News about computers, microcomputers, hobbyist, robotics, computing, museums, Bugbooks, Computers at Bugbook Historical Computer Museum, Floyd VA - the history makers present and historical.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Vintage Computers - What is in a Name - How we are named the "Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum"

Why we call our museum the "Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum"  - here is the short story.

To enlarge "CLICK" on photo
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Museum bugs
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Bugbook lll
I call our museum  "The Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum"  is because of the original  "Bugbooks" . About 1974 I was part of a team that produced these books. The first two Bugbooks were written and published by Professor Rony and I.  I named the books Bugbooks because the small digital integrated circuits looked like a bug with its legs.  Professor Rony typed the manuscripts and we self published the first few printings of the "Bugbooks" These books were the start of a book series called "The Blacksburg Continuing Education Series" .  The books covered various topics of digital electronics, computers and software. Dr. John Titus and Dr. Chris Titus joined the group and became important members of our team. 
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Bugbooks 1 & 2 for sale
During the period 1974 to 1984 about 75 books were published with a circulation of over 1 million copies.  Our team hired 31  authors to help write books in the series. In addition to the books our team designed several computers and other teaching / engineering aids that were sold world wide. John Titus was the computer designer and I designed the digital engineering  / teaching hardware aids. Most or the books were published and marketed by "Howard W Sams" and the hardware was marked by "E and L Instruments" in Derby Connecticut.  Many engineers, technicians and  electronic hobbyist of the late 70's and 80s used  these books and hardware.  All the books and 
hardware are on display in our museum. A reoccurring comment from  
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Howard W Sams AdvertisingDisplay of 
"Blacksburg Series Books.
folks visiting the museum is - I  learned digital electronics from the "Bugbooks".  The experience with the Blacksburg Group started my interest in collecting microcomputer memorabilia for 40 years and has resulted in the thousands of items collected and the small display in the museum. The Bugbook story involves many relationships, interesting events and eclectic people.  It is my  intent to get the details of these adventures in writing -- soon I hope.

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Howard W Sams Catalog with

Howard W Sams Book catalog with the "Blacksburg Continuing Education Series" Books for sale - about 1978

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Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
E and L Catalog

E and L catalog 1977 with all the Blacksburg Group books and hardware for sale.

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Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Book Series on display at musem
"CLICK" for more information 

See Video's about Dave's Historical Computer Collection CLICK

David Larsen
We hope you will come visit our museum and enjoy this Blog.  Your comments and suggestions are welcome.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Vintage Computers - Paul Terrell - Helps with information about Apple 1 computer in wooden case.

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Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Searching for source of this
 wooden case on my 
Apple 1 Computer
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Museum Bugs with
Apple 1 computer 
I received the email below from Paul Terrell 7/4/13 in my hunt to find out where the wooded case on my Apple 1 computer may have originated. Paul started Byte Shop in December 1975 and purchased the first 50 Apple 1 computers from Jobs and Woz. This large purchase played a very important part of the success of the Apple Company start up. Without this purchase and marketing by Byte Shop the Apple Company we know today may not exist.  Paul grew his stores into a franchise operation that reached from the United States to Japan. He also began manufacturing the  "Byte 8" computer for sale in his Byte Shop stores. Paul had a really great idea with his Byte Shop stores. I gleaned  some of this information from Wikipedia - take a look you will find Paul's story a very interesting and an important part of the Personal Computer revolution.

Here is the email from Paul Terrell:
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Paul Terrell
This is from Steve Williams who worked at the Byte Shop in Palo Alto and one of their customers made the wooden cases and sold them to the store managers and owners. I am not sure of the actual wood used but I do remember putting one together myself in the Byte Shop Mt. View (Original store where I bought the first 50 from jobs and Woz) and the wood of that case was not shinny and didn't have any grain to speak of. It could have been Koa . Bob Moody the manager of the Palo Alto store might have a better recollection .

This must have been written by Steve Williams.
The Apple 1 pictured wasn't sold by Steve Jobs at the Byte Shop. Rather, Jobs and Woz sold the Apple 1s to the Byte Shop chain as bare boards, and the Byte Shop chased down keyboards and power supplies, and hired somebody to make the wooden cases pictured. In the photo, the really innovative, bare board computer that Jobs and Woz produced is hidden inside the case.

