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Re: Microchip buys Hi-Tech Software
On Sat, 14 Mar 2009 19:35:49 -0400, "Michael A. Terrell"

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I think I paid $295 each, for two.  Neither worked, as designed,
though.  In fact, it was their failure to operate that forced me into
learning a lot more electronics than I'd wanted to before.  I couldn't
afford that kind of disasterous result, being mostly penniless at the
time.  Just after figuring out a workable solution, MITS mails me a
nice letter telling me about the 8 (I think, memory serving) patch
wires they recommended to make the design work.  A week too late to be
of help.

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I knew of it, but never had that kind of money floating around.

Jon

Re: Microchip buys Hi-Tech Software

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  We had two Metrodata computers based on the Exorcisor bus in the early
'80s.  They each had six low res NTSC graphics cards for a CATV
headend.  One had a pair of 8" floppy drives from SMS, while the other
had 48K of DRAM to store the text files.  United Video paid over $60,000
for the pair, the drives and a HP computer terminal.  The sad thing was
that a Commodore 64 computer for $395 had better video nd you could use
a single drive to load the data into multiple computers.  I was told
that that was what they did, a few years after I quit.  Metrodata was
out of business, and the one guy supporting them insisted on being flown
to your location, so a simple problem could cost a couple grand and take
weeks to fix.  They would just spend $85 for a new C64, and kept a few
new ones on hand.


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Re: Microchip buys Hi-Tech Software
On Sat, 14 Mar 2009 21:24:29 -0400, "Michael A. Terrell"

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I've got two C64's in the closet -- still in perfect working order, I
believe.  Along with a ZX81 I built up and some other gadgets around
that time.  My Altair 8800 was long since given away, though.  (I
really liked the IMSAI 8080 switches, though, and bought bags of them
which I also still have around [red and white].)

Jon

Re: Microchip buys Hi-Tech Software

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  I used to repair the C64, SX64, C128 & C128D for my Commodore computer
club in Orlando.  I have a couple molded shipping containers (About 27
cubic feet each) of C64 computers that all need the PLA replaced. I have
about a dozen 1541 drives, three 1701 monitors, and a couple C128D
computers, including one with a built in 1581 drive.


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Re: Microchip buys Hi-Tech Software
Hi,


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Eh? You're saying there were C128D's with built in 1581 drive, or was
this a special hacked model??

Regards,

Ross..

Re: Microchip buys Hi-Tech Software

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   Yes. The case was damaged near the disk slot and the internal 1571
was bad, so I did a little surgery.  it was fun to see the double takes
from other Commodore computer users. My next conversion will be to
instal a 1581 clone into one of my SX-64 portables. :)


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Re: Microchip buys Hi-Tech Software

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All C128D's had built in 1581 drives. D="Disk"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_128

Dave.



Re: Microchip buys Hi-Tech Software

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   They had a built in 1571, 5.25" drive.  The 1581 was the 3.5" drive.


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Re: Microchip buys Hi-Tech Software

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Err, make that 1571.

Dave.



Re: Microchip buys Hi-Tech Software
Hi,


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I know, I have one :-). But not a 1581.... (3.5")

Regards,

Ross..

Re: Microchip buys Hi-Tech Software
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At some point towards the end of my undergraduate days, I got it into my head
to built a rack-mounted Commodore 64 with a 1541, 1581, and printer interface.
I didn't have that much money, although I did have access to a machine shop,
so the thing ended up in a pair of large bud boxes screwed together with a
beige front panel -- the faces of the drives poking out through milled holes.

After putting it all together, I never really did use it.  And it weighed a
ton -- those 1541 transformers were heavy!

It's sitting in my parents' basement these days.  I know a lot of that sort of
thing you can't even give away these days, but I should probably try next time
I visit to find someone on, e.g., comp.sys.cbm who wants such a beast...

I think there's an old Amiga 500 down in the basement too... and my brother's
Amiga 3000 is sitting in the utility room, next to an HP 28C calculator, that
both haven't moved since the early-'90s when he moved out of the house!

---Joel



Re: Microchip buys Hi-Tech Software
Hi,


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Note that the A3000 has a Ni-Cd battery sitting on the motherboard (left
side), and it will almost definitely leak and damage the motherboard if
it's not removed. If it has already leaked, you can remove the battery
and try to clean up the mess that it has left, the machine will usually
be repairable (depending on the level of corrosion).

These batterys tend to start leaking once the machine is not used for a
long time.

Regards,

Ross..

Re: Microchip buys Hi-Tech Software

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I got a 1581 some where around here.

  it's been a while since I've seen that unit operate :)

http://webpages.charter.net/jamie_5 "


Re: Microchip buys Hi-Tech Software
On Sat, 14 Mar 2009 21:24:29 -0400, "Michael A. Terrell"

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The first computer I bought for my business in 1979 was an Apple II
with a Microsoft Z80 plugin, 9" monitor, and floppy drive. It cost
around £1000. We run cpm and used edlin and the assembler for software
development. Even in 1979 we saw the benefit of a hardware independent
OS.

