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EMwhite

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Everything posted by EMwhite

  1. At least a few of the people over on the Foenix Discord have built this or are in the process of doing so (for use with the "F256 Jr."; prod board just announced) and yes, 3D printed cases seems to be the move. I had 1541, 1571, SFD-1001, and an MSD Superdrive but never the 3.5" variety. I'm somewhat tempted. Peter wrote the floppy access code for the A2560K (the 68K keyboard model) so I feel I owe him. Steve Jobs hated floppy drives : ) but eventually gave in and allowed them on his NeXT; later, he sought and gained revenge against the device on the original iMac platform in the 90s but I do believe that on many of these minus-Ethernet platforms, there is a place even if you just like to hear that occasional clickity-click.
  2. Thanks for that, great resource (the parent, and related directories) and who can deny the Amtek amber font? When I was in College (mid-80's in California), the school had PerfectWriter and the rest; very interested to see if it's the same version, however I believe we were running it on PCs. Shame that "Turbo C" was not part of that lineup. Suppose Borland had to snap the line somewhere and at a certain point only produced IBM PC titles.
  3. On the edge of this topic, what software is the 'killer app' for CP/M? I am fully aware of the history and legacy platforms that ran it and in fact, bought the CP/M card for my Apple II but never bothered to procure software after getting it to boot successfully. Is the thrill to just build the board, get it working and get a command prompt and some light development or are there classic titles (even if classic title = a particular word processor or text based Infocom game or terminal?). Thank you!
  4. I do need to caution that the link above, while useful, is an absolute nightmare of ads. Probably the worst I've seen but it's still worth a quick look, maybe with an incognito browser window : )
  5. The "Programming the..." by David Eyes is over 600 pages, and for a reason; addressing modes and shifting back and forth from an 8 bit to 16 bit Accumulator and X/Y and 'l'ong/far instructions, but mostly compiler errors is a bit much for casual 6502 programmers. David was right to NOT choose the 65816 (since part of his design criteria was to provide a platform for Commodore peeps, some of which were interested in porting code, some of which were interested in coding new games and apps). [I'm generalizing so please be kind]. Stefany Allaire chose the 65816 and uses them on all of her C256 line machines from the FMX through the 'U' and 'U+' to the GEN X (embedded), but chose the 65C02 for the Jr. which is in the hands of about a dozen developers at the moment. The Jr. is very much a 'rightsized' machine, meaning that the video modes, graphics capabilities, etc. are rightsized to match the 65C02 while *816 systems go 'big'. The CPU indeed has a 24 bit adds bus (internally) so you'll need to get used to FF:FFFF addressing. From a hardware perspective, however, you'll note that [in dip form] it's still a 40 pin package, so how does that work? It's multiplexed, so therefore, it's complicated. So HW engineers will have their hands full and that's where people usually give up or opt to pass. This single page covers some of the diffs fairly well but if interested in 65816, grade the 'Eyes' book on Amazon, it's printed on 'white pages' paper, if that means anything you : ) https://apprize.best/programming/65816/23.html
  6. Just published the first issue; whether you are onboard with Foenix or not, if you enjoy vintage, there should be a Crossword that will challenge you, a Vintage advert to amuse you, and some pictures and articles of general tech of interest. You may need to click (through) a warning if your browser has beef with the lack of an https certificate to the link below; I'm currently leveraging my NeXT for part of the binary management workflow and there is no modern means of connectivity from that machine to my AWS hosted instance. In any case, you'll want the first '(full)' copy. And to be clear, this is a 'newsletter' suitable for printing on a minimum of 8.5" x 11" page; not phone friendly though there is no barrier except for eyestrain : ) http://apps.emwhite.org/foenixmarketplace/ Looks like:
  7. The WDCs, since they are 'modern', can easily tolerate a stopped clock or diff clock speeds, of course. The pic above is of the development board which is (I believe) a proof-of-concept that she is putting into the hands of a few developers that will be piecing together the operating environment/kernel, etc. Not sure what form a prod release will take or what the timeframe will be but if successfully released with even 3/4 of the features on that board, it will be compelling.
  8. With the Flagship A2560K (keyboard model) now shipping and the GEN X near pre-production completion and about to ship in the next month or two, Stefany Allaire announced a new low-cost single-board computer that checks all the boxes. She took a step back from the WDC 65C816 which has been known to scare classical 6502 bods, and is using the WDC 65C02 running at 6.2x Mhz. The pic of the dev board was just released; Based on the capabilities of prior Foenix efforts, I'm guessing this is a capable platform, and employs enough 'standards' to host the X16 with a minimum of arm-twisting. Stefany has her own Pick & Place machine and is pretty good at parts procurement / supply so I don't see the typical cast of issues getting in her way. I heard it will be < $200 for the SBC (bring your own power supply and PS/2 kbd/mouse ... but also it has a 20 pin Commodore Keyboard header and other gifts; see pic).
