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

Saturday, May 16, 2015

"HEADING to the CLOUD" - "Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business."

Bugbooks
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Photographs taken in the "Bugbook Microcomputer Museum" published in the  "Virginia Tech Business, magazine of the Pamplin College of Business" article
     "HEADING to the CLOUD".       

  Click on image to enlarge
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Cover of Spring 2015 issue



Dr. Terry R. Rakes, Professor of Business & Director Center for Business Intelligence & Analytic's and Logan Wallace, Senior University Photographer at Virginia Tech worked several hours in the museum taking photographs for the Spring 2015 issue. The session  (3/30/15) was an interesting photo shoot -  

See photo session  here "CLICK"




Dr. Terry Rakes, David Larsen
"Heading up to the Cloud" Virginia Tech BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Dr. Terry Rakes next to 1977 PET computer in the museum. We did not have the Cloud in the museum. The publisher did nice work enhancing the photo.



Two of the many photograph's by Logan were used in the publication.





Click photo to enlarge
Computer museum, David larsen
Dr. Terry Rakes (L) and David Larsen (R) 

Dr. Terry Rakes (L) and David Larsen (R) museum curator discussing the Apple-1 clone computer display.

You can see why I like this photo with me  - This was very generous of the publisher to use this photo.

Photo credits Logan Wallace - Thank you.



Here is the full article as published.
click on image to enlarge 
Heading to the Cloud


The article "HEADING to the CLOUD" is very interesting.  Here is the full story and you can read it by clicking on the image.














Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business
"Heading up to the Cloud" Virginia Tech BUSINESS MAGAZINE



















The information in this blog is from the  "Virginia Tech Business, magazine of the Pamplin College of Business." Thank you for the nice credit line about the museum in the article.

A big thank you to Sookhan Ho at Virginia Tech  for helping select our museum, making all the photo arrangements and giving permission to use this information. 

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
David Larsen
The use of these photo's in 45,000 copies of the College of Business publication is great PR for the museum. All of the curators and staff at he museum are very grateful to the VT Pamplin College of Business for selecting our museum as background for the these photos.  A big thank you to Dr. Terry Rakes and Logan Wallace for making the trip over to little town of Floyd, Virginia and our museum.  

           ."by David Larsen"  KK4WW Computer Collector Historian 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Computer Museum - Visiting the Museum - Floyd Virginia

Bugbooks
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It is always a pleasure to have fellow computer collectors visit the museum and learn about their  collections. Malcolm Macleod  (visited 4-29-15) from Australia and has a  serious collection of computers. We had a wonderful time talking about the history of early microcomputers.


Click on photo's to enlarge
computer museum
David Larsen & Malcolm Macleod

Comments about museum by Malcolm - short video 

David Larsen,museum curator and Malcolm Macleod, historical computer collector from Australia in front of "Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum" story board.




computer museum
David & Malcolm at Apple-1 display



Malcolm and David at Apple-1 display and calculator display on the right. Museum has 19 display cases - more than 350 items on display.






Museum warehouse ALTAIR 8800's
In addition to the museum Malcolm and I  spent a lot of time looking thought the museum warehouse. Malcolm in warehouse at IMSAI and ALTAIR area.

Malcolm added to his collection while at our museum and filled his suit case with a microcomputer - The

Micro 68 a 1976 microcomputer made by "Electronic Product Associate, Lamont Wood's book about Datapoint 8080 Octal Code Card , Bugbooks 3, 4 and 5.



Museum warehouse Lisa computers



Malcolm at Apple area with Lisa computers. A lot of Apple computers including original Apple-1 (This is not in warehouse - stored at the Bank in Vault)





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Lisa computer in original box warehouse view



Malcolm in warehouse next to Lisa computer in original box and view of storage shelves with inventoried microcomputer memorabilia. Several Lisa computers and 2 are in their original box.





Malcolm added to his collection while at our museum and filled his suit case with a microcomputer -

Micro 68 a 1976 microcomputer made by "Electronic Product Associate, Lamont Wood's book about Datapoint 8080 Octal Code Card , Bugbooks 3, 4 and 5.


