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, April 25, 2015

Datapoint 2200 8-Bit computer - Jack Frassanito inventor of the 2200 provides insight on 8008 and 8080 Microprocessor

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 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"



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"


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


Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Story by Lamont Wood



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.)

Easy to read text of this article "CLICK"





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.






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
info click
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".

The computer is priced at $5,467.89 - this includes Fed Ex shipping to the lower 48 states.
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.

Click on photo's to enlarge
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.







David Larsen KK4WW Computer
Altair 8800












David Larsen KK4WW Computer
Altair 8800








David Larsen KK4WW Computer
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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 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Virginia Tech College of Business uses Computer Museum for photo session


Bugbooks
info click
Monday was a good day at the museum including the museum being used as a background for pictures in the Spring 2015  Virginia Tech College of  Business Magazine - a story about technology history. Professor Terry Rakes was the subject in the photos and University Photographer Logan Wallace did all the photography.  The session lasted 2 hours and I had a great time telling the history of many of the computers on display. It was also fun reminiscing about my 31 years as a faculty member at Virginia Tech (VT) with both Terry and Logan.  Terry started as a student in 1967 the same year I started my teaching career at VT. Terry ended up with 3 degrees from VT and is still there as a professor in the College of business.

Click on photo to enlarge
Computer museum
Dr. Terry R. Rakes
Dr. Terry R. Rakes, Professor of Business & Director Center for Business Intelligence & Analytic's, Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech. Terry was very interested in  the historical microcomputers and told many stories about how he used various computers during his 48 years starting with the 1977 Radio Shack TRS-80, Commodores and various Apples. Professor Rakes has had a very distinguished career in Information Technology - Take a look here "CLICK" 



david Larsen KK4WW
Logan Wallace, University Photographer
Logan Wallace, Senior University Photographer at Virginia Tech did the photo session.   It was very interesting to see how a professional photographer produces excellent photos. We had some good discussions during the visit about the museum, technology, old computers and music.

Logan has been a professional photographer for 15 years - Take a look here "CLICK" and see some of her work here "CLICK".



computer museum KK4WW N4USA
Logan Wallace & Dr. Terry Rakes at  Apple-1

Logan and Terry discussing how they can use the Apple-1 display in some of their photographs. We had a lot of discussion about the Apple-1 and Steve Wozniak who designed this computer while working at the Hewlett Packard (HP).  HP gave all the rights to Wozniak and he along with Steve Jobs went on to start what is now the largest company in the world - Apple Inc.




virginia Tech, KK4WW, N4USA
Logan Wallace , University Photographer


Logan took several hundred photos. This one is Dr. Rakes holding a Radio Shack Micro Color Computer (early 80's vintage)







Short video of Logan in action at the museum "CLICK"



Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Logan Wallace, University Photographer



Logan was a good director and I am sure she ended up with exactly the photos needed for the College of Business Magazine.






Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Logan Wallace, at Amateur Radio Station N4USA

Logan was very curious about our amateur radio station in the museum N4USA.
She is also a Bluegrass fan and this developed into and interest in the 5th Annual Bluegrass Festival at our Chantilly Farm on Memorial Day weekend.





Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
David Larsen
Days like this really make my work with the museum interesting. We are getting many special visitors at the museum and of course most patrons are just interested in the displays and history of these old microcomputers. I am much better but still not up to full strenght - this flu has been with me for more then 5 weeks now. 
           ."by David Larsen"  KK4WW Computer Collector Historian