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Old Computers Resurrected As Instruments At Bletchley Park

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the brunsviga-adding-machine-in-da-house dept.

Hardware Hacking 109

arcticstoat writes with a snippet from bit-tech.com; musician Matthew Applegate "plans on assembling a virtual orchestra of 20 retired relics of computing at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park. The choice of venue will even allow Applegate to feature the infamous Colossus Mark 2 computer in the event, which was used for code-breaking in World War II and was recently reconstructed at Bletchley Park in 2007. ... A wide selection of computing fossils be used in Applegate's final musical presentation, which is called 'Obsolete?' This includes the Elliot 803 (a 1960s machine with 4KB of memory), the aforementioned Colossus Mark 2, a Bunsviga adding machine (pictured) and a punch card machine. As well as this, there are also some machines that will look nostalgically familiar to kids who grew up with the home computer generation, including a BBC Micro, an Atari 800XL, a Dragon 32 and an Amstrad CPC464." The article's list of the members of this "orchestra" makes an interesting checklist of computer hardware history.

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109 comments

Awesome (5, Funny)

GMonkeyLouie (1372035) | more than 5 years ago | (#27109655)

I fully approve. It's definitely time to rethink what obsolescence means, and this musical presentation seems like it will be amazing from an angle of reimagining what old computers are really for.

I will take my kids to see it and tell them that when I'm old, I want them to arrange me in a formation with other old people and make us all make beautiful coincidental sounds that could be construed as music.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27109961)

What a bunch of bullshit.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27109997)

*WHOOSH*

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110231)

Sometimes I really wonder if people post exchanges as AC just to make a joke in their final response to their response.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110777)

You must be new here, and your ideas intrigue me. I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110031)

The Colossus Mk 2 had a built-in FM synthesizer. People wrote music onto tape.

Re:Awesome (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110053)

But did it run Vista media player?

Re:Awesome (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110065)

In the final analysis only one fact remains: *BSD is dead

Re:Awesome (4, Funny)

Mr. Bad Example (31092) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110865)

> I want them to arrange me in a formation with other old people and
> make us all make beautiful coincidental sounds that could be construed as music.

Might I suggest Bach's "Get Off My Lawn and Fugue in D Minor"?

Re:Awesome (1)

ivucica (1001089) | more than 5 years ago | (#27112003)

Agreed. I'm born in 1988, but war in Croatia took its toll. So, I was raised on computers in library: 386, old Macintosh II (at least I think that's its name). Also CPC464 was my first home computer. I still dream of coding my own mini-OS for CPC :)

Re:Awesome (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 5 years ago | (#27112499)

I still dream of coding my own mini-OS for CPC :)

Then stop dreaming and start coding! :-)

Re:Awesome (1)

ivucica (1001089) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113201)

Sadly, the Day is Not Long Enough (007) :/

Re:Awesome (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113383)

Oh yes it is! Believe me, but don't try to do everything at once. Start with, "Hello, world!" Before you know it you'll have multi-tasking. :-) Go on, I dare you :-)

Re:Awesome (1)

ivucica (1001089) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113929)

Well, a week would probably be enough for a basic OS... if I had a day to begin with :P

Re:Awesome (2, Interesting)

pwainwright (1028772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113979)

Damn, that'll teach me not to throw out obsolete stuff. I wrote a simple piece of music software for my Amstrad CPC464 back in the mid-eighties. It took input from the keyboard (using shift/ctrl for sharp and flat, if I recall), displayed musical notation on screen and played it through the primitive sound chip.

I eventually got it to play one of Bach's 48 (preludes & fugues). I seem to recall that it had 4 channels, so could cope with the 4-part counterpoint pretty well. The sound chip was horrible, but if you specified a rapidly decaying envelope it could sound very roughly like a plunckety-plunk "harpsichord".

All gone now: It was stored on one of Alan Sugar's ridiculous 3 inch disks (not 3 1/2 or 5 1/4, and entirely proprietary to his toy computers).

NO! Not Colossus! (3, Funny)

jackb_guppy (204733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27109659)

Poor Forbin! He will be locked up alnight with that sex female computer scientist.

Re:NO! Not Colossus! (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#27109967)

Poor Forbin! He will be locked up alnight with that sex female computer scientist.

Parent is a reference to Colossus: The Forbin Project [wikipedia.org] .

