c0re_dump (c0re_dump) wrote,

Vintage Computers and Bubble Cars

The two big events recently were the Vintage Computer Festival at Bletchley Park and the annual bubble car rally at Keynsham.

VCF UK: Compukit UK101

Over the weekend of 19th/20th June, I took the three Compukit UK101 machines to Bletchley Park for the Vintage Computer Festival. It's the first such festival to be held in the UK, and what better place than Bletchley Park, the home of British code-breaking during World War II. I had a table in the marquee outside H Block, where the main collection of The National Museum Of Computing is held. Tours ran all day through those exhibits, as well as around the huts and the mansion. I was between an exhibit featuring a 1940s uniselector digital clock and a gentleman who had implemented an IBM 360 Model 30 in an FPGA. Other tables in the marquee showed the Dragon 32, a Sinclair Spectrum ULA on breadboard and a Spectrum with an ethernet interface, sending messages to Twitter.

VCF UK: ZX80 and 1970s TV

All in all, a brilliant weekend, with lots to see and many people who remembered the Compukit UK101 -- either as owners or as users of similar machines. I hope we can do it all again next year! I've been making plans already for improvements to the UK101 display, such as a gadget that'll load programs from Flash memory. I've have some success with recovering the old UK101 cassettes using a modern PC, including the special "boot" tape that installs drivers for the fast digital cassette and the parallel printer.

Bubble Car Show

Last weekend was the annual rally of the Bristol Microcar Club, known as the Bath Rally but actually held in Keynsham. A good selection of BMW Isetta, Heinkel, Trojan, Messerschmitt and Bond Bug cars, plus a few interesting small cars that weren't bubble-shaped at all, such as the Fiat 500, BMW 700 and Trabant. There's another, national bubble car rally near Malvern in September this year, so I will go to that as well.

Bubble Car Show

Latest car boot sale acquisition is a cash register thermal printer with USB interface. FreeCycle has been going through a classic computer phase, with a BBC Model B, a ZX81 and a box of tractor-feed listing paper -- I managed to resist all of them, but only just. As for secondhand books, I have a series of three books on blacksmithing and toolmaking by Alexander Weygers, which has inspired me to do more with metalworking. The books are presented in a style that combines hand-drawn illustrations and diagrams with typeset text, slightly reminiscent of the Illustrating BASIC style. Inspiration has been lacking in the area of AVR programming, although I shall no doubt use one to make that program loader for the UK101. I've upgraded the Linux machine with a recycled 18.4Gb UltraSCSI disk from the office, and a copy of Slackware 13.1 (the latest).
Tags: 6502, bubblecar, compukit, linux, metalwork, microprinter, uk101
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