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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
247 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. ...
42
votes
8answers
10k 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
273 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
800 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
476 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 ...
24
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
392 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 ...
28
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
94 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 ...
14
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
476 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'...
48
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
802 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 ...
394
votes
8answers
211k 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
210 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
3k 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
91 views

pfs3 error when copying files

Config: WinUAE 4.2.1, CPU 68020, 24bit, FPU 68882, 8MB FastRam Z2, A1200, CF 4GB Transcend, BetterWB 43, Dopus 4, When I try to copy folders from PC to CF Partition (2.4GB, pfs3) it goes alright, ...
7
votes
3answers
352 views

What was the standard size of a PC clone's badge indent?

Generic beige-box PC clones like the ones pictured here often had an indent for the manufacturer's badge to be stuck on. Were these all a standard size, and if so, what were the dimensions?
1
vote
1answer
164 views

What word processing software was used by the Apple //e outside of Australia? [closed]

I did enjoy the software that schools provided with the Apple //e in the late 1980's. My memory of word processing software was: Zardax Multiscribe I was in the Australian school system. So other ...
4
votes
1answer
264 views

Old game, possibly called “Demons”

Does anyone know an old game, probably from 1980s or early 1990s where the player goes through a top down labyrinth opening secret rooms, collecting treasure, and food, and keys, trying to get to a ...
2
votes
2answers
298 views

Amiga Workbench copy command just outputs 'copy mode'

I'm trying to set up my system using UAE 4.2.1 64 bit and an excellent step by step guide provided by phraxoid: https://devtty.io/2018/07/computing/how-to-setup-commodore-amiga-workbench-os/ The ...
37
votes
8answers
7k views

What was the point of separating stdout and stderr?

I occasionally need to work with console commands and 100% of the time I want to redirect my output to a file I fail to redirect stderr as well as stdout the first time. I can't think of a single ...
7
votes
1answer
295 views

When did the 65C02 become available?

The Wikipedia article on the 65C02 is missing an introduction date for any of the mentioned models. I did a bit of poking about with no success. Does anyone know when they were introduced?
7
votes
2answers
436 views

Did this game and computer system from Magnum PI exist?

Here's some screenshots from the youtube clip [1986?]: Magnum P.I (Thomas crashes Higgin's security computer system): Then Higgins says OMG Magnum you've crashed the "dracos three". I think he said ...
2
votes
0answers
280 views

What is this tool that was once used to teach beginner level BASIC?

In the early 1980's there was a small handheld device that looked like a calculator. It was a tool to teach beginner level programming in BASIC. Its ad slogan was "keep it near you". I never had one ...
27
votes
5answers
7k views

Why did the Apple IIe make a hideous noise if you inserted the disk upside down?

When I began high school in 1987 all the computers in the lab were Apple IIe desktop computers. A question has haunted me since then: if you inserted a floppy disk "upside down" the Apple IIe would ...
30
votes
2answers
3k views

Why wasn't EBCDIC designed with contiguous alphanumeric characters?

Inspired by this question on ASCII, I have wondered similar things about EBCDIC. At work we have an EBCDIC file that gets sent to a mainframe (I presume an IBM one) and to view it on my laptop I ...
2
votes
1answer
214 views

Integer overflows in MS BASIC

I only recently learned that the early MS BASICs had integer variables and do not have a machine that runs it. So perhaps someone with a PET or C64 could answer these questions? For one, were there ...
8
votes
2answers
882 views

How did Satoru Iwata compress Pokemon GS to fit two regions on a single cartridge?

Satoru Iwata's story of saving the development of Pokemon Gold & Silver by compressing its assets to fit on the GameBoy Color cartridge is something of a legend. Iwata optimised the game so much ...
66
votes
5answers
12k views

Why wasn't ASCII designed with a contiguous alphanumeric character order?

Anyone who has dealt with strings at a low level (e.g., writing a parser in C), knows that doing so tends to involve frequent checks of—either manually, or through isalpha(), isalnum(), etc—whether a ...
8
votes
6answers
2k views

Single level file directory

Have there actually been any commercial operating systems with a single-level, limited capacity file directory? I remember vaguely that the early versions of MS-DOS FAT12 may have had a single layer, ...
3
votes
1answer
230 views

Extracting files from a Windows 3.1 (16bit) install/archive (game)

I'm interested in doing some practice work around legacy systems out of pure recreation. I want to extract data or information related to a DOS game running on the 16bit arch of Windows 3.1 (1991 ...
2
votes
1answer
132 views

Horizontal hold on Atari 800xl connected to flat screen tv

I recently picked up an Atari 800xl from ebay that seems really solid and I am using a DIN to RCA cable through an AV to HDMI adapter to connect it to my flat screen tv. This all seems to work except ...
22
votes
1answer
903 views

How good was Woz's FP code?