In 1982 we got our first couple of IBM compatables from Columbia Data
Products along with Z80 plug ins so we could still run the same cpm
programs.


Re: Microchip buys Hi-Tech Software

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   My first computer was the Timex/Sinclair ZX81, followed by the RS
Micro color 10. I had a couple TI99-4A computers, followed by a VIC-20,
then my first C64.  A friend of mine bought a half dozen dead ones from
his computer club in Ohio, and I started fixing them.  Then I found a
SX64 in a sealed carton being closed out.  A few months later a
prototype C128 was on display at the Dayton hamfest, and I had to wait
six months to buy one.

   Over the years I had collected a lot of early PCs, including the KIM,
which was a development platform for the 6502.  I found it in an old
piece of medical equipment.  I also had a dozen Boards from early
inventory terminals with working 4004 chip sets.

   A place I worked in the early '80s wanted me to use a crappy Atari
800 to track inventory but the piece of crap took about six minutes to
resort the database every time you made a change so it took longer to
enter a repair, than to do it.

   The strangest computers I owned were made by National Semiconductor
for POS systems. I had two computers, twelve cash registers and ten
laser scanners.  Everything was wired with something like 10 or 12 pair
shielded cable.

   My first PC was around 1990, and built from a pile of bad or used
parts that I repaired.  Then I found out the hard way that the original
XT motherboard didn't have a fuse for the keyboard.  The keyboard cable
caught on fire when it failed.


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Re: Microchip buys Hi-Tech Software
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You may be surprised to hear that I have MDOS09 running as a PPC
emulated
task in a DPS window today - and I still have some use for some of the
software
I had written in the mid-80s for my first design, a 6809 based thing
which had its own bus and own disk and monitor ROM and ran MDOS09
(and MDOS with a CPU card with the 6800, but I do not have that
emulated). I also still sometimes run under it Herve Tirefords Basicm,
a very nice flavour of Basic.

Dimiter

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Re: Microchip buys Hi-Tech Software

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   The Metrodata was a weird system.  It looked like a simple text
processor, but you had to log into the proper 'page' to edit the text
for each of the six video cards.  Some cards had three pages, like the
leased line AP news feed.  You had 'Page Title" 'Body' and 'Bottom'.

   The cheap bastard who ran that CATV system was too cheap to spend $8
each for new 8" floppies.  He put it off for a couple months, till both
the main disk drive lost the heads when they welded to the worn media,
but the backup disk in the secondary drive had crashed.  I spent almost
a week piecing the system configuration back together from almost 100
bad disks.  The home office 'suggested' that the PM schedule I insisted
on be met every month, if the manager wanted to keep his job.


   I am not surprised that a 6800 family computer is still working.  I
think i still have a couple Tandy/RS Color Computers around.  I had a
pair of ISA cards for the XT that let you run Apple II software from an
Apple disk drive.

   Some of the last embedded systems I worked on used the MC68340, and I
hated the early production with the PGA package.  The SMD version was a
ot easier to troubleshoot, and modify for special products.  BTW, one of
those boards is part of the KU band communication systems aboard the
ISS.

   The other embedded controller used a Cyrix 586 PC104 based
motherboard, and a dozen small Motorola MPUs. It had a 40 MB solid state
hard drive, and 32 MB of DIMM RAM to run the Telemetry system under
Windows CE.

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Re: Microchip buys Hi-Tech Software
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Whoa, that beats my 8" floppy disk adventures. Back in the day - on
that
first 6809/00 based thing I had built - I had two such drives,
Bulgarian
clones of some Shugart original, I believe. They failed frequently
enough to teach me that I needed one disk and *two* backups minimum
(after I had the situation you describe, work disk failure and bad
backup). I had learned where around the head to press with fingers
etc. during retries, it was the nightmare you probably know all too
well.

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I retired the real thing not so long ago, 2-3 years ago IIRC (when
I found the month to write the emulator). Not bad for a 6809
oldie I had built in 1988 as an update to my first thing which
predated that by perhaps 3-4 years.

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I started with the SMD one, designed it into my first "nukeman" in
1993/4.
But mine did not make it to the ISS, just a few sold units.
Was a nice CPU in its day, still in production, BTW. I have replaced
it with PPC processors some years back (around 2000), though.

Dimiter

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Re: Microchip buys Hi-Tech Software

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   This had the original Shugart 8" drives, but the replacements were a
newer model, and every time one went bad we had to reconfigure the
replacement, since SMS did a sloppy design.  The two drives & controller
boards filled a 120 pound rackmount package that appeared to have been a
desktop word processor or typesetting system.  Metrodata designed a
Exorcisor buss interface card to connect it ti the proprietary SMS
interface.
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   The original embedded controller was designed for the Microdyne 700 &
1620/1670 series of Telemetry receivers.  It was modified for limited
production Sat antenna controller for NAsA tracking stations.  The one
aboard the ISS was in a 700 series receiver.

   BTW, SMS was 'Scientific Memory Systems'

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Re: Microchip buys Hi-Tech Software

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I do not learn to forge, just to be able to use a hammer.

don

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