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I > INTERTEC  > SUPERBRAIN


 

This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Intertec  SUPERBRAIN 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 3rd December 2006
Matt Hughes (Courtenay, BC, Canada)
Archonate

I wrote my first sf novel, Fools Errant, on a Superbrain that I'd bought used in Vancouver in 1984. I also wrote scores of speeches (my profession in those days), on it. Eventually I lent it to a PR consultant friend who wanted to learn word processing. It was stolen from her office by junkies.

And now an item of trivia: in the late eighties I was involved in the games business with the people who created Trivial Pursuit. They told me that the questions for the first-generation game had all been written on a Superbrain.


Saturday 21st October 2006
mediarays (florida, usa)

i bought my superbrain in 1983/84, and used it for bond yield/pricing calculations, and to do interest rate swaps as a municipal bond broker. by today's standards, it was a very slow ant. but, it was a giant step in speed and memory (dual floppy drives! and 64k of system memory vs 16k) over my previous and first computer - a trs80 with a casette recorder for software, which i ended up having to write myself. so, i used the superbrain diligently for 2 or 3 years before i replaced it with my first pc clone. the superbrain (and the other computers, as well) definitely gave me a leg up on my competition, and made me some serious money (for those days, anyway).

still have the computer (and the software) in my attic. maybe i'll have time to play with it some day, unless someone knows of a collector.


Thursday 10th March 2005
Y V (Globe)

It was back in the early 80's that I wrote my PhD Thesis on a Superbrain, with 1FDD and 1HDD; I do not recall the exact model. A serious problem was that the fan was driving the air from the inside, through the drives to the face of the user! Also, the HDD used to vibrate and touch from time to time the fan; I pushed a pencil through the slot and stabilized the shaky HD; my supervisor used to pass a piece of paper in front of the paper, expecting this to be the wordprocessor (humor!).
Since my thesis was rather long (600pp), I decided to print it to the central line printer; the alternative was to write it in n/troff, but I decided to try the emerging WYSISYG approach. So I chose the Superbrain with WordStar XX. Then I processed the files in order to convert the WS text formatting commands into the line printer commands. In parallel, I managed to connect the Superbrain to the Campus IBM370 and FTP'ed my files to the mainframe. This was 1984 and not many people in the Computing Lab have even thought this was an option. They tend to consider only mainframes as real computers, while all personal computers were considered as toys. But this data comms exercise contained actually many solutions which latter became popular and common.
I recalled these years because recently I decided to convert some CP/M WS files on CP/M FDs into WordXP. I used first the 22DISK.EXE, which can read CP/M FDs into DOS files. I processed the files via WSBIT.COM to remove various confusing bits from the text (which cause fonts problems), and converted the processed files via WSRTF.EXE into Word-readable .RTF files. The rest was easy. All above mentioned utilities are freeware available in the web.


Monday 17th January 2005
Alan Cotterill (Burnley, England)