Malcolm took in lots of computer history during his US visit in addition to our museum he attended  the  "Vintage Compute Festival" - East 10 ( Wall, NJ 4-17/19-15) and "Vintage Computer Festival"- Southeast  3 ( Roswell, GA 5-3-15). Malcolm commented  "VCF Southeast was a lot of fun" & "I’ve managed to get some goods tips for getting my PDP-8’s up and running".

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One of our 19 displays in the museum.
Click on photo to enlarge 
Display case #8


More reason to visit our museum in Floyd, VA
Content - ALTAIR 8800, ALTAIR 680, Exact copy of MARK-8 in the Smithsonian Museum, Commodore PET, TSR80-1, original copy of "Popular Electronics" 1-1-75 (ALTAIR 8800 article), Wooden Case from my original Apple-1, Original ALTAIR brochure, First IBM PC,Lots of small memorabilia and much more.

Curator David Larsen describes content of case 8 Audio "CLICK"




Small memorabilia in Case #8


This is close up of small memorabilia in Case #8.








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Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
David Larsen
I hope you take the time to visit the museum and out wonderful Blue Ridge Mountain area of Floyd County Virginia. Floyd is loaded with Appalachian culture, mountain music and art,42 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Chantilly Festival Farm and a whole lot more. Floyd is a very popular destination on Virginia's "Crooked Road Heritage Music Trail".  See you in FLoyd !!!

           ."by David Larsen"  KK4WW Computer Collector Historian 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

PDP-8 Minicomputer code Using Intercept Jr. with Intersil IM6100 microprocessor

Bugbooks
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Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Intersil IM6100 microprocessor
The Intercept Jr tutorial system is an interesting microcomputer trainer that can execute the PDP-8 minicomputer code.  The design uses the  Intersil IM6100 CMOS 12 bit microprocessor. The idea of using the old PDP-8 code turned out to be a poor idea in 1976 and the computer and the IM6100 were never very popular. The PDP-8 was introduced 11 years earlier in March 1965 and used a 12 bit word.  The PDP-8 had a limited instruction set when you compare it to computers and microprocessors available in 1976. Most computer users moved beyond the PDP-8 minicomputer in the mid 70's.

The idea of a low power CMOS PDP-8 simulator just did not have any legs and died rather quickly. The 16 bit minicomputers & microprocessors were coming out with good computing power and of course 32 and 64 bit microprocessors in a few years.

The Intersil Intercept is colorful and nice looking - a beautiful display in our museum along with a full set of manuals. Like a most of the microcomputer companies of the 70's they went our of business when IBM came along with the Personal Computer (PC) in 1981.  A few companies did hang on and some new ones tried to get in the market but IBM was just to strong and Apple is the only USA company in business today- IBM also eventually gave up the small personal computer market. Apple has had it ups and downs however now it is the largest company in the world even bigger then General Motors.

"CLICK"on photo to enlarge
Intersil Intercept Jr.
Intersil Intercept Jr.
The Intercept consist of a main board with CPU, octal displays and a keyboard for entering instructions & data.  The board ( backplane or mainframe) has three sockets for the CPU card, RAM card & ROM card.

The IM6100 CMOS 12 bit microprocessor is a static device and can operate with a clock frequency from DC to 2 Mhz.  Military versions can operate at higher clock speeds.




Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Intersil Intercept Jr.



The serial interface provides the user with RS232 and 20 mA current loop interfaces.










Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Intersil Intercept Jr.


The CMOS is very low power and the computer can be operated with on board batteries - 4 D cells.








Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Intersil Intercept Jr.


The keyboard is a membrane type and the keys can enter a full instruction with one keystroke.








Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Intersil Intercept Jr.



The RAM module uses (12) 1024 x 1 IM6518 chips for 1 Kilobyte of 12 bit words. Battery holders to power the module are on the upper right of  the board.









Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Intersil Intercept Jr.



the ROM/PROM contains 256 to 2048 words of program depending on which chips are used. The CMOS board uses only about .75 watts of power.








Click image to enlarge 
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Intersil Intercept Jr.


This is readable when enlarged and summarizes the 6100 family of CMOS chips and the Intercept Jr.








Jon Titus gave me this update on PDP-8 clones a few days ago.
"Hi, Dave.
Fabri-Tek also manufactured a PDP-8 clone, the MP12.  You noted in an early blog that Fabri-Tek produced a lot of core-memory modules, so they must have decided to jump into the computer market, too.  You can find a copy of the Fabri-Tek manual here: http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/pdf/fabritek/402-1001-00_MP12refMan_1974.pdf. Even after many years, the MP12 op codes look very familiar."

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
David Larsen
This computer is really colorful and just a beautiful display. It is also functional however we don't have many operational computers in the museum. Just not time to do  this and volunteers are hard to find in our little Blue Ridge Mountain town of Floyd, Virginia. We do have several vintage gaming stations operational and they are very popular. 
           ."by David Larsen"  KK4WW Computer Collector Historian 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

8008 &8080 - microprocessor -comments about the origin of Intel's first 8 bit micro chips

Bugbook
Bugbooks
I have had some interesting emails from Jack Frassanito. Jack was brought into Computer Terminal Corporation (later called Datapoint) along with Vic Poor, Jonathan Schmidt, Harry Pyle and a team of designers, engineers and programmers to create the Datapoint 2200. Footnote 1

All the photos below were sent to me by Jack Frassanito and are part of his intellectual property.

"CLICK" on photo's to enlarge
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Datapoint 2200
CTC's TTL-based desktop personal 8 bit computer, called the Datapoint 2200, was unveiled in 1970, with cassette tapes for 130KB of mass storage and 8K of internal memory.

The first end user sale was to a chicken farmer in the South who programmed the Datapoint 2200 to write payroll checks. You could say a chicken farmer was the first  user of a programmable personal computer.

The Datapoint 2200 in our Museum is a Datapoint 2200 version II and Jack just furnished more information about the version II - Here are his comments.

"Also the instruction set for the 8080 was also a Datapoint II (less two instructions). So not only was the 8008 a Datapoint computer so was the 8080. The story is in the chapter about Datapoint and Intel. The Datapoint II was an order of magnitude faster than the Datapoint I.

Gus and I argued for owning the rights to the microprocessor but at the time it was easer to upgrade the TTL version and by the time the 8080 was available we were working on a much faster processor.

Chapter 12 (Lamont Wood's book) is a good first person account of how the 8080 came about based on the Datapoint II processor design. (Less two instructions). Dave (Dave Monroe at Datapoint) wrote a translator that would run Datapoint software on the 8080 but it never gained any traction with management. Another dumb mistake.

The 8080 was approximately 100 times faster than the 8008. 

This is significant step in function and solidified the microprocessors place in the history computing."
Footnote 4

Video by Datapoint about the 2200 "CLICK"

The 8 bit computer - Datapoint 1100 "CLICK"

"CLICK" on photo's to enlarge
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Datapoint 2200 Patent
"As a named inventor (Jack Frassanito) of the 2200 I also negotiated the original agreement with Bob Noyce of Intel to develop the 8008. It was a fulsome debate at the time and we lost the argument within Datapoint." Footnote 2

Jack is referring to giving up the intellectual rights to the first microprocessor based on the 8 bit computer logic in the 2200. Datapoint  contracted with Intel to design the logic of the 2200 into one chip for $50,000.  However in the end Datapoint agreed to give the rights to Intel and did not pay the $50,000. This became the 8008 microprocessor and launched Intel into the very successful microprocessor business.  

Datapoint gives up right to the 8008 microprocessor - see part of story here "CLICK"

"CLICK" on photo's to enlarge
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Datapoint 2200 Patent 




Datapoint 2200.
Patent 224,515 dated July 25,1972 - filed November 27th,1970.









Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Jack Frassanito, J.Phillip Ray  and Gus Roche
Jack Frassanito, J.Phillip Ray  and Gus Roche at Dr.McClure meeting. They produced the Datapoint 2200 computer and their names are on the U. S. Design patent 223,415 filed November 27,1970. Footnote 1



Gordon Peterson Datapoint
Gordon Peterson 
Gordon Peterson worked for Datapoint for 9 years and had a inside view of the of personalities, creation of products and the rise & fall of the company.


"The Datapoint 2200 was a revolutionary machine for a whole lot of reasons.  It was the first general-purpose computer designed for single-user, desktop use, and that looked more like a piece of office equipment than like a piece of exotic electronics.  I worked in Software Development / Advanced Product Development / R&D at Datapoint for more than 9 years, and it was a very rewarding time.   I designed and wrote the world's first commercially available LAN software there... the company sold over a billion dollars' worth of that product.  I also was the lead developer of the disk operating system there for several years.  A lot of us Datapoint folks are on the DatapointComputers Yahoogroup.  Also, there's a wonderful book about Datapoint's key role in the creation of personal computing... highly recommended." Footnote 3

"CLICK" on photo's to enlarge
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Story by Lamont Wood

Easy to read text of this article "CLICK"

Story by Lamont Wood. Lamont later wrote the book "Datapoint- The lost Story of the Texans who invented the personal Computer Revolution"

Lamont's book is very interesting and I recommend you read it if you are interested in the first days of the microprocessor and microcomputer revolution.  More information here "CLICK" (Ed S thank you for this link.)





Lamont Wood
Amazon Best  Seller 


Lamont Wood's book "Datapoint- The lost Story of the Texans who invented the personal Computer Revolution" available on Amazon.

My comments about Lamont Woods book.





Information about the Datapoint 1100 "CLICK"


Works cited.
Footnote 1 - Lamont Wood's book "Datapoint- The lost Story of the Texans who invented the personal Computer Revolution" back cover & page 318.
Footnote 2 -This is from email to me from Jack Frassanito Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 3:23 PM.
Footnote 3- This is from email to me from Gordon Peterson.
Footnote 4- Email sent to me Sat, Apr 25, 2015 at 3:19 AM.

David G Larsen
David Larsen
The email's from Jack Frassanito and Gordon Peterson gave me some great inside information about the Datapoint 8 bit computer story. I recommend reading Lamont Wood's book - lots of info about the development of the first microprocessor at Intel as well as the Datapoint story.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Vintage Computer - Datapoint 1100 - 8 bit computer

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Datapoint 1100
Bugbook
Bugbooks
I received this Datapoint 1100 from the same person that provided the Datapoint 2200 terminal/computer and was told it was a prototype. I made some assumptions about this computer that were wrong and I also called it a 2100 in some of my information.  Gordon Peterson was kind to correct me on this and the Datapoint 1100 is a version of the 2200 without the tape storage drives in the case. It did have a storage drive but it was in a separate case or operating table. This is not a prototype but is a nice unit and I am glad to have it in my collection. Thank You - Gordon for getting me on board with the correct information.

I have made several post (listed below) here on my blog about the Datapoint 2200 and it is a very interesting story of perhaps the start of personal computers - long before MITS ALTAIR 8800, Apple , Microsoft or IBM.


To enlarge "CLICK" on photo
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Datapoint 1100


This looks like a Datapoint 2200 without the cassette tape decks for mass storage.







Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Datapoint 1100



The inside looks very similar to the Datapoint 2200 without the 2 audio cassette drives for mass storage.






Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Datapoint 1100


This unit was tested April 1975.









Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Datapoint 1100




This name and serial number tag  indicates it is an 1100 and serial number #100.





Here is some great research about the first microprocessor - Ken Shirriff's Blog 


Older post about the Datapoint 2200:

Intel 8008 Microprocessor began as a 'Computer Terminal Corporation 2200" - an Electronic Data Terminal



"The Lost Story of the Texans Who Invented the Personal Computer Revolution"  a 327 page book by Lamont Wood & published in 2010.


