Blog Site: http://www.vintage8bit.com/tags/rc2012sc
lizardb0y once again rocks the Summer Challenge with half-baked good intentions and a mug of warm Bovril. While other contestants bask in glorious summer evenings, polishing their toggle-switches and shooing young whippersnappers off their door-steps, lizardb0y shivers in a cold, Southern winter, heating his frozen hands in the bask of a warm soldering iron. He has no idea what he’s going to do yet, but he promises to try something.
Blog Site: http://haddockdot.webatu.com/sum2012/summer2012.html
This time around I will be tidying my RetroRoom and in a vague way, playing Commodore machines.
Entrant: Andrew Hazelden
Blog Site: http://www.andrewhazelden.com/blog/tag/retrochallenge/
For the Summer 2012 Retrochallenge I plan to work on “IRIXbasic”. My goal is to port the existing open source uBasic interperter by Adam Dunkels to Silicon Graphics IRIX and add enhanced math and color graphics capabilities so I can run BASIC language programs from the 1980’s. My development system is an SGI O2 computer running IRIX 6.5.
Blog Site: http://rc2012.paleoferrosaurus.com/
Retrochallenge entry as yet undefined, but I’d like to try yet again!
Entrant: Mark VandeWettering
Blog Site: http://brainwagon.org/
The first mainframe computer that I ever used was the DEC 1091 at the University of Oregon, running the TOPS-10 operating system. For reasons which defy all, well, reason, I’ve recently become interested in dusting off some of my experience from these days in the early 1980’s. I’ve previously done some minor exploration of this with simh, but ran into a number of basic problems with installation. There is a lot of information around, but a lot of it is diffused, scattered, and incomplete. More of it is hidden behind broken links and dead websites.
So here’s my proposal:
- Generate a new set of disk images, suitable for use with simh.
- Clearly document the commands, source files, and manuals that were used to generate the disk images.
- Generate an beginner’s manual (wiki?), that documents the basic admin and user tasks.
- Oh, and if I have time, make it all run on the Beaglebone, an excellent little platform for simulation.
Entrant: Mark Benson
Blog Site: http://dectec.info/blog
I have long been interested in recreating older platforms on new hardware. During the last year I have really fallen very much for Digital Equipment Corporation’s line of machines and operating systems. In particular RSX-11M (PDP-11) and VMS (VAX and Alpha). One thing that has taken particular interest recently is the idea of simulating big old machines on little new hardware.At DEC Legacy 2011 I exhibited my first DEC emulation project, a Intel Atom D410MO-based small form-factor computer using only solid state storage and a single 12V power supply. This system was able to simulate a MicroVAX 3900 system, using the SimH computer history simulator, with ease, giving a useful and functional OpenVMS 7.3 working environment that consumed less than 15 Watts of power at peak CPU usage as well as accurately and fully emulating the original DEC VAX hardware.Also in the last year gathering momentum and production of the RaspberryPi Foundation’s first Model B low-cost, low-power ARM project board has become a reality. Having taken delivery of on Raspberry Pi I have been able to assess the board and it’s features.At some stage along the way the idea for a project hit me. One of (Open)VMS’s greatest strengths is it is one for the best (and still to this day) systems available for creating clusters of computers that interoperate and share resources seamlessly. VMS clusters have traditionally use high-powered hardware (VAX, Alpha and latterly Itanium) to create these clusters, consuming vast amounts of power and resources but creating a powerful computing environment. I, however, want to take a different approach. Knowing now that RaspberryPi makes a feasible and useful platform for running VMS, via SimH, I propose the following:
- A cluster containing 3 or more simulated VAX systems running OpenVMS 7.3 linked together as follows:
- A file/storage server (possibly using USB attached SSD or hard drive storage
- A DECnotes server (because Notes rules)
- A database server
- A ‘workstation’ with several programming languages, word processing and Mail
- Physically the cluster will consist of a powered USB hub, Ethernet switch, a RaspberryPi board for each ‘VAX’ and necessary power supplies.
- Cluster interconnection will be achieved via ethernet.
Challenges in this project include:
- Creating a standard base-setup Debian Linux image to start out for each ‘VAX’
- Continued learning on topics of OpenVMS and VAX systems
- Learning how to build and interconnect OpenVMS clusters
- Creating a physical package for the RaspberryPi boards to live in (optional task)
Entrant: Carl Attril
Blog Site: http://retrotext.blogspot.co.uk
Well I would like to enter my blog about the FIGnition, its a DIY 8 bit computer, it is a great machine and I purchased and built mine to get some experience of what the first home computer owners in the UK may have felt when soldering and turning on their kits for the first time.
