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New member with old computer

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  • MARK EVAN JOHNSON
    I found your group by searching for Cosmac Elf Back in high school, when the PE article came out, I was smitten, and I began to build one. Halfway through
    Message 1 of 7 , Feb 2, 2003
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      I found your group by searching for "Cosmac Elf" Back in high school, when the PE article came out, I was smitten, and I began to build one. Halfway through the project I damaged one of the HP hex displays, which set me back months until I could afford to buy a new display. By early 76' I had it running, and I added memory and the primitive video system, along with an on-board AC power supply. Mine looks almost identical to the cover of the '75 issue of PE, except for a few added components. The underside is a rats maze and also contains an AC transformer and dc power supply.

      Last night, while digging through some old books, I came across the elf, along with all the pertinent magazines bound in a report protector. It powered up, and I entered a simple program and everything seems to work.

      I remember abandoning the project soon after I got it running because my real dream at the time was to have a computer that could run a 'real' programming language, which for me at the time was basic. I ended up with a Digital Group Z-80 system, and eventually went on to writing BIOS's for several IBM 'clone' computer companies in the early '80's, and getting a degree in computer science at the University of Minnesota. I spent about 5 years writing programs for an 1802 based product from Telxon for liquor distributor salesmen, and then wrote accounting and inventory management software (in NCR assembly language, NEAT/3) for the next 10 years or so. When the company switched to IBM AS/400 and RPG, I got disgusted and left to form my own companies, and am currently doing what I love again.

      Currently I am partners in a company that develops microprocessor based micro helicopters for surveilance and military use.

      Do Cosmac Elf's have any value? Mine is running a simple clock program right now, but beyond that, I really don't have much use for it, although I don't think I'd ever sell it, since it was the first (of many) real difficult electronic projects that I completed to satisfaction. I remember selling my Altair stuff and regretting it almost immediately.




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Lee Hart
      ... [snip] Great history, Mark! I too credit the Elf with starting my life-long interest in computers. Of course, there is Tiny BASIC that runs on the Elf;
      Message 2 of 7 , Feb 2, 2003
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        MARK EVAN JOHNSON wrote:
        > "Cosmac Elf"... Back in high school, when the PE article came out,
        > I was smitten, and I began to build one... Last night, I came across
        > the elf... It powered up, and I entered a simple program and
        > everything seems to work...

        [snip]

        Great history, Mark! I too credit the Elf with starting my life-long
        interest in computers.

        Of course, there is Tiny BASIC that runs on the Elf; it's on the
        cosmacelf.com website. Also full BASIC, at least for the Super Elfs and
        Quest Elfs.

        I dont' think there is an cash value to old Elfs, except to collectors
        (and there, prices can be anything imaginable).

        While I sold my handmade Elf (sob) I did keep its successor, an RCA VIP.
        I'm glad I did. I'm using it to introduce my son to computers. There's
        nothing like it on the market today!
        --
        Lee A. Hart Ring the bells that still can ring
        814 8th Ave. N. Forget your perfect offering
        Sartell, MN 56377 USA There is a crack in everything
        leeahart_at_earthlink.net That's how the light gets in - Leonard Cohen
      • CEO
        Hi: Does someone know where can I get the source code for the Super ELF (Quest) for the Full BASIC ? TXS. Nelson. ... From: Lee Hart
        Message 3 of 7 , Feb 2, 2003
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          Hi:

          Does someone know where can I get the source code for the Super ELF (Quest)
          for the Full BASIC ?

          TXS.

          Nelson.
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Lee Hart" <leeahart@...>
          To: <cosmacelf@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2003 5:34 PM
          Subject: Re: [cosmacelf] New member with old computer