You young whippersnappers that modded the parent off-topic can get off of my lawn now.

Re:NO! Not Colossus! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110107)

The mods are bitch-ass pussies tonight. I guess all the real men are either out partying or allowing retarded mods to waste points on them.

signed, Ethanol-fueled. Suck my dick, bitches.

Re:NO! Not Colossus! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110965)

WTF? This is slashdot. There are no real men here on any other night either. And that includes you, by definition.

Neat! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27109673)

Why the fuck is my browser choking on pixel.quantserver.com?? what is that?

Re:Neat! (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27109869)

Why the fuck is my browser choking on pixel.quantserver.com?? what is that?

I dunno ... put Privoxy on your box and point your browser at it. I'll bet your problem goes away.

Huh? (3, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27109687)

As well as this, there are also some machines that will look nostalgically familiar to kids who grew up with the home computer generation, including a BBC Micro, an Atari 800XL, a Dragon 32 and an Amstrad CPC464.

What, no Apple ][?

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

lokedhs (672255) | more than 5 years ago | (#27109829)

The Apple II was never big in Europe. The above-mentioned machines were much bigger back then. In fact, even though I was raised with computers during that time, I have never actually seen an Apple II in real life. The others, however, are very familiar to me.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27109859)

The Apple II was never big in Europe. The above-mentioned machines were much bigger back then. In fact, even though I was raised with computers during that time, I have never actually seen an Apple II in real life. The others, however, are very familiar to me.

Oh, I understand that, but the Apple ][ predates most of the others and is worthy of an historical footnote. Besides, if they want to limit this to European brands, they should remove the Atari from the list as well.

Re:Huh? (1)

janrinok (846318) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113299)

[quote]Besides, if they want to limit this to European brands, they should remove the Atari from the list as well.[/quote] [p]No, that is not what they want to do. They want to include those computers that were [b]popular[/p] in Europe, not limit the collection to those that might have been produced here. I wonder if they want to take ownership of my original Nascom 1 and Nascom 2, complete with 5.25" floppy drives and a whopping 5Mb (yes - Mb) hard drive?

Re:Huh? (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113465)

Oh, I understand that, but the Apple ][ predates most of the others and is worthy of an historical footnote. Besides, if they want to limit this to European brands, they should remove the Atari from the list as well.

Where did it say they wanted to do that? I think they were focusing on computers that were popular here. Which obviously biases it towards UK machines, but doesn't exclude American ones.

While the Atari 800XL was never as popular here (or as well-supported) as the Spectrum, C64 and Amstrad CPC, it still had a notable user base.

Dixons (UK electronics chain) sold a lot of them at knock-down prices during the mid-80s.

Re:Huh? (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110045)

Aside from the Atari 800XL, the other computers were practically unknown in the U.S. Well, the Amstrad wasn't unknown, but the Amstrad never gained a significant following.

The Apple II was one of the best selling "home computers," along with the Commodore 64 and 128 and (later) the Commodore Amiga line.

FWIW, I've never seen an Atari 800XL IRL, either. ;) (But I have seen the Amstrad).

I think the reason the Amstrad never caught on in the U.S. is because it was released in 1984, well after the CP/M and the Z80 were considered 'dead'. By that time, the IBM PC and PC/XT and its clones had pretty much taken over the business market and was making significant inroads at home, the Apple II owned the home and education markets, and the Mac had just debuted and was considered one of the coolest new machines ever. Then a year later, you had the 16-bit Atari ST and the Commodore Amiga, along with the the 16-bit IBM PC/AT and EGA graphics, the Amstrad CPC and it's puny 8-bit processor and limited memory just didn't stack up.

Re:Huh? (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110449)

Also, the BBC Micro was sold here... but was a complete and total flop, as it was, as I've heard it, quite expensive, and had half the RAM of the (much cheaper) Commodore 64 or the Apple //e. And, there wasn't a BBC computer literacy project here in the US, so... no incentive to buy THAT EXACT MODEL.

Re:Huh? (1)

danhuby (759002) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110733)

The BBC Micro was a completely different machine to the C64. It was built for schools, and so had a large metal case for robustness and extra slots on the PCB for upgrades (it could be upgraded significantly).

Regarding the Apple II, I'm not sure it was even sold in the UK. Certainly I never saw one. The first Apple I saw or even heard of was a Mac which many schools had just one of (due to a supermarket-run Computers For Schools scheme iirc).

