Imaginary dream computer from 1984

The funny folks at Squirrel Monkey made a fantasy promotional video for a computer that never existed, called the DC 640. It had a number of cutting edge features, including a built-in LED alarm clock, an FM transmitter (for data and voice communication), and a solderless breadboard. Read the rest

Building a high-performance cluster of Gameboy emulators to teach computers to play video games

Kamil Rocki was inspired by the 2016 paper from Google Deepmind researchers explaining how they used machine learning to develop a system that could play Breakout on the Atari 2600 with superhuman proficiency. Read the rest

Beautiful papercraft retrocomputing models to print and love and hang from your tree

Rocky Bergen creates gorgeous, downloadable papercraft models of retro PCs, from the Commodore 64 to the Apple ][+ to the Amstrad, with different screens to print celebrating classic 8-bit games, and accessories like tiny floppies in tiny paper sleeves. As Waxy points out, these would make stunning Christmas ornaments. Read the rest

An appreciation of the long-lost MP3 player skins of yesteryear

When MP3s conquered music, it depended on three key technologies: CD ripping software, file-sharing software, and MP3 playing software, primarily Winamp. Read the rest

The best Christmas computer and electronics ads of 1980

Australia's Paleotronic is celebrating Christmas with twelve posts celebrating the best seasonal computer ads of the years between 1980 and 1992; today is day 1: 1980, in all its Coleco gloriousness. (Thanks, Gnat!) Read the rest

Gorgeous, stylized portraits of vintage computing hardware

Docubyte's Visual History of Computing 1945-1979 is a mix of superb staging, outstanding photography, and intense nostalgia, and it just made my day. Read the rest

How to 3D print the Think a Dot, a nifty "computer" toy from 1965

The Think a Dot was a small non-electronic toy with an 8 pixel 2-bit display. To change the color of the pixels, you dropped marbles into three holes at the top.

As you can see, the pixels change color based on the current color of the pixels and which hole the marble is dropped in.

Someone has made a 3D model of the toy and uploaded it to Thingiverse, so you can 3D print your own!

Image: Decode Systems Read the rest

Nostalgia alert - Scan of "Your Computer" magazine from 1983

Even if you were nothing more than a twinkle in your father's eye in 1983, you will feel pangs of nostalgia for this Archive.org scan of a UK magazine called Your Computer. This 1983 issue has ads for games and productivity programs, as well as lines and lines of BASIC code for you to hunt-and-peck into your keyboard and then spend hours in a fruitless bug and typo session.

Read the rest

WWWBasic: code web-pages in BASIC

Google's WWWBasic project allows you to write web-page interactivity using a BASIC-like syntax that will be recognizable to anyone who grew up with early personal computers in the late 1970s and 1980s (it can be imported within Node.js, too, so you can mix Javascript and BASIC). Read the rest

This colorful homage to classic desktops could occupy you for hours

Mariano Pascual has created a delightful nod to classic desktop layouts for his new site, but it's updated with all kinds of colorful bells, whistles, and Easter eggs. Read the rest

ZX Spectrum Next is an advanced version of the original 8-bit monster machine

ZX Spectrum Next is more than just a cute retro-looking box or a glorified emulator. It is a new 8-bit computer, backwards-compatible with the 1980s' original, yet enhanced to provide a wealth of advanced features such as better graphics, SD card storage, and manufacturing quality control. It's made with the permission of IP owner Amstrad and has already blown past its crowdfunding target.

It has a real goddamn Z80 in it, clocked to a blazing-fast 7Mhz! (And an optional 1Ghz co-processor for those times you want to strap your vintage snow sled to an intercontinental ballistic Raspberry Pi.)

We love the ZX Spectrum. Why wouldn’t we? It was much more than just a computer: it was a machine that sparked a gaming revolution, neatly housed within its iconic design powered by sheer simplicity. ... Meanwhile hardware hackers around the world have expanded the ZX Spectrum to support SD card storage, feature new and better video modes, pack more memory, faster processor... Problem is, these expansions can be difficult to get hold of, and without a standardised Spectrum, no one knows what to support or develop for. ...

The Spectrum Next is aimed at any Retrogamer out there and Speccy enthusiast who prefers their games, demos and apps running on hardware rather than software emulators, but wants a seamless and simple experience contained within an amazing design..

They even got the original industrial designer, Rick Dickinson, to do the new case--and they based it quite wisely on the second-gen Speccy rather than the iconic but infuriating-to-type-on rubber-keyed original. Read the rest

Usborne releases free PDFs of its classic 1980s computer programming books

Jindo Fox writes, "A few years ago, Cory linked to some wonderful pictures in Usborne's 1983 classic Introduction to Machine Code for Beginners. Usborne has made PDF copies available of their whole line, with the only restriction that you link to their page, not to copy and redistribute the files themselves. Very cool. I have fond memories of wasting my childhood typing these listings into the mainframe terminal at my local university, and later on my Timex Sinclair 1000, which I somehow knew was the American version of the ZX-81 that was featured in these pages." Read the rest