Monday, April 27, 2015

Cool Computers

THEY'RE ALIVE:  We're finally getting around to posting some reflections from our visit to the Living Computer Museum last Thursday afternoon.

Located in Sodo, just south of the stadiums, LCM is abuzz with dozens of vintage computers which are on and operating, rather than just sitting as static relics of the past.
In a section featuring desktop models, visitors have a chance to test drive the machines, and play classic computer games from decades ago.

CJ played a Space-Invaders like game on a Commodore VIC-20
Even though LCM is funded by Paul Allen of Microsoft fame, there are a number of old Apple computers on display.
Pac Man has appeared on many platforms, including the Atari 400.
This Commodore PET looked like it was having a bad day. 
No surprise that some of the earliest PC games had Star Trek themes. Here's an old Xerox system.
And here's and old Sega Enterprises game running on a classic Commodore 64.
Both of the kids seemed to really enjoy the King's Quest game on an IBM PCjr.
Maniac Mansion was a huge hit with PC gamers. Here, CJ gives it a go on the Tandy 1000.
And, of course, you can't talk about vintage computer games without mentioning The Oregon Trail. Naturally, one of our party died of measles within two minutes. Here, Annabelle plays it on an Apple IIe.

There were also machines designed for applications beyond the desktop.

I thought this one's styling was superb. That's important in a computer, you know. ;)
This set up was pretty fabulous looking, as well.

And check out this old card reader. ...
A real relic, it dates back to the 1940s.
And it turns out it was used at Oregon Health Science University, in Portland.
The super computers were hard to get good photos of the machines themselves, but check out this sign regarding the installation of a CDC 6600 at Purdue University back in the day. ... 
And look at this colorful spaghetti in the super computer room. ...
I'll let CJ and Annabelle tell you a little bit more about our visit.  Annabelle's up first. ...
On April 23, I went to the Living Computer Museum. The museum features a lot of cool computers and machines, most of which are actually on. The computers are really fun to look at and use. Some of the computers allow you to type your name, and others run games on them. One of my favorite computers was one that played the game King's Quest.  One of the main attractions is a big room called the 'cool room' with a really big 'super' computer (it was super by the standards at which it was made, but it's less powerful than an iPhone). The museum is really interesting and I would recommend it. 
And here's CJ's report. ....

On April 23rd, I visited the Living Computer Museum, a museum with different classic, operational computers on display, including computers such as the Commodore 64 and Amiga. Although some of the computers in the Living Computer Musuem are already bulky and giant enough, such as the IBM 360 Model 91, the bulkiest and most giant of their collection of computers have to go in a cold room, where they won't immediately overheat and create extremely hot tempertures in the main rooms. The amazing thing is, your smartphone is more powerful than all of the computers in that room combined!
Different computers I played on in the Living Computer Museum include the Commodore VIC-20, on which you can play Galaxian and other, more obscure titles, the Commodore 64, which I played Maniac Mansion, and the IBM PCjr, on which I failed terribly on King's Quest. There were several other computers in the museum, all of which are listed on the Living Computer Museum's website at
Overall, I found the Living Computer Museum a very fascinating museum, and certainly a needed stop if you are visiting SoDo anytime soon.
DOWN UNDER: An email from the National Science Foundation certainly got our attention last Friday morning. The message let us know that a team of University of Utah seismologists have discovered "a reservoir of hot, partly molten rock hidden 12 to 28 miles beneath Yellowstone's supervolcano--enough to fill the 1000 cubic-mile-Grand Canyon more than 11 times."

Well, well, well, that's something to think about, isn't it?

Here's a short video they're released about the news.

HAPPY HUBBLE ANNIVERSARY: It has now been 25 years (April 24, 1991) since the Hubble Space Telescope launched. One day later, it was deployed, as seen in this NASA photograph taken by the crew of the STS-31. You can see shuttle Discovery's cargo doors open, and Hubble being of Hubble staring its incredible mission

Here's a link to a wonderful 30-minute program all about Hubble:

1 comment:

  1. I worked on more than one of those old big ones. Like the CDC 6500 and early models of the 360 series. And even touched a PDP-8 which predated the PDP-12 you saw.