Tuesday, September 15


Daily News Stuff 14 September 2020

Oh Yes Edition

Tech News

  • How to write a Basic compiler in Python, Part 3: Code generation.

    I knew I'd blogged about something I could use.  Now, this does compile to C, but it compiles to really dumb C, s=s+c; b=b+1; level C.  Basically it's used as a portable assembler.  That's fine.

    And it's self-contained, not using any lexer or parser libraries, so it's a good starting point for something that will eventually be translated into itself.

  • Writing A Compiler In Go might also be a useful source.

    It takes a similar approach - no tools or libraries used - to produce a complete compiler for a simple programming language.  Of course I'm no Go programmer, but I can read Go code.  Mostly.  Had to for work.  Don't ask.

  • Nvidia is buying Arm for $40 billion.  (AnandTech)

    This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

  • Microsoft announced a major win today.  (Thurrott.com)

    Not buying TikTok is probably the company's smartest move since they didn't buy Yahoo.

  • I always thought that the claims coming from Nikola seemed a bit overblown.  (WCCFTech)

    Of course that also seemed true of Tesla and SpaceX, and yet they delivered the goods.

  • Your government at work.

  • Adjusted the hardware design of the Imagine just a little.  Basically, the idea is that the Imagine's CPU is a microcontroller with multiple register banks for fast interrupt servicing - like the Z80 and 8051 - and the DSP is a variant of that, with eight banks of the user registers but only one bank of system registers.

    The DSP also has a nominal 256 bytes of on-chip mask-programmed ROM containing a set of wavetable synthesis algorithms.  These changes achieve two things: It makes it really a wavetable synthesis chip, albeit one developers can tinker with; and it drastically reduces activity on the system bus.  The initial version of the design would have used around 70% of the bus for 5 stereo voices; this version is a little under 10%.

  • I might steal a trick from the HP 150 and have text mode on the Imagine double the pixel clock.  It has the bandwidth to do this; text mode basically wastes one byte every time it reads the character data, so it makes no difference if it reads and uses two bytes.  That would allow it to output readable 80-column text on colour screens (960x270 with the new subpixels), and beautiful 80-column text on monochrome screens (now 1280x360).  Need memory for those fonts though.

  • Working on an emulator generator.  Given the processor definitions, it spits out Nim code for the CPU-specific emulator class, an assembler, a disassembler, and a simple machine-language monitor like the old MS-DOS DEBUG.

    The next step would be to have this spit out a code generator back-end for the compiler as well.  That is probably possible.  Certainly possible for the 10, 11, and 12 bit models, which all ended up with the same underlying Super 6809 design just with progressively more and larger registers.

Disclaimer: For small values of "work".

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