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Another 8 Bit Kid


Edmond D
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Hi All,

  while I've been aware and enjoying this project for awhile, I've not yet introduced myself yet. Now that I want to help it along as I learn about the X16, I'll correct my oversight.

 In the early 80's I encountered a PET in my school math classroom (grade 7 in Ontario, Canada.) Video games were bursting on the scenes, and pretty well everyone was aware of the Atari 2600. But the new "home" computers were coming out and affordable for my parents, so a VIC-20 arrived. I got hooked! While Omega Race was great, I got into playing around in programming, and saved up $100 Canadian for  dataset. That allowed me to save my work, and trade cassettes with the others who had a VIC. I started to buy Compute magazines, and even got some TorPet ones. There was a local computer club of 8-bitters (not sad people!), but rather enthusiasts like myself who had a full gambit of the computers of the time.

Anyway, I got into some assembly as I spent time working thought the programmers guide. I didn't write much ASM code, but looked at what was out there. I went through the Compute's second book of machine code and event worked through the Atari 400/800 ROM source. It was interesting to see how the structure was set up - I remember looking at the basic LET command and how it was shoehorned into locations where there was space left over between the sound and graphic routines.

My last year of high school in New Brunswick I had access to a SuperPet and the Waterloo languages. I learnt them all as I was kicked out of the sole computer course by the typing teacher because I let her know I knew more than her and could easily prove it :-).

Anyway, I eventually became a computer engineering technologist and worked in the industrial  controls markets. I've worked on hardware & software in factories that made computers, cars and ice cream, plus many more products world wide. I've also had a brief time in GIS putting mapping technologies onto the internet. I think I've learnt over 20 computer languages and programmed on more platforms, but the VIC will always be a favourite, hopefully to be displaced by the X16!

I still have my VIC 20, plus a couple of things I've save along the way. My goal is to get my act together and start using them again. As well, to work on doing something with the X16 and helping others discover the pleasure of working on a computer that is fully understandable without years of work.
 
I'm sure this story sound familiar to many, and probably parallels your own childhood experience. 

In short:

10 PRINT "Hello World"

regards,

Edmond

 

Edited by Edmond D
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Welcome, Edmond!  Many of our early years parallel yours:  a school with PETs, and at home either a VIC-20 or a C64.  

I'm glad you're on board.  We can always use another computer engineer.  Your skillset sounds pretty wide -- my impression here is that most people here are hardware guys who know assembly language (and BASIC, but we won't talk about that).  When I think of "computer engineer" I think of Ben Eater's videos, but then I'm one of the few who is just a software engineer with a small smattering of assembly language.  Sounds like you've got both skillsets. 

As you probably know from 8BG's videos, the X16 is based on the VIC-20's memory model, with some important variations of course.  The core team is debugging Prototype #3, and the current hot debate on these forums recently is over whether or not they'll actually be able to reach 8Mhz with the current prototype design.  

In short, there are smart people engaged with the problem on multiple levels.  To me that smells like a recipe for success.

I think you'll find plenty to keep you interested here.

 

Edited by rje
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Hi Rob,

Thanks for the welcome message. Yes, I've been trying to get up to speed on all the people and the X16 itself. There are many smart people working on the project, and they have a ton of background experience needs to make the X16 a product. There's lots to read learn spread all over the internet 🙂

I do see a need to help others start using the platform on their own machine so when the hardware ships there ready to dive in and enjoy. In the VIC 20 days one could open the box, plug things together and slap in a cartridge and be happy. Right now with the online emulator and the library of software with the "try it now" button gets people there. There does seem to be the next step 

The move to the emulator on my MAC wasn't the smoothest or most straightforward. I plan on adding an How To article in the near future.  After that I'll be taking on getting an assembly cross-development platform up and running, then documenting it so that others can make the leap and focus on getting programming rather than fighting to get things set up.

Anyway, thanks gain for the welcome. I see that you're very active in doing so in the community which is wonderful. Helping others to engage is what builds a community.

regards,

Edmond

 

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