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Author: Subject: 25 years later 25000 times more value for the money
franklyn
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[*] posted on 23-9-2007 at 12:04
25 years later 25000 times more value for the money


Best way to see how far we've come , is to look back at where we've been.
PCWorld magazine has an article " The Most Collectible PCs of All Time "
Navigation is by the arrows top left or click the thumbs.
http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,136242/article.html?tk=nl_...

Depicted are 19 early endeavors of personal and small business computers.
I'm rounding this to 20 by nominating Clive Sinclair's little 12 once beauty the
ZX-80
http://www.apj.co.uk/zx80/zx80_hardware.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinclair_ZX80 <> http://oldcomputers.net/zx80.html




It was not much more than a calculator that hooked up to your television.
The NEC Z-80 cpu ran at 3.25 Mhz. The operating system , BASIC interpreter
character set and editor came on a 4 kilobyte ROM. It Included 1 Kilobyte RAM
expandable to 16 kilobytes for an extra 100 dollars. 8 kilobyte ROM with
extended BASIC another 40 dollars. A cassette tape provided pre-programmed
applications for another 10 dollars. Yes software !

Sinclair had a flair for miniaturization producing the first portable black and
white television which was the size of a paperback book , and sold for 400
dollars in 1980. You could have if you wanted , squinted and used the 2 inch
diagonal screen as a monitor making in effect the first laptop. Then you had
to program Pong in BASIC _ :D




.
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Xenoid
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[*] posted on 23-9-2007 at 13:50


Hmmmm...!

I've got a couple of dozen 512K Macs, Mac Plus, Apple II, Atari and Amiga computers sitting in the basement. They only cost a few dollars each and all work!

I'm waiting for their value to go up, ....could be a long wait :(

Actually, my only "old" computer that I think has currently any value (at least here in NZ) is my Macintosh Colour Classic which I got for $5. I gather they are worth about $100.

Regards, Xenoid
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The_Davster
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[*] posted on 23-9-2007 at 14:25


I saved this from somewhere....

[Edited on 23-9-2007 by The_Davster]

pic0348.jpg - 81kB




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Nerro
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[*] posted on 23-9-2007 at 14:40


In ten years we'll all be laughing just as hard about the 1GB usb-stick that I bought for €5,00 yesterday :P

(holy shit! $199,33/MB!)

Incidentally I heard recordplayers are coming back, apparently the sound is more "personal" from vinyl...




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Eclectic
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[*] posted on 23-9-2007 at 14:48


I have a dual drive double density 8" floppy drive with high speed voicecoil head positioning that holds a whopping 250k per disk! :D

Now how much would you pay?
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Nerro
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[*] posted on 23-9-2007 at 15:01


Nothing, we have two old computers in the attick(sp?) that both have a dual 8" floppy drive. Great for playing larry suite leisure :P



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the \"bishop\" came to our church today
he was a fucken impostor
never once moved diagonally

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Xenoid
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[*] posted on 23-9-2007 at 15:16


Quote:
Originally posted by Nerro
Incidentally I heard recordplayers are coming back, apparently the sound is more "personal" from vinyl...


Damn!... I just finished digitising all my old LP's and sold them off! Good riddance, I say.
If "personal" means listening to pops, clicks, rumble and buzzes they can keep it!

I believe Australian and New Zealand produced vinyl was the worst in the world, I've seen LP's with hair pressed in them!

I've still got my record player, a Bang & Olufsen Beogram 4000 tangential tracker, it will still play records (not that I have any now) when tipped up at 45 degrees and a coin placed under the edge of the LP!

Regards, Xenoid
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The_Davster
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[*] posted on 23-9-2007 at 15:54


I have on occasion hooked up a 5 1/4 inch floppy drive to my laptop. USB to IDE connecters are fun, and let me show people how computer games used to be. Oregon trail I anyone?

EDIT: Yup, I was off by an inch, 5 and a quarter, not 4

[Edited on 23-9-2007 by The_Davster]




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Darkblade48
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[*] posted on 23-9-2007 at 16:11


Quote:
Originally posted by The_Davster
I have on occasion hooked up a 4 1/4 inch floppy drive to my laptop. USB to IDE connecters are fun, and let me show people how computer games used to be. Oregon trail I anyone?

Just curious, aren't those 5 inch floppy drives?

I remember playing Oregon Trail as a child too! "You have died of syphillus" was always good for a laugh!

Remember Odell Lake and Number Crunchers? :D
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[*] posted on 24-9-2007 at 00:01


I think I may be just very slightly too young to remember that kind of stuff. Not long after I was ALLOWED to play on the computers at my house (ie to not break them by pulling them apart to see how they worked) I was playing stuff like commander keen !!!

