New batch planned?

General discussions related to the Altair 8800 Clone

New batch planned?

Postby JNZ » March 15th, 2015, 5:51 pm

Is there a new batch in the works? I'm still waiting to receive my Altair Micro 8800, but I love the more authentic approach of the Altair Clone. I should've jumped on it when I first heard about it a few years ago, but one can only do so many hobbies at a time.

Alternatively, is there a chance this project will be open sourced? (Schematics, emulator code/firmware?)
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Re: New batch planned?

Postby AltairClone » March 16th, 2015, 10:03 am

Yes - a new run of Altair Clones is in progress! Should be shipping again by early April.

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Re: New batch planned?

Postby JNZ » March 16th, 2015, 2:26 pm

Good news--but I'll have to prepare my wallet.

Is it crazy to own both an Altair Micro 8800 (which I haven't received yet) and an Altair Clone? I feel it might be a little crazy.
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Re: New batch planned?

Postby gmh » March 16th, 2015, 4:19 pm

As an owner of both I'll say it isn't crazy to own both, but it is pointless. The Altair 8800micro feels nothing like the original Altair, the experience between the Clone and micro are like night and day. If you can only afford 1, or feel like you should only have 1 - cancel your order with Briel Computers. :)
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Re: New batch planned?

Postby JNZ » March 16th, 2015, 4:36 pm

I am super interested in getting as close to the original experience as possible (without spending thousands, and these machines have really gotten up there in value). However, I love the idea of having the Micro on my desk at work. Only at home would I have the space for the Clone.

Decisions, decisions.

I should be thankful there isn't an IMSAI 8080 clone out there too, or a clone of some computer I don't even know about yet.
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Re: New batch planned?

Postby gmh » March 16th, 2015, 10:51 pm

It really comes down to the experience you want. If you just want to run 8800 software the 8800micro is nice enough, but if you want that actual Altair feeling you really need to go with the Clone. There is no "flicking switches" to enable a boot loader on the 8800micro, it's just lift a switch and load what you want from your SD card. It's also way too fast, but maybe that doesn't matter to you. To be honest I haven't used my 8800micro since I got the Clone last year, although I really do need to fire it up if just to get my rewritten version of AceyDucey on to the Clone.

As for wanting to use it at work, you could always do what I did and enable remote access. I have an OpenBSD shell server running at home which has serial access to the Clone. Cisco routers or Sun/Oracle servers in 1 terminal session, Altair Clone in another, makes for a nice day at work!

Good luck with whatever you choose!
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Re: New batch planned?

Postby JNZ » March 18th, 2015, 3:03 pm

That's pretty awesome! Having an Altair emulated in hardware and connected over serial so you can access it remotely is a good idea. What do you use it for when you're at work? Do you always have it running CP/M? Are there any games that you find yourself playing?

I could always do the same thing but have the emulator running on the host computer, or even on a spare Raspberry Pi. For me, the real appeal is to use the front panel switches, which I've never done. I was born into the IBM-PC and PC clone era. My earliest computer I remember using was an AT&T PC 6300, and I grew up with a diet of gaming via DOS-based programs.
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Re: New batch planned?

Postby gmh » March 18th, 2015, 7:57 pm

While I'm away from home I have the Clone running CP/M. I have physical copies of David Ahl's BASIC Games books (and heaps of other classics), and lately I've been playing a lot of Poker (so much nicer once you compile it using BASCOM). At work I'm surrounded by servers running (Solaris, *BSD, GNU) and network hardware (Cisco, Juniper, etc), CP/M makes a nice change while I'm waiting for a config to drop, or a server to update. It's also a laugh showing the young guys here how different hardware/operating systems were back in the day. I'm sure they'd flip if they saw me enter the boot loader for 8K BASIC, and then waiting 10+ minutes for it to load.

BTW I think you have confused how I actually have my set up configured. The Altair 8800 Clone is connected to my OpenBSD shell server (random muck around box) via serial. The minicom terminal emulator (output looks similar to my VT510 terminal, which is the reason I like it) is the only thing running on OpenBSD that is used to connect to the Clone. Moving forward I'll create a user account that logs straight in to the serial connection, that way I can let my friends play around with the Clone when I'm not using it. A Raspberry Pi would be an ideal machine to do the same, all the *nixes include multiple terminal emulators (minicom, screen, cu etc), I'm using a low powered Soekris net6501 box (basically a router).
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Re: New batch planned?

Postby Synoptic » March 19th, 2015, 8:35 am

You can also experience it there : http://www.micronick.com/altair
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Re: New batch planned?

Postby JNZ » March 19th, 2015, 6:35 pm

I love that Altair you set up, Synoptic! It's one of the things I first discovered when I started looking into this.
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