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Linux Software Hardware Technology

Wiring A Vintage Teletype To The Internet 197

An anonymous reader writes "Do you have an old teletype with a 5-bit serial interface sitting around that you've been itching to hook up to the Internet? If so, this article at LinuxDevices.com is just what you've been looking for. Henry Minsky has caught the Mini-ITX motherboard bug big-time, arguing that the tiny, yet full-featured boards can now compete favorably with more traditional embedded platforms." Minsky explains that: "Messages and alerts could be printed to the teletype automatically from remote locations (such as our Yahoo calendar), while a user could send messages and access services such as weather and news headlines from the teletype keyboard."
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Wiring A Vintage Teletype To The Internet

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  • by CGP314 ( 672613 ) <CGP.ColinGregoryPalmer@net> on Thursday August 21, 2003 @05:38AM (#6752793) Homepage
    Do you have an old teletype with a 5-bit serial interface sitting around that you've been itching to hook up to the Internet?

    No.
  • If these are really going to be implemented to do alerts and things as mentioned, are we going to have dot-matrix printouts like they used to be or something better, like an inkjet -- or what about a small LCD screen to save space?

    Conceivably, it seems one of these machines would chew through a paper roll or two in a short time...
    • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Thursday August 21, 2003 @06:02AM (#6752861) Homepage Journal
      better? inkjet????? lcd??

      the whole point of such to-paper logging is to log things so that the alerts can't get destroyed afterwards(because of a hacker, or because the machine has melted) by the computer. and i would presume dot matrix to be a LOT cheaper in the long run than paying for large amounts of ink for inkjets(not to mention the feeding system in inkjets tends to suck for such application).

      and it's not exactly 'like they used to be', they still do it in critical places (or places where some 'hard' proof is needed for logs).
      • by lars_stefan_axelsson ( 236283 ) on Thursday August 21, 2003 @07:24AM (#6753080) Homepage
        the whole point of such to-paper logging is to log things so that the alerts can't get destroyed afterwards(because of a hacker, or because the machine has melted) by the computer.

        And hence the old habit of injecting a kilobyte or two of formfeeds after the break so as to make sure the log printer was out of paper.

        A friend, who shall remain nameless (though the setting was actually fairly benign), actually backed up the printer and 'X'-ed over the printout. But that was more for show, reverse feeding is unreliable, better yet to just run the printer out of paper.

        A variation was recently used. A company HQ had a paper printer to log access cards as they opened the doors to the building. But, the printer was in a cleaning cupboard on the ground floor. The thief (an insider) just broke into it and took the paper logs with him as he left with his companions carrying a s*it load of computers.

        The moral of that story is that paper is kind of fragile as a log material. Make sure it'll survive the calamity that the original equipment wont, lest you be standing with a long face with neither the equipment/data nor the logs.

        • The moral of that story is that paper is kind of fragile as a log material. Make sure it'll survive the calamity that the original equipment wont, lest you be standing with a long face with neither the equipment/data nor the logs.

          Store teletype in a remote location

          Problem solved.
        • Don't forget another classic: reprint the last two weeks' worth of logs, minus the part where the machine's broken into.
      • That and teletypes print in one continuous feed, rather than one page at a time. Better for forensics, you could prove the sequence of events and more cleverly dodge questions about page numbers, missing pages, forged and inserted pages, etc. from the defense attorney.

        Ink issues with other printers is an important issue too. A hacker trying to fill up your logs will likely cause any inkjet to run out of ink. Teletypes would be more durable here.

      • the alerts can't get destroyed afterwards(because of a hacker, or because the machine has melted)

        Don't forget about this little tidbit:

        /usr/src/linux-2.4/drivers/char/lp.c:257: printk(KERN_INFO "lp%d on fire\n", minor);
    • What's the point of having an alert if you have to go look for it?

      That means the older the better.

    • This precedes dot-matrix. It's fixed-type.

      Why, because...

