Author Topic: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving  (Read 7418 times)

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Offline DrGeoff

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #50 on: August 08, 2018, 08:18:31 am »
No Microbees?
A classic of the Australian Computer History from the 1980's.
Was it really supposed to do that?
 

Online Brumby

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #51 on: August 08, 2018, 05:38:58 pm »
I have an opportunity to swing by tomorrow (Thursday) morning.

Can anyone tell me if they are still clearing stuff out?
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 05:43:28 pm by Brumby »
 

Offline TerraHertz

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #52 on: August 08, 2018, 06:12:14 pm »
I have an opportunity to swing by tomorrow (Thursday) morning.

Can anyone tell me if they are still clearing stuff out?

I was there on Tuesday to pick up some unwanted metal shelving. They are making great progress, with at least a container-load a day going. Not much left, and they might actually get all the worthwhile stuff out in time.
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Online Brumby

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #53 on: August 08, 2018, 08:33:02 pm »
Thank you.

Some shelving might be useful - it could even allow me to take some items and be able to house them.

I'll drop in and see what there is to see.
 

Online Halcyon

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #54 on: August 08, 2018, 09:03:36 pm »
I was there this evening and picked up a car load of items to preserve. I would have liked to have grabbed more but I can only fit so much into a sedan. It was lovely to meet the guys, a lot of great stories. One guy was there from country NSW somewhere, had travelled a long way to help out.  :-+

It's looking bare compared to when Dave visited last week but there is still a lot of stuff to move. There are some old mainframes out the back which will probably need a shipping container of their own.

The bulldozers start on Saturday.

Their collection is absolutely phenomenal, never have I seen such rare items in one room. Their plan is to get some kind of hands-on computing museum up and running in NSW sometime in the future, however it's likely to be regional/country due to the cost of premises anywhere near Sydney.
 

Online Brumby

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #55 on: August 08, 2018, 09:47:40 pm »
I hope to be able to borrow a station wagon.  That's going to have more room in it than I have in the garage - but I have this knack of finding space.   :D
 

Offline TerraHertz

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #56 on: August 09, 2018, 02:41:06 am »
... the Olivetti Programma 101, at 2:40 min, the first desktop computer evva! Released in 1965.


Source: Wikipedia.

Man, I'd give an arm and a leg to have the chance to be in front of one of those landmarks of computing.

More on that. They were able to determine where it went. A restorer down the coast. So it's hopefully going to be treated well, and eventually come back to the ACMS.

Now here's the amusing part. Every day I went there, there was a different set of pallets of random boxes of supposedly low grade junk (magazines, cables, etc) out the front in the parking area. They had to move these out of the entrance passageway, to get into the building.
I and everyone else rummaged a bit in these piles. Gradually they diminished.
Tonight I've been going through a few boxes of stuff I saved from there. Guess what I just found?
The manuals for the Olivetti Programma 101. Looks like a full set.

How lucky was that? Those piles were as close to trash as can be, without actually being in a dumpster. Chances these manuals would have gone forever, were way higher than 50%.

I'll let them know.
bsfeechannel, since you knew of the 101, do you know if all these manuals exist online?
If not I can scan the thin ones. The thick ones need an edge scanner.
Hmm, the 'Program Forms' sheets are quite different to these: https://www.oldcalculatormuseum.com/a-p101form.html
Most of the form sheets in this booklet are used (hand writing in soft pencil) but there's a few at the back still blank.
So here's a hi-res scan. A4 sheet, 400dpi, 16-grayscale PNG
« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 02:51:56 am by TerraHertz »
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Offline Towger

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #57 on: August 09, 2018, 04:28:30 am »
More on that. They were able to determine where it went. A restorer down the coast. So it's hopefully going to be treated well, and eventually come back to the ACMS.

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/index.php?topic=22185.msg1721621.msg#1721621
 

Online Brumby

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #58 on: August 09, 2018, 03:05:49 pm »
Well, it was an interesting trip down memory lane.  My details were recorded and I've taken away a carload for safekeeping.  It wasn't much, but it was something.

Their intention is to not lose anything, but they really need bodies.  Even if you have no storage to offer, anyone who can give a hand moving stuff into containers that are on site would be very welcome.



Now ... to rearrange the garage.
 

Offline bsfeechannel

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #59 on: August 10, 2018, 11:11:06 am »

More on that. They were able to determine where it went. A restorer down the coast. So it's hopefully going to be treated well, and eventually come back to the ACMS.

Meno male! But I hoped Dave, you or someone else in the forum could get it and show us more details about it.

Quote
Now here's the amusing part. Every day I went there, there was a different set of pallets of random boxes of supposedly low grade junk (magazines, cables, etc) out the front in the parking area. They had to move these out of the entrance passageway, to get into the building.
I and everyone else rummaged a bit in these piles. Gradually they diminished.
Tonight I've been going through a few boxes of stuff I saved from there. Guess what I just found?
The manuals for the Olivetti Programma 101. Looks like a full set.

How lucky was that? Those piles were as close to trash as can be, without actually being in a dumpster. Chances these manuals would have gone forever, were way higher than 50%.

I'll let them know.

bsfeechannel, since you knew of the 101, do you know if all these manuals exist online?

Unfortunately I don't. But, man, what a score!
 
Here's a promotional video for the Programma 101. This beast was way ahead of its time.

 

Offline TerraHertz

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #60 on: August 11, 2018, 10:30:29 am »

More on that. They were able to determine where it went. A restorer down the coast. So it's hopefully going to be treated well, and eventually come back to the ACMS.

Meno male! But I hoped Dave, you or someone else in the forum could get it and show us more details about it.

It's curious. Dave posted he had it, but the ACMS guys reiterate they have a record of it going to some other guy.
I'm bearing in mind that things were pretty chaotic and they may be wrong. Or perhaps there were two Olivetti Programmer 101's there? Anyway, Dave's one should get a showing on the forum eventually.

I was there on Friday. The actual bulldozer start day is Monday, ACMS still has Saturday and Sunday to work, and there is very little remaining to be moved. (pic 1) They have achieved the near-impossible. I'm amazed.

Well that was a busy two weeks. I'm still doing preliminary evaluation and urgent restoration chores on the stuff I got. I should start a 'post your ACMS finds and restorations' thread over in Projects.

Hey, you know about not putting magnets near floppy disks, right? Well what's the equivalent of evil magnets for punched paper tape?
A: Evil rubber bands. Never ever store that concertina-folded variety of paper tape with rubber bands. Two boxes of old paper tapes among my treasures turned out to have been put away years ago with rubber bands around all the tape blocks. Urrrgh! (pic 2) That took several sticky hours to rectify.

But in general, I'm hoping that in a few more days I can get back to the urgent  project 'tree' I was in the middle of when I got an email notification about the ACMS situation two weeks ago. After that I'll deal with the ACMS stuff one item at a time.
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Offline TerraHertz

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #61 on: August 11, 2018, 11:24:15 am »
You don't think "Vintage Computing" would be a better place? I'd suggest not mixing everything into one big thread.
Hmm, for listing pics of what people have, one big thread would be best. A handy index for locating things.
But for detailed restoration projects, yes, separate threads. In Vintage.

Quote
Museum's have very specific requirements for what restoration is appropriate. Sometimes preserving the original patina is better and tampering with that is ill advised. Preventing loss and further degradation might just be sufficient for now.

I'm aware of all this. It also depends on the rarity of an item. For instance a couple of boxes I have are relics from the CIRRUS computer project, University of Adelaide, 1959-1962. Those are absolutely 'don't touch'.
Most other things I have are common enough that the best approach is to just clean off the dust & grime (that warehouse space was filthy, next to a highway, flaking concrete ceiling), check for urgent issues like Ni-Cad batteries and urethane foam, and where it's feasible see if can be restored to working.
The biggest and most ambitious restoration for me, would be the IBM 026 card punch machine, that is in an extremely poor state. Missing and broken parts, totally filthy & corroded, it's a tragic sight.

