Episode 69 – Retro Computing Special With Paul Hagstrom

Welcome to the Citizens of Tech podcast. Today, we have a special for you. Departing from our normal format, we take a look back at tech of the past with this feature show on retro computing.

Our guest is Paul Hagstrom. Paul, if you would, please introduce yourself to the audience.


  1. Let’s define “retro computing.”
  2. Is there a generally accepted line where it’s no longer retro? As in, 486 is retro, but Pentium class is not, or some such arbitrary distinguisher?
  3. Does vintage silicon from the 80’s still function in the present day?
  4. Finding parts for your retro computer of old.
  5. Old media – floppy disks, cassettes, cartridges. Can you still read these things? All part of the experience.
    1. Preservation.
    2. Jason Scott: http://ascii.textfiles.com/archives/3191 (“Floppy Disks: It’s Too Late”)
    3. http://ascii.textfiles.com/archives/5180 (“Please help us track down Apple II collections”)
    4. 4am collection: https://archive.org/details/apple_ii_library_4am
    5. Kyroflux: https://kryoflux.com
    6. SuperCardPro: http://www.cbmstuff.com/proddetail.php?prod=scp
  6. Emulators. Go.
    1. MAME/MESS: http://mamedev.org
    2. Mini vMac: http://www.gryphel.com/c/minivmac/ (68K Mac)
    3. VICE emulator: http://vice-emu.sourceforge.net (Commodore)
    4. AppleWin: https://github.com/AppleWin (Apple II, Windows)
    5. Virtual II: http://www.virtualii.com (Apple II, macOS)
    6. Altirra: http://www.virtualdub.org/altirra.html (Atari 8-bit, Windows)
    7. Stella: https://stella-emu.github.io (Atari 2600)
    8. And many many others.
  7. On the retro computing scene, what are the rare, coveted devices that collectors speak of in hushed tones, hoping to get their hands on?
  8. Niches. Are there retro computing specialties people get into? Like…video cards. Or keyboards.
  9. We live in a world today of incredible computing power and retina screens that make the computing scene of 30+ years ago seem almost comical. And yet…there was much productivity to be had. What, surprisingly, is still really useful from the retro computing age?

Getting involved in the retro computing scene


  1. Retrocomputing Roundtable: http://rcrpodcast.com
  2. Floppy Days: http://floppydays.libsyn.com
  3. Retrobits: http://www.retrobits.com
  4. History of Personal Computing: http://www.historyofpersonalcomputing.com
  5. Apple II: Open Apple: http://www.open-apple.net
  6. Apple III: Drop III Inches: http://drop-iii-inches.com
  7. Atari 8-bit: ANTIC: http://ataripodcast.libsyn.com
  8. Commodore: Chicken Lips Radio: http://www.chickenlipsradio.org
  9. TRS-80: TRS-80 Trash Talk: http://www.trs80trashtalk.com
  10. CoCo: Coco Crew: http://www.cococrew.org
  11. Infocom: Eaten By a Grue: http://monsterfeet.com/grue/


  1. Vintage Computer Festivals, see: http://vcfed.org. 2017 dates.
    1. VCF East (New Jersey, was Mar 31-Apr 2 )
    2. VCF Southeast (Georgia, Apr 29-30)
    3. VCF West (California, Aug 5-6)
    4. VCF Midwest (Chicago, likely September)
    5. VCF Europa (Munich, Apr 29-May 1).
  2. KansasFest: https://www.kansasfest.org July “18”-23 in Kansas City, MO (Apple II centric)
  3. 26th annual last Chicago CoCoFest: http://www.glensideccc.com/cocofest/ (Chicago, was Apr 22-23)
  4. Retrochallenge: http://www.retrochallenge.org


  1. Terry Stewart (Tezza)’s Classic Computing channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/tezzaNZ
  2. Assembly Lines video podcast (Chris Torrence), Apple II focused: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLulp9MiRMeNonsKuYpPBr7QkGRciah7aL
  3. How II video podcast (Charles Mangin), Apple II focused: https://www.youtube.com/user/option8


  1. VCF forum: http://www.vcfed.org/forum/forum.php
  2. AtariAge: http://atariage.com/forums/index.php
  3. Applefritter: http://www.applefritter.com  
  4. Lemon 64 forum: http://www.lemon64.com/forum
  5. ClassicCmp mailing list: http://www.classiccmp.org/lists.html
  6. Comp.sys.whatever, I check in on comp.sys.apple2 with some regularity.


There are a million groups, here are a few:

  1. Apple II Enthusiasts: https://www.facebook.com/groups/5251478676/
  2. Vintage Computer Club: https://www.facebook.com/groups/vintagecomputerclub/
  3. Commodore 64/128: https://www.facebook.com/groups/commodoresixtyfour/
  4. TI 99ers: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2209774843/

Archive.org software library, top level: https://archive.org/details/softwarelibrary


Thanks for listening to Citizens of Tech today. You can follow us on Twitter @citizensoftech, and be sure to visit the /r/citizensoftech sub on Reddit. We post the most interesting stories we find there, and if you upvote them, we’ll talk about them on a future podcast.

Things you want to tell us? Want to share your retro computing story? Did you steal a nuclear football and have to brag about it to someone? Email us – citizensoftech@gmail.com.

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