  9. Some discussion here ... Didn't seem to land anywhere useful (a year ago); whomever owns this part of the dev SHOULD (my opinion only) implement this functionality. Commodore squeezed it into a few 8K ROMs back when, shouldn't be too difficult to emulate or rewrite, clean-room. Of course, the Commander, if it ever materializes in hardware, is NOT meant to be 100% Commodore compatible; but as a platform that might invite some porting of old software, it would be nice : )
  10. Pricing will never be the same. Hate to be Debbie downer but I just had this conversation (argument) w/my wife that Gasoline prices will never get below $4 (for super) again. Opportunism, market adjustment, greed. W/regard to ICs and any crap (or good thing) made in China... The way allies and adversaries are lining up, I can't see trade relations improving anytime soon. Once Intel opens their Columbus Ohio plant (in 5 years) we should have some relief. Until then (for those of us in the states), it's back to erector sets and fuzzy pumper barber shop for creative outlets. : )
  11. @SlithyMatt, you may be beyond your *blaster troubles by now but I can tell you with certainty that the cheap-arse USB Blasters such as the on pictured (which is probably counterfeit) has caused problems for many as they attempted to push to Altera via Quartus; I know this because Stefany bases her C256 Foenix products on Cyclone family and many of us have been maintaining (updating) VICKY II FPGA code with some finding that the lower cost USB Blasters just will not work. The Digikey sold (expensive) Terasic Blaster (P0302) is creeping up in cost but is known to work reliably, I've used it a few times already without incident. Perhaps you found out that this was due to a Linux serial driver or maybe this is a back-burner project by now? curious to see/hear an update if you have one.
  12. You can indeed buy SN76477, just don't buy them from China (as I did); the cockroach style are either fake or faulty; I blew about $60 on qty. 4 and they were all garbage. Instead, check synth-houses. As for the schematic, I'll get you the one I used later tonight when I'm home but had this in my laptop; it's quite similar. I think this was from a cocktail schematic; the standup version depending on revision is slightly different. The line heading East from pins 12 & 13 is the audio output which is mixed with the other discrete circuits... the southbound line hits an inverter cell (on a 7404 between pins 1 & 2). This one uses 5V in to pin 15; some use the built in 9V input on ping 14 which outputs 5V on 14 (confusing, I know). I much rather send regulated +5V into pin 15 as they do here though I recall mine had/has a resistor in line. On this pic, lines 1, 19, and 22 are held 'high'. The inverted pin 9 is simply the 'start' / 'stop' sound which is autonomous and free running at a given frequency otherwise (built in low-free LFO drives the pitch). I can put up a 1 minute video of mine running if interesting to anybody. Alternate revision:
  13. Speaking of SOUND... just for fun, I worked up the aforementioned "UFO Sound" in the foreground on a SN76477 that I had kicking around. It was a masterpiece until I screwed up the layout not realizing that this protoboard had a grid within, but it works now. I also have the schematic above (Space Invaders STEP sound) implemented in the background of the pic (the four buttons) and yes, Ben Eater's clock and 65C02 that you also see in this pic will drive this shortly. Between the UFO and discreet transistor STEP sound circuit is the AMP circuit built up according to the 1980 Williams FirePower Pinball sound board.
  14. Two thoughts (one was yours so I'd like to 2nd it). Thought #1: as you suggested, a forum where we can discuss retro-tubers; not a place to bash them however I see nothing wrong with spirited debate, but a place to call out good pieces of work by said *tuber (LGR for instance, or Robin from 8 Bit Show and Tell; two of my favorites). Not a place to mirror what they produce but if somebody sees something interesting/applicable that will gen discussion, this type of forum would be a good place to point to it with editorial comments, relating info, etc. Thought #2: An 'Events' forum which can be used to announce then chronicle VCF East/West and CRX type meet-ups. Maybe someday some of us can even meet in person (crazy, I know). Point is, "Vintage" or "Retro" is too generic of a topic and sometimes relevant and connected history gets lost over time.
  15. Neglected to answer the question: ... but my dream chip is probably the YM2151 due to it's use in Marble Madness.
  16. My dream sound chip is the 556 timing chip that is used in Taito Space Invaders (below) and was responsible for the dun... dun... dun... dun (step) tones. Another classic circuit was made possibly by the defective transistor that made the TR-808 drum machine famous. "Did you know" that all of the sounds in the original Space Invaders were derived from discreet transistors and other TTL and analog circuits with the exception of the UFO sound (made famous by the TI SN76477). Later, Thomas Henry and others built entire Euro synth modules out of this IC. It was very much the birth of the audio IC (the SN76477, not the 556). If you are interested in Chiptunes or Arcade sound in general, Chris Abbott's book is great. He spoke during CRX 2021 this past year.
