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re: [midatlanticretro] Altair 8800 Web Emulator

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  • B. Degnan
    ... The backspace key does not work on the real terminal when using 4K BASIC. You may be able to backspace but then you ll get an error. So you re ok. why
    Message 1 of 25 , Jan 7, 2013
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      > A few known issues:- Backspace doesn't work in the terminal- Paste
      > doesn't work in the terminal- Some layout issues on Safari- LEDs operate
      > more like hollywood computer lights rather than the PWM you'd see on the
      > real thing- Switches on the control panel don't look like the originals
      > (If somebody can get me a straight on photo of the Altair with switches
      > in various positions I could fix this)

      The backspace key does not work on the real terminal when using 4K BASIC.
      You may be able to backspace but then you'll get an error. So you're ok.
      why *would* paste work?

      what is the memory map of BASIC after successful load?

      Bill
    • who88777
      I would still like for backspace to not leave the page even if it won t be read properly by the software. Paste is obviously not a feature of the original
      Message 2 of 25 , Jan 7, 2013
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        I would still like for backspace to not leave the page even if it won't be read properly by the software.

        Paste is obviously not a feature of the original altair, but when pasting it should simulate typing of characters. The only way you will be able to load new software onto the emulated altair is through my program to read hex files from the terminal. It would be very tedious to do so without copy and paste working. Ditto for large BASIC programs.

        The memory map is as follows after boot:
        0x0000 - JMP 0x8000 program
        0x4000 - End of RAM and top of stack for menu/loader (it automatically seeks the end of memory to set SP)
        0x8000 - Start of loader program ROM
        0x????? - End of ROM varies based on code size. It is over 20K because of the ASCII art

        When loading altair BASIC or other programs the image is copied into memory and a JMP is executed to the base address. To save time for pre-loaded software the emulator itself memcpy's it into RAM via a command through port 250. If you use my hex-loader then the emulated CPU is doing all the work.

        The base address for the Altair BASIC is 0x0000. You could reach the loader again if you can execute a JMP 0x8000 but its not expected you will ever get back.

        The BASIC image I have is the one from SIMH. I also saw the 8K version but have been unable to get it to work. If I ever get around to emulating a disk drive I would like to see CP/M running.

        --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "B. Degnan" wrote:
        >
        >
        > > A few known issues:- Backspace doesn't work in the terminal- Paste
        > > doesn't work in the terminal- Some layout issues on Safari- LEDs operate
        > > more like hollywood computer lights rather than the PWM you'd see on the
        > > real thing- Switches on the control panel don't look like the originals
        > > (If somebody can get me a straight on photo of the Altair with switches
        > > in various positions I could fix this)
        >
        > The backspace key does not work on the real terminal when using 4K BASIC.
        > You may be able to backspace but then you'll get an error. So you're ok.
        > why *would* paste work?
        >
        > what is the memory map of BASIC after successful load?
        >
        > Bill
        >
      • billdeg
        ... I feel as if you re missing the point of the Altair, you re not supposed to have it so easy. :-) Loading BASIC with papertape took almost an hour before
        Message 3 of 25 , Jan 7, 2013
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          --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "who88777" wrote:
          >
          > I would still like for backspace to not leave the page even if it won't be read properly by the software.
          >
          > Paste is obviously not a feature of the original altair, but when pasting it should simulate typing of characters. The only way you will be able to load new software onto the emulated altair is through my program to read hex files from the terminal. It would be very tedious to do so without copy and paste working. Ditto for large BASIC programs.


          I feel as if you're missing the point of the Altair, you're not supposed to have it so easy. :-) Loading BASIC with papertape took almost an hour before you programmed the first line of BASIC code.

          >
          > The memory map is as follows after boot:
          > 0x0000 - JMP 0x8000 program
          > 0x4000 - End of RAM and top of stack for menu/loader (it automatically seeks the end of memory to set SP)
          > 0x8000 - Start of loader program ROM
          > 0x????? - End of ROM varies based on code size. It is over 20K because of the ASCII art
          >
          > When loading altair BASIC or other programs the image is copied into memory and a JMP is executed to the base address. To save time for pre-loaded software the emulator itself memcpy's it into RAM via a command through port 250. If you use my hex-loader then the emulated CPU is doing all the work.
          >
          > The base address for the Altair BASIC is 0x0000. You could reach the loader again if you can execute a JMP 0x8000 but its not expected you will ever get back.
          >
          > The BASIC image I have is the one from SIMH. I also saw the 8K version but have been unable to get it to work. If I ever get around to emulating a disk drive I would like to see CP/M running.
          >

          thanks for the info, keep us posted,.

          Bill
        • who88777
          ... Haha, I feel like I got a taste of it toggling in those test programs on the front panel. I thought of not-preloading RAM with the JMP 0x8000 but the less
          Message 4 of 25 , Jan 7, 2013
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            > I feel as if you're missing the point of the Altair, you're not supposed to have it so easy. :-) Loading BASIC with papertape took almost an hour before you programmed the first line of BASIC code.

            Haha, I feel like I got a taste of it toggling in those test programs on the front panel. I thought of not-preloading RAM with the JMP 0x8000 but the less involved user would never have the patience to get it working these days.

