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8
votes
3answers
326 views

What software used Turbo Vision back in its prime time?

Turbo Vision, Borland’s text-mode widget toolkit, is fairly widely known by those old enough to remember it, and apparently quite influential: it gave rise to a number of ports and reimplementations (...
-1
votes
1answer
136 views

Possible and impossible RAM layouts in 8086 [closed]

The Intel 8086 CPU could address up to 1 MB of memory using segmentation, and this CPU have 4 segment registers, which are CS and SS and DS and ES. Each segment in memory can have a maximum size of 64 ...
4
votes
1answer
317 views

What does it mean when “The Good Old Days” have several seemingly identical downloads for the same game?

This happens for numerous games. If I search, for example, for "Spear of Destiny", I get this: https://archive.org/details/TGODFloppyCollection?and%5B%5D=spear+of+destiny&sin= Four ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

How can a Game Boy game “glitch-inherit” the music from a different game like this?

Just now, I saw a stream of a person playing Game Boy games. The technical setup is like this: Real American SNES. Real Super Game Boy 2. (Only released in Japan; fixes the speed bug in the Super ...
7
votes
1answer
744 views

Unix: Why was five (SysV) released *after* seven (V7)?

AT&T released UNIX Version 7 (seven) in 1979. The same company released UNIX System V (five) in 1983. Why did the later release have a lower number?
2
votes
1answer
224 views

Why did the Vic-20 need special chips for I/O?

The Vic-20 used two 6522 VIA chips for I/O. I asked why it had two of them but thanks to a comment from Bruce Abbott, I now think that wasn't quite the question I needed to ask. What I really need to ...
3
votes
1answer
602 views

Why does the Vic-20 have two VIA chips?

The Vic-20 uses the 6522 VIA for peripheral I/O. However, it has two of them. I find this surprising, particularly considering minimizing cost was an important design goal. Is there a reason why it ...
6
votes
3answers
377 views

What is the difference between the 6522 VIA and a UART?

The 6522 VIA is an I/O chip used in the Vic-20. I was under the impression that UART (Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter) is the general term for such chips, so was surprised to see this: ...
41
votes
12answers
7k views

Was it actually possible to do the cartoon “coin on a string trick” for old arcade and slot machines?

In cartoons, you often see characters like Scrooge McDuck with a coin where they have drilled a hole in the middle and attached a string, enabling them to insert the coin multiple times and keep ...
11
votes
3answers
514 views

What was the earliest use of |> pipe in programming?

I am trying to find which language used the |> operator first. It's being discussed for use in R, and it's been in OCaml for some years. Did it originate in OCaml? If not, what are its earliest ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

How do I find out the REAL title of a given video game?

The Wave Race game for Nintendo 64 is called "Wave Race 64 - Kawasaki Jet Ski" in a ROM set. On Wikipedia, which I've previously considered authoritative for titles of commercial products, ...
10
votes
4answers
447 views

Commodore BASIC: why was the PET's GOTO so slow?

Received wisdom has it that Commodore didn't want to pay Microsoft extra for updated BASIC interpreters, and thus very little changed in Commodore BASIC v2 from the PETs to the C64. But consider the ...
20
votes
11answers
5k views

Did any European computers use 10-line fonts?

Most 8-bit computers implemented hardware text mode, and most of those used 8x8 fonts. This was logical for American computers; the title safe area on NTSC is about 200 scan lines; font height 8 gets ...
10
votes
2answers
402 views

How did 512 Bytes come to be the most common sector size?

It was long assumed by FS drivers that all diskette and harddisk units operate in blocks of size 512 Bytes. How did this happen to be the case, historically? Why not the "neater" 1 KiB, say?
18
votes
2answers
3k views

How did AMD's 386 and 486 perform like Intel's newer generation?

AMD really started to come into its own as a competitor to Intel around the time of the Intel 80486 introduction. AMD countered Intel by shipping the popular (at least with PC enthusiasts) Am386-40, ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does my CRT whine?

My Amstrad CTM644 CRT 'monitor' (really a TV grade tube with RGB inputs), makes a high pitched whine when powered on, audible to my children and cats, though no longer to my own ears. My research ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Physical resolution and control of old VGA (color) CRT monitors

I've just realized I have a gap in my understanding of the VGA CRT monitors of the 80386 era (1980s-1990s). What was the phosphor resolution? It turns out I did not have proper understanding of the ...
31
votes
3answers
4k views

Why is the ‘auto’ storage class specifier included in C?

