Brian H
  • Member for 4 years, 11 months
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Does "Disk Operating System" imply that there was a "non-disk" Operating System?
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103 votes

The term "Disk Operating System", or commonly "DOS", was used in the early days of personal computing to distinguish operating systems that also contained software for supporting disk devices, since ...

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Did Apple not originally allow anyone to develop software for the Macintosh?
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90 votes

This is most certainly a myth. There was no conspiracy by Steve Jobs or Apple to prevent third-parties from engaging with the ecosystem that would eventually flourish for Classic Macintosh ...

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Why was the Kickstart 1.x "Insert floppy" graphic so bad?
61 votes

The limitation is based on saving precious space on the 8 KiB boot ROM for the Amiga 1000. Before the "Insert Workbench" graphic ever graced an original Amiga 1000 from 1985, a user would first have ...

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What languages are better fit for generating efficient code for 8-bit CPU's than C?
55 votes

One language that was popular on early 8-bit micros, including those that used the 6502 CPU, was Forth. Forth is exceptionally good for this use case, and superior to a C compiler, because Forth can ...

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Which original retrocomputer OS's are still maintained and updated today, for original hardware?
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54 votes

My previous research into retrocomputer OS updates has led me to the following list. For each retrocomputer OS, the date and version of the latest update released at time of posting is included. The ...

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How did C64 games handle music during gameplay?
50 votes

Your assumptions about timing and interrupts are correct. Actually, it is surprisingly easy to add SID music to games because they tend to follow a basic pattern. Compose the tune in a C64 SID editor....

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What precautions to take when powering on old computer for the first time in years
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42 votes

There are several simple precautions that are always worth taking when powering up a vintage microcomputer after long periods of storage or non-use. The minimum, simple steps, should include: Place ...

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Why were early personal computer monitors not green?
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39 votes

The reason was cost, since neither the original PET nor the TRS-80 required the extra high resolution and finer dot pitch found in more expensive computer monitors. Virtually all of the computer ...

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What caused the demise of BASIC/BASICA in the late 1980's?
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39 votes

In my view, the brief popularity of BASIC in the 1980s is directly related to the popularity of Javascript today - Simply, it's the Runtime that is Everywhere. That is what BASIC was back then. ...

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Why did so many early microcomputers use the MOS 6502 and variants?
39 votes

First, for Commodore's part, it should be obvious the reason for choosing the 6502 microprocessor for all their 8-bit machines (notwithstanding the dual-processor CBM 9000 and C128) - Commodore owned ...

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Why did DEC develop Alpha instead of continuing with MIPS?
38 votes

The main thrust of the marketing behind the DEC Alpha was its 64-bit microprocessor architecture. They got there years before potential competitors, including MIPS. At the time DEC was shipping the 64-...

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Why didn't Apple sue Commodore over the Amiga's GUI?
36 votes

While some lawyers do occasionally file lawsuits based mainly on their targets having "deep pockets", like Microsoft had, this is not generally successful. In order for a typical corporate lawsuit to ...

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Why did computer video outputs go from digital to analog, then back to digital?
35 votes

Early digital video outputs, like CGA, were not really akin to the later standards such as DVI and its follow-on's. The reason for using multiple lines to carry the different analog portions of the ...

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Why were most PCs and electronics beige back in the day?
34 votes

The choice of beige for the plastic cases used on popular 1980s retrocomputers was not arbitrary. As a color for a popular, mass-market, personal computer, it originated with the Apple ][, where it ...

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Unlicensed home computer ports of arcade games
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33 votes

To understand what was going on with licensed and unlicensed ports of popular arcade games in the 1980s, you have to understand two critical factors. The video gaming culture of the time, and the ...

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How exactly did Windows become the OS of the home PC?
32 votes

The other answers include a lot of sound historical information about how Windows evolved into its dominant role on PC's in both the home and business environment. But I think the most fundamental, ...

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Does the "Amiga Client for Novell NetWare" exist?
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32 votes

The "Amiga Client Software for Novell Netware v1.4" (official name) was created in 1992 by Oxxi. It is available as a set of six(6) floppy disk images most places where Amiga abandon-ware is found. ...

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What was the intention with the Commodore 128?
31 votes

The Commodore 128 was intended to be a fully-compatible, more professional, upgrade to the popular Commodore 64. The marketing called for addressing the most widely criticized shortcomings of the C64 ...

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Why did pressing the joystick button spit out keypresses?
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31 votes

On the Color Computer, I/O address &FF00 is used for both the joysticks and the keyboard row input. Bits 0/1 are toggled by the two joystick port buttons, and these bits are the same as rows 1/2 ...

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How did the early Macintosh computers update the display?
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30 votes

There were three important design aspects of the original Macintosh that allowed the relatively limited video display hardware to provide a pleasing user experience in terms of the performance of its ...

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Why BGR color order
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29 votes

The ordering for the color values stems from a desire to store color palettes in memory in a way that is easily transferable to the VGA RAMDAC used in IBM (and compatible) VGA video cards. The ...

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What exactly was the Amiga Ranger?
28 votes

Ranger was to be the next generation Amiga, which the original West Coast Amiga engineers began working on in 1986-87, following the release of the Amiga 1000. Jay Miner improved the graphics chipset ...

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Can one isolate processes on a 8086?
27 votes

The short answer would be "No", since there is no way to prevent a user process from accessing privileged address space (of the OS or other processes) without some form of memory protection. Usually, ...

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Why did the IBM PC need a sound card?
27 votes

Fundamentally, the lack of a specialized Programmable Sound Generator (PSG) or Synthesizer led to game sound effects and music on the IBM PC that were far inferior to competitors' microcomputers and ...

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Where to buy a 6502 chip
26 votes

You are in luck. The latest version of the 6502 is still manufactured and sold. You need to search for it by the official manufacturer's product code "W65C02S6TPG-14". Western Design Center (that ...

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Were the custom chips in the Amiga exploited for their hardware bugs like the ones in the C64 and Atari 8 bit computers were?
26 votes

The Amiga OCS was not exploited in the same way as the C64's VIC-II simply because the OCS was designed from the beginning to support rapidly changing video output modes. Unlike the C64, and most 8-...

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Why do drives occupy memory on Amigas
25 votes

You use the Amiga DOS ADDBUFFERS command to add (or remove) the configurable buffers for your drives. ADDBUFFERS adds buffers to the list of buffers available for a drive. Although adding buffers ...

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How do C64 cartridges swap running programs without losing state and context?
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25 votes

There isn't any actual "swapping" of code running in the C64's main memory. Rather, it is an instantaneous switch in whether the code is running from the main memory of from the cartridge memory. ...

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Were there any computers that did not support virtual memory?
24 votes

The Amiga from Commodore shipped in October 1985 with a preemptive multitasking operating system designed to run many processes. The hardware lacked any support for virtual memory, and the Operating ...

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MOS 8502, just a 6510B?
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23 votes

The change in the MOS designator from 65xx to 85xx was due to the process change - original 65xx were NMOS process, while later 85xx changed to the new HMOS process. This allowed for better densities ...

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