The computer is great, but its keyboard is only eight buttons! you can get quick on this but I thought long and hard about adding a keyboard. The logical answer would be to make some sort of interface with a PS2 keyboard,However the limitation is I know zero about C+ and all that stuff, so I did it this way……
Now that I had got this all working, the FIGnition tricked me into learning to code!, I like many, had a ZX spectrum but did nothing with it with regards to programming apart from the odd rude GOTO 10 code in Dixons and Pokeing or invincibility. So doing these games in the marmite language of FOURTH was an unexpected bonus.
Considering that I am now 36 and left school long ago with no qualifications to give me any advantage in this type of thing, I look at these with some pride, its not the most complex entry you will get, but I have impessed my biggest judge, and thats me!
If any one else takes an interest in this work that is the icing on the cake.
Entrant: Jack Rubin
Blog Site: http://jack-rubin.blogspot.com
In the last few months, several vintage mincomputers have deposited themselves at home, at work and in my storage locker. New arrivals include HP 2100, HP 21MX, HP 1000-F, DEC 11/35 and DEC 11/40 and various associated peripherals. They join an already crowded menagerie of other DEC, HP and DG boxes.My challenge is to (re?)organize my home workshop area to allow movement and forward progress on the various projects. Much will leave for other venues. My particular goal is to have two 8/L power supplies restored and reinstalled, and to have my 11/73 “reference system” complete, bolted together and mounted in some way that leaves it usable but out of the way. It may even go back into a floor enclosure.I consider this an entry in the “Art” category.
Entrant: Rod Smallwood
Blog Site: TBA
I’ll put myself down to get my PDP8/e running. So far I have got all of the lamps (yes bulbs and not LEDS) working. The address count works but I can’t write anything to memory. I have the full manual and have read through the manual DMA cycle info. So it’s a case of following the data from the switch register on to the data bus, through the data mux, and onto the memory data bus.I last repaired an 8/e in 1972 whilst working at Harwell !!!
Entrant: Anders Carlsson
Blog Site: http://www.cbm.sfks.se/rcs12.php
Right now, here are some of the projects I’ll try to dabble with:
- Learn more about my Apple 108, a German Apple ][+ clone. I need to locate the joystick port and then either buy or adapt an IBM PC joystick. I also need to investigate the built-in RS232 port, whether I can get any kind of response from it. I should also make physical floppy disks of the boot images, but in order to use those, I probably need a fresh ROM dump to get both native Basis and Apple compatible modes (my current EPROM set only has the Apple mode).
- Various Commodore projects. I need to finish two home built MMC2IEC interfaces (mainly testing remains). I would also like to try to build a custom 1541-II and CD32 power supply out of a PCB ripped from an Amiga PSU. There also is a 6 MB Corvus IEEE hard drive that needs to be backed up, either through a PET 4032 or a CBM 610.
- If time permits or I’ll get stuck, I will probably come up with additional tasks, like troubleshooting some of my broken PETs or programming for the VIC/C64 or other systems.
Entrant: urbancamo (Mark Wickens)
Blog Site: http://www.wickensonline.co.uk/rc2012sc/
First and foremost a simple game for the Commodore 64 using CC65, Vice and the Real Thing(TM). I’m also exploring ways to blog using a Tandy WP-3 and daisywheel printer. I have a DEC LN03 laser printer sitting in the garage ready to be brought back to life. Share my Retr0brite experiences. Other fun stuff!
Entrant: Sander Reiche
Blog Site: http://ls-al.eu/~reiche
My entry will hopefully be somewhat helpful to all retro-activists. I’m going to try my best into getting my 11/83 up and running and connected online, running 2.11BSD for everyone to access. Old school public UNIX access on true retro hardware!
Entrant: Rob Sayers
Blog Site: http://blog.robsayers.com/tag/retrochallenge
It’s time for me to fail at yet another retroproject… But I’d feel silly being left out of all the fun, so I’ll try something rather modest:Project: Last fall I visited Japan and picked up a Super Famicom in Akihabara. As soon as I got home I realized something… it didn’t really work. So my project will be to get it working, and also get it looking new again with some retr0bright.
