Tag Archives: Computer

Insane in the mainframe

Regular readers may have concluded long ago that The Brothers Brick are just a bunch of old farts who are obsessed with Miami Vice, Ataris, and Hammer pants. And you’d be right. So I’m gonna worsen that stereotype and take you back to an even older, fartier era when men were men and computers were, well, absolutely enormous:

LegoJalex‘s recreation of a vintage NCR Century Series mainframe reminds us of an era when computers had to be kept in specially cooled rooms, and one IBM executive famously predicted “there is a world market for maybe five computers”. Extra points (and a tube of Prep H) to anyone that can correctly identify any of the components represented in the scene above!

And to round off our little 70’s nostalgia trip, here’s a BONUS ITEM from the same builder: an adorable microscale version of the classic LEGO set 381 Police Headquarters. Ah, it’s like my 5th birthday all over again!

 

…can you dig it?

You never forget your first

Chris McVeigh (powerpig) has made something of a specialty in must-have, palm-sized LEGO models of retro technology. His body of work includes some iconic videogame consoles, cameras, phones, televisions and even kitchen appliances (but thankfully no fax machines yet).

In my opinion though, his latest creation – the very first Apple home computer – tops even his amazingly popular Apple Mac. But then I’m biased, because this was the first computer I ever owned! He’s nailed it, right down to the dual floppies, side vents and internal card layout. And the addition of custom printed bricks by customBricks for the screen really brings the whole thing to life.

But fear not, fellow old-timers, you don’t have to just gaze longingly at these wonderful images. Get your nostalgia on, and head over to Chris’s website where you can download instructions for many of his creations, or even order them as kits. And you won’t even have to send a check in the mail…

Isn’t modern technology wonderful?!

Bletchley Park’s Boffins

Much has been written about how mathematicians, who worked at Bletchley Park in the UK, broke the Enigma codes, thereby playing a significant role in defeating Nazi Germany’s U-boats. However, apart from aficionados of computer history or WW-II buffs, few people know about another part played by the scientists and engineers at Bletchley Park. In order to break the so-called Lorentz encryption, used by the German army, the boffins built the Colossus computer. As part of a series of models about British history, James Pegrum (peggyjdb) has built a scene depicting the Colossus Mk.2, as used at Bletchley Park on the eve of the D-Day Normandy landings.

Size Isn’t Everything

Even though the project remained largely unknown for decades, mainly because it was classified, Colossus is significant as the World’s first programmable digital computer.

Many thanks to Richard Selby for the heads up.

Lovely LEGO Apple II Plus even has an interior

We often admire buildings and spaceships for having a “detailed interior,” but it’s not often I get to say that about a LEGO computer. This Apple II Plus (or Apple ][+ if you want to get technical) by Chiu-Kueng Tsang (chiukeung) certainly recreates the look of this classic computer from the era before Apple made its first Mac.

LEGO Apple II Plus

But I’m most impressed that Chiu-Kueng even built the internal hardware — perhaps a bit of that whopping 48 KB of RAM.

LEGO Apple II Plus interior

Thanks to John Baichtal over at MAKE for the tip!