77

They're called paddles because they let you play (electronic) table tennis. :) This article from CREATIVE COMPUTING VIDEO & ARCADE GAMES VOL. 1, NO. 1, 1983 explains. The reason this control is called a "paddle" in the personal computer industry is that it originally got its name from the control which moved the paddies[sic] on the screen in ...


60

Why did trackballs disappear? To start with, they didn't. They are still around and can be bought in many variations. For example, Kensington sells six kinds of trackball, and Logitech sells three. Only their time attempting to work as a general pointing device is gone. Nub. Low-tech, cheap, compact and reliable, but miserably imprecise. Did they ever ...


31

Trackballs are Alive and Well I have a Logitech M570 for my desktop computer. I have another one for my laptop. I got another one for my daughter. Every few years they break and I replace them. I find that trackballs are superior to mice in many ways and recommend them to plenty of people. But the average user just gets a mouse, IMHO simply because they don'...


26

The Amiga 9-pin joystick port is compatible with: Atari 800/VCS joysticks and paddles; Atari ST joysticks; Commodore Vic-20, C64, C64GS and C128 joysticks; Commodore Amiga computer joysticks and joypads; and Amiga CD32 joypads. This table from Wikipedia's page on the Atari Joystick Port showing the pin assignments of various systems using a 9-pin input ...


21

I'm attempting to build a Z80 homebrew computer to teach myself the basis of electronic design. I planned to start from something simple, like a ROM, some SRAM, a video chip and a Z80-PIO. So there's a Z80-PIO? Isn't that already the solution to be used? Not to mention, that adding another micro controller for a job the main CPU can do as well is neither ...


18

Just use Z84C40 SIO chip. It's a part of standard Z80 family chips and has two channels. I used it for PS/2 keyboard and USB connection to my breadboard Z80 computer running at 2.4576 MHz. Z84C40 can divide system clock by factor of 16, 32 or 64 thus I run my UART-USB bridge at 38,400 baud without use of 4-bit counter as system clock divider. Luckily PS/2 ...


14

Those analogue controllers were designed for tennis-like games (Pong, Breakout) where you control a rectangle which hits a ball. It's paddle enough for me.


14

No, it can not be used to sample audio. As the link you provided says, in 12-bit mode it takes 10 milliseconds to convert a sample, and even in 8-bit mode it takes 4 milliseconds. That results into maximum sampling rate of 250 Hz, which is useless for sampling audio. The low sampling rate indicates the analog input is meant for slowly changing signals, like ...


12

I got a job in the summer of 1965, programming a PDP-6 to put a model of a protein molecule on the display, as a stick figure. The molecule was 3D and the display was of course 2D, so I had to simulate depth. I used perspective, shading, and motion. The idea of the display was to allow a human crystallographer to evaluate the actions of another computer ...


11

PS/2 is a SPI protocol. Talking to stuff like your keyboard is literally what SPI peripherals are designed for. So the most obvious choice, if your micro has a SPI peripheral, is to use it. If you think that sounds too easy, wait until you start looking at the registers to set it up. It can be a lot harder than you think, if you're not used to following ...


10

Dirt is another issue. In a mouse, the hole where the ball is exposed is pointed down and stuff naturally falls out. On a trackball it naturally falls in. Goop, especially skin oils, gets stuck to the tracker wheels in either case, but general dirt, crumbs and fuzz is a bigger problem on trackballs. Arcade machines had the advantage that they sort of ...


10

The dongle for the PaperClip word processor plugged into joystick port 1. It read bits 0 and 1 from the dongle and wrote bits 2, 3 and 4 to control it. Keyboard interference probably wasn't an issue with this use case.


8

If you really want to do it the shift-register way, there are 9 bit shift registers available. If you do a search at digi-key for '9 bit shift register', then sort the resulting table by number of logic elements, you can see a few varieties on that theme. Alternately, you could use chain two 8 bit shift registers and ignore the other 7 bits of the second ...


8

As other have noted trackballs aren't dead ("disappeared"). But compared to other input methods trackballs are indeed much less popular or widespread as they once were. Cost, scale, competing products, path dependencies and consumer psychology are the reasons for this development Trackballs are great. They added a cool, effective, efficient way to move a ...