I had five SuperBrains myself when I was about 14 (28 now). School IT lessons were rather dull – spreadsheets and databases on BBC micros. The department display of 6 SuperBrain QD’s fascinated me though and my IT teacher started letting me take them home one by one – he must have wanted a clear out.
I must have been slightly obsessed as I would carry one of these 30lb lumps single handed, the 1.5 mile distance between school and home – my mother getting more and more distressed each time. I gathered five into my room and made two working machines from the parts of the others. I had the OS disk, a spreadsheet and a database program as I remember. I didn’t know what I was doing with them, but I was fascinated with the hardware. After a few months of computerland paradise (I discovered girls much later!) I ruined the OS disk with a dodgy floppy drive so the fun was over.
The other problem was mother. She was convinced the whole lot along with numerous disassembled TV’s and other computers would come crashing through the living room ceiling and she was sick of the mess in my room – so she made me bin the lot!
Anyhow, not to be beaten and in a fit of teenage rage, I came up with a cunning plan. I would bury the 2 working machines on our nearby hill (wrapped in bin bags of course so they would be ‘safe’) until a time came when I would not be under the dominion of my mother! So that is what I did. Armed with a spade, I carried them one at a time the 2.5mile distance to the hill and walked up to a place I thought was safe and remote. By the time I was there of course, I was nackered! In my extreme naivety, I convinced myself that by taking them down into this tree lined ravine and leaving them against an old fallen tree, they would be safe until the next week when I could finish the job.
So I left them there. The following weekend, I returned to disaster – my SuperBrains had been rolled down the long slope of the ravine to the valley floor, I could see bits of them all the way down and at the bottom! Those damn kids who had the rope swing at the top I’ll bet!
That’s the end of my silly SuperBrain yarn. It’s a true story, ridiculous as it sounds. I am really a sane adult human being, married now, so only my wife to justify owning another of these old computers to if I can find one (just as difficult as with my mum!) I have always had an appreciation for old electronic hardware – particularly computers. I’m a network manager also, so the software interest is there now.

That’s my memory shared anyhow,
Alan Cotterill.


Tuesday 29th April 2003
Stephen Silberman (Earth)

I had one of these back in about 1980. I actually ran a garment manufacturing company with it!! Originally we had the single sided disk drives and then updated to the double sided ones. After a couple of years we added a five megabite hard drive that was almost as big as the computer! Our Superbrain was incredibly sensitive to static discharges. In the winter we had to be especially careful as touching it before grounding yourself could cause a spontaneous reboot with the accompanying loss of data. Wish I'd kept it!


Sunday 3rd March 2002
Matt Marchese (Eau Claire, WI)

The Superbrain was used extensively by
Cray Research, Inc. back in the 1980s to
simulate the Cray-2 Floating Multiply
Unit boolean. Each simulation took 45
minutes to run...pretty slow by Cray
supercomputer standards. We system-test
guys dubbed it the "Stuporbrain". The
dual-disk drives ate floppies at an
alarming rate!


Monday 26th December 2016
Stephen Silberman (USA)

I purchased a Superbrain in 1981. It came with the single sided disc drives which I soon had converted to double sided. I actually ran an apparel manufacturing business on this machine which was quite an adventure. A few years later I added a 10 MB external hard drive which was almost as large as the Superbrain.
I wish I had kept it!


Monday 29th August 2016
Bill Morris (USA)

I wrote a Basic operating system to control an IC burnin system. Used the S100 vus to control power supplies and timing generators to provide stimulus to IC''s located in a high temperature oven. This provided stress to measure and extrapolate operating life.


Monday 29th August 2016
Bill Morris (USA)

Program development


Monday 24th November 2014
J. Patrick Gilligan (AZ, USA)

The first desktop computer I ever used was a Superbrain, but according to the name plate, it was an Osborn Superbrain, not Interetec. It looked like the Superbrain pictured on this site, with same specs as far as I remember - CP/M, 64K ram, no HD and a pair of single-sided 5 1/4 floppy drives.

I''m just wondering what the relationship was between Intertec and Osborn.


Sunday 30th September 2012
Liquid Tusk (United States Of America)

My teacher in the Waltham Vocational class of Electronics $ Computer Technology was about 3500 steps into a program, when I (a mere student), asked him if he backed his progress up. He then said "this is an Intertube Superbrain right out of the box, so don''t bother me! I respectfully ran away. 20 minutes later I heard a stream of profanity from the computer room. (He hadn''t backed it up). It seems, a $0.30 power switch had just fried. Taking his 3500plus lines of programming with it. The moral of this story is, BACK-UP, BACK-UP,BACK-UP!!! He made our lives HELL for the rest of the week. So please back up your work. You never know what might happen.
Cheers to you Mr. Daley, wherever you are!!! (He loved the 3 exclamation points). You not only taught your suject, but you taught us how to learn in any situation! Your a dreat man Frank Daly!!!


