New BBS documentary: Back to the BBS part 1

There is a new documentary about BBSes posted to YouTube this week, ‘Back to the BBS’. Rather than focusing on the history of the BBS such as Jason Scott’s awesome ‘BBS The Documentary’, this one looks at using BBSes in the current time, and why there is an increasing interest in using BBSes today.

Part 1 is 43 minutes and walks through using telnet based BBSes today, and includes a number of interviews with people looking back at when BBSes were in their height of popularity, and also interviews a number of Sysops of current day active BBSes and their users.

Java Developer’s Journal Resource CD from 2004

I’ve got some weird stuff on my office bookshelf. While looking for something else, I came across this CD from 2004 which claims to have every issue of JDJ published, up until 2004. That can’t be that may so far, but apparently there was 85 issues up until this point.

“The Complete Works”!

Time to crack out the USB CD drive and see exactly what’s on this CD. I’ll post a follow up later with some examples what’s on the CD!

Possibly my oldest source code, Sinclair BASIC from 1983 (and my original ZX Spectrum manual)

As everyone is receiving their shiny new ZX Spectrum Next computers from the successfully funded Kickstarter (that I’m kicking myself now for not backing), I’ve dug up my original copy of my ZX Spectrum BASIC Programming manual from 1983.

The ZX Spectrum was my first home computer, on which I had my first experience of programming. 37 years later, I’m a software developer still coding every day, and still fascinated with software development.

Although flipping through the manual itself is a historical treasure trove, there are a couple of pages which are possibly my first snippets of source code:

I’ve no idea what this was that I was working on (a question and answer game of some kind?), but it’s weird looking back at what was quite possibly some of the first code I wrote, 37 years ago.

Other hand written notes that are interesting, it looks like I was keeping a wanted list of games:

I don’t remember getting a joystick interface until much later, but I was keeping notes on available interfaces at the time. 16GBP for a Kempston joystick interface? Wow!

Plus some notes for a few games, Lords of Midnight, and some other games that I can’t remember playing:

Waiting now for the promised next production run of Nexts, and this time round I definitely plan to get one!

Videos and presentations about running mainframes and supercomputers at home

I’m fascinated by any old computers. The interesting thing about the majority of retro equipment is that you can pick stuff up pretty cheap compared to the original prices when the stuff was originally sold (unless it’s rare). I currently have a very limited collection of an Atari ST 1040 and a Power Mac G4. There’s plenty of other people who collect retro computers and have pretty extensive collections. There’s also a fascinating subset of collectors who via stories that are just as interesting as the hardware itself, have acquired and installed mainframes and supercomputers in their own homes.

One of the first stories I cam across was of 18 year old (at the time) Conor Krukosky who picked up an IBM z890 mainframe for $200 from an online auction and installed it in the basement of his parent’s home. The story of how they moved 1 ton of mainframe hardware into the basement is rather amusing. This is a great presentation by Conor on getting his mainframe up and running. Conor’s hobby and a number of presentations on his experiences setting up his z890 led to a job working for IBM on their current generation z mainframes.

Here’s another fascinating presentation by Camiel Vanderhoeven who acquired a 1984 Convex C1 – a mini supercomputer at it’s time, at $900,000 was originally 1/10 the price of a Cray 1, about 1/3 the performance, and at 3KW power consumption that’s 1/38 the power consumption of the Cray 1. If one unit wasn’t enough, he later came across someone clearing out a number of Convex CPU cabinets and took delivery of several palettes of additional Convex equipment. Another fascinating presentation of getting the hardware up and running.

If you have links to any similar stories, leave me a comment below!