            --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "billdeg" wrote:
            >
            >
            >
            > --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "who88777" wrote:
            > >
            > > I would still like for backspace to not leave the page even if it won't be read properly by the software.
            > >
            > > Paste is obviously not a feature of the original altair, but when pasting it should simulate typing of characters. The only way you will be able to load new software onto the emulated altair is through my program to read hex files from the terminal. It would be very tedious to do so without copy and paste working. Ditto for large BASIC programs.
            >
            >
            > I feel as if you're missing the point of the Altair, you're not supposed to have it so easy. :-) Loading BASIC with papertape took almost an hour before you programmed the first line of BASIC code.
            >
            > >
            > > The memory map is as follows after boot:
            > > 0x0000 - JMP 0x8000 program
            > > 0x4000 - End of RAM and top of stack for menu/loader (it automatically seeks the end of memory to set SP)
            > > 0x8000 - Start of loader program ROM
            > > 0x????? - End of ROM varies based on code size. It is over 20K because of the ASCII art
            > >
            > > When loading altair BASIC or other programs the image is copied into memory and a JMP is executed to the base address. To save time for pre-loaded software the emulator itself memcpy's it into RAM via a command through port 250. If you use my hex-loader then the emulated CPU is doing all the work.
            > >
            > > The base address for the Altair BASIC is 0x0000. You could reach the loader again if you can execute a JMP 0x8000 but its not expected you will ever get back.
            > >
            > > The BASIC image I have is the one from SIMH. I also saw the 8K version but have been unable to get it to work. If I ever get around to emulating a disk drive I would like to see CP/M running.
            > >
            >
            > thanks for the info, keep us posted,.
            >
            > Bill
            >
          • joshbensadon
            ... Hi Bill, Did it really take nearly an hour to load the paper tape? I have a paper tape reader and it doesn t take long to go through a role of tape. But
            Message 5 of 25 , Jan 7, 2013
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              --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "billdeg" wrote:
              >
              > I feel as if you're missing the point of the Altair, you're not supposed to have it so easy. :-) Loading BASIC with papertape took almost an hour before you programmed the first line of BASIC code.
              >

              Hi Bill,

              Did it really take nearly an hour to load the paper tape?
              I have a paper tape reader and it doesn't take long to go through a role of tape. But then again, it's a modern paper tape reader, 300 baud output. If you have 4K basic, divided by 30 chars per second, that's only a few minutes.

              I'm not doubting you, I just would like to hear the details about why it took nearly an hour.... oh, I guess you have to toggle in the boot strap? But that's only 16 bytes? And after doing it a dozen times on my IMSAI, I had that memorized.

              Cheers,
              Josh
            • billdeg@degnanco.com
              Sent from Windows Mail From: joshbensadon Sent: ‎January‎ ‎7‎, ‎2013 ‎10‎:‎13‎ ‎PM To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com Subject:
              Message 6 of 25 , Jan 7, 2013
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                Sent from Windows Mail
                 
                From: joshbensadon
                Sent: ‎January‎ ‎7‎, ‎2013 ‎10‎:‎13‎ ‎PM
                To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [midatlanticretro] Re: Altair 8800 Web Emulator
                 
                --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "billdeg"  wrote:
                >
                > I feel as if you're missing the point of the Altair, you're not supposed to have it so easy.  :-) Loading BASIC with papertape took almost an hour before you programmed the first line of BASIC code.
                >

                Hi Bill,

                Did it really take nearly an hour to load the paper tape?
                I have a paper tape reader and it doesn't take long to go through a role of tape.  But then again, it's a modern paper tape reader, 300 baud output.  If you have 4K basic, divided by 30 chars per second, that's only a few minutes.

                I'm not doubting you, I just would like to hear the details about why it took nearly an hour.... oh, I guess you have to toggle in the boot strap? But that's only 16 bytes? And after doing it a dozen times on my IMSAI, I had that memorized.

                Cheers,
                Josh


                ----------------------------------------------
                Josh,

                Start the clock:
                First set up the physical connection between teletype and computer, then test RAM to be sure you have a working system. Next toggle in the boot strap and verify it’s in RAM.   Carefully insert the absolute loader tape in the teletype reader.  Run the bootstrap loaded.  wait for the abs loader to be read in.  check to be sure it is loaded into RAM.   Then remove abs loader tape, and set up BASIC tape in reader. run abs loader and read in basic tape.   If you are ok the basic program will automatically start up when tape finishes.    Otherwise you can check the beginning and end of the RAM space used by BASIC hoping only the first few hex commands were missing and correct the values manually and run manually.
                 
                1 hour is reasonable.  Hard to complete in less than 30 mins.
                True there are a lot of modern shortcuts.  Each time you knock more off the load time, add a ROM, etc. before you know it you’re emulating BASIC on your smartphone.
                 
                Bill
              • corey986
                I think Bill wasn t complete in his explanation of backspace . Yes it s unsupported, but 4k basic supports rub out . Which is what makes the vintage
                Message 7 of 25 , Jan 8, 2013
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                  I think Bill wasn't complete in his explanation of "backspace". Yes it's unsupported, but 4k basic supports "rub out". Which is what makes the vintage feeling when using the altair with basic cool. Rubout is simply an underscore to erase the last character. However it looks like this on a monitor. I'm not sure if a teletype backs up and strikes out the character, I can just tell you what happens on the altair when on terminal.

                  For exc_ample....

                  10 prr_int "hellll__o"

                  Is actually read as

                  10 print "hello"

                  Since most "modern" people tend to hit the delete key not underscore, just map it to that.

                  Btw, since the altair isn't the only vintage machine like this, the apple-1 is the same, so it must have been normal back then. On the Apple though the most common keyboard was a Datanetics which didn't have an underscore unless you hard wired one with jumpers, people I guess never used it much. Me my typing sucks, so how to "rub out" a character, is one of the first things I try to figure out on a platform.

                  Fyi, Also I can't seem to get you simulator to work on my iPad...

