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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Apple 2e + legos = robot kit?

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    Apple 2e + legos = robot kit?

    When I was in elementary school, naturally the computer lab was stocked with Apple 2's. I had to have been in the 5th grade (1995 if memory serves they just got 5 macintosh LC 575's to replace a few of the 2's I had an LCIII at home), but the teacher brought in 5 sets of legos that interfaced with the apple 2's. After school she would work with anyone willing to make whatever you wanted. I was the only one that could get past project one (a stop light) and made every "project" there was and I remember making something like a crane that wasnt in the book.

    Long story short, I kinda want one. I'm almost 100% certain I wont use it, as i've "moved on" and I like my 8051's. My questions is, what was that lego thing called? Additionally, where can I get one?

    I'm going to "try" to not end up building an entire apple 2 system because of this.
    It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.

    Oh yes, the stuff that existed before the Mindstorm stuff. I don't remember what exactly it was called either unfortunately but I do know of the stuff you are talking about.
    [Need something to waste time on? Click here to visit my YouTube channel CelGenStudios]
    [No time for videos? Click here to visit my Twitter feed @CelGenStudios]

    = Excellent space heater


      Programmable LEGO kits were created by MIT. Their old websites are still up from the 90s. You can occasionally find them on eBay, but they're very expensive for a complete kit. The obvious advantage of the original kits over the new Dacta kits is that they interfaced over standard serial to an Apple II (later Macintosh) and were programmed in C. I had the privilege of also playing with the kits because, at the time, I was working as the computer technician for a local high school when they piloted a Robotics class.

      As a side note, the school I was working for was Foothill High School in San Jose, California, and were featured on a show on Discvoery about the National Botball Tournament that year. Foothill is a finishing school for students who dropped out of normal high school for one reason or another (bad grades, pregnancies, money, etc.) and had no funding what-so-ever except the money they raised from a couple of fundraisers. So a bunch of high school dropouts with about $500 in parts took their robot to SECOND PLACE against prestigious high schools from around the country that had tens of thousands of dollars in grants. The robot was mostly plywood, with most of the money going to servos, transceivers, and some aluminum struts. It was pretty damn cool. The whole staff was on cloud 9 that year.


        Back in the days before the popularity of LEGO kits sold under the Technic and Mindstorms names they were selling educational sets to schools under the Dacta name. From the sounds of it it's likely one of these sets that you're thinking of (at least in reference to the stop light project).

        There's been a seller on eBay that has been listing a nice complete one on and off for a while now, but as fas as I'm concerned the price has been a little crazy, and going up...


          wow, thats EXACTLY how i remember it! I forgot about the "washing machine" project. but good lord, he is off by a decimal place on the price. i could justify $250, but 2500? I think that guy will be keeping that set for LONG while. But thankfully I at least have a name to search for.
          It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.


            I don't know if you remember these as well, but I picked up a Sound and Motion science kit for Apple II in a computer rummage. The sound kit comes with a transparent microphone that hooks up to a breakout box. You can then record sounds and analyze the patterns. The motion kit comes with a motion sensor and another breakout box. Just plug it into the existing breakout box and you can now measure the speed of objects. I used these when I was in high school. Blast from the past. I'm currently working with the physics teachers at the school I work at to set up an Apple IIgs and the hardware. Should be fun.