Monday, June 30, 2014

Retrochallenge 2014 - On Your Marks

It's 10:49 PM Pacific Time in Portland, Oregon. The temp is 74 degrees outside, and it's going to be a whopping 98 tomorrow. That's 36.6 Celsius, quite warm by any measure. In just over an hour, this year's Retrochallenge will begin for those of us on the West Coast of the US. Much of the world has already started. Eclipsing the Olympics and even the current World Cup frenzy, the Retrochallenge is the ultimate test of strength, agility, and stamina.

OK, so, maybe that's over the top. However, I'm quite excited. In preparation, I've readied my systems. Here they are, in descending order of gross metric tonnage:

The PDP-11/23+

Weighing in at over 300 pounds (>136 kilos) is the PDP-11/23+. It's loaded with the venerable Fortran 77 compiler. I love to say venerable. I'm not even sure what it means. But it's impressive.

The venerable PDP-11/23+ with venerable Fortran 77

The Atari 800

Yes, this is the original Atari 800, packed with 1.79 MHz of raw 6502 power, and running the venerable Extended Fig-Forth.

Atari 800 with Commodore monitor

The Epson PX-8

Last but not least (except in weight), the Epson PX-8 and BASIC in ROM stand ready to meet any challenge. It's sitting next to my Dell E6430, but they don't talk much. Generation gap.

I guess it's not venerable, but it is cute:

The Epson PX-8 and Dell E6430, brothers from another mother

All this takes massive, Earth-shaking power to run:

60 Hz and loving it

(Do you think this is a fire hazard?)

These computers have accoutrements, which I will describe in the next blog post ("Get Set")!

I am shaking out the muscles, and getting ready for the sprint!

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