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X > XEROX  > 8 / 16


 

This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Xerox  8 / 16 computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message! For other purposes like sales messages, hardware & software questions or information requests, please use our main forum.

  Click Here to add a message in the forum

 

Sunday 23rd July 2017
James Bell (Austin, Texas)

Worked for Balcones Computer Corporation with Robert Burns (the MicroManiac) and brother Jay Bell.
Balcones Consulted for Xerox and took the Xerox 820 from I to Xerox 820-II. If you look through the BIOS code documentation you''ll see references to Balcones. Balcones drove adding the expansion connector and developed the 16/8 CPU card for Xerox. The expansion chassis used a WD1002 controller to interface the external floppy and hard disk (same type of controller used in the Kaypro 10)...both Kaypro and Xerox 820 were derived from the "Big Board". Our first prototypes of the 16/8 CPU card was created using a "multiwire" connection method, but production versions were multilayer printed circuit boards. I still have at least one of the multiwire prototypes. Jay Bell always said that the weak link in the 8086 card design was the use of many PAL chips whose timing did not always meet spec and thus created an instability sometimes.
Balcones also sold their Accounting System (The Boss System) which was sold by Xerox and Rank Xerox worldwide. A lawsuit relating to Xerox royalties for various projects ended up taking Balcones down. Many of Balcones employees transitioned to PC''s Ltd (later called Dell) where Jay Bell and Robert Burns designed the first 286 system for PC''s Ltd which was Michael Dell''s first in house Computer design.


Saturday 30th May 2015
Pete Martin (UK)

I worked for Xerox in the UK during the eighties and sold loads of the 820 and 16 / 8 machines. The way the 16 bit part worked was to convert everything to 8 bit, do the processing, and convert it back. I remember a customer buying 820''s and later on the PA wanting her own machine, so I sold her a 16 / 8 with 16 bit programs. Compared with the 8 bit systems it ran at half the speed!
The main advantage of the Xerox system was the software, which in reality was the predecessor of microsoft office - spreadsheets, word processing, database. It was this that customers bought - the actual computer was mostly irrelevant - as long as it was reliable.
The 16 / 8 was due to be replaced with the a new computer which was a re-branded Olivetti, code named M24 I think. I remember being on a course training on it and it was fabulous. At the end of the course HQ sent word out that it had been cancelled! It was thought that desktop computers were the wrong direction to take.
Xerox invented the mouse, laser printers, network software, office software, and much more 15 years before anyone else and totally failed to see the potential!


Wednesday 23rd October 2013
Arun Baheti (Los Angeles, CA, USA)
arun baheti

I still miss my 16/8. The low profile keyboard is still the best I''ve ever used. I ran a BBS for several years, and used mine all the way through college (I started with an 820-I, upgraded the board to -II, then to 16/8, all with 8" drives and rigid drive, and eventually to the slimmed down 16/8 which was 5.25"). I had some add-on hardware such as a mouse and Ethernet adapter "box" that was nearly the size of the slim-16/8 main box. The machine taught me everything about computers, networking, and programming. Reliable and sturdy, a real friend. I still have the original manuals, tech manuals, and boxes of disks that I couldn''t bring myself to part with. $Arun Baheti


Sunday 28th April 2013
enrico lazzerini (pisa (italy))
www.vintagesbc.it

i was studying xerox 820-II interface cards, so i met xerox 16/8 description in my italian language with those important pictures of the EM. These are here : http://www.1000bit.it/support/articoli/xerox/xerox16_8.pdf it would be so nice to find almost its schematics on Internet. Regards Enrico - Pisa (Italy)


Saturday 3rd July 2010
Joe K

16/8 got me through college, though I almost missed deadline on a final when my diabolo 630 crashed with only 20 minutes before the deadline. Got it up and running 10 minutes before the deadline but had to print 11 pages - and it printed a page per minute! Ran in with my paper 5 minutes after the deadline, but the proctors let it slide!


Friday 16th December 2005
Mnem (Canada)

Heh, I always wondered which system these disk drives matched. I have two of the external dual-8" floppy units. They're heavy as heck, but they make good foot stools.





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