Thoughts on retro computing

I got an Atari Portfolio speaking to me yesterday, but actually doing anything with this machine will probably require buying expensive unreliable old accessories.

This is what happened with the 68k Powerbook I acquired last year too. That is a cool computer, but it needs a new power supply and it could really do with some more RAM. RAM which of course is impossible to buy and impossible to make due to a weird connector no one can find.

I really like computers, old new and new ones alike. I love the weird portable machines that were being made when everyone decided they didn't only need a personal computer, but an on the person computer.

But , I don't have nostalgia for these computers.

Many many years ago, in the #hackrf irc channel I was told off for telling someone about getting an im-me as a radio toy. The im-me is a wonderful hack, but the thing new functionality hacked into repurposed devices is that it is incredibly non-democratic in how it is available.

The device itself is normally not being made and as soon as media coverage lands for the cool hack eBay scalpers shoot up prices taking the 'cheap' repurposed gadget out of the hands of those that really need it.

Instead for the im-me you could pick up a super cheap TI dev board with the same radio or the wonderful open hardware supported by a company run by great people YardStickOne .

I am drawn to these old portable, person sized computers they reflect the desire to bring the power and joy of computers with us everywhere we go and well, they are really cool.

They are complex, simple, understandable machines, when they were made both the height of technology and the trailing edge.

The 80C88 wasn't winning any contests for performance in 1989. I have ideas in the works that build on using these little computers, but if anything I'm loath to invest further in them.

How can I really justify investing in keeping old computers going when for similar amounts of money and time I can build new computers which are just as weird, but understandable and expandable with tools and parts I can actually get.

Where the Book 8088 and the Pocket386 fit into this world of new old Commodore spins I have no idea.