Archive for the ‘name that ware’ Category

Winner, Name that Ware December 2020

Sunday, January 31st, 2021

The Ware for December 2020 was an Intellivision game console by Mattel. It used the CP1610 CPU, whose architecture was based on the PDP-11, and it had a whole kilobyte of RAM! Congrats to Chris on nailing it rather quickly; e-mail me to claim your prize!

Name that Ware, December 2020

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

The Ware for December 2020 is shown below.

This one should be much easier to guess than last month; click for a larger image that has more context. This was one of my first attempts at repairing a thing; it obviously didn’t end well, as my solder-fu was clearly not up to snuff some 30 years ago.

This is the last ware for 2020! I really had to dig through the archives for the last couple of wares. With travel restrictions still in place, I haven’t gone further than a 5km radius now in 9 months — probably a lifetime record for me. I might have a few more interesting pieces of gear from around the home I could share, but especially these days, I welcome guest entries!

Winner, Name that Ware November 2020

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

The Ware for November 2020 was from a Cimlinc (originally Cadlinc) “turnkey system in mechanical CAD/CAM applications” (see page 268). Here is an excerpt of a market analysis report from the Computer History Museum:

Cimlinc’s competitive advantages include a good working knowledge of the manufacturing process, a wide library of machine tool post processors, and aggressive pricing. The Company has long-time ties to metalworking industries and sells its products primarily to discrete parts manufacturing companies that need to automate their factory processes. Cimlinc emphasizes factory floor links and interfaces to data from other CAD vendors rather than mechanical design and analysis.

The Company manufactures its own line of 68020-based computers; Cimlinc’s aim is to make its workstation appear indistinguishable from Sun and Apollo workstations. Although Cimlinc is able to offer a low-cost workstation today, continuing with this approach would require that the Company maintain parity with developments in computer hardware technology—a near impossibility for a small company [200 employees].

They sold at least 1600 units of purpose-built workstations similar to the one shown, at a list price of $20,995 in 1986 ($49,515 in 2020), and the systems required a maintenance contract of $335/month ($790 in 2020).

In some ways, we’ve made a lot of progress since then; but in other ways, we’re right back where we started — returning to purpose-built mainframes packed full of graphics accelerators listing at $199,000, costing hundreds if not thousands of dollars a month for rental access, but branded as “cloud computing” so we don’t all roll our eyes and sigh “OK boomer” about the business model.

There were some fairly close-ish guesses, but none quite close enough that I’d call a winner for this month. Thanks for playing!

Name that Ware, November 2020

Monday, November 30th, 2020

The ware for November 2020 is shown below.

I’m not even sure if these boards are all from the same chassis, but they are definitely all from the same manufacturer. However, I suspect these will be stumpers, to the point where I’ve left the model number on the boards and I’ve only very lightly obscured a couple of logos/names. I have an inkling of who they are made by and what they are for; it’ll be interesting to find out if anybody knows more about the history behind these boards!

Winner, Name that Ware October 2020

Monday, November 30th, 2020

The Ware for October 2020 is a VL53L1 time of flight distance sensor. It incorporates both a vertically-firing laser (small, square die on the left hand side) and the associated sensing circuitry to measure the time it takes for light to travel over short distances, into a package that’s smaller than a pinky nail — it’s the sort of thing that would have sounded like science fiction a decade ago. It’s neat to see how they embed two photodiodes onto a single silicon chip, and then use the molding compound to partition the part into optically isolated Tx and Rx halves. Presumably the photodiode in the Tx part (which gets exposed to stray laser light) is used to measure the outgoing power, to help calibrate the Rx side.

I was playing around with it for an art project as a candidate for a proximity sensor, but unfortunately, it does not work well through any sort of light-diffusive barrier, which is why I was desoldering the part. Gratz to ninja bomb for guessing it, email me for your prize!