All Questions

4
votes
1answer
180 views

ENIAC stands for Electrical Numerical Integrator And Calculator; what made it particularly suitable for numerical integration?

The acronym ENIAC stands for Electrical Numerical Integrator And Calculator. The fact that it was simpy a numerical computer means it probably could be used to perform numerical integration in some ...
5
votes
2answers
194 views

In what way could the Sperry Univac BC-7 computer “speak and understand” English?

Researching for this question I ran across this 1978 advertisement for Sperry: Sperry Computer Ad 1978: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I74sVdw7gkc The computer is nicknamed "B.C." and the actor ...
5
votes
2answers
301 views

Where was this Grace Hopper/Univac photo taken?

Here is a photo of a Univac I with four individuals. According to Artifact Details at the Computer History Museum's web page with an extremely similar photo (perhaps a shot a few moments earlier/later)...
4
votes
2answers
141 views

Single-stepping the Altair 8800

I've just been watching a rather interesting series of videos about the MITS Altair 8800. It has a button on the front panel to single-step the CPU one instruction at a time... Except that, on closer ...
2
votes
3answers
268 views

History of advanced hardware [closed]

Like most people, I grew up in the 1980s, and bore whitness to the great 8-bit home computer revolution. From where I'm sitting, "computers" started with slow 8-bit machines just powerful enough to ...
8
votes
5answers
3k views

What was the main purpose of bitshift instructions in CPU?

As far as I know, even simple RISC microcontroller have a bitshift operator, and honestly I had to use it only once when I had to compute a division on a MCU that could not do divisions in the ALU. ...
3
votes
2answers
301 views

TCP over RS-232 with Windows 3.1 and Internet Explorer 5 dialer

I am restoring a Windows 3.1 computer that has Internet Explorer 5 installed. I would like to connect it to the internet using a Linux-based laptop as an intermediary. The physical connection is ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

WordStar's “column mode”

I've read that WordStar had a "column mode" which could be useful for making it act as a programmer's editor. But I've not found a clear description (or screenshots) of exactly what this mode was and ...
71
votes
12answers
16k views

Back in the late 1980s, how was commercial software for 8-bit home computers developed?

When hobbyists wanted to write software for e.g. the Commodore 64, they either used the built-in BASIC interpreter (with all its limitations) or some native tools, like compilers for other languages ...
5
votes
1answer
381 views

How old is Perl's “Plain Old Documentation” (POD) format and why was it called “old” initially?

I recently wondered how the "old" came into the "Plain Old Documentation" of Perl's documentation format "POD". Was it named like this from the beginning? If so, why was it considered old back then? ...
1
vote
1answer
199 views

What don't I understand about this LR35902 code?

The question you are now reading is about a comment on this question, about overflow bugs in some Pokemon game. A comment on that question says: It was Game Freak's first project. They just were ...
25
votes
8answers
13k views

Did a shuttle launch take most of the world's computing power?

The 1998 movie "Armageddon" depicts two Space Shuttles launching simultaneously. I read some expert say that "There isn't enough computing power in the world to launch two shuttles at the same time". ...
5
votes
1answer
231 views

Commodore Plus/4 60671 bytes free - how?

It is widely known that, while the Commodore 64 did indeed provide 64K of RAM for machine code programs, only 38K was usable from BASIC; this was because bank switching was needed to get at the rest, ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Commodore BASIC and binary floating point precision

I am mildly curious that though the 6502 provides BCD arithmetic which would be useful for implementing decimal floating point, Commodore BASIC uses, like all (?) Micro-Soft BASIC, binary floating ...
-1
votes
0answers
124 views

How To Save Magnavox Odyssey II Programs To Cassette?

Question - How could you have saved Magnavox Odyssey II ( more commonly written as "Magnavox Odyssey²" ) programs to cassette ? I am basing my question on saving programs written using using the ...
26
votes
1answer
1k views

Did Windows NT 4 emulate x86 on non-Intel platforms?

I've been trying to find more information about non-Intel versions of Windows NT regarding x86 emulation but found very little about it. There is one sentence about it in the Wikipedia page but the ...
-1
votes
0answers
112 views

How many Macs were sold outside of North America in the 1980s?

Where were Macintosh computers sold in the 1980s, and how many were sold in each place? My impression is that most macs were sold in North America, but I don't know where to find references to ...
50
votes
12answers
10k views

How big is a mainframe?

If you read about the history of computing, you'll hear how the first computers were "huge". You will often come across assertions that in the early days of commercial computing, a single computer ...
3
votes
1answer
160 views

Logitech drivers from Windows 95 Installer on the actual disk

I'm attempting something that might seem crazy but I got stuck at the end. I am installing Windows 95, on a flash drive, using a PC with modern hardware (Not a virtual machine!). I got around the ...
3
votes
3answers
165 views

How to image a RLL or MFM hard disk on an XT class PC

I have an old XT clone which is fitted with a Seagate ST-238R RLL hard disk and an ST11R hard disk controller card. I have recently revived this old machine and it all appears to be working still. I'...
6
votes
4answers
534 views

Amiga floppy disks and GCR vs MFM

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_coded_recording the Commodore 1541 disk drive used a particularly efficient GCR encoding scheme to cram 170K onto the same 5.25" disks that in an Apple ...
-1
votes
6answers
571 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 ...
-3
votes
4answers
234 views

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

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 ...
18
votes
7answers
3k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
258 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 ...
13
votes
0answers
252 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
809 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
304 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
90 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 ...
77
votes
18answers
17k 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
2answers
193 views

How do Bulletin Board Systems work? [closed]

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
169 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 "...
21
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 ...
16
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
176 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
4answers
287 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
217 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
5answers
369 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?
4
votes
2answers
338 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
341 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
126 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
481 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
110 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
2answers
165 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
133 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
137 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
90 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
3k views

Why did 3.5" floppies win? [duplicate]

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 ...
48
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
189 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 ...

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