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Reply 20 of 53, by Caluser2000

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The Wayback Machine was in operation well before archive.org sucked it up. There were also "web rings" that covered almost every topic you can name. Yahoo Groups had tons of computer related forum and of course good old usenet, irc channels etc.

Computing.net was created by at young cap at called Justin Webber, The is now part of Tom's Hardware.

If you wanted info on something you could find it out there in the ether. The term "online' use to mean you had the info on your system at your finger tips, ie help etc and not on a remote system at another location on the planet.

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 21 of 53, by 386SX

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It's difficult to have a definitive opinion on this complex subject but I suppose in the past there were maybe less people with tech knowledges compared to the much more people nowdays that can't live without their technology, but the difference is that probably the amount of people actually aware of the specifications of their devices, the meaning of those, how the tech change and probably why and where, didn't increase or maybe are even less than in the past. So more people nowdays becomes more like "users" of products created to free time that will be spent probably on the devices usage themself.. so at the end seems like nothing really improved in their lifestyle. At least in the past the few people that really used technologies for passion or work, had to become a bit expert to work with that tech. Some could even open their devices, modify those, understand how those worked and maybe increase their capabilities (let's think to old AM radio), repair, etc.. sooner or later maybe even desktop computers will become more closed/integrated and less expandable than in the past.

Reply 22 of 53, by rmay635703

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Unknown_K wrote on 2021-07-26, 05:26:

I think quite a bit of knowledge is actually lost over time. Some people tend to spend a bit of time and effort trying to learn it over again and with the internet those people are just easier to find.

The hardware is dead simple compared to current and some “restricted “ info is in the public domain your development environment is millions of times faster than the target so it’s possible in the right hands to optimize better than in the day.

That said a lot of the software to drive the ancient high end stuff is lost forever, lots of achievements and work erased but the hardware remains

Reply 23 of 53, by chinny22

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Jo22 wrote on 2021-07-26, 18:55:

Also, I won't buy that "there's the internet now" thing.

Still think this is the reason.
Pre Internet the information lived on printed paper. So the information existed but it took a lot of physical effort. traveling to the library, looking up the books location and relying on that particular book to have the required information if the library had the book at all. Even now old magazines scanned to the web are good resources.
BBS's newsgroups, etc did exist but were far from common place and segregated.

But now you have search engines like google indexing the web so it doesn't matter where someone posts the information. be it the official hardware manufacture's page, or fan site like vogons or wherever you have a good chance of finding it simply by a simple keyword search.

I do worry? wonder? if social media will kill this off a bit with facebook groups and discord channels and the like. Small little communities much like a BBS of old where if your not a member you don't have access to the information and any information is lost forever if that group closes.

compared to vogons where alot of joined because we kept getting good information off the site then thought hey I've got my 2c to add to this topic!

You also have peoples age.
My grandfather never had or used the internet, whatever knowledge he had in his hobbies died with him as he never published an article or book.
In computing terms I guess that's why so little exists on early mainframes and terminals. the hardware and technicians died out before it could be posted on the web.
Where as I post here daily, know I've answered the same question more then once but that's all a form of redundancy in a way and only if vogons shut's down will my words be lost till time.

Reply 24 of 53, by mothergoose729

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Jo22 wrote on 2021-07-26, 18:55:

What I was wondering, at the very heart, was :
Why is knowledge of the past steadily increasing, rather than decreasing?
Normally, some would should expect the latter rather.

I don't think that's accurate. Outside of vogons and a rather small circle of enthusiasts, knowledge of the past is not increasing. I worry all the time about what we may have already forgotten. I think a lot about how this stuff will be remembered when the people who lived through it are all gone.

In the long arc of history, like a hundred or a thousand years from now, emulation is our only hope. There are some great PC emulation projects in active development but to a certain extent the clock is ticking. There are some people in our community that we can not reasonably expect to be replaced once they leave it.