I just came across this amazing 1976 article by Woz. In it he describes a relatively complete floating-point system for the 6502 with a 32-bit format (similar to earlier MS code). I understand the ...
7
votes
2answers
450 views

Can Access Fault Exceptions of the MC68040 caused by internal access faults occur in normal situations?

Note: I only have the MC68040 USER'S MANUAL at hand. In chapter 8.2.1 "Access Fault Exceptions", it is stated that those exceptions can be caused by Bus Error or Internal Access Faults and by that ...
3
votes
1answer
111 views

how can I connect a scanner with Centronics 50 output to USB?

How can I connect a Legacy scanner with a Centronics 50 output to a laptop with USB ?
25
votes
2answers
2k views

Details of video memory access arbitration in Space Invaders

I am working on an FPGA implementation of the original Space Invaders arcade machine and I'd like to implement access arbitration between the CPU and the video system. I can imagine several ways of ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

A way to connect Microsoft Green-Eyed mouse to modern computer?

Is there a way to connect the 1983 Microsoft "Green-eyed" mouse to a modern PC or preferably Mac (running Windows on virtual machine)?
2
votes
1answer
96 views

CompactFlash driver for Sony Clié (Palm OS)

A Sony Clié (PEG-NX70V) has come into my possession. It runs Palm OS 5.0, and has both a MemoryStick slot and a CompactFlash slot. The latter is only designed for use with a WiFi card, as Sony ...
1
vote
1answer
101 views

Atari 1040STFM PSU Hissing, high pitch sound when on

I have an Atari, which is working correctly, but the power supply makes this hissing noise as soon as it is turned on. What may cause it?
3
votes
1answer
106 views

MASS MicroSystems MO/128 Magneto-Optic Drive mystery

I found this drive in one of Atari lots. Apart from few mentions in old articles I can't find any info whatsoever. Can you help please?
7
votes
1answer
296 views

AT system without -5v

I have recently built a 80386 system. Lacking any AT PSU I connected a PicoPSU using an ATX->AT power adapter. Only card connected was a gpu (Trident TVGA 9000i). System performed BIOS checkup ...
3
votes
1answer
321 views

What type of video card would be able to drive a VGA monitor that uses a standard HD 15 pin connector with a non VGA standard pinout?

I was browsing old FAQs on the wayback machine1 and noticed that it said some early Mitsubishi Diamond Scan monitors, and reportedly the Dell Ultrascan 17ES monitor2, use a standard HD DE-15 VGA ...
3
votes
3answers
230 views

Is there any tool to convert .DSK to mp3 file?

I was looking into the Apple II disk server (See below for background information) and curious if there is a tool that can actually convert .DSK image to .MP3 file, as the underlying c2t only supports ...
5
votes
0answers
229 views

Did any mechanical computers or calculators handle divide by zero with an exception, or did they all loop?

I just saw this video of a mechanical calculator dividing by zero. Did any mechanical calculators or computers ever provide for a failure mode on divide by zero? Or did they always handle it by ...
2
votes
2answers
206 views

What capacitors to use in Atari 1040STE power supply

I'm working on Atari STe, which has dodgy caps on PSU board. 2 of them are in desperate need for replacement. Can anyone suggest quality brand to extend the life as much as possible?
22
votes
5answers
5k views

How well known and how commonly used was Huffman coding in 1979?

Infocom's Z-Machine, designed in 1979, compresses text using a basic 5 bit code which is not very efficient in practice, achieving maybe a 1.5:1 compression ratio. Huffman coding would be far more ...
3
votes
2answers
235 views

What was the format for .OBJ files produced by M80.COM for CP/M?

When DOS released in 1981, the assembler that came with it produced .OBJ files that were OMF format. However there was a predecessor to it, M80.COM that ran under CP/M and also used .OBJ as the file ...
17
votes
2answers
4k views

Why did pressing the joystick button spit out keypresses?

If you pressed one of the joystick buttons on the TRS-80 Color Computer while running BASIC, it would act as if @ABCDEFG were typed. Pressing the other joystick button would similarly type out ...

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