user_1818839
  • Member for 4 years, 3 months
  • Last seen this week
2 answers
35 votes
2k views
What BBC Microcomputer features were requested specifically by BBC engineers?
15 votes

Linear power supply was not a BBC engineering requirement by the time I joined Designs Dept in late 1981. Perhaps it was dropped well before actual production; I don't know if that was pushback from ...

View answer
13 answers
50 votes
8k views
What languages are better fit for generating efficient code for 8-bit CPU's than C?
13 votes

Ada for cross compilation; though there WERE native Ada compilers (e.g. Janus Ada, with a Z80 (Ada-83) release here and reviewed in 1982 here) it was stretching the capabilities of a 64kbyte machine. ...

View answer
9 answers
27 votes
3k views
What were the applications of 5/6-bit serial port formats?
13 votes

Traditional Teletypes and many paper tape storage systems use these. You won't be able to read reels of punched paper tape if you drop support for 5 bit data. Nor will you be able to interface with ...

View answer
9 answers
27 votes
7k views
What other tricks were there to get more data onto floppy disks?
8 votes

The "busman's punch" from Solar Mike's comment was common in the 8 inch days. Disks were sold as "SSSD" (Single Sided, Single Density) and there was a hole in the sleeve near the hub, offset from the ...

View answer
8 answers
11 votes
7k views
Why were optical drives not used as secondary storage instead of magnetic drives?
2 votes

They were, at one time. Admittedly, optical tape drives rather than disc, which had several advantages : removable media for one. Here's one : part of Colossus but I have used them in the 1970s and ...

View answer
6 answers
36 votes
7k views
Why couldn't early C compilers handle variable declarations between statements?
1 votes

That's what the language definition specified, at least in K&R,"The C Programming Language", first edition (1978). The BNF for a "compound statement" was (K&R, Appendix A, ...

View answer
2 answers
4 votes
282 views
What was the first vector supercomputer?
1 votes

Another candidate, designed from 1972, prototype building started in 1974 was the ICL Distributed Array Processor (DAP) with a 64 * 64 bit SIMD architecture. First was shipped in 1979, (or perhaps ...

View answer
6 answers
18 votes
3k views
Are there other examples of CPU architectures mostly compatible with Intel 8080 other than Z80?
0 votes

Missing so far is the roughly Z80-compatible NSC800, from National Semiconductor. (I forget the details but I see a CPU World comment tah it's a "Z80 in 8085 clothing"). Its USP was its CMOS ...

View answer
4 answers
22 votes
4k views
Why was NEC able to wrestle PC graphics standards away from IBM?
0 votes

The other answers mention PS/2 and MCA but don't quite bring out the political dimension. The history behind it is that when IBM came fairly late to the 16-bit PC market, populated with a wide ...

View answer