Reply 25 of 53, by Unknown_K

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rmay635703 wrote on 2021-07-28, 12:32:
Unknown_K wrote on 2021-07-26, 05:26:

I think quite a bit of knowledge is actually lost over time. Some people tend to spend a bit of time and effort trying to learn it over again and with the internet those people are just easier to find.

The hardware is dead simple compared to current and some “restricted “ info is in the public domain your development environment is millions of times faster than the target so it’s possible in the right hands to optimize better than in the day.

That said a lot of the software to drive the ancient high end stuff is lost forever, lots of achievements and work erased but the hardware remains

Building the Great Pyramids was dead simple too but we still can't figure out exactly how it was done.

Most of the companies that designed old hardware, software, and systems are long gone or swallowed up by bigger fish and all the old records and design notes are long trashed. The people who did the work are retired or dead and most likely have forgotten what they did even if they are still around. Having a much faster computer to develop with and google around doesn't help when the information needed is long lost. Quite a few products that were sold during the internet age have unobtanium software and drivers let alone stuff that was done back when software updates were uploaded to Compuserve.

Collector of old computers, hardware, and software

Reply 26 of 53, by Jo22

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Speaking of CompuServe, a dude was able to save some CS servers/hosts/mainframes (working!) - along with user data.
Maybe we'll see some forum data (database data) be preserved?! 😃

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBKHT1GodBk

https://paperpc.blogspot.com/2009/06/compuser … friend.html?m=1

http://ana-3.lcs.mit.edu/~jnc/cctalk/1999-July/0799.html

https://www.filfre.net/2017/11/a-net-before-t … e-to-community/

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 27 of 53, by SteveC

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Jo22 wrote on 2021-07-29, 19:51:
Speaking of CompuServe, a dude was able to save some CS servers/hosts/mainframes (working!) - along with user data. Maybe we'll […]
Show full quote

Speaking of CompuServe, a dude was able to save some CS servers/hosts/mainframes (working!) - along with user data.
Maybe we'll see some forum data (database data) be preserved?! 😃

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBKHT1GodBk

https://paperpc.blogspot.com/2009/06/compuser … friend.html?m=1

http://ana-3.lcs.mit.edu/~jnc/cctalk/1999-July/0799.html

https://www.filfre.net/2017/11/a-net-before-t … e-to-community/

Just watched the videos (I'm sure I watched them back in 2014too!) thanks 😀

I miss Compuserve

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/StevesTechShed
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SteveTechShed

Reply 28 of 53, by Jo22

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SteveC wrote on 2021-07-29, 23:42:

Just watched the videos (I'm sure I watched them back in 2014too!) thanks 😀

Glad to hear! You're welcome! ^^

SteveC wrote on 2021-07-29, 23:42:

I miss Compuserve

Me, too. It was part of my childhood, along with Btx and mailboxes!
But unlike the others, CServe was international from the very start.

My father got a membership solely for the numeric e-mail address, I believe.
The e-mail system was one of the oldest around, with a huge number of users.

On top of that, CServe was notable for its famous "CB simulator".
That was a text-based equivalent to CB radio, which was super popular in the 70s/80s.
- The simulator was a chat room system, in modern speak. It existed about 11 years before IRC was invented.

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That's also interesting to know about CServe classic - it interconnected with the X.25 networks around the world.
These were essentially networks built on the infrasture of all telephone line systems (landlines) worldwide.

It was more of a physical, switched network, unlike the TCP/IP internet of today.
X.25 networks like Datex-P (Germany) could be used to access a CompuServe gateway, even if there was no official CS dial-up available yet.

So if you connected to a local X.25 PAD, you only paid for a local call (phone bill) at first.
Once you connected to a database, it did cost something. Or not, depending on what the database charged you.

Anyway, you got a separate bill by your X.25 access "provider" later.
Thing is, this was still way cheaper than using your modem and calling an US phone number from Europe (or vice versa).

And faster, some times. But more reliable, for sure. Speed was also no issue. Your PAD (or how it was called by your provider) did the conversation for you.
The X.25 networks and related databases were connected with each other using high-speed modems, whenever possible.

