Tuesday, March 1, 2011

An Auction, an RS-232 monitor and an Apple Lisa

My father called and told me that GTE was auctioning off old equipment. Me and my friend Ray took a break from work in the middle of the day to see if there was anything useful we could use at the factory. There was.

A piece of equipment about the size of a small benchtop oscilloscope caught our attention. It had a 5 inch CRT display, a flat panel keyboard on the front next to the screen and a ribbon cable with a pass-through 25-pin D connector. It was an RS-232 monitor! When I realized what it was I had to have it for a project at work. The idea is that you place this device between devices and it allows you to spy on data that goes back and forth over the serial line. It displayed data in both directions, and you could see it as text or hexadecimal. The price? If I remember correctly I paid $35 for it. Amazing!

I also managed to buy an Apple Lisa computer for $25, but it didn't come with a keyboard. Luckily I noticed the keyboard on a palette of keyboards. I talked to the fellow who won that palette and convinced him that the Lisa keyboard wasn't valuable to him without the computer, and he let me have it.

This was a huge win. I still have the Lisa computer.

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