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.
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"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:
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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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Handheld Computer / Digital Diary / Organiser with PC connectivity

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    Handheld Computer / Digital Diary / Organiser with PC connectivity

    I'd like to use a vintage computing device for logging amateur radio activations. The requirements would suit a vintage handheld computer from the 1980s or a Digital Diary/Organiser.
    1. Standard Qwerty layout keyboard with numbers above.
    2. Preferably not clamshell but one piece (if clamshell it would be important that the keyboard doesn't extend to the upper part for usability).
    3. Connectivity with a PC. the simpler the better
    The idea is it is lightweight, not power hungry but with a real keyboard. I operate amateur radio from fell and mountain tops. Using a mobile phone with external keyboard just won't work out in the field practically, it needs to be one unit. One option is the Psion 3A, but something even simpler would be fine. I don't really want a phone with a keyboard, as I have a phone which is fine now. I would rather this device had one purpose. Transferring the ASCII log file to a PC should be straightforward. I appreciate that there are programs for example for the Casio FX-720p with FT-3 tape interface that could record a file on a PC as a sound file and convert that, but a serial interface would be even better. I have a Panasonic Toughbook CF-31 with a 'proper' RS232 connector.

    Log entries are like this:

    20m ssb
    1415 ea2if/p 14.285 59 57 sota ea2/ad-123

    for example, normally a log file wouldn't be more than say 40-60 of these lines maximum, and I only need to store one log at a time.

    Any ideas? This would seem like the best place to ask. If had a search around the internet but not really found anything obvious. Happy to code up a simple logging program in BASIC if required.

    Thanks. Mark.

    I was going to recommend the psion 3A but you already know about it.


      FYI the keyboard on the 5mx is better if you have bigger fingers like me. I might also suggest that instead of direct transfer you consider that a lot of devices have a cf slot. Cf cards are a lot cheaper than the special and increasingly rare rs232 cables for a lot of these devices.


        I think the issue that may give you problems is PC connectivity and you may end up needing a virtual XP or older machine to connect to, although I must admit its a long time since I used any Psion Link software/

        Looking for Analog Computers, Drum Plotters, and Graphics Terminals


          There is a working Linux utility for connecting to the 3A. If you go for a 5 or 5mx you can just use the cf card to transfer data though.


            Depending on how stuck you are on "handheld" vs. "ultra-light portable," the AlphaSmart Dana is a PalmOS device, so it should work with jPilot, has USB connectivity built-in (no need for a dock,) and has a real "real keyboard." Even has a user-accessible rechargeable battery, which definitely isn't something you see on modern portable devices
            Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
            Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/X5DR, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Proteus/2, Moog Satellite, Oberheim SEM
            "'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling." - Bjarne Stroustrup


              What’d you end up going with?