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Edmond D

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Everything posted by Edmond D

  1. I worked in the early 2000's on updating the automation a plastic plant making Lexan. While making other plastics may be different, I'd suspect that they are very similar in processing/manufacturing. Basically the start is to make plastic resin from petrochemicals which results in a powder like material (think like flour) which has a consistent default natural colour - off white. This stage was done in a separate plant on the facility. It was then blown over via a pipe to the extruding plant which was the factory I worked on re-automating. Other chemicals are added for various properties, such as colour following a pre-determined recipe, measured by weight. All the chemicals in a batch are then mixed in powder form. It then goes into a melting pot together to create something that had the constancy of a thick glue - think like candle wax. This process occurred in basically a heated tube with an auger in it called an extruder. if you've ever used a meat grinder that's what to think of. It comes out hot and gets put into a water bath the cools and sets the strands forming a hard continuous plastic rod. These strands then get chopped up into little pellets, dried and off to storage bins. Here is where the pellets get checked for colour against a standard. Scrapping it doesn't make sense given the effort and cost of the raw materials. If there is off-product (ie not matching the standards - not the right colour) the batch of pellets are sold to a customer who doesn't require a specific tolerance on a property. Colour doesn't matter if the part isn't going into a piece that isn't visible, or the end customer doesn't care about it. Off-product is sold at a discount, but I assume not at a loss. There were certain regions that were known to want the cheapest product rather than an exact colour (or property.) In making pellets, the next batch might be of a different colour for a different customer. Rather than shut the extruding line down, attempt to clean the extruder out (if possible) then start up the next batch, the next batch would go in just after the last one. This method saved time and money, but created pellets with"in-between" colour (and other properties) which were off-product but still desirable by some customers. This in-between was sent to a different storage bin, which might have pellets from another transition between batches. The in-spec coloured pellets are then sold to a customer who uses them to mold whatever they want. I'm assuming that Nintendo had a manufacturer mold the cartridge for them rather than make it themselves, much like they would buy the burnt/masked ROMs from a supplier. If the molder didn't meet Nintendo's colour spec, I assume that Nintendo would not purchase the shipment. Robot colour quality control is rather expensive and difficult especially with vision systems, or at least in the time I was in the automation field. I worked in several industries over a wide range of manufacturing such as automotive, food processing and pharmaceuticals and only saw a few in my time. The issues with lighting, production speed and other factors made it costly to automate. In the computer assembly plants I worked in humans did the assembly of parts to make a machine. An automated robotic system could be built to do the assembly, but one would have to be making mass amounts of computers for a long period of time for it to be cost effective. With case changes, technology advancements (how many processor form factors have you seen since CPUs came in DIPs?) and other items, the time to design, develop, build and roll out would far exceed the lifespan the resultant product would have. On the other end of the spectrum bottling is a process that automation makes sense given the quantity and consistency of the product. Cans and bottles don't frequently change in size or shape; just the contents. Anyone for an "old" Coke verse "new" Coke flame war? All of the above may be more than you ever wanted to know, and just vaguely related to retro computing but you did get it for free though
  2. Very impressive - both the game and the supporting code constructs!
  3. Are you suggesting high level developers are different from assembly programers? Welcome Bill - I guess you would be in both groups. I'm hoping one day to get back to programming, perhaps before the X16 hardware ships.
  4. Has it been updated for the latest emulator? If so the "Try it now button" needs to be disabled until the online emulator matches the build it was developed on.
  5. I prefer the shorter path personally. Less to go wrong, and doesn't use up 6522 resources. That being said, we're at the mercy of the team actually building the platform. It appears they've made a decision to go with the larger micro. Original post on
  6. Completely understandable. I didn't realize that cc65 could be so fragile; having a working stock platform is important. Perhaps a virtual machine for extending cc65 would be the way to go. The library would be a nice addition, but might become a timesink of epic proportions. I've yet to dive into cc65 development; there's a greenhouse I have to finish first. It's kinda like coding, in that I design, then build, then design around the flaws that I've constructed. If I could only easily "undo" things I'd be finished last year when I started. Perhaps it's akin to the CX16 hardware development, but the first greenhouse HAS to be made to work, a "do-over" is just not practical. Sorry for the diversion of topic - 3 AM sleep issues.
  7. Yes - got through the 80's without it fine Thanks for the note, and thanks to Kelli217 for the clip.
  8. The HEX$ instruction does't work in R38, not that anyone but us retro retro emulator people would attempt to use that version. Given that the bulk of the x16 software hasn't migrated to the latest, I've held off setting up a dual system or upgrading just yet. That day will come, but only once winter is here again.
  9. I remember being "lost" (to my parents) in a mall in Detroit on a family Xmas trip in 1978. I had fun glued in front of the demo machine playing combat; my parents not so much as they searched for me. I never had a 2600, but of course there were always friends who had a unit and I got to play it from time to time. Somewhere in my crawlspace collection is a CD with some of the classic 2600 titles that ran on a PC. I'll get to it again someday....
  10. Before my time, but the system sounds neat - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CARDboard_Illustrative_Aid_to_Computation I hope the you develop it to a working simulation with graphics. The advice from TomXP411 should help you expand the simple "B" prototype program.
