5378 DAU with a 62 way connector! I'll probably start a thread with pictures and a tour of this thing. It also has Ethernet, and a serial-parallel card. Some of the cards in this thing run HOT! I'm thinking of getting a slot fan for it.

    I kept several PC clones as "mules" to support the above dinosaur. A MB with some ISA slots and some PCI slots, and a CDROM makes cloning old hard drives easier. In fact, all the parts for the 3270 AT/GX are collectively referred to as "dinosaur bones".

    Micron Tower Server - I don't have the model number, but this is a tower case almost twice as high as a standard desktop (upright) case. It has 2 Pentium Pro cpus in it. Horribly slow machine! I put Debian Linux on it, just for self-torture. I may scrap this one.

    IBM Thinkpad A31p - This is the famous "three-spindle" engineering laptop with 1600x1200 IPS display. At one point, it had a dual boot setup with XP and Linux, but now it's just XP. Still works. It's a P4M, I believe. I replaced the MB at one point, as it had the dreaded Ati solder ball disease. I also replaced the LCD backlight, an operation not for the faint of heart.

    IBM Thinkpad X41 - This is a "Frankenpad" with a X41T MB in a plain X41 case. The original X41 MB was dead, and all the replacements available were actually X41T tablet MBs. I may have put Zorin Linux on this one. Still works.

    BTS PC AT clone - 12Mhz 286, 16MB Ram, 20MB MFM HDD, monochrome. DOS 3.1. I recently brought this one back up too. The tiny monochrome monitor is a very irritating orange color.

    Ohio Scientific C2-OEM - This is not the triple-CPU model they made (C3), this only has the 6502 processor. No hard drive, just dual 8" floppies. I ported the Adventure game onto this. It does not do graphics, only text IO to a dumb terminal. I have the original manuals and disks, as well as system disks I have patched and added programs to. I believe this has 48K Ram. I wrote a printer driver overlay for the OS so it could talk to a NEC Spinwriter. This is also a rather heavy system.

    Synertek Systems Sym-1 - I used to work at Synertek, so I got one of these cheap. I made a case for it that also has the Synertek KTM2-80 kb-terminal board. It also has an EPROM programmer for 2716 type Eproms, which the system can use.

    Apple Macintosh G3 "blue and white" - This is an early G3 with what they called the "heartbreak" MB. It supports IDE hard drives, but above a certain size, it fails to read the drive. I added a generic IDE controller to it, which is the usual fix for this problem. I only got this so my daughter could learn Mac stuff before college.

    Toshiba T3200 - One working, one for parts. Somebody gave me this one. After I got the complete system, lo and behold, within a few weeks, I stumbled into one at a local surplus store that was for parts only. I needed some of those parts!

    Signetics Instructor 50 - This was supposed to be a teaching aid for programmers to popularize the Signetics line of CPUs. The strategy didn't work. I was given this as a gift.

    Unfortunately, in the last few years, I seem to have scrapped several P-III and P-150 systems that are now desirable as hosts for old games. I also have some old games I may offer for sale here.

    Some pics of the big IBM dinosaur...


      The story of my 3270 AT/GX made it onto the ns32k site (scroll down):


        Note: The 3270 AT/GX system has been sold to a collector. He paid shipping too. This dinosaur still lives!