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2
votes
2answers
37 views

Why did computer video outputs go from digital to analog, then back to digital?

While early microcomputers used analog video outputs (often to use a television as a display), higher end machines such as the BBC Micro or Commodore 128 supported a digital RGB (or RGBI) video output....
5
votes
6answers
90 views

Why did modems have speakers?

Everyone who used early telecommunications services, not to mention the early dial-up Internet services, is familiar with the tones and hissing sounds of a modem establishing a connection. I recall ...
5
votes
4answers
157 views

Does switching on an old games console without a cartridge damage it?

This is inspired by the question "What does a Nintendo Game Boy do when turned on without a game cartridge inserted?": Growing up in the 80s and 90s in the UK, it was "common knowledge" amongst my ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

On a Gameboy, what happens when attempting to read/write external RAM while RAM is disabled?

According to the GBdevwiki: 0000-1FFF - RAM Enable (Write Only) Before external RAM can be read or written, it must be enabled by writing to this address space. It is recommended to disable ...
1
vote
1answer
91 views

How does the Gameboy address external hardware?

Where in the memory map ($0000-$ffff) does the Gameboy address the memory of these accessories? (for example, the battery or the Gameboy Printer). Is this something I should implement in an emulator?
17
votes
3answers
6k views

What does a Nintendo Game Boy do when turned on without a game cartridge inserted?

When a Nintendo Game Boy is turned on, it displays a logo read from the cartridge (looking like this) before starting the game. What does it display if there's no cartridge inserted from which to read ...
8
votes
3answers
663 views

Why is the unchangable Nintendo Game Boy logo in the cartridge?

According to Gameboy [sic] Development Wiki page The Cartridge Header, locations 0x104 through 0x133 in the cartridge contain a bitmap of the Nintendo logo that's displayed when the Game Boy is turned ...
21
votes
2answers
2k views

What does Windows' “Tuning up Application Start” do?

When installing an old version of Windows, there is a step about application start tuning: This is not about the PREFETCH folder, since this feature appeared in Windows XP. Question: Does anyone ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

How does the Gameboy's memory bank switching work?

I'm writing a Game Boy emulator, but I don't completely understand how its memory mapping works. Here is what I (think) I know (and don't know). The CPU can address up to 0x10000 memory locations ...
4
votes
1answer
97 views

ACA1221 cooling

I have an ACA1221 accelerator (not EC). The card is clocked at 28MHz and get's VERY hot. Even when running on default 17MHz the temperature can go as high as 65'C. Is there any way to use any of the ...
2
votes
1answer
132 views

Old SCSI controller won't boot on certain PC

I have an old Adaptec PCI SCSI controller from around 1995 (bios date, will get full model if needed). It's lived its life in an old pentium 133mhz pc from around 1995 as well. The controller is 50 ...
19
votes
3answers
3k views

What makes MOVEQ quicker than a normal MOVE in 68000 assembly?

I'm "re-learning" 68000 assembly language and came across the "MOVEQ" command that is labeled "MOVE QUICK". According to the NXP Programmers Reference Manual (reference below), the command MOVEQ (...
41
votes
2answers
4k views

Locked-up DOS computer beeped on keypress. What mechanism caused that?

Long time ago I had an old IBM PS/2 that I had fished out of a dumpster. It ran IBM DOS 5.0 and was a solid little machine. Occasionally I would encounter the following scenario, and I recently ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

What was the difference between a Games Console and a Home Computer?

In the world of home entertainment and video games, two terms that were commonly used to describe machines from the 1970s onward are "games console" and "home computer". Some devices appear to ...
18
votes
3answers
3k views

Term “console” in game consoles

Not sure if this exactly fits here, but I’m interested in the history of word “console” in game consoles and in computing in general. I can see at least two usages for the term, which at least ...
21
votes
7answers
6k views

Why is the Intel 8086 CPU called a 16-bit CPU?

Based on my understanding, the bitness of a CPU specifies how much memory it can address (which is determined by the size of the CPU's address bus I guess). For example: a 32-bit CPU can address 232 ...
1
vote
1answer
250 views

Why doesn't the Intel 8086 CPU use real memory addresses? [duplicate]

The address bus of the Intel 8086 CPU is 20-bits, and when you want to specify a memory address to read from or write to, you would form the memory address using a segment register and an offset ...
16
votes
7answers
4k views

Intel 8080-based home computers

I'd like to build an FPGA replica of a home computer based on the Intel 8080. I am not looking to design my own computer, since I would like to tap into an existing software base. Were there any ...
13
votes
7answers
4k views

Does the Intel 8085 CPU use real memory addresses?