  17. Pg. 4 of the attached mentions the diff between their custom BASIC and the others. Further in the doc is info on the Monitor, the DOS wedge, etc. Much of the doc discusses build info and part details which are no longer applicable to the latest Mini PET, but still interesting to see where the project came from and it's a well written doc with lots of detail including hardware interfacing detail. Mini PET A Build Instructions v1.45a.pdf
  18. I have the pdf for the 'build-it-your-f'ing-self' through hole version from Summer of 2019/2020 that I'll dig up and post. It offered a number of versions of BASIC/Kernal, etc. The current product on offer is a superset of that so I think you get it all, and it's fully built and mostly surface mount. I have a Pet 4032 which this is meant to fit within if bought in green-board-only form. You will be getting the integrated and complete version but in any case, it supports an RCA or orig Pet monitor connection. Some time ago, TFW8Bit offered a piggy back ROM product which allowed for diff version of Kernal and BASIC via dip switches, then they offered the Mini Pet and separately, the IEEE SD card bit, then an integrated keyboard, then an enhanced keyboard (though only slightly... the TexElec is superior and pin compatible). The current product is a superset of all of what they've offered over the prior 3-4 years. Be sure to get your hands on Dungeon, Weather, Invaders, all of the classics.
  19. Tom, unless you are adept at SMT, beg Kevin to bake in the tiny components associated with the caps lock circuit. I built two of these: the first is a miracle (that it works). I’m an experienced through-hole bod but pushing 60 and my eyes are crap. The second kbd came prepopulated because I asked and because Kevin is accommodating.
  20. They (somebody) funded a few thousand keyboards of a specific model so why not just get working code for THAT and call it a day? I bought the WASD Commander kbd (natively USB) that had to be flashed to work as a PS/2 kbd and it works on my Foenix C256 U+ but not on my vintage DEC VT510 Terminal. Meanwhile, I have a Cherry small form kbd which is USB, also supports PS/2 and it works without fuss in both. No doubt there are challenges with PS/2, but if the platform/code can be written to support the WASD Commander and the cheap-as-chips (crisps, not ICs) Periboard, isn’t that easier?
  21. Getting back to on-topic of this thread, why is supporting PS/2 so difficult? Is it that the rest of the architecture of the orig. X16 does not play well with PS/2? It seems peculiar that others have implanted PS/2 kbd. and mouse with zero fanfare or difficulty and X16 is awaiting the return [to the project] of one person (I don’t know the name is the person, somebody that wrote the kernel I believe).
  22. The same Stephen Edwards (Columbia University Professor) also interviewed Bill at VCF East this past Autumn in New Jersey. Watch both, and also, Stephen has some lectures about Nintendo and Sprites, and a few very well produced videos about the Apple II that are good to add to your list to watch later. Bill attended VCF with his wife and they were both super-nice. I spoke with him for some time, he’s got tons of stories about the old days and the older (Motorola) days. Even autographed this for me: Of course he knew Chuck Peddle well. The rest is history and in no small way the reason why we congregate on this forum. if you are interested in ‘modern’ WDC products, have a look for the “Mensch” board which you can buy on Amazon. Amazing that a single board dev system is available for such little money considering the competition. It’s not ARM or Pi or Arduino, they are all cool too, but if it were not for MOS (and in some way, Jack), this tech would not be as accessible as it became.
  23. After 5 bad drives, I had a feeling he was going to resort to an SD card solution sitting behind the CBM controller; no less impressive though. Sometimes you just have to throw in the towel. I doubt highly that there will be a 'take' on that challenge. Probably the Zimmer guy has some info, docs, HW and a good working knowledge of these and probably David Murray is busy with other things; besides, Garage-Dave did a pretty smashing, fast-talkin' job. Very thorough. Thank you for point to that, I never even heard of him. Big world out there...
  24. Speaking of which (Christmas Demo ref'd above)... Robin, from 8-bit-show-and-tell did a Commodore Christmas round-up feature and spends the first 5 mins talking about and, well... demo'ing the demo. In his monologue, he confirmed my understanding; that this was among the first (if not the first) demo (1982) distributed which of course lead to bigger and better things. Robin also gets into the code (briefly). In my mind, this demo was a 10,000 line basic program but the combination of SID music, a static character based screen of PETSCII graphics, and a touch of sprite animation, fills a few minutes of this demo from just a screen or two of BASIC and the supporting machine language code. Such a high quality production considering it produced in the early introductory period of the C64 release. Any way you slice it, it's nostalgic and well produced. I missed being able to buy the Tindie release earlier this year; this guy sold really cool tree shaped carts containing this code on ROM. Have a look, it's worth the click. I'm on the mailing list but probably will continue to wait.
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