Atari machines on the other hand were popular in the UK, but mainly with the 16 bit ST line... the 8 bit range were around but didn't sell as well.

Re:Huh? (3, Informative)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110789)

The bbc micro sat in a yellow injection moulded plastic case.

It had no 'expansion slots', but it did have several connectors at the edge of the pcb that you could use for expansion (berg connectors).

These included:

- printer port
- the 'tube', a bi-directional link for a second processor
- the user port
- the 1Mhz bus.

Internally there were a number of option rom sockets, which with some trickery could be used for a ram expansion (bank switched 16 k windows).

There were no 'slots' of any kind.

I'm not sure which computer you are referring to here but I have never seen a bbc model b encased in anything other than plastic unless it was done as a custom job.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27111105)

They might have been thinking about the Microvitec CUB monitors, which were a common display for BBC Micros in schools - these I remember having metal cases.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27111339)

The Master 128 (B+? I forget) had two cartridge expansion slots in the top right hand, just above the keyboard. They were covered by sprung flaps. He might be thinking of these.

Re:Huh? (2, Interesting)

wwwillem (253720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27112465)

Internally there were a number of option rom sockets, which with some trickery could be used for a ram expansion (bank switched 16 k windows).

I designed and built an expansion board for these 12 additional (4 on the motherboard) bank switched ROMs. I sold 100 of those (as a kit) in Holland. Must have been 1983/84. I still have one of these lying on the desk in my basement. :-) Sweet memories....

Re:Huh? (1)

EricTheRed (5613) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110797)

Apple II's were sold over here, they were just not that prevalent.

I didn't see an Apple II until the early 90's but now have one in storage - not used it in about 10 years.

I've got an Apple III as well and they are even rarer - didn't know they existed until I was given one instead of the owner dumping it.

Re:Huh? (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 5 years ago | (#27112999)

The Apple /// wasn't that common here, thanks to major design flaws on the first version, causing it to completely flop, and nobody bought the ///+ after the fiasco with the near-100% failure rate of the first shipments of the original ///.

Apple II was sold in UK, but not in great numbers (2, Informative)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113209)

Apple II's were sold over here, they were just not that prevalent.

Yes; the UK hospital my Dad worked at had Apple IIs, but this was one of the few (if only) places I saw them in the UK. Had I not seen them there, it's quite possible that I'd never have seen one at all.

They actually sold Euro-specific versions [wikipedia.org] ; reading this I find out that (supposedly) these were mono-only (yuk!) because the smart but NTSC-specific hack Woz used to get crude colour on the original didn't work with PAL.

This explains why my Dad (who used the things quite extensively) was never aware that the Apple II was supposedly capable of colour. I found this surprising, even allowing for the fact that all the ones at the hospital only had green-screen monitors.

I suspect that since the Euro Apples were mono only (regardless of what they were plugged into), references to any colour facilities would have been removed from the manuals. (Assuming they left the firmware relating to the U.S. colour facilities in the ROM for compatibility).

Anyway, I'd guess that the combination of high imported prices and reduced spec hurt its European popularity initially- and that as a result it wouldn't have achieved the critical mass and network effects required to ensure continued popularity in the face of newer and better-specified computers (unlike in the U.S.).

I mean, I don't know how much the Apple II was circa 1981/82, but I doubt that it would have been cheaper than the somewhat high-end and better-specified BBC Micro. And in the absence of any significant pre-existing support for the Apple, I know which one I'd have gone for.

I've got an Apple III as well and they are even rarer - didn't know they existed until I was given one instead of the owner dumping it.

I don't know when he dumped it, but I'd assume that any Apple IIIs are rare enough to be worth a bit now...?

Re:Huh? (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110985)

large metal case ? you must be referring to some bbc model that I'm not familiar with, I thought I had all of them! Especially the 'slots' bit is somewhat confusing, do you by chance mean the option rom sockets or do you mean the berg connectors at the bottom ?

Re:Huh? (1)

old dr omr (1289450) | more than 5 years ago | (#27111085)

I worked in a local authority computer workshop in the 80s and there was a period when BBC micros were in very short supply. During this time we were getting imports from Germany and these BBC micros had a different spec to the uk ones. One major difference was the whole motherboard was enclosed in a very sturdy metal faraday cage. Presumaby german rules on RF interference were tougher than ours. On another note regarding Apple IIs. I'm a Brit and I learned to program on one of those and would love to see one again. My best memory of the apple II was that the ref manual had the assembler listing for the OS printed in the back. I still have it now. Those were the days ........

