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[Discuss] What was once old is new again...

I'm a serious PDP-8 fan myself.

I learned my most basic computer skills in High School on a PDP-8, and my managerial
skills bloomed as I learned how to talk the school into buying more hardware to play with
during my time there.

I played with the PDP-8e simulator at:
a few months ago when I first heard about it. It had emulation going well enough for me
to boot into ETOS.  Boy was I surprised how much I could just do from memory in Focal,
OS/8, BASIC, ETOS and PAL-8.  That stuff is DEEP inside me.

Alas, I'd sent my old ETOS source listing to the shredder a couple years ago, so I couldn't just
dive in and debug the bizarre behavior I was getting.

The PiDP-8 hardware on offer at!pidp-8/cbie
is an interesting hybrid:

It is emulated on Rasberry Pi hardware.
The kit is sort of a 1/2 scale PDP 8i front panel.
The emulation is of a PDP-8e INCLUDING the ETOS hardware.

Even though it's not one pure thing, I have to say that it's what I would have built:
The PDP 8i "butterfly" switches were the best front panel switches of anything.
(Although I never learned the "flash flip" technique that the REAL gurus I studied under had.)

The PDP 8e has the richest hardware and instruction set -- well actually the PDP 8a, which I believe
had a further advance to extended memory to speak 128K of 12-bit words instead of the previous all-time
high of 32K.  (But I was an 8e guy so my memory of 8a lore is suspect.)

I'm SORELY tempted to enqueue myself for the next run of kits, even though I really should be
focusing on the future not the past...

-Bill Cattey

On Feb 18, 2016, at 12:03 PM, Bill Horne <bill at> wrote:

> On 2/18/2016 11:03 AM, Bill Ricker wrote:
>> On Thu, Feb 18, 2016 at 12:27 AM, Bill Horne <bill at <mailto:bill at>> wrote:
>>    Bill, who thinks that loading FOCAL from paper tape is the true
>>    test of computer wizardry!
>> ? I guess i was pampered, the EDUSYS on which i ran FOCAL had a tiny boot drive (and DECtape). It also had FORTRAN II, the one with the ternary-branch IF.
>> (Rumor was this higher-end EDUSYS was actually a PDP-11 under the hood, unlike the lower end EDUSYS educational-discount PDP-8's. One had 3 ASR-33 s attached, and the 32k memorey was in two banks, so it was assigned 6k ROM, 10K tty0, 8K+8K tty1+2; except the day i got in first and booted it so TTY0 got all the high bank 16k and the other tty's got 5k each. The T.A. was bemused and noted which projects had so few comments they still fit in 5k.)?
> I did my first Assembler course on a PDP-8 Edusystem at UMass-Boston in 1977. Those were the days!
> I was offered a job on the west coast, and I gave away my 8" floppy to a friend. Wish I'd kept it. Come to think of it, I have a case of 5.25" floppies somewhere - amazing what you find when you're moving. Anyone interested?
> Bill, who had to shovel snow last month.
> -- 
> Bill Horne
> 828-678-1548
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
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