Retro machines usefulness/connectivity thread

Getting old software/games running on older hardware.

Re: Retro machines usefulness/connectivity thread

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-4-22 @ 14:44

jheronimus wrote:I wish there was an easy Wayback Machine proxy so I could just open Netscape on my 90s machine, type in an URL and browse the archived version of the site. I mean, http://oldweb.today exists, so this should really be doable, but I don't have the skills to make it happen.

Seconded - added to the list of ideas in the Google doc.
mbbrutman wrote:mTCP can fill the entire memory of a DOS machine in seconds. That's probably fast enough.

In my testing last night with my 286, I'm pretty sure it was maxing out the hard drive speed with a 10mbps NIC.
I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.

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Re: Retro machines usefulness/connectivity thread

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-4-22 @ 18:24

I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.

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Re: Retro machines usefulness/connectivity thread

Postby digger » 2019-4-22 @ 21:54

Interesting initiative! :)

About some of your suggestions:

keenmaster486 wrote:
  • New software/drivers to add functionality that either was proprietary/licensed or never existed to begin with
  • Ways to add hardware functionality that was either very expensive or didn't exist yet back in the day (e.g. WiFi cards, high-capacity solid state storage, all those super-cool newly made parallel port devices, etc.
  • Modern peripherals interfacing with older systems
  • Patches for old OS's to make them more stable/secure or add modern functionality (A/V codecs, security protocols, etc.)


Well, this may be a bit off-topic, since your stated goal here is to breathe new life in the hardware side of retro computing, but personally I would very much like to see the development of newer drivers for older OSes, particularly OSes in the Win9x family, so that they could run more smoothly in VMs on modern systems, also in the future. I'm talking about storage drivers for modern standards such as AHCI and NVMe, as well as paravirtualized drivers for VM standards such as virtio-blk, virtio-scsi, virtio-net, QXL, VirGL, etc. This would allow these legacy OSes to run at near native speeds on a hardware-accelerated Hypervisor such as KVM, Xen or VirtualBox. That would preserve these OSes for the longer term and possibly make retro gaming more feasible on modern systems. :)

What do you think?
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Re: Retro machines usefulness/connectivity thread

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-5-01 @ 03:23

jheronimus wrote:I wish there was an easy Wayback Machine proxy so I could just open Netscape on my 90s machine, type in an URL and browse the archived version of the site. I mean, http://oldweb.today exists, so this should really be doable, but I don't have the skills to make it happen.

http://theoldnet.com/

Did somebody order a WayBack Machine translator for retro systems?

This isn't my work!! I have no idea how long this has been around, but I only just now discovered it. Maybe the creator will step forward? What a great idea.
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Re: Retro machines usefulness/connectivity thread

Postby mrau » 2019-5-01 @ 05:45

why do You want the old content of the site instead of translation of current content to a form bearable for old machines?
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Re: Retro machines usefulness/connectivity thread

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-5-01 @ 06:08

That would be good too, but that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms.
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Re: Retro machines usefulness/connectivity thread

Postby bfcastello » 2019-7-22 @ 03:38

I (censored)ing love these ideas! Keep 'em coming, Not many technologies are retro compatible these days.
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Re: Retro machines usefulness/connectivity thread

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-7-29 @ 21:02

I updated my "ClassicMedia" retro-compatible content sharing website: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=68295
I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.

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Re: Retro machines usefulness/connectivity thread

Postby bfcastello » 2019-8-06 @ 02:52

How about a way to watch modern video codecs? I mean, how hard it can be to make Win 3.x video apps capable of playing some of the videos we have actually (like the ones supported by Youtube? So we could download and watch locally).
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Re: Retro machines usefulness/connectivity thread

Postby bfcastello » 2019-8-25 @ 20:37

I don't know if it fits the subject, but I would like me and other programmers to code more semantic HTML for retrocompatibility - that could mean correct usage of the tags with their semantic meaning, very little JS or jQuery. Seeing how powerful CSS really is, I don't see a reason to use jQuery in certain cases where CSS can do the same - for example a sliding navbar or dropdown menu. I've been using Bootstrap in my projects since its beginning (not my choice, work projects demand that), and I recognize that the heavy frameworks are the biggest culprits for the "modern web" not being acessible in older browsers. I mean, Bootstrap relies too much on jQuery to do many of its components. There's nothing we can do for AJAX, it's something that came to stay. How about creating a simple framework without any jQuery/JS?

