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Author Topic: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer) (Read 47629 times)

Offline Zozosoft

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #90 on: 2013.February.19. 10:23:20 »
About the EXDOS card: the hw is also developed in the IS? If yes then can you remember how chosen the disk controller IC? Always thought WD1770 or other controllers are in the race? (Earlier WDs or the NEC 765 series)

Offline BruceTanner

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #91 on: 2013.February.19. 10:57:26 »
Quote from: Zozosoft
About the EXDOS card: the hw is also developed in the IS? If yes then can you remember how chosen the disk controller IC? Always thought WD1770 or other controllers are in the race? (Earlier WDs or the NEC 765 series)
Yes IS developed the disk controller card and hw, but No I can't remember why we chose that IC!! It is possible that we did not have a free choice - Enterprise Computers might have wanted to use that particular IC for some reason, I really can't remember, sorry! :(

Offline Zozosoft

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #92 on: 2013.February.19. 14:28:21 »
I asked the controller Ic because of some mystery about the Enterprise floppy plans.
This is the unit that we see on lots of photos:
8651-0
It is very nice design! I love the green buttons, these look like the green cap of the EP64 joystick! I really want one :-)

The Technical Answers talks about a very strange disk format:
8653-1
Single sided, 70 tracks??? Firstly I thought it is mistyped :oops:
Later when searching for Apricot information, I found first 3.5" floppy drive: Sony OA-D30V (technical details)
In the Apricots used Sony OA-32V, these are a single sided, 70 tracks!
Comparised the Sony drive photos with the Enterprise drive unit: very likely the unit is designed for these drives.
It is ok, but a big problem: these drives rotating at 600 rpm then needed a 500Kbit/sec transfer speed instead of the normal 250Kbit (for DD). From the WD controler family the WD279x series can handle this, Apricots used these ICs.
Second problem: the 4Mhz Z80 is not enough fast for the 500Kbit*, especially when working in the delayed video memory. Then DMA controller needed, or least 6Mhz Z80. With this plan the EXDOS are very different than the final version!
(The later 300rpm 3.5" drives solved the transfer speed problem.)

* I known it because I made a Turbo circuit for the EXDOS, WD1772 overclocked to 16Mhz can handle the HD disk at 500Kbit/sec transfer speed. But needed least 6Mhz Enterprise to do this. (Many years later I found the Atari ST users do the same thing with WD1772.)
« Last Edit: 2013.February.19. 14:49:22 by szipucsu »

Offline BruceTanner

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #93 on: 2013.February.19. 14:45:34 »
Interesting...I don't remember encountering this problem (ie. disks too fast for the Z80) but I think at the time 3.5" drives were just coming onto the market and the design of case of the unit in the photo was well ahead of the EXDOS software even being started...I expect someone in Sales & Marketing thought it would be a good idea to use the faster disks and so put it in a press announcement!

I always thought the design of the disks and other "extras" were rather square and boxy compared to the sexy curves of the Enterprise itself :smt103 They could at least have rounded the corners off!
« Last Edit: 2013.February.19. 14:50:29 by szipucsu, Reason: Long quotation from the previous post is not needed. »

Offline Zozosoft

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #94 on: 2013.February.19. 15:00:17 »
Quote from: BruceTanner
I always thought the design of the disks and other "extras" were rather square and boxy compared to the sexy curves of the Enterprise itself :smt103 They could at least have rounded the corners off!
These not designed by the Hollington's team?

Offline BruceTanner

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #95 on: 2013.February.19. 15:24:16 »
Quote from: Zozosoft
These not designed by the Hollington's team?
I don't know!

Offline Zozosoft

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #96 on: 2013.February.19. 15:31:49 »
The IS just got the dummy units before the launch event?

Offline BruceTanner

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #97 on: 2013.February.19. 15:39:33 »
Quote from: Zozosoft
The IS just got the dummy units before the launch event?
Yes if I recall correctly they had dummy disk drive units long before EXDOS was started. I didn't see them, just photos in magazines etc, so I think there was probably just a one-off mock-up of the plastic case (to be fair you do need to go through this stage long before you are ready for production).

