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Apple II clone "Pluto" ... seems to be very rare, was sold in germany only 
Saturday, November 1, 2014, 01:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
Today I will show a rare Apple II+ clone. It's rare because of the case and the combination of all parts, and also because of the number which it was sold (only a few hundred in total). It has a metal case, which is unusual for Apple II clones.

The case has also an easy to be opened cover:

The power supply looks very strange compared to the original Apple II+ power supply, also because it's open at least on one side (this is dangerous and would be forbidden nowadays).

My "Pluto" boots after power up with "PLUTO" instead of "APPLE ][", but that's the only difference you can see. It has INTEGER BASIC ROMs build in.
In Slot #0 a 16KB language card is inserted, in Slot #1 a printer card, in Slot #4 a softcard (Z80), in Slot #6 a standard Apple II disk controller, and in Slot #7 a PAL encoder card, which is similar to the original PAL encoder card but has an additional blank space on the card itself for an optional UHF modulator, which is here build in one of the case corners instead.

I will post additional images in >applefritter forum< soon, because I have still problems with getting colors instead of grey levels.

The related link points to the latest archived version of "" (unfortunately it disappeared in winter 2007). They didn't know the "Pluto".
The "Pluto" was distributed 1983 mainly in germany by "Computerbedarf Werner", located in Kerpen. At least one owner I know is located in the Netherlands, so may be some were sold also there.

Getting correct colors on a monitor seems to be *very* difficult.
This is the best picture I can get from Atari's PacMan using a video capture card:

P.S.: Meanwhile I got also an 80 column card (VIDEX) compatible, which switches automatically between 40 and 80 column mode, very useful.

P.P.S.: The only other hint/picture I found was >here< at the bottom of the page.
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Commodore 8032 with CP/M ? Unbelievable, but true... 
Sunday, October 12, 2014, 06:00 PM
Posted by Administrator

As you can see, there was an "expansion" board with a Z80 cpu for the CBM 8032.
Madison Computer build a board named "Z-RAM". But it wasn't only a RAM expansion. It was also a CPU addon board, running CP/M 2.2. The disk format still used GCR coding, means the 6502 was still used for I/O operations, similar to the C64 running CP/M with the Z80 cartridge.
This wonderful but rare expansion was seen at the Classic Computing in Schoenau, Germany, a few days ago. Data Becker sold this as "CP/Maker" in Germany in 1982/1983.
For more information about the expansion board, visit Mike Naberezny's Site, see below "related link"...

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TI Programmer 
Tuesday, September 9, 2014, 09:06 PM
Posted by Administrator
The TI Programmer was a real unusual calculator, because it can calculate also with hexadecimal and octal numbers, means not only add and substract, but also bit operations like AND, OR, XOR or SHIFT. This was one of the earliest devices of it's kind, although it was not the first (the SR-22 was the first). But it's still worth to be presented, also because not many was sold since it's debut in 1977. Technically it's very similar to the TI-30.

It's funny to look what the calculator does after a bit idle time. Something is running through the display ...

(it was too much work to animate all 8 possible dots, but all 8 positions are used)
See also the related link for more information.
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Andrew Kay passed away, one of the greatest computer pioneers of the 80s 
Saturday, September 6, 2014, 07:21 PM
Posted by Administrator
Andrew Kay died yesterday in Vista, California. He got 95 years old.
See also for a homage at >NY Times<.
For an overview of the most known computers he designed, see also >my KAYPRO pages<.
For a >recent photo of him<, visit the above mentioned NY Times page also.

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Offtopic but important: Campaign against PGP - hidden reasons ? 
Monday, September 1, 2014, 06:00 PM
Posted by Administrator

If you follow >Bruce Schneier's blog<, you will notice an >unusual entry<. He agreed with another blog entry about PGP from Matthew Green which was titled >"What's the matter with PGP?"<.
Matthew Green complained about usability and key management of PGP (... but mainly related with email), but he didn't gave any proof about a lack of (IT) security. Instead, he just spoke ill about using PGP and email in general.
If he is a cryptographer, why is he doing that ? I mean he can point his finger at real faults or errors, or at least weak spots in algorithms and methods. But he didn't.
He 's talking about cumpersome processes related with PGP. But it's related with the design of the "Web of trust". It's not really a fault.
Do you trust central key storages in cloud solutions ? That's awesome for secret services, because they will find standardized environments with large amounts of data at once, sure.
What is the alternative solution ? S/MIME for email ? Still not manageable for a "normal" user. Also, you have to trust a central provider you don't know (and may be a secret service has already access to that central provider).
If I just want to have data integrity, and I want to make sure no one else except me and my communication partner can read my messages, PGP is still a good choice. That's my opinion.
And I am disappointed about Bruce Schneiers posting such an unqualified blog entry without any further reflection. Not sure about his intention ... except there is a hidden agenda behind it.
This can be similar to the "truecrypt case". Someone (guess who) don't want that users encrypt their data in a secure manner, so they discrediting the unwanted solution. Instead, you should use "Bitlocker". Lol, be honest, that's NOT a solution I will trust. It's closed source. They could implement whatever they want. Think about >"key escrowing"<.

I am still trusting - >like Phil Zimmermann< - at least Open Source implementations of PGP, because I still see no legitimate reason why not.

And I am not alone with my opinion about Mr. Green's blog entry. See >Aaron Toponce's Blog Entry< also.

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