Retrocomputing pranks - roundup of April Fool posts

Here’s HP’s prank - an offer for the programmable desktop from 1968, the HP 9100A/B. Only $4900. (Not actually for sale)

Deal of the day. Was $4900. HP 9100A/B

Photo of programmable desktop calculator with late-1960’s styling.

Notable features mentioned:
3.25 inch by 4.75 inch green CRT display
Printed circuit board ROM
40 pounds (with feather symbol)
Magnetic card reader

footnote: was introduced in 1968 at $4900

footnote: not actually for sale anymore

What did you find - or post - with a retrocomputing angle, yesterday?


Not really retrocomputing related, but at least to any forum issues:

RFC 8962, Establishing the Protocol Police (1 April 2021)

And, well, there had been one on my own blog:


Now, why might a ten-cart accessory have 21 buttons???

(BTW, the BBC Micro as equipped with a Raspberry-Pi based second processor can now run a PDP-11 model, and there is a BBC Basic port to this model. There could, possibly, be a unixy world in there, if it could conform to the API that the Beeb offers. Which is to say, I’m sure it could be done, but I believe it to be non-trivial, and probably would be low performance.)

Hint: Most PDP-11s have 21 console switches…

Regarding ARM-enhanced BBC Micros, it’s much the same with the Atari 2600: there are cartridges which run an ARM processor and an obscene amount of memory by bank switching. In essence, the Atari 2600 is then just a quirky terminal.
BTW, the Spectravision CompuMate was real and it ran BASIC!

(For the nasty details: The problem with any Atari 2600 enhancements is that the cartridge port does not include an address write signal. Therefore, you have to come up with a convention were selecting a particular address (for read or write) substitutes the wirite signal for the next address select. This is usually used for bank switching. However, there were contemporary enhanced cartridges with a processor, either for sound or for churning out a byte stream at a particular address to achieve some graphics that wouldn’t have been possible when having to loop over these bytes in a conventional way. Pitfall II is an example for this. Running BASIC from the CompuMate was quite an achievement.)

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P.S.: For the real thing (Spectravideo CompuMate for the Atari 2600: keyboard, 16KB BASIC ROM, 2K RAM, additional 2-channel sound chip; 1983), see