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Michael Jørgensen

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Everything posted by Michael Jørgensen

  1. Ah, memories! My very first "computer" was the brand new TI-59 back in 1977. I was 8 years old, and my dad had bought it for himself, but I was allowed to "borrow" it It was an extremely powerful calculator, programmable, and with a magnetic card reader to store programs on. There was a very large community around this calculator (even locally here in Denmark), and people did a lot of reverse engineering, and figured out many undocumented features of the calculator, I made lots of programs and games for this calculator. That was what initially inspired me to learn programming.
  2. Looks like we're quite a few people here from Denmark My name is Michael Jørgensen, and I started programming when I was 12 years old, first on the Sinclair ZX80 and then ZX81. I quickly learned BASIC, and started looking into Z80 assembly. But my first true love was the Commodore 64, which I had from the age of 15. I had a printer too, but not a disk drive, so all my programs were stored on cassette tape. I learned 6502 assembly on the C64, and made my own Turbo Loader. Most of my learning came from manually disassembling other programs (typically games), and trying to figure out how the game behaviour correlated with the disassembly. I also mod'ed my C64 with an additional 8 kB of static RAM. This was connected to a separate battery, and could therefore keep the contents even when the C64 was powered off. The RAM functioned like a cartridge (except it was writeable), and the C64 would boot up from it. The RAM contained a welcome greeting and my Turbo Loader program. That was so much fun, and gave me a real sense of success! In high school I teamed up with my classmate Morten who had a Z80-based Memotech MTX 512, We studied the disassembly of the builtin ROMs of both our machines and were frustrated over how slow the BASIC interpreters were. Together, we built a BASIC+KERNEL from scratch: our own TOS (= Tape Operating System), ported to both machines. Morten did most of the BASIC interpreter, while I did the floating point arithmetic and graphic routines. We never did finish the project past the prototype level, but we had a lot of fun. I've submitted a Pull Request for the X16 ROM with some faster floating point arithmetic, based on my ideas from back then. At university (Master in Electrical Engeering) I learned myself to program in C, mainly small programs doing numerical simulations for my thesis. I completed a PhD in mathematics, and a PostDoc in quantum mechanics, but finally gave up on the academic career path and went to work in industry as a software developer, despite no formal education in computer science. Most of my professional work has been developing drivers in small embedded systems using C++. I initially found the language hard to learn; the compiler errors were particularly obfuscated as well as learning the more high-level programming paradigm. But now I'm very comfortable with C++. Later in my professional life I got a chance to work with developing FPGAs, i.e. designing chips, and I've been doing that ever since! Most of the work has centered around squeezing out every ounce of performance from the largest FPGAs. I really enjoy the fun challenge of optimizations: pushing against the limits of speed and size. I had a brief period of 8 years as a high school teacher, teaching math and physics, and programming. I enjoyed it very much, but it was way too much work I have an FPGA board at home for my own personal projects. Initially I only made were simple stuff, but then a few years ago I saw a video series by Ben Eater about how he made his own 8-bit computer on a breadboard. I got super excited and decided to re-implement his project on my FPGA board. Once that was done, I got all ambitious and wanted to make a re-implementation of the complete Commodore 64 on an FPGA, but then found out that the guys behind the MIST project had already done that! Nevertheless I began designing my own 8-bit FPGA computer based on the 6502 processor, and I even wrote a tutorial about it (https://github.com/MJoergen/nexys4ddr/tree/master/dyoc). I wanted to write a complete operating system, but the project lost steam once the hardware was complete; I couldn't decide on what I wanted to make. That's when I saw David's video about his dream computer. I resonate with David's ideas about the X16, and am very eager to help out as best I can. So far I've written a tutorial on making games in assembly for the X16 (https://github.com/MJoergen/x16-assembly-tutorial). On a side note, I'm working on making my own clone of the X16 on my FPGA development board, but that is all still Work In Progres, and not publicly available. I really like this project and being part of this amazing community! facebook : https://www.facebook.com/michael.finn.jorgensen/ linkedin : https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaeljoergensen/ github   : https://www.github.com/MJoergen/
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