The Intel 8086 CPU uses memory segmentation, which means that when, for example, you write the value 123 to the memory address 1001, the memory address 1001 will actually get converted first into ...
9
votes
1answer
167 views

SYNC and the 65CE02 instruction timing

From the Wikipedia's 65CE02 page: Internally, the pipeline of the 65CE02 was redesigned to reduce the number of cycles required to execute an instruction. The 65CE02 can recover faster from ...
5
votes
2answers
176 views

Dimensioned drawing of 64-pin SIMM?

I am looking for a dimensioned drawing of a 64-pin SIMM PCB like the ones used in the Macintosh II series for the ROM SIMM. I looked in Guide to the Macintosh Family Hardware and Designing Cards and ...
68
votes
3answers
12k views

What made Windows ME so crash-prone?

Many people remember this operating system as not exactly a walk in the park, namely that it could crash as early as during the installation phase or at unexpected times when the user wasn't doing ...
8
votes
3answers
890 views

Behavior of the zero and negative/sign flags on classic instruction sets

It seems to me that there's effectively two ways that the zero bit could work. Z is set iff the result of a computation is mathematically equal to 0. Z is set iff a bit pattern consisting entirely of ...
1
vote
0answers
110 views

Why is the order of the special characters on the keyboard like !@#$%^&*()? [duplicate]

The order wasn't easy for me to memorize. I would like to know if there is a historical story.
16
votes
1answer
3k views

How did the Game Boy Advance stretch Game Boy games to widescreen?

The original gameboy, GBP and GBC all had screen resolutions of 160x144[1] while the Game Boy Advanced had a resolution of 240x160[2] So how does the actual stretching occur? It seems pretty uniform, ...
-3
votes
1answer
128 views

Building a Sega Genesis Classic Portable - What kind of display? [closed]

I am trying to make a portable version of a Sega Genesis Classic. (See this example on Youtube.) I'm wondering what kind of display module I would need to solder to the board for this project.
2
votes
1answer
190 views

Connecting SCM Swapbox PCMCIA reader (ISA) to modern PC

Further to my previous question, I am wondering how best to connect an SCM Swapbox "SBI-D2P" (Classic X2) PCMCIA card reader to a modern PC (PCI/PCI Express/SATA/USB). I am aware there are USB PCMCIA ...
7
votes
1answer
205 views

WEGA operating system origins

I just recently stumbled across information about DDR minicomputer P8000 and its unixoid operating system WEGA. The website above as well as Wikipedia seem to claim some compatibility or even ...
3
votes
3answers
407 views

What was this menu application in DOS?

My father's computer in the early 90s (probably 1991, or at the latest 1992) had a piece of software that acted as an application launcher. I think it was simply called "menu". Its graphics were ...
9
votes
1answer
236 views

Understanding C64 Character Memory

I'm trying to understand how video memory worked on the Commodore64 in text mode. I see that the VIC-II has a memory setup register (at $D018) that keeps track of some of this information along with ...
10
votes
1answer
450 views

Old Conner IDE hard drives that are mistakenly detected as being 2TB, how do I connect to and image them?

I have connected two old Conner Peripheral IDE HDDs to a modern computer using Deltaco USB to SATA/IDE adaptors. The drives in question are: Conner CP30121 (120 MB) Conner CFA2161A (210 MB) Both ...
5
votes
2answers
202 views

Read HP Basic (RMB) tokenized file into clear text?

I have a cople of HP BASIC (HP9000) files that have been saved in a non-ASCII format (HFSLIF?). Does anyone know of a conversion utility to get the code readable? The files are already on a win7 ...
9
votes
1answer
214 views

What do the stars mean on the Bell Labs Pins (company culture)?

I frequently see these kinds of pins go for sale, Both of the two pins in the picture read "Bell Telephone Laboratories 1875". One of the pins has two stars, the other three. What did it mean to ...
22
votes
10answers
4k views

Why was hardware diversification an asset for the IBM PC ecosystem?