Entrant: Ian Strom
Blog Site: http://188.8.131.52/retrochallenge/rc2012sc.htm
I intend to clean up and test an Apple IIc + ext 5.25″ floppy drive + Imagewriter 15″…. I do not know what I am actually going to do with it after that. We will see.Also thinking about trying to find something to do involving my 286. Perhaps I need to benchmark some IDE and SCSI HDDs to see just how bottlenecked the system is. :PIn addition, one can expect at least some complaining about modern bloated things.Not really doing anything useful it would seem.A shorter version?Screwing around with an Apple IIc and 286. And possibly other things…
Entrant: twylo (Seth Morabito)
Blog Site: http://www.loomcom.com/blog/category/pdp11-restoration/
I have been given a PDP-11/35 in absolutely deplorable state: non-functional, rusty, caked with filth, and full of mouse nests. My goal is to restore this 1973 classic computer to health and vigor, up to the point of being able to load and run a program from the front panel. Given the almost inevitability of bad TTL ICs, it may be quite a stretch to make this happen before the end of July, but I’m game to try!
Entrant: Vintage Volts (Jeff Salzman)
Blog Site: http://www.vintagevolts.com/
My entry for the Retro Challenge is to retrofit a Raspberry Pi board into a ZX81 case, while preserving as much of the original configuration as possible (using the ZX81 keyboard, 9V power input, etc.)I don’t consider it a lofty goal, but I’m always up for a challenge when the opportunity arrives. 🙂
Blog Site: http://blog.irrelevant.com/search/label/retrochallenge
I’m currently a year into a redesign of www.viewdata.org.uk, so will try and finish that.I’ll also try mend a couple of machines and get the viewdata BBS connected back up to the Internet. (This is running on BBC Micros and Magic Modems from the 1980s – you can still telephone it …)I might have to finish rebuilding the hobby room so I’ll have space to do this…
Blog Site: http://retrocosm.net
Hoping to hook up an acoustic coupler to my Epson PX8 and try some old school communications. Would also like to create another installment to my Silent Running text adventure.
Entrant: Conceited Jerk
Blog Site: http://retro.conceitedjerk.com
I’ll be repairing my Commodore CDTV (which has seen better days) and building it up, software-wise. I also plan to load up my spare Amiga 1200 in a similar manner and, if time, repair my non-functional Amiga 4000.
I may even show off my Handspring Visor and all the Springboard modules I have, as I know wgoodf is waiting for me to do so 🙂
Blog Site: http://rc.blackinkynothingness.com/content/2012sc/
I will be writing a program for creating beer homebrewing recipes on
the Apple IIe. Again. With success this time. Hopefully.
Entrant: Frank Sapone
Blog Site: TBA
This is my contest entry, besides getting online with magic jack at 300 baud with acoustic couplers and stuff… but I have to get a decent camera for that one.
QDOS is a DOS port of Quake with WATTCP. The limits have all been extended, and it supports extended FitzQuake protocol so you can play all the new school big boy mods. There’s many new features, but no eye candy. Developed all with EDIT.COM under DOS, but I sometimes cheat with a “windows port” for some tough debugging that symify can’t assist with. It is stable and mostly feature complete now, except for adding MOD/XM support and a few other small things. QWDOS is also part of QDOS, which is a DOS port of QuakeWorld and incorporates a lot of the new features QDOS has. http://dk.toastednet.org/QDOS. All of this runs properly on my older computers, but the new mods obviously require 64mb RAM to play. So, my target machine for those interested in playing it with new mods is a P2 400mhz with 64mb RAM. Credit to NeoZeed at http://virtuallyfun.superglobalmegacorp.com/ for originally getting it to compile with WATTCP.
Entrant: Andrea Gasparrini
Blog Site: http://blog.libero.it/Gamecast/view.php?ssonc=1874574920
Participating with one or more of: standard MSX or also MSX2, TI99/4A or Commodore VIC=20
Entrant: Frank Buss
Blog Site: http://www.frank-buss.de/+
Synopsis: running a program on a P4004, with microcontroller emulated peripherals.
Entrant: James Larson
Blog Site: http://www.dst-corp.com/james
My first professional gig was writing a report writer in Apple BASIC to run on a //e for my then employer, the Sinclair Community College Tutorial Department in Dayton, OH, USA. The program used a machine language routine assembled and tested on an AIM 65 to do the sorting. It also sported a full record editor with cursor navigation keys (as opposed to using the INPUT statement), and was disk based. I heard the director at the time say of the report, “This is exactly what I wanted.”
Later, I coded up a program to monitor burglar alarms using the Merlin Macro Assembler for the Apple //e. This particular system saw production use for seven years!
Well, you might ascertain by now that I enjoy coding in 6502 Assembler. So much so, I wrote an assembler for it in three different languages: Turbo Pascal V3.0, Visual C++, and Visual Basic. To run said code, I wrote an emulator for 6502 first in 8086 assembly, later upgraded to the Pentium instruction set, and lastly in Visual BASIC.
The Turbo Pascal V3.0 version was completed to a point where I could write, assemble, trace instruction execution, examine memory, monitor registers, and run simple game programs. Today, I want to complete one of the two GUI versions of that system, either in Win32 using Visual C++ V6 or Visual BASIC V5.
