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Everything posted by EMwhite

  1. Why not crowd source (ask for help via GitHub link) and maybe one fo the experts here can provide suggestions for optimization? If you plan on selling vs. making public domain/open source, post a large block of code that is otherwise useless to see what suggestions you get. Also, if you can squeeze it in, see about integrating 8BG's SNES controller code. For those of us that have the PETSCII Robots, we already have the interface in hand, and for those that don't, TexElec (Kevin) sells the interface here. I bought my SNES controller from AdaFruit for $5 here. (buy two just in case, they are cheap and also cheap!)
  2. I wanted to say that this is awesome. Captures what the designers of the Pet had in mind when they opted to include a massive graphic character set, and has polish. Great work. Looking fwd to getting it! Thank you.
  3. My 8-bit collection is finally complete. Picked up this Pet kbd equipped VIC-20 recently. Does it work? (not important). Someday it will...
  4. For those that have not been following, in early December, Ben interfaced the aforementioned video card to the 65C02 and he has most recently interfaced a PS/2 keyboard and written controlling code (#3 about to be posted in that mini-series). Next he will interface USB. A small group (at least 4) of his Patreon supporters are hoping that he will create a line draw library or maybe a low-budget character set. Somebody else still, called for a BASIC interpreter. https://www.youtube.com/c/BenEater/videos
  5. In the early 90s my company procured a 24 CPU Sequent S81 based on 16 MHz 386’s to host our X.25 based search and retrieval system. At another employer in the late 90s I worked on Sun Solaris machines with 64 x 400 MHz CPUs. It’s the 2020s now, why not qty. 16 x16s stacked in “pizza” boxes. Not quite as powerful as the systems I mentioned but if somebody can cobble together a distributed kernel (or, ‘kernal’), maybe we can get it to play chess, a throw back to Jennings Microchess meets deep blue. I’m pretty sure TexElec can build an inexpensive scalable-coherent-interconnect bus card.
  6. I did/doing something similar. I bought a Rockwell 6511 'wafer' (166 CPUs onboard) which included a 'new' 6511 (super-dooper version of 6502 w/64 pins, it's kind of cool, google it) and am mounting it with the orig 6502, similar to your idea. I bought 3 x MOS 6502s on eBay for the project and would be happy to send you one when I get back from my west coast trip (mid-week). Only one had the glorious MOS logo on it but to my disappointment, it was severely faded, the other two simply say MOS 6502 and have a date code. Also slightly faded text, but you can read it and if it's a genuine 6502 you want, this is certainly it. One has a date code of 1383 and the other is 0983. If you'd like one, your choice, let me know via mail with your address.
  7. So many parallels to the music keyboard/synth manufacturers of the 70's, 80's and 90's. No standards at first, each company innovating rapidly for market share. Big players and niche players going about it in different ways, some standardization with Midi for control and note encoding parity but ultimately, nearly all perished except for Japanese giants Yamaha and to a much lesser extent, Korg and a handful of re-issue / re-starts from Moog, Sequential Circuits (Dave Smith), Tom Oberheim, shells of their former operations. The point is that 'vision' was a problem, as it always is. Horse-blinder/tunnel vision nearly cost Steve Jobs Apple a few times, and definitely cost the technology focused founders of synth their fortune: David Pearlman, Tom Oberheim, Bob Moog, Dave Smith, David Cockerell, Ray Kurzweil, Wolfgang Palm and others...
  8. I remember when software was scarce, buying the first title that I could acquire then feeling ripped off because it was terrible. It was called Piranha and was a Pacman ripoff (speaking of getting ripped off). It destroyed me, to spend my hard earned paper route $$ on that. The place I bought it from made up for it in spades when they let me copy the Commodore 64 Christmas demo disk (possibly one of the best 'shareware' titles of all time!!!).
  9. My only big act(s) was the time I 'cracked' a few dozen titles, removing copy protection and slapping 'our' boot screen loader on the front-end. Oh, and the time I wrote a phone calling-card hacking utility that harvested valid codes that I could use to call my girlfriend to avoid long distance phone charges while I was in college. Also, I had a blue box that I built and would use it on pay phones. Just kidding.
  10. (His video on the 1000 is excellent; indeed, it's documentary quality) Shame, that Tandy had no resources (sarcasm implied); Supply chain for ICs, manufacturing facilities, distribution outlets. Tandy could have been a contender. By the time the 1000 came and went, Tandy's compute prowess was as competitive as their "Realistic" brand of "Hi-fi" as it was then called.
  11. I liked the vlog and will def check out your others. Because you've been in/out of coding for the virtual platform (and maybe you even have hardware?) can you tell me... Is the BASIC that much quicker/optimized, is it the clock speed that makes Crazy Boulders doable in BASIC, or is it that the virtual environment runs full speed that makes it possible. Granted (and I'm guessing), it's obviously that redefined characters or tile manipulation is much faster than raw bit map moves, but I was curious. For AndyMt: any thoughts around putting a .lib together containing higher level functions for reuse? As a hobbiest, I dropped 'C' about 20 years ago and have just done NodeJS and Python professionally, but if a combination of plenty of RAM and cc65 being feasible for dev on this platform is workable, many more people might want to jump onboard. (also, don't be shy; the important part is that it works and people enjoy and/or learn from what you've done)
  12. Was curious to see if anybody has anything other than partially working 1541s on their Commodore gear and secondarily, if you’ve had luck and recommendations (or links to) maintaining/aligning? I have a single MSD (use w Pet over IEEE) which is partially working (probably could use some decent media), two non-working 1541s and a non-working 1571. I also have a few of the SD setups but some part of me is chasing the dream (to own an 8050 or 8250 or to [further] relive my youth; I had two SFD-1001 with a Skyles Electric Works interface). What do you do? What do you have?
  13. I'll bite. And yes, that. My memory is as bad as, well..., my memories; each are about 60% reliable and I creatively fill in the missing bits. WordPerfect was an essential tool, not just for general Word Processing at the company I worked at during those years (late 80s / early 90s), but we used it to process our billing feed from an SEC Database Product that we published and had hosted on a VAX up in Massachusetts (@Ziff Davis). Everything my company did revolved around monetizing of data entry and value added to ASCII data. It was a thrill to see content that we created from S-1, 10K, 8K SEC filings (paper documents shipped to the Philippines) received on 9-track magnetic tape w/embedded SGML, processed in-house with our own text editor then shipped on mag-tape to our customers. Our X.25 online system generated a usage file which, thanks to WP Macros, was transformed into laser printed billing that turned into revenue for my company. Since reading the thread here, I've been searching for a CP/M version but have come up empty. To me, IBM PCs are not retro, so I don't own one unless you count the low powered Pentium III that runs my Ultracade : ) but some of the software such as Turbo C and Pascal, Epsilon, ProKey, XTree, Quatro Pro, Word Perfect are on that list. I suppose there might be a DOS emulator that I can run but it wouldn't be as fun.
  14. I hope it's v4.2 (character based version) and not Win3.1. WP5 was the beginning of the end (of the world). For WP and for the world...
  15. If the sd slot location is inconveniently located and/or wear is a concern, why not 'make' an extension adapter that plugs into the micro and ribbon-cable's (v) it out to a standard size SD slot on the front/under the front of the X16. Of course, I'm talking about an add-on product that some enterprising youngster can sell for $25 with just $10 worth of parts. Limited market yes; mother-of-invention type solution, also 'yes'. Sort of like the TFW8Bit Pet 'extension' Brought the card to the front: https://www.thefuturewas8bit.com/sd2pet.html. The aesthetics of battle-zone style braked metal 70's CBM that incorporates the color matched boxy 2031 style won't fit the Commander's motif but I'm sure something can be worked out. (if only it were the 70's again, my riveting, shear, brake, punch, spot welding skills could come in handy and I could be a millionaire. Come to think of it, the 'blue' that Dave uses in his cartridges is probably very close and he already has the mould for the SD slot... hmmm...)
  16. 70's shag carpet (orange, of course) or wood grain? Not that you need more projects (I don't either but keep accumulating them), but if you want 'space age' retro, maybe pickup a dead vintage terminal and affix a proper monitor within. As is normal, the second somebody posts something they procured for $12, the going-in price is immediately $100 LoL. Thank you for the battery for scale. That helps. Me, I've got (smallest to largest), two SX-64s (too small), a JVC TM 910SU video editing/production monitor (color, very nice and does PAL also but too deep, two Apple IIc monitors that need to be restored, a Monochrome Zenith monitor that a kind sole here donated, and a Commodore 1702. Nothing quite does the job for me so I'll keep looking.
  17. Much like the original KIM-1 and Apple computers, it was BYO Cassette player; they did this to keep costs down release more quickly; of course cassette players were ubiquitous. I just want this thing to be released and can wait for the next added do-dad and just buy it if I need it. TexElec is so good at pumping out boards and cards for things, I'm pretty sure it can be released with an at-that-time code drop. I'd rather pay $30-$40 after the fact and get the X16 sooner then wait for perfection with a serial port and 3 other scope-creep items. Just me.
  18. The Sega cabinet (Ultracade that has Crazy Climber on the screen) used to be something called "Sega MVP baseball". Sega used that 'platform' for Pengo and a few other titles; It's not perfect for Robotron/Joust type games but having loved them so much, I opted to strip the old cabinet, get my hands on Williams Multi-game side-art, that repro Robotron marquee, makeshift control panel. A very peculiar and interesting feature of this Sega cabinet is the control panel which snaps out and can be easily swapped. I've since purchased two additional (similar) panels which have diff configurations and affixed Xarcade keyboard interfaces which plug into Ultracade. That one is my go-to because it has a trackball, spinner, general left right thrust fire buttons so can play many games. I had the cabinet for a good 10 years before I finally got something running and as you can see, I still need a smoked plexiglass/lexan bezel to hide the fact that it's an HP monitor and not a proper Wells CRT. What you do not see in that picture is 8 pinball machines. Here is a look at one of my favorites on the 'other' side of that small room; the rest is out by our [little used] Pool table. I worked all my life and put 4 kids through college (two get their masters degree later this year); still have a 12 year old but intend on retiring in 5 years so I can solder/weld/woodwork and restore vintage tech full time... if I live to see it the other side of retirement. Meanwhile, a kid and makeshift engineer at heart, this (and this forum and related tech) is what drives me. If you ever watched the Vintage Compute (VCF '19) interview of Ken Thompson (Bell Labs legend and Unix great), in the final minute of the interview, the moderator asks the crowd of mostly grey, bearded, and in many cases, balding participants "raise your hand" if your career trajectory was heavily influenced by what K&R and Thompson and Pike etc. did in the 70's; 95% of the hands went up. I am one of those hands and would not be 'here' if I had not first used the original Commodore Pet in middle school, the 4032 in 9th grade Computer Math, and learned Pascal in AP Computer Science in 11th grade which lead me the AT&T 3B2 and Sun Microsystems in College. And I would not have been interested in the first 8 bit computer I laid eyes on had it not been for Space Invaders and Asteroids within walking distance from where I grew up. It's all connected...
  19. I've never heard of 1/2 of that stuff but I have an original GameGear in mint condition somewhere and a Sega Genesis that I bought in the 90s. Kids have had each console along the way since GameCube but aside from William and Namco I've never been interested. I do have a deep love for 80's Arcade and therefore have an original Atari Millipede cabinet that some maniac fitted with a 60:1 board and a Dell monitor (and two buttons and a joystick to play Scramble). And I also have a Mame-ish system (it's actually a fully loaded and licensed Ultracade system) that I installed in an old Sega cabinet retooled with Williams clothing (see pic). It has my favorite suite of games of all time: The Atari System 1 and 2 Marble Madness / Paperboy, and Williams Joust/Robotron/Stargate plus a rarity: Crazy Climber. As I think I posted elsewhere in "General Retro Chat", elusive Excitebike and Kung Fu Master are on my bucket list though I enjoy the imagery Excitebike track on 'Switch" MarioCart that my kids play. Nintendo has really kept it together over such a long span. What a franchise!
  20. Why not just have Kevin create an Apple II style SuperSerial card and release it as a peripheral / add-on option for X16 after the fact. Leave it permanently connected to a USB laptop. Sell it as a through-hole kit for those that insist on building things (me) and supply a get-off-the-ground mouser cart. If the QC / support / reputation of Commander X16 is best protected by selling the actual X16 as a WORKING computer, not a pile of parts, maybe this will satisfy DIY'er and hobbyists and risk of magic smoke will be all theirs (the otherwise satisfied funder/owner of a working X16). I'm an armchair engineer so do not know enough about the internals of the kernel on the X16... I know the C64 and everything older than that cold... so I'm not sure if there is Apple II type architecture where ROM entry points may bank in from each card slot device?? Just a thought. Ultimately, a card based peripheral that is a general communication bus with WiFI support might be handy and can do something as low tech as to push characters into the keyboard buffer like the aforementioned ADTPro. It won't be as speedy but I'd gladly welcome a pier to pier protocol that included a command line and drop-box style interface on my MacBook (or on your Windows/Linux PC), with the Command listening versus jackassing an SD card. I do this today with my Apple II+ and frankly, I've got about 3 projects stuck because I'm too lazy to sneaker net. We are all spoiled.
  21. YAKO - yet another keyboard option. The Cherry G84-4100 PS2/USB Keyboard 83-Key TKL Mechanical Industrial Keyboard Gray Because my WASD Commander keyboard does not ‘do’ PS/2 (*see below), I picked up a low profile, mechanical (aka switch based) keyboard for my VT510. Here it is next to my WASD for comparison. It’s middle of the road, cost wise, has a very similar feel to the Cherry Brown switches I had my WASD built with, and based on reviews, is recommended... BUT: Layout is slightly quirky, no CBM graphic chars obviously, is very lightweight compared to the WASD. On the ‘+’ side, the switches feel very very good.. not quite AS good as full travel Brown but close. I didn’t want the Windows logo anywhere near mine (I know), and wanted white to match my light color (yellow’d !!^{%|*#**+) terminal so it cost me $69.29 USD w free shipping (knock $5-$10 off If you tolerate Windows and don’t mind, or prefer Black) Here is a pic against my VT, perfect for the intended use, in my space constrained lab (Retr0brite treatment coming in the early summer) My recommendation is that this is a great keyboard but the ‘built-for’ kbd that is the primary subject of this thread is probably a better choice unless you want to part with $200+ for the WASD. *having used my WASD w various emulators, it’s always worked perfectly over USB. Having tried it with PS/2 for the first time left me cursing mad. Turns out WASD neglected to flash the firmware with the correct version. They apologized and gave me a link to an update but no Windows in my home and no Mac, Linux, Plus/4, C16, C128, or SX-64 or Apple II+ package so this will have to wait. So word to the fortunate, check and/or Flash your kbd before the day that your X16 arrives... the last thing you will want after this wait is to have to wait more if your kbd doesn’t support PS/2.
  22. For anybody curious, Ben Eater published a deep dive into PS/2 kbds last week. Very useful and top quality work as usual. This is not about X16 specifically but to the OP's question... "how PS/2 keyboard is read..." this will solve the mystery regardless of target platform at the lowest level (serial pulses to parallel shift with overflow/carry is built piece by piece in expert but easy to consume fashion). His next video is being contemplated now. As a Patreon support of Ben's, I requested that he both interface directly to his 6502 project (which would be very close to what X16 has to do) and leverage an inexpensive microcontroller to do the dirty work.
  23. In the late 70s, 80s and into the 90s, every public library system, University, auto parts store, department store, call center, auto-mechanic, and many retail pos systems were based on these... some still are. But yes, the landfill is 'full'. More keyboards than terminal monitors themselves, apparently. Much like my office where whole rooms are jam packed with each iteration of discarded technology, we've run out of creative ways to dispose/recycle without fear of PII data being nabbed. When China was buying all of our discarded HW in order to harvest ICs and gold (I guess), much of it went somewhere. These were the days when you were amazed that your town rec center would be willing to take such artifacts. Try and buy a VT320 today and good luck trying to find a keyboard that is not completely shot for < $400. This is a very good piece:
  24. I just threw down some $$ on a DEC VT510. If anybody is wrapped up in the PiDP 8 or 11 projects, or have a serial wire 'network' in their house as I do, there is no substitute for a solid-state appliance that is instant on and ubiquitous in the realm of Vintage Compute. I researched every vintage terminal on this rollercoaster ride and nearly fell into the trap of picking up a VT320 in addition to many many more retro looking terminals including the one above but in the end, I think I made the right decision and would like to offer that I picked it up for about $220; that the 510, 520+ leverage PS/2 keyboards and do not need what I'll generically call RJ11 style serial ports so additions costs do not exist. Also the 510 is 'fairly' modern since they were produced in the late 90s, are Energystar so limited screen burn and go emulate all the way back to VT52 including 'off brand' terminals, custom keymapping, 80 OR 132 columns, more than 25 lines per screen, etc. And of course, I could not resist but to buy a Zenith Z-19 terminal board out of an H-88 because science projects are my thing. If you can find a nice Zenith/Heathkit, it will do VT52 and have a vintage feel but based on 2 Mhz Z-80 and maintainable.
  25. Hurry and you can buy one... (though looking at that PCB, I get the feeling that despite being solid state, there is way too many vintage components to maintain. Reminds me of the “CPU-less”, logic-gate-only affairs. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-1982-LSI-Lear-Seigler-Inc-ADM-3A-Computer-Display-Terminal/402729142617?_trkparms=aid%3D777001%26algo%3DDISCO.FEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20200211172511%26meid%3D3321282d19224be5a9f19d0fb91bc195%26pid%3D101214%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D1%26mehot%3Dnone%26itm%3D402729142617%26pmt%3D0%26noa%3D1%26pg%3D2380057%26algv%3DRecommendingSearch%26brand%3D&_trksid=p2380057.c101214.m46344&_trkparms=pageci%3Aced16e3c-7d41-11eb-907f-f2548a99469b|parentrq%3Aff95622d1770a4d3624ac984ffe8d71a|iid%3A1
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