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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The source of the Altair name

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    The source of the Altair name

    Thomas (Todd) Fischer posted another gem to comp.os.cpm.

    I've copied it here for those who may not wish to brave usenet!

    Hello All,

    The recent sequence of events related to the broughaha started by the erroneous suggestion/statement that the pioneering Altair 8800 copied the (falsely) "earlier IMSAI bus" has yielded another gem of historical documentation. Search the internet and books for histories of the Altair and Ed Roberts and you'll find several interpretations or claims as to how the "Altair" name came to be. On July 1, 2004, Ed Roberts replied to my question of this as follows: (note that I have made several edits to grammar and punctuation)

    The name "Altair" was a suggestion made by Les Solomon after watching an episode of Star Trek, actually came from his daughter. This was the only contribution that Les made to the design of the Altair, contrary to popular myth.


    "Go forth and multiply" (correction of the wrong!)
    Regards to all,

    -Thomas "Todd" Fischer
    The Vintage Computer and Gaming Marketplace
    The Vintage Computer

    Oh, I thought that was common knowledge since many years ago. I read it when visiting a computer museum 199x in their accompaning magazine. The Altair was a flying creature featured in that Star Trek episode if I understood it correctly.
    Anders Carlsson


      Isn't there a star (asteroid?) or something named Altair? Mebbe there should be...and one named Imsai as well. Anybody remember the website to go to to suggest names for astral objects? (I used to have it somewhere).

      Teach your children how to think, not what, and hold 'em close, not tight.

      Please visit the Vintage-Computer Wiki. Contributers welcome.


        So I'm watching this movie that just came on (10 minutes ago) on the Turner Classic Movie Network, called Forbidden Planet, (1956, Walter Pigeon). So far, it's about these guys in a spaceship who are flying to planet of a star named Altair. (Upon arrival, they meet a robot named "Robie"). Anybody else ever seen this movie? So anyways, now I'm still wondering, is Altair the name of an actual star, or is it just a science-fiction thing?

        Teach your children how to think, not what, and hold 'em close, not tight.

        Please visit the Vintage-Computer Wiki. Contributers welcome.


          Originally posted by
          Altair: brightest star in the constellation Aquila (Eagle); Bayer designation Aquilae; 1992 position R.A. 19h50.5m, Dec. +8°51´. Its apparent magnitude is 0.74, making it one of the 20 brightest stars in the sky, and it is of spectral class A7 IV,V. Altair is one of the nearest bright stars, its distance being 16.8 light-years.
          "Altair" is supposedly old Arabic for "flying eagle". However, I'm not as sure that there is an Imsai star or other space body.
          Anders Carlsson


            Well, if Frank Zappa can have an asteriod named after him, why not name one "Imsai?" (Any clue whether the word means anything?)

            Teach your children how to think, not what, and hold 'em close, not tight.

            Please visit the Vintage-Computer Wiki. Contributers welcome.


              "Information Management Sciences Associates Incorporated", but that was not what you meant? The only other reference I found was from some Czech-speaking guestbook, but I dunno if "imsai" or other spelling variants makes up a proper Czech word.
              Anders Carlsson


                I've also heard the planet "Altair" mentioned on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.