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Dripfree

Ugly Classic Computers

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Well we have had a few threads on the "sexy" and best looking old computers. Those were some of my favorite threads. I really enjoyed looking at the pics of all the awesome looking computers. A lot of them I didn't even know existed.

 

I started toying around with this thing again yesterday.

 

F650FDAC-FA78-40B9-97A3-1EE708B965EE_1.j

 

It's a neat little machine but I think its the ugliest computer I own. I know it's made to be totally utilitarian but when you fold up the keyboard it's basically a cinder block with a handle or a "lunch box" which is another nick name for this thing. Setting it up is kinda like playing with the worlds crappiest transformer..... "Look it transforms from a lunch box into a computer!! Well I guess it kinda looks like a computer."

 

Anyway I hope to see some other pics of some purely utilitarian beasts. Maybe even start a little friendly controversy. I've got some more opinions on some ugly old computers that I know some people on here will disagree with but I'm not going to go there just yet, I want to see what else gets posted first.

 

Oh and it's got to be judged on looks alone. Some of the computers I consider ugly I actually enjoy using very much.

Edited by Dripfree

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Even when this thing came out it was a clunky looking metal box. Other computers had molded plastic with round edges and at least made some ATTEMPT at styling, not here! This this always reminded me of early 1970's low-budget bent sheet metal screwed together. It may have been physically tougher, but it sure looked cheap.

 

Kaypro_II_portable_computer_with_dBase_I

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CompuColorII.jpg

 

Compucolor II - we had one at high school. All the innards including floppy drive with astounding 53K capacity are in the monitor. Aside from that, the floppy drive was annoyingly slow which is piss-poor considering it's built in.

 

Keyboard is connected by a flimsy ribbon cable. Uses an Intel 8080 CPU which was cloned/improved on by the immensely more successful Z80.

This system was somewhat buggy - pressing a key while a program was running could cause screen corruption and even weird program behaviour.

 

The text screen was nice - you could have 64x64 characters in 8 colours. The graphics were kinda poor. No sound. Games were somewhat lame, but one we played a lot was Shoot. I took a listing home and converted/improved it for the Atari, available here http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-400-800-xl-xe-shootout_14374.html

Edited by Rybags
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Even when this thing came out it was a clunky looking metal box. Other computers had molded plastic with round edges and at least made some ATTEMPT at styling, not here! This this always reminded me of early 1970's low-budget bent sheet metal screwed together. It may have been physically tougher, but it sure looked cheap.

 

Kaypro_II_portable_computer_with_dBase_I

I actually always loved the look of the Kaypro. :?

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I like the KayPro too. It looks very sci-fi, in a good way. A timeless design. I can't think of any 'ugly' classic computers.

 

Maybe not classic yet, but I found the semi-transparent stuff from apple really ugly:

Clamshell_iBook_G3.jpg

 

 

Edit: I see the styling of the KayPro is the same as the software boxes. Nice touch.

Edited by roland p
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ACC did 2010 on a KP-II. And he wrote a nice piece about the experiences of the day and early BBS'es and how he transfered the manuscript around.

Edited by Keatah

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Looks like a vacuum cleaner. In the years my mind has surpressed the memory of that thing.

 

When I saw that thing as the upgrade for the amiga, I thought, ok, we are screwed...

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ACC did 2010 on a KP-II. And he wrote a nice piece about the experiences of the day and early BBS'es and how he transfered the manuscript around.

Yes! Clarke used the Kaypro in Sri Lanka to exchange files and messages with "2010" director Peter Hyams, who was writing on another Kaypro back in Los Angeles. It was one of the first high-profile creative collaborations to be done long-distance using computers. Their correspondence was edited into a short book, The Odyssey File, which also describes the software they used and how each would directly edit and manipulate files on the other's floppy disks, carefully naming them along the way to keep them in order and to avoid accidental overwrites. Amazing stuff.

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I think there are two different kinds of "ugly" when talking about old computers. The first is the stark, boxy utilitarianism that one sees in a lot of the older computers (like the Kaypro). That kind of "ugliness" doesn't bother me at all; in fact, I find it beautiful and elegant in a way when the form of a machine so directly follows its function. But then there's the kind of "ugliness" that happened a lot later on, when computers tried to be "stylish" and failed miserably. The Amiga machine shown above is a prime example, as are all the rounded, half-melted-looking plastic monstrosities in the late-90s Windows PC world. That I can't stand.

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I can't believe that this by-product of computer buggery has not been mentioned yet.

