Cool PDP mainframe photos!

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Bill Loguidice
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I assume, but don't know for

I assume, but don't know for sure, that white-on-black came about due to the flickery nature of CRT's. The Macs had a high refresh rate (72 Hz?) to alleviate this & allow for white backgrounds.

Bill Loguidice
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Screens
Matt Barton wrote:

I'm not sure which one I prefer. I guess I could handle all of them, though I am most familiar with the green ones, of course. The amber screens on the PLATO emulator seem to work well; definitely a "warmer" color than green or white. I was a big fan of white text on black for a long time, but now shy away from it.

Yeah, it's funny how white on black from days of yore are now black on white in terms of text. Not sure why, but it's no doubt a preferential visual thing for the eyes. I certainly am accustomed now to nice, bright screens, with white backgrounds over dark backgrounds, that's for sure.

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Matt Barton
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I'm not sure which one I

I'm not sure which one I prefer. I guess I could handle all of them, though I am most familiar with the green ones, of course. The amber screens on the PLATO emulator seem to work well; definitely a "warmer" color than green or white. I was a big fan of white text on black for a long time, but now shy away from it.

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Bill Loguidice
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davyK wrote:

I just found that amber on black was easier on the eye. I was writing code as a full time job and it was just easier on the eye for me. Most people had green screens but I was lucky enough to get amber. I just liked the colour better too.

I think I remember reading somewhere that optically it was better for your eyes - can't reference that or anything of course.

I always heard green was better myself, though like I said, I was never a fan of green screens. I always found black and white the most comfortable, which is one reason why I prefer my TRS-80 Model 4 with black and white screen over the one with the green screen. Of course green screens were huge on the Apple II. I always thought amber was crisper. Probably when it all comes down to it, whether or not green was better than either amber or black and white (I think there may have been a few other tints over the years), there was probably a practical reason for so many green screens back then, like it being easier and cheaper to produce or something. I'd love to know the full story, though it's admittedly a peculiar curiosity.

The paper white VGA screens always intrigued me as well, sort of a sharper riff on the classic Mac screens, though those have more of a bluish tint. Of course the paper white hi-res VGA screens were during the era of ubiquitous color, so I never got a chance to personally spend much time with one.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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davyK
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I just found that amber on

I just found that amber on black was easier on the eye. I was writing code as a full time job and it was just easier on the eye for me. Most people had green screens but I was lucky enough to get amber. I just liked the colour better too.

I think I remember reading somewhere that optically it was better for your eyes - can't reference that or anything of course.

Bill Loguidice
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Your preference for Amber,

Your preference for Amber, was that a one-off thing, meaning that in this case the amber was better than green, or did you prefer amber over green in general? Personally I always preferred black and white, amber and then green (in that order).

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davyK
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The first linked image - it

The first linked image - it looks like a VT420 or maybe a VT440 terminal sitting on the right. I used those when I used to program DEC VAX machines in COBOL.

The amber display was far better than the green - the 440 was dual session - you could log in twice at the one terminal which was handy for debugging.

The big terminal on the left looks like a VT100 - I used those at technical college. The Digital video terminals had optional pixel scrolling which was super smooth....

I used these until PCs got decent VT emulation. I used Powerterm and KEAterm. I preferred KEA as it had a full featured scripting language you could use for all sorts of purposes. I even had graphical windows fronting the character-based screens with data passing between them This technique was(is!) called screen scraping and it was a good way of modernising the look of old character-based user interfaces.

This technique is still used today by middleware packages to integrate old systems with modern technology.

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