Hmmm, from my menu of choices for a RetroChallenge project for this July, the ship has hit a few icebergs already…

Museum Blues

Galaxy Pressed may well be a non-starter, looks like I am 10 years too late: obtaining a 30+ year-old Sun SS600-series mainboard for less than an arm and two legs is already impossible. After spending 10 days trawling online, phoning friends, looking up previously-used suppliers, deep delving ex-Government and ex-military equipment disposal companies, posting on numerous newsgroups, retrocomputing-forums, and even pestering private collectors and musuems, a blank is all that can be drawn. Even those equipment-warehousing organisations that have them in stock won’t let them go for (quote) “less than museum prices, due to rarity”.

Sigh. And as for a 3-slot Sun-9U VME enclosure, the situation is even worse: not at *any* price.

It is doubly frustrating as these items could be picked-up on eBay 15 years ago, for a reasonable price.

Looks like I have missed the boat, but I still have a couple of pies with a finger in, so with one day to go before RetroChallenge starts, I’m hanging on in hope, like a darned fool…

Wrong End of The Stick

BASIC Distinct also has issues as a project idea: although I have not downloaded FreeBASIC source yet (after all the competion has not started!), just reading about other people looking into porting FreeBASIC away from x86-land, even for the C-generator back-end, it looks like a ***lot*** of work, which kind of spoils the whole idea, which was to spend time messing about with BASIC, rather than spending the whole month *implementing* BASIC to play with… There are alternatives to FreeBASIC for this project, but none of them looks very promising from the requirement of (mostly) QuickBASIC language compatibility.

Dead Trees Society

As my better half pointed out, the idea of documenting a single personal story about a particularly insane computer mass-storage journey should really be done as a book in dead-tree format if I want it to be really retro. I’m not convinced, but I am now starting to doubt myself on this one!

Chin Up and Drink Up

Which only leaves the “messing around with a 68hc11 single-board computer” as the only project idea that still has all it’s legs intact. I have ordered a second-hand Motorola 68hc11 EVBU (68hc11 evaluation-board SBC), hope it arrives without delay – on this particular rock, you usually need to add an extra day or two for postal deliveries.

So welcome to my project for RetroChallenge 07/15: “Evie Beer”, or how to mess about with a retro chip-eval board, and both celebrate and despise the 68hc11.

Of course, I might just change project mid-challenge, should the Gods smile on me!