                                                    Video about the Datapoint 1100
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We always have interesting visitors in our Computer Museum with great stories about their experience with vintage computers - Here is a video with Virginia Tech Professor Bill Green. He makes some nice comments about our museum.  "CLICK TO VIEW"

David G Larsen
During the late 80's I was able to find  this fine Datapoint1100 & Datapoint 2200. They are both in the   "Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Collection".


Friday, April 10, 2015

Altair 8800 Computer for sale


Bugbooks
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MITS ALTAIR 8800 computer for  Sale. This computer has been restored to working order by Win Heagy. Win has been a vintage computer collector for years and has restored many old computers including an original Digital Equipment PDP-8 minicomputer (PDP-8 work is still in progress). The ALTAIR 8800 is in nice condition and displays very nicely. I have posted many photo's below to show various aspects of the computer and the documentation that comes with the 8800. It is nice to have this computer operational and ready for a new home after resting in our museum warehouse for more then 25 years.

The computer serial number is 220414K and I believe the numbering started at 220000 --- that would make this number 414 in order of production. The K at the end of the serial number indicates that the computer was sold as a kit and it was up to the purchaser to assemble and test the product. The low serial number would put the computer in the first month or two of production by Ed Roberts "MITS" company --- a nice early ALTAIR 8800 computer.

Video of computer in various modes of operation "CLICK".

Contact me here for purchase or more information.

An ALTAIR 8800 sold today on Ebay for $9001 and a few weeks ago one sold for about $10,000. If mine does not sell soon I will remove it for sale and put it on Ebay. 4-12-15 - Checking the Ebay sale -- it did not make the reserve price so hi bid was $9001 but no sale.

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David Larsen KK4WW Computer
Altair 8800







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David Larsen KK4WW Computer
Altair 8800


This card  has a serial # on the card of 0456K.






David Larsen KK4WW Computer
Altair 8800










David Larsen KK4WW Computer
Altair 8800

This card has a serial number of 0457K.







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Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Win Heagy and his PDP-8 computer 

Here is Win Heagy picking up his PDP-8 at our computer warehouse.


More info about Win's PDP-8 "CLICK"





Here are some comments about the ALTAIR 8800 computer by Win Heagy.

1. Runs warm with the cover on.  If you plan to use it for extended
periods of time, consider installing a fan.
2. Some small dings and marks on the exterior, as is to be expected in
a 35+ year old machine.
3. In order to modify the original hardware as little as possible, an
extension cable was made for the original 2SIO serial cable.  A large
piece of white heat shrink tubing covers the DB25 connectors of this
extension cable and the original cable.  This extension can be removed
or reworked as desired.
4. The 4K RAM card was used for loading 4K BASIC in the video.
5. The MITS 1K Static RAM card was not extensively tested.  The RAM
test routine I have did not seem to work properly on this card.
However, as is seen in the video, I toggled in the “Kill the Bit”
program from the front panel using this card as the RAM card and it
works.  The RAM chips are soldered on this board.
6. Most of the documentation included with the system is not original.
Most of the manuals and other documentation is available online.
7. The 2SIO card is picky.  Be sure to use a good quality USB->Serial
adapter - or a real serial port on a PC.  The 2SIO expects serial
level voltages and some adapters cheat a little.  I had four different
adapters and only one worked.
8. A second serial cable/connector is included for the second port on
the 2SIO card.  This cable and port was not tested.



Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
David Larsen
I am selling this and other duplicate computers from the collection to help pay the rent in the commercial rented space used by our museum. We try to have the museum open regular hours and have paid help as assistant curators in the museum. We live in a very rural area of the Blue Ridge mountains and not many retro computer folks to volunteer in the museum. Our little town of Floyd, Virginia only has a population of about 400. The county population is small and we are in a beautiful place with 42 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway as our Eastern boundary. The county is agriculture based and is known for it wonderful mountain music and many very creative artisans. 

           ."by David Larsen"  KK4WW Computer Collector Historian