Date: December 2nd 2006

Subject 01: Collection Advent Calendar
Subject 02: Rare Psygnosis Games
Subject 03: Acorn Antiques - A3010 Box Destruction
Subject 04: Compaq Portable - The Compaq Portable III
Subject 05: Sony MBC 550 - Double 5.25" Hi Fi Computer
Subject 06: WANG - The oldest BASIC
Subject 07: BASIC - Some BASIC facts
Subject 08: Enterprise 64 - A great day for collecting

Entry 0002: Blogs: 8


Lets see if I can get this one posted before Day 3.
Anyway to Day 2 of the C-A-R Advent Calendar....

Surprisingly my next favourite collectors piece is
and Amstrad. The Amstrad 1512-HD20

scuzz log on collecting the Amstrad.

The guy selling this computer really worried me for a 
while. When I contacted him he first wanted to meet 
at a petrol service station on the outskirts of a small
village. He then changed the venue and wanted to
hand the Amstrad over at a motorway service station.
He again changed his mind and asked if I could meet
him at Portland Bill lighthouse at the very tip of Portland.
With much trepidation I parked on the quite deserted
car park just outside the lighthouse waiting for him to
arrive... Imagine my amazement at the shout from
within the lighthouse to me asking me to come to
the side door... Well blow me.. The guy actually looked
after the lighthouse. And so I not only got to meet the
lighthouse keeper, collect an ace computer, but also
see the inside of a lighthouse first hand.. Magic day.

Back in the late eighties I managed to convince the 
powers at be at work to dump the Apricot in favour
of one of these Amstrad's. The software then was
pretty cool and the interface a dream. All colour and
with 5.25" drive. The machine was used a real
workhorse in accounts and never let us down. There
were some odd issues with the printer, but that
was about it. I did have the machine at home
for a while and I really enjoyed the paint package.
I was very sad to see this computer go...

And so I return to the Amstrad 1512 in 2004 and
again joy at the software and easy to use interface.
The batteries for this beast sit in a pocket in the 
casing under the monitor... which is a much better
idea. Simple to use, quiet and for me a memorable
piece of both computer history and collecting joy.

Collecting old computers has given me some of the
most rewarding moments of my life. When you meet
some of these guys they are often hardened 
computer enthusiasts, and quite sad to be losing
the kit. They take comfort that at least they will be
able to see the computer whenever they choose
by visiting the site. 

[ quote ]

Digital Research brought all its support to the Amstrad PC 
with its DR-DOS, expecting it to know the same success 
as the CPC and PCW series. The problem is that, near 
to the launch, Sugar decided to also include MS-DOS, 
destroying all D.R. hopes to get even on Microsoft... 

NAME   PC 1512 
TYPE   Professional Computer 
ORIGIN   United Kingdom 
YEAR   1986 
KEYBOARD   Full-stroke professional keyboard, with 
function keys, numeric keypad and editing keys 
CPU   Intel 8086 
SPEED   8 MHz 
RAM   512 KB (up to 640 KB) 
ROM   16 KB 

Just to inform other people that are interested in the 
Amstrad 1512, that there is now a "full" forum for fellow 
1512 fans to discuss anything about the 1512 in. From 
stories to "I want to give my 1512 to a good home.

Couple of interesting facts....

' One the bulkiest components of an IBM PC is the power 
supply. Amstrad took this out of the main box and incorporated 
it into the monitor. '

' An IBM has five times as many chips as an Amstrad 1512, 
which uses special purpose highly advanced, logic arrays 
which perform the same function '

Amstrad licensed MS-DOS 3.2 and DOS Plus, which included 
some features from CP/M and the ability to read CP/M disks. 
They also licensed the GEM windowing system, which 
supported the customized CGA hardware of the 1512.

[ end scuzz log ]

Well there you go... No chocolates today just the
very pleasurable Amstrad 1512-HD20

23 more scuzz blogs till Christmas.