Offline BruceTanner

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #98 on: 2013.February.19. 15:42:32 »
Quote from: BruceTanner
I always thought the design of the disks and other "extras" were rather square and boxy compared to the sexy curves of the Enterprise itself :smt103 They could at least have rounded the corners off!
But what do I know?...I know about beauty and elegance in code, not plastic! :smt047 Though you might not find much beauty in your EXDOS disassemblies! :oops:

Offline Zozosoft

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #99 on: 2013.February.19. 22:13:41 »
Quote from: BruceTanner
Though you might not find much beauty in your EXDOS disassemblies! :oops:
On the contrary! It is well structured and great to see how the EXDOS is built up from modules (CLI, FISH, DISKIO, etc). And I always enjoy finding nice tricks to reduce the code! In modern times, programmers are unable to appreciate some saved bytes! They say: if you do not have enough then buy more RAM, HDD, CPU...
« Last Edit: 2013.February.25. 19:57:15 by szipucsu »

Offline Tuby128

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #100 on: 2013.February.20. 14:35:15 »
Hello Mr Tanner!

 Were any women employed by Intelligent Software in the old days? When I see the photo and read your memories, noticed everybody was "masculine".
At that time, weren't there female programmers?

 I'm curious about your child. Do you intend to show her the Enterprise computer? I was 3 when my father bought one, and this computer with the many games, and the well written IS-BASIC environment, was inspirative to learn deal with a computer and later the progamming itself. Of course my BASIC self-training (from very good Hungarian books) started when I learned reading (about age of 7) but I think before that I could write a program like that bellow, and I remember when I switched on the computer I typed it every time. (You know, practice makes perfectly.)
10 TEXT
20 FOR A=1 TO 10
30 PRINT "Janika okos gyerek"
40 NEXT

 The text in the line 30 means: "Johnny (that's my name) is a smart kid". As I remember my father showed me how to write a for cycle with print, and I "improved" it, to enrich my self confidence. :-)
 By the way, the black screen with the green letters was a perfect choice. This "desktop theme" you choosen, wasn't straining for a child's eyes, when programming 16 hours in BASIC on a color TV (only for fun, and to amaze my father).

 I want to thank you for what you did, and the way you done, Sir! From now, you became my ideal.
« Last Edit: 2013.February.25. 20:25:15 by szipucsu »

Offline BruceTanner

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #101 on: 2013.February.20. 15:30:21 »
Hi Tuby128,

Thank you for your kind comments. And very gratifying to hear your story.

You are right, there were very few women programmers in those days, so the only female employees at IS were did things like company admin. There were no female "techies". In the years since IS I have worked with a few women programmers but it is still quite rare. Is Hungary any better?

I only received my Enterprise bought off eBay this morning so haven't got it working yet, but I'm sure my daughter will love playing on it! She's only 4 but she loves the "paint" program on my desktop PC, but her little hand is too small to operate the mouse. So yes, I will try her with the Enterprise!
« Last Edit: 2013.February.20. 17:23:23 by MrPrise »

Offline Zozosoft

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #102 on: 2013.February.20. 15:48:28 »
Quote from: BruceTanner
Is Hungary any better?
When I learned at programing school (1989-1993) there were about four times more boys than girls.
« Last Edit: 2013.February.25. 20:27:57 by szipucsu »

Offline Tuby128

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #103 on: 2013.February.20. 16:00:06 »
I recommend to show her the cute game called Sorcery and another called Claudron. I loved these games at age of 4. Have you got external joystick with the computer? It's necessary to enjoy any game.

Offline BruceTanner

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #104 on: 2013.February.20. 20:09:36 »
Quote from: Tuby128
I recommend to show her the cute game called Sorcery and another called Claudron. I loved these games at age of 4. Have you got external joystick with the computer? It's necessary to enjoy any game.
Thank you for the tips- I will do that! No external joystick yet but I can work on that!