So whenever you watch the original Tron movie, keep in mind that these networks were around at the time. 😀
They were the foundation of our digital age, long before the Arpanet was opened for universities and the public.

Anyway, I loved CompuServe in WinCIM on Windows 3.1 (286 PC) for being so graphical, easy to use and cool.
I often watched MeteoSat pictures in WinCIM. They were animated GIF files! Yay!
I know, sounds boring now, but for a pre-teen this was really mind blowing.
To my defense, I also checked the latest news about computing and games.

The whole experience was a bit like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eV9t50ICnz8

Watching GIFs materialize was also cool.
A bit like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W3NowrOd9g
(My video; sorry. Haven't found another video that shows the process in slow motion)

Speaking of GIF, there was a predecessor, known as "Hires"/CompuServe RLE.
The story behind it was really, really cool. It was a monochrome format, made for or based on the TRS-80 CoCo.

That was the original terminal that CServe users had used in the early 80s (I think).
CompuServe RLE Graphics Format (GIF predecessor)

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..

A sibling of the X.25 protocol, AX.25 was used by radio amateurs and CBers (some countries) from the 80s onwards, also.
It was used for Packet Radio, the radio equivalent to BBSes/mailboxes of the good old day.

Instead of dialing the phone number, of your friend's computer or a BBS, you would enter a call sign.
You could also enter a route, by adding a second call sign. That user's station then acted as a repeater, so to say.

That way, you could connect around the globe. Each radio amateur's radio station acted as a relay to increase distance.
There also were special stations made for this purpose only. Packet Radio "DIGIs" (Digipeaters) also forwarded e-mails, often.

In simple terms, they were just like BBSes you used on the landline.
Except that they could handle 10+ users (with one transceiver on a single frequency).

You could also ring the bell and chat with the Sysop, sometimes. Or play games with others.
And download the newest software. However, there was little ASCII art and no ANSI art, at all. 😢

In terms of software, you could use a simple terminal program -as you would do on the phone line-.
But instead of your Hayes modem, you used the radio equivalent - the TNC, Terminal Node Controller.
Or a simple modem without any intelligence (BayCom type).

In the 80s and 90s, amateur radio satellites also had a packet radio gateway on-board.
Someone could download the news or binaries, upload an e-mail for a friend etc.

Nowadays, Packet Radio had been largely superseded by APRS, which is based upon PR.
The old TNCs (1200 Baud AFSK) from the 80s can still be used for it. The ISS also has an APRS system.

ISS contact using a 40 years young home computer

Packet Radio on CB radio
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5kFWvUBKqs

First TNC - Test on Amateur Radio
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKOWb9WJacU

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 29 of 53, by Caluser2000

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Hmmm.. Interesting......

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There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 30 of 53, by SteveC

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Jo22 wrote on 2021-07-30, 01:25:

My father got a membership solely for the numeric e-mail address, I believe.
The e-mail system was one of the oldest around, with a huge number of users.

I had a 5 digit username (before the comma) first time round but my main one was 6 digits - 106345,3672 in 1999.

On top of that, CServe was notable for its famous "CB simulator".
That was a text-based equivalent to CB radio, which was super popular in the 70s/80s.
- The simulator was a chat room system, in modern speak. It existed about 11 years before IRC was invented.

I used to live in GO CHATBFORUM or GO CHAT1 😁 (Don't roll the dice of you got in trouble!)

A bit like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W3NowrOd9g
(My video; sorry. Haven't found another video that shows the process in slow motion)

Like watching a Spectrum load a loading screen from tape 😀

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/StevesTechShed
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SteveTechShed

Reply 31 of 53, by Caluser2000

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Compuserve, the concise version -> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CompuServe

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 32 of 53, by Jo22

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Thanks Caluser2000, I completely forgot about this! 🙂👍

If there's some interest in CompuServe, I can dig through my stuff for some more.
Maybe I find some ads in old magazines etc.