Re:Huh? (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110989)

Comparing the bbc to the commodore is like comparing a very well made german car to a zastava.

Re:Huh? (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113019)

But I'm guessing consumers here looked at the spec sheets, saw the Commodore was cheaper and had more stuff, and had a MUCH, MUCH larger user base here, and went for it. :)

Re:Huh? (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 5 years ago | (#27112035)

But because it used an ARM chip, lots of us use its descendants every day to make phone calls.

Re:Huh? (2, Informative)

wwwillem (253720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27112611)

Wrong!! The BBC Micro had a 6502, just like the Apple ][ or the Commodore 64.

The successor of the BBC Micro was the Acorn Archimedes, based on a RISC CPU developed by Acorn. This chip is the one that later became the ARM chip, now found in many phones and PDAs.

Re:Huh? (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113093)

Well, technically, that CPU was the ARM all along...

(I've done a fair amount of research on the things, and I'm trying to get a RiscPC - which runs either an ARM6, ARM7, or StrongARM - but originally was going to try to get one of the original models. Kinda tricky here in the US, as Acorn never officially sold any ARM-based machines (or any machines other than the BBC Micro B) here. They apparently were planning on selling the A3000 in Canada, but I don't think that happened.)

Re:Huh? (2, Informative)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27111647)

As someone who did development for Apple ][ add-on hardware in the UK, I can tell you the APPLE ][ was HUGE in the UK. its penetration of the business market was incredible, because you could not run a business without Visicalc if the competition had it.

Only businesses with a PDP11 or DG Nova did not need an Apple ][, The Apple ][ cost about GBP100 and used about 30W, while a PDP11 or DG Nova cost at least GBP10,000, and used about 30kW.

Re:Huh? (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 5 years ago | (#27111973)

The Apple II cost a lot more than that in the UK. Around £1000 (I'd have to look up the prices in the old computer mags I have), so it's no surprise that it never got popular in the home. Acorn should have made a home version of the BBC micro - I guess that was the Electron that sadly never did that well.

What was popular in small business was the Amstrad PCW series of CP/M systems (that came with a word processor out of the box) between 1985 and 1992.

100 quid? Bulls***! (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113405)

As someone who did development for Apple ][ add-on hardware in the UK, I can tell you the APPLE ][ was HUGE in the UK.

Huge would be, at best, a relative term. It may have had some popularity behind the scenes in businesses (still being in short trousers during the early 80s, I can't really comment on that). I know that my Dad used them in his work at a hospital.

But even that latter example was (and is) about the only place that I've seen Apple II in the flesh. They were also bordering on nonexistent in the UK educational field and as mass-market home computers.

Only businesses with a PDP11 or DG Nova did not need an Apple ][, The Apple ][ cost about GBP100

£100? I'm calling bullshit on that, and it makes me question the truth of what you said above.

The integer-only, black-and-white, touch keyboard ZX80 was a big deal when it came out in 1980 as the first computer under £100. The ubiquitous rubber-key ZX Spectrum (cheapass peoples' favourite) was £125 for the 16K version when it came out in 1982. And this was during the Apple II's American heyday.

I doubt that the Apple II was *ever* sold for anything even in the same ballpark as £100, even latterly when it was dated and outspecced.

BTW, Visicalc was also available for other computers such as the IBM PC, Atari 800 and Commodore Pet.

Sinclair Machines (2, Interesting)

turgid (580780) | more than 5 years ago | (#27111145)

I'm more surprised there are no Sinclair machines in the orchestra (ZX81, ZX Spectrum) since they were what drove the home computer revolution of the early 80s in the UK.

The ZX81 was incredibly primitive in order to get its price below £100. I think it was the first ever computer you could buy for under £100. It had no colour and no sound, 1k of RAM in its base configuration and 8k of ROM that managed to include some very useful floating-point maths!

There was a hack you could do to in machine code get sound out of it. The cassette interface, for loading and saving programs to tape, made its way to the TV set. It was a bit in an IO register. The CPU was responsible for the TV display, so the screen went funny black and white patterns when it was doing tape IO. Usually you had the TV sound turned off. You could write precise timing loops in machine code to toggle the bit and to generate musical notes.

