Thursday, January 16, 2020

IBM JX Information Page now online!

I have been wanting to document the IBM JX and put whatever information I can find in a single location. I have seen the wonderful PCjr site by Mike and have wished there was a similar repository for the PCjrs younger brother the JX. 

Well, I have made a start. I'm guessing I have the largest JX pile around (although I read that there were 40+ JX units in Bendigo in my research - I wonder where they went) so I am in a pretty good position to start.

You can find my new site here at http://www.thepcmuseum.com/ibmjx

I have plenty of work to do, so I'll keep going! I'd say I have put at least 24 hours of research, scanning and documentation in so far - and there is a lot to cover.

If you can help me with any magazines or documents, I'd really appreciate any support! Happy to collaborate or work with others.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Busy Busy Busy

It's been a couple of months since I have uploaded a blog (not that anyone reads this), but I have been extremely busy!

In December, I began actively tidying up the shed. In doing so, I was reading some of my documents and discovered some interesting Commodore 65 drawings. While out on a run, I was listening to Chicken Lips Radio where they mentioned the Commodore International Historical Society. I then reached out and uploaded bucketloads. You can see some of my handiwork here -

https://archive.org/details/@abeckett

I also exhibited at the Bundoora Swap Meet in early January with the Australian Vintage Computer group. I brought along an Apple ///+, an IBM JX, Atari 800 and a Commodore PET 8032. 




It was a bit of fun - plenty of interest from the community. It was great to meet many of the people in the Facebook group - other than Alan and Ian - I don't know many of the newer collectors.

In terms of acquisitions over the last few months, I have acquired a Commodore 1540 disk drive in working condition with original VIC ROMs in it as well as a lot of products from tfw8bit.com - The Penultimate Cartridge is a a real ripper. I also picked up all of the diagnostics cartridges (264 Diag, 1541 Test, C64 Dead Test).

I also purchased a PABX to simulate dialup between machines. This cheap chinese unit works great and allows up to 33.6k connections. I look forward to demoing what BBSing used to be like in a future demonstration using real modems.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

JX stuff to archive.org

I'm starting to get my unique stuff online.

My IBM JX documentation and software will slowly start to appear on Archive.org at this link here.

I have simply linked to the search IBM JX as there is hardly anything there.

Finally imaged my IBM PC JX titles!

Well - I finally managed to get my Super Card Pro to image my IBM PC JX disks. This was required as some of them are copy protected and they are all self booting disks. It took me a while to figure out that to image them and get them to work you had to set the program to IBM 1.44MB (and not IBM 720k).

So - all you need is a high density 3.5" disk drive and load these images into Super Card Pro and you can boot your JX! I will note that if you don't have the 720k ROM chip (that is the 8732KY chip as opposed to the 360k 8532K9) - you can only use the DOS 2.1 boot disk. 

All the other disks are 360k 3.5" disks - once again, only the DOS 3.2 is 720k.

DOS 3.2 is FANTASTIC - It has sorted out a number of issues with my super IBM PC JX. For those who don't know, I removed the old Matsushita 10 MB drive and replaced it with a DREM HD Emulator. Its super sweet.

As for the productivity titles, they are underwhelming. The Sampler is a bit of a laugh. There are full versions of the Writing Assistant, Planning Assistant and DOS versions - and the My JX Sampler as well as demos of Writing Assistant, Planning Assistant, Graphing Assistant and Filing and Reporting Assistant.

Enjoy. You can get the SCP images here or by using the link below.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/yu7140env0nit6u/AACbsMo_LlUjq4-Iz8YHv39ca?dl=0

Here is some screen shots of the products I have imaged -







Thursday, October 24, 2019

September / October 2019 Update

Wow wee -

A lot has happened in the last few months.

1. I received my Applesauce Disk Imager and its amazing. I have started imaging all my Apple // and Apple /// disks with great vigour. I need to get around to finishing what I have started and uploading to the internet. Whats even better is I downloaded the Washington Apple Pi DVD and have been able to download ADTPro for the Apple ///.. which leads to point 2.

2. My Apple /// Plus is working fantastic. I bought a new power supply from ReactiveMicro and its amazing. The plug to the mains wasn't quite right so I had to resolver an end on it but my Apple /// Plus is going well. I then connected it to the recently aquired Apple /// Hard Disk and imaged the disk and uploaded it. You can get it here. Feel free to dig around and beat me to whatever is on there.





3. I finally got around to re-carbonising the keys on my Commodore PET 2001. This is fantastic as now I can use it like it was 1979.




4. My IBM JX has had its Hard Disk replaced from a Mechanical Disk to a DREM MFM Hard Disk Emulator. Its a magnificent piece of work that brings my bad sector filled disk from 2 MB to its maximum extent of 10 MB! Pricey, but makes it fun again.




5. An auction at Yarra Valley Auctions was hosted where I was successful in buying a number of items. What is sad is that a gentlemen here in Victoria sold his entire collection. 










