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Updated PCjr Pictures/Details


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#1 Cebus Capucinis OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:27 PM

A while back I promised I'd provide more detail about the PCjr system I acquired about two months ago. Well unfortunately I finally got a day off and an empty list of 'to do' stuff, so today I'm starting up fulfilling that promise!

About two months ago I placed a small bid on an eBay auction for a PCjr system. Seemed relatively normal at the time, a basic system with 128KB built in + two 128KB RAM sidecars and a monitor, keyboard, and joystick. The auction stated 'too much stuff to list' so I e-mailed the seller asking what else would be included. The e-mail I received back made me instantly drool. The seller stated that he was selling the computer as a proxy for his father, who had pulled it out of their basement and decided to get rid of it -- the cool part? The seller's dad was an IBM employee and a mid-level manager in the sales department for the company from '81-'96 or so. This was a floor model that was used by IBM to sell the jr to potential corporate customers, such as educational institutions and companies.

I knew this meant something cool. If it was a floor model used by IBM during the production of the PCjr, there might be some proprietary features in the system that nobody had seen yet, maybe some prototype stuff! I asked him if any corporate items were included, and he said that everything his dad used during the production was included. After the jr got retired the floor models went into a clearinghouse for the company and were sold through central stores. His dad purchased it dirt cheap from the company as he liked the system and wanted to keep it.

So I won the auction and when I opened the boxes and items I was very pleasantly surprised. There is quite a bit of internal IBM Corp items in here that likely nobody outside the company has seen before. I posted on AA about it and a few people showed some great interest, so I said I would enlighten further at a later date. That later date is now! This is just the beginning; I will post more pictures/items/stories as I go through it all.

So first up is the system itself. This is a replacement system, sadly, as the system I received did not work! The monitor/keyboard/joystick are from the original auction, but the video chip on the mainbaord had fried itself and I couldn't get any video feeback from the system. :( Upon inspecting the mainboard it appeared that there was nothig proprietary internally so I got a replacement.

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The first disk with the system was 'Exploring the IBM Personal Computer' version 1.00. This is Hardware Reference Library #6936820 and there isn't really anything proprietary about this disk. It came with all systems as a nice little tutorial to using the computer, explanation of system features, etc. I believe it was packaged with the system guide as my system guide has a little sleeve on the back page for a disk but no disk. This was a loose disk in the box.

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The next disk is 'Personal Communication Manager: Electronic Mail & Intelligent Terminal' version 1.00. This is Productivity Series #1502274 and was used for exactly what the label says: e-mail and BBS access. As with the above disk this isn't anything proprietary and could be obtained by anyone -- unfortunately I do not have the internal modem so I can't test this software out as I would like to actually utilize it for my e-mail.

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These next disks are Help & Tutorial disks for the ROM version of Lotus 1-2-3, which is a cartridge version that was used internally by IBM Corp. The sales team used it internally for demonstration purposes to showcase the business side of the PCjr. I don't know if it's a prototype or anything but the cartridges look a lot like Atari's 'loaner' cartridges, so I know that the version I have was not made available to the public, even if there are no differences in the software. These two disks have hand-made labels and a production date on them, so I believe these are internal and proprietary as well.

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That's it for Part 1 of the detailed look at some cool proprietary stuff for the IBM PCjr. I don't want to mega-post so I'm going to split this up in between different posts. I have the photos for about 4-5 more posts thus far and will post them throughout the day!

#2 Cebus Capucinis OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:57 PM

This is a hand-written DOS 2.1 disk and a couple boot disks for the system. This system came with a LOT of DOS 2.1 disks. I have no idea why, actually. There's some loose software and then a color case with the IBM employee's name and ID# on it with some more DOS disks in them. Pretty weird! Other than being created by the IBM employee that I bought these from there's nothing really proprietary about them. Just basic little disks.
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Here is the color case that the original owner used at work. I e-mailed and asked about this after buying it and he told me this was the 'pastiche' of software they would use on a daily basis. Each member of the sales team would carry an individual company color-case with a selection of software to use to sell the system. It would contain samples of business programs, games, education, etc. so you could individually tailor what each customer wanted to look at. Each case would have the employee's name and IBM emplyee # on it with 'IBM Corp' written underneath it. Here is the case itself:
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NOTE: As you can see I have blacked out the employee's name and ID#. I don't want his info to be floating around!

