8

This relates to a question that was asking for technical details and support on upgrading/repairing non-working floppy drives with a modern GO-TEK in an otherwise retro PC.

Some discussion came up whether this would actually be on topic - it was claimed GOTEK drives would be modern technology, so this would not fall under retro computing.

13

Regardless of what technology is being used to modernize/repair/upgrade an otherwise clearly retro computer, I would assume any question relating to this is on topic for this site. Modernizing a retro computer with modern technology is, in my opinion, preservation of that computer. Even if modern technology is only used to make it more convenient to exchange files with modern media, this still is "retro". Quite a number of commercial and community projects work on such solutions, like GOTEK, SD-IEC for the C64, GOTEK and flash drives for Amigas, M4 boards for Amstrads, or DivMMCs for ZX Spectrums - Should all these be off-topic here? All these projects help users using and preserving old computers in a useful and convenient way, even if they use modern technologies.

12

We have a tag for this (), for which none of the questions are closed, so the consensus appears to be:

Yes

4

Retro-Computing is not simply nostalgia.

There's more to retro-computing than collecting and preserving memorabilia. At a recent Vintage Computer Festival, I met a family who had just designed and built their own 8-bit computer systems.

This kid taught me about the Retro-Brew SBC Boards his father invented

Look into the eyes of this kid. Are we going to tell him that his family is not true "retro-computing" because they decided to use contemporary technology like SD cards? Or, because their computer isn't old? Or, because they are not trying to preserve a classic computer?

No! They're awesome and even inspired me to look further into CP/M, a branch of retro-computing I hadn't explored before. Somebody should give this family an award... In fact, we did: "Best in Show" for their "Retro-Brew Computing: Do-it-Yourself Single Board Computers", as seen here:

Sergey and sons win best in show! Mother not pictured as she's wielding the camera

Retro-computing itself is an open and inviting community. A stackexchange site which attempts to serve that community should not add unnecessary artificial barriers.

3

My thoughts largely reflect my answer to the linked post.

Getting any contemporary technology to work with old, retrocomputing devices is going to require knowledge about the retro device functions, and how it expects to interface with the world. As such, these devices will come partly under our scope, in explaining the operation and "standards" of the retro device.

How the modern device implements these standards isn't really our concern, though, and if they offer new functionality above and beyond what the original device could have done, it's not our place to explain how that new functionality works.

As an example, all but a sentence or two of my linked answer about connecting a pair of gotek drives to a PC would be equally applicable to someone connecting a pair of original floppy drives. I think that's an indicator that the question can be considered on-topic.

1

There are definitely grey areas, but surely the key test is whether the question and answers will be useful to other owners of the retro hardware.

Questions that are low value will sink to the bottom through natural selection, so it doesn't make sense to police the boundaries too strictly.

If another owner of that device searches for a similar issue years later and finds the answer useful then the site has served a purpose.

0

The Question misses the point in not distinguishing between modern technology/devices in general and such made especially for historic hardware. This is fine detail that separates the Gotek from devices like SD-IEC and others made for classic machines.

The Gotek is a generic drive for operating data on solid state storage over a Shugart bus (floppy) interface. An interface not more retro than, lets say a serial interface. One, I assume, we all agree doesn't make a device using it automatic on topic here. Or does it?

Bottom line: Just because something is cool and useful with old computers it will not automatic on topic on RC.SE. It needs to be either retro itself, or stricly dedicaeted for RC use.

Both is not true for the Gotek.

In addition the question is about connecting it to an of shelf PC, so even here is not distinct retro element, as PC boards with floppy interface are still made and sold of the shelf.

  • It doesn't - A 720k Gotek definitively is a device made especially for historic hardware – tofro Mar 31 at 16:03
  • @tofro the same way an arduino is as it contains a serial interface, right? Be serious and use logic, feelings are never a good base for judgement. – Raffzahn Mar 31 at 16:06
  • No single off-the-shelf modern PC is capable of supporting or even connecting to a 720k Gotek. That's a fact. – tofro Mar 31 at 16:10
  • You might want to check facts before claiming them.I just browsed ASUS' website and did find several boards with Floppy and still in production. It's safe to assume other manufacturers do as well. – Raffzahn Mar 31 at 17:03
  • Did you find any 720k drives there? Please read before you write. – tofro Mar 31 at 17:10
  • @tofro You are aware that interface and connector (you asked for) is the very same, right? Just do /N:9 in DOS :)) – Raffzahn Mar 31 at 17:29
  • 1
    @tofro The GoTek is designed for keeping expensive but also aging industrial machines usable. That they work on old "retro" (gah, hate that word) computers is a byproduct and isn't anything that GoTek cares about. – pipe Apr 2 at 9:13
  • @pipe - So what? If it can be used to keep a retro computer alive, I care. People turn their old computer cases back to white using hairdresser's chemicals and I also would see that on-topic regardless of what the ingredients of "retro-brite" were originally meant for. – tofro Apr 2 at 10:48
  • 1
    @tofro you're still failing the point. It isn't about that it can be used with an old computer. It's nature and content of the question. The question asks about configuration of this non-retro (I dislike the word as well) device in one of it standard use cases. Any valid answer will be neither related to any old hardware, nor it's usage, but solely to the modern device and it's setup as intended by manufacturer. It is a support question for this new device and thus not on topic here. It's exactly like asking for the ingredients of retro-brite (whatever that is). – Raffzahn Apr 2 at 11:04

You must log in to answer this question.

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