    • Heh. Or you could figure out a way to connect it to a TV screen. And if you could figure out how to hook up a typewriter electronically, you could send out your own alerts to the Internet. I think we're on to something here.
  • Ahh, teletypes. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JessLeah ( 625838 ) on Thursday August 21, 2003 @05:40AM (#6752800)
    I'd love to get an old teletype going. Ever since I read Hackers by Stephen Levy, I really really lusted after the old hardware. (The first computer I owned was an Atari 800; alas, I never got to play on a PDP-11 or a teletype, or punch cards on a modified IBM Selectric (or punch cards at all!)). I wonder if maybe some enterprising geeks could set up an 'old computer museum and workshop' so geeks can go and learn of their roots. I'd love to play with a teletype! (I hear the bell on one of those is an actual BELL!)
    • I used a lot of antiquated equipment back when, well, before it was antiquated. Including, but not limited to, a teletype and a 300 baud modem.


      The Computer Museum [mos.org] in Boston closed several years ago, but apparently their hardware went to the Computer History Museum [computerhistory.org].

    • > Ever since I read Hackers by Stephen Levy, I really really lusted after the old hardware

      Well I loved that book, but I can't say I've ever "really really lusted" over a teletype... :-\
    • Re:Ahh, teletypes. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Alien Being ( 18488 ) on Thursday August 21, 2003 @06:29AM (#6752926)
      "I hear the bell on one of those is an actual BELL!"

      The first time I used a teletype machine it was set up as a TWX terminal. You would turn on the paper tape punch and draft a text message using the keyboard and/or input from the tape reader. There was a "Here is" button which would automatically generate the id string of the terminal.

      Once your tape was ready to go, you would dial (really dial) a phone number on the built in telephone and when you got the carrier you would start the tape reader and the message would print out on the remote side. As I recall, there was a control code that would enable the remote tape punch. And yeah, it was a real bell. There was another control code to ring it and it was customary to ring it a few times at the end of the message so the remote operator would know to pick it up.

      It wasn't unusual for the person on the remote end to type in a quick "thanks" before the call ended.
      • by SgtChaireBourne ( 457691 ) on Thursday August 21, 2003 @06:52AM (#6752982) Homepage
        The bell is real, but the teletype itself makes so much darn noise that it would be ideal for notification of alerts needing immediate attention. My anecdote us that a friend once hacked one into a being printer for an Apple][. Not only did it make a din during normal operation, because his was missing some structural support it would occilate and bang into the adjacent metal table. Not everyone in the area had the same level of appreciation of this feature however. ;)
    • Re:Ahh, teletypes. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by HBI ( 604924 )
      Dude, I admire your lust for history and strongly recommend you do the museum thing, but I also strongly recommend you don't buy one of these on Ebay unless your wife/parent/whatever is a very permissive soul! This thing is noisy as all hell! Hell a daisy wheel printer makes less noise than a teletype. You probably don't remember those...ok, dot matrix printers were considered an overall noise improvement over teletypes.

      Geek points are hardly worth sleeping on the couch for a month. At least for this o
      • "dot matrix printers were considered an overall noise improvement over teletypes."

        Yeah, and those first Centronics DMPs really screamed. I walked into a busy shopping mall with my dad in the early 70's and from 100 feet away he picked out the sound of one of those suckers cranking away. There was a guy with a minicomputer (a PDP-8 I think), a video camera and the printer making ASCII portraits of people.
        • by jeepliberty ( 624159 ) on Thursday August 21, 2003 @11:37AM (#6755000) Homepage Journal
          In tuning and calibrating the signal on a radioteletype it is customary to send RYRYR. This presents a pattern on the 5-level punched paper tape like


          1 o.o.o.o
          2 .o.o.o.
          3 o.o.o.o
          4 .o.o.o.
          5 o.o.o.o

          And of course, if you ever get gibberish, you should physically observer the tape for a messages:
          1 ooo...o..ooo..ooo....o...o.ooo
          2 o..o..o...o...o......oo.oo.o
          3 ooo...o...o...oo.....o.o.o.ooo
          4 o..o..o...o...o......o...o.o
          5 ooo...o...o...ooo....o...o.ooo

      • Yeah, my boyfriend (I'm a chick) would probably kill me if I lugged one of these into the bedroom.
    • Re:Ahh, teletypes. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Alien Being ( 18488 )
      check this [vauxelectronics.com]
    • Yeah, the noise was distinctive, but so was the smell. Sort of a combination of old grease, new grease, toasted-but-not-quite-burned electrical insulation and purple ink. Lots of purple ink.

