The Monday Twitter Photo Challenge

The Monday Twitter Photo Challenge

Summary: Every Monday, @ZDNetUK_News will tweet a link to a wilfully obscure picture of some vintage technology. Tell us what it is to win a piece of the Large Hadron Collider

TOPICS: After Hours

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  • Every Monday in July, @ZDNetUK_News will tweet a link to a wilfully obscure picture of some vintage technology. The first person to correctly identify the subject in a reply will win part of the Large Hadron Collider. It's a small part, admittedly, encased in a keyring, but a part nonetheless.

    We kick off our Monday Twitter Photo Challenge with this portable device. Aimed at a particular and very distinctive market, it foreshadowed a whole bunch of ideas that are hot right now — but it didn't catch fire back then. What is it? Reply to @ZDNetUK_News on Twitter for a chance to win.

  • Your second chance to win a piece of the Large Hadron Collider, tastefully encapsulated in a perspex keyring and with a certificate of authenticity. Remember, these are not available in any shops! (*)

    This photograph is part of a truly groundbreaking device from the first half of the 1970s, one that created a whole new class of computing. Named after its founder, the company was the Rolls-Royce of its sector — but is really just another badge, these days.

    This particular piece is from serial number one of the device. ZDNet UK took this picture very recently at somewhere also known for astonishing breakthroughs in IT.

    The question is: what is the device whence this came this golden square? First to reply to @ZDNetUK_News on Twitter or our page on Facebook with the correct answer wins.

    (*) Apart from the CERN gift shop.

Topic: After Hours

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  • We have a winner! Rony Gabriel - @ronygbr on Twitter - was the first with the correct name of this device, a Cybiko Xtreme from 2003. This was the second generation of Cybiko, which did peer-to-peer radio messaging and gaming over a distance of around 300 metres. It was a clever and well-designed device aimed at the teenage market, with the intention of being particularly fun in schools, but it didn't catch on. There's a small hacker community out there still keeping the flame alive - it's flickering, though.
  • So - Rony gets a CERN Large Hadron Collider keyring, containing a perspex chunk of superconducting magnet material from the LHC itself, together with a certificate of authenticity.

    If you fancy winning one for yourself, check @zdnetuk_news next Monday, when we'll publish another picture of a piece of vintage tech... and the first tweet with the right answer will claim a genuine piece of scientific history.
  • And we have a winner for our second competition - Adam Bradley from Leighton Buzzard, who correctly identified the mystery chunk of technology as a memory board from a Cray 3 - not a Cray 1, as a few of you thought. Only one Cray 3 was ever sold; it was the epitome of the company's failed gamble, that exotic technology could outperform off-the-shelf designs. It could - but not enough to make a decent business case. As so often, the good-enough is the enemy of the best.
  • Next competition goes live sometime on Monday - so watch that twitter stream, keep an eye on Facebook, and get ready to win your own personal piece of scientific history!
  • Last week's magical mystery chunk was a Pentium II Xeon, the uber-expensive variant that ran at a whopping 450MHz. Coming in its own heatsinked giant module with tons of very fast cache, it wasn't the first time that a design decision by Intel proved a little difficult to keep enhancing. But if you're Intel, you just come back with a brand new design with the same name. The winner is @dave1022, who had two bites at the cherry - but was nonetheless first to get the exact model and speed. A hearty well done to @budleysalterton, who was oh so nearly there, but forgot the magical Xeon bit.
  • And this week's winner - in a hotly contested field - was last week's runner-up, the ever-persistent @budleysalterton. He correctly identified the (editor's own) ZX81, that cheese wedge slab of black plastic binary beauty - also known as the TS-1000 in the US. He also ID'd the left-hand socket as belonging to the UHF TV modulator - the ASTEC UM1233 on channel 36.

    Now, that's hardcore.

    Next compo coming up later today - and this one won't be nearly as easy. Although there will be a connection with the ZX81...
  • We duped you last week, our dear readers, with a Ferranti Pegasus. The link to the ZX81 is that Ferranti also made the ZX81's ULA chip. The handles on the case could also be found on Rolls-Royce cars of the time.

    Better luck on this week's mystery kit. Hit us up on @ZDNetUK_News with guesses!
    Shannon Doubleday
  • Congratulations to @causona on the right guess! The device is the ZX Microdrive, which was available ZX Spectrum, QL, one per desk (OPD) system/BT Tonto. Good stuff!
    Shannon Doubleday