There was a ZX80/81 machine code book by Toni Baker which had a program to do this. You could play the ZX81 like a piano. The program was only a few hundred bytes long.

The Spectrum took this idea a bit further. The screen was generated by the ULA, so the processor could do sound and tape IO without harming the display. Sound was a single channel through a tiny build in loud-speaker which was modulated using a single bit of an IO register... very similar to tape IO :-)

The Spectrum 128 which came out years later, had an AY-3-8192 3-channel sound chip in addition to the beeper :-)

Can they run Linux? (-1, Redundant)

gapagos (1264716) | more than 5 years ago | (#27109713)

... and do they boot it faster than Vista on current PCs?

Re:Can they run Linux? (3, Interesting)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110097)

... and do they boot it faster than Vista on current PCs?

Speaking as a former Atari 800XL owner, no. In fact, it got to a point where you could memorize the exact pattern of beepbeeeepbeenbeepbeeeeenbeepbeepbebp..*drive rev.. drive rev*...*beep beeeeep been beeeeen beep...*... and have your own little internal count-down. And, on top of that, it booted into the app you were using. Wanna start another app? Turn off machine, insert new disk, turn it on and hold down the Option key.

In short: your quip was incredibly cheap and utterly unfunny to anybody who actually knows anything about the topic.

Re:Can they run Linux? (1)

achurch (201270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110275)

Speaking as a former Atari 800XL owner, no. In fact, it got to a point where you could memorize the exact pattern of beepbeeeepbeenbeepbeeeeenbeepbeepbebp..*drive rev.. drive rev*...*beep beeeeep been beeeeen beep...*... and have your own little internal count-down.

You lucky folks with a disk drive had it good. I had to sit around and wait while my Atari 410 cassette recorder shoveled its bits into the system at an amazing 40 bytes per second. (At least it let you hear the audio track, so you could have cassettes that played music [achurch.org] while they loaded.)

Re:Can they run Linux? (1)

a09bdb811a (1453409) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110627)

What software did that music accompany?

Re:Can they run Linux? (1)

ladadadada (454328) | more than 5 years ago | (#27111659)

I used ring up my mate and tell him to start loading a game into his C64 before walking over to his place. We'd usually have time for a snack before the tape had fully loaded. So no... somewhat slower than Vista.

On the other hand, I had an Apple ][e at the same time and even including the time it took to find the correct 5 1/4 inch floppy disk in one of the many boxes of disks we had, boot the computer and load the entire game, it was still faster than Vista is these days. The downside, of course, was that it only had 16 shades of green available to it and high resolution mode meant 192 x 280 pixels.

Re:Can they run Linux? (1)

Saffaya (702234) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110869)

You should have tried a C64 loading a floppy diskette. Took almost as long as the ATARI loaded a cassette :)

Re:Can they run Linux? (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110801)

hmmm. Now you have me thinking. I have a couple of TRS-80s in the attic... I wonder if anyone has ever gotten linux running on them.

Infamous? (4, Informative)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 5 years ago | (#27109723)

Why is the Colossus "infamous"? It's famous, and it's use saved thousands of lives and shortened the war.

        Brett

Re:Infamous? (4, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27109785)

Why is the Colossus "infamous"? It's famous, and it's use saved thousands of lives and shortened the war.

Brett

Possibly the submitter is German.

Re:Infamous? (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110163)

Pining for the good old days?

          Brett

Re:Infamous? (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110783)

more likely for the fjords...

Re:Infamous? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110479)

Either German or questionably literate...

Re:Infamous? (2, Interesting)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27111009)

Possibly the submitter is German.

No, if the submitter was German, he would be complaining about the lack of recognition for Konrad Zuse (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konrad_Zuse.

And no, I had never heard of him either, until I visited Germany.

Re:Infamous? (2, Funny)

Fishchip (1203964) | more than 5 years ago | (#27109801)

It's infamous. You know, -more- than famous.

Re:Infamous? (2, Funny)

Soulshift (1044432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27109867)

Like how inflammable is more than... flammable?

Re:Infamous? (1)

Scottar (969033) | more than 5 years ago | (#27111829)

In-famous is when you're MORE than famous. This computer Colossus, he's not just famous, he's IN-famous. 100,000 pesos to perform with this Colossus, who's probably the biggest computer to come out of Bletchley! Man I'm bored

Re:Infamous? (1)

Fishchip (1203964) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114557)

At least someone got it. Last time I make a Three Amigos joke around here.