We also have some old stuff my dad acquired somewhere. We have some portable HDD, which is kind of like a floppy except its not floppy, has a diameter of over half a metre, is about 15cm think in its dust protecting case/cassete, and holds 3mb. We threw out the drive cos it was bigger then the dishwasher LOL.

I also have a working PC XT made of stuff i scavenged in 93 or so, cos i knew ppl would throw it out otherwise (they threw all the rest out). And do you know what the really tragic thing about it is. The 'poor' little 4.747MHz 640kB system loads up DOS 3.1 faster then my 2.8GHz loads up XP by a factor of about 10. Damn you microsoft :P
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[*] posted on 24-9-2007 at 06:24


Interesting thing is my dad still has a few 10 inch floppies kicking around somewhere. He even has his punch card programs from wayyyyy back :D
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[*] posted on 24-9-2007 at 07:53


"Nobody needs more than 640k." - Bill Gates



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Antwain
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[*] posted on 24-9-2007 at 10:43


these days to run windows 640MB is pushing it :D Although I do believe that the 640k was an expensive upgrade from the 480k.
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[*] posted on 24-9-2007 at 19:15


I thought Oregon Trail was "You have died of Dysentery" with the damn ox cart, in blazing green on the screen:D.

Zork? Sherwood Forest? Bedlam? Whoo! BRUN Bob to the rescue, fire up the Nibbler!

Potty pigeon was especially memorable for my Commodore 64, then 128-D:D. Wasteland was the best title, period.

I needed to edit autoexec.bat to up the memory to the XM limit of 1024 to run the more advanced SSI games on my 386 DX 33 with the 60mB HD.

@Davster, hey that was a lot of juice back then! IIRC Lotus 1-2-3 was the biggest thing out there and everyone was complaining about the whopping 1Mb it needed!

Hold on, I have got to go take some pictures!

Here (I hope):

http://www.uncommonalchemy.com/Memorabilia.htm

Cheers,

O3




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franklyn
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[*] posted on 10-2-2010 at 16:02


Who says one can't do world class computation on a personal computer

Personal computers are becoming silly powerful.
Most people still use them for mundane applications
such as word processing , a task for which machines
were already overpowered 15 years ago.


Pi to 2.7 trillion.gif - 27kB
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[*] posted on 10-2-2010 at 19:21


The Timex Sinclair was one of the coolest computers. I had a friend who built a mainframe for a parallel experiment and got married, no time for toys so He gave it to me. I used the mainboards from a dozen to complete it, finished around 1984 IIRC. I had one rack which held 100 ram boards which gave me I think around 100K of memory (no pun but my memory of it is fading). Zane would help from time to time when his wife let him come out to play. Another guy I only knew as Zero Page (refused to ever give up his real name) wrote programs for me to make it all work as I was trying to build a game machine. Bought a C 64 the same year and Fort Apocalypse to play on it and realized I had a useless monster but I did learn a lot building my first parallel processing computer.

That game was so much fun nothing from then until now competes with it. You had to use a "Slick Stick" joystick to play the game due to speed and precision required to make it through alive. In the 90's I started toying with CCS64 on my IBM hoping to play the game again. No way, there was about 1/16 inch in 4 directions to move the joystick and the variable resistor method used in all my modern joysticks are so sloppy it's impossible. I bring this all up for this reason. Does anyone have a circuit design to make such a tight, precise joystick for my 3 GHZ machine as I still have my C64 emulators and games to run on it. Also have a bunch of games like Duke Nukem Plutonium which will not run as the game will not see the IRQ's I can select with any of my newer sound cards and these cards refuse to let me set them to these numbers lower than 10.





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[*] posted on 10-2-2010 at 19:39


That's sick.
Respect to the guy who wrote the program as he must have coded most of it in assembly / used some compiler hacks, because I don't think any normal compiler can handle that great numbers.

Depending on how fast the Chudnovsky algorithm converges to 1/pi, the factorial terms (x*k)! in the Chudnovsky algorithm must have been enormous.
Also converting the 1137GB 1/pi number back to pi (presumably by calculating 1/(1/pi) ) is pretty hardcore. Probably he used the paper division algorithm over the whole 1137 GB by repeated loading of chucks of the enormous number, as it's evn far too big to fit into the RAM.

So probably all the fancy x86 floating point SSE extensions and the 64 bit CPU didn`t help much, only the harddisk size counted.

[Edited on 11-2-2010 by hinz]
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[*] posted on 10-2-2010 at 23:05


About 20 years ago Dad rescued a Datapoint (I think) Main frame from our accountant. Apparently it was out dated and was due for the tip. The unit was over 1M NZ dollars new. At the time we reasoned that it might have a few good parts in it... It consists of three units each about a 1.5m x 1m x 1m.

