Boomer Tech Thread - *crack* *sip* Yep, the C64 was a good computer.

Harvey Danger

getting tired of this whole internet thing
kiwifarms.net
I miss having absolute control over Windows in the Win9x days. You could make huge changes to functionality in RegEdit, make mess with all kinds of settings in .inf files, swap out system executables for your own versions, etc. The only black boxes were DLLs, and they were still simple enough that you could hack something apart with a hex editor and rudimentary programming skills. A simple firewall would let you track every single byte that traveled over a network, and programs wouldn't outright die when you blocked them from the network.

Microsoft got me off Apple products by letting me do what I want, while Apple walled it all off. Now Windows 10 talks to whoever it wants, on its own, and I can't change it or hack its components apart to stop it.

Fax machines...a technology that should be long dead, but is still in surprisingly wide use.
You know how every company now requires a mobile phone to verify your login with texts? Or a valid e-mail address, but every e-mail provider requires a valid phone as well?

That's identity management, outsourced. Fax lines are the same thing: a physical document sent through an established phone line is more reliably traceable than anything the Internet has come up with yet. (In part because Internet account providers have become lazy and reliant on the phone companies (who rely on the banks/credit card companies (who do the actual tracking of who you are))).

Nobody knows who xXxZoomSniper420xXx is when he emails you a signed document, but someone had to pay traceable funds to operate that fax line.
 

Smaug's Smokey Hole

no corona
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You know how every company now requires a mobile phone to verify your login with texts? Or a valid e-mail address, but every e-mail provider requires a valid phone as well?

That's identity management, outsourced. Fax lines are the same thing: a physical document sent through an established phone line is more reliably traceable than anything the Internet has come up with yet. (In part because Internet account providers have become lazy and reliant on the phone companies (who rely on the banks/credit card companies (who do the actual tracking of who you are))).

Nobody knows who xXxZoomSniper420xXx is when he emails you a signed document, but someone had to pay traceable funds to operate that fax line.
I saw that in a couple of law firms even though they all used fax-modems, so it was signed, scanned and then sent from a computer and received by a computer on the other end, through a shared cellular hub running on a SIM and not a landline. They have to do it and I don't understand the details but it seemed like a no sex before marriage just butt stuff loophole.
 
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Harvey Danger

getting tired of this whole internet thing
kiwifarms.net
I saw that in a couple of law firms even though they all used fax-modems, so it was signed, scanned and then sent from a computer and received by a computer on the other end, through a shared cellular hub running on a SIM and not a landline. They have to do it and I don't understand the details but it seemed like a no sex before marriage just butt stuff loophole.
Yes, but that SIM is registered to a cell network, who relies on the CC/bank to establish identity, etc.

There's services like eFax that emulates a fax line, of course, but the recipient can tell by the number that it's virtual and therefore less trustworthy.
 
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AmpleApricots

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To give this thread a deserved bump..

I pulled some old Industrial Computer unit with a National Semiconductor GeodeGX1 out of my old tech hoard. It's a board in 3,5" drive format from around ~2000 and you'd usually put them into machines, medical devices (if certified) and such for controlling. I think this thing ran some CNC DOS software. The MediaGX was announced in the late 90s and is one of the first (if not the first, I'm actually not so sure) x86 SoC, and is based on the Cyrix 5x86 which was a souped up fourth-generation CPU for old 486 Mainboards. It does integrated Video and Sound, although nothing fancy even if the Sound is Soundblaster compatible in DOS and even offers OPL3 emulation. Well technically it isn't really a SoC, more a CPU tightly combined with a "companion chip" who has the hardware for the sound and video stuff and both don't work without each other. At the 300 Mhz this generation (Geode GX1, some more stuff went into the Chip too) of the same chip is running it's about as fast as a Pentium 1 with 133 Mhz, really just a crazily clocked (thanks to better manufacturing process) fourth generation 486-style core. Only sips power and needs about 5-8W all in all. I installed Windows 98 on it and played some Fallout 1. I kinda wanna install FreeDOS on it and use it as my primary system and laugh at the slavery of the world to modern tech. That is all.

(attached pictures off ebay, not mine)
 

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Smaug's Smokey Hole

no corona
kiwifarms.net
To give this thread a deserved bump..

I pulled some old Industrial Computer unit with a National Semiconductor GeodeGX1 out of my old tech hoard. It's a board in 3,5" drive format from around ~2000 and you'd usually put them into machines, medical devices (if certified) and such for controlling. I think this thing ran some CNC DOS software. The MediaGX was announced in the late 90s and is one of the first (if not the first, I'm actually not so sure) x86 SoC, and is based on the Cyrix 5x86 which was a souped up fourth-generation CPU for old 486 Mainboards. It does integrated Video and Sound, although nothing fancy even if the Sound is Soundblaster compatible in DOS and even offers OPL3 emulation. Well technically it isn't really a SoC, more a CPU tightly combined with a "companion chip" who has the hardware for the sound and video stuff and both don't work without each other. At the 300 Mhz this generation (Geode GX1, some more stuff went into the Chip too) of the same chip is running it's about as fast as a Pentium 1 with 133 Mhz, really just a crazily clocked (thanks to better manufacturing process) fourth generation 486-style core. Only sips power and needs about 5-8W all in all. I installed Windows 98 on it and played some Fallout 1. I kinda wanna install FreeDOS on it and use it as my primary system and laugh at the slavery of the world to modern tech. That is all.

(attached pictures off ebay, not mine)
The Geode was used in a lot of interactive information kiosks iirc, the ones with a crappy LCD and spongy unresponsive touch screen. I think Transmeta unintentionally became their competitor in the low-power embedded market.
 
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AmpleApricots

kiwifarms.net
The Geode was used in a lot of interactive information kiosks iirc, the ones with a crappy LCD and spongy unresponsive touch screen. I think Transmeta unintentionally became their competitor in the low-power embedded market.
They were also in Notebooks and thinclients, just like the Transmeta CPUs. These weren't as highly integrated though and worked with a normal chipset and needed a dedicated GPU. The GPU is really rudimentary and basically just a primitive 2D Framebuffer that leverages the CPU and some of it's cache, although it does have some MPEG1 acceleration. The CPU has all the additional work of doing sound and GPU stuff and if you were to turn off these features and use dedicated hardware, it'd be faster for it. I pulled up Wikipedia to sort out what actually happened and the first Cyrix MediaGX wasn't much changed besides better process, lower Voltages and higher clocks and some higher integration and faster RAM for a few generations until it went to AMD which bascially started of it's SoC line with it as a basis. AMDs later Geodes are pretty different beasts.

I played a bit more around with it and it's surprisingly compatible even to very old DOS stuff. Even it's FM-Synthesis sounds alright with Ultima 7 which I tested and it can run System Shock at the high res modes, although not entirely fluent. You can also poke some of it's registers for a few experimental functions like a branch prediction, it seems to be identical to the Cyrix 5x86 there although turning on the branch prediction flag makes the textmode output in DOS screwy (?) and is probably just as unstable with 32 bit code as the Cyrix 5x86 one was as I doubt the core has changed at all. Companion chip Datasheet does tell that it has a gameport but it doesn't seem like it exists on this particular board. Interestingly enough, there's composite and S-Video out on one of the headers.

It's an interesting little retro machine, doesn't have so much power so you don't feel ridiculous running old DOS stuff or early Win9x on it because that's pretty much it's speed grade.

I have an Transmeta-based ITX board somewhere too. Interesting about the board is that it has a PCI port, graphics integrated (some ATI chip) and has a 12V barrel plug and otherwise generates it's voltages on board, which I feel every ITX board should do. Think that Transmeta-chip should be compareable to mid-to-late Generation P3 so fast enough for early 3d titles (System Sock 2, Thief etc.) I guess? Most of them probably run better on a modern Linux machine in WINE though.
 

teriyakiburns

Nothing like waiting till the last minute, huh?
kiwifarms.net
Psion 5. I got the Planet Computers Gemini on the promise that it would be like an upgraded psion, and it was. It just also happened to upgrade the problems as well. Oh well.

Amiga fanboys are still insufferable. Ever visited your average Amiga forum? That'd be a thread for itself if it wasn't such a niche thing to begin with. Lots of crazy people still thinking the Amiga has a future or doing insane and unspeakable things to their old computers. I feel other communities are a lot more willing to let the past be the past.
It's partly because the Amiga was the first to do a lot of the things that we take for granted in modern computing. It was the first truly multimedia PC, more than a decade ahead of its time compared to any of its competitors (Apple only goit a pre-empotive multitasking OS in the late 90s, for instance), but Commodore didn't quite have the nouse to take advantage of the technology they'd acquired. The result is a bunch of clinging fans driven largely by resentment that their favoured device, which should have won from a purely technical perspective, ended up failing and being replaced by devices that were (and in some ways still are) markedly inferior.

My first computer was an amiga (and once I have the time I'm going to gather up a nice collection of them so I can pretend it's 1991 and I'm not living in clown world for a few hours), but I wouldn't in a million years visit any of the hobbyist forums for exactly the reasons you've mentioned.
 

Robert Sanvagene

Level 9 Microsoft Certified Techneesheean
kiwifarms.net
The Acorn BBC Micro wasn't the first computer I ever used (that honour goes to the VIC20), but it was the computer that introduced me to networking and BASIC programming. Yeah, I could have coded on the VIC20 (and later C64), but Commodore BASIC was a pain with all those PEEKs and POKEs. BBC BASIC is the tits, and the BBC Micro is (IMHO) the most underrated computer of the 8-bit era.

Fun fact: the original ARM chip was developed on a BBC Micro Model B.
 

{o}P II

🦔🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾
kiwifarms.net
A flip phone is great for people that want to be part of the solution to the problem that is the devolution of the internet.
If you want to keep Work and Home life separate and you get a cheap phone for a work place that only does BYOD?
sorry i meant to write burner phone (getting a new phone every week or so and throwing away the old one)
 

AmpleApricots

kiwifarms.net
My first computer was an amiga (and once I have the time I'm going to gather up a nice collection of them so I can pretend it's 1991 and I'm not living in clown world for a few hours), but I wouldn't in a million years visit any of the hobbyist forums for exactly the reasons you've mentioned.
Good luck, "Board reproductions" are all the rage right now. Basically people redo the original Amiga PCBs in new and exotic colors and put spare ICs on them. These reproductions are 1:1 Amigas without any bug fixes or small but useful design updates in the PCB because the People doing them literally know nothing about electrical engineering or Amiga hardware. It'd be fine if they just put spare ICs on them that are floating around and are usually old Commodore or 3rd party repair place stock but original PCBs get looted to get these running. There's a serious shortage of some custom ICs at this point and original Amigas cannot be repaired because of this. Prices for Amiga hardware are also insane now and I wouldn't pay them. It's simply not worth it.

The underlying problem I think with many is that they have hoarded Amigas for years and often do nothing else besides talking about Amigas all day and they're simply bored so they find new ways to give the whole thing a new angle. It's the perfect storm of being an overpaid, middle aged computer janitor and consoomer. That's also how you get abominations like the Vampire, an FPGA Amiga with custom 680x0 (a few new instructions) CPU core that you plug into your Amiga and which basically deactivates it completely to run super fast FPGA Hardware emulation for... reasons. Why even bother with an original Amiga or the Amiga platform as a whole at that point? It's bizarre and simply not that useful, especially considering a lot of the software from back then is speed or CPU-/configuration-sensitive in some ways and simply breaks on such a platform. I'd have more interest in it if they were working on a new, open 68k platform that runs modern OSes at a usable speed but it isn't even that, as it is proprietary. The developers are still your average open-source dramaqueens who might or might not take their ball and go home at any point. So basically, the worst of both worlds, not interesting at all.

You could write entire books on the topic of people trying to resurrect the Amiga over the years (I even remember excitement about the aforementioned Transmeta CPU as people imagined running 68k code on it) and I agree that it has to do with the uniqueness of the Platform but I also think that that race was over before it really begun. For better or for worse, nothing could keep up with the open nature of the PC platform and the fact that there was so much competition there in hardware development that kept pushing the envelope what was possible and also made prices attractive to the average user. All these more closed platforms simply couldn't keep up with the innovation that whole hardware market brought.
 

c-no

Duck
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Can we count the old Thinkpad laptops before Lenovo slapped their name on the brand? I remember my first laptop in 2005 being an IBM Thinkpad. While it couldn't run recentish games of the time on it without slowing down, I had fond memories of using it to browse the internet and playing flash games on Newgrounds. Ended up having to give it away thanks to my mom saying I should give it to my uncle. The upside to it was getting a new laptop that had more updated specs. The downside to it though was that the operating system was Windows Vista and the background didn't have what the Thinkpad had.
 
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Smaug's Smokey Hole

no corona
kiwifarms.net
That's also how you get abominations like the Vampire, an FPGA Amiga with custom 680x0 (a few new instructions) CPU core that you plug into your Amiga and which basically deactivates it completely to run super fast FPGA Hardware emulation for... reasons. Why even bother with an original Amiga or the Amiga platform as a whole at that point? It's bizarre and simply not that useful, especially considering a lot of the software from back then is speed or CPU-/configuration-sensitive in some ways and simply breaks on such a platform. I'd have more interest in it if they were working on a new, open 68k platform that runs modern OSes at a usable speed but it isn't even that, as it is proprietary.
The Vampire is cool because it runs Elite 2 the way you remember it running. It is pointless like you say, WinUAE can do the same thing.
 
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