All Questions

17
votes
2answers
632 views

Fate of mystery Motorola RMS graphics chipset (68486 + 68487)

I recently learned that mid 1980s, Motorola was working on a discrete graphics chipset that would be a great leap forward from its 6847 Video Display Generator and 6845 display controller. It was ...
4
votes
1answer
186 views

Was dynamic type check in Pascal commonplace?

The BESM-6 Pascal compiler I'm experimenting with has a notable difference from Standard Pascal: formal arguments of formal parameters-procedures or functions are not specified, but are checked at ...
3
votes
0answers
135 views

Looking for educational AI game for classic macos

I'm looking to find the name of a (purportedly) educational mac game I purchased from a bookfair handout around 1990-91. The concept was that you would make up the rules to your own board game on a ...
4
votes
0answers
79 views

Backlight inverter failure on TI Travelmate

I picked up a TI Travelmate 4000E for free and it worked perfectly using my AC adapter(genuine TI one from another 4000E). The backlight fires up full brightness for about a second, then dies. ...
5
votes
1answer
326 views

Looking for a MS-DOS cars game

Here are few things I remember, but it was not sufficient for me to find the game on a search engine: The game is top-down game - with no camera angle. It is a car game, with cops and robbers. You ...
6
votes
0answers
138 views

How to get BBC BASIC to TRS-80?

I recently discovered there's BBC BASIC for CP/M machines. Having had my fill of Microsoft Basic, I need to get BBC BASIC onto a disk I can boot on a TRS-80 Model 4P. I have no CP/M disk (or image) ...
5
votes
2answers
228 views

Was Vilnius BASIC cross-platform?

It is well established that Vilnius BASIC runs on PDP-11 compatible machines. For example, the BK-0010 and UKNC had Vilnius BASIC in ROM. Apparently, it was closely modelled after MSX BASIC, which ...
8
votes
1answer
496 views

Origins of the “array like” strings in BASIC

A number of early microcomputer BASICs had 'array like strings' that were unlike MS's system and instead behaved like arrays of char. Substrings were accessed using a syntax like: A$ = B$(1,5) as ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

Did any early RISC OS precursor run on the BBC Micro?

Acorn famously developed the ARM microprocessor using their existing BBC Micros internally, both to simulate the ARM and to develop for actual ARM using a Tube-connected second processor. Later, ...
6
votes
1answer
152 views

Where to find QICStream software for reading old QIC-150 tape?

I'm trying to restore a backup from an old QIC-150 tape. While I'm able to read the raw data from the tape (using linux), I can't recognize the binary format of the data (the tape is not mine). There ...
44
votes
1answer
6k views

Can anyone identify this unknown 1988 PC card from The Palantir Corporation?

I'm trying to restore order to my junk pile office, and I ran across this card. I am usually pretty good at generally identifying old (PC?) stuff, but this one is outside my experience. I think it ...
7
votes
2answers
528 views

How do I allocate more memory to an app on Sheepshaver running Mac OS 9?

I'm trying to play Taskmaker on Mac OS 9 in Sheepshaver on OSX. Taskmaker tells me that it doesn't have enough memory to run in color. Within technical support it says that I have 512 megabytes total ...
9
votes
1answer
539 views

Why wasn't the Z6 version of the Infocom Z-machine ported to the IIgs?

Infocom ported their Z-machine to nearly every viable platform in the 70s and 80s. Zork runs on around 18 different 8/16 bit platforms using earlier versions of the Z-machine. Why was Z6 the graphical ...
7
votes
1answer
170 views

Are there any PDP-8 assemblers that create linkable object files?

I am currently writing a compiler for the PDP-8. The compiler is going to translate source code into PDP-8 assembly code that calls some runtime routines to perform high-level functions such as ...
2
votes
1answer
514 views

What was the first programming language to have 'printf'?

I'm curious as to which language was the first to literally have a formatted text output procedure called 'printf'. A trivial question, sure, but I was prompted to ask by a recent question on ZSPL. ...
17
votes
1answer
2k views

ZSPL language, anyone heard of it?

While reading the Byte sieve article (Gilbreath 1981), I came across a language I have never heard of, ZSPL. I suspected this was actually a specific version of another language, perhaps PL/1. ...
13
votes
2answers
966 views

What was the design of the Macintosh II's MMU replacement?