Monday 10th January 2011
Vince (London, England)

I had two Superbrains and wrote software in Z80 assembler for wireless fire alarms on them. I also used to repair them for people. I maystill have the circuit diagrams somewhere. If anyone needs them, contact me on vl (at) boyerman (dot) co (dot) uk and I''ll see if I can find them. I stumbled on this site looking for something else so probably won''t read any replies that are posted here.

Vince


Monday 10th January 2011
Toni (Mallorca, spain)

I just revisited my old superbrain QD, only to find that it is no longer working
Someone is interested in
I learnt Masic programming with this machine and created software fot a car parts shop own by my father being 20 years old
I travelled to london in 1982 to buy my first worksheet, supercalc, ,and Ashton Tate dBase II.
I should have ( if the disks still resist) the 8" $ 5 1/4" floppies of these programs and of "Xeno-copy", a program to read diverse brands cpm
disks .
Does someone want to help me restarting it?


Monday 27th September 2010
Andrew H (England)

Just got a SuperBrain! The fan is working but cannot see anything on screen. Cannot complain as it was free. Any 1 the floppy drives $c.?


Saturday 14th August 2010
Mike Colvin (United Kingdom, S. London)

Although probably just as besotted with my Superbrain as Alan Cotterill I guess I have been a little luckier in the sense that it has been allowed to gather dust in the corner of our gym (a euphemism for our junk room which also contains a couple of pieces of gym equipment) for these last 30 years. However we have a young post graduate friend who needs a room in London so the big clear out is in process. So Alan if you are still interested let me know ASAP – I have to have the room habitable by 1st September.


Wednesday 23rd June 2010
Mattie (Australia)

I was impressed by one of these in the 80''s as having "Phantom Boot Rom" (CPM v1). I''m still impressed, I also recall the floppies may have written *inverted* data for some reason. PC-Alien on an XT could not read the disks. A wondrous case, still relevant in design terms.


Tuesday 20th February 2007
Juergen Sievers (Germany)
NADHH

I have got one of these wonderful vintage systems in running state. Regrettably one of the drives had been replaced by a not original drive. Possible while a vintage computer competition. So I need one of the original QD drives.

Additionally has the chassis some damages on his painting and should be repainted. Has anyone some experience about repainting such chassis? Is it advisable to do that?

You can see the system here (http://www.nadhh.hanse.de/10subm_Computer/80subm_Sonstige/10subm_SuperBrain/), but the suite is currently only in German and still in progress

Thus every indication would be accepted to this or other shown systems thankfully.

Regards
J.


Sunday 21st January 2007
Thomas Hoven (Oslo Norway)
Personal homepage

Used a Superbrain QD in the early '80s. As Matt explained, it ate floppies (because they were spinning all the time, not only when they were accessed). Built a small timer (hardware) to stop them if no access for 10 seconds. Still have it, and tried it about 6 years ago - only to discover many of the floppies were no longer readable. Reformatted and created a few new bootable ones in case I wanted to play with it again.


Sunday 5th February 2006
Bucky Whaley (World)

I loved my SuperbrainQD, even though it became increasingly temperamental with age. I learned a lot about programming on this machine. I used to joke that when it died I'd put hairpin legs on it and use it for a chair. Instead, while it still had a few gasps left in it, I put it out on the curb with all the software and somebody scavenged it immediately. I hope they had as much fun playing with it as I did.


Tuesday 18th October 2005
Chris Harris (Toronto - Ontario)

I just bought an old farm house and in one of the buildings there is an old Superbrain computer and a bunch of software with it. I have not fired it up yet but I am looking forward to doing it this weekend. I will post the results here!


Tuesday 29th March 2005
Roger Linhart (Earth)

The one thing I remember most about this system is the chirp sound it made each time you struck a key on the keyboard, especially when you were typing quickly.





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