The auto keyword in C seems quite redundant: wherever it makes sense to define a variable with automatic storage duration, it is already the default, so there is no reason to use the keyword. The ...
2
votes
1answer
404 views

Identify computer seen in Wikipedia

I remember browsing in WikiPedia a year or two ago and found an interesting old computer running some UNIX or similar os, where the screenshot of the terminal was amusing because it was a computer or ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Why was the 1541 so slow?

The Commodore 1541 floppy disk drive, sold for use with the 64, was notoriously slow for historical and technical reasons: Marketing insisted on compatibility with the 1540, the floppy drive sold ...
0
votes
0answers
55 views

Run ca65 assembler with intermediate step of resolving macros

I would like to convert an assembler program in ca65 with macros into assembler code with resolved macros in order to carry out manual or automatic optimizations with the resulting code. Then, the ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Modulus arithmetic on the 6502

I have a very simple problem with is turning out to be surprisingly complex to solve. I wish to add two bytes using modulus arithmetic, where the modulus is known at compile time. e.g. given modulus 5,...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Could any computers use 16k or 64k RAM chips?

An interesting feature of the Apple II was that it had three rows of sockets for RAM chips, each of which could take either 4k or 16k chips. That meant the minimum configuration was 4K (cheap) but it ...
3
votes
1answer
196 views

What stealthy NES game had that profile-view darkness/searchlight area?

When I was a kid, probably around 1990-1992, I was at my cousins' house and they played NES. I vividly remember a side-scrolling stage which either was dark the whole time, or alternated between being ...
1
vote
2answers
201 views

AST Laptop With No OS

I work in network design/IT for a church, and a someone came in with a AST Advantage Explorer 486SX/33. It looks like it has no OS. After failing to boot, it requests to go to the BIOS to look for an ...
6
votes
1answer
602 views

What non-Spectrum computers did Sinclair sell 4 million of?

Reading Alan Sugar : The Amstrad Story, I just came across one of those little oddities that initially manifest as 'huh, wait a minute' and sometimes just mean someone has made a typo, and sometimes ...
0
votes
1answer
451 views

How common was it for people who owned a PlayStation back in the day to never actually buy games, but only play demo discs? [closed]

The PlayStation, released in late 1995 in the West, was a magical console in a magical era. One of the magical things that made it so magical was the fact that it used cheap and thin CD-ROMs instead ...
4
votes
1answer
185 views

Has a retargetable disassembler been used successfully for a word-oriented mainframe architecture?

Among many modern disassembly/reverse engineering tools, has any been used to disassemble legacy code for a word-oriented mainframe, preferably with a non-power-of-2 word length, like CDC 6600 (60 bit)...
3
votes
2answers
198 views

Did any 5.25" floppy drives not based on the Apple Disk II offer quarter-track control

Unlike many drives, the Apple Disk II has inputs that control the individual head stepper coils. These are commonly described as advancing by half-tracks, since advancing a full track requires ...
2
votes
0answers
98 views

Apple II DMA daisy chain also used to arbitrate /INH?

On the Apple II series of computers, peripheral cards contend for bus mastership through a priority daisy-chain system. A peripheral card is only allowed to perform DMA if its DMA_IN line is at logic ...
0
votes
0answers
141 views

Arcade game with a sit-down cabinet and vibrating seat

I don't know the name of an arcade game; can someone please help? When you go all the way to the ground, your ship turns into a car and your seat vibrates. In the last stage, your ship turns into ...
24
votes
7answers
4k views

Why did DEC develop Alpha instead of continuing with MIPS?

I have been rereading a fascinating discussion about why DEC replaced VAX with Alpha based on talks with people who were there at the time; in a nutshell, in the opinion of the VAX engineers, it was ...
13
votes
8answers
4k views

GOTO (etc) to a non-existent line?

