Marc Verdiell is obsessed with clunky, vintage computers. He has over a hundred pieces in his collection, mostly early HP and IBM computers and test equipment, which he cleans, repairs, and displays in his extremely tidy basement. The standout, of course, is the Xerox Alto from the 1970s.
“The Alto basically invented everything that is in a modern computer,” Verdiell told Gizmodo as introduced us to the the machine that he and his team were able to fully restore to working order. The Alto had a graphic screen that you could draw and write on, it prompted the invention of the first laser printer and Ethernet and even had a mouse.
In this episode of Show Me Your Nerd, Verdiell shows us the Alto and some of his other museum-worthy pieces of over-the-top electromechanical engineering. He also introduces us to his companion R2D2, which he built “just for fun.”