Saturday, August 29


Daily News Stuff 28 August 2020

Ambulatory Solifugid Edition

Tech News

  • Is it reasonable to include a video controller co-processor like the Amiga's Copper in a 1983 design?  As it happens, yes.  (Wikipedia)

    The same basic functionality was present in the Atari 400 and 800 as early as 1979, and gave the Atari 8-bit range (including the 5200) a lot of their flexibility.

    And it's very easy to emulate those functions - as long as the video emulator respects its virtual registers, all the co-processor needs to do is write to them.

    So you can set it up to switch from 32-colour mode to 512-colour mode to text mode to cell mode to Amiga-style HAM mode to Apple IIgs-style fill mode on a line-by-line basis.

    Reading up on the Atari architecture I noticed a number of criticisms of Atari Basic.  While the criticisms were not unfounded, the whole thing fit in an 8k ROM cartridge.  "Hello, world." doesn't fit in 8k these days.

  • Speaking of Elite - which we were - Elite Dangerous: Odyssey is due next year.  (WCCFTech)

    This is a tactical expansion that lets you land, leave your ship, and shoot the bad guys in person.

  • Google is removing fediverse apps from the Play Store on the grounds that people are saying mean things on the internet.  (Qoto)

    Hacker News thread here.

  • Apple is back to playing notice me, senpai with the DOJ.  (ZDNet)

    You are not permitted to work around the 30% cut Apple takes of every transaction.

    You are also not permitted to mention the 30% cut Apple takes of every transaction.

  • I forgot that this little beastie existed.

    That is the HP Series 200 Model 16.  Introduced in 1982, it's an 8MHz 68000-based system with 128k to 512k of RAM.  It's usually seen with its dual 3.5" floppy expansion - one of the first products to use 3.5" floppies - but all the system logic is packed into that little monitor unit.  The floppies reportedly ran at 600 RPM - twice as fast as normal - though I haven't found documentation to confirm that.

    The screen is only 9", monochrome, and 400x300 (though text mode may have had a higher effective resolution), but that aside it was an impressive system for '82.  It was not, of course, cheap, starting at around $4000.

Disclaimer: Which could buy a whole lot of belt onions.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 02:39 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 There's not much information online about it, but the Apollo DN100 was released back in 1981 sporting dual 68000 cpus in order to implement virtual memory, the second cpu ran a cycle (I think) behind the first so that when a page fault occurred you could recover the correct state from the second cpu.

Posted by: Sam P at Saturday, August 29 2020 03:12 AM (magRz)

2 "So you can set it up to switch from 32-colour mode to 512-colour mode to text mode to cell mode to Amiga-style HAM mode to Apple IIgs-style fill mode on a line-by-line basis."
And games actually did it, too.  I remember reading about the technique in ANTIC magazine.

Posted by: Rick C at Saturday, August 29 2020 05:13 AM (Iwkd4)

3 The TI 99/4A (released in 1981) had a TI video display processor used in several home consoles and computers. Lots of limitations, as you might expect from a chip released in 1979. Not sure but the 99/4 (1979) probably also used the same chip.

Posted by: Sam P. at Saturday, August 29 2020 07:52 AM (magRz)

4 Sam P - yes, the 68000 wasn't fully restartable, so you needed something else to handle the memory management.  The TRS-80 Model 16 used a Z80 for that (and also to be compatible with older models).  The Mac, Amiga, and Atari ST just didn't bother with memory management.

The 68010 and later chips fixed this.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Saturday, August 29 2020 11:14 AM (PiXy!)

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Apple pies are delicious. But never mind apple pies. What colour is a green orange?

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