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T-minus Two Weeks to RetroChallenge 2010

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That's right, geeks... everyone's favourite open-ended, semi-competitive retrocomputing free-for-all is just around the corner. Do you have what it takes to go head-to-head with the hardest-core RetroGeeks in the whole wide world? Me neither, but I do have a bit of time to kill in July...

 

Those with internet access can learn more about RetroChallenge 2010 at

http://www.retrochallenge.org

 

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RetroChallenge is sponsored in part by:

 

300 Baud Magazine

http://www.300baudmagazine.com

 

The 68K Macintosh Liberation Army

http://www.68kmla.net

 

RetroNET

http://www.retro-net.org

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wooternes!

 

um I am probably going to enter my ADB <> PS/2 adapter (both "retro" though new retro) even though I have been working on it for just under a month (farting around) and end of July would be optimistic (well for the full list, basic operation very doable IMO with my current progress)

 

if thats okay

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I haven't officially entered yet, but I want to try and stuff an '040 logic board and 9" greyscale SVGA CRT into a Classic.

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I would love to enter but there is a few flaws

 

1. The oldest machine other than a ZX Spectrum +2 is a Newton 2100

2. I have no engineering or programming skills.

3. If I used the Newton I would have no idea what to do with it :)

 

Unless I could figure something todo with the pb1400 under my desk but it's only got 16mb

 

Hmmm ... Life sucks at times.

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If you're interested in Newton programming, here are some links to pages that may be worth reading:

 

http://www.cocoadev.com/index.pl?NewtonOS

http://www.panix.com/~clay/newton/query.cgi?programming+index

http://www.cat2.com/newton/Newton-FAQ/newton-faq-development.html#VIIA1b

http://myapplenewton.blogspot.com/2009/12/learning-newtonscript-foreword.html

http://web.archive.org/web/20041010175535/www.cc.gatech.edu/~schoedl/projects/NewtonScript/

http://newtonpoetry.com/2008/04/09/the-origins-of-newtonscript/

http://www.unna.org/unna/development/documentation/'>http://www.unna.org/unna/development/documentation/

 

It would be better to develop on a real or emulated mac probably, but since I assume you don't have one of those you may have to go elsewhere. If you do have one that's recent enough to run mac os 8 or mac os 9 great, otherwise you'll have to use window or something else. You can get the development tools (they're pretty old now) over here: http://www.unna.org/unna/development/NewtonDev/ You can get other software over there on http://www.unna.org/ as well.

 

That said, you might prefer the ZX Spectrum +2 that you mention. It's probably less troublesome.

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Sometime within the next year I was thinking of trying to port this TRS-80 emulator to run on the Propeller "Demo Board" with a couple of 23k256 serial RAM chips instead of a custom parallel SRAM-equipped board. (Since the Demo Board is what I have and it doesn't have enough free I/O lines to easily interface a parallel SRAM chip.) That might count as a "RetroChallenge" entry but I *seriously* doubt I'll get that done before August. :^b

 

(I'm still waiting for the 23k256's to show up in the mail, and I'm only 30%-ish sure that I'll be able to write a driver/memory manager that'll manage to get enough speed out of them to make it worthwhile. The specs say I *should* be able to read and write over SPI faster than a 1.77Mhz Z-80 can over its bus, particularly if I'm clever and take advantage of the fast 32 byte paging mode and do some rudimentary caching. But so far about all I've actually done with the Propeller is made it blink lights in sequence so... I may be overly optimistic.)

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I guess I could. I admit I have not programmed anything in over 20 years but I could use my G3 iMac with OS 9.2.2 to have a go will take this two weeks to investigate.

 

The great Frankenstein lead may have to return out of hiding :)

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The specs say I *should* be able to read and write over SPI faster than a 1.77Mhz Z-80 can over its bus,

 

yea you should be able too, my 1024 led matrix uses SPI, and sends a 64 bit word out at ~780khz clock with a 8bit mcu only running at 16mhz

 

propeller runs quite a bit faster and its 32 bit isnt it?

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propeller runs quite a bit faster and its 32 bit isnt it?

 

Yeah. There are SPI drivers for a similar RAM chip in the code repository that claim to be able to read at a 10Mhz clock and write at 20mhz, and the "FemtoBASIC" package already supports using 23k256 for program memory, so I have reasons to be optimistic. (It looks like an instruction fetch on the z80 takes four processor clocks, which means in theory I only need about a 4Mhz sustained bitrate to run "all-out" at the TRS-80's clock speed. There is of course the overhead of encoding the read-write addresses into serial and sending them, which is why I'm thinking it might be worth trying to do fetches on a page basis and cache.) It just get the feeling sometimes that the "emulator guys" on the Propeller forums are hung up on the "idea" of serial ram being "too slow" and concentrate on throwing hardware at the problem. (Witness monstrosities like the "Triblade Prop" board.)

 

If I can't make it work then I'll probably just cook up an SD card interface and play with FemtoBASIC for a while.

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I guess I could. I admit I have not programmed anything in over 20 years but I could use my G3 iMac with OS 9.2.2 to have a go will take this two weeks to investigate.

 

The great Frankenstein lead may have to return out of hiding :)

 

Well, if you go with the Newton let me know. Most things that aren't directly processor speed or memory bound (ie simple stuff, requiring less than 25MHz/4MB) ought to work acceptably on the eMate 300.

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