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75

The Alpha team set out to create a high-performance architecture, planned to last for 25 years and allow for 1000-performance increase over those 25 years. So they placed some long bets, starting with the 64-bit design (which cost performance but ensured long-term viability). It wasn’t designed to compete with x86 (which wasn’t perceived as a viable long-...


51

Stephen Kitt has done what seems to me an excellent job of outlining features and when they were introduced. I'll take a slightly different tack, instead picking a single point in time, and pointing out differences between the two at that time. I'm going to choose the 21164 as the Alpha to compare. It came out in January of 1995. It had a 266 MHz clock ...


13

HP BASIC doesn't normally save programs in ASCII or any other character encoding. Instead it normally stores the program on disk using an internal representation (probably tokenized like other BASIC implementations). Any file in PROG format isn't in a format you can view in an editor. However HP BASIC does allow the saving a programs in ASCII format. From ...


13

Prepare hardware Gather hardware Get or make a serial cable from HP48 to DB9 (most common) or DB25 (instructions on https://www.hpcalc.org/hp48/docs/faq/48faq-12.html, the core of it being: looking at the calculator socket from left to right, pins are shield,tx,rx,ground ). Get a USB-to-Serial adapter with matching DB connector, or add an adapter. Beware, ...


12

In the early seventies, companies like HP and Wang sold 'programmable desktop calculators' that were really personal computers Not really, as they stood firmly on the calculator side. If at all, systems like the Cogar 4 and Datapoint 2200 are the origin of desktop computing. Complete units with a CPU, mass storage, CRT display and a full figured typewriter ...


11

The easiest way is to get an external USB enclosure or USB-to-IDE adapter. IDE-to-SATA adapters exist, but they require opening up your computer to install. When selecting hardware, keep in mind that IDE (PATA) hard drives come in two common varieties: "desktop" (usually 3.5" form factor, with a 40-pin data cable and a 4-pin power cable), and "laptop" (...


11

Alpha fizzled in the face of the HP/Intel partnership pushing their Itanium 64-bit architecture I think it's important to note that during this period, there was a widespread belief that the VLIW approach was "the next RISC". Existing RISC approaches were growing into the millions of transistors and the outright performance gap that existed in the 1990s ...


10

The de facto – and indeed de jure – standard interface for computers controlling random equipment was RS-232. Some would argue with that, at least in certain industries — Hewlett-Packard’s HPIB (GPIB, IEE-488) was (and is) also commonly used to connect control and/or measurement equipment. It is simpler to implement than RS-232. So some early programmable ...


10

I don't know what environment they installed to run their software on the HP. The vendor did all the work. For all I know it was just raw COBOL with an IBM compatible runtime running on top of HP-UX. The most notable thing was that it require 3270 terminals (mostly unheard of in the Unix world). Recall a couple of things. All the IBM machines are, and have ...


9

The CPU in the 85 was the Capricorn, which was used for the Series 80 systems. The Wikipedia article linked there gives an overview of the CPU, and the July 1980 and August 1980 issues of HP Journal describe the HP-85 system in detail (including the LSI development process used for the chipset). The Series 80 web site has lots of information on the various ...


8

In the original ARM instruction set there are no dedicated shift and roll instructions; instead the second operand of each instruction always passes through the barrel shifter, so shifts and rolls are always applied as prefixes to other operations. You can make the instruction a simple MOV to get the same result as a traditional shift or rotate operation. ...


8

RS-232 became "standard peripheral interface" later, when most of these "peripheral devices" adopted microprocessors. In early days, parallel ports were more common because they: can read-write data from logic elements like latches and d-triggers can control state of output triggers and even relays Actually they were a window to real life for CPU's ...


8

There were a number of companies offering IBM 'compatible' mainframes - Hitachi, Fujitsu and Amdahl come to mind. IBM got slapped with an anti-trust suit when it tried to limit their operating systems for their machines only. There was also a lot of business in after-market terminals, printers, tape and disk drives etc. Amdahl was particularly successful in ...


7

Hewlett-Packard marketed some of their computers as calculators for some marketing related reason like you stated. Similarly, DEC called their computers "Programmable Data Processors", to avoid the "Big Expensive Machine" connotation that the word "computer" had at that time. Not in every country was it the same as in the West. In the Hungarian People's ...


7

AGL was an extension to BASIC and FORTRAN, which was implemented on several HP systems. It was used to describe what you wanted drawn, and the BASIC/FORTRAN system would generate HP-GL to drive a plotter. The most accessible manuals seem to be here. The HP-86/87 Plotter ROM Manual, describes the changes to the HP-86 BASIC when using a plotter. These don't ...


