Apple Computer 1

The auction house Bonhams had a History of Science auction last October 22, 2014 in New York. Among the highlights was an Apple-1 computer with exceptional provenance and in beautiful, working condition. (I got the pictures here from the Bonhams website). It was estimated to sell for US$ 300,000 to US$ 500,000. Continue reading “Apple Computer 1”


Panasonic JE-885U

885l 885nm 885r I asked my mother for the Panasonic 885 electronic calculator she used when I was a child. It uses four AA size batteries or an AC adaptor. Some of the keys no longer work, and I haven’t tried to check if the AC adaptor still works. The power switch reveals a red metal square when the unit is turned on. The case is made of imitation leather stitched at the edges and at the corners. I love its design—the colors, shapes, and fonts. I just found out that when holding the unit with the left hand (and pressing the keys using the right hand), the user could put his or her left thumb on the space with the word “Panasonic.”

885c 885a Continue reading “Panasonic JE-885U”

Shirriff’s Sinclair Scientific simulator

Ken Shirriff has reverse engineered the Sinclair Scientific, an incredible 12-function scientific calculator made by Sinclair Radionics in 1974. (I got the picture on the left from here.) He reports the details here. According to his August 30, 2013 blog post:

I’ve reverse-engineered the Sinclair Scientific calculator. The remarkable thing about this calculator is they took a simple 4-function calculator chip and reprogrammed its 320-instruction ROM to be a full scientific calculator. By looking at the chip, I’ve extracted the original code, reverse-engineered how it works, and written a JavaScript simulator that runs the original code and shows what the calculator is doing internally.

Adventure in Oz

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I was able to find a copy of the program I mentioned in an earlier blog post at The Old Computer.  (See the zip file Adventure in Oz.  For some reason, the actual TI Extended BASIC file is called LOAD instead of OZ.)  It was apparently typed in by someone named Suzanne Nomina, and I had to go over all the lines in the programs and correct the typographical errors in them.

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Continue reading “Adventure in Oz”