                  Cheers,
                  Corey


                  --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "who88777" wrote:
                  >
                  > I would still like for backspace to not leave the page even if it won't be read properly by the software.
                  >
                  > Paste is obviously not a feature of the original altair, but when pasting it should simulate typing of characters. The only way you will be able to load new software onto the emulated altair is through my program to read hex files from the terminal. It would be very tedious to do so without copy and paste working. Ditto for large BASIC programs.
                  >
                  > The memory map is as follows after boot:
                  > 0x0000 - JMP 0x8000 program
                  > 0x4000 - End of RAM and top of stack for menu/loader (it automatically seeks the end of memory to set SP)
                  > 0x8000 - Start of loader program ROM
                  > 0x????? - End of ROM varies based on code size. It is over 20K because of the ASCII art
                  >
                  > When loading altair BASIC or other programs the image is copied into memory and a JMP is executed to the base address. To save time for pre-loaded software the emulator itself memcpy's it into RAM via a command through port 250. If you use my hex-loader then the emulated CPU is doing all the work.
                  >
                  > The base address for the Altair BASIC is 0x0000. You could reach the loader again if you can execute a JMP 0x8000 but its not expected you will ever get back.
                  >
                  > The BASIC image I have is the one from SIMH. I also saw the 8K version but have been unable to get it to work. If I ever get around to emulating a disk drive I would like to see CP/M running.
                  >
                  > --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "B. Degnan" wrote:
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > > A few known issues:- Backspace doesn't work in the terminal- Paste
                  > > > doesn't work in the terminal- Some layout issues on Safari- LEDs operate
                  > > > more like hollywood computer lights rather than the PWM you'd see on the
                  > > > real thing- Switches on the control panel don't look like the originals
                  > > > (If somebody can get me a straight on photo of the Altair with switches
                  > > > in various positions I could fix this)
                  > >
                  > > The backspace key does not work on the real terminal when using 4K BASIC.
                  > > You may be able to backspace but then you'll get an error. So you're ok.
                  > > why *would* paste work?
                  > >
                  > > what is the memory map of BASIC after successful load?
                  > >
                  > > Bill
                  > >
                • David Gesswein
                  ... On the Altair do you actually use the _ key for deleting a character? On a teletype they normally used the rubout key that gave code 127. On modern
                  Message 8 of 25 , Jan 8, 2013
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                    On Tue, Jan 08, 2013 at 12:34:03PM -0000, corey986 wrote:
                    >
                    > I think Bill wasn't complete in his explanation of "backspace". Yes it's
                    > unsupported, but 4k basic supports "rub out". Which is what makes the
                    > vintage feeling when using the altair with basic cool. Rubout is
                    > simply an underscore to erase the last character.
                    > However it looks like this on a monitor. I'm not sure if a teletype
                    > backs up and strikes out the character, I can just tell you what happens
                    > on the altair when on terminal.
                    >
                    > For exc_ample....
                    >
                    > 10 prr_int "hellll__o"
                    >
                    > Is actually read as
                    >
                    > 10 print "hello"
                    >
                    On the Altair do you actually use the _ key for deleting a character? On a
                    teletype they normally used the rubout key that gave code 127. On modern
                    keyvoards that is normally the delete key and backspace used code 8.
                    The teletype doesn't have a backspace key though you can generate the
                    code with control-h.
                    (Rubout third row third from right)
                    http://www.pdp8online.com/asr33/pics/kbd_top.shtml?large

                    THe printing _ is because of teletypes. A teletype can't back up other than
                    a carrage return. Even if it did you wouldn't be able to reliably read
                    the new character printed on top of the old so they printed the underscore
                    for each character "backed up". On the PDP-8 you use the delete key and
                    it prints the _ when configured for teletype.
                  • joshbensadon
                    ... Hi Bill, Yeah, I guess on a change of venue it would take the hour or probably more depending on the failure(s), but on a day to day process, the equipment
                    Message 9 of 25 , Jan 8, 2013
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                      > ----------------------------------------------
                      > Start the clock:
                      >
                      > First set up the physical connection between teletype and computer, then test RAM to be sure you have a working system. Next toggle in the boot strap and verify it’s in RAM. Carefully insert the absolute loader tape in the teletype reader. Run the bootstrap loaded. wait for the abs loader to be read in. check to be sure it is loaded into RAM. Then remove abs loader tape, and set up BASIC tape in reader. run abs loader and read in basic tape. If you are ok the basic program will automatically start up when tape finishes. Otherwise you can check the beginning and end of the RAM space used by BASIC hoping only the first few hex commands were missing and correct the values manually and run manually.
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > 1 hour is reasonable. Hard to complete in less than 30 mins.


                      Hi Bill,

                      Yeah, I guess on a change of venue it would take the hour or probably more depending on the failure(s), but on a day to day process, the equipment might already be set up, the programmer might already trust the RAM, etc. Actually, day to day, I might guess the machine would be left on over night? New question, did the programmer save his/her work on to paper tape? How often I wonder?

                      I can only relate to starting up a Data General computer, DG1 I think. I had to enter a 77 byte tape boot loader manually from a terminal, then play a micro cassette. It was a boat anchor 20 years ago, but I wish I had the foresight to keep it. My customer kept their machine running 24/7, they even had a UPS for it. The UPS was something to see in itself. Three separate parts, Battery charger, Batteries and the Inverter.

                      Note, after entering the 77 byte boot loader a few times, I wrote a program on the TRS-80 model 100 to send those 77 bytes for me. That was a great relief!

                      Cheers,
                      Josh
                    • B. Degnan
                      ... a ... than ... underscore ... In PDP 8 OS/8 using a glass vt102 terminal with a backspace key, under standard configuration, use of backspace will generate
                      Message 10 of 25 , Jan 8, 2013
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                        > >
                        > On the Altair do you actually use the _ key for deleting a character? On
                        a
                        > teletype they normally used the rubout key that gave code 127. On modern

                        > keyvoards that is normally the delete key and backspace used code 8.
                        > The teletype doesn't have a backspace key though you can generate the
                        > code with control-h.
                        > (Rubout third row third from right)
                        > http://www.pdp8online.com/asr33/pics/kbd_top.shtml?large
                        >
                        > THe printing _ is because of teletypes. A teletype can't back up other
                        than
                        > a carrage return. Even if it did you wouldn't be able to reliably read
                        > the new character printed on top of the old so they printed the
                        underscore
                        > for each character "backed up". On the PDP-8 you use the delete key and
                        > it prints the _ when configured for teletype.
                        >

                        In PDP 8 OS/8 using a glass vt102 terminal with a backspace key, under
                        standard configuration, use of backspace will generate an error even if
                        your command looks correct before you hit enter

                        If you type this..
                        .RUN RKA0;

                        ..and then use the backspace key to correct (change semi-colon to
                        colon)...
                        .RUN RKA0:BASIC.SV [enter]

                        ...OS/8 will return an OS syntax error.