Here's a video that has some footage of CompuServe/WinCIM.
It was made in a time when it was still on-line.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKa4h7K3y9Q

The video is in Austrian language unfortunately, my apologies.

Pictures of the early days of CS are hard to come by, sadly.
The Computer Chronicles may have some footage of the late 80s CompuServe software, maybe.
Before the WinCIM days, not sure.

In the mid-late 90s, there was a successor software to WinCIM.
It was very bloated, though, so my father and me sticked with WinCIM+IE3 combo.

Because we had another provider for internet access, which also was cheaper (surfing the web).

Unfortunately, there were more and more connection problems with WinCIM..
We called the support hot-line once and asked what this problem was all about.
Answer : Please use CompuServe Software instead.
Cool. Well, not really. We never found out why these connection errors happened.

Anyway, we told the hot-line that we can't use the new software (for Win95), because..

Our PC was a 286 running Windows 3.1.
And then there was (silence). 😁

Again, this was in the 90s. Windows 3.1 was still supported by MS at the time..

Edit: Technically speaking, OS/2 Warp4 was also just out then.
And it shipped with OS/2 CIM. So..

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 33 of 53, by BinaryDemon

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Well personally, for the Retro periods that I am most interested in, I was a teenager at the time and the internet was far less useful. It’s not surprising that I know more now.

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 34 of 53, by Big Pink

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mothergoose729 wrote on 2021-07-28, 16:10:

I don't think that's accurate. Outside of vogons and a rather small circle of enthusiasts, knowledge of the past is not increasing. I worry all the time about what we may have already forgotten. I think a lot about how this stuff will be remembered when the people who lived through it are all gone.

Worse than forgetting the past is misremembering it. The world is abound with derisory listicles about the primitive days of Web 1.0 when only mega-corporations could publish online and you had to bang flint together to fire up your dial-up modems (lel, you couldn't even load Twitter's 280 characters! (and 7TB of Javascript)). Then the iMac and social media set us free. It's like the Time Masheen in Idiocracy or https://xkcd.com/771/.

I thought IBM was born with the world

Reply 35 of 53, by leileilol

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I know that feeling when i'm told I "have to remember" the Geforce256's beta launch as Quadro in January 1 1999, no thanks to certain 'tech' websites' auto-generated "articles", 🤣

Anyway Compuserve used to have lots of technical info about all sorts of Zenith PCs and the internet generally whittled down to only recognizing the Z-100's existence, only for its noted software incompatibility. As time goes on, their many (once common in certain places!) AT clones are going to be seen as weird undocumented lost R@RE L@@K prototypes, not too dissimilar from DEC's aberration of overpriced Pentium desktops

Last edited by leileilol on 2021-08-03, 19:08. Edited 1 time in total.

apsosig.png
long live PCem

Reply 36 of 53, by Caluser2000

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leileilol wrote on 2021-08-03, 18:53:

I know that feeling when i'm told I "have to remember" the Geforce256's beta launch as Quadro in January 1 1999, no thanks to certain 'tech' websites' auto-generated "articles", 🤣

Anyway Compuserve used to have lots of technical info about all sorts of Zenith PCs and the internet generally whittled down to only recognizing the Z-100's existence, only for its notable software incompatibility.

Yeah Zenith and Zenith/Bull system documentation is practically non existent . Can find only a few brochures here and there. luckily my Model ZWL-183-83 came with all the service docs. Nearly a whole tree must have been used to create them.

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 37 of 53, by mothergoose729

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Big Pink wrote on 2021-08-03, 18:38:
mothergoose729 wrote on 2021-07-28, 16:10:

I don't think that's accurate. Outside of vogons and a rather small circle of enthusiasts, knowledge of the past is not increasing. I worry all the time about what we may have already forgotten. I think a lot about how this stuff will be remembered when the people who lived through it are all gone.

