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Longtime interest.

 

My first start with anything electronic was a Novus Calculator, someone
discovered that it actually had a memory but no buttons were available. By
means of a couple of Darlington pairs and heads of two pins sitting flush
on the case for each M+ and MR, Hey presto a calculator with memory.
Next venture was a Casio Programmable FX502 in 1978. 22 Addressable
memories, 256 program steps, I had a lot of pleasure writing a program to
show factors of an input number. I could never get it as fast as Casio said
they did in their advertising blurb and actually wrote to them asking if
they upped the crystal frequency to get a faster program. (I did one in C
some years later). It could record programs on a domestic tape recorder,
using FSK. I still have it in working condition, One day I must have another
try at that factorization program, one day..............


I did make up on a circuit board a circuit to play Pong on the TV.
Somehow never got past the hunk of wood on which it was mounted, but my kids
thought I was a bright "person" and played for hours.
My next step was a Vic20. This was added on to with a disk drive, (if
the sleeve was notched they were double sided, 170Kb twice), the 4 inch
printer with 4 colour pens, Memory and Programmers Aid Cartridges, and the
Commodore 8 pin printer, (no descenders on letters g etc.).
However modernization was in the wind and it was on to a Commodore 64.
All that RAM 49152 bytes free! All the inputting of machine code,
SpeedScript, pages and pages of it. The next issue of the Amiga magazine
was awaited with two minds, a rewrite of the whole program or a couple of
patches?


Then 1985 my first Amiga. Of German make, the function buttons were
the same size as the letter keys. a half meg DIL Agnes on the mother board,
in the CPU slot was a memory card, with half meg RAM and 16 spare sockets,
that expanded it to a total of 1 MB. A year later to Commodore to have a new
motherboard to enable a square 1 MB Agnes. I added a 40 MB Hard drive,
controlled by a 2090. This would not boot the HD, a boot floppy with a
startup-sequence was required that mounted the HD and transferred the rest of
the booting to the HD. I went to great lengths to partition the HD into what I called
reasonably named partitions, A, B, C and D, none of this DH0, DH1 stuff for me!

The things I learnt!. The Operating System ROM lurched its way from the original 1.1
all the way to 3, the HD controller went to one that I could add 16 MB RAM, the Agnes was
replaced with a DKB 2Mb. Then upped to a 68040, did it fly!!! On to the Web
with Mosaic, UGH. Then Miami, Aweb, Ibrowse, Yam, Hurrah, all at dialup
speed! Finally a club member was going to get rid of his 4000. Every Amigan's
dream. 68060 (50MHz) 128Mb Ram, Cybergraphics, Cyberstorm, CyberScsi, MFC
Card. But as the controversy grew about Commodore, the operating systems
seemingly never finalised, the costs rising, it was cheaper to jump ship and
turn to a PC and with the built in XP. The 4000 was given to a friend who is
still drooling. There has been a bigger box and power supply, a dual core
CPU, additional drives, graphic card, changes to DVD drives, where will it
end?


Dennis Robb

 





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