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Long-time lurker, first-time poster

PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2020 2:27 pm
by DoctorOctal
Hello, everyone!

My PCjr story began in late 1984 when I received a well-appointed PCjr[1]. It wasn’t my first or only computer, but I used it extensively in the ’80s for programming, game-playing, and school work. Unfortunately, after I went off to college, my parents sold it. Clearly they don’t understand the value of hoarding as I do.

In 2018, during my first visit to the National Videogame Museum, I saw a PCjr on display and felt a pang of wistful sadness. I alleviated my pain by jumping on eBay and buying a nice PCjr. And then another. And various accoutrements.

Along the way I discovered Computer Reset. Since the liquidation sales of last summer, I’ve been volunteering at Computer Reset to help prepare for more upcoming sales. In the past couple months I’ve been focusing on getting the PCjr stuff ready in particular. I expect to have more to say about that later.

[1]: 128 KB PCjr, PCjr monitor, Tecmar jrCaptain (soon upgraded to 512 KB by an IBMer friend), revised keyboard, compact printer, Cartridge BASIC, ColorPaint, Mouse Systems optical mouse

Re: Long-time lurker, first-time poster

PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2020 2:56 pm
by Chuckphd53
Welcome...
Good to see more Jr Folks...

Re: Long-time lurker, first-time poster

PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2020 8:11 am
by Hargle
welcome!

ooh, Computer Reset. I think you'll get a lot of interest in your opportunities there from this group (myself included), assuming things are still being sold there.

Re: Long-time lurker, first-time poster

PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2020 6:46 pm
by toddvernon
I too am only a month (maybe 6 weeks in). I had the Jr 128K, soon added the Racore drive 2. Graduated from College and moved on to Mac Plus (I was at NASA and that what I did). Moved on to Sparc Station, back to Mac, on to Linux, back to Mac. (there were some PC's in there somewhere). FF to the last few years. Rebuilt several C64's and 1541 Disk drives. Rebuilding a PCjr. It's actually a fantastically hackable platform. Given the need for experts (because it's a bit of an odd duck), there is a ton of information available. Just gotta dig. And dig. Enjoy :-)

Re: Long-time lurker, first-time poster

PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2020 7:44 pm
by Brutman
Sigh ... I've got to get better about saying hello!

The Jr is close enough to a PC where home hacking is feasible. Compare it to an IBM Convertible, where the bus is some oddball thing and a lot of VLSI is used internally. Too bad IBM designed the machine in such a way that you have to hack on it though ...

In 1983 128K was a decent sized machine, and most people wouldn't need more than that. But machines also had to last for 3 to 5 years due to their expense, and 128K was not usable two or three years down the road. Hacking on additional memory and requiring a device driver to move the video buffer was ugly, but it worked, and it extended the life of the machine. If you go back through the archives at IBM the IBMers were doing a lot of hacking on the machine. They figured out how to attach and boot from an XT MFM hard drive controller, they designed a multi-function card for the modem slot, they developed the 2nd drive modification, etc. PC Enterprises also had a good business selling modifications and expansions that had no right to be on a PCjr, including a VGA sidecar and a modern sound sidecar.

The PCjr is a good deal responsible for my career ... I spent a lot of time trying to stretch the hardware and make it work well past it's expected lifetime. That experience taught me about performance optimization, debugging, writing extensible code, etc. Then again, when I describe the machine to people they just kind of look at me and ask why I didn't just get an XT clone and get on with my life. ;-0

Re: Long-time lurker, first-time poster

PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2020 10:49 am
by MattCarp
The PCjr is a good deal responsible for my career ... I spent a lot of time trying to stretch the hardware and make it work well past it's expected lifetime. That experience taught me about performance optimization, debugging, writing extensible code, etc. Then again, when I describe the machine to people they just kind of look at me and ask why I didn't just get an XT clone and get on with my life. ;-0


Ditto.

At that time, I was lucky to even have a computer. Mom convinced Dad to buy it on credit! Because of its shortcomings, I learned a lot about why it was different, why certain pieces of software didn't work, and how to remedy that.