      The folklore of the day held that there were over 600 moving parts in a teletype and there was a message that the repairmen typed that got all 600+ parts in motion.

      Speaking of typing, there was no "roll-over" ot "type-ahead". If you tried to press the "h" key before the "t" key was finished doing its thing, the "h" key

      • there was no "roll-over" ot "type-ahead". If you tried to press the "h" key before the "t" key was finished doing its thing, the "h" key just wouldn't push

        Not only that, but when printing to a teletype, you had to add a few null characters at the end of every line (along with CR and LF, of course) to give the carriage time to return, and the line time to feed. Definitely realtime programming.

        • Not only that, but when printing to a teletype, you had to add a few null characters at the end of every line (along with CR and LF, of course) to give the carriage time to return, and the line time to feed.

          Military teletype message formats required that end-of-line sequence be CR-CR-LF. Second carriage return re-homed the carriage after it had bounced away from the left stop. (Yeah, the carriage on an ASR-33 could move that fast!)

          Without it, the margin would wander slowly to the right.

          Aah, nostalgia. My

  • by silentbozo ( 542534 ) on Thursday August 21, 2003 @05:43AM (#6752806) Journal
    Depressingly, although he mentions the rationale for choosing the hardware and software that he did, with links to vendors, he never mentions if the damn thing actually works! Where's the audio of the teletype humming away? The pictures of the latest weather report, pulled off of some website, displayed as printed text?
    • "Where's the audio of the teletype humming away? "

      They hummed when they weren't doing anything. When they started working they went ding ding and kachunk kachunk. The tape reader and punch had their own noises.
      • ``When they started working they went ding ding and kachunk kachunk.''

        I know someone who actually used one at home. He said he enjoyed the audio feedback when a long program finished running and the `kachunk-kachunk' of the system prompt could be heard through the house.

        (aside) We used to play the old startrek game on one these. You could tell from all the way down the hall when someone made the mistake of asking for the galaxy map. It seemed to take forever to print that out.

        Don't know that I'

    • by hqm ( 49964 ) on Thursday August 21, 2003 @10:30AM (#6754344)
      Yup, works fine. I even had it hooked up as an alarm clock, I had a cron job to print the news and weather at 7:30 AM every morning. In the original military cabinet, it was loud enough to wake people up upstairs, but then I put it into a quieter cabinet, and it was too quiet to wake us up anymore.

      But we use it every day, our Yahoo calendar sends events to it by email (no I won't tell you the address), and we see a printout every morning of the next day's events, easy to tear off and take with you on your way out.

      The original inspiration for this was from Tom Jennings' "World Power Systems" site [wps.com]. Check it out. I used his ASCII-baudot conversion routines.

  • Why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    So you can glance at your spam in hard copy format before you throw it away?

    Actually that would probably be a good angle to sue spammers for wasting your resources, given that it's illegal to spam faxes for the same reason.

    In other news, this sort of thing is called a PRINTER in 2003. It's typically connected to a COMPUTER which is connected to the internet. It's quite possible to print remotely using Windows, particularly to leave spooky messages on your neighbour's printer over residential cable modem s
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by javiercero ( 518708 ) on Thursday August 21, 2003 @06:02AM (#6752860)
      Nope this sort of thing is called a TERMINAL, your vtxx0 session is actually trying to emulate the behavior of a paper terminal. Betcha you did not know that :).

      A printer is output only, this device is input and output...
    • ``It's quite possible to print remotely using Windows, particularly to leave spooky messages on your neighbour's printer over residential cable modem setups that have very very bad security.''

      I recall reading a column a few years back -- written by Simson Garfinkel, I think -- where he described early experiences with folks using cable internet access. Clicking on ``Network Neighborhood'' really did show the neighborhood.

