VOGONS


Reply 20 of 273, by Inhibit

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I'll see if I can find one then. PC/104 is pretty small footprint and I recall this being a single board with CF for storage and ethernet networking. Although that *could* be me mixing up the EBox-2300 with the lower spec model.

I would guess the magic they included was a uCLinux kernel with busybox and minimal graphics but it'd be neat to see how the hardware's implemented (and if my memory serves).

I might use the 386 Book for dual booting a custom Linux release based on 2000 era code! It should support any bizarre hardware I can fabricobble together.

Reply 21 of 273, by BitWrangler

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I'd figure it peaked around 2.4.x.x kernels for 386 thru PII, after that everything was sacrificed piecemeal on the altar of commerce.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 22 of 273, by wierd_w

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IIRC, mainline kernel dropped actual i386 support about 5 years ago... so you are likely 'at most' v4.x kernel.

8Mb ram is gonna be nasty all the same though; better backport zram.

As for the 386book here, they have a compact zif strip header exposing the isa bus behind one of the doors, with 4 retainer screw lugs.

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Simply breaking this out to a right angle pcmcia pin header and minimalist slot bracket, would let you place something like
a cisco aironet card
in there as an internal option. (These cards are 802.11b, but support wpa2 mode! They are 16bit pcmcia.)

16bit pcmcia is basically isa bus signals. Cardbus is 32bit pci.

Just make very sure you clearly state 'NO CARDBUS', and it should work fine.

Reply 23 of 273, by Inhibit

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wierd_w wrote on 2024-04-06, 06:03:

IIRC, mainline kernel dropped actual i386 support about 5 years ago... so you are likely 'at most' v4.x kernel.

I'd be more inclined for a late long-term 2.2 or 2.4 kernel with some period software stacks compiled up. Unless the last i386 support (3.8 maybe?) was needed. Ancient Gentoo and some cross compiling here I come!

Reply 24 of 273, by BitWrangler

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On Mastadon, Foone goes through the Pocket386 chip by chip...

I am hoping this works (Not super familiar with how mastadon linking is) , they reply to first post with further details I think. Otherwise you'll have to click the account main link and dig them up out of the feed.

https://digipres.club/@foone/112215103482683512

Edit: apparently I suck at mastadon, this seems to give a more complete thread?? https://digipres.club/@foone/112215405837081420 but yah if you poke around foone's feed you might see some strays.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 25 of 273, by wierd_w

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Since the video card is on the same kind of daughter card / strip header as the expansion port, it might be possible to stuff some things under the motherboard on a custom made GPU card that is bigger. (and use foam pads to support/protect it)

Perhaps a better place to hide a "We will never remove it anyway" pcmcia card? Maybe a custom made EMS+XMS memory card built into the video card? Maybe all of the above?

Edit
Come to think of it.. hardware EMS might be very handy for this system if you intend to use windows.

Combined with emsdsk and clever placement of the temporary swap file, (cant use permanent, because it's 16bit access!) would save your CF module from getting thrashed.
(would have to run either windows 3.0 or 3.1 in standard mode. 386 mode has emm386 grab all LIM calls.)
(this is not so with win95, which handles emsdsk just fine. Windows page file could live there just peachy, but win95 will run like poop on a 386sx)

If you could get/write a hardware ems block device driver for linux, you could put a swapspace on it, and get the same benefit.

Reply 26 of 273, by rasz_pl

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BitWrangler wrote on 2024-04-07, 05:06:

On Mastadon, Foone goes through the Pocket386 chip by chip...
https://digipres.club/@foone/112215405837081420 but yah if you poke around foone's feed you might see some strays.

>oh yeah, the other new thing about this one over the pocket386:
>the BIOS has now added an option where you can enable PS/2 mouse emulation. This makes your programs think there's a PS/2 mouse, which is controlled with the arrow keys

hmm wonder if its done with bios/SMM code or

>Nearby is this P3T82C42.
>That's a keyboard controller, an 8042.

custom firmware for this chip.
In second case its a good candidate for Native PS/2 mouse implementation for 386/486 boards using the keyboard controller

Open Source AT&T Globalyst/NCR/FIC 486-GAC-2 proprietary Cache Module reproduction

Reply 27 of 273, by wierd_w

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There used to be vintage 'clip on' serial or ps/2 trackballs for laptops and sides of keyboards. I remember seeing them (but hate trackballs)

Oh look, fleabay has one. Neat.

I'd be more apt to get a stand-alone serial touchpad, or just a serial corded mouse to use on a desk.

Reply 28 of 273, by BitWrangler

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rasz_pl wrote on 2024-04-07, 11:32:
>oh yeah, the other new thing about this one over the pocket386: >the BIOS has now added an option where you can enable PS/2 mou […]
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BitWrangler wrote on 2024-04-07, 05:06:

On Mastadon, Foone goes through the Pocket386 chip by chip...
https://digipres.club/@foone/112215405837081420 but yah if you poke around foone's feed you might see some strays.

>oh yeah, the other new thing about this one over the pocket386:
>the BIOS has now added an option where you can enable PS/2 mouse emulation. This makes your programs think there's a PS/2 mouse, which is controlled with the arrow keys

hmm wonder if its done with bios/SMM code or

>Nearby is this P3T82C42.
>That's a keyboard controller, an 8042.

custom firmware for this chip.
In second case its a good candidate for Native PS/2 mouse implementation for 386/486 boards using the keyboard controller

The PS/2 is already broken out to a port, combined with VGA output. ... unless you are saying that you can steal the trick and take it to machines that don't yet have the arrow key option.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 29 of 273, by rasz_pl

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BitWrangler wrote on 2024-04-07, 14:14:

The PS/2 is already broken out to a port, combined with VGA output. ... unless you are saying that you can steal the trick and take it to machines that don't yet have the arrow key option.

exactly the second one, I wonder how its implemented on the low level

Open Source AT&T Globalyst/NCR/FIC 486-GAC-2 proprietary Cache Module reproduction

Reply 30 of 273, by BitWrangler

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So I was brainstorming where to get a micro to just small sized trackball without scavenging spendy retro stuff... and this keyboard fell into my lap. Picked up for peanuts today.... I already had a "good" one of these. This one is a bit ratchet, banged around, no battery cover, no wireless dongle. ... ... ... but it's got a really cute trackball !

I have heard it told, that whether USB, Bluetooth or proprietary wireless, that often the chips in keyboards etc still have a basic HID mode PS/2 capability... if you can break it out. So not sure how much of the thing I will need to scrape out and rebundle... if worst comes to worst, guess I'll have to try to apply the electronics of a regular PS/2 ballmouse to the mechanics of the trackball. Edit: Ooops it boasts of having an optical trackball, guess mechanical mouse bits won't do me any favors.

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Last edited by BitWrangler on 2024-04-08, 04:11. Edited 1 time in total.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 31 of 273, by BitWrangler

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RetroTester is still churning out new vids of things he has run on it...
https://www.youtube.com/@zhblue

Something is going on here, picoGUS for the pocket386???
https://github.com/HeathenUK/Pico_Pocket386

Wake up Liliputing, Hackaday, Slashdot, Anandtech etc, no major sites reporting anything yet, or maybe it's wake up google for being slow indexing them, or maybe like me they are watching their package make it's way towards them by Singapore Post...

Edit: more on the picoGUS pocket386, now the femtoGUS apparently.. https://wolfdo.gg/tags/picogus

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 32 of 273, by rasz_pl

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BitWrangler wrote on 2024-04-07, 21:58:

So I was brainstorming where to get a micro to just small sized trackball without scavenging spendy retro stuff... and this keyboard fell into my lap. Picked up for peanuts today.... I already had a "good" one of these. This one is a bit ratchet, banged around, no battery cover, no wireless dongle. ... ... ... but it's got a really cute trackball !

IOgear brand GKM681R keyboard

Im afraid its a door stop without the dongle, there is nowhere inside to wire into to intercept its state. You would need a dongle and one of those nifty USB to PS2 keyboard/mouse adapters based on pico or Bluetooth one based on ESP32 https://github.com/Hamberthm/esp32-bt2ps2

Open Source AT&T Globalyst/NCR/FIC 486-GAC-2 proprietary Cache Module reproduction

Reply 33 of 273, by BitWrangler

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The first wave seems to be arriving...
https://twitter.com/RetroTechChris/status/177 … 452393598206083

VCFED grumpy old fart society pronounces themselves unimpressed 🤣 (Damn I hope they've got a sense of humour)
https://forum.vcfed.org/index.php?threads/poc … et-386.1247640/

Mine apparently got out of Asia and I am waiting for it to show on local tracking... which sometimes by the time it catches up has the first update as "delivered" 🤣 either that or I get to watch it sit in customs for a week plus.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 34 of 273, by Inhibit

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Mine's state-side. Imagine it'll be here in a couple of days; hopefully I get a few minutes to mess around with it. Maybe break my 4 year video hiatus.