                        My original point - you can find a way to add backspace ability, but it
                        was not really an option back then so you have to decide whether it matters
                        to you or not to bypass the historic limitation of the time.

                        I believe that there is value to experience what it was really like to work
                        in this environment without modern shortcuts. If to engineer a new program
                        you are required to toggle bootstraps, load a tape, enter code by hand,
                        punch the tape on the teletype, and so on you'll start to change your
                        approach to programming. The first thing you realize is that it's best to
                        try to write and debug as much of the code by hand before you enter into
                        the computer. That's why a lot of Altair docs I have come upon have sheets
                        and sheets of pseudo code and hand-written listings along with the manuals.
                        People did not use the computer to write and edit code like they do today,
                        too time consuming. You had to be more precise in your data entry and more
                        organized in your approach. No one would want to sit there for a half hour
                        to punch a tape, then another half hour to run the tape just to find a
                        single syntax error crashes the whole program. That's why there were a lot
                        less people doing programming and hardware back then, this kind of work was
                        not for everyone. It gives you a real appreciation for those people
                        (before my time btw) who did all of this stuff when it was new back then,
                        and what motivated the likes of Woz/Jobs to make something easier to use.

                        Not everyone has the luxury of walking up to a computer with a teletype. I
                        think it would be a great service if we had an exhibit / demo for MARCH's
                        museum to show people what it was like to use a teletype for I/O and
                        program storage. I would not recommend allowing the public to use it
                        though, it'd have to be a ready-to-go demo for someone that had an hour to
                        witness the entire process, maybe with a little lecture to kill time
                        between the tape loads/punches.

                        Bill
                      • corey986
                        I 100% agree. Having to flip switches or even type in the ocal/hex by hand has made me a better programmer. This actually came up at dinner last night (I m
                        Message 11 of 25 , Jan 8, 2013
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                          I 100% agree. Having to "flip" switches or even type in the ocal/hex by hand has made me a better programmer. This actually came up at dinner last night (I'm at training in Texas right now) where we were talking about the "old" days and how people who lived through toggling in a boot loader on a PDP8 seemed to be more efficient in their resource utilization as programmers than the guys who started programming with Visual Basic who tend to be sloppy in memory and resource usage. It was a pretty heated converstation enhanced by wine and Fogo de Chao "Meat" high....

                          Cheers,
                          Corey
                          --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "B. Degnan" wrote:
                          >
                          >
                          > > >
                          > > On the Altair do you actually use the _ key for deleting a character? On
                          > a
                          > > teletype they normally used the rubout key that gave code 127. On modern
                          >
                          > > keyvoards that is normally the delete key and backspace used code 8.
                          > > The teletype doesn't have a backspace key though you can generate the
                          > > code with control-h.
                          > > (Rubout third row third from right)
                          > > http://www.pdp8online.com/asr33/pics/kbd_top.shtml?large
                          > >
                          > > THe printing _ is because of teletypes. A teletype can't back up other
                          > than
                          > > a carrage return. Even if it did you wouldn't be able to reliably read
                          > > the new character printed on top of the old so they printed the
                          > underscore
                          > > for each character "backed up". On the PDP-8 you use the delete key and
                          > > it prints the _ when configured for teletype.
                          > >
                          >
                          > In PDP 8 OS/8 using a glass vt102 terminal with a backspace key, under
                          > standard configuration, use of backspace will generate an error even if
                          > your command looks correct before you hit enter
                          >
                          > If you type this..
                          > .RUN RKA0;
                          >
                          > ..and then use the backspace key to correct (change semi-colon to
                          > colon)...
                          > .RUN RKA0:BASIC.SV [enter]
                          >
                          > ...OS/8 will return an OS syntax error.
                          >
                          > My original point - you can find a way to add backspace ability, but it
                          > was not really an option back then so you have to decide whether it matters
                          > to you or not to bypass the historic limitation of the time.
                          >
                          > I believe that there is value to experience what it was really like to work
                          > in this environment without modern shortcuts. If to engineer a new program
                          > you are required to toggle bootstraps, load a tape, enter code by hand,
                          > punch the tape on the teletype, and so on you'll start to change your
                          > approach to programming. The first thing you realize is that it's best to
                          > try to write and debug as much of the code by hand before you enter into
                          > the computer. That's why a lot of Altair docs I have come upon have sheets
                          > and sheets of pseudo code and hand-written listings along with the manuals.
                          > People did not use the computer to write and edit code like they do today,
                          > too time consuming. You had to be more precise in your data entry and more
                          > organized in your approach. No one would want to sit there for a half hour
                          > to punch a tape, then another half hour to run the tape just to find a
                          > single syntax error crashes the whole program. That's why there were a lot
                          > less people doing programming and hardware back then, this kind of work was
                          > not for everyone. It gives you a real appreciation for those people
                          > (before my time btw) who did all of this stuff when it was new back then,
                          > and what motivated the likes of Woz/Jobs to make something easier to use.
                          >
                          > Not everyone has the luxury of walking up to a computer with a teletype. I
                          > think it would be a great service if we had an exhibit / demo for MARCH's
                          > museum to show people what it was like to use a teletype for I/O and
                          > program storage. I would not recommend allowing the public to use it
                          > though, it'd have to be a ready-to-go demo for someone that had an hour to
                          > witness the entire process, maybe with a little lecture to kill time
                          > between the tape loads/punches.
                          >
                          > Bill
                          >
                        • corey986
                          Hey Bill... I have an idea for VCF... I was thinking of bringing my Briel Altair to sit next to my real one. It s been modified to have an external serial
                          Message 12 of 25 , Jan 8, 2013
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                            Hey Bill...

                            I have an idea for VCF... I was thinking of bringing my Briel Altair to sit next to my real one. It's been modified to have an external serial emulating the SIO-A. If we build a current loop to RS232 adapter for the teletype, we could let people toggle in a boot loader on the Briel. I have like 100 spare switches so I'm not concerned about the public using the briel unlike the real one where original orange case round switches are expensive and hard to find, and the silk screen needs to be protected from wear and scratches for historical reasons.

