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Posts posted by mrdoornbos

  1. For a long time I was kinda "the guy" covering the Google Lunar XPrize (now defunct). The Part Time Scientists team (now Planetary Transportation Systems) first moon rover prototypes used the original BeagleBoard. They actually gifted one of those rovers to me and I still have it. The boards themselves by the Beagle project are excellent and have been sorta overshadowed by Raspberry Pi. 

    Looks like a great development for sure. Looking forward to getting one.

    • Like 1
  2. 13 minutes ago, desertfish said:

    When I had a real C64, I used the Final Cartridge 3 to do all of that in BASIC.  It does the up/down scrolling, has renum, auto, find, and a few other useful commands.

    It also provided a lot more useful stuff such as dos commands, turbo loader and a freezer + monitor. 

    Yeah, the renum in FC3 works pretty well.  Loads fine with EasyFlash or similar too.

    It will also do scrolling like you want. (stretch goal 🙂

    I don't use this cartridge much, but it IS a huge toolbox so it's useful here.

    Here's the manual for it: https://rr.pokefinder.org/rrwiki/images/7/70/Final_Cartridge_III_english_Manual.pdf


    • Like 1
  3. 21 minutes ago, StephenHorn said:

    I think it's fair to argue that the drawbacks to FPGAs mostly have to do with the "purity" of a project.

    But I think another consideration is the constraints of the project. I mean, if you're not going to use real hardware and live within its limitations, why bother pretending to live in a world of real hardware? Increase the clock speed, change the instruction set, add native 4K resolution with 3D graphics... creep those features all the way to a modern X86-64. In fact, why not skip all this hardware nonsense and stick to making a new microconsole-of-the-week or framework-of-the-month? It's all virtual, anyways.

    You can't do that so easily when you're working with actual hardware components. And that, too, is part of what makes accomplishing a project like this interesting.

    I don’t know if I have an answer, but a lot of people are content with pretending to do all sorts of things. 

    I can only speak for myself of course  I’m interested in 80s computing and whatever is next in the modern world. I lived and worked in technology through all of the in between, but that’s what happens to blow my hair back at the moment  


  4. Some of the components of retro computers are no longer available, so FPGA is the only option. The 6502 is still being made and it's cheap (like under $10 US), but on the Commodore for example, the VIC chips are no longer available. Having an FPGA VIC replacement would be fantastic for keeping my machines running for the long term.

    Since an FPGA can be a functional equivalent, it's certainly convenient from a design standpoint to use them. They are certainly more flexible. Might be the most exciting technology at the moment really.

    The main argument seems to be a purist one and personally I stay out of that argument as much as possible. I'm THRILLED that there is so much activity in this space and if people can make more interesting projects out of whatever they want, then I'm a happy camper.

    I think out of all of the projects on the horizon, both the Spectrum Next and Mega65 are really interesting. Gideon's Ultimate 64 is also fantastic. I'd buy a Mega65 right now at ANY price under $1000 (US).

    • Like 3
  5. 4 minutes ago, hth313 said:

    To be honest, for me the main advantage of the Commander X16 over the Mega 65 is the simplicity. It is a standard 6502 (well 65C02) with a simple memory model.

    However, I think that I will actually just get a new Commodore 64 over any of these machines as it does everything I want. I would just go and buy an Ultimate-64 if I could get a new keyboard for it, but I can't. Thus, I wait and see if the Mega 65 comes out and if the price is not over the top, then I will probably get one and basically see it as a variant of the Ultimate-64.

    The limitations of the C64 is actually a benefit as if I want to do something myself, as I have to work inside the constraints. It is probably just as fun and also avoids feature creep, making it more likely that I actually have time to finish something.

    If I wanted something more, then I think I would just do like I did 1987 when I sold my C128D and replaced it with an Amiga. The Vampire Standalone is not that over the top in price and offers a lot more. I prefer that over the Mega 65 when it comes to the extra abilities.

    Yeah, this is interesting to think about. It's a "what is this for". I agree with you here, I've still got years left of C64 discovery left in me and I already own several of them so I'm not sure what I'd do with this.

    I WANT to think of something, don't get me wrong. I think there's room for a project like this if the community can find a "why".

  6. 12 minutes ago, isedwards said:

    The X16 development has been a bit below radar, I'm hoping once it is released there will be regular YouTube content. If so, I'm all in. In fact, I'd love to be a patreon of an official dedicated X16 YouTube channel with curated content from the community and thoughts/discussion from the project leaders. I would even have some ideas for the format and some episode ideas...


    I think (hope?) that the handful of people "in charge" of the project are heads down (and probably have "day jobs"). But I'm sure I'm not the only one who's concerned about the lack of any updates. Wouldn't really take but a few minutes every month to say "here's where we are and here's what's left".

    I don't want to write software for the X16 at this point because from where I'm sitting it looks stalled. I suspect (again hope?) I'm wrong about this, but I've been involved in many many community projects over the years and most of them stall out right at this stage.

    • Like 3
  7. Having just watched a pretty thorough walk through of  the 65, I'm pretty impressed. Sure it was expensive, but it'll get better. Maybe.

    A couple things that are interesting to me:

    1. GO 64 - I can have my cake and eat it too
    2. They have shipped 100 units, so it's real(ish).
    3. The software development is already pretty mature



    • Like 1
  8. I'm not sure if I actually care if it's an FPGA. Functional equivalent doesn't bother me. It doesn't bother me AT ALL to use an SD2IEC card on my Commodores. Sure I have a 1541, but the SD card is more reliable.

    I ordered a Mega 65 so I'll know more about how I feel about it when I get it.

    I'm very curious how things like this will be received without at least some of the community driving the nostalgia factor. I use my C64 and 128 all the time at least in part because there's some nostalgia for it. But I skipped over the Amiga in my computer journey in the 90s. Went to DOS and then Linux in 1996.  I own an Amiga 600 and don't use it because it doesn't resonate with me like a C64 does.

    Should be a fascinating thing to study really.

    • Like 2
  9. 12 minutes ago, John Chow Seymour said:

    Just think, if you install something that can run a flight simulator, you can:

    • in weather too poor to fly, sit in your actual plane and pretend you're flying
    • try taking off and landing the real plane and the simulated one simultaneously (Note: if you try this, I am not responsible for any accidents)
    • tell your friends your ride got pimped ("Yo Dawg, I hear you like planes, so...")
    • post "aerial photographs" that are just screen grabs of the simulator. "But they were taken from a real plane in flight!", etc.

    I'm sure someone will make a flight sim for the X16; I think that's your best bet.

    That plane looks awesome, by the way.  Best of luck with this whole project.  Keep us posted.



    These are excellent ideas!  I fly the Baron about 250 hours a year, so I'm looking forward to having this Zenith to just play around with.

    • Like 1
  10. The 400 has been on my desk a couple days now. Works well as you might expect. The Pi is a mature platform and it shows. They keyboard is usable, but the mouse is truely horrible. Thank god I had a Microsoft bluetooth mouse laying around with nothing better to do 🙂

    • Like 5
  11. I've been thinking about the X16 a lot lately as a basis for thought experiments. No real end goal, just a central theme to chew on.

    If you're going to build a machine with intentional constraints, why not use them as part of its advantage rather than try to make it into something it's not? The primary reason for a machine like the Commander X16 is that a single person can understand all of its parts. If I have an idea in software I want to bring to the world and I chose a platform based solely on it being the platform best suited to do so, the X16 would fit a tiny subset of problems I can come up with. There are a lot of other options which would make a whole lot more sense.

    I've been doing this for a long time, and I suspect most of us on this forum have too. I can't say that I understand to the level that I do on a Commodore 64, all of the moving parts that make a Raspberry Pi or my MacBook work. I don't REALLY know, on a low machine level, what's going on. Not to the level where I can step through single CPU steps in a machine code monitor. I can definitely do that on a 6502 though.

    I always thought that this was the reason for this platform. It's constrained on purpose, with a few modern conveniences, even the purest of enthusiasts can concede were needed (SD Cards instead of floppies, for example).



    • Like 2
  12. On 11/9/2020 at 5:34 AM, BruceMcF said:

    Well, the first 90% of the job takes 90% of the time,  the last 10% takes the remaining 90%.

    So awfully tempting to start with a Pi0 running an LED board then build the custom 6502 to take over its job.


    I'll use modern avionics as primary displays. Probably Dynon. The idea of the 6502 in an Experimental is really for the fun of it. It'll be a "secondary" display and functionality. Just for fun really

    • Like 1
  13. 13 hours ago, rje said:

    An interesting thought experiment!

    I guesstimate that crowdfunding could get 9,430 backers at "full" price. 

    Wide margin of error.  (Somewhere between the active users here and the total number of people in the Facebook group).


    Interesting programs could help.

    I smell an X16 program that stores a pool of our initial sales guesses. The winner gets a HUGE prize: bragging rights for making a wild guess!



    • Haha 1
  14. 29 minutes ago, Strider said:

    I'm seriously wondering if you could not just modify/paint the case to match whatever theme you want.

    You can have custom keycaps made in various styles. I wish I knew if the keyboard was a single sheet of material or individual keys.

    I don't even have one and already thinking how I can mod it. 😛

    Any PS/2 keyboard should be adaptable. Sky is the limit really.

  15. 8 minutes ago, StephenHorn said:

    So when can we expect the all-in-one keyboard form-factor CX16? (Joking, joking... 😉 Unless of course lightning strikes and the crowdfunding goes completely, ridiculously bonkers, into the multiple millions. I'm expecting the CX16 to be worthwhile for everyone involved, but I'm not betting on winning the ultra-viral lottery.)

    I agree, that would be pretty cool.

    It's an educated guess, but baring some unusual turn of events, the demand for the X16 won't be in the millions. I understand "TheC64" demand since it's a nostalgia thing, but the X16 is in a middle ground kinda place, like the Maximite, only with a "please no FPGAs except that one we couldn't work around" philosophy.  Antiquated development techniques on a platform that doesn't carry that nostalgia. I have a hard time seeing a HUGE demand after the initial early adopters have them.

    I'm very bullish on making new games for the C64, NES, Amiga, and DOS though.

    That being said, I want one. But I'm also a Commodore 64 kid. My brother is 10 years younger than I am and was alive in the 80s but not old enough to remember the 80s. He doesn't "get" the X16 at all.


    • Like 1
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