Comment 2S0S Re: Nice toys


Lost lessons from the 8-bit BASIC era


Nice toys (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-09-03 13:20 (#2S0P)

I went thru the C=64/Amiga500/PC route as a teenager. I really liked the C=64 and the Amiga, but they were simple toys compared to even the 286s.

I did like many things about those computers: direct access to video memory, light pens, sprite animations etc, but they lacked seriously in the language/environment department. For example, there was no operating system to call if you wanted to do sound, you had to "poke" some value somewhere, kind of like a modern device driver. The BASIC language was also shitty. After hacking on it for a while, you eventually ran into problems like lack of composite types, pointers, subroutines etc. Anything serious had to be written in assembly and that wasn't the paradise the article mentions.

Amiga-500 was much better, with the Pascal compiler and whatnot. I did have a lot of fun times with that also but there was nothing special about it, really.

What I really miss from that era are the cartridges. You popped one in, and the game/whatever loaded immediately. There were even cartrigdes which extended the computer's functionality but I never got one of those.

Modern computers can boot very fast. My current system boots under 10 seconds, thanks to the SSD in it. What I'd like to see in my life time is the return of cartridges. If we could solve the heat problem, I think we have enough technology to pack a lot of power and space into a cartridge-size box. We could then carry that around to hotels, meetings etc.

Re: Nice toys (Score: 1)

by on 2014-09-03 13:52 (#2S0S)

What I'd like to see in my life time is the return of cartridges.
Isn't that basically what USB thumb drives are? A little stick you can carry around and plug into a terminal. You can even store a whole OS on one and boot right from USB if you want to take your whole PC with you. The limit seems to be drive size (I have a 128 GB drive, which is pretty nice) rather than heat.

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