Retro computing Archive

Everything you ever wanted to know about HP’s 9000 Series 300

Hewlett-Packard’s 9000 Series 300 (HP300) was a range of technical workstations based on Motorola 680×0 microprocessors. Superbly engineered in modular form, and ahead of the curve in terms of functionality, these workstations were used mainly as instrument controllers and for desktop technical computing. The HP300 series launched in 1985 with the models 310 (pictured below) and 320. It evolved through numerous variants of increasing power, concluding with the 38x models released in 1991. The series was officially obsolete as of 1997. The definitive website dedicated to vintage Hewlett-Packard computers is the wonderful HP Computer Museum, which has excellent and wide-ranging archival resources. The present site is focused specifically on the HP 9000 series 300 and is for anyone interested in the history, conservation and restoration of these personal workstations. ↫ Everything you could possibly ever want to know about the series 300, in one place. It’s incredibly detailed, and if you have your eyes on buying one of these machines, I urge you to keep this resource in a permanently open tab so you know what you’re doing.

Browsing the WWW on a 1980s IBM PC using MicroWeb

Do you ever sit at your 1981 vintage IBM PC and get the urge to pop onto that newfangled ‘WWW’ to stay up to date on all the goings-on in the world? Fret not, because Al’s Geek Lab has you covered with a new video, which you will unfortunately have to watch on a device that was made at the very least in the late 1990s. What makes this feat possible is a miniscule web browser called MicroWeb, created by jhhoward, that will happily run on an 8088 CPU or compatible, without requiring any fiddling with EMS or similar RAM extensions. Anything is possible, if you just want it hard enough.

Quicktake 100 for Apple II

Apple released their first Quicktake camera, the Quicktake 100, in 1994, ten years after the Apple //c. On the box, they very boldly wrote: “Requirements: 386, 486 or superior; 2MB of RAM, 10MB of free hard disk space; an 1.44MB floppy drive; a VGA, SVGA or superior card”. But was this true? No. They were just being lazy, or trying to get you to upgrade a perfectly functional 8-bit, 1MHz computer with 128kB of RAM and 140kB floppies. In fact, it was absolutely possible to do digital photography on an Apple //c. Useless projects are the best projects.

Long gone, DEC is still powering the world of computing

The VAX served DEC well throughout the ’80s and into the ’90s, but as the latter decade went on, DEC began to face stiff competition from UNIX vendors, particularly Sun Microsystems. DEC struggled to change with the times, and the company ultimately failed. In 1998, DEC was acquired by Compaq, and in 2001, Compaq was acquired by Hewlett-Packard. The DEC line, including the VAX/VMS system, was discontinued and faded from the market. And yet it lives on today. Here’s how. Getting a DEC Alpha machine has been on my list for a long time, but they’re in very high demand, and extremely expensive. It’s quite impressive to see DEC’s continuing legacy laid out like this.

GeckOS 2.1 released

I had to do some digging into our archives to see if we ever covered GeckOS before, but apparently we haven’t – and that’s a shame. GeckOS is a pre-emptive multitasking operating system for the Commodore 64 and the PET, and should be easily portable to other 6502-based machines, and offers multithreading, TCP/IP networking, and more. Version 2.1 has just been released, and it adds a ton of new features and bugfixes.