The computer on the shelf in WarGames

I’ve just finished reading the first 3 chapters of Fire in the Valley, a history of the development of the PC. These first chapters were history prior to development of the Altair (which was before my time, but I’m familiar with the history), and centered on IMSAI and development of their 8080 computer.

Not having any personal experience with an IMSAI these first chapters were rather dry and slow going, but on the last page of chapter 3 it mentions IMSAI’s one and possibly only claim to fame was that an IMSAI 8080 was used as a prop in the background of WarGames when Matthew Broderick’s character was seen using his computer at home. Given that WarGames is one of my favorite films, this suddenly brought some conext and interest to this first part of the book. I always though that was an Altair on the shelf in the background, but apparently it’s an IMSAI 8080. More info on their site here.

Java Posse Podcast – now officially ended!

If you spotted this post on the Java Posse’s Google Group, then you might have already seen this link to a photo on Twitter from Devoxx 2014. If you were at Devoxx 2014 and attended the live Java Posse session, then you already know this too. Of course, if you regularly listen to the podcasts then you would have noticed that the regular podcast sessions dropped off noticeably last year.

The Java Posse’s final podcast session (#461), recorded from Devoxx 2014 is now live on their feed.

I’ve listened to the majority of their podcasts (and the early Javacast episodes) since the first sessions in 2005, it’s definitely the Java related technology podcast that I’ve listened to and followed the most, and so it’s sad that the guys have finally decided to call it quits and not continue the series any more.

Thanks to the guys for producing the session all these years, you’ll be missed!

So where are they now?

What am I listening too now? I’ve listened to a couple of episodes of the Java Pub House, which is ok, and on my todo list is Java Enterprise Newscast. But I don’t think you can replace The Java Posse. Thanks again guys, and good luck in your other endeavors.

Upgrading OS/2 Warp 4 to the latest fixpack14 (and other useful stuff)

Windows 10 is on the way. So I spent the weekend installing and configuring OS/2. 🙂

Since OS/2 was recently released into the public domain, you can pick up copies of the install disk images from As you work through the install, at some point you realize you need to convert or find out how to use the floppy disk image files. When installing to a VirtualBox VM, I found I couldn’t get the disk images to work from, but the ones in the format from WinWorld here work flawlessly.

WinWorld has iso images for 4.0 and 4.5x but I could only get 4.0 to install to a VM disk. That’s not an issue as you can download and install FixPack15 with takes you to the latest (and last) version of OS/2.

Most of the updates I found I needed were covered in the extensive instructions on this site here. I found I didn’t need everything though (I skipped the USB mouse drivers as it seems running in VirtualBox takes care of making sure the guest OS sees the touchpad and keyboard on my MacBook).

Along the way there are a few utils that you need to gather to help with the install of the other steps, in particular:

  • diunpack (used to unpack the fixt144.dsk disk image in MPTS8620)
  • dskxtrct (used to extract all other .dsk images for the MPTS fixpacks)
  • unzip utils, most would work but I used this one, unzip 5.51
  • fastkick141 – I used this to install MPTS8620 – more below

So here was the list I narrowed down to:

  • Fixpack 15 – can be found in other places, but this zip on Hobbes contains everything ready to go. Unzip and run install.cmd
  • gengradd drivers for supporting higher display resolutions. I used gradd083.exe from here, Unzip it by running it and passing options ‘-dir -over’ to preserve the subdirs. Then start the install with: ‘setup gen’
  • MPTS8610 – fixpack for network driver stack. Prereq for 8620. Use dskxtrct to extract all the .dsk images to a temp dir and then run service.
  • MPTS8620 – this provides TCPIP32.dll that is needed for most of the more common browser releases (Firefox, Seamonkey etc) and other network tools. This one didn’t have a script to self-install. Use dskxtrct to extract all the .dsk images to a temp dir, apart from fixt141.dsk which I found would only uncompress using diunpack. To install, fastkick141 into the same dir as all the uncompressed disks, and then run (I think) fix.cmd.
  • A number of later apps, Firefox and Seamonkey, require a version of LIBC (you’ll get an error saying LIBC065 missing if you try to run without it).You can pick up a zip with just the DLLs from here, click the ‘just kLIBC’ link to get the zip. Copy the *.DLLs to c:\os2\dll
  • There are two additional dependencies for the latest browsers linked from the top of the page here – fntcfg and pthread. Download and copy the DLLs to c:\os2\dll

At this point I think you’ll be setup to run most of the more recent apps, including latest versions of Firefox and Seamonkey built for OS/2.  Enjoy!