All Questions

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
43
votes
8answers
7k views

What was the first programming book

I'm curious, what was the first book, about programming for digital computers. I tried to google it, but it led me to multiple results. I'm mostly interested in the language it was about and the ...
61
votes
2answers
10k views

Why are a lot of monochrome computer monitors green?

In my perception, the most common color for monochrome computer monitors is green or white/grey, though I have seen orange monitors. Is this genuinely the case, and if so, is there a reason for it?
21
votes
5answers
2k views

How did debugging software run without memory protection?

Debuggers are carefully written programs that peek and poke other programs while they run. In retrocomputers, programs could use any part of the memory they could access. So how did debuggers insert ...
16
votes
4answers
623 views

How can I run COMIT code?

I recently learned about the existence of COMIT, which was the first string processing language. It's very old (1957), but it was used a lot in the first 10 years it was around, mainly in academic ...
11
votes
1answer
777 views

8080/8085 Instruction Test Suite

(This question was inspired by Comprehensive test suites for MOS 6520 PIA / 6522 VIA / 6526 CIA) Is there a comprehensive test suite for the Intel 808X series of processors? Something that would ...
16
votes
1answer
604 views

Why was the audio output of the SID6581 so variable between chips?

Each of the SID6581s I have tested sound different, particularly when it comes to filter cutoffs and distortion. What are the causes of these variances?
5
votes
1answer
274 views

Magnetic tape data preservation format

What 'virtual tape' image format is most suited for data preservation i.e. can store metadata like density and media type of original tape, presence of data past EOT marker, parity/ECC bits etc.?
17
votes
2answers
2k views

What was the first language with regexes?

According to Wikipedia, Regular Expressions (AKA regexes) have only been around since 1956: Regular expressions originated in 1956, when mathematician Stephen Cole Kleene described regular ...
29
votes
4answers
2k views

Did the LET statement actually do anything in 8-bit Microsoft BASICs?

I know the LET statement was available in AppleSoft and other Microsoft 8-bit BASICs back in the day, but I can't think of a time where I actually used it. Frankly, I get the impression that it was ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Testing/using a joystick in AppleSoft?

How does one use joysticks in a program on the Apple //? I have three different joysticks here and I would like to visualize their state (pot and button values), maybe similar to the SDL joystick ...
25
votes
3answers
3k views

How did programs on coding forms get run?

At some point in the past, around the 1970's or so, programmers wrote their code on paper. Considering the fact that modern computers have replaced paper in so many ways, the whole idea seems a little ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Were there any other peripherals that used the Nintendo 64's Memory Expansion Bay besides the Expansion Pak?

The Nintendo 64 shipped with a Memory Expansion Bay which contained a Jumper Pack. Some games such as Donkey Kong 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask required additional RAM to run, and shipped ...
50
votes
8answers
17k views

How long will floppy disks maintain data integrity?

This was on CNN today: The U.S. is still using floppy disks to run its nuclear program Which led me to read through this article: Think the floppy disk is dead? Think again! Here’s why it still ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

The smell of a computer while unboxing it

Don't know if this is on-topic, but I will give it a chance to go. If you feel this is off-topic, act accordingly. Recently, a discussion has started about the feelings associated to the unboxing of ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

What are the technical differences between the Midway 8080 and Taito 8080 hardware boards?

In my research on 1970s-era arcade machines, I've noticed that both Midway and Taito created games which used Intel's 8080 microprocessor. However, each company had their own host boards which ...
28
votes
1answer
5k views

How can I take an image of a 50-pin SCSI hard-drive

I have two 50-pin SCSI hard-drives that I need to image. However, after spending quite a while searching across the Internet, I cannot find any adapters to convert the 50-pin connector to something ...
13
votes
2answers
685 views

Reading the BBC Domesday Project

In 1986, the 900th anniversary of the original Domesday Book, the BBC coordinated a project to document modern Britain. This was claimed to be data to last for the next thousand years. Data was ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

What was the first arcade game to use a microprocessor instead of discrete logic?

