VOGONS


First post, by Master_Shifu

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

HI Guys!

Sorry to drop in like this, not sure if i'm at the right topic 😀 i need your advice and help if possible.

I'll try to make a brief introduction, i'm Sonny, just like most here a retro loving computing hobbyist keeping the machines alive that i grew up with. 😀 I have my own IT company and on the side like to take on the odd challenging project!

Only one thing holds my hobby back, in the modern world we lack one use. a decent usable web page to provide the basic stuff you want. Like reading the news, chatting with other retro fanatics, using a web mail client or just browsing the ftp for programs / demo's/ shareware / freeware, you know. the legal stuff that we can distribute 😀

Now, with alot of struggle we are actually already building and working on a new platform that hopefully will partially fullfill this gap, with live news atricles, updates and blogs. all usable and viewable on our Mac System 6-7 machines and our Windows 3.1-95-98 machines. Ofcourse taking into account the difference between the B/W systems and the color versions!

We're working hard to make it work with the HTML 2 standard with as much as we can, and one of the experimental features is offer some sort of on demand streaming. either through regular software like the first versions of quicktime or winvideo etc. or, even better. through the website itself.

Now, one of my questions that i hope you guys can help me awnser is, what kind of options were there back in the day? sadly i wasn't old enough to remember what we had, but i do remember that there were some sort of streaming alternatives, i think from Realplayer and quicktime. think like the stuff they did with that famous coffeepot cam 😀

Would be nice to look back to for example, episodes of the Computer Chronicles on your vintage machine! we're already testing out different downstream codecs like the Cinepack and possible Bink Video formats. the resolution will be somewhere around the old VHS format, 320-480 max. but probably we'll offer it smaller as well, for the less powerfull systems!

Any tips are welcome 😀 sory for the whole story! we're looking forward to hosting a new retro alternative on our server so we can revive the old days and drag the machines into the 21st century! 😀

Last edited by Master_Shifu on 2017-12-10, 00:04. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 1 of 15, by .legaCy

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Well i'm postponing one project(lack pf money) to create a retro friendly portal.
News feed (from rss) with the look and feel.
Downloads for old software versions(freeware and shareware versions, not abandonware neither paid software)
Or i'm thinking of developing a software like AOL used to have, maybe with integrated chat cliente or instant messenger, but that is quite a long project.
Creating websites that are old web browser(and 56k modem) friendly is a quite nice idea.

Useful links
[ How to Multiboot any OS | Rebuilding GOG Installer for Win9x | 486DX-4 Build | S7 Time machine Build |
twitch stream (in portuguese)

Reply 2 of 15, by Master_Shifu

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Seems we are both on spot about that, I'm incorporating the Feeds as well to provide a all day update of several news catagories and weather. i'm also trying to incorporate some feeds from popular retro computing websites but that's still something i'm looking into. it's quite the trick to get the correct look and feel on small 9" b/w monitors and 14"color monitors at the same time... HTML 2.0 is not that screenscale friendly as it's successors 😀

At the moment i'm experimenting with a possibility to set up Realmedia streams with a suitable quality and bitrate to run on 33-66 mhz 486's and say 8 -16 mb ram. so far so good. running at 320x240 with a video bitrate of 128 and 30 fps, audio seems ok to but still need to tweak that a bit, but it decodes very well with the browser integrated Realplayer 4, if it works on 3.11 then next stop is powerpc, 68xx will be very tricky to do...

