Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Introduction

Welcome to the COREDUMP.COM historical site. This domain was established in the Summer of 1985 during the pre-Internet era and before Networks Solution Inc. received their mandate from IANA to rip us off by charging money for domain name registration.

The early version of our hardware was an AMD-powered 386 prototype board running at a clock frequency of 5 MHz running a very slim version of the BSD386 operating system. Eventually, this hardware was converted to a dedicated, stand-alone, floppy-based router. This piece of computer hardware served in this function 24/7 over the next 10 years with very few service interruptions.

Computer payload traffic was limited those days mostly to email and Usenet interest-based group discussions. Occasionally we used Telnet to help each other solve technical problems, remotely. Those were the days when trust and cooperation served as the basis for advancing the art and engineering of computing. The spirit of participating in a shared goal that exceeded what each of us could achieve on our own would eventually lead to technological advancements that exceeded our wildest expectations.

In 1986 I started working at the National Semiconductors Portland Development Center (PDC) as a senior systems developer. Consequently, the next hardware powering COREDUMP.COM became a one-of a kind engineering prototype of a 32-bit computer, using a National Semiconductor Corp. NS-32032 as the application processor and NS-32016 as the I/O processor.

National Semiconductor NS 32032 Silicon
Die
The hardware platform was given the code name was "ORCA". Since I could not control my urges to "mod" the computer, I ended up overclocking the main processor to a whooping 13.56 MHz... :) (up from the nominal frequency of 10 MHz). To achieve this "unbelievable" performance gain I actually used a Radio Shack crystal that was originally meant to be used for CB Channel-5. The system's main clock generator was modified to provide a stable waveform at the desired new frequency. To mark the successful performance upgrade, I renamed the new computer node channel-5.coredump.com...

The operating system used by this "beefy" new system was Genix, a customized version of Bell Labs UNIX System 5 Verions 4, otherwise known as SVR4.
National Semiconductor NS 32032 CPU Package
(Note the "-10" designation for a 10 MHz system clock specification)

Communication with other participating computing nodes on our improvised communication network was achieved using dial-up lines with standard telephone-based modems. We started with 1200 baud modems and soon upgraded to 9600 baud. When modem technology improved, we upgraded to 14,400 baud and eventually to 56k Baud. Due to to the fact that most of our collaborators lived in the Pacific Northwest our volunteer based networks was appropriately named RAIN.NET

Without a doubt, the person that we all owe thanks for in facilitating our volunteer based computer network is Alan Batie. Alan volunteered to provide a stable base in Portland, Oregon that would serve as a communication hub for the rest of us, computer hackers.

See Alan's historical web site at: https://alan.batie.org/.

To be continued...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please enter your comment here...