All Questions

1
vote
3answers
83 views

Can you compile 6502 assembly into a stand alone application

6502 assembly is a language meant for humans to compile it themselves, not compilers. Its an older Assembly that powered the olden days of computing and consoles such as the NES and Atari 2600. I want ...
7
votes
3answers
906 views

Why not constant linear velocity floppies?

The outer tracks of a disk are longer than the inner tracks, and could therefore potentially hold more data. Constant angular velocity puts the same number of bits on every track, which wastes much of ...
5
votes
2answers
199 views

Can escape sequences be entered directly from keyboard to terminal for VT100 and similar?

TL;DR: In video terminals, like the VT100, can control characters and escape sequences only be sent by an application from the host computer to the terminal? Or can they also be sent directly by the ...
22
votes
2answers
2k views

What were the differences in floppy disk formats between Amiga and IBM/PC compatible computers?

The capacity in Amiga Old File System format (OFS, OS version 1.x) was 840KB, with the Fast File System ("FFS" (!)) introduced for OS 2.x onwards able to store 880KB. The PC format stored 720KB on the ...
47
votes
18answers
8k views

Have programming languages driven hardware development?

Programming language development has been influenced by hardware design. One example from this answer mentions how C pointers were, at least in part, influenced by the design of the PDP-11. Has the ...
2
votes
1answer
129 views

Accessing DOS USB Drive

I am setting up a new development computer with FreeDOS and can boot off the SATA or USB drive. This is my first new computer with sophisticated UEFI (I have CMS enabled). If I boot from the USB I ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

Why did 3.5" floppies win?

It's an open question whether desktops would've kept using 5.25" until the end of the floppy era, but laptops meant something smaller was going to be introduced; that much was essentially ...
-1
votes
4answers
90 views

Operating systems which have non-x86 instruction set architecture [on hold]

What are the most famous operating systems for non-x86 computers? I mean, most famous OS which have different instruction set architecture. Background (to better understand my task): I ask this ...
3
votes
1answer
79 views

C116 vs C64 cost

The Commodore 116 was the start of the ill-fated TED line of 8-bit computers, which sold poorly (for several reasons, particularly including lack of compatibility with the Commodore 64) until they ...
4
votes
0answers
53 views

Why did Apple remove booting from external drives in later IIc ROM versions?

Apple II computers don't come with DOS in ROM, but rather need to boot from a floppy disk to make the disk drives usable. The IIc was the first Apple II that came with a built-in disk drive, so ...
3
votes
3answers
711 views

Parallel to serial conversion

Two very common connectors used in the eighties were the Centronics parallel port (particularly used for printers) and the RS-232 serial port (particularly used for mice and modems). Suppose you have ...
20
votes
8answers
3k views

Did terminals (e.g. VT100) require a terminal driver on the host computer?

I'm wondering if terminals (like, e.g. the VT100) required the installation of a driver on the host system in order to work with that host? I looked at the documentation of the VT102, and there is ...
1
vote
4answers
143 views

What happens when a terminal (like a VT100) is connected to a computer?

I'm wondering what's the sequence of actions when a terminal (like a VT100) is plugged into a serial port of a computer? Especially, how the connection of this terminal is detected, and how the ...
16
votes
2answers
697 views

Meaning of $ and $$ in Modcomp assembly language

The Modcomp II was a 16-bit minicomputer circa 1970. As well as in FORTRAN IV, the Modcomp family could be programmed in assembly language, with syntax like this excerpt from Kermit for Modcomp: ...
20
votes
2answers
1k views

Cleaning 5¼" floppy drives

Going to the store is treacherous for me. So I prefer doing stuff at home, including cleaning up 5¼" floppy disks with only home supplies. Unfortunately, I do not know how or which materials/chemicals ...
13
votes
7answers
4k views

Why didn't PostScript eliminate the need for printer drivers?

In the days of dot matrix printers connected by RS-232 or the IBM/Centronics parallel port, each with its own quirky set of commands, it's obvious why printer drivers were a necessary and important ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

How to add Final Cartridge III to VICE Emulator

How do I properly add Final Cartridge III to VICE Emulator? In the file menu, VICE has an item Attach cartridge image... which splits up into CRT Image but also a list of several cartridges, among ...
6
votes
3answers
592 views

Getting your Commodore VIC-20, 64 or 128 online

Back in the day, of course we used modems ("dial-up modems" in today's parlance) to get our Commodores connected to other systems. These days I know several people have concocted options to get ...
5
votes
3answers
127 views

Why do we need to acknowledge the interrupt from VIC-II?