 

coco1.jpg

 

The only real mistake Tandy made with the CoCo 1-was the exclusion of a sick bag and a blindfold to help with easy operation.

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I can't believe that this by-product of computer buggery has not been mentioned yet.

 

coco1.jpg

 

The only real mistake Tandy made with the CoCo 1-was the exclusion of a sick bag and a blindfold to help with easy operation.

Haha! That was the *first* computer I thought of when I read the subject heading, but after being reminded of how ugly and utilitarian most of the clones were/are - that CoCo looks quite sexy! :lol:

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I like the KayPro too. It looks very sci-fi, in a good way. A timeless design. I can't think of any 'ugly' classic computers.

 

Maybe not classic yet, but I found the semi-transparent stuff from apple really ugly:

Clamshell_iBook_G3.jpg

 

 

Edit: I see the styling of the KayPro is the same as the software boxes. Nice touch.

 

You see that is some ugly-ass design. I like the old, boxy, utilitarian computers. They didn't get in my face with trendy design that looks hilariously out-of-date in a couple years, they had a job to do and they did it. The function of the computer dictated form.

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PMSL. I remember a guy I once worked with brought one of those Apple toilet seat laptops into work, the jokes flew around about that thing.

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I can't believe that this by-product of computer buggery has not been mentioned yet.

 

coco1.jpg

 

The only real mistake Tandy made with the CoCo 1-was the exclusion of a sick bag and a blindfold to help with easy operation.

 

That thing looks like a complicated postal scale! :lolblue:

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CompuColorII.jpg

 

Compucolor II - we had one at high school. All the innards including floppy drive with astounding 53K capacity are in the monitor. Aside from that, the floppy drive was annoyingly slow which is piss-poor considering it's built in.

 

Keyboard is connected by a flimsy ribbon cable. Uses an Intel 8080 CPU which was cloned/improved on by the immensely more successful Z80.

This system was somewhat buggy - pressing a key while a program was running could cause screen corruption and even weird program behaviour.

 

That thing is wonderfully garish-looking! I'm really glad you posted it, though, because something about it is pinging my memory banks...some long-ago experience with a computer with multi-colored keys that felt like they were covered in clear plastic. Can't quite place it, though I don't think it was the Compucolor II (or was it?).

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I was wondering how long it would take for someone to throw in the Color Computer 1...

(Of course, the CoCo is actually awesome-looking, not ugly. :P Ditto for the Kaypro.)

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I was wondering how long it would take for someone to throw in the Color Computer 1...

 

(Of course, the CoCo is actually awesome-looking, not ugly. :P Ditto for the Kaypro.)

Take it on the chin like a man-when it comes to aesthetics, the CoCo1 is truly the elephant man of home computers-rumour has it that there is a 6809 assembly routine that makes the machine emit a sound that sounds a bit like "myyyyy name ishhh Johnnnn Merrrrickshhhh" ;)

I do actually like the updated white version with the "melted" keyboard and am quite partial to the looks of the CoCo 2 and 3.

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I actually liked the form factor of the original CoCo, it was the crappy keyboard that was a big drawback to the machine, but aside from the the form factor looked fine. I have an entire thread dedicated to the bland "Tandy Gray" color, which could have and eventually did get improved. The CoCo 2/3 were very elegant looking. Also, it's not about how the machine looks, it's how it performs. Many of the machines shown were quite good computers even if they looked like crap.

 

Apple these days spends alot of time and money on product design, and Jonny Ive is the rock star of modern industrial design, and all of Apple's products from the iPhone to the iPad to the iMacs to the incredible Mac Pros are beautiful designs.

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While not ugly, I still dislike rounded things, you can't stack stuff on top.

post-4806-0-01990300-1406311289_thumb.jpgpost-4806-0-53284000-1406311289_thumb.jpgpost-4806-0-82387400-1406311290.jpg

 

They tried fixing the boxy shape..

post-4806-0-18601000-1406311288_thumb.jpg

 

Proper square peripheral that you can put stuff on top of.

post-4806-0-31003300-1406311290_thumb.jpg

 

Great living-room centerpiece!

post-4806-0-78269000-1406311606_thumb.jpg

Not!

Edited by Keatah

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CompuColorII.jpg

 

Compucolor II - we had one at high school. All the innards including floppy drive with astounding 53K capacity are in the monitor. Aside from that, the floppy drive was annoyingly slow which is piss-poor considering it's built in.

We had one at my middle school. We mostly had Apple IIs and this one kind of sat in the corner. I had totally forgotten about it until today. The company headquarters was in the same town.

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