Living Computer Museum

The Living Computer Museum opened October 2012 in Seattle, WA.  Unlike most museums that strive to preserve artifacts how they find them, usually broken and powered off, this museum keeps their machines alive.  They’re in working condition, complete with the strangely beautiful sounds of teletypes, Disk ][ drives, paper tape, and raised-floor cooling.  The museum …

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Alan Kay on modern computers

David Greelish recently posted an interesting interview with Alan Kay, a visionary behind the modern graphical user interface.  Interestingly, Kay argues that modern computers fall far short of the original vision and potential. For all media, the original intent was “symmetric authoring and consuming”. So much of our culture is about consumption.  In some ways, …

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American Computer Museum

I recently visited the American Computer Museum in Bozeman, MT, which includes exhibits like an Apple I, assorted Apple IIs and Macs, two models of Altair systems, a PDP-8S, an IMSAI, electronic and mechanical calculators, many personal computers, and a Minuteman missile guidance computer.  Check out my photos here.

Interfacing the F18A to the Apple II

What does it take to interface the F18A, a modern FPGA-based clone of the venerable TM9918A Video Display Processor (VDP), to an Apple II? Short answer: not much. Here’s the long answer. Let’s start with analyzing the design of the E-Z Color Graphics Interface, a TMS9918A-based “sprite board” with the design published in the August …

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Where are the sprites in my Apple?

The Apple II, first announced in 1977, had in-built color graphics capabilities.  Certainly, these capabilities are rudimentary by standards even five years later, but graphics capabilities were a big deal in 1977.  Previously, hobbyist accessible computers like the KIM-1 and the Altair 8800 had absolutely no video or graphics output.  At best, the owner could …

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HackFest 2012

HackFest is both a tradition at KansasFest and for me personally.  I find that as I attend more KansasFests, my HackFest projects get smaller simply because I’ve discovered all the fantastic off-schedule activities.  At my first KansasFest, I’d retire to my room between sessions and after meals.  But, some of the best discussions and discoveries …

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ScreenType Data Transfer Process

Transferring data to and from your favorite Apple II is easy, thanks to technologies like ADTPro, the Uthernet adapter, FTP, and the CFFA3000.  In fact, these technologies make data transfer too easy, hopelessly ruining the retro experience where 1200 baud is fast and data is supposed to spin in tiny circles at 300 RPM. I’m …

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