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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Outdoor laptop

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  • urbancamo
    Somewhat a long gap between replies, but I ended up buying a newer Panasonic Toughbook, the CF-31. It has a daylight-readable display and uses LED backlights so is much more reliable and less battery intensive than the CF-30. Love it.


    Leave a comment:

  • urbancamo
    Thanks for the suggestions. I've also noted that there are some more modern laptops that have the ability to turn the backlight off, specifically the Toshiba Portege R500-S5003 and the NEC versa Daylite. The HP Elitebook X360 with SureView screen can also run at 1,000 nits, and I have a Panasonic CF-30 which does remarkably well in the Sun.

    Not quite the same, any of that, compared to something nice and vintage!

    Regards, Mark.

    Leave a comment:

  • bifo86
    If we're talking potentially expensive and hard to find, how about a Poqet PC Plus? Transflective screen, 2mb memory, 16mhz V20 processor, actual keyboard instead of the HP LX type chicklet-calculator style.

    The only problem is that they run on a NiCD battery pack instead of AAs like the original Poqet PC (which is more common and probably less expensive) so true portability might be bad. That being said, much easier than anything else available from the era these days, you could probably run it off of a battery pack with an adapter.

    Leave a comment:

  • compaqportableplus
    How about something like a Zenith Z-180 or a SupersPORT? They don’t have transflective displays, but you can turn the backlight off on them, and I think they are fairly readable in sunlight, although I haven’t tested it myself.

    A few things to keep in mind with the Convertible: they can be quite pricey, they have very few built-in features, they didn’t come with the full 640KB built-in, and most of them I see have dead lines in the screen (not sure what causes it or if it’s fixable). That being said, if you can find a working one with the full 640KB (or 512KB at the very least) for a reasonable price I think it would be a cool machine.

    The Zeniths I mentioned above are quite easy to find, reliable, and really aren’t worth much at all. They also have all standard ports and full 640KB of memory built-in, so no need to find rare expansion modules.

    Leave a comment:

  • paul.brett
    Perhaps you could consider an IBM PC Convertible?

    Leave a comment:

  • urbancamo
    started a topic Outdoor laptop

    Outdoor laptop

    Good evening!

    I was wondering if anyone could suggest a vintage laptop I could use in the garden that has a transflective display? In the past I've had a TSR-80 and Cambridge Z88 but I would like something with a display that is at least 80x24 characters, preferably large enough to read from. I'm thinking an early IBM compatible laptop might fit the bill?

    Kind regards, hope everyone is staying safe! Mark