A page on how to do raster interrupts includes the following code Irq: LDA #7 STA $D020 ; Turn screen frame yellow LDX #90 Pause: DEX BNE Pause ; Empty loop that "...
2
votes
2answers
123 views

How do Bulletin Board Systems work? [on hold]

Recently, I've been very interested in old-school bulletin board systems (BBS) from the 90s. I'm interested in building my own (mostly as just a fun challenge), but to be honest, I'm not totally sure ...
0
votes
0answers
30 views

iPod Gen 4 with Rockbox not seen on Linux [on hold]

Hopefully, old Ipods are retro enough for you guys.... Working on getting an old iPod classic (gen 4, not Photo) working with Rockbox, transferring files using Ubuntu (18.04). I was able to get ...
1
vote
2answers
183 views

When did game consoles acquire battery-backed clocks?

The importance of a desktop PC knowing the current time could be debated, but it is clear IBM felt it to be important, for the IBM PC typically prompts the user to supply it on boot. Given that, the ...
46
votes
11answers
13k views

Why did trackballs disappear?

For a desktop computer, a mouse is a great pointing device. For a laptop if you don't want an extra device to keep track of, you need an alternative. The options I'm aware of: NubLow-tech, cheap, ...
3
votes
2answers
225 views

Why does Sinclair BASIC have two formats for storing numbers in the same structure?

The ZX Spectrum has two formats for storing numbers, both 40 bits, or five bytes. The first is a floating point format, which consists of one exponent byte, and four mantissa bytes. The first bit of ...
6
votes
1answer
264 views

How can I edit CMOS hard drive geometry settings on a 1991 PC?

First, I am NOT asking how to use the BIOS Setup utility. I'm asking how to OVERRIDE the built-in settings my BIOS Setup supports for the HD geometry. I have a 1991 NCR PC with a 386SX, on-board IDE, ...
1
vote
4answers
259 views

Are there any old and nowadays active Operating Systems which has only BASIC Programming Language?

Some old Operating Systems I hear have only BASIC Programming Language. Are there any active and old operating systems which includes only BASIC Programming Language?
5
votes
1answer
305 views

How did the C64 interface tape drives?

How did the C64 interface tape drives? I'm aware that the external interface was basically a audio input - but how was this audio converted into digital data, and how was it loaded into RAM and ...
1
vote
1answer
121 views

How was the modem MNP protocol implemented in software?

When first modems for PCs started to appear in the USSR in late 1980s, they usually were in the form of an ISA card, and supported a bare minimum of the Hayes AT commands. Given the quality of Soviet ...
3
votes
2answers
278 views

When were sprites first displayed in the border area?

I assume one of the first undocumented effects on the VIC-II was the ability to display sprites in the (upper and lower) border area. I wonder how and when this was first discovered and used? Was it ...
3
votes
2answers
437 views

When and why did tape recorders acquire a “remote” input?

This entirely-typical-of-the-era (other than mysteriously missing its EAR socket) tape recorder from 1984 was the "standard" type of tape deck for home computer data storage in the UK. They could be ...
23
votes
5answers
4k views

Why did Commodore sell CPUs to its competitors?

Many of the most popular personal computers and video game consoles of the 1970s and 1980s, including those made by Commodore, Apple, and Atari, used the 6502 CPU (or some close relative, such as the ...
2
votes
1answer
85 views

How to read old 3.5" Macintosh formatted floppies on a MacBookPro

I have connected a USB external floppy drive to my Macbook Pro (OSX El Capitan). I am unable to "view" the external drive, and hence unable to access the floppy content. I have inserted a floppy, ...
1
vote
4answers
140 views

What's the pitfalls when trying to connect a new SCSI hard drive to an old SCSI bus?

Problem I have a couple of old computers. Some of them have a SCSI-1 or SCSI-2 interface over an internal 50 pin IDC connector or an external DB25. Now I want to connect something to them, in ...
10
votes
2answers
285 views

Acorn Electron fails to load .UEF files converted to .WAV

I have an Acorn Electron that came without tape recorder, so I'm using Audacity to record and replay programs which works fine. Now I also have some software as UEF (Universal Emulator Format) files. ...
2
votes
1answer
85 views

Why didn't Famicom games use the Konami SCC for expansion audio?