  • by dkf ( 304284 ) <donal.k.fellows@manchester.ac.uk> on Thursday August 21, 2003 @05:50AM (#6752826) Homepage
    Given the sort of spam that ends up in my mailbox, hooking the teletype up to print out the subjects of incoming mail messages would require upgrading the teletype to have UNICODE printing characters.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 21, 2003 @05:51AM (#6752830)
    I first thought that they managed to run the HTTP server on the actual teletype (something like a mechanical HTTP server!), so I was a little dissapointed to see that they used a modern PC motherboard for doing that.

    Still, it would be nice to see if something like Contiki [dunkels.com] could be used for this beast as well.
    • Actually, I thought this would be a good job for an ATMEL AVR chip... [atmel.com].

      You might wanna use a Crystal Semiconductor CS-8900A [tihlde.org] if you wanna go directly to ethernet, or you may wanna use one of the AVR parts with the built-in UART if you wanna dialup. Yeh, you will have to write a little proggie to make tcpip packets... but you don't have to include everything... just the basic text stuff. Most likely somebody has already done so.

      I am looking into these for some of the robotics stuff I work on. They look

    • My God, man, that's a fantastic idea!

      You see, this machine's print mechanism was a military model, and it has fully loaded "stunt box", which is basically a set of
      mechanical regexp state machines sitting on the printer control rods, it has about six of these, that can recognize sequences of
      three or four characters, and closes a relay, so you can control things like motors, other teletypes, coffee pots, etc.

      It's almost enough to handle an HTTP request, if I had a paper tape loop and reader (excuse me, a "t
  • by Tim ( 686 ) <timr&alumni,washington,edu> on Thursday August 21, 2003 @05:53AM (#6752838) Homepage
    Hook this bad boy up to a machine running ASCII Quake, and give new meaning to the term "Frag"!
  • I had a similar idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ExEleven ( 601282 )
    I was planing on doing the same, except the teletype I have is much newer (its a DEC) im not sure the model number or anything however.

    I was just going to write my own version of lynx that just dumbs the whole page or somthing like that. One idea of mine was to create a "web shell" or somthing as it would be fun.

    The teletype I have can go up to 9600 baud, and I have a bay networks remote annex lying around so I thought I could use it.

    I have a VT330 as well but its stuffed, oh well I might fix it. A VT220
    • It might be a DEC LA36 [columbia.edu] DECwriter II. I used to use one of them as the console terminal of a PDP-11/03 (LSI-11). The nice thing about them is that they use standard line printer fanfold paper. It had a 20 mA current loop serial interface, although I think there was an option for a RS-232 interface.
    • A VT220 would be cool, however I cant find one ata cheap enough price.

      I know where you're coming from - an old PeeCee running telix does exactly the same job (and more!!), but is much cheaper and easier to get hold of. It just doesn't have the retro amber screen look of a genuine VT220, though.

      • Actually most not-completely-ancient terminals are far nicer than a PC running equivalent terminal-emulation software, as long as you only care about seeing text. They usually had lovely readable displays, with a monitor optimized for the job, and just generally felt good. Unfortunately, DEC did manage to fuck up the keyboard in their later models (vt220 etc).

        Terminals from the end of the terminal era are usually also much more svelte than a typical PC (especially a PC contemporary with the terminal), b
  • Once again: (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 21, 2003 @05:57AM (#6752849)
    Do you have an old teletype with a 5-bit serial interface sitting around that you've been itching to hook up to the Internet?

    (nervously) Who sent you?

  • by croddy ( 659025 )
    and here I thought my Wyse 50 was cool.

    oh well, time to start looking for a vt-52 I guess.

    • Get a punch card based Internet Soulution and you will be cool again.
      • I have a stack of green unused punch cards :)
        • 2 boxes of Punch cards in my office - Bought them last year for use as notepaper - Nothing says "Old time Geek" like punchcards. Yes, they are still made!
          • Re:sad. (Score:3, Interesting)

            by shaldannon ( 752 )
            Wow...they still make those things!?