To sum up, I could be just saying "code html like it's 1999"... ofc we don't have to use TABLE to design a layout (what a nightmare it was!).
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Re: Retro machines usefulness/connectivity thread

Postby Caluser2000 » 2019-8-29 @ 20:05

keenmaster486 wrote:This thread is all about ways to make retro PCs and other computers more useful in the modern world, by doing things such as:

  • New software/drivers to add functionality that either was proprietary/licensed or never existed to begin with
  • Resurrection of old internet-based services that went defunct
  • Ways to add hardware functionality that was either very expensive or didn't exist yet back in the day (e.g. WiFi cards, high-capacity solid state storage, all those super-cool newly made parallel port devices, etc.
  • Modern peripherals interfacing with older systems
  • Patches for old OS's to make them more stable/secure or add modern functionality (A/V codecs, security protocols, etc.)
  • Maybe even someday new OS's for old systems, made with tools and luxuries developers could only have dreamed of back in the day, to breathe new life into old machines. This does not include projects such as FreeDOS and ReactOS, which, although great, are just clones of existing OS's.

The list goes on - you get the idea.

It's stuff like new servers for MSN Messenger (https://escargot.log1p.xyz), or making a new public directory server for MS Netmeeting (https://web.archive.org/web/20180830115 ... inmac.html), or patches to run new web browsers on Windows 98, or an online A/V streaming service for retro PC's (doesn't exist but it should, and I'll do it someday if nobody beats me to it!) --- that really gets me excited because it's great to see old computers fulfilling their purpose in the modern world.

Maybe I will make a Google Sheets page to list all of the examples of these things that I've found so far, and stuff that could happen in the future.

Edit: Google sheets document - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing

I really want to someday have a server of my own in which I can run VM's with services for retro computers.

Anyone have anything to add to this discussion?
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Re: Retro machines usefulness/connectivity thread

Postby creepingnet » 2019-8-29 @ 21:08

This was what my old website originally was about back in 2001 when most of the PCs on this forum were called "dinosaurs" "Doorstops" and "boat anchors".

TBH most things 386 on forward are pretty capable still.

For example, I have a 486 DX4-100......this is what I all can do with it that's not gaming.....

- modernish web browsing using toastytechs modified SeaMonkey and Firefox.

- instant messaging via AIM Phoenix

- website authoring and creation

- data recovery

- IRC chat via mIRC or leetIRC

- circuit design using Circuitmaker 6.x or 2000, which PCB printers still use the Gerber files from on pro projects or so I've see with other guitar pedal manufacturers.

- I've managed to get the 486 to work as a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) using Cakewalk Pro 4.5 Digital Audio under 95 using PIO-4 mode drivers on my VLB HDD controller and fast ATA, SATA, and SATA SSD drives. Just the fact I can render CD Quality audio on a 486 almost as easily as a modern PC is kind of surprising.

- I still prefer GFX-II for pixel art and lo-res retro PC graphics. I also use it to dabble in making new games for these old boxes.

- NES ROM Hacking....all my old tools still work and work well.

- guitar tablature & composing (RandyTab is my friend)

- MIDI stuff (programming keyboards, guitar effects units...etc).

Now if I could just finish stuff and actually release it. I swear I must have one of the busiest retro-pcs still running outside of gaming.
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Re: Retro machines usefulness/connectivity thread

Postby Caluser2000 » 2019-8-29 @ 22:10

Yeah software doesn't have a time limit if it's not subscription based. It just works as originally intended. My 286 boots up and loads Windows 3.1 quicker than this Windows 10 setup if I just want to do a quick irc session using PIRCH16. In the mean time I can take a few notes using PFS Window Works, do a bit of home accounting then telnet to one of those online BBSs. All in glorious 16 colour.
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Re: Retro machines usefulness/connectivity thread

Postby bfcastello » 2019-10-03 @ 03:32

The current state of the connectivity with Windows 3.11 For Workgroups is kinda... stale.