Then there's data recovery. Quite a bit to do here. For eg several boxes of programs on punched tape, boxes of microfiche, an Intel development system for '51 series micros, complete with the software... Lots to catalog and compare against archives to see what isn't already online.

Incidentally my work will be in ongoing communication with the ACMS, as a restorer. They don't have enough people capable of electronics/mechanical restoration.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2018, 12:03:47 pm by TerraHertz »
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Online Brumby

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #62 on: August 11, 2018, 09:58:47 pm »
The biggest and most ambitious restoration for me, would be the IBM 026 card punch machine, that is in an extremely poor state. Missing and broken parts, totally filthy & corroded, it's a tragic sight.

I saw an IBM 059 verifier when I was there on Thursday.  I couldn't check out the condition very closely, but it was dirty and missing a cover panel next to the card hopper.  It would be good to get that next to the card punch.  It would be even nicer if they had an IBM 029 card punch next to it as it has the same styling of keyboard.

That area is amazingly clear compared to when I was there.  They did have a couple of back rooms, but they seemed to contain larger pieces which would be quicker to clear, as long as they had the manpower and destinations.

I still have to photograph the items I took and email them.  I had to empty the car and stash them quickly, so I'll have to get onto that.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2018, 10:02:06 pm by Brumby »
 

Offline TerraHertz

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #63 on: August 12, 2018, 11:21:58 am »
I saw an IBM 059 verifier when I was there on Thursday.  I couldn't check out the condition very closely, but it was dirty and missing a cover panel next to the card hopper.  It would be good to get that next to the card punch.  It would be even nicer if they had an IBM 029 card punch next to it as it has the same styling of keyboard.

They had three 026 punches, and one of the latter (transistors) 029 punch. The 026s were in varying condition: one excellent, clean and no missing parts that I could see. One moderate condition, fairly clean but missing pedestal back panel and chad hopper. The 3rd is terrible - and of course that's the one I have. I was hoping the best one would still be there on Friday. They were OK with me taking it if it was, but unfortunately for me the Sydney Vivid guys had cleared out that area to their warehouse in Milperra on Thursday.

I've always wanted to get an old card punch going. Learning the 026 is valve-driven made it more interesting. But the one I have... not sure if restoration will be possible. I'd have to make quite a few replacement bits, and without a manual or comparison unit that's a problem.

Quote
That area is amazingly clear compared to when I was there.  They did have a couple of back rooms, but they seemed to contain larger pieces which would be quicker to clear, as long as they had the manpower and destinations.

The large backroom that contained documents and mainframes, is completely cleared. It was a coldroom, and empty it has a really nice reverberation (for whistling.) :)
The rear (small) coldroom is a kind of old monitors graveyard. Not sure if anyone is even trying to clear those. Probably not.

Quote
I still have to photograph the items I took and email them.  I had to empty the car and stash them quickly, so I'll have to get onto that.
Ideally they'd like a text list, with descriptions, models and serial numbers. Searchable.  Photos are nice too, but I can imagine how awkward that would be to actually track down items.
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Online Brumby

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #64 on: August 12, 2018, 08:01:39 pm »
Quote
I still have to photograph the items I took and email them.  I had to empty the car and stash them quickly, so I'll have to get onto that.
Ideally they'd like a text list, with descriptions, models and serial numbers. Searchable.  Photos are nice too, but I can imagine how awkward that would be to actually track down items.

I'd actually considered doing just that so it's not just a record of what I've taken, but giving that extra detail.  I'll make a point of writing them up for searchability.
 

Online Brumby

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #65 on: August 12, 2018, 08:03:42 pm »
I saw an IBM 059 verifier when I was there on Thursday.  I couldn't check out the condition very closely, but it was dirty and missing a cover panel next to the card hopper.  It would be good to get that next to the card punch.  It would be even nicer if they had an IBM 029 card punch next to it as it has the same styling of keyboard.
They had three 026 punches, and one of the latter (transistors) 029 punch.
That's brilliant!  I do hope they can keep the 029 and 059 together.  They were the backbone of the first installation I ever worked at.
 