6

Hewlett Packard in the 1980s-1990s had two divisions. The Calculator Division and the Computer Division. These two divisions each made their own products without reference to each other. The overlap started when the Calculator Division started to break out from just producing hand-held calculators and started producing products that were effectively Intel-...


6

I was at HP when the Alpha cancellation decision was made. In fact I was part of a team that ran comparative HPC benchmarks on Alpha and x86. The fact was that by 1999 the x86 Pentium-II was matching the Alpha in floating point performance. This was reported by objective groups, e.g. Dongarra et al. Unfortunately the Alpha ecosystem was 10x more ...


6

(Some background: the 9122D uses Sony OA-D32W floppy drives. Here's a service manual and a discussion about repairing these drives.) If you want a perfect 1:1 image of the floppy disk at the magnetic level, you will need a KryoFlux or equivalent. Maybe this isn't necessary for your purposes. @wizzwizz4 provided instructions on using dd in Linux to create ...


6

If you can get HPDrive working on a PC so that it can act a hard drive your HP 9000 model 310 computer then you should be able to use it's complementary utility HPDir to make an image of your HP 9133 drive. You'll need to a suitable HP-IB/IEEE-488 interface card for your PC for this work, but you'd also need such a card for HPDrive to work. Your specific ...


5

It's a very handy feature for linked lists (*1). One can access the last entry of a linked list in a single machine instruction, as if it was used directly. Examples: Lets assume a list of blocks, where data always has to be added to the last one - like in a high throughput logging, where one (or more) tasks add data and another one writes it to disk. ...


5

The VAX, sold first in 1977, has a scaled indexed addressing mode, which offers indexReg*constScale+baseReg address computation.  When used with an LEA instruction (load effective address), this offers a shift and add. The 68020 (released 1984) introduced scaled indexed addressing mode, which when accomplishes indexReg*constScale + constOffset + ...


5

You can read the floppy in any FDD (mechanically compatible). The problem lies with FDC compatibility. Each FDC controller looks for a specific pattern on the track to find out where the sector starts are. Some FDCs are incompatible and when using the same floppy formatted on incompatible FDC then no matter what you do you can not read the data. For ...


5

The original Pentium, which succeeded the i80486, was indeed the original definition of the i586 instruction set - and not x86_64. But the Pentium was introduced in 1993, and your HP machine is much newer than that. Intel has continued to use the Pentium brand for almost every x86-compatible CPU line they've made since then, to great confusion among people ...


4

Assuming that you have used a standard DOS file system: Remove the first floppy disk from the drive. Put the floppy disk in your modern 3.5" floppy reader. Connect your modern floppy reader to a computer with dd installed - probably a GNU/Linux distro. Run the command: dd if=/dev/fd0 of=~/floppy.img Repeat once from 2. with the second floppy disk, ...


4

I bought a IDE to USB converter from a local store.There were two extra pins on my hard drive so I had to do some fiddling and connect the AC power supply I connected the adapter to my Linux laptop (also works on Windows) and I could see the files stored on the FAT32 filesystem. The disk is almost full (The thing is 4GB and has 100MB left , my laptop has ...


3

From a quick Google, looks like it was shared by the HP 83. The instruction set can be found here: http://www.series80.org/PDFs/HP85-Assembler.pdf Another link I found: http://www.hpmuseum.org/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/hpmuseum/archv013.cgi?read=47629


3

The HP1000 (family) was extremely register poor by today's standards - only A and B accumulators (having B was an improvement over other machines which just had A!) - and the only addressing modes supported by the instruction set were register, memory address, and indirect-through-memory address. It didn't even have the magical auto-increment memory ...


3

Micro Focus COBOL will emulate at least 20 different COBOL dialects, and can compile and run on various platforms, including HP/UX (at least in older versions). It even has a CICS emulator. It's possible that the vendor was using this tool, or some other mainframe COBOL porting tool to move the application to the HP.


2

One little known fact is that what become PostgreSQL was done on Alpha workstations with 64MB of RAM. I forget the model number of the workstations but they were small desktop machines. I was the system manager for the Postgres Research Group at UC Berkeley. We also had a couple of Alpha servers. The Alpha hardware (and software) worked quite well. We were ...


2

Maybe it is a feature, not a bug. Many keyboard manufacturers have models with a bigger resistance (you have to press it with a slightly bigger force). Some people with "heavy fingers" appreciate it. The "small rubber things" are the "cheap springs" alternative. Those give the resistance against pushing and provides the proper reaction to pushing (force and ...


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