Many authors credit Space Invaders as the first blockbuster game to have been written with an onboard microprocessor (Taito used Intel's 8080 for game logic), but there is also references to Taito's ...
14
votes
1answer
793 views

What did POKE 842,13 on Atari do? (Jamming the Return key)

In quite a few programs on Atari, I found the self-programming trick: 10 GRAPHICS 0 : REM clear the screen, enter standard text mode 20 POSITION 2,4 : REM place cursor 4 lines from ...
30
votes
1answer
3k views

What are the Amiga 1200 timing fixes?

I have read that the Amiga 1200 may need certain "timing fixes" to be applied to the motherboard in order to use CPU accelerators. What are these timing fixes and why are they needed? Is there one ...
19
votes
1answer
4k views

What kind of software was used to develop Nintendo 64 titles?

There seems to be a lot of discussion online about the development hardware used to create Nintendo 64 titles: SGI Indy "pizza box" workstations, SGI's custom Ultra 64 development boards (aka "...
54
votes
7answers
7k views

Are there any modern compilers that can generate Amiga/m68k executables?

I would quite like to resurrect my openkick project. As I note on that project's README.md, it is stalled because GNU GCC is not fit for purpose. Sadly, there do not seem to be any other modern ...
8
votes
1answer
313 views

Are there any trapdoor slot video cards for a non-tower Amiga 1200?

Are there any trapdoor slot video cards for a non-tower Amiga 1200 ? (That excludes Zorro expansion cards, PCI mediator cards and BlizzardPPC+BVision - as all of those require tower case, also ...
1
vote
0answers
183 views

How did debuggers work? [closed]

(Note: I am referring to software that would run on an end-users' system, not special debugging computers) Debuggers are programs that poke around at other programs' memory. In modern computers they ...
14
votes
1answer
750 views

How did the Sideways address space work?

I was researching the BBC Micro when I found the Sideways address space: a 16KiB memory space allowing access to up to 16 16KiB external blocks of ROM (or RAM). But 16 blocks of 16KiB is 256KiB, ...
17
votes
3answers
963 views

What is the relationship between solid-state ROM and inaccessible content in arcade games?

I was browsing through tcrf.net, which specializes in displaying unused programming and content left in games by developers, and came across this page: https://tcrf.net/Tank Specifically, the ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

What kind of computer monitor do I need for a SGI O2?

The SGI O2 has a standard VGA port, but when I connect it to a CRT computer monitor, I do not get a signal. Do I need a specific kind of monitor in order to use the O2?
8
votes
2answers
960 views

Intel 8080 Read/Set Interrupt Mask Instructions

According to Intel's 8080-8085 Assembly Language Programming guide, the OP Code 20 corresponds to the Read Interrupt Mask (RIM) instruction, and 30 corresponds to the Set Interrupt Mask (SIM) ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

How to avoid sprites confusing the raster timings on C64?

This relates to another question about moving sprites to the border. On my experience, sprites confuse the raster timings very badly. I found this especially problematic, if sprites were moved to the ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

ZX Spectrum PAL Composite Video to North American Monitor

I have a Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k. I have source a suitable power supply, and applied the Composite Video Mod to bypass the PAL analogue modulator. Unfortunately, I can get no useful output, having ...
13
votes
1answer
534 views

How to use virtual cassettes with Matthew Reed's TRS-80 Model III emulator? (TRS32)

I'm fooling around with Matthew Reed's TRS-80 Model 1/III/4 emulator for Windows (TRS32) and am have trouble using virtual cassettes. I am using it to emulate a Model III with Level II BASIC. I have ...
24
votes
3answers
1k views

How was polyphony achieved on systems with only one audio channel?

Systems like the ZX Spectrum have simple audio hardware with just one channel. But apparently it was possible to do polyphony on these systems. How was that achieved? The amazing thing with these ...
23
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I access an old pre-IDE disk?