So, for my Retrochallenge, I vow to myself — and all fellow retro computing types — to get the Win32 version of my 6502 assembler/emulator system up and running. I hope to make it possible to do source line debugging, allow design of “simulated hardware” pages that include bit mapped color graphics, simulated LED’s, simulated toggle and push buttons, which can be easily placed and positioned in a dialog window.
B.T.W: I own about 6 Apple //e’s, a couple or Rockwell AIM 65’s, a KIM-1, and a few other 8-bit micro boards.
Entrant: Earl Evans
Blog Site: http://www.retrobits.com/
Synopsis: During July 2012, I’ll finish a working prototype of the network Reversi game for the Commodore 64. The network connection is accomplished with the Commodore Flyer drive emulation and Internet modem.
Entrant: Paul Hagstrom
Blog Site: http://yesterbits.com/topics/retrochallenge-2012-apple-screen-sharing/
Synopsis: Apple II networked screen sharing
Blog Site: http://vdgtricks.blogspot.com/
Well, I wanted to have something new to work on…but, Fahrfall still
needs some work and I didn’t manage any better ideas!
So, basically I took Fahrfall on the road to a couple of Mini Maker
Faire events, to VCF East 8.0, and to CoCoFEST! I managed to include a
few improvements along the way, but mostly these were alpha test
opportunities to learn about how people received the game.
This month’s project would be to use the knowledge gained from the play
testing in order to further refine and improve Fahrfall. I don’t really
expect to win with that, but this is Retrochallenge — the only losing
move is not to play…
Entrant: David Brownlee
Blog Site: http://netbsd0.blogspot.co.uk/
To setup a Sega Dreamcast running NetBSD, using a VAXstation 4000/90
as boot & NFS server, and to provide shell access, web server, and if
possible some form of networked game or interactive web page.
Entrant: Rob Jarratt
Blog Site: http://rjarratt.wordpress.com/
The idea is to write a portable DECnet router that can be used on HECnet. My aim is to write it for Windows (as a Windows service) and as a daemon for Debian on a Raspberry Pi. At the moment I run a SIMH emulation of the VAX780 for this purpose and that means that anytime the machine it is running on is shutdown I have to go and restart SIMH. With a service or daemon I won’t need to do that anymore. Writing my own means I should be able to interoperate with Johnny’s HECnet bridge, and also real CISCO routers. I may be able to connect to other types of interface too, for example async hosts using DDCMP.
Blog Site: http://www.pdp8.se/rc2012.shtml
My entry for the summer RetroChallenge 2012 are two projects:
1. Build the 1802 Membership Card I just bought and learn to write some code for it. If time permits, I have a surprise steam punk twist planned for this little computer
2. if my Atari 800 ships in time, I will do a video of it reading a rather unusual storage medium.
Entrant: David Moisan
Blog Site: http://davidcmoisan.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/retrochallenged/
Synopsis: Software recreation of a famous game on a PDP-11/60 through emulation, written in the original BASIC language just as it would have been in 1981, when I first wrote it in high school.
Entrant: Chase Rayfield
Blog Site: http://gh0stwriter.psunix.net
Over the month I intend to Do a bit of lightweight raytracing with minilight. Improve my blogging skills 😀 as I am currently learning markdown and hunting a decent static blogging software. I may also finish my little snake/worm game so that it runs well enough on the SPARCstation. Currently it lags quite badly due to checking the whole path array on each turn. I also intend to test out various softare on the LX maybe even build X.org
My SPARCstation seems pretty qualified for the challenge it is about as fast as a 486 DX2 from what I can tell probably alot faster in the disk and ram department though. It currently has 96Mb ram 50Mhz and a 4Gb SCSI drive as well as more disk space mounted via network block device from my main desktop.
Entrant: Paul Robson
Blog Site: http://nri832.blogspot.com/
I want to recreate this http://www.oldcomputermuseum.com/nri_832.html arguably the oldest home computer there is going*. It is actually a computer – it is an 8 bit machine with 16 bytes of ROM (the switches in the picture) and has an expanded version which has an addition 16 bytes of RAM.
Blog Site: http://legalizeadulthood.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/an-http-server-in-teco/
I’m going to implement a small HTTP server in TECO.
Simple Kid’s drawing program written in Apple Pascal on a IIgs. There
will be a cursor of some type (perhaps a diamond shape) that the user
can move around the screen using the arrow keys. They will then be
able to press a letter to draw a shape at that position (i.e. s for
square, c for circle). The space bar will be used to cycle through
some colours. Probably not much more than that.