Forum 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.

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.

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.

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.

"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.

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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Atari ST cable question

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    Atari ST cable question

    I thought its been long enough; time to give my two Atari ST computers some love. I have never been able to use my 520 ST because I never had an external Floppy drive. Well one just arrived in the mail today. An SF 354 drive to be precise. Came with the Power supply and a spare ST mouse as well! Here is the problem. Where do I find 14 pin Din cables?! Can I buy the ends and make them myself? Anyone have the pinout? Surely someone must have solved this by now. Would love to know. Thanks!
    Micks-l1600 (1).jpg

    If you're desperate, I still have one kicking around from my ST days. It's not long--maybe 18 inches or so and terminated in a DC37F connector, so standard PC external floppies can be used with it. I got sick of using the original 520ST single-sided cheap drive. The cable will allow for two double-sided drives.

    Let me know.


      Supposedly the 354 is dual sided, thats why I bought it (according to the tech tangent videos I watched recently). What would I have to modify on the cable to make it work with this drive again?


        Dunno, my recollection of the innards of the drive is that it was cheap and didn't use a standard (Shugart-type) connection. Beyond that, you're asking me to go back more than 30 years. The information must be online somewhere.


          The SF-354 Service Manual has the pinout for the 14-pin connector.

          Everything I see is that the SF-354 is single sided while the SF-314 is double sided so it might be good to open up the drive and verify whether there are two read/write heads.


            Yeah, single-sided, low quality. I had to do some real work on the ST, so I replaced it with a external box with two NEC 720K drives. Then built my own hard disk adapter and doubled the RAM in the 520 by piggy-backing chips. For a time, I was registered in the ST developer's program--I donated a couple of large boxes of documentation to a Chicago area Atari group. They said they'd post it on the web, but I suspect that it just collected fungus in someone's basement.

            By the late 80s, PCs clearly had Atari systems outclassed and I lost interest. Never could stand the keyboard in the ST, even with "booster" springs installed.


              Could be right.. Probably are. Sounds like you have had experience in the matter. Im definitely interested in the cable. Send me a pm so we can figure out the details. Thanks