I have a wonderful Zenith SupersPORT 286 laptop (ZWE-0200-40) whose power circuitry seems faulty and it no longer powers up. I have useful material on the disk which I'd like to extract. The disk (a ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Writing 800k Mac floppy images for 1.44M-equipped Macs using Linux

If you have Macintosh filesystem image of an 800k boot disk, but your physical Mac has a 1.44M SuperDrive, how can you produce a physical disk that can boot that Mac?
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Apple // screen editing

I've heard mention many times of screen editing commands on the Apple // for fixing typos in BASIC programs (and patching code in the monitor?). I did not learn these growing up, never having the ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the maximum amount of memory that can be added to an Apple IIGS?

I thought it was 4 Megabytes but I can see there are 8 Megabyte expansion cards. Is that the maximum? And is that an addressing/bank limit or a limit of the slot?
54
votes
7answers
12k views

Why use static RAM addresses instead of the stack?

I'm studying the 65c816 assembly for the 1994 game, Super Metroid. A hobbyist studied the game in-depth and created a RAM map. From it: 7E:0B56 - 7E:0B57 Moves Samus this distance horizontally, ...
13
votes
1answer
514 views

What FSTs (File System Translators) exist for the Apple IIGS?

Apple supplied some, were there others that other people wrote? What is the complete list of FSTs available?
34
votes
1answer
2k views

What soviet computer used trinary bits?

Discussing 'non-standard byte sizes' with co-workers today, one mentioned hearing of soviet experiments with computers that used three-state bytes - and not just what is common today, 0, 1 and High ...
18
votes
2answers
623 views

How many versions of DOS were there for the Apple II and what were the differences?

DOS 3.3 was the most common before ProDOS. How did it differ to DOS 3.2 and what versions were there before that?
8
votes
1answer
119 views

Digisector DS-69 video digitizer

The DS-69 was a cartridge you could plug into the computer to digitize a composite video source. It fully supported writing images to floppy disks. Can the DS-69 (A or B) be used with Y-Cable? The ...
29
votes
4answers
1k views

Absolute maximum number of nibbles on an Apple II floppy disk track?

The Apple 2's disk drive controller and 5¼" floppy disks have the following metrics: The disks is spun at (roughly) 300 RPM (Revolutions per Minute), which means it takes = 1000 ms/sec / (300 RPM / ...
14
votes
1answer
236 views

What happens on a VT102 when you use delete character on a reverse video line?

On a DEC VT102, suppose you have a line where all 80 characters (in particular, the rightmost character) are in reverse video. You then move the cursor to the start of that line and use DCH (ESC [ P) ...
15
votes
6answers
707 views

Did any microcomputers back in the day accellerate standard-cassette performance

Many commonplace cassette recorders in the 1970s and 1980s were capable of reading or writing two tracks at once (stereo). While that wasn't universal (portable cassette recorders were often monaural,...
33
votes
1answer
6k views

What do the keys on this Symbolics Space Cadet keyboard do?

Old keyboards like the one below seem to have contributed a lot to the design of modern keyboards. So, obviously, some of the keys are familiar because they are on my own average (modern Windows and ...
19
votes
4answers
1k views

How were binary subroutines embedded in Integer BASIC programs?

Programs written in Apple's Integer BASIC sometimes had bits of machine code embedded in them. This was more convenient than loading the code separately, especially when the program was loaded from ...
20
votes
6answers
5k views

How can I emulate MS-DOS on OS X?

I am looking for a emulator for MS-DOS for OS X to run old games on. Are there any free emulators for MS-DOS that run on an Apple machine with OS X?
14
votes
2answers
1k views

The Tandy/TRS-80 Multipack Interface (MPI)

A popular, but, much maligned bus expansion device for the CoCo was the venerable MPI. There were several companies who made bus expasion devices for the CoCo, however, this question is related ...
31
votes
4answers
2k views

Why were early versions of BASIC different?

Most major computer manufacturers/distributors in the 70's and 80's included BASIC with their computers. Some (as answers to this great question have detailed: Why was BASIC built into so many ...
8
votes
1answer
422 views

What software supported the Mockingboard on the Apple II?

Is there a list somewhere? Might be nice to compile a list here. I'm assuming mostly games but also music and educational software made use of it.

15 30 50 per page