Writing a BASIC interpreter has revealed a number of interesting bits of information that tend not to be mentioned in the documentation. For instance: 10 PRINT"ONE";:IF 1=2 THEN PRINT"...
4
votes
4answers
987 views

IBM vs DEC and business partners

A Quora question Why did Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) fail? has gathered some really interesting answers, including from former DEC people. There is one such answer I do not quite understand: ...
40
votes
17answers
7k views

Is there any text to speech program that will run on an 8- or 16-bit CPU?

I'm wondering if any of the ancient 1980's style text to speech algorithms were saved from oblivion and are still available. It might be nice to hear that vintage sound like what appeared in War Games....
26
votes
5answers
10k views

Twist in floppy disk cable - hack or intended design?

There are many documents (e.g. this) describing the twist on two-drive floppy disk cable on IBM PC compatibles. While this is not the most proud example of clean hardware design, how much of this was ...
2
votes
1answer
217 views

Bill-of-material cost of early hard drives

Based on this topic (and continuing this topic), my question once again surfaced: And what was the layout of the prime cost of early 8 and 5.25 inch hard drives? From Seagate and competing ...
2
votes
1answer
186 views

Identify Terminals Used in this Music Video

I was watching music videos on YouTube and noticed these machines in the video for the song Who's Behind the Door by the band Zebra. The song was released on their album in 1983, but I don't know ...
4
votes
2answers
140 views

Replacing an 8" disk drive with a newer/smaller drive on an old 8-bit computer?

I used to have an out-phased Danish 8-bit computer as a hobby machine back in the 90's. It had two external 8" floppy drives, and I have kept the old floppies. Now I'd like to salvage my old ...
6
votes
3answers
490 views

How do I get the size of a file on disk on the Commodore 64?

As the title, really. I'm reading a SEQ file into memory, and need to know how big it is ahead of time. I know that I can get the size in blocks by parsing the directory, although it's ugly, but the ...
20
votes
4answers
11k views

Why was “C:” chosen for the first hard drive partition?

I was reading this answer, as the question came to my mind: why does C: indicate the first hard drive partition? The usage dates back to CP/M (as noted in a comment), was embraced by MS-DOS, and ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

How would I reliably detect the amount of RAM, including Fast RAM?

If I was to write an Amiga game, what would be the best/most reliable way to detect how much RAM is actually available? Looking at Action's Guide to AGA-Fixing!, he mentions Faulty Memory Detection: ...
9
votes
3answers
319 views

What source-code management tools were available for Classic Mac OS development?

I've been reacquainting myself with classic Mac OS programming (e.g. the Toolbox, MacsBug, THINK Pascal/C, etc.) and became curious how software engineering best practices were ...practiced... using ...
28
votes
17answers
6k views

How much did the first hard drives for PCs cost?

I would like to know how much early PC hard drives cost but have only been aable to find adjacent or unsourced data. According to the Centre for Computing History: The "IBM 5161 Expansion ...
4
votes
1answer
274 views

What are these graphical display commands?

I have a Pascal program with a fair amount of inline assembly code in it which demonstrates the capabilities of «Электроника МС 7401» — символьно-графический видеотерминал (Elektronika MS 7401 - ...
7
votes
1answer
492 views

SAG Computer: What System is it?

I recently saw an TV old advert (1983) from an Italian company, called SAGA, that sells a so-called SAG computer. It looks like a microcomputer for SMB, with bundled software. Does anyone know what ...
1
vote
0answers
101 views

How to fix problem with MSX Composite Video?

I have a toshiba HX-10 64KB MSX1 computer (PAL video output). I recently used a new cassette cable which caused a problem with the video;I am using the AV composite audio and video; because the video ...
29
votes
2answers
6k views

Is this a real system? Which one?

I was playing Remedy Entertainment's video game Control the other day. Inside the game world, I've come across several computers. (They all look extremely similar.) To me, it looks like some kind of ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it possible to just construct a simple cable serial↔︎serial and send data from PC to C64?

I recently saw a video made by the famous "The 8 Bit Guy" about PE6502 computer. At 19:41, he successfully sent a text file from his Windows 95 laptop to the PE6502 using only a standard ...
8
votes
1answer
909 views

Why does the Applesoft BASIC have shapes?

Why did Apple include shapes in Applesoft BASIC? There are no sprites on the Apple II, but shapes provide a simple vector drawing tool. As graphics go the shapes are kind of an odd duck, they provide ...

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