This is where you'll find documents, tutorials, knowledgebases, and other stuff I've written regarding vintage computers on this site. All of the material concerns IBM Compatible MS-DOS/Windows machines, usually 80486 and older. Most of this is stuff that has come from decades of experience with tech old and new, as new developments for old computers continually come all the time. As of October 2022, I have organized things further into subfolders because the "docs" folder here has become such a huge mess of pictures, documents, and other stuff. Each section now has a main page to pick from.
ARTWORK I've been doing artwork on PC's since I was 12 years old starting with IBM Linkway in school and currently I do pixel art on my phone as well as stuff for this site and elsewhere, such as and offsetguitars, that I create stuff for using Graf-X II. This is not just limited to artwork for entertainment, but also functional artwork such as schematics, diagrams, and other stuff, on various paint programs I have used over the years such as Microsoft Paint, DIY Layout Creator, and Veroroute - so it's not exactly just artwork but how to convey things to other techies here.
DEVELOPMENT For the record, this is more of an "exploratory" section because, honestly, I suck as a developer. I started programming in BASIC when I was 17 with just a Tandy 1000 SX and the BASIC book that came with it. I have dabbled in AGS, AGI, CIA, OHRRPGCE, Game Maker, and Klik'n'Play over the years at varying times but never completed anything. That said, I have learned a lot of creative things using old computers.
Basically what it says, this section deals with DOS, the disk operating system invented by Tim Patterson in 1979 as a test O/S for a prototype computer at Seattle Computer Products, bought by Microsoft, licensed to IBM, Compaq, Dell, and others, and then cloned in open source by Jim Hall in 1994 as FreeDOS. This is the primary operating system of all pre-1995 IBM Compatible PC's and I'm really building this section to help out with what REALLY Can be done in DOS in the 21st century, as opposed to people thinking it's not that capable anymore.
GEM/MEC/C.MORE This is my exploration of a "white box" computer company from Norcross Georgia. Micro Equip. Corp and their subsidiary, GEM Computer Products were founded in 1983. They manufactured some hardware, such as the Pepper-XT Motherboard, and also were in an interesting position where they could have become another Compaq or Dell but somehow faltered and that all ended for them, as by 1989 they had started the C.MORE stores in the southeast, expanded to new markets in the west opening a new factor/warehouse and renting offices in Salt Lake City Utah, and in California. Unfortunatley, MEC/GEM/C.MORE were given a slow, painful kiss of death via a lawsuit in 1997, and then dissappeared off the face of the planet about 10 years later.
GENERAL STUFF A General section for newbies to vintage PC's and the various what, how, where, when of them. I'm aware a lot of the people taking this up now are of a much younger age and did not grow up in the age of IBM Compatible pre-Pentium PC's like I did. There's a lot that's different, just as much that's much the same as a modern PC, and a whole lot of interesting details and idiosyncracies that seem normal to someone seasoned like me, but seem weird to other people who have been at this a much shorter time.
HARDWARE My various writings on hardware. That's what I came to be known for for a time, as a hardware tinkerer pushing these things to do things that their designers probably never intended them to do. This includes a mix of things like, installing ginormous hard disks into ancient PCs, hardware and firmware settings, various wiring stuff. Just whatever I happen to mess with and feel is worth writing about.
3M MICROTOUCH In 2019 I picked up a used AAC/Laptop combo from e-bay with a cracked digitizer which I still am (as of Oct 2022) still trying to get a digitizer for and restore. It has led me down a crazy industrial computer rabbit-hole of information on 3M's MicroTouch touch/pen screen system which was used on the NEC Versa Pen/Touch model laptop computers, VersaPad, and others.
NANTAN NOTEBOOKS One of my curiosities in the realm of vintage PCs, is finding out about the little "also-ran" manufacturer's and what kind of computers they made/built. One such interesting company is Nan Tan Computer (NTC), which is a Taiwanese maker of laptop computers that OEMs and whitebox shops would build out to specifications of their own with desktop CPUs and various off-the-shelf hardware. NanTan had a epic megaton of systems under many names including Kapok, Sager, Clevo, BSi, Duracom, Eurocom, Ultinet, DFI (Diamond Flower), and the list goes on and on and on. Some of their most popular models included the FMA3500, FMA9200, and FMA6500, many of which are only, at best, known by the cryptic "FMA" Model number on the bottom.
NETWORKING This section goes into the unique caveats of networking vintage IBM Compatibles on the modern network and internet. While many armchair infosec dweebs spend their time screaming "securiteez" into their FUD powered megaphones, I'm here to tell you a vintage machine can be secure - but to a point - on the modern web and otherwise, modern networks.
SOUND, MIDI, & MUSIC Another area I've been hanging in for a really long time. This covers things like soundcards, oddball chipsets (like the Crystal CS-4231), weird standards like WSS, and also how to do things like network musical instrument gear over MIDI (a dying art), and creating music with vintage computers, through documenting my playing around with and experimenting with things like Trakers, MIDI Sequencers, and digital audio recording on really really old hardware.
TANDY 1000 SERIES The Tandy 1000 Series was a line of PC Jr Compatible PC's released in 1984 that grew to be one of the most popular computers of the 1980's. They were (barely) affordable, and combined the best elements of the IBM PC Jr. with the best elements of a standard IBM PC together to make a unique and somehow still IBM Compatible line of computers. While I have some of my own writings here, I"m going to also link to a lot of stuff from here because that's where I got a lot of my information from.
NEC (ULTRALITE) VERSA In contrast to NanTan who made standardized notebooks that could be built out by the brander to any spec they wished that would fit the laptop, NEC Was like the IBM of Japan, building high quality, very expensive, business class PC's. These pages discuss the "1st Generation NEC Versa" which includes the Ultralite Versa, Versa E, Versa M, Versa V, and Versa P, which was a series of 486 based notebooks, and one Pentium based notebook, that were likely one of the first fully fledged desktop replacements as well as the first convertible pen/touch/tablet computer availiable on the market. And most of all, they offered one thing no other laptop did at the time or even now - a screen that can be upgraded by the user!
MICROSOFT WINDOWS Here's where I keep all the Microsoft Windows articles. Though in recent years, through FreeDOS, projects like HX GUI/RT, and Links the web browser, DOS is generally a better choice of platform for retro-computing, I'm still providing up my knowledge and experience with Microsoft Windows 3.1x and 9x (mostly) here so that that information is not lost, as I do still use 9x and 3.1x occasionally to this day, but honestly, for uses beyond gaming or nostalgic web surfing via FrogFind, I find Windows considerably less useful today.
WORDS+ AAC INFORMATION In 2019 I bought a third hand NEC Versa M/75 that came with this werid device that looked like some kind of piece of office audio equipment that was hand-built in nsomeone's garage. Turns out it was a AAC (Assistive, Augmentative Communications) device made by Words+ under the branding "System 2000 Commpac". So that's what I'm going to do on these pages is talk about the legacy Words+ device(s), and software, and what they were used for, and applications for disused equipment outside the realm of personal communications, or even learning how it works for yourself. I use mine actually for writing funny songs on BandLab with.