Related: What constitutes "retro"?

Which kind of machines and software do we consider on topic?

Are programmable calculators part of this site? What about electronic typewriters (some of them were actually sophisticated)? Punch card mainframes? Jaquard looms (ducks)? What about IoT appliances? Can they eventually become "retrocomputing" material?

The answer might well be "all of them", but I think it's worthwhile making the choice explicit on meta.

  • 1
    Has this come up on the site? We've been veering away somewhat from hypothetical-problem discussions because either the problem never turns up in actual practice or the rules list grows beyond what is actually useful for the site. Just a tip from your friendly neighborhood CM. Apr 20 '16 at 16:28
  • @RobertCartaino it's excellent advice. I do have some questions about old programmable calculators, I thought i'd ask here first (but I didn't want to make this specific to my case).
    – Sklivvz
    Apr 20 '16 at 16:34
  • 1
    Sklivvz, I don't know (personally) if programming calculators fade into "not considered contemporary to what is modernly available" (I still use my HP 15C every day), but if you have a question that folks might like to see from "the good old days" of programming calculators, I would just go ahead and ask it. [Incidentally, I suspect these should be on topic, much like our very loose interpretation of "hardware" on our Hardware Recs site. Apr 20 '16 at 16:43
  • 1
    What about game consoles? There are already a few questions about nintendo consoles and game boys, is that kind of old hardware also on-topic? Where do we want to draw the border to unsupported electronic devices? Apr 20 '16 at 16:47
  • @ByteCommander this is the exact reason I came to meta, Consoles seem really out of place, it's not a "retro machine" SE site so I was really unsure on what exactly is considered on topic. retrocomputing.stackexchange.com/questions/2/… newest question as of right now with 9 upvotes has to do with NES cartridges.. hardly retro computing imo.
    – Loktar
    Apr 20 '16 at 16:54

Generally speaking, we are trying to forego a lot of hypothetical-problem discussion before they become a problem in actual practice.

But for now, I would keep the definition of "computing" equally broad to our initial definition of "retro.". If the hardware is generally related to (and of interest to) folks interested in "computers", I would allow it. Gaming consoles, calculators, peripherals… it all sounds good to me.

If you're looking for an acid test for what might work here, I would consider two issues:

  1. Is this an item that would widely be considered not contemporary to what is widely available?
  2. Would a reasonable person consider this a piece of hardware, software, or closely related item that this audience would revel in as something from "the good old days of {x}."

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .