@Retrochallenge – Blog To The Future – Part II

Psion MC 400

Yesterday I added a tiny USB WiFi adapter to my Raspberry Pi and hooked it all up via the serial port to my Psion MC 400.  I’m mindful of the fact that a fair portion of my ‘Retro’ challenge has involved me setting up the Pi but nevertheless that’s the course I have chosen.

Adding the WiFi adapter has dispensed with one cable, I’m now on the hunt for a decent battery pack that will successfully power the Pi and allow me to loose yet another cable.  It also occurred to me that the combination of a battery pack and 3G dongle would allow some truly mobile retro fun/nonsense.


Psion MC 400 & Raspberry Pi

Using the excellent If This Then That (IFTTT) service I created some e-mail triggers that would allow me to blog and Tweet via e-mail.  I also have an account set up with TweetyMail which automatically forwards any tweets mentioning @retrochallenge to my e-mail account.

The Psion has excellent built-in terminal software and I had no difficulties connecting up to TCPser and ‘dialling’ in to my BBS.  Once logged-in I was able to check all the latest @retrochallenge Tweets received by e-mail.


WiFi Adapter Added

I then wrote a quick blog entry and posted it to this blog via e-mail.  Having done that I realised I’d forgotten to include @retrochallenge in the post title so I logged back in and also fired off a Tweet via e-mail, just for good measure.

So checking Twitter, blogging and tweeting with the Psion MC 400, utterly pointless, but strangely satisfying.  I filmed the exercise for those with patience.  A couple of excuses, filming the Psion screen is quite a challenge so in order to avoid strange reflections, moire and other problems it’s all at rather an odd angle.  And yes, one day I’ll remember to wipe the dust off of the screen first!

At around 50 seconds in the eagle-eyed amongst you may spot the @retrochallenge tweets and names such as Urbancamo and Twylo.

4 thoughts on “@Retrochallenge – Blog To The Future – Part II

  1. Could you say what terminal settings you used on the MC 400 and in getty on the Pi, please? I’m trying to connect my MC 400 to my MacBook and having no luck, although I believe the Mac is listening (light on on the serial adaptor). Ultimately hoping to connect the MC 400 to a micro:bit but there’s less room for manoeuvre there so I thought I could use the Mac for troubleshooting first…


    1. I’m sorry Jeff, I really can’t remember. All I can recommend you do is start off with say 1200 baud, 8 data bits, no parity and then work through each combination until it works.


      1. Thanks anyway. Further messing around revealed a cabling problem (various adaptors are involved) and I can now connect to the Mac and login at full speed – 19200 baud. Key mappings are not quite right (backspace doesn’t work for example) but I think that’s probably solvable. Note that the MC 400 Terminal ‘Auto’ function doesn’t seem to succeed in negotiating the correct parameters.


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