Gimme: What’s old is new again

I’m a sucker for retro computing, and I like things that let me work “the old way”.  I’d probably still be using Apple II computers if it were feasible.

A company called Mediaworkstations has produced a new PC and I love everything about it except the price: US$8000.  It’s transportable but not portable (i.e. it doesn’t have a battery).  It has a build in VGA screen, detachable keyboard, and best of all, ports on the back.  None of that HDMI or USB stuff, this has a VGA port, 9 pin serial, 25 pin parallel, PS/2 ports for keyboards and mice, plus 1/8 jacks for audio in/out.  It’s the best parts of the Commodore SX-64 portable and a GRID computer with modern power.

More below the fold.

Another on my wish list (read: wish I could afford it list) is the Colour Maximite 2.  It’s a throwback to the 1980s when the Basic programming language was the operating system, but unlike old machines, the limitation here is your programming ability.  Flash memory transfer, USB keyboard, VGA 16bit colour (65,536), and even internet connectivity.  And the existing demos are stunning.

There are also plenty of cheap DIY retro computers, like a four chip Z80 that runs CP/M.

In the 2000s and 2010s, retrocomputing meant scouring ebay and second hand sellers for old parts, and hoping they work.  Since 2015 when producing boards became cheaper, a lot of people started to develope their own, reverse engineering old hardware and building new versions.  I love it.


  1. Some Old Programmer says

    What’s old is new again.
    The Mediaworkstations reminds me of the original Compaq luggable. I hauled one of those things through the Des Moines airport one winter in the 80’s. The airline changed gates on me, leading me to swear that one arm was longer as a result.

  2. billseymour says

    I’ll take my present-day laptop any day. It’s reasonably small and light and much more powerful than any of the old stuff; and I can code in C++.

    OTOH, if you were to give me a PDP-8 and an ASR-33 Teletype, I could make the front-panel incandescent lights flash in ways that carbon units would find amusing. 😎

  3. lochaber says

    I’m not sure how well this fits, but I recently ran across this:

    and was sorta interested. Granted, it’s not at all a performance piece, and it is kinda bulky…

    I’m kinda reminded of William Gibson’s idea for an upgradeable laptop in one of his series (The Bridge Trilogy, maybe?)