All Questions

1
vote
3answers
99 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 ...
-1
votes
4answers
96 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
81 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
58 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
714 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
147 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 ...
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 ...
48
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
5
votes
3answers
128 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 "...
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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
134 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 ...
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
184 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
260 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?
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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
86 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, ...
3
votes
2answers
438 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 ...
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
106 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
102 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
122 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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, ...
0
votes
2answers
158 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 ...
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 ...
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, ...
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 ...
2
votes
3answers
232 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.
1
vote
1answer
408 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 ...
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 ...
9
votes
3answers
714 views

IBM PC expansion card latency

In the IBM PC and early successors and compatibles, it was commonplace for most of the computer's memory to be on cards in general expansion slots. (e.g. the original IBM PC could take 64K on the ...
0
votes
0answers
108 views

Emulator/Softwares to run old version of windows application/games on lastest version of windows 10 [closed]

Is there is any wine like Linux software/emulator for windows to run windows 7 or prior windows application on latest version of windows 10?
4
votes
2answers
158 views

How to exactly sync to the raster line for a vertical raster split?

Motivated by Wilson's question Can a Commodore 64 use two screenmodes on one scanline? I tried to implement a simple example that polls the beginning of a rasterline and then switches the screen mode ...
2
votes
1answer
87 views

What is the 26-pin D-sub (DA-26) connector used for on the Media Vision Pro AudioSpectrum 16 Patch Panel?

My dad has this audio interface from the 90s called the Media Vision Pro AudioSpectrum 16 Patch Panel, but unfortunately doesn't have the manual. From my research, it appears that this panel was used ...
0
votes
1answer
118 views

How viable is a universal PC parallel/serial connected CP/M disk controller/drive?

I had an idea and wanted to hear if there are any major technical obstacles. Imagine any vintage computer with either a serial port or a parallel port. The vintage computer is connected via that ...
8
votes
1answer
180 views

Were any PDP-11 systems with Corita Kent side-panels actually sold?

Somewhere around 1980, I heard about PDP-11 systems that had side-panels designed by Corita Kent (a nun and pop artist, who amongst other things designed a stamp for the US post office, and gas ...
4
votes
3answers
225 views

How much did a serial terminal cost?

For many years in the mid-to-late twentieth century, user-facing computing consisted primarily of serial terminals attached to mainframe and minicomputers. In the eighties and even as late as the ...
4
votes
1answer
114 views

Why did Extended BASIC on the TI-99/4A only allow 28 of the 32 sprites?

The Video Display Processor (VDP) of the TI-99/4A was capable of displaying 32 hardware sprites. These sprites were unusable with the default, built-in BASIC that TI provided. However, an enhanced ...
2
votes
3answers
429 views

Daisy wheel graphics using the period?

Although it would have absolutely beaten the hardware to death, did anyone ever try to write a graphics driver for daisy wheel printers that would use the period symbol to painstakingly construct a ...
1
vote
1answer
136 views

Could a 6502 use different speeds of RAM in a single machine?

I'm not sure I've entirely formed the idea in my head, but I'll ask anyway... One of the things I learned here in RO is that the BBC gained speed by using faster RAM, thereby avoiding cycle stealing ...
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
257 views

IBM would-be purchase of CP/M

It is well-known that on a sunny day in 1980, when the IBM representatives came knocking on the door of Digital Research, Gary Kildall was still in the air on the way back from visiting another ...
6
votes
2answers
641 views

CP/M SKU per CPU only?

The impression I get is that CP/M relied on the BIOS, provided in ROM with the computer, for all the hardware-specific functions. So if you bought CP/M, you didn't have to specify what computer you ...

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