I am in the process of repairing a Macintosh II and trying to understand the design rationale behind Apple's MMU replacement part installed in this machine. As you can see in the picture, there is a ...
4
votes
2answers
190 views

First appearance of the Sieve in Byte *as a benchmark*?

I've documented the Ahl benchmark's history, and now I would like to do the same for Byte's version of the sieve. Does anyone have a pointer to the first appearance of this code as a benchmarking tool ...
4
votes
0answers
108 views

What are all the patches that SetPatch applies to Kickstart?

SetPatch runs as the first command in the Startup-Sequence when Amiga boots up. It applies patches to the code in ROM to fix bugs and also enable features if necessary. For example, I seem to remember ...
44
votes
1answer
3k views

Why do we use caret (^) as the symbol for ctrl/control?

From my understanding, the caret character (^) has been used to indicate Ctrl-key combinations since the early UNIX days, if not earlier. Why was this character used to indicate this? Was it simply ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Was there ever a Kickstart that took advantage of 68020+ instructions that would work on an A2000?

Back in the day with my A2500/30, I always wanted to get the 68030 versions of software if I could because presumably I'd be able to get a few percentage more performance in some cases. However, I get ...
14
votes
9answers
2k views

What is the most rudimentary input method a platform has ever been programmed in?

A while ago I did read on the web a page whose topic was more or less: Real men write [insert lowest level language here] (a similar page would be this Reddit thread) If we quickly tour some of the ...
6
votes
1answer
342 views

How-to destroy sensitive data on floppies?

What was considered the best practice, or "military-grade" procedure, for protecting secrets stored on floppy disks when disposing of the old disks?
23
votes
4answers
5k views

Was Unix ever a single-user OS?

I've been told that Unix started out as a Phone Switch OS and was not a multi-user OS at some time in its infancy. As I'm always willing to learn new things, are there any greybeards around here ...
12
votes
4answers
861 views

Was the ancestor of SCSI, the SASI protocol, nothing more than a draft?

I recently discovered that the SCSI protocol was, in fact, an improvement on the SASI protocol, which apparently predates SCSI by only a couple of years, appearing in 1978 (but only publicly in 1981). ...
4
votes
1answer
152 views

65C816: Inputs TTL-compatible?

New 65C816 datasheets say that Vih (for the data bus in particular) is 0.8Vdd, i.e. not TTL-compaible. Old data sheets (for example, the one published in Apple IIgs Hardware Reference) say that at 5V ...
5
votes
2answers
350 views

Why did the Apple IIc perform badly in the market?

The Apple IIc was a compact version of the Apple II that eschewed internal expansion slots in favor of having the popular expansion options already built in, and saving cost and weight. Apple expected ...
2
votes
0answers
99 views

HP presage of the PDA revolution

I no longer have clear memory of this, but I'm fairly certain I read an article back around 1979 or so published by Hewlett Packard. At the time, they had recently released their 41C calculator. I ...
8
votes
2answers
204 views

What connection exists between Facit AB and Sharp on the MZ-800 computer?

Facit used to be a very successful Swedish company manufacturing mechanical calculators that quickly went down to its final demise by not being able to adapt to the shift towards electronic ...
5
votes
2answers
101 views

Does the Apple IIgs FPI assert /CROMSEL for *write* accesses to the extended ROM space?

The FPI (fast processor interface) ASIC in the Apple IIgs generates the /CROMSEL chip-select signal, which is used to select a ROM in the memory expansion slot. Obviously the /CROMSEL signal must be ...
5
votes
1answer
217 views

Were there actually any games for the IMSAI 8080 computer, used in the movie WarGames?

David, the main character of the 1983 movie WarGames, uses an IMSAI 8080 computer. The plot of the movie is driven by David's desire to find games to play on his computer. He war-dials phone numbers ...
7
votes
3answers
364 views

How to get a plain text file version of a CP/M .BAS (M-BASIC) program?

I have an old game (STRTRK.BAS) from my dad's Kaypro 10 that I would like to convert to a plain text file. Basically, what I'm trying to do is get it onto a modern computer in plain text format so I ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there a way to get a compiler for the original B programming language?