Photo of Apple 1 with keyboard in wood case.

The Byte Shops had bought the Apple 1s during the year prior to my arrival. By the time I got there, the Apple 1s were an annoyance. Most of them didn't work, they weren't selling, and Apple wasn't being very responsive. The wooden cases were really crappy, too. And the surplus keyboards were expensive and in short supply.
One of my first tasks was to carry a whole stack of bad Apple 1 boards back to Apple. My boss gave me directions to a little one-story office mall in Cupertino. I found it modern, but Apple's offices were pretty bare. I arrived bearing my stack of boards, and the four or five Apple people went and retrieved Jobs. He seemed unfazed that a stack of Apple 1 boards had failed. "So, what do you think of the Apple 1?" he asked. I didn't know anything about it, having worked only on SWTPC 6800 micros and the big computers at BYU. I said something like, "I don't know, but my boss thinks they're not very reliable." He wasn't pleased, but breezed off to dazzle the next visitor. He was pretty famous, in a small way, even then.
It was only a few months later that the Apple II became available. It was hotly anticipated by the hobbyists of the time. The first Apple II delivered to a customer was through our store. Someone from Apple drove up from Cupertino and dropped it off at the store. We set it up on a table in the front of the store and called a bunch of our customers to come in and see it. By the time the buyer arrived, there was an SRO crowd trying to see it draw abstract images (in color!) on a TV set we used as a monitor. (That's about all it did, since no software was available for it.) The buyer scooped it up and took it home, and we didn't see another for weeks.
bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Early Byte Shop Store

I tried to contact Bob Moody the manager of the original Byte Shop Palo Alto store with no luck so far.

Thank you Paul Terrell for this information.

David Larsen
David Larsen KK4WW
I still am not sure of the origin of the wooden case on the Apple 1 computer I purchased from John Burch about 25 years ago. The case is well made and beautiful as you can see from the photo in upper left of this post. I would be delighted to hear from anyone with knowledge of these wooden cases.

."by David Larsen"  KK4WW Computer Collector Historian   
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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Computer Museum - Busy day - visitors - music jam - Amateur Radio club meeting - Interviewed by reporter

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Museum BugsA
 home run today
Today was a great day with many activities at the museum- visitors - music jam - Amateur Radio club meeting - Interviewed by reporter - new displays . 

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LR Emily Wilson,Catherine Vanney, Matt Gentry
A good day for the museum with columnist Catherine Van Noy and staff photographer Matt Gentry from the Roanoke Times newspaper. Catherine did an interview with me and our assistant curator Emily Wilson. Matt and Catherine both had a big interest in the historical computers and the interview was truly a fun experience.  I will post a link when the story is published.

Update - Here is the story Catherine wrote for the New River section of the Roanoke times - "Floyd boast microcomputer museum" 

bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
New banner at Apple 1 computer Display 
Today we added 3 new banners in the museum. The banners can also be read just looking into the museum from outside so they help during times we are not open and for visitors to the museum.

This banner for the Apple 1 Computer display describes the computer as the rarest of collectible computers.

You can read the banners by clicking on the photo.

bugbook Microcomputer Historical Museum
About the Musuem 

This banner is really nice and tells about how the museum originated and what you will see inside.  This is visible looking in through the front door.

Assistant Curator "Emily Wilson" designed the new banners for the museum.

Bugbook Bugbooks
 "Blacksburg Continuing Education Series" of books

The story of book series created by the "Blacksburg Group" in the late 1970's and 80's. I was a part of this group and more then 70 books  in the series and over  million in print. These were good times for my colleagues and I.

bugbook historical microcomputer museum
Amateur Radio Club Meeting W4FCV

Club meeting at Museum.

Amateur Radio station N4USA is located in our museum and the "Floyd Amateur Radio Society" (FARS) meets once a month in the museum. A good meeting with about 20 attending.