            My first experience with punch cards was 20 odd years ago, at the University of Illinois. Dad would work in the lab and I'd use the left over punch cards as bookmarks (or chew toys...5 year olds do that sort of thing). My memory is hazy but I also remember the giant dot matrix printers and the audio modems that you put the phone handset into.

            A few years ago, I was in the office of one of my comp sci professors and he had this huge box of punch cards. I asked him
  • Somewhat related (Score:1, Interesting)

    by thorgil ( 455385 )
    What i really lack of todays printers is the old typewriter "engraving" effect.
    If I use a really "good", eg. linen or hemp, paper I want this effect because it looks nice and old-style (for diplomas and such), and have better archive durability (100y+).
    So my question is:
    Is there any electronic typewriter suitable for connecting to a computer?

    • Sure, try ebay, or see a professional printer. Cheap printers have cheap results.
    • What you want to look for is what is called a daisy wheel printer. These old beasts used to be common back in the dark old days when dot matrix printers were the norm - they were commonly called "letter quality" printers. IBM made quite a few, which were mostly used in offices and such.

      You're probably a couple of years too late to find one in a dumpster, though - most of the dumpster material these days is 486s and even (gasp!) pentiums.

  • by heironymouscoward ( 683461 ) <heironymouscoward.yahoo@com> on Thursday August 21, 2003 @06:20AM (#6752911) Journal
    A VT220 terminal sitting here in a box, too precious to throw away, too useless to do anything with except perhaps hook up to a Linux box as a useless console.

    And now I can hook it to the Internet! This is seriously useful stuff. Maybe I can make it beep as the text appears, in double size, so that people can see I have a REAL computer!
    • No, you don't (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Compared to a teletype, a VT220 is fancy future technology. A teletype prints on paper, a VT220 has an actual monochrome CRT screen. BTW, hooking it up to a linux box can be actually quite useful if you have friends at your place and more than one of them wants to check their mail at the same time...
      • Re:No, you don't (Score:2, Interesting)

        by egjertse ( 197141 )
        Indeedy - my (admittedly somewhat newer) DEC VT420 amber terminal is currently serving as console for my Linux firewall. Saved my butt a couple of times when I've messed up the firewall config and accidently locked myself out =)

        Now the DEC VT420 uses RS-232 and works well with getty out-of-the-box, so there's not much work involved in setting it up.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    "Do you have an old teletype with a 5-bit serial interface sitting around that you've been itching to hook up to the Internet? "

    This project coupled with the authors last name, brings new meaning to "artificial intelligence".
  • Reliability (Score:4, Informative)

    by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Thursday August 21, 2003 @06:38AM (#6752946) Homepage
    Old Baudot teletypes, like the models 15 and 19, could run for decades with just occasional preventive maintenance. A typical newspaper newsroom had several teletypes each for the AP and UPI wire services. These would be printing almost continuously, 24 hours a day. They were slow (60 Words Per Minute), but they were built to last forever.

    One of my father's first jobs was as a reporter for UPI. He could "edit" a story by reading the punched holes on the 5-level paper tape.

  • Dunno how I would configure that. Seems like flow control wouldn't even be an issue. I have other questions though. Wouldn't you go through a lot of paper? And how wouold you get the links to work once you have the page printed out?

  • can i be the first to ask why? ah, no, not the first, but can i ask anyway?
    • Yeah, it's like people people who go antique hunting for old furniture. Sure, the worksmanship is incredible, but I like my things to be NEW and SHINY, thank you. None of that old wine, waitor, bring me some nice new stuff!
  • From /etc/termcap (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Alien Being ( 18488 ) on Thursday August 21, 2003 @06:45AM (#6752963)
    #### Teletype (tty)
    #
    # These are the hardcopy Teletypes from before AT&T bought the company,
    # clattering electromechanical dinosaurs in Bakelite cases that printed on
    # pulpy yellow roll paper. If you remember these you go back a ways.
    # Teletype-branded VDTs are listed in the AT&T section.
    #
    # The earliest UNIXes were designed to use these clunkers; nroff and a few
    # other programs still default to emitting codes for the Model 37.
    #