                            Cheers,
                            Corey

                            --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, corey986 wrote:
                            >
                            >
                            > I 100% agree. Having to "flip" switches or even type in the ocal/hex by hand has made me a better programmer. This actually came up at dinner last night (I'm at training in Texas right now) where we were talking about the "old" days and how people who lived through toggling in a boot loader on a PDP8 seemed to be more efficient in their resource utilization as programmers than the guys who started programming with Visual Basic who tend to be sloppy in memory and resource usage. It was a pretty heated converstation enhanced by wine and Fogo de Chao "Meat" high....
                            >
                            > Cheers,
                            > Corey
                            > --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "B. Degnan" wrote:
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > On the Altair do you actually use the _ key for deleting a character? On
                            > > a
                            > > > teletype they normally used the rubout key that gave code 127. On modern
                            > >
                            > > > keyvoards that is normally the delete key and backspace used code 8.
                            > > > The teletype doesn't have a backspace key though you can generate the
                            > > > code with control-h.
                            > > > (Rubout third row third from right)
                            > > > http://www.pdp8online.com/asr33/pics/kbd_top.shtml?large
                            > > >
                            > > > THe printing _ is because of teletypes. A teletype can't back up other
                            > > than
                            > > > a carrage return. Even if it did you wouldn't be able to reliably read
                            > > > the new character printed on top of the old so they printed the
                            > > underscore
                            > > > for each character "backed up". On the PDP-8 you use the delete key and
                            > > > it prints the _ when configured for teletype.
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > In PDP 8 OS/8 using a glass vt102 terminal with a backspace key, under
                            > > standard configuration, use of backspace will generate an error even if
                            > > your command looks correct before you hit enter
                            > >
                            > > If you type this..
                            > > .RUN RKA0;
                            > >
                            > > ..and then use the backspace key to correct (change semi-colon to
                            > > colon)...
                            > > .RUN RKA0:BASIC.SV [enter]
                            > >
                            > > ...OS/8 will return an OS syntax error.
                            > >
                            > > My original point - you can find a way to add backspace ability, but it
                            > > was not really an option back then so you have to decide whether it matters
                            > > to you or not to bypass the historic limitation of the time.
                            > >
                            > > I believe that there is value to experience what it was really like to work
                            > > in this environment without modern shortcuts. If to engineer a new program
                            > > you are required to toggle bootstraps, load a tape, enter code by hand,
                            > > punch the tape on the teletype, and so on you'll start to change your
                            > > approach to programming. The first thing you realize is that it's best to
                            > > try to write and debug as much of the code by hand before you enter into
                            > > the computer. That's why a lot of Altair docs I have come upon have sheets
                            > > and sheets of pseudo code and hand-written listings along with the manuals.
                            > > People did not use the computer to write and edit code like they do today,
                            > > too time consuming. You had to be more precise in your data entry and more
                            > > organized in your approach. No one would want to sit there for a half hour
                            > > to punch a tape, then another half hour to run the tape just to find a
                            > > single syntax error crashes the whole program. That's why there were a lot
                            > > less people doing programming and hardware back then, this kind of work was
                            > > not for everyone. It gives you a real appreciation for those people
                            > > (before my time btw) who did all of this stuff when it was new back then,
                            > > and what motivated the likes of Woz/Jobs to make something easier to use.
                            > >
                            > > Not everyone has the luxury of walking up to a computer with a teletype. I
                            > > think it would be a great service if we had an exhibit / demo for MARCH's
                            > > museum to show people what it was like to use a teletype for I/O and
                            > > program storage. I would not recommend allowing the public to use it
                            > > though, it'd have to be a ready-to-go demo for someone that had an hour to
                            > > witness the entire process, maybe with a little lecture to kill time
                            > > between the tape loads/punches.
                            > >
                            > > Bill
                            > >
                            >
                          • Mike Loewen
                            ... It actually extends forward a bit to the micro era. If you were constrained to less than 64KB of RAM for your code (not considering overlay techniques),
                            Message 13 of 25 , Jan 8, 2013
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                              On Tue, 8 Jan 2013, corey986 wrote:

                              > I 100% agree. Having to "flip" switches or even type in the ocal/hex by
                              > hand has made me a better programmer. This actually came up at dinner
                              > last night (I'm at training in Texas right now) where we were talking
                              > about the "old" days and how people who lived through toggling in a boot
                              > loader on a PDP8 seemed to be more efficient in their resource
                              > utilization as programmers than the guys who started programming with
                              > Visual Basic who tend to be sloppy in memory and resource usage.

                              It actually extends forward a bit to the micro era. If you were
                              constrained to less than 64KB of RAM for your code (not considering
                              overlay techniques), you had to be very careful of your resource
                              management. In a Turbo Pascal program I wrote in the mid-'80s on a TRS-80
                              Model 4 running Montezuma Micro CP/M, I managed to fit an in-memory
                              indexing scheme such that I could retrieve any record from the database
                              stored on floppy in less than 2 seconds.


                              Mike Loewen mloewen@...
                              Old Technology http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/Oldtech/
                            • Neil Cherry
                              ... This holds true of any restricted env such as a uC with limited resources. Of course when you ve been around long enough and use larger computer resources
                              Message 14 of 25 , Jan 8, 2013
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                                On 01/08/2013 09:54 AM, corey986 wrote:
                                >
                                > I 100% agree. Having to "flip" switches or even type in the ocal/hex by hand has made me a
                                > better programmer. This actually came up at dinner last night (I'm at training in Texas
                                > right now) where we were talking about the "old" days and how people who lived through
                                > toggling in a boot loader on a PDP8 seemed to be more efficient in their resource
                                > utilization as programmers than the guys who started programming with Visual Basic who
                                > tend to be sloppy in memory and resource usage. It was a pretty heated converstation
                                > enhanced by wine and Fogo de Chao "Meat" high....

                                This holds true of any restricted env such as a uC with limited resources.

