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13 votes
2 answers
475 views

Can a stock/original Atari ST boot from a hard drive?

It has been my belief that one of the nice features of the original Atari ST is that it has support "out-of-the-box" for a hard disk drive connected via its built-in ACSI port- similar to ...
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  • 56.2k
8 votes
1 answer
580 views

How can I connect a Psion Series 5 PDA to a 64-bit Windows PC?

I have inherited a Psion PDA Series 5, from 1997, along with a serial port RS232 cable, and power supply. It takes industry standard Compact Flash cards, which can be removed and used to transfer ...
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8 votes
2 answers
3k views

What was the first software company to go public?

I'm trying to determine which was the first purely software company to launch an IPO on a major stock exchange. By this I mean a company whose revenue comes directly from software unit sales, rather ...
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  • 56.2k
13 votes
4 answers
4k views

Why have MS-DOS device drivers if the ROM BIOS provides access to the same devices already?

IO.SYS is an essential part of MS-DOS that contains the default MS-DOS device drivers. IBMBIO.COM is a system file in PC-DOS. It contains the built-in device drivers. Based on the answers of the ...
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  • 133
12 votes
1 answer
969 views

What was Sinclair's intention with the MicroDrive? [closed]

The ZX Spectrum was announced with support for both standard cassette tapes and Sinclair's new MicroDrive format -- although the latter wasn't released for another 17 months. Given that the necessary ...
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  • 121
1 vote
0 answers
293 views

Where does Hello World come from? [closed]

Where does the concept of the first program programmers learn to do is print hello world to the console originate from? This seems to be a tech tradition as old as the mountains? Where does the ...
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  • 4,715
10 votes
1 answer
1k views

What was the first games console to be as powerful as the Sega Model 2 board? [closed]

Back in the day, Sega's Daytona USA was the king of arcades. All those polygons flying around at 60 frames per second, it was incredible. It was also hugely expensive. What was the first games console ...
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25 votes
2 answers
5k views

Which software was the first to use copy protection?

While researching early magnetic storage around 1980, I've come to ponder if we know of the first piece of software on removable media that employed copy protection? The Wikipedia article mentions ...
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5 votes
1 answer
221 views

How can I resolve these intermittent memory issues?

I own a 1999 IBM Personal Computer 300GL (Type 6275-90U). It's a Slot 1 Pentium III, Intel 440BX chipset, with a riser board for adding PCI and ISA cards and 3 PC100 DIMM memory sockets. About 50% of ...
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7 votes
1 answer
247 views

Anyone have the 1975 edition of "An Introduction to Microcomputers, Vol 2"?

I'm looking for references to the EA9002, an ill-fated design if there ever was. Practically the only place I can find it detailed is Osborne's Introduction to Microcomputers, where it was chapter 11 ...
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8 votes
4 answers
2k views

Why didn't the original Commodore PET computer use a standard typewriter style keyboard?

Being a huge fan of Commodore, I've often wondered why Commodore would use such a horrible keyboard layout for their premier computer utilizing an alpha-numeric keyboard. My only guesses would be ...
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  • 875
2 votes
1 answer
212 views

How do I change the MAC address of a iMac G3?

I want to connect an iMac G3 running Mac OS 8.6 to my Ethernet network. The easiest way for me to do this is to change the iMac's MAC address. Is it possible to change the MAC address and, if so, how ...
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  • 131
24 votes
5 answers
4k views

Fastest 8-bit microprocessor for multiply-accumulate?

I'm wanting to identify which 8-bit microprocessor would have the best performance for a multiply-accumulate operation. By "operation", I mean the minimal implementation for 16-bit operands ...
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  • 56.2k
1 vote
0 answers
130 views

DirectX 8 Win32 GUI Not Appearing/Flickering While Running [closed]

I am programming a game with DirectX 8, and I am trying to use the GUI options that are provided by the Win32 window that I am using. However, when I try to render a button or, in this case, a textbox ...
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3 votes
0 answers
196 views

Did the Silicon Graphics/SGI flight simulator (dog aka dogfight aka flight) have craft like X-Wings and Klingon Birds of Prey in any version?

The Wikipedia page for SGI Dogfight contains the following unsourced claim: In some intermediate version (between 1985 and 1995) aircraft inspired by Star Wars (X-wings, ...) were added. They ...
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5 votes
2 answers
350 views

Was there a system with customarily backspaced prompts?

Nowadays, a default prompt in a Unix shell might look like % _ or $ _ (with the underscore indicating the cursor location), or, on other systems, a more elaborate string, like C:\>_. On the besm-6, ...
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  • 15.4k
10 votes
2 answers
506 views

How to make a maximally compatible Integer BASIC (Apple II) game disk for the Internet Archive?

I'd like to get an old Apple II Integer BASIC game running on archive.org's embedded MAME in such a way that it just runs without the user having to choose anything from a menu or type any commands to ...
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  • 201
9 votes
1 answer
435 views

Critiques of ANSI/Standard/Full BASIC?

I am preparing an article on the ANSI "full BASIC" effort. I know it was heavily criticized at the time, but Google is turning up a surprising paucity of information. I can only find a ...
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3 votes
2 answers
394 views

How can I have the user input a string and then do comparisons on it in a batch file in MS-DOS?

I asked this question on Stack Overflow, people said it'd more appropriate to ask it here. I've got to create a batch file that will run with DosBox. The program should change the color of the text by ...
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  • 33
23 votes
3 answers
6k views

What causes the glitchy sound when a GBA cartridge is removed?

Example in mGBA (mirror) — SOUND WARNING. When you remove a game cartridge from a powered-on GBA, it makes this horrible, loud glitching sound. I can tell that a small portion of the looped sound is ...
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2 votes
2 answers
243 views

From an electrical and software engineering perspective, ignoring available software, should I go for the Z80 or 65C02? [closed]

This might be a weird title but I noticed that recommendations for one over the other usually go into a direction that is not too helpful for me. I would like to build an 8 bit computer and picked ...
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  • 29
5 votes
2 answers
793 views

Does the interface PBX phones plug into limit modem speed? [closed]

Many hotel etc phones plug into a digital PBX, often with a non-standard interface. Does the interface PBX phones plug into limit modem speed to below 56k?
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5 votes
3 answers
868 views

What is this "switch register - display" and what was it used for?

At my work we have a bunch of old computer and logic stuff. I figured it would be best to ask about it here, since the original owners have long since retired. Any ideas what this thing is and what it ...
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1 vote
1 answer
164 views

GBA reading 16-bit values (or instructions) from 32-bit bus

The GBA has various memory sections (e.g. IWRAM, EWRAM, ROM, etc), each with a bus width of either 16 bits or 32 bits. To my knowledge, the ARM7TDMI lacks any cache. When the CPU fetches 16-bit values ...
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5 votes
1 answer
544 views

Novell and DOS instant messaging

Long ago, there was a TSR that would allow instant messages to be sent and received between DOS based computers using a Novell network. I think it was called Noteworks. It had a little airplane that ...
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10 votes
1 answer
1k views

What did Shin Nihon Kikaku (SNK) originally manufacture in 1973?

The company SNK was originally Shin Nihon Kikaku, founded in 1973. What did Shin Nihon Kikaku originally manufacture in 1973? I would assume some sort of primitive computers or calculators, but ...
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  • 875
29 votes
2 answers
4k views

What exactly is/was threaded p-code?

Quickbasic 4.0 added threaded p-code which at the time I remember thinking was magical. But I have no idea what it means. What exactly is/was threaded p-code (and is the p actually the Greek letter ...
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  • 393
9 votes
1 answer
870 views

Was there a compression program based on the Mayne-James algorithm?

Before the advent of Lempel-Ziv family compression algorithms, there was an algorithm for "Information compression by factorising common strings" by A. Mayne and E. B. James (1975), based on ...
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  • 15.4k
10 votes
5 answers
2k views

Early implementations of the `system()` call in a consumer OS

Nowadays, it's easy to take for granted the system() call (as defined in POSIX), which allows a user program to easily execute a child process and wait for it to complete. Obviously, this is a trivial ...
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  • 56.2k
10 votes
1 answer
471 views

Did Windows 2.x actually receive support until end of 2001?

I stumbled on the Wikipedia page for Windows 2.x the other day and briefly scrolled through it. One thing that caught my eye was that it apparently was supported until December 2001. While I know that ...
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  • 14.1k
7 votes
1 answer
382 views

Why did IBM skip "System/380" as a mainframe family name?

I've been reading Exhibit 14971 from US vs. IBM (Parts 1, 2, 3) which seems to give a very good overview of the history of the computer industry up to 1980, particularly the way IBM handled its ...
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6 votes
1 answer
200 views

XMS function 0Ch "Lock Extended Memory Block"

I have a question about this function that has bugged me for years, so I decided to let this community a try :) So, this function supposedly locks a XMS extended memory block in place, and returns an ...
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15 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why does the default base64 encoding use forward slash /? [closed]

As anyone who has been bitten by using base64 instead of base64url is quite well aware, the "original" base64 alphabet uses alphanumeric, +, = (both perfectly cromulent URL characters), and ...
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11 votes
1 answer
459 views

Any way to simulate HP TS BASIC as seen on the 2000?

An interesting question has come up about how HP Time-Share BASIC handles this code: 10 PRINT "HOW MANY STARS DO YOU WANT"; 20 INPUT N 30 FOR J = 1 TO N 40 PRINT "* "; 50 NEXT J 60 ...
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29 votes
5 answers
5k views

When/why did computers come to have push-button main power switches where on and off is the same push action?

In the top answer to Why were animated screensavers used instead of a black screen on CRT monitors? the main reason was said to be that it avoids users accidentally turning off the machine, thinking ...
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1 vote
0 answers
87 views

IBM/Xebec XT Fixed Disk Adapter "Custom" Drive Types

It's generally believed that the IBM/Xebec Fixed Disk adapters were hardware limited to only four different drive geometries - of which, only the last revision of the card was user configurable (...
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  • 823
35 votes
1 answer
6k views

In the classic "Windows 98 crashes live on CNN" video, why does the BSOD appear so oddly?

I've been seeing this since the late 1990s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKy9fV_zX_o Was this a hoax or joke of some kind? The only reason I ask is that, when the blue screen appears, it does so in ...
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0 votes
0 answers
67 views

Micro-Term ERGO 301 (C134) Terminal Keyboard compatibility

I dug up my old ERGO 301-C134 Terminal, but in the various house-moves, the keyboard has gone missing. I searched and searched the roof-cavity, but it has probably been lost. Click to embiggen ...
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  • 303
2 votes
2 answers
345 views

What are these electronic components found inside a Schaffer BV 223-5-04008 PSU for the Commodore 128D?

I'm having a little hard time trying to map some electronic components in a C128D power supply unit. The PSU is the Schaffer BV 223-5-04008 (schematic) provided with the German version of Commodore ...
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33 votes
6 answers
8k views

Why were animated screensavers used instead of a black screen on CRT monitors?

Before the advent of modern monitors, CRT technology was used, which was vulnerable to screen burn-ins. Screensavers avoided these problems by producing animations instead of persistent images. Were ...
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  • 433
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

x86 memory alignment

For the 8086, unaligned word loads (first byte at an odd address) require two memory accesses, but an aligned word (first byte at an even address) can be loaded in one. This is excellently explained ...
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  • 1,573
0 votes
1 answer
270 views

Can HIMEM.SYS be disabled in Windows ME’s IO.SYS?

Windows ME's IO.SYS includes HIMEM.SYS, which it loads unconditionally. Since it is possible to decompress and disassemble IO.SYS, and hack it to enable full dos mode, can we go a step further and ...
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  • 19
34 votes
5 answers
5k views

Was the Amiga ever used by any U.S. Government agency?

This is a long shot question, and I'm asking only because, well, I'm not entirely certain why I am asking... NBC Nightly news did a short piece on April 18th, 2022 talking about the IRS being ...
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  • 8,416
6 votes
2 answers
631 views

What voltage does the Psion Series 5 serial port work at?

The Psion 3c and series 5 PDA computers have a 15-pin serial port at the back, which can connect to a PC serial interface via a special cable, or to a battery-powered modem. I have read that the ...
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15 votes
3 answers
2k views

Is there any significant difference in Sinclair BASIC of ZX80, ZX81 and ZX Spectrum?

I'm trying to write some programs from an old magazine that were specified to run on an ZX80/ZX81 but I'm using a Sinclair BASIC interpreter for the Spectrum. Is there any significant changes in BASIC ...
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  • 151
12 votes
2 answers
296 views

Looking to recover data from OC-800 WORM disks

I have a set of OC-800 WORM disks (768MB) which contain vintage TV graphics from the '90s, written by an Ampex Electronic Still-Store (ESS). I'd like to retrieve the data from them if I can. These ...
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27 votes
1 answer
2k views

When and why was the question mark chosen to abbreviate PRINT?

In many dialects of BASIC, the PRINT statement can be abbreviated with a single question mark when entering programs or direct-mode commands. So instead of typing PRINT "HELLO, WORLD" you ...
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  • 5,364
0 votes
2 answers
341 views

How do programmers take advantage of programming languages to make graphics? [closed]

I was wondering for a pretty long time about graphics in all programming languages(no code available). Back in the rise of programming languages, such as C, Assembly, C++, and others, they had no ...
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  • 29
22 votes
4 answers
4k views

What was the first programming language with generics?

To belatedly celebrate the release of Go 1.18, I ask the question: what was the first programming language with support for generics? For concreteness (to prevent anyone trying to weasel out with ‘...
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  • 16.4k
1 vote
1 answer
148 views

What is the CMOS cache battery on the Atari STacy motherboard?

I am restoring an Atari STacy, and it is a notoriously hard device to open — I am planning to replace the floppy drive and internal CMOS battery in one go... but while I know the floppy is an Epson ...
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  • 171

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