                                         Jazz music jam at the museum View full story

David Larsen
WOW---- many wonderful activities at the museum today.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Jazz & Blues Music Jam Session at Computer Museum

                                               Hear music in video's below
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Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Cord Johnson 
Museum Bugs
 Music is a part the museum's activities. Museum Assistant Curator Cord Johnson has provided his talents here on Friday nights. Floyd,Virginia is known internationally for the "Friday Night Jamboree at the Floyd County Store"  and Cord has had his own jam secession's
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Laurel Brooke 
 just around the corner from the Country Store at the museum.  Tonight he is playing with his friend and fellow musician Laurel Brooke. They created a lot of interest and a big crowd of folks cheer their music

Music Jazz Jam at the Museum

Blues Jam at the Museum

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Cord Johnson
Cord worked this Summer for the LCF Group at the museum as Assistant Curator & on Friday nights has a jam session out front. Cord has also used his art talents to create a family of Museum Bug logos based on the original logo bug logo in use for 40 years. You see one of his drawings in the upper right of this post. Cord plays with the "The Blackberries" in Floyd, Virginia.

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Laurel Brooke

Laurel is a very talented musician and plays with "Scott Perry & 3 Shades of Blue" . She is also a Concert Master at the " Roanoke Youth Symphony Orchestra"

David Larsen
David Larsen KK4WW
We have enjoyed Cord and his Friday night music jam session at the museum. This evening having Laurel Brooke join him made for some great music. Thank you Cord and Laurel.

."by David Larsen"  KK4WW Computer Collector Historian   
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Sunday, August 3, 2014

VIntage Computers "BUGS" in action Bugbook Computer Museum

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Cord Johnson - Artist
Cord Johnson - Artist 
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Museum Bugs
The original "Bugs" logo you see to the right have been associated with my work and projects for more then 40 years. This summer Cord Johnson  joined our LCF Group as Office assistant and demonstrated his art skills by making some very creative variations of the "Bug's" logo.

 I was so pleased with  wonderful creative ideas in the caricatures he inked that I ask him to create a series of Bug logos. Cord liked the idea and created a group of very eclectic Bug personalities.

Please view these Bug drawings and help name them - Cord and I look forward to hearing your ideas. Just add your ideas as a comment to blog - thank you.

To enlarge "CLICK" on image's
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
1 Museum Bug Logo

Already used this one with the new Apple 1 display in our museum.

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
 2 Museum Bug Logo

Don't be late !!

Cord tells how he got the idea to make these drawings.

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
4 Museum Bug Logo

What a great day.

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
5 Museum Bug Logo

We can kick this to a win.

Cord - Comments:
 I was immediately attracted to the bugs when i first saw them. They have so much personality that I couldn't help but want to draw them doing goofy things. It seemed as if they were fully developed characters right out of a comic strip and I had been wanting to try my hand at making a comic strip but couldn't think of any good characters.The bug on the left looked like the spunky, fun-loving, jokester, while the bug on the right with the glasses looked like the studious scientist who would play "straight man" to all the jokes. 
     When I drew them, I tried to stay true to the originals as best as i could. However, they naturally developed slightly into my own style. No artist's style is exactly like another's. There were also certain changes I made on purpose, such as giving the bug on the left three sets of arms instead of eight sets because I quickly learned that trying to draw sixteen total arms was time consuming and messy. Cord Johnson.

To enlarge "CLICK" on photo's
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
6 Museum Bug Logo

These QR codes work great.

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
7 Museum Bug Logo

Be friends

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
8 Museum Bug Logo

Keep the ideas coming !

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
9 Museum Bug Logo

Hmmmm here is the answer.

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
10 Busy Museum Bug

WOW I will get this done fast.

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
11 Museum "Bug" in Office

Think I will just take the day off.

bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
12 Museum Ham "Bug" 

Ham radio or pork?

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
13 Museum - Jamming 

   Friday night "Jamboree"

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
14 Museum Bug "Hamming"

Ham Radio "N4USA" Floyd VA

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
15 Museum Bug Ham Antenna 

Good Antenna's

I will be a delight to use these new Bug's as branding in some of my future computer and electronics projects. Thank you Cord.

