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Everything posted by Ju+Te

  1. I've tested Forth >30 years ago on this machine, but I remember it being relatively slow - compared to normal assembly programming. At the moment I'm in the process of rebuilding this Z8 based machine.
  2. If one owns a typical 8 bit home computer that 30 years ago communicated with a cassette recorder/datasette, what are reliable mass data storages as of today for these machines - beside using a PC's sound card?
  3. In case someone is interested, the community around the JU+TE computer (aka Tiny computer) is still alive: https://www.robotrontechnik.de/html/forum/thwb/showtopic.php?threadid=16542 https://www.tiny-computer.de/
  4. I completely agree. A couple of years ago I've developed my own code to control LCD displays or I2C devices using Arduino. Because of that they only could do exactly that what I needed, not more, and (to me) the code was understandable even when looking 2 years later at the code.
  5. The last couple of days I've tried to learn something new with desktop/mobile application development using Kotlin, Jetpack Compose, Gradle, you name it. I have the strong feeling that this is much harder though the availability of tutorial than learning how my 8-bit computer was to be programmed. OK, one reason of course, is, that I'm older now, but I'm also quite certain that the complexity has increased significantly. Unfortunately, the most tutorials start on a too high level for me. They explain how to achieve this or that with the help of high-level tools like Gradle and Android Studio to build something and at the end of this process something happens in the emulator - or shows a result. For me, I think, it would be much easier to understand if they would start low-level, compile this file with the compiler, bundle all together with this command line call. Unfortunately, programming 8-bit computers does not help me for my business...
  6. Yes, the problem with the iPad is that no programming environment is preinstalled. Same for the iPhone, Android, Windows, macOS. But programming for Linux is also not that easy because there is a large back box between your code and the hardware.
  7. Well, I also remember my first steps in the Win32-API using TurboPascal. Man, those were days! It was amazing how well everything fitted together and allowed to create applications that looked and behaved like normal Windows applications.
  8. Latency never, really never, was a problem for me on a Windows-/Linux-PC or Mac. Though I know how my 8bit machine worked (from hardware to software), I've did not reach this level of knowledge for a modern PC (I'm a Java developer since >20 years). There is a lot of abstraction that hides the details - modern processors are much more complicated beasts than 8bit processors. Think about multiple threads, memory not accessible for different processes, ways of leaking information from other threads. But this is not bad in general, the details are not necessary for a normal application developer any more. But as a consequence it produces application bloat - think of some RGB keyboard configuration software that would not fit on a CD or operating systems that require downloads of ~15GB.
  9. I'm not sure whether you'd consider it as 'modern game', but I'm a big fan of Commandos (e.g. Behind Enemy Lines and Men of Courage). I started to like it during my study in the 90s but I also played it last year again.
  10. There is the X16 hardware and the software. Each is IMHO independent of the other. Maybe licensing the early versions but planning to switch to an Open Source OS later would be a reasonable plan. Using other FPGA hardware as starting point could be a boost to quicker develop the Open Source OS while the X16_dil needs to wait for available chips. Sometimes, when the parameters change, it makes sense to change the plan, too, or reorder the plan's subtasks.
  11. I think, what contributes to the appealing is the balance of possibilities and limits. With the success of the PC started an era where one with more money could purchase a better PC than his friend - I remember a friend of mine at the beginning of the 90s was proud of having an 80MB hard disk which already was filled by the half with applications. An 8bit computer has strict hardware limits, so the wow-effect was larger if some smart guys (or girls) had squeezed out some nice graphic effects or cool sounds. I also think, that 8bit computers mostly attract people who had them in their childhood, so it's rather the hope to get back a little bit of the feelings of youth ("the good old times"). I'm quite sure I couldn't convince my childs to look at them a second time. I only would receive a glimbse of compassion.
  12. E.g. the SiDi FPGA or ZX-Uno+? That way people could get hands on some real hardware instead of just an emulator. Those people who want the DIL throughhole version of the real X16 will buy it anyway if it comes out after the chip shortage. The only problem I see is, that there might not be an FPGA description of the whole X16 yet.
  13. Why you are interested in 8bit computers like the (Commander) X16? What makes them better for you than modern computers like a PC/Mac or Raspberry PI? What makes them different to Arduino?
  14. The emphasis laid on "it would have a real CPU" (probably in contrast to some emulation or FPGA) and the 6502 only was mentioned in the accessory sentence. So it seems, both views are valid.
  15. With better I mean for example: 1) does it need additional chips for timers, ports? 2) are other processors with more registers faster/slower for the same tasks? 3) what is the available max. clock count (related to 2)? Independent of that - how large is the effort to adopt software to run on the X16, especially compared with other 8-bit processors? IIRC, the 6502 was not part of the "dream 8-bit computer definition".
  16. What actually speaks for a 6502 (or sibling) except of the nostalgia factor and to reuse some parts of existing C64 software? Aren't there better 8 bit processors? Because of the different hardware, especially VERA, software needs to be adopted anyway.
  17. How to use different source code files? Is it possible to declare some library code parts as public (visible to the outside) while others remain private (only visible from the library's code)?
  18. I miss something along the line as answer: I can solder, but I'm too lazy to solder such large projects.
  19. Why not use clear, easy to memorize and understand names like X16-DIP, X16-SMD and X16-FPGA?
  20. For that price point I would expect high-quality PBT keycaps for Cherry-MX keyboards.
  21. I wanted to say, an FPGA as a first thing shipped to end-users might be a good idea so people get hands on the hardware quickly. If it turns out - based on the feedback of the early adopters, that the wiring needs to be changed, they don't have a board incompatible with future versions, but simply can reprogram it. Yes, such an early state FPGA would be more expensive than a later iteration, but I expect it to be cheaper than an initial generic parts kit.
  22. After thinking to have understood the FPGA thing, I would not mind getting an X16 in FPGA only. I don't have to solder it. IMHO the success of such a project depends on the amount of the community. Getting the price down seems for me the most important part in the equation (having a physical thing instead of just an ARM based emulation). Could an FPGA for the early adopters have the option to "change the wiring" if it seems necessary to fix something later?
  23. Wow, this looks like a really good programming environment! Much more structured and high-level than pure assembler language - approximately that what I had dreamed of. And, as a Java developer by heart, I also like how it is made.
  24. If I would treat VERA as a black box, how is it accessed from outside (the 6502 CPU)? Does it have a couple of address input and 8 bit data in/output pins that are connected just like RAM or RAM to the bus of the CPU? How this internally works? Do some FPGA already have some processor built-in or are there standard libraries available for the FPGA-programming software that "wire" certain virtual processors inside the FPGA? Do I understand it from the datasheet correctly, that level shifters are needed to communicate with a 5V bus because it operates at 1.2V?
  25. I'm not experienced with FPGA at all, but it sounded to me like they could be programmed that they form some kind of PCB of some generic (TTL) parts. If I understood this correctly, the schematic already exists (as "program" for the FPGA). I might be completely wrong, so please correct me.
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