Ello, Ello, Ello, What’s All This Then?

RetroHQ is an outlet for my pent up obsession for old computer hardware and electronics.

It’s a funny thing, when I look back, my whole interest in computers has been very low level right from the very beginning. I’ve always wanted to know what makes things tick and how I can push them to their limits. It’s a trait which is still very much at the forefront of my personality, and is certainly not just limited to computers — but computers are deep rooted in my psyche.

While I have been hands on with electronics since my early teens or before, it’s only recently I’ve actually had the time and inclination to follow this through into finished products. Programming games, which is my day job, had up until recently been suitably techy enough to keep my inner geek entertained.

“Retro”, What’s That?

RetroDefinitionOddly what sparked my renewed interest was looking back at the old. I’d never been interested “retro” computing, I’d always been very much forward looking and eager to play with new technology. This was up until all new technology just seemed to be the same. Everything had an nVidia or ATI GPU, you programmed through more and more layers of abstraction and that feeling of pushing the limits through really programming close to the hardware just seemed to fade away.

This was the point I started to think it wasn’t such a bad thing to look backwards occasionally.

Gotta Catch ‘Em All!

OldComputerPileMy main passion growing up was Atari. I started off with a couple of Spectrums and a CPC 6128, but my real experience of programming was on the Atari ST. I started off with the STFM, and moved on to an STE (I even bought a Jaguar on launch day!), but that’s really where the diversity ended and the era of PC dominance started. I hadn’t really appreciated how much hardware I’d missed out on at the time, as I was more interested in bigger and better, but the 80’s and 90’s had a plethora of computers and consoles I’d barely experienced. It really was a boom period for computing diversity and innovation.

So now I have the time (well, sortof…) and funds, I like to collect odd bits of hardware from the past which I find somehow interesting, either due to rarity, or just because they are icons of their time. However, one of the issues with old hardware is being able to use them with new technology. TV’s have moved on dramatically since the 90’s and floppy disks no longer really exist any more, so there is a lot of scope for bringing old hardware kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century. There’s not a great deal of point in doing this, mind you, other than that alluring feeling of keeping those old systems alive and supporting those with similar interests. Well, that and its fun, of course…

New for Old

So this brings us to the existence of RetroHQ, a place for me to share my new hardware creations for old computers (and consoles) and generally ramble on about whatever I see fit — although it will mostly be old hardware related. I will endeavour to make all the hardware I create either available for people to buy, or provide the necessary information to allow people to make their own. Or both! Whatever fits.

The purpose of selling these bits of hardware is twofold, really, to support other like minded people who want more up to date functionality for their beloved old hardware, and also to fund my creating more new and exciting hardware add-ons.

Its not cheap amassing all the gear you need to create these kinds of devices, and it certainly takes time, but its something that keeps me entertained. So if it can also be self-funding, then all the better.