8

Many arcade games came in upright and cocktail versions, using the same PCB assembly for both versions. They usually had one dip-switch position on the circuit board to designate the cabinet type, while some had a software configuration menu where you could change the cabinet type, and some others (for example, I think Space Invaders) had a different ...


8

As @user3840170 said, it looks like the mechanism is similar to the wheel mechanism in a mouse, which would make it a type of rotary encoder... basically a bigger, more robust version of the infinitely-rotatable volume and/or tuning knobs in modern car radios or the rotary encoders you can buy on eBay to use with an Arduino. (Though that'd have been my first ...


7

Gaming I can't play FPS or flight simulators with a trackball because I cannot intuitively self-center them. The only games they're good for are bowling and Missile Command - because those are played on an arcade cabinet with you standing in front of it. It's a lot easier to stop a mouse on-target, then it is to stop a trackball - with a finger still on it, ...


7

The Apple II descends directly from the Apple I and other similar home-built micros of the era in its handling of the keyboard: there is an address from which you can query whether a new keystroke has been received. If it has been received, it is the appropriate code for whatever was pressed — if you pressed 'a' then it'll have an 'a' in it; if you pressed ...


7

The PET keyboards did have something akin to scan codes. Electrically, the keys were arranged in a matrix of rows and columns, and scanning the keyboard involved selecting each row in sequence (via one of the PIA chips), then reading the column values to see which (if any) keys in that row were pressed. Since there were two keyboard layouts (the 'graphics' ...


6

It depends on what you call "compatible". On any DB9 joystick, the directions and at least 1 button will work If you're aiming 1 button joystick, then you can pick any controller you'll find a button that works. Now if you need 2 buttons, only sega controllers have a chance to work, but the buttons that work aren't the most naturally located. I ...


5

The Inception 8 joysticks adapter uses a joystick port for two-way communication between C64 and Inception board. Basically, a program at the C64 would send a command sequence via the joystick port, switches the port to listen and receives the Inception board's reply. In most cases, the information communicated is the state of the joysticks connected to the ...


5

I have always heard them called "dial boxes".


4

Short answer: Where these experimental devices No. They could be ordered as standard options. or special graphics applications, That was the intention. They where more like plotters or printers. In fact, DEC made good sales of them as 'graphics terminals' on mainframes. The mainframe did whatever calculations and the results were either transmitted ...


4

Sun called these "SunDials", these units had 8 dials. They also had an input device with 32 buttons, called "SunButtons". Here is a description of the SunDials device taken from section 9.4 of the SunOS 4.1 Release Manual: SunDials is an image-manipulation input device for Sun-3 and Sun-4 workstations, using an RS-232 serial interface. The desk-top ...


4

I worked on a medical imaging platform about 25 years ago that was based on Sun-3 workstations, which used them to manipulate the "window" and "level" of medical images (radiologist-speak for contrast and brightness). They are called rotary encoders. Some also have a switch that can be activated by pressing down on the knob. Old-style mechanical mice had ...


4

On the PDP1 at least they were used to play video games! Specifically SpaceWar, a predecessor to Asteroids (and every other top down game, really) https://www.masswerk.at/spacewar/


4

One disadvantage is that they are hard to use for users that prefer using a mouse at high acceleration and with the wrist resting - of course using it with a fingertip like a mouse wheel is possible, but rather awkward (especially when the trackball is not made very precisely and tends to seize and jam a bit)....


4

The amazing little AtariLab was actually ported to the C64. This included pretty complete I/O, although it was mostly used for input. I'm not sure how many, if any, actually shipped.


4

One prominent example is the "homebrew" EPROM burner Tiny Eprommer, originally published 1984 in 64'er Magazine, Special Issue #84. (People are still building/using this device; it's often seen on fx eBay as both kit or assembled product.) The main board is attached to the user port but as the device needs more GPIO than what the user port provides,...


3

The state of the open-Apple, closed-Apple, and--on machines with the "shift key mod"--shift key can be read at any time, independently from any other keypress. Additionally, on the Apple //e, but not earlier models, it is possible to determine whether all non-modifier keys are released at any moment in time. Nothing in the hardware will record the state of ...


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