So these are the disks that were included in this color case. This was the employee's personal selection of software to show a client when selling a system.
The first thing in the box was a BASIC Cartridge. Looks like an ordinary BASIC Cartridge on the front, but on the back there is a large orange sticker that says 'NOT FOR SALE - For Demonstration or Educational Purposes Only' and then '16969'. This was an internal company sticker IBM used for their demonstration software used by employees. The 16969 is the internal IBM library # to reference the item itself. Employees would sign for specific pieces of the company software library and the corporation would track who had what by indexing the files to employee numbers using these stickers.
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After the BASIC Cartridge there was a 'big kahuna' in the proprietary software -- a dual-cartridge ROM Version of Lotus 1-2-3 to correspond with the Training & Help disks. As the labels show, these are cart versions of software not released in commercial production. The labels look a lot like Atari 'loaner' labels internally used. I don't know if a cartridge version of Lotus was ever released and I haven't plugged them in to see if this is prototype software, but it is definitely not something public. The cartridges are '10300' and '10301' and are 'System Cartridge A/B Lotus 1-2-3'. They state 'DEMO ONLY NOT FOR RESALE' and have green dot stickers with the employee ID# on them.
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Next up is an internal company disk titled 'PCjr Sales Training Diskette'. It is Personal Computer Training Reference Library #1502226 and was definintely not given to the public! As the label states this disk was used by the sales team to train in selling techniques for the PCjr. I am told it contained little slideshow style presentations that talked about which features would be important to mention and whatnot. Unfortunately this was one of the first disks I plugged in and it has Police Quest on it! CURSES! Someone had written and erased it. But it still is the original label, which is cool. I'm trying to track down another version of this floating around.
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The next disk in the container was 'PCjr Memory Options'. It is Computer Language Series #6361932 and is not proprietary. There was another copy of this with the user's guide for the system so I believe this was given to customers who purchased a system so they could see the memory expansions available if needed. This is just a standard version and does not have any internal IBM Corp. stickers on it for library reference.
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It's Pac-Man! This was also in the sample container for the internal company disks. There is no proprietary stickers or anything on this disk, and I'm sure it was sold commercially. I can't imagine making a version of Pac-Man and not selling it, actually. I have plugged this version in and booted it and let me tell you, the PCjr version of Pac-Man....is TERRIBLE. Terrible. Slow-moving and clunky, but at least it is better than the VCS edition.
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These two hand-written disks say 'PCjr DOS #1/#2 - DOS w/ Memory Expansion 2.1'. I have yet to try these, but I don't recall DOS 2.1 having memory expansion capabilities. I am not completely sure about that, though, but if that is the case, this is a version of DOS that had some DOS 3.0 features before DOS 3.0 was out, so could likely be a prototype/proprietary version of DOS used by the company internally.
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Also included in the case was just a standard DOS disk. This is just plain vanilla DOS 2.1. I should pop it in and then try out the expansion version to see if there is anything different! Nothing proprietary about this.
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The last piece of software in the IBM Corp box is another hand-written disk for 'PC Color Printer Demonstration'. I asked about this one and it was a simple program that the company whipped up for the sales team to use to demonstrate the top-of-the-line color printer IBM had at the time. It's proprietary software and was never released to the public!
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That's it so far. I will tackle the boxed software next!

#3 monzamess OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:57 PM

Cool! FWIW all the stock drives I've seen are black with the rotating latch--is yours an IBM or aftermarket unit?

I got my first PCjr approx 1985 when my dad and I found one, new in box, for $100 at a clearance sale. They were still worth something (much more than $100) at the time so we jumped on it. I consider it my first "proper" computer.

BTW The game "PC-Man" was the best Pac-Man clone back in the day, IMHO. You can probably find it online.