                                Of course when you've been around long enough and use larger computer resources
                                you start to think about other limited resources such as time. As an Engineer
                                (EE, System Engineer, etc.) you have to look at the overall picture .

                                But I do agree that folks who have had to live with tight limits tend to
                                be better overall Engineers.

                                --
                                Linux Home Automation Neil Cherry ncherry@...
                                http://www.linuxha.com/ Main site
                                http://linuxha.blogspot.com/ My HA Blog
                                Author of: Linux Smart Homes For Dummies
                              • B. Degnan
                                The teletype in the museum was converted to rs232. I don t know if it was also upgraded to a baud faster than 110 8/n/2. It should be possible to punch a
                                Message 15 of 25 , Jan 8, 2013
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                                  The teletype in the museum was converted to rs232. I don't know if it was
                                  also upgraded to a baud faster than 110 8/n/2. It should be possible to
                                  punch a tape of BASIC from the web to the modified machine's punch, and
                                  then load basic directly from the tape. You'd need an absolute loader in
                                  ROM or on tape as well. You could use a switch box to hop over to a glass
                                  terminal after the tape loads.

                                  -------- Original Message --------
                                  > From: "corey986" <no_reply@yahoogroups.com>
                                  > Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2013 10:35 AM
                                  > To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                                  > Subject: [midatlanticretro] Re: Altair 8800 Web Emulator
                                  >
                                  > Hey Bill...
                                  >
                                  > I have an idea for VCF... I was thinking of bringing my Briel Altair to
                                  sit next to my real one. It's been modified to have an external serial
                                  emulating the SIO-A. If we build a current loop to RS232 adapter for the
                                  teletype, we could let people toggle in a boot loader on the Briel. I have
                                  like 100 spare switches so I'm not concerned about the public using the
                                  briel unlike the real one where original orange case round switches are
                                  expensive and hard to find, and the silk screen needs to be protected from
                                  wear and scratches for historical reasons.
                                  >
                                  > Cheers,
                                  > Corey
                                  >
                                  > --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, corey986 wrote:
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > > I 100% agree. Having to "flip" switches or even type in the ocal/hex
                                  by hand has made me a better programmer. This actually came up at dinner
                                  last night (I'm at training in Texas right now) where we were talking about
                                  the "old" days and how people who lived through toggling in a boot loader
                                  on a PDP8 seemed to be more efficient in their resource utilization as
                                  programmers than the guys who started programming with Visual Basic who
                                  tend to be sloppy in memory and resource usage. It was a pretty heated
                                  converstation enhanced by wine and Fogo de Chao "Meat" high....
                                  > >
                                  > > Cheers,
                                  > > Corey
                                  > > --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "B. Degnan" wrote:
                                  > > >
                                  > > >
                                  > > > > >
                                  > > > > On the Altair do you actually use the _ key for deleting a
                                  character? On
                                  > > > a
                                  > > > > teletype they normally used the rubout key that gave code 127. On
                                  modern
                                  > > >
                                  > > > > keyvoards that is normally the delete key and backspace used code
                                  8.
                                  > > > > The teletype doesn't have a backspace key though you can generate
                                  the
                                  > > > > code with control-h.
                                  > > > > (Rubout third row third from right)
                                  > > > > http://www.pdp8online.com/asr33/pics/kbd_top.shtml?large
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > THe printing _ is because of teletypes. A teletype can't back up
                                  other
                                  > > > than
                                  > > > > a carrage return. Even if it did you wouldn't be able to reliably
                                  read
                                  > > > > the new character printed on top of the old so they printed the
                                  > > > underscore
                                  > > > > for each character "backed up". On the PDP-8 you use the delete key
                                  and
                                  > > > > it prints the _ when configured for teletype.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > >
                                  > > > In PDP 8 OS/8 using a glass vt102 terminal with a backspace key,
                                  under
                                  > > > standard configuration, use of backspace will generate an error even
                                  if
                                  > > > your command looks correct before you hit enter
                                  > > >
                                  > > > If you type this..
                                  > > > .RUN RKA0;
                                  > > >
                                  > > > ..and then use the backspace key to correct (change semi-colon to
                                  > > > colon)...
                                  > > > .RUN RKA0:BASIC.SV [enter]
                                  > > >
                                  > > > ...OS/8 will return an OS syntax error.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > My original point - you can find a way to add backspace ability, but
                                  it
                                  > > > was not really an option back then so you have to decide whether it
                                  matters
                                  > > > to you or not to bypass the historic limitation of the time.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > I believe that there is value to experience what it was really like
                                  to work
                                  > > > in this environment without modern shortcuts. If to engineer a new
                                  program
                                  > > > you are required to toggle bootstraps, load a tape, enter code by
                                  hand,
                                  > > > punch the tape on the teletype, and so on you'll start to change your

                                  > > > approach to programming. The first thing you realize is that it's
                                  best to
                                  > > > try to write and debug as much of the code by hand before you enter
                                  into
                                  > > > the computer. That's why a lot of Altair docs I have come upon have
                                  sheets
                                  > > > and sheets of pseudo code and hand-written listings along with the
                                  manuals.
                                  > > > People did not use the computer to write and edit code like they do
                                  today,
                                  > > > too time consuming. You had to be more precise in your data entry
                                  and more
                                  > > > organized in your approach. No one would want to sit there for a
                                  half hour
                                  > > > to punch a tape, then another half hour to run the tape just to find
                                  a
                                  > > > single syntax error crashes the whole program. That's why there were
                                  a lot
                                  > > > less people doing programming and hardware back then, this kind of
                                  work was
                                  > > > not for everyone. It gives you a real appreciation for those people

                                  > > > (before my time btw) who did all of this stuff when it was new back
                                  then,
                                  > > > and what motivated the likes of Woz/Jobs to make something easier to
                                  use.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > Not everyone has the luxury of walking up to a computer with a
                                  teletype. I
                                  > > > think it would be a great service if we had an exhibit / demo for
                                  MARCH's
                                  > > > museum to show people what it was like to use a teletype for I/O and