  11. There was a switch on the side which allowed one to choose the processor that the machine would use. I'm unsure of the kernel/ROM modifications from the original PET. It did have a dongle built-in which I didn't know about when I sat in front of it. The copy protection seems a little excessive, as the whole machine was effectively a dongle. Perhaps it was designed/included because the machine targeted university computer science students with the assumption that they are smart but criminal. There is a light article here https://www.oldcomputr.com/commodore-mmf-9000-superpet-1981/ which is a good initial overview. The manuals for the system & languages have been reproduced online and can easily be found.
  12. It actual was a 16 bit CPU limited with an external 8 bit bus. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_8088 But more on the 6809 which was a 8 bit cpu with some 16 bit features - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola_6809 While many liked the CPU in the few 8 bit machines that it was used in, I don't think it would have the same market appeal as a retro machine based on the 6502 processor. The thread started with considering making a CX16 use a 6809 processor as a drop in replacement. The technical issues I feel limit that possibility. However, I could see a 6809 retro-computer being built by taking the CX16 design and adapting it to the 6809. Video (VERA) might have the power to emulate what the CoCo could do. I think fans of that system would be happy to have a redo clone. Note that I was a commodore teen and didn't spend much time on the 6809 save for the high school's SuperPet I was assigned to (one of the benefits of upstage a typing teacher forced to try and teach computers/BASIC which was really out of her depth.)
  13. I live on Vancouver island, a location fought with wind storms knocking out power, tsunami potential, earthquake risks and forest fires too. We rarely see any thunderstorms or tornadoes, and rarely a heat wave or snow storm. Anyway disaster prep is rather big here; I'm not prepared and I know it.That being said I've joined my town's emergency communication radio volunteer group - are HAM licences and use of a portable radio. If a disaster hits hopefully I get a shelter bed & food for volunteering - I will get a emergency role. Anyway three items that I though of that might influence how you prepare for the next disaster: - Candles are discouraged as they now present a fire hazard. I still am going to have some, but both my wife and I grew up with using them. We aren't expecting heat or significant light from them, just more of and emotional comfort item (which has it's own value.) - Dishes. A fiend went through a power outage for a couple of days. He had a BBQ and camping stove. He found the bulk of the fuel was used to heat water for washing dishes. He recommends paper plates for his emergency kit - they can be garbaged/burned and save on fuel and time. He also suggest a couple of those evil plastic utensils that probably are in our kitchen drawer for that someday use that hasn't come. the hopefully would be washed and recycled after the disaster. - See what your government has to help you be informed for the next issue - https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/seniors/health-safety/emergency-and-disaster-preparedness If you have the will consider volunteering in your local community, the benefits are great.
  14. For this VERA us I think people experimenting with mods is a great thing. Yes it will lead to some potential incompatibilities, but also gains when users discover what's really of value and what is not used (and can be sacrificed.) AS for writing to the lowest common denominator/base system, I'd suggest it was one of the killers of the VIC-20 system. Not having a ton of RAM meant that there was few larger programs and therefore less incentive to buy an expander. Perhaps this limitation feedback loop was perhaps a reason for the C64 being a bigger success as the capacities/resources were much greater out of the box. I believe that one of the goals for the X16 is for people to be able to experiment and perhaps refine the system. I'm all for that with the understanding there are limits to it. I'm not expecting a shipping X16 to be anywhere near what a iPad/Chromebook/modern PC or MAC can do these days in terms of performance. But I do plan on buying a kit, building it and then having lots of fun!
  15. Ok - just recompile the release and set it to be a nine bit system. An extra wee bit should resolve the issue. Consider it a parity bit! Jokes aside, I'm encouraged by 3 new emulator versions released in the last little while. Hopefully others are encouraged to take on items that would make a shipping X16 possible. Thanks to those who are moving the project forward! PS - I've not gone to the new emulator as of yet because of other pressing computer issues. I hope to get at it soon.
  16. I use this trick to remember it: Little Endian - the "Little" byte comes before the "End" byte. For the Big Endian the "Big" byte comes before the "End" byte. Of course that doesn't stop me from making mistakes.
  17. I have enough trouble managing just two displays. 40 or 80 would be a real challenge!
  18. Having a notification of when the DMs will be ported would be ideal. I'd go beforehand and archive/delete items saving some space/cpu power. Actually I should just do it now...
  19. It will be interesting to see how (and how long) it takes for things to get normal, if ever. I'm sure most of us lived through the epoxy shortage in 1993 just fine - https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1993-08-06-9308060189-story.html I've just got my first Ardiuno; I hope to treat it well as I go forward, as its a great rapid prototyping/hobby system. My heart is with older microcontrollers such as the 68HC11, but putting together a system is more work especially for one-off play projects. As for the commercial world, I'm not so sure what will happen. Automobiles ran without chips for about a century, but now an electric vehicle probably has more silicon than my desktop system. With gas prices changing and societal changes I think driving will be come a luxury for the rich like it was when the car first appeared. Supply chains are something the average person doesn't think about or know much about, but when they deviate significantly the public hears about it, usually in a simplistic version.
  20. Now you can boldly go where style hasn't been before: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/john-fluevog-star-trek-strange-new-worlds-1.6443282
  21. Do I dare ask if there's any reason to leave your parent's basement?
  22. I found that Belgians appreciated my attempts to communicate; Parisians wanted to communicate a few choice words AT me. Anyway, I think having multiple language for keyboard layouts is going to help the X16. Perhaps someone has a list of how many different languages the C64 or Atari had back in the day.
  23. Rarely heard in my experience with speaking Quebecois. I've heard other "choice" words, none of them should be said in public, plus my horrible spelling (any language) would prevent me from writing them here.
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