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Calculon

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Everything posted by Calculon

  1. True. I'm also not in the know whether those issues are settled, so I went with the one that we definitely know is NOT settled yet. Lot of slowly moving parts, though.
  2. You could find this topic debated hotly in that closed thread. Here were the reasons to not do crowdfunding as I recall: 1. The primary issue right now appears to be logistics, not money. Taking people's money wouldn't speed that up. Nor will increasing the the visibility of it through advertising. 2. Crowdfunding creates an obligation (at the very least, in David's view) to reach specific targets, and right now there is too much uncertainty to make any promises about the final product. The case they designed not free to the public. You are free to design your own, of course, and 3D print that for personal use.
  3. I appreciate the work you’re putting into it, especially the contributions to the software side of it. Not to mention watching the progress!
  4. As to the illegal opcodes, no it does not (http://www.e-basteln.de/computing/65f02/65f02/ under "Supported Host Systems"):
  5. The attached docker file worked for me. I've never built the ROMs before, so the best thing I can say is that "it doesn't throw any errors", but maybe it's a head start for anyone not running Linux. Or who just don't want to install a bunch of stuff. 1. Clone repo 2. Add Dockerfile 3. Run docker build . I didn't map volumes, so the step of getting the output from the container is left to the next guy EDIT: Typos Dockerfile
  6. Would be nice if someone already created a docker container (or published a dockerfile) with the stuff you need. That’s usually my go-to solution for compilation that needs a specific platform.
  7. "All of your witty quotes are now mine" - Mark Twain, if he were alive today
  8. "He wrapped himself in quotations- as a beggar would enfold himself in the purple of Emperors." -- Rudyard Kipling
  9. I can solder through-hole, no problem, but my hands aren't real steady so surface mount would be a challenge. I'll give it a go with X16, though.
  10. There's no definitive list at this point. None that I know of, anyway. Your best bet is to ask on the project Discord. EDIT: Discord link
  11. When the conversation about the final release plans of a modern retro computer has turned to what technically constitutes a “computer” and a “program”, the plot has truly been lost. Something tells me that Murray and company learned all they needed quite some time ago.
  12. There has been a lot of discussion in the past about the decision to use a 65C02 instead of a 65C816 in the CX16. I've read on the 6502.org site that dealing with the data/address pins can be difficult, even with the info provided in the data sheet. So it was interesting to run across a series of videos from a guy named Adrien Kohlbecker, who's attempting to design a basic system using it. I have no idea what his ultimate plans are, apart from the rev A specs in the introduction (Bank 0 RAM, some ROM and extended RAM, 6522 for peripherals, and a serial port). But those who like Ben Eater's videos will probably like what he's doing here. I especially appreciate how he's breaking down the timings, trying to visualize each problem that needs to be solved, updating the schematics, connecting everything on breadboards, testing, etc. Videos seem to be coming regularly, and so far he's handled the multiplexed bus, BE and RDY pins. He hasn't actually run the CPU in the design yet, but he's done basic tests of the latch/buffer for the data bus and bank address. The methodical approach he's taking is very promising, and it's been interesting to watch the progress. Apologies if this has already been posted. I tried searching for it and came up empty. Intro video is here:
  13. Just to repeat for clarification: “once every couple of weeks” is not a post from one of the project members. It’s a random person with a question, or an idea, or a link they want to share, etc. Exactly the kind of thing that gets posted here multiple times *every day*. You’re not missing enough to worry about. It’s not “VAST”. It’s tiny.
  14. The Facebook group has gotten much quieter over the past year. The vast majority of activity regarding the project happens here, at this point. I'd estimate a new post (by anyone, not just a project member) happens once in a couple of weeks. Occasionally David will reply to a post, and it will reveal some new detail of their plans, but it isn't anything like a formal "announcement". That's how we found out that they were planning to make the X8 more like the X16, recently. Just a one-liner reply. He also recently posted a short video showing the low-end keyboard. But that didn't really reveal anything earth-shattering, either. Plus, anything interesting ends up getting shared here by someone, within a few days. So honestly, I don't think it's worth worrying about. There is no need for FOMO when it comes to the Facebook group.