                                  > > > program storage. I would not recommend allowing the public to use it

                                  > > > though, it'd have to be a ready-to-go demo for someone that had an
                                  hour to
                                  > > > witness the entire process, maybe with a little lecture to kill time

                                  > > > between the tape loads/punches.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > Bill
                                  > > >
                                  > >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > ------------------------------------
                                  >
                                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                • David Gesswein
                                  ... Right, you have to use the rubout/delete key to correct a mistyped character. It will either do a backspace overwrite or print around the deleted
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Jan 8, 2013
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                                    On Tue, Jan 08, 2013 at 09:04:47AM -0500, B. Degnan wrote:
                                    >
                                    > In PDP 8 OS/8 using a glass vt102 terminal with a backspace key, under
                                    > standard configuration, use of backspace will generate an error even if
                                    > your command looks correct before you hit enter
                                    >
                                    Right, you have to use the rubout/delete key to correct a mistyped
                                    character. It will either do a backspace overwrite or print \ around
                                    the deleted character based on the tty driver configuration/set command.
                                  • David Gesswein
                                    ... Its still 110. It was reported that the punch was jamming so if someone wants to use is for a demo we should check it out at the next work day. I think its
                                    Message 17 of 25 , Jan 8, 2013
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                                      On Tue, Jan 08, 2013 at 11:34:05AM -0500, B. Degnan wrote:
                                      > The teletype in the museum was converted to rs232. I don't know if it was
                                      > also upgraded to a baud faster than 110 8/n/2. It should be possible to
                                      > punch a tape of BASIC from the web to the modified machine's punch, and
                                      > then load basic directly from the tape. You'd need an absolute loader in
                                      > ROM or on tape as well. You could use a switch box to hop over to a glass
                                      > terminal after the tape loads.
                                      >
                                      Its still 110. It was reported that the punch was jamming so if someone
                                      wants to use is for a demo we should check it out at the next work day.
                                      I think its only being used as a static exhibit right now.
                                    • corey986
                                      Can we set it to 8,n,1 or it is fixed at two stop bits. No big deal, we can simply put something inbetween to echo the data between the two removing the
                                      Message 18 of 25 , Jan 8, 2013
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                                        Can we set it to 8,n,1 or it is fixed at two stop bits. No big deal, we can simply put something inbetween to "echo" the data between the two removing the stop bit and maybe changing the rate from 110. I have to investigate changing the briel from 9600 to 110 baud. The idea would be to get people to enjoy the fun of toggling in the boot loader and then watching basic load.

                                        I think we are on to something that would be fun for the public, but not risk any real "vintage" stuff" since we would need a MARCH member to actually feed and run the teletype (the real vintage deal).

                                        Let's really think about this and maybe make it a group project for VCF.

                                        Cheers,
                                        Corey



                                        --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, David Gesswein wrote:
                                        >
                                        > On Tue, Jan 08, 2013 at 11:34:05AM -0500, B. Degnan wrote:
                                        > > The teletype in the museum was converted to rs232. I don't know if it was
                                        > > also upgraded to a baud faster than 110 8/n/2. It should be possible to
                                        > > punch a tape of BASIC from the web to the modified machine's punch, and
                                        > > then load basic directly from the tape. You'd need an absolute loader in
                                        > > ROM or on tape as well. You could use a switch box to hop over to a glass
                                        > > terminal after the tape loads.
                                        > >
                                        > Its still 110. It was reported that the punch was jamming so if someone
                                        > wants to use is for a demo we should check it out at the next work day.
                                        > I think its only being used as a static exhibit right now.
                                        >
                                      • evan@snarc.net
                                        ... I mostly agree. Definitely not letting anyone use our original copy of Altair 4K Basic. :)
                                        Message 19 of 25 , Jan 8, 2013
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                                          >> but not risk any real "vintage" stuff"

                                          I mostly agree. Definitely not letting anyone use our original copy of Altair 4K Basic. :)
                                        • who88777
                                          Some of the embedded FPGA work I ve done really taught the value of this. Whenever possible I prefer to use the on chip block ram and not go external for cost
                                          Message 20 of 25 , Jan 8, 2013
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                                            Some of the embedded FPGA work I've done really taught the value of this. Whenever possible I prefer to use the on chip block ram and not go external for cost reasons. Every time I would forget to use the minimal printf() routine I'd run out of space for just code - let alone RAM as it linked in half the C standard library.

                                            I've toyed with the idea of making a few Retro-On-A-Chip computers but I think the Briel model is a better way to go for recreating the old machines. BGA parts have no place in a retro machine.

                                            --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, Neil Cherry wrote:
                                            >
                                            > On 01/08/2013 09:54 AM, corey986 wrote:
                                            > >
                                            > > I 100% agree. Having to "flip" switches or even type in the ocal/hex by hand has made me a
                                            > > better programmer. This actually came up at dinner last night (I'm at training in Texas
                                            > > right now) where we were talking about the "old" days and how people who lived through
                                            > > toggling in a boot loader on a PDP8 seemed to be more efficient in their resource
                                            > > utilization as programmers than the guys who started programming with Visual Basic who
                                            > > tend to be sloppy in memory and resource usage. It was a pretty heated converstation
                                            > > enhanced by wine and Fogo de Chao "Meat" high....
                                            >
                                            > This holds true of any restricted env such as a uC with limited resources.
                                            >
                                            > Of course when you've been around long enough and use larger computer resources
                                            > you start to think about other limited resources such as time. As an Engineer
                                            > (EE, System Engineer, etc.) you have to look at the overall picture .
                                            >
                                            > But I do agree that folks who have had to live with tight limits tend to
                                            > be better overall Engineers.
                                            >
                                            > --
                                            > Linux Home Automation Neil Cherry ncherry@...
                                            > http://www.linuxha.com/ Main site
                                            > http://linuxha.blogspot.com/ My HA Blog
                                            > Author of: Linux Smart Homes For Dummies
                                            >
                                          • billdeg@degnanco.com
                                            Work from a copy of the abs loader and orig BASIC. It will take 30 minutes to load, so as I have said below, this is not a quick demo. Sent from Windows Mail
                                            Message 21 of 25 , Jan 8, 2013
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                                              Work from a copy of the abs loader and orig BASIC.  It will take 30 minutes to load, so as I have said below, this is not a quick demo.
                                               
