Retro Tech Rewind Welcome to Retro Tech Rewind! This blog will explore topics around retro computer hardware and technology. My particular focus is on the computers of the 80’s, 90’s, and early 2000’s, BBSing and modem culture, as well as the early Internet. I am planning on posting articles primarily around the projects that I am working on.

For some time I have been making posts on Mastodon and now Lemmy around my projects, but I’ve wanted to have the opportunity to go into more detail than those systems allow for. I’ve been playing with the idea of a YouTube channel, but at present I don’t have a good studio space or all the equipment to make that happen in a way that I would be happy with. I hope to someday be able to do that, but in the meantime I still wanted to start getting some of the content out there in written form.

Over time I hope to expand this with additional content, commenting, and other features. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the articles and please comment / reply on Mastodon.

About Me

Picture of me on Tandy Color Computer My name is Nathan Byrd and I go by cognitivegears on many forums. The name came from the old Second Life system, where you could select from several choices of “last name” and then pick your own “first name” for your avatar. One of the choices was Gears, and this Cognitive Gears was started. I’m no longer on Second Life, but the name has stuck through since then. Back in high-school / early college I also went by “TECHnomancer” on BBS systems, MOOs, etc.

Outside of retro computers I am a father and husband, and work in the area of Information Security at a large payments technology company. I live in Saint Louis, MO, home of the old #314 BBS scene including Fire Escape’s BBS list, FIDOnet nodelist mainteance, birthplace of TOADnet and much more. Growing up my first computer was the Tandy Color Computer 2. Besides playing Dungeons of Daggorath my brother and I would type in games from Rainbow Magazine. Our parents upgraded to a Tandy Color Computer 3 a couple of years later. At various points we also had a Commodore 64 and Timex Sinclair 1000. Later we saved up our money and bought our first PC, building it from parts out of a Computer Shopper magazine. I used that for one of my first jobs, building custom Quick Basic programs for local companies, small scripts to do things like file format conversions.

These days I’ve been collecting some of the old computers that I used in our youth, as well as other retro systems that I happen across. I love to try to resurrect old systems as well as modernize them for convenience (things like adding SD card adapters.) I prefer to do that to emulation whenever possible, though I also tinker with my MiSTer FPGA from time to time. I also do a little bit of hobbyist electronics, though I’m still at a pretty basic level of understanding with it.