Maury Markowitz
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How much better was DEC Alpha than contemporaneous x86?
12 votes

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 ...

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Were expansion slots fundamentally incompatible with FCC regulations?
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7 votes

Why was Apple unable to comply with the limits when e.g. Atari managed it? Purely through engineering that Apple was unwilling to carry out. I have added a relatively detailed explanation of this ...

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Why are PDP-7-style microprogrammed instructions out of vogue?
3 votes

Another good example of this basic architecture is the HP2100 series, which had a series of bit-field instructions that performed things like test-and-branch. They could combine up to eight ...

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Variances in Basic highest line numbers
6 votes

I have actually looked into this in some depth. All major variations of BASIC that I can find source for store the line number as an int. This includes even Tiny BASIC, which used a single unsigned ...

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Did any devices use the Commodore 64 joystick ports as outputs or two-way communications ports?
4 votes

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.

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Why was IBM BASIC so Huge?
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29 votes

The early versions of Microsoft BASIC required 4KB of ROM The 4k versions lacked a number of major features, including string variables. These were added in the 8k versions. The equivalent 6502 ...

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What type of interpreter were most 8-bit BASIC implementations?
15 votes

were these interpreters implemented as tree-walker interpreters (simply traversing the parse tree) or bytecode interpreters? I have been looking at various BASICs for the last while. The answer is "...

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How can I ensure my computer design is not anachronistic?
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8 votes

I have a strange desire to make an imaginary competitor to the Atari 800 So there are a couple of places one could build a better 800 and still be entirely within the 1979 (well actually, 1978) ...

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How to decode an audio file which contains an MSX BASIC program?
8 votes

The good news is the next few steps are easy. Most (all?) of the MSX emulators include a "virtual tape" that can open a WAV file. openMSX does for sure. It's right in the instructions for the ...

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Did Apple really advise customers to lift up and then drop their computers?
4 votes

I can't speak to the original question, but similar issues/solutions are well known. I had an Atari ST with socketed ROMs. They would periodically work their way out due to heat causing the mobo to ...

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Why were pipes removed from the Lisa?
7 votes

As the manual explains: Pipes (See Section 2 .. 9) The pipe facility has been removed. MAKE_PIPE has:been deleted, and any attempt to OPEN an old pipe object will return an error number 948. ...

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PET game, enemies attempt to break through several concentric sets of walls
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1 votes

Found it! Thanks to the excellent PET game database, it turns out I was looking for Attack!

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Was self-modifying code possible using BASIC?
11 votes

Atari BASIC included the "ENTER" keyword, which was the "opposite of" LIST. Whereas LIST wrote a program to text, ENTER read a program from text. One could use ENTER to read libraries by adding those ...

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Did any Apple II games use a "timing resistor"?
3 votes

Are you talking about the Apple II port of AtariLab perhaps? I can't recall what they called it, but this is precisely how it worked. My info says it never made it out, but as is often the case in the ...

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Looking for an old image of designing a CPU with plan laid out / being edited on a literal floor
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15 votes

I suspect you may be thinking of a short scene from either The Day the Universe Changed (unlikely) or Connections (more likely). James Burke visited Bell Labs and there is a scene where you see ...

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Texas Instruments SN502
8 votes

I understand the interest in selling this so I would beg you to contact the Computer History Museum as your first attempt. This is clearly an important bit of history and should be preserved in a (...

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Was Vilnius BASIC cross-platform?
7 votes

Well this certainly isn't exhaustive, but from what I can see the answer is no. I still find it fascinating that the Soviet basic school computer was a PDP-11 in a micro format. It makes me wonder ...

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Was Objective-C really a hindrance to Apple software development?
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35 votes

Objective-C was by all accounts a nightmare to work with I loved it. Loved it. Some background: in the 90s I worked for a developer here in Toronto with a Mac and Win app. I wanted to work on the ...

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What was the first time a programmer was able to use the well know block structure for conditional code?
3 votes

Autocode had the equivalent of an if...then, but written backwards: j1,11 ≥ n This means "if n <= 11 then jump to label 1". FORTRAN of course had a more conventional if, but with it's own ...

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What is the origin of Mac OS X?
2 votes

I will add a bit to the stories above. A key issue is the difference between NEXTSTEP (yes,all caps), OPENSTEP and OpenStep. NEXTSTEP (NS) was the original system on the NeXT platform, and its UI, ...

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Who invented scrollable screens in Amiga?
2 votes

nobody provided the option of independent screens This was common on the Atari 8-bit machines, who's designers went on to make the Amiga and included many of the features from the original designs. ...

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Why didn't PostScript eliminate the need for printer drivers?
2 votes

I think the most basic answer to your question is that PS did not describe an interface, only the document. So at a minimum you needed to implement some sort of physical interface on the printer, say ...

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Are there any old and nowadays active Operating Systems which has only BASIC Programming Language?
11 votes

Some old Operating Systems I hear have only BASIC Programming Language It was more the case that BASIC was the operating system. Various commands for working with devices like floppy disks and ...

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Why did trackballs disappear?
10 votes

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 ...

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Why did 3.5" floppies win (and not another size)?
6 votes

This is covered in one of the major Mac history works, although I can't recall specifically which one. When Jobs was putting together his supplier list the 3.5 had been standardized, as Raff notes, ...

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How significant/pioneering was the TV Typewriter?
4 votes

The real, lasting, significance of the TVT was to inspire Lee Felsenstein to actually sit down and design his Tom Swift Terminal. Lee was a sysop on the first BBS, Community Memory. The main problem ...

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Why was the Hobbit withdrawn from the UK market?
3 votes

In 1991 places buying 8-bit machines were decidedly not the UK or "the west" in general. In contrast, this was precisely when Atari found a new life in Poland. So I suspect the basic story here is ...

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Mind-Controller User Input from the late 90s
0 votes

And of course, let us not forget the Atari Mindlink.

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Can anyone help me identify this computer?
12 votes

This is one of dozens (hundreds?) of luggable designs that came out of Taiwan and other far east nations in the late 80s/early 90s before everything reverted back to the AT case style. The case was ...

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Developing an application in the era of cassette tapes (audio-tapes)
7 votes

What about complex applications? You bought a floppy drive, or before that, used punch tape. The period where cassettes were the only form of storage on micros was basically zero. Up to about 1976 ...

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