  15. Not to mention if you happened to work in a shop with an old 68030-based minicomputer laying around, with a bunch of dumb terminals. Meant that your cheap boss never just let you just order a serial cable, even if it was something standard for use on someone’s desktop PC. We always had bulk cable and DB9/25 ends laying around, so we always had to build them. USB freed us from that time-wasting task. I suppose that’s a pretty specific benefit, but it was one I appreciated a lot lol
  16. It's not ironic at all. It is quite literally "serial" - a serial interface that transmits a single bit stream. It also succeeded at being "universal", given how widely it is implemented for many application types and devices. Firewire is also serial, and peer-oriented (so does not have USBs limitations in that regard), and it pretty readily supports network-style direct links. But unfortunately, it is decidedly *not* universal at this point, after losing the 'serial bus war' to USB. Apple's licensing policies, and Intel not including support in their chipsets pretty much doomed it. I doubt the USB designers' decision to use a host/slave communication style was intended to deliberately prevent direct connections between computers (they added OTG later, to overcome some of those limitations). But every design has tradeoffs. I don't know USBs history well enough to say for certain, but there's a good chance that it allowed for simpler/cheaper devices if only one required the ability to act as a host (or a peer, if they had used that topology). Given the original purpose of the interface and its design goals (faster than existing serial and parallel ports, simpler and cheaper-to-build cabling, basic power delivery, plug and play), and the devices that were being connected (mice, keyboards, printers), that seems reasonable. Maybe if the X8 ever comes out, someone will hack in a way to tie them together. Seems like a big "if" at this point.
  17. It's not for sale as a standalone product yet. The idea has been floated by the CX16 creators, but you're not likely to see it sold separately until it's first been included in an integrated system (the X16 or X8, for example).
  18. Yes the Gemini was on that board several years later. I was just throwing out the Mega II as something that actually existed in 1985, to say that "yes, it could be done back then, and didn't require advances that didn't exist yet". The best fantasies have at least some grounding in reality. Your flights of fancy don't need to make sense (economic, or otherwise), of course! But sometimes its interesting to muse on why such a product did (or didn't) get made.
  19. I think a more period-accurate example would be the Apple IIGS's Mega II chip which wasn't on a card, but certainly could be (you would need to add a 6502 if the new platform wasn't running a 65816). The issue with the idea is that if were released in 1985, it would probably just cannibalize sales of the C64. Not that that's a bad thing, since the point would be to get people to eventually adopt the new platform that provides the "8-bit exit strategy". That was, in fact, the point of the Apple IIe card for Macs. It wasn't released until 1991, seven years after the Mac came out, and just two years before the Apple II was discontinued. It was very much a "retirement plan" for users that still relied on older software. It was also half the price of a real Apple IIe at that point.
  20. I think it's hard to say how well it would sell. Are you thinking that this alternate-timeline successor to the C64 would have been released around the same time as the C128? Also if it were me I'd just call it the "Go64", since it's the alternate timeline replacement to the BASIC command that accomplished the same thing.
  21. The keyboard does have PETSCII on the keys. As for why not USB, my guess is it would increase the cost of the keyboard to support both signaling types.
  22. True, but that’s still a very small market when considering chip fabrication as it currently stands. I found the Itsy Chipsy project kind of interesting, even if the target audience isn’t necessarily retro, and they haven’t posted much since 2018. But since they mentioned DIP40 in their proposal, it got me curious to read a little more. Maybe that, or something like it, bears fruit one day and creates some opportunities for cheap(er) custom silicon?
  23. When the topic begins with "A Modest Proposal", it's hard not to assume that the proposal isn't satire. Having said that, while it would be great for retro enthusiasts to have, it just doesn't seem feasible right now. Maybe it becomes viable as time passes? Hopefully the enthusiasm for retro tech hasn't subsided by then. Personally, I view the benefits of discrete logic primarily for 1) hobbyist tinkering, and 2) education. I think it's been mentioned in the main "X16 change in direction" thread already, but the education I'm thinking of is that of practical application. Kit computers that use TTL logic, through-hole chips, and real CPUs expose just enough for someone to grasp how a computer actually works. Not at the atomic or quantum level of diodes and transistors, but at the level where you might want to build something that does a useful/interesting thing. And it's a nice stepping-stone to to other areas of computing, if hardware is your interest. Having said that, other than to create chips that replace disappearing stocks of SIDs, VICs, and other nostalgic old parts, I don't see the strong benefit to a retro fab. As others have mentioned, FPGAs and other programmable logic components are essentially a "personal fab" that can stand in for the time being.
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