30th Anniversary

General discussions on the PCjr

30th Anniversary

Postby Brutman » Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:13 am

The 30th anniversary of the announcement of the PCjr is coming up. IBM usually announced a product and then had "general availability" later. (We all know that the PCjr was announced early while it was still having FCC troubles, and really did not start shipping until early 1984.)

I started working on an HTTP (web) server that I can run directly on a PCjr for the anniversary. I think that a few pages and pictures about the PCjr, written by PCjr owners and being served from a PCjr would be fitting for the occasion.

If you would like to contribute a page and pictures please let me know. Just a quick writeup of how your machine is configured and what you do with it today (30 years later) would be great; anything else would be extra credit. I like the idea of highlighting the people and machines vs. just the machines. If the PCjr is responsible for your programming career, it's ok to admit that too. ;-0

I should be able to make it perform well enough to handle a mild surge of traffic referred from other vintage computer sites. The server supports HTTP 1.1, which keeps the connections open. I'm planning on gzip'ing the content ahead of time to cut down on the CPU and bandwidth required. There will also be a few hundred KB of caching available for the most frequently served files. If all goes well, it will be limited by the speed of the TCP stack which is about 100KB/sec. (If an average page is only 20KB to serve, that allows about 5 hits per second.) If the crap really hits the fan I'll start throwing out 302s (redirects) to a more capable machine.

I was thinking about more interactive features like a "leave a comment/visitor log" type thing, but there are so many trolls out there. One easy feature to enable is to let people use "debug" interactively on the machine (read only of course) by providing a URL that responds to parameters like "read this memory location for this many bytes". With a few hints that would let people see the BIOS dates on the machine, the Cartridge BASIC copyright statement, etc.

If you have other ideas let me know. We have about a month left. If you think I'm crazy that is fair game too.


-Mike
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Re: 30th Anniversary

Postby Trixter » Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:59 pm

You are free to crib anything and everything from the presentation(s) I gave this year: ftp://ftp.oldskool.org/pub/misc/Softwar ... Kits/PCjr/

Convert some slides, steal info, I don't care -- it's for The Cause :-)

PCjr was announced November 1st and displayed to journalists November 7th, according to my research. A suppose a "proper" anniversary would be when the first one shipped, which was in January 1984.
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Re: 30th Anniversary

Postby Brutman » Fri Nov 15, 2013 6:25 pm

Trixter wrote:You are free to crib anything and everything from the presentation(s) I gave this year: ftp://ftp.oldskool.org/pub/misc/Softwar ... Kits/PCjr/

Convert some slides, steal info, I don't care -- it's for The Cause :-)

PCjr was announced November 1st and displayed to journalists November 7th, according to my research. A suppose a "proper" anniversary would be when the first one shipped, which was in January 1984.


You kind of missed the point. I certainly don't need material to crib from. I was looking for other people to actively participate.

This thread is about three weeks old now. After week one I assumed there was no other interest.
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Re: 30th Anniversary

Postby Trixter » Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:12 am

Sorry, I am not always good about checking the forum for new/unread messages. My frequency is usually once a week. I'm subscribed to this thread now, so I'll see updates on it.

If you'd still like to do it, I am happy to write new, personal material for the project... I think it is neat enough that it might be picked up by some hacker news sources (although this would likely crush the PCjr's TCP stack -- if you want a real test for mTCP you will get it!).
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Re: 30th Anniversary

Postby Eric » Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:24 am

And here I am about two months late and just now seeing this. I knew the thirtieth anniversary was coming up, but I've been kind of busy being lazy these past few months.
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Re: 30th Anniversary

Postby Trixter » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:49 am

Well, the first shipments were late January 1984, but these mostly went to showroom floors. March is when consumers first started getting them, so March could be used as an official 30th anniversary too :)
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Re: 30th Anniversary

Postby Eric » Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:17 pm

Trixter wrote:Well, the first shipments were late January 1984, but these mostly went to showroom floors. March is when consumers first started getting them, so March could be used as an official 30th anniversary too :)



How about we all celebrate it for the entire year?!

By the way, do you plan on coding any demos or anything for the PCjr this year?
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Re: 30th Anniversary

Postby Trixter » Sat Jan 11, 2014 9:40 am

I have only one coding project this year, and it will run on the PCjr if the PCjr has a jrIDE. I can't say too much more about it at this time, but I'll certainly mention it here once it's done.
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Re: 30th Anniversary

Postby Brutman » Sat Jan 11, 2014 1:08 pm

Two projects to finish:

The first is the HTTP server, optimized to run on something like a PCjr. That basically means trying not to touch the disk by caching directory listings and content, and having as much content as possible pre-compressed to cut down on the TCP/IP workload.

The second is PCjr specific - I have a utility that lets me dual boot between a DOS 3.3 and a DOS 5.0 partition on my jrIDE connected hard drive. It is not a full fledged boot manager - it does not require it's own partition or put any code in the MBR. I wrote it so that I could switch between DOS versions without having my drive letters shift around. It just needs a little more work.

(Two weeks ago I used it wrong and shot myself in the foot. The recovery involved using DEBUG and editing the partition table by hand. I want to make sure this is idiot proof before I share it.)

Things to do before Alan kills me for being lazy:

  • Add BIOS support for the clock on the jrIDE
  • Write a DOS device driver to make the extra FLASH memory look like a block mode device. Think of it as a persistent RAM disk.

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Re: 30th Anniversary

Postby jharre » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:25 am

Breaking news from the past via the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/1984/01/25/business/shotages-of-pcjr-indicated-by-ibm.html

Supplies of the PC jr might be tight for a while!
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