Mystery in the Digital Sandbox

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005
Things have been quite busy for me, here in the Digital Sandbox; I'm getting ready to deploy a productivity enhancement system for a client's organization, complete with document imaging, distributed action management, and full wireless access using a Treo 650, SprintPCS, and Pylon Anywhere. Right now, I'm buried in wires, software, and product manuals.  (I know, a "Productivity Enhancement System" sounds like an offer for a vitamin pill or something you might expect to read in a spam email. It's not. If you knew what's going into this box, you'd want one. But that's a blog entry for another day.)

Since I don't have much time to invite guests over to the Digital Sandbox I thought I'd treat you to a mystery tour and see if you can identify the object in the photo.

I'll start by posting a close-up of something. Then, I'll ask for folks to see if they can identify what the item is and tell me what they know about it. The more "mature" readers of this blog may even remember using some of the items that I'll post here. If no one comes close, then I'll zoom out or add other hints.

Today's photo:


I'll give you a hint: it's a keyboard of some kind. That much is obvious, but what is it?  What is it a part of?  How old is it? How is/was it used? Did you/do you ever have one?

What can you tell me about this?

NOTE: If you have already been over to play in my Digital Sandbox, then you've already seen this. I ask you to kindly refrain from commenting for 48 hours.  Let's have some fun with this. Thanks.

I look forward to reading your comments. If there's continued interest, I'll post some more photos in the coming weeks, as time permits.

Discussion/Comments (9):

Mystery in the Digital Sandbox

Hey Eric -- how come you didn't show this to me last time I was in Pine Mountain Club? I don't know what it is, but I know what it's trying to accomplish -- hexidecimal input. But to what?

Posted at 09/14/2005 15:26:19 by Robert

re: Mystery in the Digital Sandbox

Robert, it was sitting on the counter behind where you sat.

You have an open invitation for you to come up to PMC and spend a day in the Digital Sandbox.

You're right about the Hexadecimal keypad part. In fact all share a clue: if you look closely, you'll see that the key tops are stickers - I upgraded it from the original Octal keypad. Don't let this throw anyone off, however, it does not change what it is and what it does and what it's attached to.


Posted at 09/14/2005 17:45:00 by Eric Mack

Mystery in the Digital Sandbox

I'm guessing it's the keypad from a Heathkit robot. It was used to program/control the robot. I'm guessing the age to be late 70's to early 80's. I never owned one personally, but have seen one.

Posted at 09/14/2005 18:39:02 by Cary Phillips

Mystery in the Digital Sandbox

Although it could also be an original Heathkit computer...

Posted at 09/14/2005 18:49:57 by Cary Phillips

Mystery in the Digital Sandbox

Motorola CPU32 instructions? On an Amiga?

Posted at 09/14/2005 20:21:37 by Chris

Mystery in the Digital Sandbox

Link to a "Heathkit H-8 Digital Computer" which has the same keyboard...

{ Link }

The emulator picture has better resolution of the keyboard.

Let's see if Eric downloads it and blogs about getting it to work on his tablet! It will surely be one heck of an acronym.

Posted at 09/15/2005 7:06:32 by Chris

Mystery in the Digital Sandbox

Did the Heathkit come with recovery disks?

(Sorry Eric - couldn't resist - had a blowout on my M205 drive this weekend - same blasted thing too - missing or corrupt file - I felt your pain bro.)

Posted at 09/15/2005 8:29:54 by Walter

You guessed it, Chris!

Nice work. I'll post an update with full photos this evening.

Posted at 09/15/2005 19:22:00 by Eric Mack

Yes, Walter, Heathkit included recovery disks

Check back in a bit for details

Posted at 09/15/2005 19:23:00 by Eric Mack

Discussion for this entry is now closed.