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49
votes
8answers
6k views

How were Western computer chips reverse-engineered in USSR?

The British ZX Spectrum computer had many clones in the Eastern Bloc. It seems many of them were built using Russian-made chips from the Angstrem factory in Zelenograd in/near Moscow. The Russian ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

PAL NES in USA, 50Hz vs 60Hz

I was wondering if there existed a way to fix the difference in the running speeds of a PAL NES to run on TV's in the United States? Be it some converter or messing with the NES itself.
85
votes
7answers
26k views

Why would a NES game use an undocumented 1-byte or 2-byte NOP in production?

Reading the NESdev wiki page on CPU unofficial opcodes, I see a few games use an undocumented 2-byte NOP instuction in production: Puzznic, F-117A Stealth Fighter, and Infiltrator use $89 #i. Beauty ...
16
votes
6answers
4k views

Can removing a cartridge from an NES (or any other cartridge-based game system) damage the hardware or software?

On some cartridge-based video game systems (NES, Game Boy Color, etc.) it is possible to remove the cartridge while the game system is still powered on. What kind of damage can this behavior do to ...
13
votes
3answers
5k views

MSX Assembly/Basic programming documentation

I'd like to try to create software (and maybe simple games) for the MSX standard. I know I have two ways to do so, either I use MSX Basic or Z80 assembly. I think that Z80 assembly is more powerful ...
5
votes
0answers
276 views

R.O.B can't move up or down

I got this R.O.B (Robotic Operating Buddy for the NES), first time I turned him on his arms wouldn't close, so I took him apart and cleaned him. I put the gears back into place. After turning him on ...
5
votes
1answer
334 views

What are some names of professional music software for the Macintosh Classic / SE?

I'm not asking for opinions, recommendations or reviews. I'm looking for professional, graphical music creation software for the classic line of Macintosh computers. I'm not looking for mod or ...
10
votes
1answer
346 views

Apple II: HPLOT crashes system. Why?

While I was writing a program on an Apple IIe, I set up access the graphics page using softswitches, and then tried to draw on it, but the system crashed so hard I had to do a Control - Open Apple - ...
15
votes
8answers
2k views

How were bugs reported for compilers that shipped on and were installed via floppy disks?

Take the Microsoft C 1.0 compiler for example. It shipped on multiple 5.25" 360K disks, and when it ran on machines without internal hard disk, so users had to switch floppies between the editor, ...
53
votes
5answers
11k views

Which Linux or BSD distributions do still support i386, i486 or i586 CPUs?

Unfortunately Debian kicked out Pentium 1 (i586) CPU support from its 32-bit PC port (named i386 for historic circumstances) for its next stable release Debian 9 Stretch. (Then again they complain ...
12
votes
1answer
482 views

How are File Timestamps recorded in classic Mac OS?

When I save a file it has a 'Created At' and 'Updated At' Value saved as well. I would like to know HOW these values are saved? Are they saved as an integer representing a number of seconds since 1904?...
8
votes
3answers
905 views

Anybody restoring Adventure, an early interactive fiction game?

Advent made the rounds of PDP-10 computers in about 1975. I once got ahold of the source code in FORTRAN and recoded it in, of all things, Turbo Pascal, but I never got around to thoroughly debugging ...
62
votes
7answers
14k views

Where did the popularity of the `i` variable come from?

I have heard that the reason the i variable is used so much is because there was an old computer where each variable could only be a single letter and that reserved the variables a through h as ...
7
votes
2answers
968 views

Looking for Win95 game with vector graphic

The game I can't remember the name of was like this: You controlled a triangular space-ship which could fly from planet to planet and could land on it. The planets had gravity which made it not so ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Found an IBM 5291. What is it, from when, and how much is it worth?

So, I found one of these: (It's as if it's new, it wasn't ever used, it sat on a bookshelf next to an old CRT monitor, it also has every part). On the front there's a small gray box with the text ...
11
votes
1answer
515 views

Modern vector display driver?

I have an old Tektronix Type 611 Storage Display sitting in storage, which I would some day like to get working again. I have the full repair manual on microfiche from Tek. It is essentially an ...
7
votes
2answers
367 views

NES only works when I press reset

My aunt gave me her old nes, it was really dirty. I opened it up, cleaned it really good, cleaned the games too. I had to get a new power pack and av cables for it. I plugged everything into my TV (...
6
votes
4answers
579 views

Hercules to COM<->USB adapter - is it possible?

I have a 486 (also another 286 mainboard) with a Hercules card, the plug is the same as RS-232. Is it possible to connect the output with serial port USB adapter and simulate Hercules-compatible ...
10
votes
3answers
655 views

Anyone remember how to write the Apple ][ HIRES pages to disk to make screenshots?

The Apple //e had 2 HiRES video pages, HiRES animation involved switching between the 2 pages and redrawing the screen. A really early way to take an in game screenshot was to dump the computer with ...
10
votes
2answers
965 views

What CPU did the HP85 have?

The HP 85, the portable scientific computer from Hewlett Packard in the 1970s, didn't use an off-the-shelf CPU like a Z80 or 8088. Instead, HP designed a custom CPU and used that. Was this CPU used ...
6
votes
3answers
376 views

Is it possible to bend tension back into atari 2600 joystick contact domes?

So I got these two ataris, just got them working. I was testing out the controllers and most of them have problems with the joystick not reacting. I opened them up, cleaned them, still have the ...
10
votes
1answer
341 views

What is the format of the syntax tables in Apple II Integer BASIC?

In Paul Santa-Maria's disassembly of Integer BASIC (text version), you can see the syntax table split into two parts, SYNTABL and SYNTABL2. I've seen references to the tokens being stored in reverse ...
7
votes
1answer
423 views

Was there a dual-core PowerMac G5?

I have a PowerMac G5 which I have recently succeeded in getting running with a Mac OS X 10.4. I was in for two big surprises: Firstly, the computer runs very fast, even with heavier software like an ...
9
votes
3answers
521 views

How do I store data and/or code in AUX RAM on an Apple //e?

Despite owning several Apple IIe's, I've never gotten around to doing any major programming on them. I hope to change that. Anyway, how did programmers actually use the expanded RAM seeing that a ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Atari 2600 has no sound, no video. Any advice?

I have 2 Atari 2600s. I got them both at a garage sale. I plugged them both in with a coaxial adapter. No sound, no video. I opened them up, didn't see any shorts, the boards looked good. There ...
16
votes
1answer
638 views

Did the Macintosh Classic series use DMA to display video?

I'm learning more and more on how the original Macintosh series worked. I can't, however, find information in my research on how the Mac's video generator accessed the video RAM. My assumption is ...
29
votes
2answers
4k views

Why did Sinclair choose the Z80 for its range of home computers?

The Sinclair computers are known for their low cost compared with other computers that were popular in the early 1980s. This is why they had membrane keyboards, or that rubber stuff in the case of the ...
3
votes
2answers
235 views

IBM PS/2 Model 53 Not Powering On

I bought a PS/2 with the intent of robbing it's case for a restomod project, but since that is on the backburner right now I decided to see if it would work. When I flip the power switch, the PSU ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

How does the Mac SE/30 send video to the analog board?

I can't seem to find where the video signals leave the digital board of my Mac SE/30 and travel to the analog board that is connected to the monitor. I even searched for pinouts online but I guess my ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

Why did the Sinclair ZX-Spectrum use a membrane keyboard?

As a kid, I always had problems with the keyboard. Membrane was hard to come by and expensive. I did not have Kempston/Protec. So I had to play on the keyboard. I was using QAOPMN combination, and ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Writting DSK images onto a 3'' floppy for Amstrad/Sinclair computers

For a project I'm working on, I need to write some disks to test on my Amstrad CPC 6128. I've got some 3'' inch blank disks, and all my Amstrad computers (CPC and PCW) have 3'' inch disks, as well as ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

What did the Supercard “patch” program actually do to GBA and NDS ROMs to make them playable?

