Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 19th Aug 2007 18:56 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems "Can you imagine a computer history museum that has to be packed up and put away each winter and then unpacked each summer, and which has three potbellied pigs as its mascot? I can, because I've just visited the DigiBarn, a wonderful trip down silicon memory lane that's nestled into a 19th-century farmhouse deep in the Santa Cruz mountains, about 90 minutes south of San Francisco."
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I had one of those....
by chemical_scum on Mon 20th Aug 2007 13:05 UTC
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back in the 1970's

A front loading hard drive (I think its a Data General one not a DEC, but I used both). Mine (the cartridges) didn't have the orange top like this one, which I think means that they had the massive storage capacity of 4.8MB compared to the regular ones with 2.4MB capacity

Edited 2007-08-20 13:07

Reply Score: 2

I'd love to visit
by DoctorPepper on Mon 20th Aug 2007 15:56 UTC
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One of these days I'm going to visit the DigiBarn. I'm kind of into the retro/nostalgia of the old 8-bit computers, and have a modest collection of my own.

Even though I enjoy working with "modern" microcomputers (is that distinction even valid anymore?), I have a soft spot in my heart (and in my head, according to my wife) for the old "Trash 80's" and some of the other CP/M computers.

After a recent post on this site, about the Cambridge Z88, I acquired one from eBay, and I have to say it is in excellent condition, and runs very well. My wife kind of rolled her eyes and smiled when I mentioned the auction :-)

Hey! At least my middle-age crazy doesn't involve selling houses and buying fast cars!

Reply Score: 2

RE: I'd love to visit
by helf on Mon 20th Aug 2007 17:33 UTC in reply to "I'd love to visit"
helf Member since:

Same here. I've been wanting to visit DigiBarn ever since I first discovered them. They even have working XEROX Altos and stars! ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: I'd love to visit
by stew on Mon 20th Aug 2007 18:20 UTC in reply to "I'd love to visit"
stew Member since:

Make sure to bring some extra time to see the outdoors of the Santa Cruz mountains. See the redwoods, go hiking or on a bike trip and visit a winery. It's worth it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I'd love to visit
by DoctorPepper on Mon 20th Aug 2007 19:57 UTC in reply to "RE: I'd love to visit"
DoctorPepper Member since:

Or bring my Elecraft K1 and Buddipole, for some nice mountain QRP radio fun! :-)

Sounds very nice, too bad I'm in Florida!

Reply Score: 1

Miss the computing of the 80s
by Bit_Rapist on Mon 20th Aug 2007 17:19 UTC
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I fell in love with computers back in the 80s as a child/early teen.

I still have a c64, 1541 drive and a clone RGB monitor hooked up in the other room.

There was something about computers back then that is missing these days. I can't put my finger on it. Maybe I was young and it all seemed so new and exciting.

Reply Score: 3

DoctorPepper Member since:

Sorry to keep responding to everyone's posts, but...

Yeah, me too. I was a bit older than you (22, when I first got started in 1982), but I really loved the old 8-bit era. I've been collecting some of the older computers, as my wife (*and space) allows.

Computing has grown stale and common-place these days. It has turned into a commodity thing, like watching TV or listening to the radio (does anyone still do that?). Back in the late 70's and early to mid 80's, computing (for the masses) WAS new and exciting, at least to those of us that felt the pull. You would type a command on the keyboard, or write a small BASIC program, and your computer would so something YOU had commanded it to do. It was like magic!

I've managed to recapture some of that early excitement by switching to Linux and the *BSD's. It isn't quite the same, but it is enough for me, and keeps me feeling that there's more to computing than just a way to earn a living.

You can't go back, the world keeps turning, but you can, for brief moments, recapture some of the wonder we experienced in the early days of microcomputers! :-)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Miss the computing of the 80s
by kadymae on Tue 21st Aug 2007 04:52 UTC in reply to "Miss the computing of the 80s"
kadymae Member since:

I still have a c64, 1541 drive and a clone RGB monitor hooked up in the other room.


Brings back memories, that does.

(Do you have Zork?)

Edited 2007-08-21 04:53

Reply Score: 1

I have a old sys.
by Edward on Mon 20th Aug 2007 23:47 UTC
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I still have my C64 at my parents house.

Reply Score: 1

The bricks are free
by Quag7 on Tue 21st Aug 2007 14:41 UTC
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You know, I get what people say about how computing, from a hobbyist perspective, has changed, but at the same time, a lot of this is just the environment we're immersed in. How many hobbyist-targeted computer magazines are there anymore? Many target consumers, but not *hobbyists*. Many target the enterprise - these are the most insufferably boring magazines of all, however informative.

And then there are users' groups, which I think still carry forward a lot of the fun and hobbyist-styled enthusiasm of the past. They're still out there.

The problem, and maybe this is just my own thing, is that a lot of people got into computers in the 90s - say, professionally - who had no real love or interest in them beyond their paycheck. If they're good at what they do, fine, but they've diluted the population of computer enthusiasts by sort of mixing in. I've run into this problem repeatedly. In fact, I know almost no computer enthusiasts at all, beyond those who are interested exclusively in their paycheck and resume.

We need a Compute! for the 2000s and some kind of gathering place for hobbyists, because if you look back, what is available to us today as enthusiasts blows what was available in the 70s and 80s out of the water. I often say that Linux renewed my interest in computers from a hobbyist perspective because of, among other things, the amount of completely free software available for it. It still amazes me how much software I have and how none of it, anymore, is pirated ;)

There was an article recently about how BASIC used to come with computers and how that affected a whole generation of computer users. Well, all of today's modern UNIX-like systems come with what - Perl, PHP (two excellent first languages, especially the function-rich-out-of-the-box PHP - way better than BASIC), C, Python...not to mention the servers, etc.

I started on a Commodore 64 but really, today's tech is where it's at - cheaper and more plentiful than ever. It is up to every one of us who cares about this kind of thing to carry this spirit forward, to introduce new generations to the joy and fascination of computers as a hobby, and to remember that, however sick of looking at monitors some of us may be by the end of the workweek, it's worthwhile carving out "me time" on the computer for creative, recreational computing.

Build something; the bricks are free!

I look forward to visiting this museum. I saw a movie this past weekend called COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT, and it had a lot of good retro tech in it, and it rekindled my interest in older systems.

Reply Score: 1