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Nathan

RetroChallenge

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So, whatever happened to RetroChallenge? The website is just sort of gone and there's nothing on the Twitter since February.

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It's more the fact that 10 year old hardware isn't retro, it's in the trailing edge of modern. The really old stuff will struggle to do the things people expect today (mostly internet stuff, and internet stuff uses modern crypto and protocols) without a helper machine or phone, either of which is probably cheating.

 

RetroChallenge moved to more of a "do neat stuff" with old computers, over the endurance challenge it once was. And you don't need a body for that...

Edited by IPalindromeI

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RetroChallenge is typically done in January and July. I would expect to see them start to do stuff with it.

 

When it was first started in either 2003 or 2004, it was "haha, see what you can do with a 6100" which even then wasn't.... toooo much of a stretch if you put 9.1 on it and you had a G3 upgrade, maybe a lot of RAM, and possibly either a file server or a big SCSI disk installed.

 

Today, ten year old machines are a lot less of a stretch. For reference, in 2006 you could buy dual-core notebooks with support for "about 3.5" gigs of RAM (on the Intel i945 chipset) and SATA disks. On the desktop side of things, you're looking at really fast Pentium 4s on 915-945 chipsets with similar "about 3.5 gigs" usable RAM ceilings, plus support for even newer graphics cards via PCIe slots.

 

On the Mac side of things, you won't get the most recent version of OS X on that hardware without basically hackintoshing it, but a lot of people say that 10.5 and 10.6 are still perfectly usable online. It depends on what you are doing. Except for online work, there's no reason I couldn't do my photo and video editing and all of that on a good G4 or G5 in 10.4-10.5 and contemporary apps.

 

"Do neat stuff" (that and, do it with computers that are now more than ten years old) is a more realistic overall idea for RC, I think. That said, it really split out and started doing its own thing pretty soon after being launched. This subforum is mainly here for vestigial reasons.

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I was mostly curious if the efforts at an organized compilation of the people doing stuff and the website were ever coming back (they seem to be gone atm). The forums, from what I've seen weren't really part of it beyond announcements and the occasional query about things concerning hardware and software.

 

I agree in principle. I'd miss seeing the really interesting stuff (which is all the old and slowly failing computers), but setting a hard limit for retro is silly since the term is fluid to a point and Pentium 4s likely aren't in the average child's experience at this point.

 

---

 

I wish my 6100 could do that kind of stuff. :( I think I have a PPC upgrade somewhere (just the board+heatsink), but the hard drive died and it only had 72 mb ram I think.

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I mean, in 2003 a 6100 could do that stuff. Today, it's almost better reserving "play with Classic Internet stuff" for the fastest G3s and G4s you can find, or not at all, because so few web sites render well on browsers that are available for OS 9 and older.

 

Heck, in 2001-2002, a lot of stuff still worked well on pretty good '040-based Macs. I had a Quadra 840av with 48M of RAM I was running IE4/OE4 on, along with AIM and a few other things, and it was slower than a more current Mac, but it basically did everything.

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I was still using a Mac Plus routinely for email in 2001. Ah, how times have caught up with us...

 

I actually think a good "retro challenge" would be LIVING like you did in, say, 2001. No social media, no smart phones, texting limited to the laborious feats we had to pull off on keypads, and definitely no high-resolution streaming video (Netflix, YouTube, etc are all out). Bonus if you use period-specific hardware.

 

I just may have to try that. Can my old Tangerine iBook be my #1 again for a while? Can I get my old flip phone working again? Better yet, can I source a phone that's actually fifteen years old?

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Honestly not being able to use the internet on these machines is, in some waus, really more of a software than a hardware issue in a lot of cases. Operating Systems that recieve no updates or bugfixes can quickly become mired in known problems not to mention buggy drivers and very old browsers. If any of us had the skill/knowledge/time to write new software more use could be made of them I'm sure. Not that it would necessarily be worth the effort. On top of the basic problems, expired SSL certificate make accessing HTTPS sites virtually impossible (and such sites are common today) and many sites are extremely content heavy with little in the way of user control. Add to that the use of tons of javascript (burdening older interpreters that can't handle new stuff and may not be able to fail gracefully), heavy image/video/audio burdens, and the transition to HTML5 and CSS3? and it's just way too much. Most of these machines could probably handle sites with less fancy javascript and limited per page multimedia content provided you were willing to wait a bit and you didn't mind having only a few tabs open.

 

TL;DR Multimedia content, secured websites, and computer use habits are the chief  culprits besides old hardware and software. Or at least it seems that way.

 

I was still using a Mac Plus routinely for email in 2001. Ah, how times have caught up with us...

 

I actually think a good "retro challenge" would be LIVING like you did in, say, 2001. No social media, no smart phones, texting limited to the laborious feats we had to pull off on keypads, and definitely no high-resolution streaming video (Netflix, YouTube, etc are all out). Bonus if you use period-specific hardware.