I've got a particular fondness for the CPU in this one. I can see why it wouldn't tickle the nostalgia for most people though, there just aren't that many folks who worked with industrial gear!

Reply 35 of 273, by the3dfxdude

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BitWrangler wrote on 2024-04-10, 01:32:
The first wave seems to be arriving... https://twitter.com/RetroTechChris/status/177 … 452393598206083 […]
Show full quote

The first wave seems to be arriving...
https://twitter.com/RetroTechChris/status/177 … 452393598206083

VCFED grumpy old fart society pronounces themselves unimpressed 🤣 (Damn I hope they've got a sense of humour)
https://forum.vcfed.org/index.php?threads/poc … et-386.1247640/

Mine apparently got out of Asia and I am waiting for it to show on local tracking... which sometimes by the time it catches up has the first update as "delivered" 🤣 either that or I get to watch it sit in customs for a week plus.

You seem a bit eager.

Reply 36 of 273, by BitWrangler

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the3dfxdude wrote on 2024-04-10, 13:58:

You seem a bit eager.

Just a little, been chasing basically anything off this list https://palmtops.net/DOSPALMTOP/list.html for decades, but keep missing them. Seen the price rise 10% every year from 2010 and get averagely about equal the cost of this machine, meanwhile that's usually a unit with no extras and they need funky cables, funky storage, funky RAM expansions to be very useful which also will take ages to track down and maybe cost as much again. The screens may be getting a bit dim and the plastic might have the structural integrity of stale cheese. So I am very eager to get hold of a modern homage of the type.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 37 of 273, by wierd_w

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I remember seeing and wanting a libretto back in the 90s...

Still, this thing is interesting, but lacks a lot of cots upgrade path.

If there was say, a hardware EMS + ATI mach32 combo card made for the gpu socket, I might bite for a femto-gus for the expansion bay...

But as is? Meh. It's neat and all, but I have stuff on hand that works well enough.

Reply 38 of 273, by BitWrangler

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More impressions from Mastodon...

MrKsoft has some potentially useful tech notes https://bitbang.social/tags/Pocket386

kvance https://mastodon.social/@kvance/112238739630004834

Annie D https://cohost.org/ann-arcana/tagged/pocket386

Nothing else worth reporting really, searches are giving me the same old same old, weirdly this thread pops up in some but not others.

edit: Muhuhahaaaaaaaaa, this is hilarious, bing copilot is reporting on it's unicorn herding features.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 39 of 273, by BitWrangler

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Exciting news from Ian Scott, a picoGUS board was programmed to emulate an NE2000 and provide wifi connectivity for the Pocket386 ...
https://bitbang.social/@polpo/112264573366506186
(Edit: Vogons discussion on same from here... Re: PicoGUS: ISA sound card emulator with Raspberry Pi Pico (Gravis Ultrasound, AdLib, MPU-401, Tandy, CMS) )

My thoughts on wifi thus far had been to maybe cobble an ESP8266 to the parallel port and emulate PLIP. I have several ESP8266 modules kicking around so that may be the way I go anyway.

My Pocket386 apparently just woke up from a 9 day bender in Singapore and repeated it's tracking status of departing for CA and finally appeared on CanadaPost tracking.

I did have some thoughts previously on the unicorn herding abilities of the Pocket386, I discovered I particularly liked the database function in MS works for DOS, and could use it to herd my unicorns, i.e. make a database and inventory of my retro hardware. Therefore I could herd my unicorns wholly on the Pocket386, but I was having in mind to have a DOS machine set up to log into over the utility "Tiny" suggested here Is anyone involving PCAnywhere in their setup? as an alternative to PCAnywhere. If however there is a solid wifi solution for the Pocket386, I could herd my unicorns remotely from it.

Last edited by BitWrangler on 2024-04-16, 21:52. Edited 1 time in total.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.