I am learning about the original B programming language, but I don't have a compiler. Is there an emulator for an old computer that can run an old operating system that have a compiler for the ...
3
votes
1answer
365 views

What was the first Intel x86 processor with “Base + Index * Scale + Displacement” addressing mode?

As the title says, what's the first x86 processor from Intel that supports the following addressing mode? mov %reg, 8(base, index, 4) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ where the content of %reg will be ...
0
votes
1answer
233 views

What was this computer I remembered? [closed]

When I went to primary school in 1995 I remember the school had a classroom full of old computers. It took the school 2 years but eventually they did replace them with more modern systems. The two ...
6
votes
3answers
201 views

Why is modulo operation an operator for integer types but only a function for floating-point ones?

In C, we have the % operator which finds remainder of division. But it's only applicable to integral types. For floating-point types we have to use fmod function from math.h. This makes an impression ...
5
votes
3answers
388 views

Did the BCPL programming language support floats?

Did the BCPL programming language support floating point? If not, then how did programmers use it to add two floating point numbers?
4
votes
3answers
318 views

C64 cartridge emulation with ATmega

As a personal project I had the idea to create a custom cartridge for my Commodore 64 and use an ATmega 1284p microcontroller to emulate eproms and/or custom chips. Basically my idea is similar to ...
10
votes
7answers
569 views

When and why did “Public Domain” software releases give way to “Open Source”?

Free software, sometimes including source, has been a common feature of computing for as long as I can remember, and probably longer. But the terminology and "legalese" seemed to change at some point. ...
4
votes
1answer
220 views

Identify Windows DirectX game about building a manufacturing business

I'm trying to find the name of a game that I played in the mid-to-late 1990's. Here's what I remember about it: What I played was a demo version, that came on a CD along a bunch of other demos. They ...
58
votes
10answers
7k views

What makes accurate emulation of old systems a difficult task?

Thanks to a lot of passionate and skilled people, we can emulate pretty much any retro platform today. For most people they perform well enough, but in fact, a substantial amount of these emulators ...
28
votes
3answers
7k views

Was Dennis Ritchie being too modest in this quote about C and Pascal?

In his 1993 conference proceeding The Development of the C Language, Dennis Ritchie stated Successors C and even B have several direct descendants, though they do not rival Pascal in ...
1
vote
1answer
240 views

Refactoring Old Printer Driver for Current Linux Kernel [closed]

I have an old Lexmark 1100 printer (parallel port LPT1) that is currently working fine on Windows 98. I've tried to make it work on several current distros of Linux but, so far, none worked. Basically,...
58
votes
6answers
12k views

Why did C use the -> operator instead of reusing the . operator?

In the C programming language, the syntax to access the member of a structure is structure.member However, a member of a structure referenced by a pointer is written as pointer->member ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

Are all CP/M-80 implementations binary compatible?

I never was into CP/M, but I knew it was very popular and the amount of software out there was significant. That being said, when you looked beyond the Kaypros, the IMSAIs, the SOLs and the like which ...
5
votes
1answer
206 views

How to add an “int” to a “float” in the B programming language?

C has data types, so if you add an int to a float, for example: int i = 1; float f = 2.5; float r = i + f; The C compiler will know that it should generate machine instructions that adds an int to a ...
5
votes
1answer
96 views

How do I connect an IDE hard drive to an Amiga 4000 tower?

I would like to know how to connect a hard drive to the Amiga 4000 tower. I have an IDE cable from the top right m/b to the IDE CD-drive. I also have what looks like a SCSI cable from the CPU board. ...
21
votes
10answers
4k views

Was Objective-C really a hindrance to Apple software development? [closed]

I have heard stories from some of the greybeards I have met on the Internet that Objective-C was by all accounts a nightmare to work with. Was that just a thing about all the low-level languages of ...
28
votes
2answers
5k views

How did Elite on the NES work?

Elite was one of the earliest 3D games, wireframe only of course but still a remarkable accomplishment on 8-bit computers. Originating on the BBC micro, it was ported to many home computers, as well ...
20
votes
4answers
4k views

What were wait-states, and why was it only an issue for PCs?

PC compatibles in the 1980s were often advertised as having zero, one, two, or sometimes more "wait states". Zero wait states was the best. Basically, the wait-states I am asking about are due to the ...

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