Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 6th Nov 2017 15:25 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

There really is no rational reason to restore a late 90s NEC-manufactured Packard Bell computer. Which is exactly why I'm doing it. Join me in getting this unloved machine back to factory fresh condition!

LGR is one of the best and most entertaining technology channels on YouTube, and his latest video from today hits home particularly hard, since these kinds of crappy, low-budget late '90s PCs defined my early teens. Nobody in my family, town, or school had Macs or other types of computers - it was all PC, as cheap as possible, fully embracing the race to the bottom which for many people still defines the PC today.

It's good to see that there are people willing to preserve these otherwise forgettable machines for posterity. They may objectively suck, but they did make computing accessible to an incredibly wide audience, and they served an important role in the history of computing.

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RE: I wonder...
by Doc Pain on Wed 8th Nov 2017 22:22 UTC in reply to "I wonder..."
Doc Pain
Member since:

I like to play DOS games from time to time, but there's nothing quite like playing it on a piece of hardware from the era.

I have a DOS PC exactly for that purpose, initially built in 1994, with a few changes in the following years (better graphics card, better sound card, more RAM). But it's probably safe to say that this particular machine has been in use for approx. 20 years, from time to time, at least once a month. And it's still working. Only one of the hard disks died a few weeks ago and got replaced by another "garbage" disk. Now everything works again. It's impressive how fast this system boots, and using an analog joystick, a parallel port scanner, a laser and a dotmatrix printer, and even networking (!) is easily possible. Direct hardware access to serial magnetic and chip card readers works as flawlessly as directly programming the many different ports it has. One CRT has builtin speakers and an amplifier with volume control and headphone connector, the other CRT is MDA (see "Hercules"). It can read 3.5" and 5.25" floppies as well as CDs (at 16x speed), and TR-1 and QIC-80 tapes. Of course the whole system resides in a big tower so you can easily notice it.

This specific system will still work when the PC I'm writing this text on has been gone for a long time. Even the IBM model M keyboard will live longer than I will... ;-)

Seems almost crazy that I've thrown away almost every piece of PC based hardware I've owned since 1995.

We don't call it a "throw-away society" for nothing, do we? :-)

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