The IBM PC was cloned very early on, and many third parties made hardware peripherals. This required users to run an OS, install drivers, manage IRQs and hardware bus addresses, etc. Why was this a ...
6
votes
1answer
214 views

The IBM RAM with non-standard pin layout

One and half decade ago I had an black IBM Thinkcentre tower. The specs were: Pentium 4 2.66 GHz 256 Mb IBM RAM (which later got upgraded into 512 Mb RAM), 40GB HDD, XP Pro SP3, GeForce 2 MX 400. ...
39
votes
8answers
9k views

Why weren't bootable game disks ever common on the IBM PC?

While for other platforms of that era (primarily, Amiga), putting a game on a bootable disk was quite a normal practice, this approach never taken off on IBM PC. Why not? I do remember people having ...
5
votes
1answer
207 views

Color Computer Expansion port “listening” bus

For the ZX Spectrum there is a project called ZX Pie. As the name suggests, it's a board attached to the ZX Spectrum's expansion slot that 'listens' the Address Bus and the Data Bus and connect them ...
3
votes
2answers
326 views

How do I use my adapted PS2 keyboard & mouse on a windows 10 computer?

I want to use my old PS/2 mouse & keyboard with my Dell Latitude, which has no PS/2 ports. I am fully aware that the easiest way to do this would to use an active PS/2 to USB converter, like this ...
7
votes
4answers
391 views

Why didn't the Acorn Archimedes support general purpose co-processors?

Acorn's BBC Micro series is well known for the range of add-on processors (or Second Processors) that could be connected through it's Tube interface. These included the 6502, Z80, 80186, and also the ...
22
votes
6answers
5k views

How did the IEC decide to create kibibytes?

What was the decision making process that lead to the IEC to create "kibibytes", "mebibytes" and so forth? To me it seems like kilobytes were well established as 1024 bytes, both by programmers using ...
7
votes
4answers
326 views

Library of MS BASIC programs in text format?

I am wondering if anyone has a pointer to a good source of "classic" BASIC programs, in text format. One would think this would be easy to find, but unfortunately VB so pollutes the results as to ...
27
votes
3answers
3k views

Why did Super-VGA offer the 5:4 1280*1024 resolution?

PC displays almost always targeted 4:3 CRT displays. And indeed, VGA and most super-VGA modes had 4:3 aspect ratio resulting in square pixels - except the odd 5:4 1280*1024 mode. This mode even caused ...
2
votes
1answer
89 views

What's the required battery voltage within a DALLAS DS12C887+ RTC? [closed]

I am having some difficulty getting a board that has a Dallas Real Time Clock DS12C887+ to behave. Not sure if the problem is the RTC or not but am in the investigative stage and got the cross hairs ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Why has Novell never written its own boot loader?

I've never used NetWare 5.x 6.x but if I remember correctly versions 3 and 4 required you to boot to DOS partition and then load NetWare server files from it. I could never understand the logic behind ...
3
votes
1answer
302 views

First computer to have interactive text on a CRT?

What was the first computer to have interactive text on a CRT ? That the text on screen responded to key-presses without significant delay . I remember seeing some very early radar-installation CRT'...
47
votes
2answers
7k views

On DOS computers, what would the PARK command do?

In 1994 or so, we had an old computer at my primary school. I remember finding out that it had a park command. From reading its documentation, it said that this command should be executed prior to ...
8
votes
5answers
701 views

Source Code Archival in early Game Developement

During the latest gaming press release, Square Enix released remastered versions of all of the classic Final Fantasy games excluding Final Fantasy VIII. The alleged reason is due to the lost source ...
381
votes
8answers
203k views

Why did moving the mouse cursor cause Windows 95 to run more quickly?

I was playing Hypnospace Outlaw, a game about a retro-themed OS. This OS has a peculiar behavior that when loading a webpage, wiggling the mouse cursor will load the page faster. That reminded me of ...
3
votes
1answer
172 views

What kind of cable do I need to connect a Movemaster EX RV-M1 robotic arm to a PC?

I have recently gotten my hands on a "Movemaster EX RV-M1" 5-axis robotic arm (image) manufactured by Mitsubishi in the 70's (I think). Sadly, I only have the arm and one set of cables I don't want to ...
24
votes
2answers
2k views

What was the ASCII end of medium (EM) character intended to be used for?

I can find information about how characters were used to structure transmissions in general, and I can find information about transmission characters which are still commonly used today, though ...

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