David Larsen
David Larsen
Art is not Cord's career goal but he sure has some great creative skills. Cord will be leaving  for school at "Johnson College" in Nashville in a few days and we will miss him here at the LCF Group. This could be a great side consulting business for him --- need some help that would use Cord's art skills?
"by David Larsen"  KK4WW Computer Collector Historian   
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Friday, August 1, 2014

Vintage Computer - WHAT inspired Titus to design the "MARK 8" Computer ?

A follow up to my blog posting last week about the 40 year anniversary of the "MARK 8" .

Bugbook Historical Micrcomputer Museum
Jon Titus - still experimenting with electronics 
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Museum Bugs
Hi, Dave.

Here's something for your next email newsletter, which I always
look forward to.

In July 1974--40 years ago this July--Radio-Electronics magazine published the "Mark-8 Minicomputer" article written by Jonathan Titus as a construction project for people who might want their own computer. The Radio-Electronics cover showed the Mark-8 as Jon built it while a graduate student at Virginia Tech.

"I just wanted my own computer," said Titus. "As a teenager I built a lot of circuits with 24-volt relays and created a brute-force design for a 4-bit binary adder. I didn't know anything about logic or gates, so I just stuck it out until I had a circuit that worked. It took a lot of relays and 6-pole switches! Later I took some classes on digital-logic integrated circuits and created some projects of my own. Don Lancaster's articles in Popular Electronics provided a lot of inspiration and good ideas. Later in grad school I got to use PDP-8/L minicomputers and realized how cool they were and decided to build my own computer. About then, Intel announced its 4004 microprocessor, which could have worked, but I waited for the 8-bit 8008 and jumped in. Intel provided a complicated design for a computer board, so I took it and adapted that design so my computer had a front panel of LEDs and switches. The home-computer era had arrived."

"People have asked how I chose the name 'Mark-8,'" continued Titus. "Larry Steckler, the editor at Radio-Electronics wanted a name for the computer project, so on the spur of the moment I decided on Mark-8. I used the word 'minicomputer' because many people knew small computers such as the PDP-8, Nova, and others. I didn't think 'microcomputer' would appeal to people and no one thought about a 'personal computer.'"
Jon donated the original Mark-8 Minicomputer to the Smithsonian Institution in the 1980s and it became part
of the long-running "Information Age" exhibit.

All the best.


David Larsen KK4WW
This is a wonderful story about the thoughts and ideas that inspired the MARK 8 Computer.

Thank you Jon for sharing this with our readers. Always good to reminisce about the old times and how "If you believe it you can conceive it"  - great work Jon.

. "by David Larsen" KK4WW Microcomputer Collector/Historian.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Vintage Computer PDP8S now up and running.

info click
Here is an update on the Digital Equipment PDP8S that was hidden in my museum warehouse for over 24 years.

Click photo to enlarge 
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Lyle Bickley & his PDP8S

Lyle Bickley new owner of minicomputer PDP8S serial number 203 reports on 7/18/14.

Hi Dave,

I was chatting with Michael from the RICM and was about to ask him to
watch the video on your website of you finding and opening the box
containing the PDP-8/S you sold me. But I couldn't find it on your
website. - (Here is the link to video- & here is link about my visit to Lyle in California - Dave)

BTW: Since we last chatted my PDP-8/S has been up and running most of
the time. A couple of weeks ago, another transistor went out - and
memory began to fail. I found and replaced it - and now it's working
100% again. So far I've replaced a total of about 32 transistors and
over a dozen diodes.

I recently went through CPU and memory timings in great detail - and
now they meet all of DEC's specifications.

My 8/S passes all DEC diagnostics - and runs FOCAL w/o a hitch.

Bob build a cool I/O interface for the 8/S (and made one for me, too)
that emulates a TTY, high speed paper tape (partial), A->D, D->A and
incremental plotter. He does the hardware and I'm in the process of
modifying the drivers in FOCAL to support all of the above ;)

I hope all is well with you and Gaynell!


David Larsen
David Larsen

Just great to have this PDP8S with Lyle and up to date running condition.

"by David Larsen"  KK4WW Computer Collector Historian   
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