                                              Sent from Windows Mail
                                               
                                              From: corey986
                                              Sent: ‎January‎ ‎8‎, ‎2013 ‎12‎:‎42‎ ‎PM
                                              To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                                              Subject: [midatlanticretro] Re: Altair 8800 Web Emulator
                                               
                                              Can we set it to 8,n,1 or it is fixed at two stop bits.  No big deal, we can simply put something inbetween to "echo" the data between the two removing the stop bit and maybe changing the rate from 110.  I have to investigate changing the briel from 9600 to 110 baud.  The idea would be to get people to enjoy the fun of toggling in the boot loader and then watching basic load.

                                              I think we are on to something that would be fun for the public, but not risk any real "vintage" stuff" since we would need a MARCH member to actually feed and run the teletype (the real vintage deal).

                                              Let's really think about this and maybe make it a group project for VCF.

                                              Cheers,
                                              Corey



                                              --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, David Gesswein  wrote:
                                              >
                                              > On Tue, Jan 08, 2013 at 11:34:05AM -0500, B. Degnan wrote:
                                              > > The teletype in the museum was converted to rs232.  I don't know if it was
                                              > > also upgraded to a baud faster than 110 8/n/2.  It should be possible to
                                              > > punch a tape of BASIC from the web to the modified machine's punch, and
                                              > > then load basic directly from the tape.  You'd need an absolute loader in
                                              > > ROM or on tape as well.  You could use a switch box to hop over to a glass
                                              > > terminal after the tape loads.
                                              > >
                                              > Its still 110. It was reported that the punch was jamming so if someone
                                              > wants to use is for a demo we should check it out at the next work day.
                                              > I think its only being used as a static exhibit right now.
                                              >




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                                            • corey986
                                              I think it will be fine with the time. I contacted Vince Briel and he s going to help us make the micro work with the teletype. I think this will be fun.
                                              Message 22 of 25 , Jan 8, 2013
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                                                I think it will be fine with the time. I contacted Vince Briel and he's going to help us make the micro work with the teletype.

                                                I think this will be fun. We could have a sign up sheet for people to toggle in the boot loader every 1/2 hour. Will give them real appreciation of "instant on".

                                                --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, wrote:
                                                >
                                                > Work from a copy of the abs loader and orig BASIC. It will take 30 minutes to load, so as I have said below, this is not a quick demo.
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > Sent from Windows Mail
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > From: corey986
                                                > Sent: ‎January‎ ‎8‎, ‎2013 ‎12‎:‎42‎ ‎PM
                                                > To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                                                > Subject: [midatlanticretro] Re: Altair 8800 Web Emulator
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > Can we set it to 8,n,1 or it is fixed at two stop bits. No big deal, we can simply put something inbetween to "echo" the data between the two removing the stop bit and maybe changing the rate from 110. I have to investigate changing the briel from 9600 to 110 baud. The idea would be to get people to enjoy the fun of toggling in the boot loader and then watching basic load.
                                                >
                                                > I think we are on to something that would be fun for the public, but not risk any real "vintage" stuff" since we would need a MARCH member to actually feed and run the teletype (the real vintage deal).
                                                >
                                                > Let's really think about this and maybe make it a group project for VCF.
                                                >
                                                > Cheers,
                                                > Corey
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, David Gesswein wrote:
                                                > >
                                                > > On Tue, Jan 08, 2013 at 11:34:05AM -0500, B. Degnan wrote:
                                                > > > The teletype in the museum was converted to rs232. I don't know if it was
                                                > > > also upgraded to a baud faster than 110 8/n/2. It should be possible to
                                                > > > punch a tape of BASIC from the web to the modified machine's punch, and
                                                > > > then load basic directly from the tape. You'd need an absolute loader in
                                                > > > ROM or on tape as well. You could use a switch box to hop over to a glass
                                                > > > terminal after the tape loads.
                                                > > >
                                                > > Its still 110. It was reported that the punch was jamming so if someone
                                                > > wants to use is for a demo we should check it out at the next work day.
                                                > > I think its only being used as a static exhibit right now.
                                                > >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > ------------------------------------
                                                >
                                                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                                                >
                                              • David Gesswein
                                                ... Does it care about the keyboard parity? I m pretty sure I sent an email with what it is but so far I can t find it. If it does I ll search harder. ... The
                                                Message 23 of 25 , Jan 8, 2013
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                                                  On Wed, Jan 09, 2013 at 01:25:07AM -0000, corey986 wrote:
                                                  > I think it will be fine with the time. I contacted Vince Briel and
                                                  > he's going to help us make the micro work with the teletype.
                                                  >
                                                  Does it care about the keyboard parity? I'm pretty sure I sent an email
                                                  with what it is but so far I can't find it. If it does I'll search harder.

                                                  > but not risk
                                                  > any real "vintage" stuff" since we would need a MARCH member to actually feed
                                                  > and run the teletype (the real vintage deal).
                                                  >
                                                  The mounting the tape on the reader is fiddly and I'm not sure how strong
                                                  the plastic cover is so may be better for a MARCH member for that. I would
                                                  think letting them type on the keyboard is fine.

                                                  It will be interesting to see how this goes. Long demos don't work well
                                                  during the normal show hours so its hard to really convey what usage
                                                  of these machines was really like.
                                                • evan@snarc.net
                                                  ... Yes. We already do that. A few times, when people were experienced or just very interested, I demo d writing/reading to paper tape (just a little). But
                                                  Message 24 of 25 , Jan 8, 2013
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                                                    >> I would think letting them type on the keyboard is fine.

                                                    Yes. We already do that.

                                                    A few times, when people were experienced or just very interested, I demo'd writing/reading to paper tape (just a little).

                                                    But it's been a while, and I forget how to do it!
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