Re:Infamous? (2, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 5 years ago | (#27109913)

Why is the Colossus "infamous"? It's famous, and it's use saved thousands of lives and shortened the war.

Because of that one time it took over the world. [wikipedia.org]

Sheesh, kids these days. No knowledge of history.

Re:Infamous? (0, Flamebait)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110277)

Kids, eh? I've *dropped* more card decks than you have *punched*, sonny! I watched that movie *when it came out*, and before that chick was married to Mongo OR Webster's mom. That movie, and prisoner episode The General was when I first realized that computers were intrinsically evil. I have seen nothing since to alter that opinion.

BTW, before you go look it up, what was the name of the degenerate atheistic prevert Commie computer that it linked up with? I know that off the top of my head.

      Brett

Re:Infamous? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110799)

I watched that movie *when it came out*, and before that chick was married to Mongo ...

I don't know what you are talking about. You kids are making me feel old.

Movies? Sheesh! In my day, we only had Projecting Kinetoscopes [wikipedia.org] for entertainment.

Re:Infamous? (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 5 years ago | (#27115243)

Eh, projecting kinetoscopes, dang fool kids. Magic lanterns were good enough for us, and we were darn glad to have them.

            Brett

Re:Infamous? (1)

archshade (1276436) | more than 5 years ago | (#27111289)

The Soviet computer is called Guardian - when they connect together they become Unity.

Re:Infamous? (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 5 years ago | (#27111393)

Damn, I haven't seen that movie. Could someone who has please tell me why everyone is about fall over or have already gone horizontal, and why everyone generally looks pretty uncomfortable in the poster? [impawards.com]

Re:Infamous? (1)

carlzum (832868) | more than 5 years ago | (#27109917)

Thank you, I thought there was some nefarious event in Colossus' history that I wasn't aware of. I spent 20 minutes searching the web for stories about chained-up computer scientists or it's role in bombing orphanages.

Re:Infamous? (1)

danhuby (759002) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110741)

Confusing 'famous' with 'infamous' probably.

a bit more useful (4, Informative)

johnjones (14274) | more than 5 years ago | (#27109725)

bbc report with sound and video

open in a tab then buy tickets !!!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7895853.stm [bbc.co.uk]

tickets links -

March 20th, 2009 http://www.etickets.to/buy/?e=2285 [etickets.to]

March 21th, 2009 http://www.etickets.to/buy/?e=2373 [etickets.to]

regards

John Jones
http://www.johnjones.me.uk [johnjones.me.uk]

Dear god... (1)

detox.method() (1413497) | more than 5 years ago | (#27109883)

50 years from now, they'll be using the 'obsolete' BlueGene/L to do stuff like this...

Re:Dear god... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110009)

i laughed

Re:Dear god... (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#27112541)

150 years from now the machines will be using 'obsolete' humans to do stuff like this.

"Applegate"? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27109891)

Just try and convince me there's no conspiracy behind this!

Symphony for Dot Matrix Printers (3, Interesting)

eyrieowl (881195) | more than 5 years ago | (#27109957)

I highly recommend "The Symphony for Dot Matrix Printers", by The User. You can find it on eMusic I think (probably elsewhere as well). It's like being in the computer lab of yore, but with style. :)

Re:Symphony for Dot Matrix Printers (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110373)

While at Portland State University in 1975, A friend, Rodney Grimes ( a guy who could recite Pi to 1000 digits )
composed a asr33 drum solo for 3 TTY's on paper tape that played Iron Butterfly's In-a-gadda-divida.
It was incomprehensible, but amusing to watch.
Fun was cutting out paper dolls and obscene messages on a IBM 1403 which usually jammed the printer.

Re:Symphony for Dot Matrix Printers (1)

cibyr (898667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110553)

Reminds me of the Big Ideas (don't get any) [vimeo.com] remix of Radiohead's "Nude".

Thoroughly worth watching, but feel free to skip to the beginning of the music at about 1:10.

music (2, Funny)

nnet (20306) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110003)

I'm guessing this won't be a progressive rock thing....

