Post by gareth evans
In the past, when contributing to this and other fora, I had been harking
back to my youth of 50 years ago (Well, this is a FOLKLORE NG ! )
and the simplicities associated with DEC's PDP8 and PDP11 minis,
especially in the knife-and-fork configuration of a naked
machine with no OS whatsoever..
In that respect, I was among the first customers for the PiDP8
and PiDP11 kits available from Obsolescence Guaranteed.
However, in taking stock of where I am, and where I am likely
to go in the future, it is unlikely now that I will ever get
around to assembling those kits (Let alone commissioning a
Raspberry Pi to drive either of them)
Would there be any here interested to have either or both of them?
Email address is good.
Kits are what got me into this mess!
At the age of eleven, I was soldering together a shortwave radio kit from some huge electronics company in Chicago.
At age thirteen, from the Seattle Public Library I borrowed a book by Harry Zarchy called something like "101 Electronics Projects" and in a cigar box given me by my grandfather Joseph Lawrence Yagle, I assembled a transistorized radio transmitter. When I started transmitting my voice to kids across the lawn holding a transistor radio receiver, weird things began to happen. I had found that my transmitter went farther if I tuned it to the same frequency as a local AM radio station. One kid told me that he heard an announce on that station complain, "We have a really good show today, but we are having frequent interruptions." Another kid told me that he had seen apparently an FCC (Federal Communications Commission) van just a block away from my house, using a directional receiver in an apparent attempt to locate a rogue transmitter. The incident scared me and so I stopped transmitting until I was in senior physics class at Blanchet High School and I knew that the teacher, Sister Miriam, was going to demonstrate a radio receiver on a certain day. I took my battery-powered transmitter to class and hid it under my desk while I transmitted scratchy noises to the radio receiver at the front of the class -- mainly to impress the cute girl sitting to my left across the aisle, and about whom I had a dream just a couple nights ago.
At the age of circa thirty-two, I ordered by mail a "Z-80 Starter Kit" which I never bothered to put together. However, I did take it to a meeting of the Northwest Computer Society in the shadow of the Seattle Space needle, where I gave a little talk about the Z-80 Starter Kit. At another meeting, the chair called for volunteers to work on the club newsletter, and I felt guilty about shirking because I wanted to work exclusively on my AI project. Luckily, I felt relieved of guilt when a volunteer hand was raised by a member from Seattle Computer Products named Tim Patterson, who went on to fame as the author of Q-DOS (Quick-and-Dirty Operating System), which was sold to Microsoft for $50K and made Bill Gates an enormous fortune.
Now is the time for all good men to reminisce about the kits of their youth.