    tty33|tty35|model 33 or 35 teletype:\
    :hc:os:xo:\
    :co#72:\
    :bl=^G:cr=^M:do=^J:sf=^J:
    tty37|model 37 teletype:\
    :bs:hc:os:xo:\
    :bl=^G:cr=^M:do=^J:hd=\E9:hu=\E8:le=^H:sf=^J:up=\E 7:
  • Already done before! (Score:4, Informative)

    by anonymous coword ( 615639 ) on Thursday August 21, 2003 @06:55AM (#6752991) Homepage Journal
    Theres a program called heavy metal [buzbee.net] that allows you to connect your teletype to your box and be able to surf the web, check the weather, stock quotes, telnet into other machines, be able to convert ASCII into 5-bit and and read e-mail.
    • You could also just buy a terminal server (ethernet port on one end, serial ports on the other). The serial console can usually do things like type "connect hostname", which establishes a telnet/ssh/lat connection to the named host.

      They've been around for a couple decades, at least.
  • Telex? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Wansu ( 846 ) on Thursday August 21, 2003 @07:32AM (#6753108)

    I once worked for a company whose business cards had a Telex number on them. At a trade show, I gave a young feller my card. He studied it briefly and pointed to the Telex number at the bottom asking what it was. I said, "That's our Telex number." He looked at me and asked, "What's a Telex?" "It's a Teletype that can store messages", I replied. He seemed to nod, acknowledging my answer but then asked, "What's a Teletype."
  • VIA EPIA V mainboard description [viavpsd.com]
    EPIA V image [viavpsd.com]
    EPIA M manual [viavpsd.com] (12M - slow download)

    VIA EPIA M Mainboard description [viavpsd.com]
    EPIA M image [viavpsd.com]
    EPIA M manual [viavpsd.com] (7.12M - slow download)

    mini-itx.com - bunch of other similar project [mini-itx.com]

  • by asherh ( 149627 ) on Thursday August 21, 2003 @08:35AM (#6753412)
    For that true retro feel you don't need a Teletype, you need a telegraph stock ticker [stocktickercompany.com]. Lovely things made of brass and wood!

    Of course, inputting commands is rather trickier...

  • I kinda miss the whole dial up.. wait for the whine.. stick the handset in the coupler.. 300 baud was great cause you could read it as it went by :) Somewhat related to the teletype/logging thing - is there anyway to make syslog alert messages appear in only a small portion of the console (video) terminal? Say like the last 5 lines?
  • Here is [widomaker.com] my mechanical TTY terminal, a VERY SIMPLE interface is all it took to get my Model 33ASR wired to a notebook running RH8, the 'history simulator' (simh) simulating a PDP/8 running OS/8 and playing BASIC games, just like a student would be doing in 1972.

    (Will be adding more to the page eventually, like how to configure Linux to run a 110 baud ASCII terminal, etc. Lost my previous host!)
  • Teletypes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by galt2112 ( 648234 ) on Thursday August 21, 2003 @09:16AM (#6753741)
    When I was a radioman in the Navy, our division officer wrote a program to convert between BAUDOT (the 5 digit code used by TTYs) to ASCII and handle the protocol so we could edit messages on a laptop and transfer it to a TTY.

    He showed me the code, written in C.
    That was the moment I fell in love with programming, eventually got out of the navy and studied comp sci.

    Thanks, LCDR Meyers!
  • The first time I used a computer was 1971, when I was a student at the University of Michigan. The air Force had just bought them a brand new IBM 360/67 with 1.5 Megs of RAM for $14 Million. You could submit programs in batch mode via punch cards or use the computer in time sharing mode via terminals. Some of the terminals were based on IBM selectrics, and they were pretty sweet. You could type on them as on a regular selectric typewriter. Most of them were teletypes. Model 33 IIRC. The teletypes were nas
  • Is it just me, or is this guy's choice of what to actually do with the teletype kind of stupid? `Weather reports'? `News Headlines?' Gah, how boring.

    If you got a teletype, geez man, just put a login prompt on it, and let people do their hacking with ed or whatever, now that's how a tty is supposed to be used on a computer system!

