A table of contents to allow me to keep this chronological:
- 1 Jan, 2014 The plan
The plan isn’t foolproof. For it to work, certain things must happen. But the plan is at its essence to try to get the IXO Telecomputer and its peripherals running.
I recently came into possession of an IXO Telecomputer TC-102 and what I believe to be the full set of the peripherals ever released for it.
When this set came up on eBay, I’d already done some of the research into the IXO Telecomputer before, because I have two other Telecomputer units, a TC-101 with a box and all its manuals, and a TC-200 with a “Metromedia” mark on the front.
I don’t know much yet about what differentiates the three models, but I have the documentation that came with the TC-101. It is scanned here.
- The IXO Telecomputing System – Users manual
- IXO – warranty registration card
- IXO Telecomputing System – brochure
- Reprints of press reviews: Wall Street Journal, MISWeek, and Datamation
- IXO – module information sheets
- IXO – Tymnet telephone directory (scan coming soon)
- IXO – accessories brochure (scan coming soon)
- IXO – battery/cord order form and data downloading service insert (scan coming soon)
Apart from the pictures in the brochures and a couple of very small pictures in reproduced/scanned magazine articles, there really wasn’t much out there documenting the complete IXO system. So, one of the goals of this project is to document what I can of the peripherals as well.
So what is the IXO Telecomputer? It is essentially a little terminal with a built-in modem that allows you to connect to remote machines. So that is challenge number two, after cleaning everything up and connecting it. There’s nothing to dial into anymore, but the terminal doesn’t do very much until it connects. So, first I want to see if I can just connect it over the phone line to something on the other end (with a 300 baud modem). Challenge number three is to figure out what it is expecting to hear over the line. When you connect this thing at first, it expects you to connect with the IXO Access Center over Tymnet. There, you register (entering your name, address, mother’s maiden name, birthplace, date and place of telecomputer purchase, serial number, and a password). And then it receives some kind of communication that will provide the local password lock and some login scripts for certain online databases.
Trying to get this thing actually online with a machine of mine at the other end is going to prove challenging. When I get further into this project, particularly if I get stuck, I have at the back of my mind the possibility of attempting to contact the creator of the system, who happens to be in the Boston area and might have either some memory of the protocols or some internal documentation describing it. But I want to do my homework first before attempting that, and that part may well be after the end of the Retrochallenge Winter Warmup.
So, here I will document what I do on this project, with the hopes that I will actually do something on this project beyond this initial write-up. I know for certain that I will only be able to work on it during the second half of January, so no need for concern when it becomes clear that there have not been any updates for a couple of weeks after this posting. That was part of the plan.