Worse than forgetting the past is misremembering it. The world is abound with derisory listicles about the primitive days of Web 1.0 when only mega-corporations could publish online and you had to bang flint together to fire up your dial-up modems (lel, you couldn't even load Twitter's 280 characters! (and 7TB of Javascript)). Then the iMac and social media set us free. It's like the Time Masheen in Idiocracy or https://xkcd.com/771/.

That comic is great. I hadn't considered that angle. A new thing for me to ponder when I lay awake at night.

Reply 38 of 53, by Jo22

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Big Pink wrote on 2021-08-03, 18:38:

Worse than forgetting the past is misremembering it. The world is abound with derisory listicles about the primitive days of Web 1.0 when only mega-corporations could publish online and you had to bang flint together to fire up your dial-up modems (lel, you couldn't even load Twitter's 280 characters! (and 7TB of Javascript)). Then the iMac and social media set us free. It's like the Time Masheen in Idiocracy or https://xkcd.com/771/.

10-4

Let's becareful with the misremembering part, though.
Some countries had different history, so to say.

Examples:

Computers.
In the 80s, home computers like the C64 were very popular in Europe, whereas in the USA it rather was the IBM PC/ Tandy.
While in the USSR, it may have been the ZX Spectrum or any of their own creations.
In UK or West-Germany, some "exotic" types like the Sharp MZ line was popular for a moment, too.
In Australia, the EACA EG-2000 had a market share, maybe. ABC-80 was popular in Sweden..

Vidotext (Teletext; TV broadcast) services.
In Austria, France, W-Germany and some more European countries, the Videotext system was/is in use since the 70s.
In the UK, that Ceefax service was shut down in the 90s. Likewise, a similar service was in the USA (several, actually) . In Russia, such a service just started in the 90s.

Video games consoles.
Russia got a Famiclone/NES-clone called Dendy in the 90s,
when the rest of the world said good bye to the NES.

Analog radio.
In USA and other parts of the world, medium wave (AM radio) had been long dead.
While in Russia and some parts of Europe, some stations are still broadcasting.

Early online services.
In Europe, some national services existed long before the internet (Videotex family.
Prestel in UK, Minitel in France, BTX in W-Germany, Viditel in Netherlands,..
In other countries, similar or different online services may have existed.
Like Genie from UK, for example.

So yeah, what I mean to say: It's possible that some people lived in a different part were the everyday technology was different.

So if some modern article on the net pops up with strange reviews of the past, there was no intention to rewrite history, maybe.
Maybe the writer was just experiencing things that way. Or he/she just did an awful research.

Just look this ancient public terminal from Germany.
As far as the gray, curvy style is considered,
it looks like a computer panel prop from ST:TNG. 😉

But it really existed, nevertheless. Things like this could be found in frequently visited places.
Postal offices, railroad stations, airports, museums/cultural institutions, larger shopling centres..
They allowed browsing databases, attending contests,
traveling (booking a trip) and sending e-mail like messages across the country since the 80s.

But by the mid-90s, when the internet/www became popular, these vanished without a trace.
As if they never existed in the first place.
Like rotary dial phones.

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"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 39 of 53, by gerry

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Jo22 wrote on 2021-08-03, 21:48:

Vidotext (Teletext; TV broadcast) services.
In Austria, France, W-Germany and some more European countries, the Videotext system was/is in use since the 70s.
In the UK, that Ceefax service was shut down in the 90s. Likewise, a similar service was in the USA (several, actually) . In Russia, such a service just started in the 90s.

great examples and interesting post on how tech knowledge is both temporal and geographical/cultural

I'd encountered those videotext systems in a few countries way back, i remember you selected a number from the menu and waited as the broadcast cycled through until it hit your selection then displayed the page, a bit like 'clicking a link' in a way, but less direct because of the need for the page cycling to reach your selection. Sometimes there were several 'sheets' in one page selection, like 1/5... 2/5 etc and these would cycle automatically at an average reading speed meaning you could read them start to finish (if you waited for 'sheet' 1)

i remember it quite vividly now, it seemed really amazing at the time