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Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more…

October 1st, 2012 2 comments

OK, so I have decided to start yet another ‘project’..! Aside from the ongoing restoration of my old Land Rover (see my earlier posts), I am starting the resurrection of a classic computer, notably a D.E.C. PDP-8 ‘Straight Eight’. It has spent the last twenty plus years gathering dust, mold and rust at the back of a garage owned by a late friend of mine.

Here it is, in all its glory…

As you would probably have guessed, it isn’t in the best of conditions. The casing has several cracks and there are a few missing switches on the control panel. There is also considerable corrosion on the wiring loom and connection blocks.

The damage to the control panel…

The damaged outer casing…

On a plus side, it is complete and I have managed to find a good collection of the original documentation. The memory core is also still tightly sealed, so hopefully that should be in good condition.

The core memory module…

A view from the top…

This will be a slow project, for several reasons:

  • I don’t want to screw it up!! They only made ~1400 of this type and I would hate for there to be one less due to my stupidity.
  • This is a learning project, how better to learn about the inner workings of a computer than by rebuilding one.
  • This particular machine has a good deal of history attached to it (see first point).
  • It belonged to a dear friend of mine and I would like to do him proud…

There will be more to follow soon, plus hopefully a little bit of the back history.

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Playing DVDs with Ubuntu Desktop (10.10)…

August 2nd, 2011 No comments

This is more of an aide-mémoire for me than a public guide. If it is helpful for other people then I am happy to make it available. If anyone has any comments or suggestion please contact me.

. . .

After installing Ubuntu Desktop (10.10) you need a few extra packages to read/play DVDs. These packages are provided by: http://www.medibuntu.org/

First thing to do is open up a terminal window and add the new source locations to APT:

$ sudo wget http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/hardy.list -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list

Then update APT and install the mediabuntu keyring:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install medibuntu-keyring
$ sudo apt-get update

Then install the required packages:

$ sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2

(Optionally) Install the w32 codecs to support (wmv, quicktime, realplayer):

$ sudo apt-get install w32codecs

If you haven’t already done so install VLC (the absolute king of media players):

$ sudo apt-get install vlc

If all went well you should now be able to play DVDs…

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Categories: Computer Hardware, DVD, Films, Linux, Ubuntu Tags: