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Questions tagged [books]

Questions on retro-related books (contemporary or historic)

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18 votes
2 answers
3k views

Identify this children's Commodore 64 book

I'm trying to remember the title of a book on Commodore 64 programming that I had as a child. Here is what I remember about it: Published some time between 1982 and 1985 and sold in Canada. The ...
Psychonaut's user avatar
  • 7,681
1 vote
0 answers
117 views

Searching for a QuickBasic 2.0 book (not 4.5)

I'm travelling now to 1986, and trying the 2.0 version of QuickBasic on a 80286, emulated in PCem. (DOS version 3.2) So this question is not about QBASIC, but about QuickBasic. All the books I find on ...
Bahamut123's user avatar
7 votes
0 answers
219 views

What was the title of this IBM PC software compendium book circa mid 80s?

Sometime in the mid 90s I stopped by a library that used to sell off their old stock and bought a copy of an IBM PC software compendium that I am now struggling to remember the name of or find ...
Noel Whitemore's user avatar
21 votes
10 answers
7k views

When did computer manuals and books start using monospace fonts for code, and why?

At least through the early 1980s, the source code in non typewritten computer manuals and books was usually typeset using proportional fonts, sometimes with syntax highlighting such as keywords in ...
Paolo Amoroso's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
183 views

What books did Symbolics Press publish?

Object-Oriented Programming in COMMON LISP: A Programmer's Guide to CLOS by Sonya E. Keene is a well known CLOS book published in 1989 by Symbolics Press (ISBN-10: 0201175894; ISBN-13: 978-0201175899),...
Paolo Amoroso's user avatar
7 votes
0 answers
523 views

Looking for the name of a natural language Fortran compiler

Back in the 80s I ran across a book at a garage sale titled something like "Programming Fortran In English" or "Programming Fortran In Natural Language" that described a compiler ...
JockM's user avatar
  • 71
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

Were printed manuals for HP PCL or GL ever published?

If one wants to learn about PostScript, it's possible to find copies of the "Red", "Green" and "Blue" books, which were published by Adobe. Were similar manuals ever ...
Peter Russell's user avatar
24 votes
1 answer
2k views

Where can I find the debate around snow-free screen updates mentioned in the Zen of Assembly Language?

Michael Abrash's book Zen of Assembly Language: Volume I (1989) contains a reference to a column in a computer magazine, though the actual source is not cited. From the text: I recall a debate in the ...
640KB's user avatar
  • 1,357
9 votes
1 answer
292 views

Weird example code for CALL/360:BASIC

The CALL/360:BASIC manual has a couple of simple examples of file I/O. This one has me scratching my head: 10 OPEN 10, 'ITEMFILE', INPUT 20 GET 10: A$,A,B,C,D 30 LET Al = (A+B+C+D)/4 40 PRINT USING ...
Maury Markowitz's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
323 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 ...
Maury Markowitz's user avatar
10 votes
4 answers
1k views

Anecdote in Weinberger's Psychology of Computer Programming: is it ARPANET?

Gerald Weinberger, in the 1971 book The Psychology of Computer Programming, gives the following anecdote: The numerous stages [of reporting?] can produce interesting effects, as a result of filtering ...
Kaz's user avatar
  • 1,660
2 votes
1 answer
219 views

Where can I find the software for "DESIGN: a program to create data entry programs" by J. Michael Wuerth?

I have a copy of the book, DESIGN: a program to create data entry programs by J. Michael Wuerth. Does anyone know where I can obtain a copy of the accompanying software for the book?
Wes Robinson's user avatar
15 votes
2 answers
3k views

Which computers did Donald Knuth "mix" together to get MIX?

The MIX was a computer design that Donald Knuth used to illustrate computer instruction sets in his magnum opus The Art of Computer Programming. MIX's model number is 1009, which was derived by ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 16.4k
7 votes
0 answers
276 views

What was this book about floating-point system design/construction?

A comment on the question Why did 8-bit Basic use 40-bit floating point? says the following (emphasis added): Re, "Nowadays, floating point is usually either 32 or 64 bits." More ...
texdr.aft's user avatar
  • 3,627
6 votes
2 answers
284 views

Documents about timesharing systems, access and resource control and its financials

I delved a bit into the origins of (commercial) timesharing and it seems there have been very interesting computing hardware and software (architectures) which have become relatively unknown but may ...
2080's user avatar
  • 161
11 votes
3 answers
3k views

What did the SELECT command do in DOS?

The introduction to Greg Harvey’s DOS for Dummies: Quick Reference (also subtitled Command Reference in the first edition) contains this passage: This book not only gives you the lowdown on each and ...
user3840170's user avatar
  • 23.2k
4 votes
1 answer
1k views

Address of ISR for Interrupt INT 13H

The memory address in the Interrupt Vector Table of an 8086 associated with INT13H should be: 13H * 4H = 4CH But a book I was referring to says that: The physical address of the memory location ...
Fabhi's user avatar
  • 53
21 votes
2 answers
609 views

Is the "IBM standard character set manual" around?

From Wikipedia's code page article: Originally, the code page numbers referred to the page numbers in the IBM standard character set manual Is any version of this publication available? I'd be ...
Adám's user avatar
  • 668
14 votes
6 answers
5k views

How is it possible that they used to type "Mb" when they meant "MB" in printed computer magazines in the 1990s?

I've read some English and Swedish computer magazines from the 1990s, even late 1990s, and they frequently (maybe even consistently) use "Mb" to mean "Megabyte", even though "Mb" at least now means "...
Presiliano's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
416 views

Understanding the meaning of the term "Modifying a software program" in a book

In his book The Silicon Jungle David Rothman mentions several times the term "modifying" or "customizing" a software program. e.g. Chapter 8: And then the consultant didn’t even supply instructions ...
Armes Pueppilein's user avatar
28 votes
4 answers
7k views

Unix Haters Handbook - guaranteeing synchronous, atomic operations

I've come across Filesystems with versioning and have been reading through the Unix Haters Handbook, linked there. I came across page 85: On the other hand, techniques for guaranteeing synchronous, ...
Mr Redstoner's user avatar
50 votes
5 answers
5k views

Filesystems with versioning

I've been reading through The Unix Hater's Handbook. It has many, many very valid criticisms. (I'm still raging that terminal escape codes aren't in the terminal driver...) There is one anomaly though:...
MathematicalOrchid's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
4k views

What DOS games used Mode X as described by Michael Abrash?

In Michael Abrash's Graphics Programming Black Book, many chapters are dedicated to fast drawing of primitives, fills and copies using the 320x240 256-colour Mode X. What MS-DOS games used Mode X? ...
Carr's user avatar
  • 363
0 votes
1 answer
247 views

Commodore – The Inside Story [closed]

Commodore – The Inside Story, by David Pleasance, who was a manager in Commodore UK. Sounds like a very interesting book, supposedly available, but when I look on Amazon, hoping in particular for the ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 63.1k
9 votes
5 answers
4k views

How does the ‘real mode flat model’ work?

I am interested in old Intel processors. I'll try to be as concise as possible. I have been studying both Jeff Duntemann's Assembly Language Step-by-Step - Chapter 4 and Modes of Memory Addressing on ...
Ady's user avatar
  • 139
6 votes
1 answer
1k views

Modern Alternative to Malvino's Digital Computer Electronics

For those who want to study retro computing in depth, starting by understanding 74xxx logic and CPU design is (IMHO), one of the best paths there is. Malvino's "Digital Computer Electronics" (DCE), ...
Hugo Sereno Ferreira's user avatar
47 votes
3 answers
23k views

Were any of the books mentioned in this scene from the movie Hackers real?

In this scene from the 1995 movie Hackers, Cereal pulls out several books referred to by different colors of the "technicolor rainbow", including a "green one", "luscious ...
Neil Meyer's user avatar
  • 6,899
10 votes
3 answers
3k views

When did "Zen" in computer programming become a thing?

What are the roots of the endless analogies to Eastern philosophy, 1990: Zen of Assembly Language: Volume I, Knowledge 1995: Zen and the Art of the Internet: A Beginner's Guide (Prentice Hall Series ...
Evan Carroll's user avatar
  • 3,388
7 votes
4 answers
948 views

What books did schools use to teach BASIC?

What books would have been used to teach school aged kids BASIC in a classroom setting back when BASIC was in common use? 8-Bit computers commonly came with tutorials to learn BASIC, like A Touch of ...
Michael Shopsin's user avatar
29 votes
2 answers
4k views

Why does this BASIC program declare variables for the numbers 0 to 4?

On pages 150 to 154 of William Tang's (1982) Spectrum Machine Language for the Absolute Beginner, there are these lines of code. (Note GOTO 9000 is the first non-REM statement in the program). 9000 ...
harlandski's user avatar
  • 2,963
11 votes
1 answer
701 views

Where can I get the errata sheet for Spectrum Machine Language for the Absolute Beginner?

I'm happily working through William Tang's Spectrum Machine Language for the Absolute Beginner. I've already found one error (in the EZCODE listing), which I was able to fix myself, but to save myself ...
harlandski's user avatar
  • 2,963
6 votes
1 answer
721 views

What is the title of this Macintosh programming book?

Back when Mac OS was called "System" and preemptive multitasking was a distant fantasy, I had a small collection of Macintosh programming books. For the life of me, though, I can't remember what one ...
David Rubin's user avatar
48 votes
8 answers
9k views

What was the first programming book

I'm curious, what was the first book, about programming for digital computers. I tried to google it, but it led me to multiple results. I'm mostly interested in the language it was about and the ...
Bálint's user avatar
  • 1,103