Reply 3 of 15, by cj_reha

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Interesting project! I'd definitely visit it on many a machine of mine 😁

Join the Retro PC Discord! - https://discord.gg/UKAFchB
My YouTube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDJYB_ZDsIzXGZz6J0txgCA

Reply 4 of 15, by .legaCy

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Master_Shifu wrote:

Seems we are both on spot about that, I'm incorporating the Feeds as well to provide a all day update of several news catagories and weather. i'm also trying to incorporate some feeds from popular retro computing websites but that's still something i'm looking into. it's quite the trick to get the correct look and feel on small 9" b/w monitors and 14"color monitors at the same time... HTML 2.0 is not that screenscale friendly as it's successors 😀

At the moment i'm experimenting with a possibility to set up Realmedia streams with a suitable quality and bitrate to run on 33-66 mhz 486's and say 8 -16 mb ram. so far so good. running at 320x240 with a video bitrate of 128 and 30 fps, audio seems ok to but still need to tweak that a bit, but it decodes very well with the browser integrated Realplayer 4, if it works on 3.11 then next stop is powerpc, 68xx will be very tricky to do...

For that i would recommend using center justification in a size of 640x480 on webpages.
Well about parsing one rss feed it seems pretty easy to do on php, now that im on vacation from work i will spend some time testing it.

Useful links
[ How to Multiboot any OS | Rebuilding GOG Installer for Win9x | 486DX-4 Build | S7 Time machine Build |
twitch stream (in portuguese)

Reply 5 of 15, by feipoa

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

The idea of using webpages on my 486 is an exciting one. I really hope you can get something up and running. What would be nice to have is the ability of these old browsers to use most modern websites, but in a dumbed down form, and formatted correctly (no video, no ads). Is it possible to add some kind of in-between service/server which, on the fly, translates these modern web into something formatted for these old browsers?

In Windows 3.11 and Win9x on my older systems, I tend to run 1024x768 (386) and 1280x1024 (486). Having some standard screen resolution options would be nice, e.g. 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, and 1280x1024.

I do recall using Real Player for streaming in 1997, but mostly for audio as the size and quality of video over my 33.6K modem was horrible. I don't recall the Real Player version, but I think it was 4 or 5.

Ultimate 486 Benchmark | Ultimate 686 Benchmark | Cyrix 5x86 Enhancements | 486 Overkill Graphics | Worlds Fastest 486

Reply 6 of 15, by Ozzuneoj

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

What would be the situation with security on very old operating systems, browsers and hardware?

One would assume that very little malware out there targets such old systems, but still... security was seriously lacking in those days. Measures would certainly need to be taken to ensure the safety of the old systems accessing these pages.

Now for some blitting from the back buffer.

Reply 7 of 15, by MERCURY127

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

386 + NIC + MSDOS Packet Driver (or NDIS/ODI packet wrapper) + Arachne = Internet.
I do this, look for weather site on 386, just for fun.
Or, if ur 386 have lot memory (16+ MB) - u can install Win3x + TCP stack + IE 3-5 or Opera 3.62.

Reply 8 of 15, by Master_Shifu

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
Ozzuneoj wrote:

What would be the situation with security on very old operating systems, browsers and hardware?

Good Point, but you should not worry, there is almost nothing to exploit or hack actually. the page that will be presented is actually just the visible result of the complex backend that does all the work. nothing more like an interactive paper sheet you might say 😀 the backend runs all the data with the latest standerts and will convert it into a basic HTML 2 frontend. and just like you said, i wonder if there actually is any software left around to take advantage of our poor systems. but i did keep the security in mind 😀 It will take a while to finish the development, but we're adding features to the wanted list every week...

I've considered building an intermediate portal that dumbs down modern sites, but that isn't doable, and will break hundreds of terms of use and codes of conduct. it's already tricky using the RSS feeds cause those have a very limiting term of use, Atom is more flexible but less wide spread. Then again sometimes you need to take a gamble 😀

Reply 9 of 15, by Master_Shifu

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
feipoa wrote:

In Windows 3.11 and Win9x on my older systems, I tend to run 1024x768 (386) and 1280x1024 (486). Having some standard screen resolution options would be nice, e.g. 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, and 1280x1024.

I do recall using Real Player for streaming in 1997, but mostly for audio as the size and quality of video over my 33.6K modem was horrible. I don't recall the Real Player version, but I think it was 4 or 5.

