RetroSessions

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RetroSessions

Old Computers Never Die - Their Users Do!!



When?

We will hold the **next** RetroSession on Friday, 2 November 2018.


Where?

The RetroSessions are usually held in the WhateverLab, in a corner which we are now dubbing the 'RetroZone'. A semi-permanent installation in the RetroZone is currently set up for those who don't want to wait for the next session to get their fix - at the moment, the computer available for your hacking fun is a ZX Spectrum +3 machine, with a Light-gun accessory and a few disks full of moderately entertaining games (Try the LightGun disk, and also the Action Pack has GAUNTLET for those who know what that is..)

Feel free to play with the machine in the RetroZone, but try to keep it in operational condition for others - i.e. don't format the discs, or do anything else that would make it impossible for someone else to play with it.

We will occasionally swap out the RetroZone machine for others, so even if you can't attend a RetroSession, if you're interested in Retro- computing you may want to check in on the RetroZone for an update now and then.

What?

A regular discussion of archaic technology, with purpose ...

Purpose

We will, as a group and with interest, attempt to bring abandoned computers to life, for new reasons. Anything interesting we can do with an old computer, we will try to do it.

If you've got something you wanna demo - AWESOME! Let us Demo our still-working, ±30 year old systems!

We will meet at MetaLab to discuss, review, remember, re-write, revive, a bit of love for retro- computing; we will see what sort of answers we come up with for questions such as: what we can do with old computers; why we should do things with old computers; who has a new, old computer, to demonstrate; who has an old, old computer to demonstrate; what can a computer do, old and new?

What Is a Retro-Computer?

To be considered a "retro- computer", the device should be any computer platform where the general majority of mainstream users have moved on, i.e. stopped using the platform. It should be a machine from the past, which maybe isn't so common any more. It could also be a common, old computer - really the only point is, its not an iBlah or McPC. "Those aren't quite old enough .. yet."

The best thing to bring along is an old, dusty machine, and get it back up and running. Maybe you've got a great Amiga collection? Still got a C64 "somewhere in the attic"? Dust it off, bring it along, and lets make it work again.

Among other platforms, we might demonstrate the following systems:

Who?

Anyone and everyone, interested in retro-grade computing, is invited to come to the next RetroSession - bring something with you, or enjoy a demo of what we've already got. That means YOU are invited to join the RetroSession squad!

Agenda for 21 September 2018 RetroSession

- torpor: The agenda for this RetroSession will be to get as many retro- machines up and running for the session as possible - in my case specifically I will bring along a recently aquired ZX Spectrum +3 system to boot up and explore:

  http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/det/509/Sinclair-ZX-Spectrum-3/

This wonderful machine gives us a wide range of software toys to explore and re-discover, and should hopefully be an easy system to get up and running again.

Of course, we will also have machines from prior RetroSessions to play with as well - the Oric Atmos system, Amstrad CPC6128, Amstrad NC10, and so on .. and everyone is welcome to attend and explore these machines, or even do something interesting with them in a modern context!

Adding a raspberry-Pi Zero or ESP8266 (MagicShifter?) to the NC10 would be a nice project, for example - or getting the CPC6128 or ZX+3 machines on the Internet: a delight!

Or, better yet - maybe you’ve got your own Retro- system to bring along, Boot up and show us the ropes? Maybe you’ve got an Amiga system with Old Data on it too - anything and everything Retro- is welcome at these sessions. Bring it!

Agenda / Event Log for 29 June 2018 RetroSession

Agenda

  • torpor: The goal for todays session: boot up an Amstrad CPC6128 with the new M4 board.

Continuing our effort to bring 8-bit machines into the 21st Century, we will be booting up an Amstrad CPC6128 machine, fitted with the new M4 board which gives the machine access to gigabytes of storage, the Internet over Wifi, and a few other neat things too .. if anyone has any SCSI cables/adapters to bring to the 29 June 2018 RetroSession, please do so: we have an Amiga rescue mission planned for the near future.

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/M4_Board

Event Log

  • hop:Came to the rescue with a bag full of SCSI. Amiga rescue mission can now proceed.
  • torpor: made Amstrad CPC6128-specific power harness, booted newly arrived CPC6128 hardware, fiddled with CP/M, rejoiced! Booted M4 board on newly working CPC6128, connected to the Internet, explored the M4 firmware.
  • hop:More PSP emulation shenanigans.
  • MaV: presented working Schneider- CPC6128 variant, with hardware mods supporting HxC. Provided guided tour through large collection of interesting CPC6128-specific apps.
  • torpor/MaV: attempted boot of SymbOS on both systems, with no such luck. Memory expansion/more RTFM required?

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Event Log for 25 May 2018 RetroSession

  • torpor: presented non-working Amstrad CPC6128, attempted repair (with help from MaV), determined that a full replacement set of RAM chips is in order. Repair of this machine continues. Also presented working Oric Atmos machine, demo'ed a number of old games, discussion of graphics techniques of the 8-bit machines (due to time constraints, and burned fingers from the Amstrad repair, the Twilighte+Sittler card demo running Orix postponed for next session.) hop: presented his AmigaOS emulator rig on PSP, got it upgraded during the session.  ??? presented the very retro electro-mechanical Space Invaders machine. Hannah: played some weird old Oric games, basked in the glory of 8-bit pixels. Plans were made by members of the RetroSession squad to bring other interesting gear for the next RetroSession, scheduled for 29 June.

RetroInvaders.jpg

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see videos here (similar device):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSHVZcev3D8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzBGN2p9Hco


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Interest in this fledgling workshop continues, and we hope to have more interesting systems to demo at the next RetroSession.