Edited by monzamess, Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:59 PM.


#4 Cebus Capucinis OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 22, 2009 1:02 PM

Cool! FWIW all the stock drives I've seen are black with the rotating latch--is yours an IBM or aftermarket unit?


I'm not completely sure, actually! The original system that I did get with this auction did have the black rotating latch, but the system was fried beyond repair and I don't know the history of the replacement I have. I have 2 systems sitting in the closet right now -- the original one with the black latch, and another I got from eBay included with the PCjr printer that is a black one with the door like the one I am using on the desk. I'm thinking they were IBM drives, just ones from later in the system.

EDIT: I will be back in a couple hours to start on the boxed software. That's going to be an ordeal because there's tons of pictures per box and there's a lot of detail to be had.

Edited by CebusCapucinis, Tue Dec 22, 2009 1:05 PM.


#5 Cebus Capucinis OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:41 PM

Also included in the box, I forgot to post it, was this little strip of paper for the "PCjr Sampler", whatever that is. I'm guessing it was the disclaimer for the prepackaged software you could purchase with the PCjr.
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The first bit of boxed software is a simple DOS 2.1 bookcase-style box. Nothing too special in here so far as I've seen. Just a standard little DOS 2.1 book with user guides and supplemental programs. I do like the funny little illustrations in the user guide, though.
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Next is a boxed DOS 3.10. Again there's nothing proprietary in it as far as I can see. The guides and everything are here but I think it's pretty nifty to see an 'Exporing the Personal Computer AT' in the disk sleeve in the back. Almost suggesting another sale! The user guide does have a 'NOT FOR SALE' IBM sticker on it with D 132494 on it. I haven't really looked through it so I don't know if there's any publishing differences between the IBM Corp. book and the regular publication.
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The User Guide...now this I asked about. It's so crammed full of stuff it won't even close the binder tabs properly. Apparently this was the internal company version used right before the PCjr was scrapped entirely and as such there is some pretty nifty guides for planned hardware implementation that the company ultimately did not go forward with. I haven't read through it in its entirety but I did notice that they planned on implementing a drawing tablet with some expanded drawing software and a few other things that didn't really see the light of day for the PCjr. Pretty cool to think they were going to make PCjr specific implementations of XT/AT products that never got off the ground.
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Now onto what everyone wants to see....games and utilities!

First up is part of the Private Tutor Series by Test Master called 'Punctuation Skills'. It is used with IBM Private Tutor Program 2.0 and is part of the 'green bar' Education Family of products. IBM color coded their boxes based upon the 'product family' with Green being education and Red being entertainment. The program is copyright 1984 and requires an XT/AT/jr with Private Tutor 2.0, 128Kb of RAM, and comes on two diskettes. The user guide contains another illustrious IBM Corp. DO NOT SELL orange sticker with the library number D 005771.
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The next boxed piece is Comma Cat. Once again part of the 'green label' education family, this game is copyright 1984 IBM Corp. Whereas Punctuation Skills teaches mainly periods, Comma Cat will teach comma usage -- in case you didn't figure that out already. This program is by Control Color Corporation and requires the Electric Poet Program to run. It once again is PC/XT/AT/jr 128Kb but with a single diskette. The orange DO NOT SELL sticker is present on the user guide with library number D 055110.
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Edited by CebusCapucinis, Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:52 PM.


#6 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:50 PM

Interesting stuff. The jr I have has the black rotating-latch drive as well. Though, it's not in the computer now (why, I don't know) and I need to find it. But it was black, and I've never seen another one like yours.

#7 Cebus Capucinis OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 22, 2009 10:08 PM

Huh, strange. I may have to crack mine open and look at the sticker on the top of the drive to see if it's an aftermarket part or something. I got it from the now-defunct Eugene PCjr Club, I can maybe e-mail Louie about it and see if he knows what's up with that.

There are TONS more pictures coming. I have at least 25 boxes of software to go through at 5 pictures each at the very least. Expect a lot of big, big posts. :D




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