Offline tooki

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #66 on: August 13, 2018, 05:55:07 am »
#1112: 23:50

IBM RAMAC was the very first commercially available hard disk drive!!!
 

Offline TerraHertz

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #67 on: August 13, 2018, 11:49:35 am »
So I went today (Monday) to get photos of the bulldozing start, for closure. No sign of bulldozers.
John Geremin also turned up, for a last check-over. It's now an empty/trash zone, already with resident homeless.

Afterwards I invited him round to my place for a chat. One rather sad point, is that so far, I'm the ONLY person who actually gave ACMS any kind of list of items taken. And mine is just a photoset, not yet a text list.
It will be interesting to see if that situation improves as people get themselves organized. ie what proportion of people actually intend to do the right thing as opposed to those who just grabbed stuff to keep.

I'm pretty cynical about human nature. I think I know what the outcome will be.
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Online Halcyon

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #68 on: August 13, 2018, 01:47:26 pm »
Thanks for the update Terrahertz.

I'm yet to submit photographs/lists to them, however my priority was preservation (get the stuff out of there and somewhere safe). I plan to do this next weekend when I have time to go through it all.

I did express my concern as to how much of this gear will end up on ebay and unaccounted for. My view is that they are being way too generous about the whole thing. It wasn't very well managed and they are basically relying on the honesty system.
 

Offline Towger

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #69 on: August 13, 2018, 05:07:08 pm »
I am not at all surprised nothing has happened to the building. It still has power and probably other utilities such as water etc.  They all need to be discontinued by the relevant companies, not something which happens fast.  In fact I would not be at all surprised if it is still there in a few months time.
 

Online Brumby

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #70 on: August 14, 2018, 04:03:39 pm »
Dropped by this afternoon.  The building is still there and no sign of activity - not that that surprises me in the least.

 

Online Brumby

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #71 on: August 14, 2018, 05:42:28 pm »
Just some rubbish outside.  I didn't try going inside.
 

Offline TerraHertz

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #72 on: August 14, 2018, 10:41:59 pm »
I didn't try going inside.

This forum needs a chicken emoticon.
We must have just missed meeting, again, unless you're a Dexion fan.
It's only 11km from my place, and I really want photos of it being demolished. Since going back repeatedly is a nuisance, I wanted to get relevant contact details. Had stupidly forgotten to take a note of that every previous time. So, today went around midday.

result: www.888villawood.com.au

A guy associated with the mosque that occupies the other building on site, knows the owner (also Muslim), and demolition should begin sometime in the next two weeks. The homeless guy, who's quite nuts but probably harmless, is seriously pissing off the mosque people, by moving crap into their spaces - which are still in use for a little while more.
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Online Brumby

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #73 on: August 15, 2018, 12:21:23 am »
I didn't try going inside.

This forum needs a chicken emoticon.
It's not my property and I did not have an invitation to enter - so I take a step back in such situations.


I dropped by about 2 pm or so.  Just happened to be within cooee with a bit of time to spare.  I don't expect to be around there with any certainty in the foreseeable future.
 

Offline sean0118

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Re: EEVblog #1112 - Vintage Computer Warehouse Diving
« Reply #74 on: August 15, 2018, 10:42:54 pm »
So I went today (Monday) to get photos of the bulldozing start, for closure. No sign of bulldozers.
John Geremin also turned up, for a last check-over. It's now an empty/trash zone, already with resident homeless.

Afterwards I invited him round to my place for a chat. One rather sad point, is that so far, I'm the ONLY person who actually gave ACMS any kind of list of items taken. And mine is just a photoset, not yet a text list.
It will be interesting to see if that situation improves as people get themselves organized. ie what proportion of people actually intend to do the right thing as opposed to those who just grabbed stuff to keep.

I'm pretty cynical about human nature. I think I know what the outcome will be.

Thanks for posting, some of those CRTs in your second pic look old enough to keep? Did you get a look at them?
 


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