Yes i think for the windows machines we'll focux on half vga standard, 640x480 or maybe provide a 800x600 as well. but for the mac se/30 it will be tougher since it only supports 512x342... and only 1 bit color!

It can be done, it just takes a whole lot of time to do so 😀 I actually found out that RealPlayer 4 & 5 are able to open the old .RAM streams realplayer used back in the 90's to broadcast the first sport event through the internet. it only downloads a small file (56k i think) to build up the stream and the rest stays on the server, so it only has to decode a small set of information without taxing the modem/nic or overloading the processor

Reply 10 of 15, by .legaCy

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Ozzuneoj wrote:

What would be the situation with security on very old operating systems, browsers and hardware?

One would assume that very little malware out there targets such old systems, but still... security was seriously lacking in those days. Measures would certainly need to be taken to ensure the safety of the old systems accessing these pages.

On the case of websites that would be driven by members of this community it would be based on trust.
In my mind my website would just use rss feeds to parse news and display it in a format that would be friendly to old browsers and download of verified applications(i can provide the virus total links and screen shots)
Btw vogons drivers and the vogons forum itself showed nicely on briwsers that support windows 98, the cpu might struggle a little bit on the earlier ones but i didn't tested.

Useful links
[ How to Multiboot any OS | Rebuilding GOG Installer for Win9x | 486DX-4 Build | S7 Time machine Build |
twitch stream (in portuguese)

Reply 11 of 15, by Asaki

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
feipoa wrote:

What would be nice to have is the ability of these old browsers to use most modern websites, but in a dumbed down form, and formatted correctly (no video, no ads).

Some websites have a mobile version you can go to that works pretty well for that sort of purpose.

Sometimes you just change the URL to m.website.com or mobile.website.com

Reply 13 of 15, by zstandig

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Some news websites specifically made 'lite' versions so people can still get the news should a disaster make internet spotty

https://lite.cnn.io/en
http://text.npr.org/

There's also the Gopher protocol, the only modern browser that can use it is firefox with the overbite extension, the others emulate it somehow. Older browsers, however, have support built in.

http://gopherpedia.com/

That's a text version of wikipedia, most other gopher sites are more for entertainment

I've used those light text only websites with an old imac with the Classilla browser, they worked well. I can imagine they would work fine in a text browser like links, or maybe arachne or even really old versions of Netscape and IE

Reply 14 of 15, by feipoa

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++
Master_Shifu wrote:

Yes i think for the windows machines we'll focux on half vga standard, 640x480 or maybe provide a 800x600 as well. but for the mac se/30 it will be tougher since it only supports 512x342... and only 1 bit color!

How do you guys keep your SE/30's going? I finally gave up on mine, after 2 analogue board replacements and 2 HDD replacements. Recently those small electrollytic caps bled all over the motherboard, which I cleaned up, traced out, and replaced. But my SE/30 still isn't working properly again (analogue board issue) and the HDD dead. Is there capacitor grab bag for the SE/30's analogue board?

Ultimate 486 Benchmark | Ultimate 686 Benchmark | Cyrix 5x86 Enhancements | 486 Overkill Graphics | Worlds Fastest 486

Reply 15 of 15, by aleksej

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

I like the idea and i was already thinking about what would be great if it was - for example, a web portal with some services, accessible for ancient (HTML 2.0/3.0) browsers.
At this time for our vintage hardware still usable: many static (non-js, non-flash) webpages, FTP, Gopher, ICQ, IRC, and some email services. All in DOS or Win3.x/9x OSes. We even still can playing multiplayer DOS games via DOS Kali client.
What i need is a email service accesible in Pegasus (or another DOS email client) and capable of translate ingoing/outgoing mail from-to national DOS codepages, and BSFlite (ICQ DOS client) with interface of LSICQ (another DOS ICQ client, dead now) and thats all. And also vintage hardware and retrogaming oriented FTN-based (FIDO like) network would be great too, i think. 😀