• Book Review: What the Dormouse Said by John Markoff

    4.0/5.0   Tags: Book     Review     History     Retro    
    The premise of this book is that the 60s/70s counter-culture led to the personal computer revolution. I think the book demonstrated well how this influenced SAIL and how the Augment lab innovations led to the work at Xerox on the Alto and in turn became an influence for Apple and Microsoft. Wher...   Read More

  • How to Make Thunderbird Feel Like Geary

      Tags: Tutorial    
    Geary is a lightweight email client inspired by gmail’s interface. Its simple minimalistic interface is quite pleasant to use and initially I was really pleased to switch to it from Thunderbird. However, after a while I started to miss the extra functionality that Thunderbird provides such as a...   Read More

  • Beware of Immutable Lists for F# Parallel Processing

      Tags: F#     Parallel Processing     Programming    
    With F#, the list often feels like the default choice of data structure. It is immutable and hence easy to reason about, however its use can come at a great cost. If you are using lists to process large amounts of data, then a lot of time will be spent creating objects and garbage collecting. ...   Read More

  • Rendering Racket Package Scribblings on Github Using gh-pages

      Tags: Racket     Tutorial    
    With the new package management system for Racket, there is a need to host documentation for the package somewhere. Github allows you to host web pages, and hence a package’s documentation, by putting them into the gh-pages branch of your repository. This can be a little awkward to do though, s...   Read More

  • Programmable Character Sets: A Simple Alternative to Bitmap Displays

      Tags: Retro    
    Programmable or reconfigurable character sets were a simple alternative to fully bitmappable displays. The main driving force behind their creation was a desire to keep the cost of computers low: RAM was expensive and bitmappable displays need more complex hardware. Programmable character sets ...   Read More

  • Adding a Basic Stub to a Vic-20 Assembly Language Program

      Tags: Programming     Retro     Tutorial     Commodore     Vic-20     Assembly    
    To make machine language programs more friendly it is nice to add a basic stub which contains a line with a SYS statement to start the code. This is easy to do on the Vic-20 and the process gives you an insight into how Basic programs are stored in memory. I’ll show you how to do this and how t...   Read More

  • Creating a TTY Simulator in Assembly Language on the Vic-20

      Tags: Programming     Retro     Commodore     Vic-20     Assembly    
    The Vicmon machine language cartridge is an excellent tool for exploring the Vic-20. This article and its associated video will show you how to use it to create a simple program that will change the normal output of a Vic so that it feels a bit like a teletype terminal. This will be done by tak...   Read More

  • BBS Ads: Getting the Word Out

      Tags: Retro     BBS     History    
    BBS Ads were important to users and sysops of BBS’s. There wasn’t any universal directory like the phone book, and during the heyday of BBS’s (early ’80s to the mid ’90s), most people couldn’t easily access the Internet. Every BBS had a different atmosphere. It was important to attract users a...   Read More

  • Beginning Assembly Programming on the Commodore Vic-20

      Tags: Programming     Retro     Tutorial     Commodore     Vic-20     Assembly    
    The Commodore Vic-20 is a great machine to learn an assembly language on. It was released in 1981 and was the first computer to sell one million units, which contributes to its popularity today. The machine is well documented, well supported through forums and much of the hardware is plentiful ...   Read More

  • Using C-Kermit to Exchange Files With Telnet BBS's

      Tags: Linux     BBS     Retro     Tutorial    
    Most BBSs that are still running now do so via telnet. In many ways this is great as it allows people from all around the world to access a BBS as if it were local to them. The problem comes though, when you want to upload or download a file to/from the BBS. Most telnet clients don’t make this...   Read More

  • Connecting to a Remote Serial Port over TCP/IP

      Tags: Linux     Emulation     Retro     Tutorial    
    Most modern machines don’t have a serial port as standard; you could use a USB to serial lead, however, if you have another machine available that does have a serial port you can access it remotely over TCP/IP. Using ser2net to Connect a Serial Port to a TCP port ser2net listens to a TCP port an...   Read More

  • Using Netcat to Create ad hoc Links Between Applications or Machines

      Tags: Tutorial     Linux    
    Netcat is a simple Unix utility which reads and writes data across network connections using the TCP or UDP protocol. It is often described as the “Swiss-army knife for TCP/IP” because of its flexibility and is often used to debug and investigate network connections directly from the command lin...   Read More

  • If Only Borland Had Stuck With Turbo Modula-2 For CP/M

      Tags: Programming     CP/M     Retro    
    I have written previously about why Turbo Pascal is a Great Choice For Programming Under CP/M and now it is time to talk about what could have been. You probably haven’t heard of Turbo Modula-2 for CP/M as it was only on the market for a brief period of time. However, it was a superb product an...   Read More

  • Turbo Pascal: A Great Choice For Programming Under CP/M

      Tags: Programming     Pascal     CP/M     Retro    
    CP/M was blessed with many programming languages, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. I think that Turbo Pascal stands out from these and I’m not alone. When Turbo Pascal was released in 1983 by Borland, as their first software development application, it was quickly adopted by school...   Read More

  • xdgbasedir: A Tcl Module to Access the XDG Base Directory Specification

      Tags: Programming     Tcl/Tk    
    Unix has traditionally lacked a consistent way of storing user specific and system wide configuration and support files. This has lead to a mess of dot files in a user’s home directory and other associated files being all over the file system. The XDG Base Directory Specification describes a si...   Read More









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