The Supercard is a flash cart for the Game Boy advance which can play ROMs and other files off of assorted flash memory. I recently found my Supercard SD and Superkey for NDS, which acts as a ...
7
votes
2answers
792 views

SheepShaver failing to install application; Not Enough Memory

I am trying to install "Kid Pix Deluxe 4" on Mac OS 9 using SheepShaver on Ubuntu 16.04. A problem I am having is that when I try to install it, I get an error saying that I don't have enough memory. ...
13
votes
5answers
629 views

What computer first facilitated multi-precision arithmetic

While early microcomputers were often 4- or 8-bit designs, with larger word sizes coming later, that pattern did not hold for their predecessors. None of the earliest computers used a word size that ...
5
votes
2answers
498 views

Compaq Contura Aero 4/33C - moving data to CF/IDE disk - No operating system detected

I've got a Compaq Contura aero 4/33 laptop with original DOS system installed. As the HDD is old and dying, I've decided to copy the drive to a CF card on a CF/IDE adapter. After connecting the drive,...
6
votes
0answers
195 views

What is the model of the Emachines Etower 366i2's Monitor?

I've an old 1999 Emachines Etower I want to restore. I have all the original parts except for the monitor. It just isn't a complete set without it. Does anybody know the specific model of that monitor....
23
votes
2answers
685 views

What API did the “math box” provide?

Some classic vector arcade games, such as Battlezone and Red Baron, were based on the 6502 CPU. The processor wasn't fast enough to do the 3D computations, so a co-processor commonly known as the "...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Atari 2600 high voltage output

I've never worked on a Atari 2600 before. The first time I did, I wasn't getting anything on my old box TV. Not being able to do much at the time, I decided to check the voltage. The output voltage is ...
7
votes
1answer
274 views

How do I make a Unibus device?

The Unibus was an innovative I/O system used by DEC PDP-11 machines. A device would choose some memory addresses to respond to, register an interrupt vector, then communicate with software that was ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

Why did the Atari 8-bit computers make beeping noises while accessing the disk and cassette drives?

If you've ever used an actual Atari 8-bit computer with either a cassette or disk drive, you would have noticed that it made a variety of "beeping" noises while accessing the devices. Specifically, ...
10
votes
2answers
809 views

How were Lisps usually implemented on architectures that has no stack or very small stacks?

I am thinking about architectures like the 6502 (the stack is limited to 256 bytes -- hardly enough to evaluate any reasonably sized Lisp expression) or the PDP-7 and PDP-8, which stored the return ...
10
votes
2answers
407 views

Creating an System Extension (INIT) for classic mac os

I have some old macs that I would like to remove their clock batteries so that I don't have to worry about them leaking and destroying logic boards. That being said I do want to operate them from time ...
76
votes
2answers
17k views

Why does the Minus World exist?

In Super Mario Bros. for the NES and Famicom there exists a secret world, accessible by clipping through a wall to the first warp zone and entering the left-most pipe. This pipe will take you to ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

How can a computer use the drive's momentum for emergency power?

I remember reading an answer about a computer that, in the event of a power failure, would write the important parts of the memory to disk - using the momentum of the still-spinning drive to do so. ...
9
votes
3answers
918 views

To wash or not to wash a Mac SE/30

I have a Macintosh SE/30 that I'm trying to bring back to life. When I power it on, I get the dreaded horizontal stripes. Or, zebra stripes. Also called Simasimac. I have re-seated all of the ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Sega Genesis/Mega Drive ROM Disassembler

I am looking for a disassembler that supports Sega Genesis ROMs. Ideally, any 68000 disassembler should be able to do this (IDA Pro supposedly does an amazing job but their demo version does not ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

Why does Ms. Pac-man turn upside down?

Ms. Pac-man is a game where you navigate a small yellow circle around a maze, collecting dots and fruit whilst avoiding brightly-coloured monsters, or ghosts. This time, however, the yellow dot has an ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

Power cycling old hardware

For those of us that use an old computer daily, is it safer for the hardware if the machines are turned off every night, or should they be left on? I assume that powering up is more stressful for the ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

Why can you not move on the last level on Dig Dug?

The objective of Dig Dug is to eliminate underground monsters by inflating them until they pop, or by squashing them with large rocks. Once all of the monsters have escaped or been defeated, the level ...
97
votes
5answers
21k views

How can tilting a N64 cartridge cause such subtle glitches?

When the N64 cartridge is tilted in Super Mario 64, it reliably produces glitches such as this. Mario's limbs disappear, he rotates 90° and sinks into the floor, and the music gets messed up (usually ...

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