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Tatwi last won the day on March 5

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About Tatwi

  • Birthday 02/04/1978

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  1. https://www.retroreversing.com/famicom-nes-development-kit/
  2. The Colour Maximite systems are effectively this concept. One system that is both the programming and execution platform. They also boot to directly to a unified programming and execution environment. Bonus: Said environment uses the BASIC language at roughly the speed of native C64 machine language. Really bummed out that wasn't able to get either.
  3. Will this computer serve a purpose for an end users or is this a project where you design and build a computer simply for the joy of doing so, regardless of the resulting machine's purpose? Totally fine either way, of course; I was just curious.
  4. I've been interested in computerized music since the late 1990s, not enough to really stick with it sadly, but I've done some stuff here and there with Impulse Tracker, Mad Tracker, Rebirth, Reason, and Sunvox. So when this popped up in my Youtube suggestions for some reason, I figured, "what the heck, I like that song"... Wow man, I honestly had no idea software such as this existed! It's kind of insane how realistic and complete this reproduction sounds, given that it's made with just software. Compare that to something as advanced as the Amiga in the 1990s... let alone sound tracking on the 8 bit computers... And this Garage Band software is just crazy science fiction. Heck, it's used on a touch screen even! It's amazing how far music production software has come in the last 40 years. From boops and bleeps all the way to writing a realistic sounding symphony using a device that fits in your pocket (I suppose a pen would also fit in one's pocket). I've never been a fan of the "chiptune" sound, but I do appreciate it in the context of the catchy songs included in many Nintendo and Sega games I played back in the late 80s, early 90s. So I wonder what kind of music production software folks will come up with the Commander X16.
  5. That's a real bummer. Bell Canada has the rights here, so these shows broadcast on the SciFi channel. Netflix also has all the old shows. I checked the Bell "watch online" website just now, but the new show hasn't been uploaded yet. It probably won't be available until 9PM EST, because that's when it airs on cable TV.
  6. Neat stuff. Good work! Uniformly changing selection size: Rectangle or Circle Select Tool Menu: [X] Expand from center [X] Fixed [Aspect Ratio] GIMP Menu: Select > Shrink... (or Grow...) > Do the math and enter a number to shrink/grow the selection
  7. As a lifetime standard ANSI US 104 layout user, it pains me to say that the majority of laptops and Chromebooks sold in Canada come with a 00011009 Canadian Multilingual Standard keyboard. My kids use that layout. Bleh! Anyway, for what it's worth, it's a popular layout here.
  8. We rented it on the cable tv thing. I watched 3 times. Like any movie, it had some technical issues, but in all the ways that matter this movie was everything that it should have been. They put a lot of effort into making it feel like a Ghostbusters movie, rather than just a movie in that universe about some of those people. The sounds, the music, some of the jokes and their comedic timing, and the physical references to items that were in the other movies, made this one feel like another Ghostbusters movie. That's great! All I wanted as a fan. I think it would have been better without the older brother and the girl friend, giving all that screen time instead to Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, McKenna Grace and Logan Kim to develop their characters and have more adventures/discoveries, especially as a team. Like cut out all the Finn Wolfhard stuff, put Rudd driving Ecto 1, and Coon discovering Egon's motives earlier, then use the extra screen time to have a new ghost busting team build to the climax where they're in over their heads and the old guys step in to help them win... But, it was good enough. I liked it. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some awesome to enjoy...
  9. I like your hat. I wear a straw hat of a similar style around the yard, but it's not something I really would have thought I would wear. My dad wore one like it when he was gardening, so I picked it up for giggles when we were in Cuba a few years ago. But ya know, I quite like your hat, Bruce, and I wonder... would something similar suit my ugly mug? I do need a new hat before bald spot burning season begins...
  10. It is probably best suited for assembly programming, like the rest of the 8 bit systems, and that's totally fine. Being entirely open, it is possible that folks could write a BASIC compiler which translates custom BASIC commands into efficient machine language routines, so one could write all of an advanced program in BASIC. So that's interesting. It should be noted that this project is headed by that dude who had some pretty crap criticism of this community. Nice product, excellent follow through, but I'm not real keen on where it's coming from.
  11. I've done a lot of QBasic 1.1 in DOSBox, approximately emulating a 386 33MHz computer. In my GitHub repo I have some software and benchmark stuff that I putter with. Check it out if you'd like. Over the years I have tested loads of setups along these lines and DOSBox really is the easiest to work with, due to how it shares the files system with the host system (which is better on Windows than Linux, due the line ending thing). However, there are a couple other ways of using DOS that are fun. 1. FreeDOS on modern hardware at full speed. The downside is that if you don't have an ISA slot on your "modern" system, you're just not going to have sound, due to lack of drivers. You may be able to use a parallel port sound card, if your motherboard... maybe. FreeDOS is compatible with MSDOS and it comes with a wide variety of software and programming tools in various languages. It's even bootable from CDROM. 2. Emulating a whole PC with PCem or Box86. This is kind of neat, as it uses the BIOS files for motherboards and video cards to emulate systems as a whole and with more accuracy than DOSBox. DOSBox really is only intended to run games, rather than applications and operating systems. In my testing, PCem runs QBasic significantly faster than real hardware of the same specifications, but it's good enough. This is much more cumbersome to use, due to the need for disk images, but there is a type of image file that Windows 10 can natively mount. I'd say that my real Pentium 233MMX desktop is too fast for even the QBasic 1.1 IDE, let alone compiled QBasic 4.5, but I suppose that does depend on what you're doing. I paid a whole $25 for this computer (Compaq Deskpro 4000) 20 years ago, but now you're looking at $200+ for an untested potential piece of junk, so I can't say that I recommend going this route. Using PCem to emulate a computer is more accessible, because even an older desktop or cheap laptop can handle a fairly hefty retro system. Here's an approximate level of emulation for you... Modern Computer: Retro Computer Core2 Duo 2.8GHz: Pentium 100 Core2 Quad 2.3GHz: Pentium 100 Celeron N3450 (Quad Core Laptop): Pentium 100 AMD FX-8320: Pentium 200 Core i3 10105f: Pentium II 233 Core i5 12600K: Pentium II 300 with 3DFX Voodoo graphics It takes a lot more CPU power to emulate a Voodoo card, so all the other estimates are for a standard 2D VGA/SVGA card, such as a Trident or S3 Virge. Ps. The Raspberry Pi Zero (original) can run DOSBox consistently at a 386 25MHz level (4000 "cycles" or so), provided it is launched from the Rasbian Lite command line or JWM. Any larger windows managers / DEs suck up too many resources. The Pi0 2 or Pi3 or Pi4 can likely do DOSBox well enough for games like SimCity 2000.
  12. That's actually really neat. I didn't know they made scopes that connected to a computer for their interface/screen. Whoah... it's been 30 years since I used an oscilloscope! Teehee... I once tried convince my wife to go on a 14 or so hour drive to buy this super cool looking old scope that still worked, "just because". Let me see if I can find a picture... Something like that. Definitely less practical than your garden variety square screened scope or the nifty tool you have, but it sure would look great on one's desk! ... There's something to be said about having real knobs and buttons to use... Life itself is a tactile experience and I think we really miss out on some of that in today's tech world; if you're not tinkering with circuit stuff, you're generally just tapping a smooth screen, clacking a keyboard, and swooshing a mouse. Console style gamepads and desktop keyboards are still full tactile experiences, but they lack the visual aspect of tuning a system by turning knobs and flicking switches while watching dials and screens... That old tech from the 50s-70s was really built for people to touch and feel, to connect with in a practical manner. I keep a rotary phone on my desk, "just because". It's not hooked up to anything. I just like it.
  13. Well, that's pretty much what I would consider a perfect modern 8 bit computer. Probably cost 100 EUR fully assembled and shipped, which is about 138 CAD. I guess that's fine. However... Is there something that this version of BBC BASIC can do that the version included with RISC OS for the $7 Raspberry Pi Zero cannot? If not, then a person who is only going to use BASIC does not need this product, because the Pi0 can boot to BASIC almost instantly while also being compatible with USB keyboards and HDMI monitors, which I imagine would be more convenient than PS/2 and SVGA. This is not a complaint, but a legitimate question, does the Agon have hardware capabilities exposed to BASIC that make it better than running BBC BASIC on something else? I Googled, but did not find an answer. It will be interesting to see what assembly programmers can do with the machine.
  14. On a similar, but different note... What I REALLY WANT is an 8 bit handheld in the (+ [__] - -) form factor that can plug into a PS/2 keyboard and an SVGA screen (using a custom dongle with a small plug). This way the handheld is both the computer that makes the games and the portable console which plays the games. Again, something akin to the Pico-8 fantasy console, but as a handheld device. That would be epic and something kids might actually enjoy, especially if there was an official website where they download/upload games (either by micro SD or a built in Wifi browser).
  15. I'm right there with ya man! Ideally I'd like a 386DX at 40MHz (AMD variant), but a 486SX 25MHz or 486DX 33MHz would do - Intentionally not too fast. 4MB RAM, VGA video, sound card, DOS/Windows 3.11. I'd use it for QBasic 1.1 / QuickBasic 4.5 (DOS) and Visual Basic 6.0 programming for poops and giggles. That said, I already do QBasic stuff on a small laptop (Lenovo Ideapad 100e 81CY Educational "Winbook", Intel Celeron N3450) using DOSBox running in Windows 10. When full screen it's actually really convincing. My wife's work issued her the next generation in the Thinkpad educational chassis, which has the real Thinkpad keyboard, but is otherwise exactly the same as the other Intel Celeron N4100 based Chromebooks/Winbooks. Here's a visual comparison, Neither look very 1990's, but they do have the early 2000's vibe. They're definitely thin and very light compared to even mid 2000's laptops! Fortunately, the keyboards are full sized. For DOS, these are probably as close to ideal as we're going to get. Obviously it would be better to run DOS software on real hardware, but I don't think it's really feasible to design and build a custom 486 without OEM support. Maybe something could be done using a PC/104 board, but it would be thick and would require a custom graphics solution to work with a modern LCD. For a custom 8 bit laptop, your best bet would be to use a Raspberry Pi Zero with a compatible 10" LCD as a video card and keyboard interface, and use its GPIO pins or other connectivity to communicate with a custom 8 bit computer board. You could source new replacement keyboards for an older laptop, such as a Dell Inspiron, and reverse engineer its keyboard matrix to connect it to a Teensy style microcontroller which would then be connected to the Pi0 via USB and the 8 bit computer via serial connection. A joystick could be connected directly the 8 bit computer. Some OEM laptop battery could be used with an off the shelf lithium battery charging circuit (it doesn't need to be those giant 18650 cells). And a chassis to fit that exact stuff could be made out of whatever is handy. This would be a lot of work, but I think it's within the bounds of reason to accomplish, especially if you use one of the many existing 8 or 16 hobby computer designs. That said, the retail cost of a single prototype would be around $500-700 in parts, materials, shipping, and taxes. By comparison, the Lenovo Ideapad 100e cost me $260 CAD and I've seen their equivalent on sale in the USA for $180 USD. As such, it makes a lot more financial and practical sense to use one of these cheap, small, brand spanking new, computers with Windows to emulate older machines. Sure the specs of these laptops are terrible by modern standards, but they can emulate every 8 and 16 bit computer and game console, while also being able to play Minecraft, browse the web, watch YouTube, and do your taxes - on battery for 8+ hours no less. As a retail product, I would spend $150 USD ($200ish CAD) on a custom 8 bit laptop that was designed for programming games and applications on the machine, for the machine. That would be a fun toy and a neat hobby to share with like minded people (akin to the Pico-8 fantasy console). Any more than that and I'd rather carry on using what I already have, from a Pi0W, Arduino UNO, and Pentium 233MMX desktop to my modern PC/laptop running emulators, because they're fun too! Any of the laptop OEMs could knock this out of the park for a retail price $50 USD, using a real 8 bit CPU, etc. and a cheap LCD/keyboard/chassis/battery. Sadly, the five of us aren't really a viable market.
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