Re:music (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113615)

I'm guessing this won't be a progressive rock thing....

depends on the cymbol selection, I believe... I think its the splash

I hope this isn't just the start of the Next British Invasion... following Bletchley Park in rapid succession come moppy obsolete cpu orchestras from Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham... a sensation sweeps in from both coasts causing teenage girls to rush around in bunches and sceam uncontrollably... a teen in Tulsa spikes his hair and dyes it purple... t-shirt sales go through the roof... tragedy strikes when a rare mini computer and a popular classic calculator are lost when their plane goes down in a storm... Palm is dead Palm is dead... rock music is again splintered or changed forever ...
  that kind of thing.

Re:music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27115167)

The way the economy is going, anything selling "through the roof" is welcomed. Except for stocks, you pussies.

Instrument? (1)

raind (174356) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110411)

A drum is a instrument. A computer - well could be, but for real.

fail20rs (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110477)

as one of the desig8 approach. As yes, I work for in ratio of 5 to declined in market endless conflict

Why no Sinclair ZX-81? (1)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110673)

Yeah, I know that the venerable '81 had no "sound" but it could make noise through it's cassette interface ... and somewhere I have an old book for ZX-81 machine code programming which has a program which would play music out though the TV's FM audio ... but it does require de-tuning the channel frequency just a little bit because the '81 doesn't have a audio modulator either.

I really enjoyed my visit to Bletchley Park back in 2005.... wouldn't mind spending another relaxing and pleasant day there again in the future. Just this little problem of being 6000+ miles away.

(The Beeb has a fairly sophisticated Yamaha sound chip ... for some reason, whenever I think of that machine, the tune to Repton plays repeatedly in my mind... along with the 'dings' when a diamond is collected)

Re:Why no Sinclair ZX-81? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27114741)

I think there's a classic line in Red Dwarf .... something like "Starbug has crashed more times than a ZX-80!" :)

a dragon 32 :) ? (2, Interesting)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110779)

I had one of those beasts, it was a british clone of the TRS-80 color computer.

6809, the 32k of ram was actually 64k and if you fiddled a bit with the memory controller you could copy the rom to ram and modify the code. Quite a nice little computer!

I wished someone would keep such a line of machines alive for kids today to learn how to code on. There is absolutely no way you're going to completely 'grok' that machine on your desktop, one of these small machines you actually stand a chance.

Best school I ever had...

C.O.P.S (1)

Sobieski (1032500) | more than 5 years ago | (#27111477)

They are useful.

They are fruitful.

Everything that boots is beautiful!

Built to last... the future is the past!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-c4nhGS0OL4 [youtube.com]

Pictured? (2, Funny)

Binestar (28861) | more than 5 years ago | (#27111837)

This includes the Elliot 803 (a 1960s machine with 4KB of memory), the aforementioned Colossus Mark 2, a Bunsviga adding machine (pictured) and a punch card machine.

I read the slashdot summary and I have to say, the Bunsviga adding machine looks a lot like a grounding plug.

modems? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27112117)

Where are the 3000 baud modems? the faster modems are screetchy, so the slower ones should be more sing-song. (I'm sort of guessing, as got into the tech biz when 28.8 models were the dial-up rage). I always loved the techy-sounding "bing-bong" of the 56Ks in their day.

There are 3 valid spellings for "Elliott" (2, Informative)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27112977)

This includes the Elliot 803
I think you mean the Elliott 803 [wikipedia.org] You're welcome.

Such a waste of power... (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113417)

Not that I disapprove in theory, but it's fast getting to the point where I can't really justify turning on anything that draws over 5 watts of power to do any sort of computing, aside from my high-powered CS research.

On the other hand, this is art, so cost is irrelevant.

Who's responsible? (1)

visible.frylock (965768) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114665)

A wide selection of computing fossils be used in Applegate's final musical presentation,

Ok, who was the wiseass who invited the RNC [colbertnation.com] to start writing /. summaries?

Relics ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27114673)

Whaddya mean 'relics'? I still use my mighty Atari 400. I've cheated though....soldered in a humongous 48KB memory expansion into it.

Pretty weak on the Apple front (1)

ehintz (10572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116251)

A 5500/275? Bizarre choice to represent Apple. As others said above, the Apple II would be the logical choice. But if going with a Mac, one of the original all-in-ones (anything from the 128k to the SE/30, really) would be good. But a 5500/275? Those were pretty crap Macs.

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