- No browsers capable of dealing with the current websites (and there will never be, despite of a starting trend to ditch jQuery and go to vanilla JS) and WRP is a great step forward, but needs another machine to be running it;
- Outlook Express 5.0 only connects to Gmail and other similar sevices if we set up a stunnel on any machine to bridge and downgrade the protocols;
- mIRC works very well, I used to be there for most of my time when I had Windows 95;
- NE2000 on any patched DOSBox only connects if you use ethernet (wired connection). No luck for those on a laptop with wifi, unless we use a script - that only works in linux - to simulate in other machine, a "fake isp" to connect through trumpet winsock. Too much work and not practical.

To be honest, when I was a kid, I only had internet on Windows 95 and after. My 386 with Windows 3.1 never had internet, so I won't miss it, but it's kinda sad. I wish I could do something to help/contribute in this thread.

For these reasons I am thinking about redoing my dosbox instance with Win 3.1 instead of WFWG 3.11, but without any connectivity.
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Re: Retro machines usefulness/connectivity thread

Postby Caluser2000 » 2019-10-03 @ 06:45

Trumpet Winsock works perfectly fine to this day on Windows 3.1. I frequent a few IRC channals using it. My 286/12 is my number two IRC machine.
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Re: Retro machines usefulness/connectivity thread

Postby FFXIhealer » 2019-10-03 @ 13:52

This is definitely an interesting thread. It touches on a couple of things that I've either been working with or thought about a little bit. For instance:

I have a PLEX media server in my house that spends MOST of its time sitting there doing nothing but idling. It's also my network storage server. So... what else can I do with a private server behind my firewall? With having retro computers like Windows 98 and Windows 95, some of those computers are difficult to get drivers to from the internet (a.k.a. my Windows 10 computers). Add in the fact that NO modern web browser works on Windows 95 and the nostalgia factor of running old-school Netscape Navigator instead of IE or Firefox.... well, you can see the problem with the web. So I decided to create a private webpage/site that isn't open to the internet and create an old-school page with no bells or whistles, no frills, no nothing. Just ancient, basic HTML that Netscape has no problem running. And stick all my drivers, program installers, or anything else I want to on it.

Now when I want to put something on my old Windows 9x computer, I stick it on my server and add a download link to the page. Done. No more dealing with CD-Rs or floppies (except the floppy to get the NIC working in the first place).

And if someone found a way to patch Windows XP to have TRIM functionality, I'd be first in line to install it so I could use an SSD in my old Dell XPS gaming laptop. That would be awesome.
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Re: Retro machines usefulness/connectivity thread

Postby Jo22 » 2019-10-03 @ 21:03

Well, I -as well as other here likely- do keep old hardware around for thinkering, electronics projects and as a reference. :)
The latter is useful to improve emulators. As long as the real thing is around for testing, emulators can be checked for accuracy.
That way, we can ensure our digital heritage (legacy soft- and hardware) will be around fpr future generations (in case they need it).
Well, that's the plan, at least. Anyway, it's still a little justification to hamster, at least. ;)
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Re: Retro machines usefulness/connectivity thread

Postby bfcastello » 2019-10-04 @ 18:00

viewtopic.php?t=27962

Just saw this guide, I haven't tried as I only have a mac and the guide is for Windows 7. I was wondering if there is a similar thing for macOS and my DOSBox VM.

On a side note, the Acer Extensa 710T I had is definitely dead. We (me and my dad) are recovering an old HP laptop though, runs Windows Vista (ARRRRGH).
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Re: Retro machines usefulness/connectivity thread

Postby Intel486dx33 » 2019-10-04 @ 19:54

I just use them for playing old games.
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Re: Retro machines usefulness/connectivity thread

Postby Warlord » 2019-10-05 @ 02:57

WRP - Web Rendering Proxy
https://github.com/tenox7/wrp
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