Picked this up at an estate sale for $5!

So, one Saturday afternoon I was on the way to get some lunch at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant with my mom, when I spotted an estate sale sign. At first, I thought it would be cleared out by now, but when I saw that it didn’t close until 3pm I decided to give it a try. We pulled to the curb, and as soon as I walked into the house I could see that almost everything was gone. I went over to look at the remaining books on a shelf (natural instincts), and find nothing there. Then, I walk into one room where I see an old computer/typewriter looking device. It was a Texas Instruments Silent 700 Data Terminal model 703 from the 80s. I quickly searched the name in Google and saw listings for this device at ~$300. At this point, I was pretty astounded. But, there was no price on it, so I knew I had to wipe that grin off my face before I went and asked how much they wanted for it. When I asked, the two women told me they thought it was military-related (most likely from the carrying case’s look), but a guy came by earlier and confirmed that it was NOT used in the military. One of the women then proceeded to make an offer of 5 bucks. I was sold.

After a bit of research, I found out that this device is a typewriter, that uses heat-sensitive paper (surprisingly still very abundant), and can connect to a modem and connects at 300 baud. Unlike the other models of the Silent 700, the 703 does not have an integrated acoustic coupler and modem that could receive data at 30 characters per second. Instead, it has a 25-pin RS-232 compatible serial port, but with a female connector.

As soon as I got home, I used a pdf online (http://chiclassiccomp.org/docs/content/computing/TI/TI_Silent700_703_707_QRC.pdf) to guide me with the first steps of using this machine. The first thing I did was take off the paper compartment cover and load the paper (took a few tries), put the cover back on, and flip the “on/off” switch in the back. I was then greeted with a short beep and a prompt stating “703,” the specific version of the model I have. I then flipped a few switches at the top to change it to local mode (since I was not connected to an external modem), and began typing. It works!

My next steps would be to purchase a serial-to-USB cable and hook it up to a desktop to connect my terminal to a telnet session (instead of getting an old modem). Or, I could even connect this to a TNC to use on a packet radio setup and have it display anything and everything that gets transmitted on a packet radio net. I’ll definitely have to consider these two uses. But, other than that, there is not much else I can do with it. Unfortunately, I cannot connect it to my Commodore 64 or VIC 20.

Another great post about the TI Silent 700 data terminal model 703: http://vintagevolts.com/?p=766#comment-2420

Anyway, it is quite a unique item and has been added to my collection of old technology.DSCN0708 DSCN0707 DSCN0706


Bought Power Mac G4!

Hey guys I just bought a Power Mac G4 from a local Good Will for 10 dollars! The exact Power Mac G4 I have is the model with AGP graphics and is called “SawTooth”, released in  1999. So far I have put a hard drive into it and upgraded the graphics card to a Radeon 9200. I plan on upgrading the ram as well to a anywhere between 1 and 2 gigabytes. Soon I am going to order a copy of either OS X 10.3 or 10.4 for the G4. Before I buy Panther or Tiger, I am going to try out a Power PC(PPC) version of Linux Mint to just make sure the CD/DVD drive is working properly. I find this old Mac desktop very unique and interesting. I can’t wait to get this machine up and running!

I got OS X Mountain Lion!

Hey guys! I just recently purchase Mac OS X Mountain Lion from the App Store and did a clean install! You may be wondering why I did a clean install. Well since I had very few files I wanted to save, I just put the few files on a 16gb flash drive and then transfered them back to my Macbook Pro after I was done installing. So far Mountain Lion has been great. Mountain Lion has over 200 new features and I am continuing to discover them. I have noticed that Mountain Lion is slightly faster than Snow Leopard. I’ve also noticed a few different trackpad gestures. Mountain Lion is a great Operating System and I would really recommend it to anyone who is using OS X 10.6 or lower. After all, it is only $19.99! 

The Macbook Pro with Retina Display

Well, as you may know, Apple has recently leased the new Macbook Pro with Retina Display. So you may be asking yourself, “What does retina display mean?” The Retina Display is an increase in the pixel density by 4 times with the same amount of space. By having more pixels, you can have far more precision and a great increase in the sharpness of the text. The retina display has 220 pixels per inch. The highest supported resolution is 2880 by 1800 pixels.

The Macbook Pro with Retina display has a starting price of a whopping $2,199.00. Personally, I think this price is ridiculous, but that’s just Apple. The low end MBP with Retina display has a 15 inch screen with an i7 processor 2.3 GHz. Both of the Retina display MBP’s do come with 8gb of ram, but there is one problem. Unfortunately, Apple decided to solder the ram into the computer so you are unable to upgrade yourself. This poor decision is the main reason why I do not have any future plans on purchasing the computer. Although, if you don’t feel that 8gb is enough you can customize your macbook pro on Apple website to have 16 gigabytes of memory instead of 8, for an addition 200 dollars. Lastly, the MBP Retina display has a 256GB SSD(upgradable to 512gb). Unlike an HDD, an SSD does not have any moving parts in it, therefore it is much faster than an HDD. SDD’s usually have less capacity but provide less power draw, less heat, less noise, and are overall faster. I assume that Apple decided to use SSDs in their Macbook Pro’s because of the sudden drop in price for Solid State Drives. The reason their price has dramatically dropped is because of the Cloud. Apple’s Macbook Pro with Retina display may be extremely pricey, but it is definitely worth the money if you really need the screen resolution for precise photo editing or any other pixel related task. Also, if you are not willing to upgrade the ram yourself and desperately need an SSD than go for it!