You can view what it was here. Hopefully it doesn't get ripped down any time soon. There was a hive of activity from 2004 and then nothing from 2013. Whats sad is the post when he got the collection of computers from the ANU which you can read in his LOG -
Private collections are often donated to public institutions after, the owners pass away or want to move on and the items are usually kept in good hands, but not always. One person set up an antique bottle museum in Clunes (not far from Ballarat) it flourished while he was around, when he died the museum was past to public hands and the best bottles in the collection soon disappeared. Privately owned collections are owned by one or a few individuals and they can choose to do what they want with the items, sell to the highest bidder? My point is both privately owned collections and publicly owned collections have desirable and undesirable characteristics and I guess when it comes down to it. No single person can own an item forever. Anyone involved in a museum of any kind, should do there best to do the right thing. I would like to see the items in my museum kept together maybe some day a public institution could take the collection, or maybe it could go to my children, I don't know what will happen but I will try and do the right thing.

Anyway. Back to me.

I bought a pile of neat stuff - including -





AIM-65


Coleco ADAM Computer


Boxed OS/2 Versions and an ADLIB Card Boxed


IBM PC JX parts including 5.25" Drive


Adam Box


Exidy Sorcerer


RAM Expansions for AIM 65.

I have been successful in putting a massive JX structure together with all my expansion units but IBM clearly did not want more than 1 expansion installed on a JX as there is no way to power it. As a result I needed 2 JXs to run all the hardware on 1 JX - but it worked!


But I have been having a lot of fun!


Anyway, I'll update soon - I'm pretty active again in Vintage Computers.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Huge Progress in the Shed!

Over the last two weeks (I'm on Annual Leave), I have been taking the time to tidy up my shed. Its been a bit of a disaster and I have been too stuck to do much about it.

I listened to a back episode of the RCR Podcast about Hoard vs Private Collection vs Museum. I always wanted the latter, but it sometimes resembled the former.

I have struggled since 1997 to not just collect everything. While that has actually benefited my collection, I have gotten rid of many systems.

I have essentially cut down to -
- Commodore 8 bit line (really all NON Amiga Commodores)
- Atari 8 bit line
- Apple everything
- IBM Everything up to the AT
- Random assortment of odds and sods like DEC Rainbow, Professional 350, VAXMate, couple of MicroVaxes 
- All consoles up to PS2

And while that sounds like a cut down, I have still a large collection. I have removed a heap of equipment and manuals from my collection that were just simply being hoarded. I had no intention of reading them - they were just taking up space. A couple of machines and parts have been sold and a few more are about to go.

Whats great is it gives you such relief when you can actually use the workbenches and things are not on the floor. The main section of my shed now looks like this - no obstacles on the floor - generally tidy and workable.


My "office" and repair area is much more organised - I have installed shelving and tidied up the area - there is still work to do as I am still removing things from the shed but it give you an idea of where I am heading.


My dreaded back table is now just an enormous pile of disks that need to be categorised - and it already has had a quick first chop and 25% has already been sorted and removed from this area.


So I have been giving myself a break and doing some of the stuff I have wanted to do for a long time. Namely - get my PETs working and backup all my PET software. To do this I have been using ZoomFloppy on a Windows 10 PC using OpenCBM and CBM Transfer software. This works OK, but backing up a 8050 or 8250 disk takes around 45 minutes. So I have plenty of time to do other things while that is happening.


I have also been solving my PET problems using the wonderful PET Diagnostics by Tynemouth Software. This thing is fabulous - identifying what is right and wrong with my PETs. Makes it real simple to figure out what needs to be done.


This PET has ROMs installed. I guess they are dead!


This 8296D tests OK but has a boot problem. As the PET Diagnostics chip is a 6502 replacement, I'll have to try testing with a known working 6502.

So yes - I have been having a bit of fun. Lots of work to do but plenty of challenges.






Tuesday, August 20, 2019

New Aquisitions

It was brought to my attention that a seller in Narre Warren was offering some fairly unique pieces of equipment via Facebook Marketplace (thanks Ian). In the peculiar post it showed a number of interesting items in unknown condition -

- Apple IIc
- Apple IIc Monitor with its electronics removed
- Apple /// with no motherboard
- Monitor ///
- Profile Hard Drive
- Macintosh 512k

I made him an offer, he countered, we struck a deal. I picked up the kit yesterday.


Today, I started up the Profile first - this is why I bid on this bundle. Initially, it flashed its light at me and sat there making no noise. I have experienced this before with other MFM drives before so I opened up the unit and hand spun the disks. Then when powered up, it pulsed and made all the right noises that a profile does! It then started spewing the acrid smoke that the lovely filter capacitors make when tired. (RIFA PME 271M 610 0.1uF) Replaced.


I then wondered what was on this! Plugged it into my Lisa... and its not a Lisa formatted drive! I'll get it setup on my Apple /// in a few days and see what it is!


Quickly tested the other gear - Mac 512k works but disk drive is misaligned with the case so can't load software until fixed. Apple //c works perfectly with the exception of some stuck keys and general untidy condition. Monitor /// works well.

A good pickup!

IBM JX Information Page now online!

I have been wanting to document the IBM JX and put whatever information I can find in a single location. I have seen the wonderful PCjr site...