    BTW, the original emacs (on ITS/tops20/etc) had a line mode! I very occasionally used it in college when all the video terminals were taken... it sucked, but was nicer than ra
    • You can also do a Google search, I have a script which tells Google that I am an i-Mode terminal (a Japanese mobile phone), and it formats the results and pages in small easily printable HTML-1.0 chunks.

      The weather info comes from MIT's weather server [mit.edu] which still formats the weather service info as teletype output.

  • Do you have an old teletype with a 5-bit serial interface sitting around that you've been itching to hook up to the Internet?

    Archaic technology has already been discussed in a recent Slashdot thread [slashdot.org]

    • Re:Ask a Ham! (Score:3, Informative)

      by hqm ( 49964 )
      The real point of the article was to point out that the Mini-ITX board, because of its PC compatibility and the price breaks due to consumer use, is now the embedded board of choice for standalone appliance types of projects. I think this is significant because it marks a crossover of the consumer hardware into to the embedded space, and also because it allows Linux to run in a huge new set of non-desktop areas.

      The example with the teletype was really just a way of contrasting an app that previously would
  • Amazing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ratboy666 ( 104074 ) <fred_weigel@hotmailELIOT.com minus poet> on Thursday August 21, 2003 @10:54AM (#6754555) Journal
    I had one of these units in 1976. Best I could determine, the thing hadn't been powered on in 10 years (at that time). The unit was built in the late '40s. It had a large condenser which was used as a spark suppressor (for trans-atlantic cable runs, as best as I knew). I removed it, and wired it to a KIM-1 as a terminal.

    Problem was that the motor coils had grease or oil in them, and would start smoking if the unit was on too long. I junked the unit after a few years (wish that I had held on to it now).

    Everything was mechanical (a series of combs activated by 60hz from the line to decode the baudot code. 2 stop bits needed to allow time for the combs to reset after a character had been printed).

    Now, its 2003 and these things are STILL operational. Wow. That's 50 years after they should have been retired. These days, printer mechanisms seem to wear out in a couple of years.

    Note to all the young 'uns. These '15 teletypes used a typewriter-like mechanism, with a comb to allow only one type bar to impact. Speed was 5 characters per second. At 5 bits per character, no lower case characters. There was a figures/letters shift (two reserved characters - no more state than that - remember the decoder is mechanical). '33 mechanism used a type-ball. 10 characters per second, and used ASCII. The '33 also didn't support lower case.

    Ratboy
    • Now, its 2003 and these things are STILL operational. Wow. That's 50 years after they should have been retired. These days, printer mechanisms seem to wear out in a couple of years.

      Speed was 5 characters per second.

      For a slightly different perspective, consider that my $300 HP LaserJet 1200 prints at a solid 12ppm (yes, it actually does sustain that rate on the text documents that I throw at it). In a fixed-width font at, say, an average line length of 65 characters and 56 lines per page, it's print

  • For a guy hooking up a Teletype, one of the hottest, noisyest things around, he sure pays a lot of attention to the heat and power use of his computer.

    A real geek would whip up a vacuum tube interface, something I suspect more than one had in real life.
    • In the teletype there are no electronics at all, however the power supply bridge for the high voltage loop does have four solid-state diodes in it. Must have been the equivalent of a 3.5 GHZ Pentium back then, in terms of high tech leading edge technology!
    • Vacuum tube interface. They are called IBM 650 computers...
  • Of course, the next thing is to add this video display:
    http://members.fortunecity.com/drg45nzp/ braziltv.h tml

    We're all in this together!
  • I'd thought of doing this a while back, and looked on eBay for 5-level teletypes. But they're hard to get today.

    I might trade for Friden calculators, though.

  • by nytes ( 231372 ) on Thursday August 21, 2003 @01:31PM (#6756407) Homepage
    I already tried it.

    The pop-up ads were hell.

    So I'm going to be using an Altair 8800 front panel for web surfing, instead.

  • Turn around and run the other way fast. The first time I worked on one I must have touched a wrong wire 'cause it sent me flying on my ass. Teletypes are nasty peices of hardware.

    Slashdotters beware...

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