          > MARK EVAN JOHNSON wrote:
          > > "Cosmac Elf"... Back in high school, when the PE article came out,
          > > I was smitten, and I began to build one... Last night, I came across
          > > the elf... It powered up, and I entered a simple program and
          > > everything seems to work...
          >
          > [snip]
          >
          > Great history, Mark! I too credit the Elf with starting my life-long
          > interest in computers.
          >
          > Of course, there is Tiny BASIC that runs on the Elf; it's on the
          > cosmacelf.com website. Also full BASIC, at least for the Super Elfs and
          > Quest Elfs.
          >
          > I dont' think there is an cash value to old Elfs, except to collectors
          > (and there, prices can be anything imaginable).
          >
          > While I sold my handmade Elf (sob) I did keep its successor, an RCA VIP.
          > I'm glad I did. I'm using it to introduce my son to computers. There's
          > nothing like it on the market today!
          > --
          > Lee A. Hart Ring the bells that still can ring
          > 814 8th Ave. N. Forget your perfect offering
          > Sartell, MN 56377 USA There is a crack in everything
          > leeahart_at_earthlink.net That's how the light gets in - Leonard Cohen
          >
          >
          >
          > ========================================================
          > Visit the COSMAC ELF website at http://www.cosmacelf.com, or view the
          Wiki/FAQ at http://1802.bitting.com/
          >
          > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
          > cosmacelf-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          >
          >
          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          >
          >
        • Lee Hart
          ... I have full BASIC source for the RCA COSMAC development system. However, the Netronics and Quest ELF computer s full BASIC was modified to suit them. I
          Message 4 of 7 , Feb 2, 2003
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            CEO wrote:
            > Does someone know where can I get the source code for the Super ELF
            > (Quest) for the Full BASIC?

            I have full BASIC source for the RCA COSMAC development system. However,
            the Netronics and Quest ELF computer's full BASIC was modified to suit
            them. I think people have posted the assembled versions (machine code),
            but not the source code.
            --
            Lee A. Hart Ring the bells that still can ring
            814 8th Ave. N. Forget your perfect offering
            Sartell, MN 56377 USA There is a crack in everything
            leeahart_at_earthlink.net That's how the light gets in - Leonard Cohen
          • Gemeny, Steve
            Nelson, I have nearly completed the conversion of the TSMI variant of Tiny to assemble under the Psudosam assembler. I The code conversion is complete and I
            Message 5 of 7 , Feb 3, 2003
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              Nelson,

              I have nearly completed the conversion of the TSMI variant of Tiny to
              assemble under the Psudosam assembler. I The code conversion is complete
              and I am starting work on the Intermediate Assembler part. After I get it
              to assemble properly I will make the few changes necessary to back out to
              the Quest Version and add in the additional comments found in my copy of the
              Quest listing.

              It has been slowed by other things but I expect no more than 8 - 10 hours of
              effort to finish it off. At that point we'll not only have the binary
              version of Tiny Basic, but a good source that will compile under the freely
              available PsudoSam assembler.

              Since it will not have derived from the Quest version but from the TSMI
              variant it should inherit the public Domain status and be freely
              distributable. (Someone Slap me here if I've missed some subtlety)

              I've looked over the source code (actually .LIS files) of both versions and
              there a few subtle differences. I'll know more about these differences
              after I finish.

              As for Super Basic, it looks like all we've found is binaries on cassette.
              There is now a tool (PC based) to read .WAV files from tape and convert to
              binaries, so we have binaries now too (no manual). There is another listing
              out and about that may have some relation with some variant of Ron Centners
              basic... I don't know if it produces the Quest Super Basic binary or not,
              but it is many hours of work away from assembling under PsudoSam in any
              case.


              All the best,

              Steve

              -----Original Message-----
              From: CEO [mailto:nelson@...]
              Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2003 4:32 PM
              To: cosmacelf@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [cosmacelf] New member with old computer


              Hi:

              Does someone know where can I get the source code for the Super ELF (Quest)
              for the Full BASIC ?

              TXS.

              Nelson.
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Lee Hart" <leeahart@...>
              To: <cosmacelf@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2003 5:34 PM
              Subject: Re: [cosmacelf] New member with old computer


              > MARK EVAN JOHNSON wrote:
              > > "Cosmac Elf"... Back in high school, when the PE article came out,
              > > I was smitten, and I began to build one... Last night, I came across
              > > the elf... It powered up, and I entered a simple program and
              > > everything seems to work...
              >
              > [snip]
              >
              > Great history, Mark! I too credit the Elf with starting my life-long
              > interest in computers.
              >
              > Of course, there is Tiny BASIC that runs on the Elf; it's on the
              > cosmacelf.com website. Also full BASIC, at least for the Super Elfs and
              > Quest Elfs.
              >
              > I dont' think there is an cash value to old Elfs, except to collectors
              > (and there, prices can be anything imaginable).
              >
              > While I sold my handmade Elf (sob) I did keep its successor, an RCA VIP.
              > I'm glad I did. I'm using it to introduce my son to computers. There's
              > nothing like it on the market today!
              > --
              > Lee A. Hart Ring the bells that still can ring
              > 814 8th Ave. N. Forget your perfect offering
              > Sartell, MN 56377 USA There is a crack in everything
              > leeahart_at_earthlink.net That's how the light gets in - Leonard Cohen
              >
              >
              >
              > ========================================================
              > Visit the COSMAC ELF website at http://www.cosmacelf.com,
              <http://www.cosmacelf.com,> or view the
              Wiki/FAQ at http://1802.bitting.com/ <http://1802.bitting.com/>
              >
              > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
              > cosmacelf-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
              >
              >
              >
              > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
              <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/>
              >
              >


              ========================================================
              Visit the COSMAC ELF website at http://www.cosmacelf.com,
              <http://www.cosmacelf.com,> or view the Wiki/FAQ at
              http://1802.bitting.com/ <http://1802.bitting.com/>

              To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
              cosmacelf-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com



              Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service
              <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/> .




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Lee Hart
              ... Steve, Where did you get the Psudosam assembler? And, what do you need to change in the TMSI source code to get it to assemble? ... Nope; it should work.
              Message 6 of 7 , Feb 3, 2003
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                Gemeny, Steve wrote:
                > I have nearly completed the conversion of the TSMI variant of Tiny to
                > assemble under the Psudosam assembler.

                Steve,
                Where did you get the Psudosam assembler? And, what do you need to
                change in the TMSI source code to get it to assemble?

                > Since it will not have derived from the Quest version but from the TSMI
                > variant it should inherit the public Domain status and be freely
                > distributable. (Someone Slap me here if I've missed some subtlety)


                Nope; it should work. Tom Pittman wrote them both. There may be a few
                little changes/improvements; for example I think the RND function takes
                2 arguments in the TMSI/RCA version, and the Quest/Netronics version
                only had one argument. Each successive version Tom wrote had whatever
                little tricks and additions he thought of. I think the Z8 version was
                last; it has "?" as a shorter name for PRINT or PR, "@" as a function
                that returns the byte at the address, "!" that writes a byte to the
                address, etc.

                > As for Super Basic, it looks like all we've found is binaries on
                > cassette.

                I have the source for Ron Cenker's full BASIC in a form that runs on the
                COSMAC development system. However, it needs some work to run on an Elf
                (different memory map, for one).
                --
                Lee A. Hart Ring the bells that still can ring
                814 8th Ave. N. Forget your perfect offering
                Sartell, MN 56377 USA There is a crack in everything
                leeahart_at_earthlink.net That's how the light gets in - Leonard Cohen
              • CEO
                Hi Steve: I have the original cassete with Ron Cenker s Super Basic Ver. 1.4 for the QUEST Super ELF. It plays OK in my cassete player. I sampled it to 8 bits
                Message 7 of 7 , Feb 4, 2003
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                  Hi Steve:

                  I have the original cassete with Ron Cenker's Super Basic Ver. 1.4 for the
                  QUEST Super ELF.

                  It plays OK in my cassete player.

                  I sampled it to 8 bits .wav file but the wax<->bin converter can not convert
                  the file.

                  I tried several different timing combinations for "0" and "1" and also
                  inverted polarity, but it does not work.

                  Process stops with ERROR.

                  Could be possible that the converter is not able to understand Quest's
                  formats ?

                  Is any other wav<->bin converter available that can be compliant also with
                  the Quest Super ELF format?

                  Do you have any better BASIC version than Cenker's one ?

                  I remember Cenker's BASIC calculating square root of 4 = 1.9999 (......)
                  Well, almost OK.

                  Thanks !!

                  Nelson.



                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Gemeny, Steve" <steve.gemeny@...>
                  To: <cosmacelf@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Monday, February 03, 2003 6:24 PM
                  Subject: RE: [cosmacelf] New member with old computer


                  > Nelson,
                  >
                  > I have nearly completed the conversion of the TSMI variant of Tiny to
                  > assemble under the Psudosam assembler. I The code conversion is complete
                  > and I am starting work on the Intermediate Assembler part. After I get it
                  > to assemble properly I will make the few changes necessary to back out to
                  > the Quest Version and add in the additional comments found in my copy of
                  the
                  > Quest listing.
                  >
                  > It has been slowed by other things but I expect no more than 8 - 10 hours
                  of
                  > effort to finish it off. At that point we'll not only have the binary
                  > version of Tiny Basic, but a good source that will compile under the
                  freely
                  > available PsudoSam assembler.
                  >
                  > Since it will not have derived from the Quest version but from the TSMI
                  > variant it should inherit the public Domain status and be freely
                  > distributable. (Someone Slap me here if I've missed some subtlety)
                  >
                  > I've looked over the source code (actually .LIS files) of both versions
                  and
                  > there a few subtle differences. I'll know more about these differences
                  > after I finish.
                  >
                  > As for Super Basic, it looks like all we've found is binaries on cassette.
                  > There is now a tool (PC based) to read .WAV files from tape and convert to
                  > binaries, so we have binaries now too (no manual). There is another
                  listing
                  > out and about that may have some relation with some variant of Ron
                  Centners
                  > basic... I don't know if it produces the Quest Super Basic binary or not,
                  > but it is many hours of work away from assembling under PsudoSam in any
                  > case.
                  >
                  >
                  > All the best,
                  >
                  > Steve
                  >
                  > -----Original Message-----
                  > From: CEO [mailto:nelson@...]
                  > Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2003 4:32 PM
                  > To: cosmacelf@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: Re: [cosmacelf] New member with old computer
                  >
                  >
                  > Hi:
                  >
                  > Does someone know where can I get the source code for the Super ELF
                  (Quest)
                  > for the Full BASIC ?
                  >
                  > TXS.
                  >
                  > Nelson.
                  > ----- Original Message -----
                  > From: "Lee Hart" <leeahart@...>
                  > To: <cosmacelf@yahoogroups.com>
                  > Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2003 5:34 PM
                  > Subject: Re: [cosmacelf] New member with old computer
                  >
                  >
                  > > MARK EVAN JOHNSON wrote:
                  > > > "Cosmac Elf"... Back in high school, when the PE article came out,
                  > > > I was smitten, and I began to build one... Last night, I came across
                  > > > the elf... It powered up, and I entered a simple program and
                  > > > everything seems to work...
                  > >
                  > > [snip]
                  > >
                  > > Great history, Mark! I too credit the Elf with starting my life-long
                  > > interest in computers.
                  > >
                  > > Of course, there is Tiny BASIC that runs on the Elf; it's on the
                  > > cosmacelf.com website. Also full BASIC, at least for the Super Elfs and
                  > > Quest Elfs.
                  > >
                  > > I dont' think there is an cash value to old Elfs, except to collectors
                  > > (and there, prices can be anything imaginable).
                  > >
                  > > While I sold my handmade Elf (sob) I did keep its successor, an RCA VIP.
                  > > I'm glad I did. I'm using it to introduce my son to computers. There's
                  > > nothing like it on the market today!
                  > > --
                  > > Lee A. Hart Ring the bells that still can ring
                  > > 814 8th Ave. N. Forget your perfect offering
                  > > Sartell, MN 56377 USA There is a crack in everything
                  > > leeahart_at_earthlink.net That's how the light gets in - Leonard Cohen
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > ========================================================
                  > > Visit the COSMAC ELF website at http://www.cosmacelf.com,
                  > <http://www.cosmacelf.com,> or view the
                  > Wiki/FAQ at http://1802.bitting.com/ <http://1802.bitting.com/>
                  > >
                  > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                  > > cosmacelf-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                  http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                  > <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/>
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                  >
                  > ========================================================
                  > Visit the COSMAC ELF website at http://www.cosmacelf.com,
                  > <http://www.cosmacelf.com,> or view the Wiki/FAQ at
                  > http://1802.bitting.com/ <http://1802.bitting.com/>
                  >
                  > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                  > cosmacelf-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service
                  > <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/> .
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >
                  > ========================================================
                  > Visit the COSMAC ELF website at http://www.cosmacelf.com, or view the
                  Wiki/FAQ at http://1802.bitting.com/
                  >
                  > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                  > cosmacelf-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                  >
                  >
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