Interesting That I just won three games for the Amiga which
the seller claims were gifted to him by Psygnosis when he
was a games developer for them. Seems all very  plausible, 
as he explains how this all came about..

Games.. Anarchy , Armour Geddon and Atomino...

[ quote ]

These Amiga Games were given to me by the ever so kind 
Psygnosis, way back when I developed the game Nitro for 
them. No kiddin' This is 100% genuine (not like all those 
other 100% genuine claims on eBay that smell like funny fish).

No seriously, I honestly am the developer of Nitro (for Atart ST 
and Commodore Amiga). Later on I developed Qwak and ATR 
for Team 17, since then it's been hard and the world of video 
games seemed to become so soul-less.

[ end quote ]

Well... I believe him. I must remember to tell him
that I also want the boxes, not just the games :-(



Back to square one on the Acorn...Just had the Acorn
arrive and the dick head used the original box to ship
it to me... Read my email to him.

The Acorn arrived today. I feel you should send me my money back. I
purchased from you a computer in a box... IN A BOX. It was the box I
purchased along with the computer. I was also buying the box. I wanted the
BOX. You have destroyed the most important item of the purchase. If you were
not prepared to ship the box as advertised then you should not have offered
the BOX for sale. As a collector the BOX is the most important part. You
left it exposed to be damaged, stuck labels all over it, and destroyed it
with selotape. I wasn`t interested in a busted computer I wanted the box. In
over 1800 purchases on Ebay I have never actually had the item being sold
destroyed by the seller before. Do you understand what you did. It was like
selling a rare stamp then sticking it to the envelope. I am so angry you
cannot believe. Your Auction reads..` in its original box complete with
mouse ` Why do you think people buy old computers... Goodness me. I`m very
very unhappy. Breaks my heart.

[ end post ]

And so another valuable retro item is destroyed.
The search goes on...  ar hum.



Finally tracked down the information on that vintage portable
that I won this weekend. Turns out to be a Compaq Portable III
dated 1987.

Model: 2660
Released: 1987
Price: US $4,999.00 w/ 20meg HD
 US $5,799.00 w/ 40meg HD
Weight: 20 pounds.
CPU: Intel 80286, 12MHz
RAM: 640k, 2048k max.
Storage: 20 Meg hard drive
 1.2Meg 5-1/4 inch floppy
Display: 10" gas plasma screen
 640 X 400 resolution
 80 X 25 text
Ports: RGB, serial, parallel
Expansion: Optional external expansion
OS: MS-DOS 3.31

[ image here ]

And so a machine that was worth $4999 new cost me 10...
Should be interesting to see when it arrives. I can`t get over the
plasma screens...



Finally on other acquisitions... The Sanyo MBC 550
is as follows. Arriving in two parcels as it also
includes a monitor...

NAME   MBC-550 
TYPE   Home Computer 
ORIGIN   Japan 
YEAR   1982 
KEYBOARD   QWERTY full-stroke keyboard with numeric keypad 
CPU   Intel 8088 
CO-PROCESSOR   Optional Intel 8087 math coprocessor 
RAM   128 KB or 256 KB depending models 
ROM   8 KB 
TEXT MODES   40 x 25 / 80 x 25 
GRAPHIC MODES   144 x 200 / 576 x 200 / 640 x 400 
SOUND   Buzzer, can only generate a single buzztone sound (fixed duration)

Turning out to be very interesting session this.
Pictures Christmas... 



Very intersesting reading up about WANG tonight and WANG BASIC...
Especially the control WANG BASIC has over tape commands...

[ quote ]

Wang BASIC's cassette I/O is richly supported with a dizzying 
number of I/O commands for rewinding, skipping, reading, 
writing, verifying, etc. The cassette interface is a high speed, 
high quality recording mechanism. Besides being faster than 
the audio cassette players adopted by most 8-bit micros, the 
Wang cassette drive is under direct computer control and can 
move the tape forwards and backwards. Tape speed was 
7.5 ips and data is transferred at approximately 326 bytes/second. 
Each block is recorded twice for error tolerance, and each 
block is checksummed. Compare this to most 70's micros 
that used 1.825 ips cassette tapes and transferred 
30-120 bytes/sec.

