Thursday, March 08, 2018

Trenton Computer Festival, TCF - March 17,2018

Hackaday has a story on Trenton Computer Festival (TCF) titled: TEVOLUTION OF THE WORLDS OLDEST COMPUTER FESTIVAL. It does a nice job of summing up TCF through the years I must say that it does bring back memories. This year, I am again demonstrating working home automation. One of the differences this year is that I'm doing the demonstration first and then explaining it. Last year's failure in the demonstration meant that I could only get things partially setup and useful. I was able to demonstrate the basics and the automatic updates. So hopefully I'll be able to do some more of that.
One thing that was pointed out was that the talks were actually very well filled. I hadn't really thought about it but mine were usually more than just packed. I had standing room only. Hopefully I'll be able to pack'em in again this year.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Vintage computing

It seems a little weird to think of the computers I grew up with as vintage but many of them are over 30 years old (some older). My Ataris and Rockwell AIM65 (6502), the ST2900s and Radio Shack CoCos (6809), the Timex Sinclair 1000 and Z80 SDK with Z80 hardware emulator (Z80) and various other computers date back to about 1984. In addition to my Home Automation projects, I'm currently working on many vintage projects. The Sage 1802 (an RCA 1802 processor) and browser based CDP1802 emulation software (JavaScript), the various Atari projects including the SIO2PI and getting NitrOS-9 in ROM so the CoCo can go to VCF's museum. I also have CPU upgrades for the Atari 600XL & Rockwell AIM65 (65816) and the ST2900 and the CoCo (6309). I have all the chips just need to find the spare time. Which is pretty much true for all my projects. The Atari upgrade require a bit more electronics as the XL and XE line both have custom 6502s. I know what to do to build the upgrade and I've already started the board design in Kicad.

With my recent find of the Sardis ST2900 documentation I may be able to get Microware OS9 (actually NitrOS-9) up and running on the ST2900. As I recall there was only a slight difference between the CoCo and the ST-2900 (serial port?).

I should probably try to get the Z80 SDK and Z80 Hardware Emulator (Applied Microsystems - Z180B or Z184) up and running to demonstrate how we used to do hardware and software development. This would make a good display for the VCF-Museum. Another project to add to the list.

And for those that ask: 'Why do you have so many projects?'. It's my imagination and the various electronic projects satisfy my need to build things. I do software in my day job (Quality Assurance - I break things ;-)) and my first love is still electronics (hardware). I'm also using more modern processors like the AVR, the PIC32 and the ESP processors but I still like to play with my older computers from time to time.