 

I just may have to try that. Can my old Tangerine iBook be my #1 again for a while? Can I get my old flip phone working again? Better yet, can I source a phone 

 

Might as well make that 'RetroCHALLENGE' since going without social media, smart phones, and texting would be a lot for some people. Frankly, just having to watch Youtube in 320p?, 480p regardless of the available resolution would be lesson in how things used to be.

Edited by Nathan

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Ooh, I've got another thing to add to that...to make it a true challenge...and a little game if a bunch of people wanted to get in on that.

 

Back when texting was new, it was usually 50 cents per message. As a workaround for not being able to find a good old phone, how about this...

 

Every text message costs 50 cents to send.

Each 50 cents for each text message goes into a pool.

He who sends the fewest texts wins the pool.

 

This would also go to show the kiddos out there how much we used to spend on texting. (You could do the same for long distance calls). 

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That's the reality still in many countries, and hence why many services like WhatsApp have become popular.

 

This [the post above] will also probably make you lose a few friends ;)

Edited by IPalindromeI

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Greetings

 

I'm the organiser of Retrochallenge, so hopefully will be able to add some info to this thread.

 

You must have hit the website whilst I was moving it between hosts. The website is back up at http://retrochallenge.org/

 

Dale, the Twitter Monkey ran the competition with myself for ten years. We ourselves had inherited the competition. Over the course of the last few we had both lost some of the enthusiasm that had kept it such a successful endevour, so after January's competition we decided to hang up our hats and find some replacement organisers. This was after the announcement that if we were to continue we would move the competition to October and April.

 

http://www.wickensonline.co.uk/retrochallenge-2012sc/passing-the-baton/

 

I've indicated that I am still happy to run the website if no-one steps up to take over this October. If anyone fancies the challenge please contact me - the website can stay put if required as has been for the past few years.

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Regarding Scott & NATHAN's comments

 

I was still using a Mac Plus routinely for email in 2001. Ah, how times have caught up with us...

 

I actually think a good "retro challenge" would be LIVING like you did in, say, 2001. No social media, no smart phones, texting limited to the laborious feats we had to pull off on keypads, and definitely no high-resolution streaming video (Netflix, YouTube, etc are all out). Bonus if you use period-specific hardware.

 

I just may have to try that. Can my old Tangerine iBook be my #1 again for a while? Can I get my old flip phone working again? Better yet, can I source a phone that's actually fifteen years old?I

 

I had a go at this back in 2009 with a VAXstation: http://wickensonline.co.uk/retro/index.html what I found was that using the internet is like an addiction. To start with you get serious withdrawals, then after a while you relax and get used to the lack of distractions. I'm quite sure people are 50% more productive because of the internet and useful information and 50% less productive because of the internet and the constant power of distraction!

Edited by urbancamo

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urbancamo,

 

I've always been partial to the winter-warmup myself, sad to see it go.  My biggest issue is that with everyone moving from blogs to twitter, the experience suffered for me.

 

So what kinds of things do you need from people?  You've asked for help running the October challenge but it's not clear to me what that entails.  I'm willing to donate some time.

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I was still using a Mac Plus routinely for email in 2001. Ah, how times have caught up with us...

 

 

Wow... Yea the times have caught up. Back in 2001 I was rocking a 700Mhz Duron with 128MB of RAM, 10GB HDD, a Voodoo3 which I think I just upgraded to a Voodoo4. Windows 98, and Quake 3 Arena. WEEEEEE those were the days. I think the switch to DSL happened for me right around that same time period. But I cant recall. 

 

I had just bought that system in the summer of 01, replacing the 200Mhz Pentium with Win 98 that I had. 

 

Could I re-live 2001? Probably. It was a much better time period for me anyways honestly. Went to school, Got home and just browsed the internet, ebay, and listen to internet radio streams through WinAmp. Then I had obtained a free Beige G3 shortly after that which was my 2nd computer. Computer #1 would hit up Scour Media Exchange or Kazaa and download/burn CDs, while I was using Computer 2 to stream music or browse the web.

 

This was before computers got powerful enough to do all that in 1 system with dual monitors.

 

Once I got my 700Mhz machine, Video games became a large staple of my time. 

 

These days? I basically do the same thing. Come home from work, browse the internet, check ebay, and listen to internet radio. Only change is Monitor #1 streams netflix, etc... 

Edited by techknight

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Yeah, as late as 2001, I was using an SE/30 as a primary web/email machine. (It fit in a nook in the dining room perfectly, so I used it as my "breakfast news and email" system.)

 

At the time, it had been off the market almost exactly 10 years. It was decidedly "an antique". Equally old now is a first-generation MacBook Pro. Doesn't feel as "antique", yet it's about the same from a usability perspective.

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2000/2001 you could get compact macs by the dozens in the thrift stores. I found a complete LCII system with monitor keyboard and mouse for $25 one time. 

 

Oh.... how I miss those days... 

Edited by techknight

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