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IBM PS/2 - The Beginning

11 Oct 2018

An IBM PS/2 model 50 computer showed up on Kijiji about a week ago and I knew I had to have it. For only 20 Canadian rupees, I got a 286-based machine with one megabyte of RAM. Its 40MB hard drive was blank, and I do not have a floppy drive, so I can't create a 16 bit boot disk.

Surprisingly, though, it still boots - there is a BASIC interpreter stored on ROM. I never learned BASIC, but the language was intuitive, and I only used a minimal amount of documentation. I manually retyped a mandelbrot generator I found on github, which worked perfectly! Unfortunately, the built in interpreter only supports 4 colours - which I configured wrong, resulting in a monochrome program output - and I only allowed it to run for about 3 hours.

I also wrote my own BASIC program to generate Serpinski Triangles. This only took a handful of code, and was surprisingly quick, generating a recognizable image in a few seconds! The below image was generated in about a minute.

I have a lot of work to do. I am working on sourcing a CRT monitor, to make the experience more authentic, and I will have to get a PS/2 keyboard from home, as I am borrowing one from a professor. I have one at home, but did not bring it to university with me. I would also like to build my own MCA card, although I'm not sure what for(maybe ethernet), and solid state drive. I may end up porting SteveOS to 16 bit, or create a new OS entirely. At the very least, I would like to get something DOS based for the short term. A dot matrix printer would also help complete the system!