We use them as table legs :)
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[*] posted on 11-2-2010 at 08:24


Quote: Originally posted by IrC  
Also have a bunch of games like Duke Nukem Plutonium which will not run as the game will not see the IRQ's I can select with any of my newer sound cards and these cards refuse to let me set them to these numbers lower than 10.


DOSBox, or better yet, http://www.jonof.id.au/jfduke3d

Funny, I just finished playing Shadow Warrior in OpenGL (same site). A few bugs, but works for the most part.

Tim




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12AX7
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[*] posted on 11-2-2010 at 08:33


Quote: Originally posted by hinz  
Probably he used the paper division algorithm over the whole 1137 GB by repeated loading of chucks of the enormous number, as it's evn far too big to fit into the RAM.


Probably calculated with bignums.
http://www.google.com/search?q=bignum+division

Quote:
So probably all the fancy x86 floating point SSE extensions and the 64 bit CPU didn`t help much, only the harddisk size counted.


CPUs run so fast these days, they're essentially instant computation surrounded by bottlenecked bottlenecks. The secret to optimization today has almost nothing to do with assembly code, for two reasons: one being sheer speed, the other being that good compilers are only slightly slower than perfect assembly. The real trick is using datasets on the order of cache size, so the (hardware) memory manager can copy more from system RAM to cache, and cache to cache, while the processor is chugging away, waiting a minimal amount of time before more data becomes available.

Tim




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psychokinetic
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[*] posted on 11-2-2010 at 11:56


I wonder if I could plug my PS2 into that micro television.

All I'd need for portability is a...well.......diesel generator in my backpack....

Still, I've seen some calculators that were less portable than what I've just described :P




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[*] posted on 11-2-2010 at 12:07


Quote: Originally posted by 12AX7  
CPUs run so fast these days, they're essentially instant computation surrounded by bottlenecked bottlenecks. The secret to optimization today has almost nothing to do with assembly code, for two reasons: one being sheer speed, the other being that good compilers are only slightly slower than perfect assembly. The real trick is using datasets on the order of cache size, so the (hardware) memory manager can copy more from system RAM to cache, and cache to cache, while the processor is chugging away, waiting a minimal amount of time before more data becomes available.

Tim

I do not agree with this. In my daily practice as a technical software engineer and software architect I frequently run into problems with only moderate datasets, but still requiring long computation times. A nice commercial example of algorithms using lots of computation power are modern cryptographic methods based on elliptic curves. These methods are augmented with plain symmetric encryption schemes like Rijndael for the simple reason that even modern CPU's do not offer enough computing power to do all the communication with encryption, completely based on PKI-based cryptography.

Another example I have run into is in the robotics area, where a high order state model of a controlled mechanical system is simulated in real time in order to have a model running alongside the real system, where the model can be used to improve control of the real system. More and more is possible with modern CPU's, but still there are many applications where more CPU power really adds to the capabilities of the system.

I agree with you when it comes to domestic applications like word processing, picture editing or even movie watching. In those applications the speed of the hard disk, memory and network more and more are limiting factors, but your statement cannot be generalized to all applications.

I think that there also certainly will be chemists over here, who want faster CPU's for their computations chemistry needs. When it comes to simulating quantum systems, then our modern CPU's are still in their childhood. That kind of computations require HUGE processing power.




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12AX7
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[*] posted on 11-2-2010 at 13:19


Quote: Originally posted by woelen  

I do not agree with this. In my daily practice as a technical software engineer and software architect I frequently run into problems with only moderate datasets, but still requiring long computation times.


That may well be true. Computation-intensive functions might run in the fastest level of cache, and there are an awful lot of long-duration manipulations you can perform on 64 thousand bits. On the other hand, data-intensive functions hammer the cache. Right now, folding@home is using about 20MB of RAM, which I dare to presume means it's actively working with a dataset about that size. How it handles it I have no idea. I can compare that to the cache sizes, which apparently are 128k L1 and 512k L2.

Tim




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anotheronebitesthedust
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[*] posted on 11-2-2010 at 15:49


Anyone remember a game called Rogue?
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[*] posted on 16-2-2010 at 03:18


Quote: Originally posted by woelen  

Another example I have run into is in the robotics area, where a high order state model of a controlled mechanical system is simulated in real time in order to have a model running alongside the real system, where the model can be used to improve control of the real system. More and more is possible with modern CPU's, but still there are many applications where more CPU power really adds to the capabilities of the system.


Is that how they got that creepy headless reindeer to perform so well?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1czBcnX1Ww

I have pondered that since i saw it a couple of years back. The walking mechanism can manageably be programmed no doubt (most likely from actually bluescreen footage of a deer with dots on it) and modern cpu's can run those algorhims quickly enough to be effective but the speed the feedback loops for this things cut in at are amazing, see it recover when the operator kicks it.
I hate knowing so little about a technology that i cannot even broadly describe something pertaining to it.




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