[ end quote ]

Also famous for the WANG 3300 range and a supercalculator 700
the costs of this hardware was amazing in the day..

According to the press of the time, the line item costs were as follows:

Item Unit Cost 
CPU + 4KB RAM $4,950 
4KB RAM expansion $2,500 
Selectric terminal $4,200 
Terminal control unit $500 
Cassette storage $1,400 
BASIC software and system setup $1,500 

[ quote ]

Besides the cassette storage, 64KB disk and 0.5 MB 
disk storage was promised for future delivery. It took a 
while for that to appear, so early users were stuck 
loading system software via paper tape. This became 
a major sore point. Loading BASIC was a multi-step 
process, requiring toggling in a tape boot loader by 
hand, loading a bootstrap loader from paper tape, 
then loading the BASIC interpreter from paper tape. 
It took on the order of 40 minutes to get the interpreter 
running. Then came the process of loading the BASIC 
program itself, if required.

[ end quote ]

My goodness... I read up on the differences between
WANG BASIC and BASIC and I do wonder what the
hell WANG was trying to do. 



Just for info:

BASIC (standing for Beginner's All Purpose Symbolic 
Instruction Code) is a system developed at Dartmouth 
College in 1964 under the directory of J. Kemeny and 
T. Kurtz. It was implemented for the G.E.225. It was 
meant to be a very simple language to learn and also 
one that would be easy to translate. Furthermore, the 
designers wished it to be a stepping-stone for students 
to learn on of the more powerful languages such as 

From "Programming languages: History and fundamentals" by Jean E. Sammet. 

Daniel P. Hudson writes: 

Bill Gates and Paul Allen had something different in mind. 
In the 1970's when M.I.T.S.'s Altair personal computer was 
being conceived Allen convinced Gates to help him develop 
a Basic Language for it. When M.I.T.S. answered with interest, 
The future of BASIC and the PC began. Gates was attending 
Harvard at the time and Allen was a Honeywell employee. 
Allen and Gates licensed their BASIC to M.I.T.S. for the Altair. 
This version took a total of 4K memory including the code 
and data used for a source code. 

Wonder what ever happened to that Gates guy...

Some other facts:

The first Basic considered to be a full language implemented 
on a microprocessor was Li Chen Wang's "Tiny Basic", which 
appeared in Dr. Dobbs. 

Basic was the first product sold by Microsoft corporation, 
and also the first major case of software piracy - It was 
copied widely even before Microsoft made it available 
(Bill Gates lost track of a copy on paper tape during a 
computer show). 

The name "BASIC" may have come directly or indirectly 
from the science of human languages. Before the second 
world war, C. K. Ogden wrote a series called "Basic English". 
This was a list of 850 English words which would serve to 
describe any other word in English (perhaps by using more 
than one). 



Big day for the old scuzz collection today with the
arrival of the Enterprise Sixty Four, all wonderfully
boxed as original. Currently still in plastic protective
rapping and that's the way things will stay till I am
brave enough to take it out and have a good look.
I am beside myself with joy over this item. I had
started to believe I would never actually see one
in the collection. Photography will take place
during the Christmas break... so you will have to 
wait till then for more on this..

A magical retro moment.



1512_hd20 1512_hd20 1512_hd20 1512_hd20

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Amstrad 1512 - Commodore-Amiga-Retro
Amstrad Information - Iteresting facts
Compaq Portable III - Images and information
Sanyo MBC 550 - Images and information
Sanyo MBC 550 - Images and information
Psygnosis - All known games
Psygnosis - General Information
Enterprise 64 - General Information
Enterprise 64 - Images and information

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Last updated 16th December 2006

Chandraise Kingdom