There were a handful of Konami games on the Famicom that had additional sound chips (VRC6, VRC7, etc.) to enhance the audio of the games they were used in. Considering that the Famicom got many Konami ...
1
vote
1answer
105 views

Can DOS 6.22 recognize more than 504MB when the BIOS only supports CHS?

My CMOS setup correctly recognizes the geometry of the drive, (but does not support LBA). And FDISK in DOS 6.22 only recognizes 504MB. FDISK even shows the size of the primary partition as roughly ...
2
votes
1answer
101 views

A game where you could sell body parts for cash

Ages ago I played a scifi game on the Apple IIgs where you could sell body parts for cash. The game involved travel between planets and selling parts of yourself was a last ditch option to raise money ...
1
vote
1answer
78 views

Is it possible to switch the interrupt source of the C64 to VIC without changing the IRQ routine?

The ROM IRQ routine at $EA31 is usually trigggered by the timer interrupt 60 times a second. Is it possible to switch the interrupt source to VIC and still use the same routine? If yes, which memory ...
4
votes
3answers
524 views

Were some Atari 2600 games written in C?

I thought all Atari 2600 games had been programmed in 6502/6507 assembly language (plus whatever activated the Stella sound system), but at a party recently, a friend indicated that some 2600 ...
1
vote
1answer
200 views

What's the reason for the the Lagonda Series II dashboard to use a mixture of metric and imperial? [closed]

The title says it all. I'm puzzled if there is a technical (Hardware/Software) reason behind the weird mixture of metric (Celsius for temperature) and non metric (like psi for pressure) in the Aston ...
23
votes
3answers
4k views

386SX, NES and how much did data lines really cost anyway?

In 1988, Intel introduced the 80386SX, most often referred to as the 386SX, a cut-down version of the 80386 with a 16-bit data bus mainly intended for lower-cost PCs aimed at the home, educational, ...
1
vote
1answer
407 views

Wider tower cases

Desktop computers have been in tower cases for a long time; in some cases since the eighties, per When did the tower form factor appear and when did it become popular? The form of tower cases has ...
0
votes
2answers
156 views

Does anyone have an x86 EGA draw pixel routine?

So far, I have gotten by with using the BIOS draw-pixel routine here: http://stanislavs.org/helppc/int_10-c.html This works of course, but I can't imagine that commercial games used this BIOS call as ...
2
votes
2answers
178 views

Why not make more use of the video generation logic?

The Apple II is famously built around its video generator. Conveniently, addresses are generated which scan all of the video memory and somehow spits the contents onto the screen. Its occurred to me ...
9
votes
1answer
162 views

Could suitably-written Apple-I software force bytes into the display shift register, and do modern recreations emulate that?

The original Apple I didn't use RAM to hold the contents of the display, but instead used a group of six 1024-bit shift registers to hold the display contents and a seventh 1024-bit shift register to ...
26
votes
3answers
5k views

Why separate cursor keys?

The original IBM PC keyboard didn't have separate cursor keys; the numeric keypad doubled as such. It wasn't long, however, until a new keyboard was introduced that did have separate cursor keys (so ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

Why were teletype printers not used for DOS computers?

Prior to the introduction of DOS in 1981 teletype printers were probably the most common hardcopy printer being used - usually in govt, educational or research facilities. When DOS arrived, teletype ...
2
votes
3answers
230 views

What do the numbers on the punch cards mean?

Does anyone know what is the meaning of the numbers in punch cards? I need an example of any language, it's important for me to understand which information could be manipulated.
14
votes
1answer
913 views

In CP/M, how does control-Z (hex 1a decimal 26) not interfere with ordinary file storage?

Consider this - I have made a file called test.bin on a Windows machine. It is exactly 256 bytes long, and contains nothing more than 00 to ff in each byte. What would happen if I transferred this ...
7
votes
1answer
617 views

Availability of 5.25" floppy emulators?

Emulators from Gotek or HxC support 3.5" floppies. However none seem to support 5.25" PC drives. Are there any alternatives out there?

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