Enterprise Forever

:UK => Hall of Fame => Topic started by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.11. 00:11:59

Title: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.11. 00:11:59
Hello,

I have just discovered your forum and thought I would introduce myself.

Nearly 30 years ago I worked as a programmer at Intelligent Software in the UK, and I wrote the IS-BASIC for the Enterprise. I then went on to write large parts of EXDOS and IS-DOS, and then moved on to BASIC and VT-DOS for the Videoton TVC. I also wrote FORTH for the Enterprise - does anyone still have that?

I am amazed to find the Enterprise still living on!

Unfortunately I never got to keep any source code, or even an Enterprise computer. What's more, it was so long ago I cannot remember many technical details - reading through your forum has brought back many things I had forgotten. By all means ask questions but I don't think I will be able to answer them - you lot know more it than me now!

Keep up the good work!

Edit 2013-03-11: changed topic title to be more meaningful
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: endi on 2013.February.11. 00:31:21
wow, welcome!
isbasic is a very very good thing
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: PiotrSoft on 2013.February.11. 06:31:39
i thank my old friend the best eight-bit basic!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: PiotrSoft on 2013.February.11. 06:38:02
Ohhh!
STOP ! 
STOP!

I understand the spirit of TVC is not developed in Hungary?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: geco on 2013.February.11. 08:50:37
Welcome here :)
That is very strange you could not keep the source codes :(, or you did not get an Enterprise at least.
Why did you give this name to the topic? :)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.11. 09:06:41
Quote from: PiotrSoft
I understand the spirit of TVC is not developed in Hungary?
You not know it previously? The Videoton bought the licence from the Enterprise company. The TVC is the "Socialist Enterprise" :-D
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: PiotrSoft on 2013.February.11. 09:17:39
Zozo ok! I'ts clean. surprised that genuine. :ds_icon_cheesygrin:
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.11. 09:30:43
Welcome Bruce!

It's great to meet one of the developers who is made this fantastic computer!

Quote
Unfortunately I never got to keep any source code, or even an Enterprise computer.
:-(
It is possible you have any Enterprise related relics? (Documents, letters, advertisments, anything else)

Quote
By all means ask questions but I don't think I will be able to answer them - you lot know more it than me now!
I think in historical questions you know more than we! We are very interested how born our favorite computer (and the Hungarian brother)! I hope you can add lot of valuable informations to the Enterprise history!

Google Translate not problem, it is works usable, and the English speaking members can correct for the non English speaking others.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.11. 09:43:25
There is the first question, I hope it is easy :-)

In the EXOS is a Easter egg: if you set the Status Line system variable to 42 then the developers initials are displayed in the status line.
[attach=1]

Now we know who is the 'BT' :-)
Do you know the names for the other initials?

(And why 42? The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? :-) )
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.11. 11:44:54
> Why did you give this name to the topic?

Attempt at humour - maybe lost in translation or cultures!

>Ohhh!
>STOP !
>STOP!

>I understand the spirit of TVC is not developed in Hungary?

You can sleep easy - the spirit was developed in Hungary - just not the code! I just wrote what what Videoton asked for. TVC BASIC was a complete re-write to be smaller and faster but it "borrowed" parts from IS-BASIC, such as the BCD maths routines. I wanted to re-write those too to use the smaller and faster floating point formats that other machines of the time used, but I was not allowed!

It is a strange twist of fate that someone working in a small company in the UK ended up writing much of the software for Hungary's two best-selling computers at the time!


>It is possible you have any Enterprise related relics? (Documents, letters, advertisments, anything else)

Sadly no, the only thing I have is a copy of "Your Computer" that you already have at the top of this page http://enterprise.iko.hu/articles.htm. In the photo on the 4th page of the article I am at the top left (a bit older now!). We had worked all through the night getting things ready for the launch so are not looking our best!

Intelligent Software was a separate company to Enterprise Computers, and when Enterprise Computers got into difficulties they didn't pay IS what they owed, and IS went bankrupt. There was no warning - one day we turned up for work as usual, the next we were told not to go in. No chance to "save" anything!


>SET STATUS 42

Ha ha I had forgotten about that! And yes you are quite right 42 is the answer to life, the universe and everything from The Hithiker's Guide! Yes I am BT, the other main one is MrL who is Martin Lea. He wrote EXOS and also the low-level and File System (FISH) parts of EXDOS. GNH is probably Gavin who wrote the graphics routines in his summer holidays from university. Sorry I can't remember the others! In the "Your Computer" photo Martin is on the bottom row 4th from the left, and Gavin with long hair is next to him.

EDIT: I now think GNH's name is Gary, not Gavin!

I will attempt to write some memories of the time and post them here, but you will have to give me a few days to find time.

Edit 2012-03-11: Have change topic title to be more meaningful
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.11. 12:20:21
Quote from: BruceTanner
TVC BASIC was a complete re-write to be smaller and faster but it "borrowed" parts from IS-BASIC
What is the situation with the EXDOS and VTDOS? About how many percentage of the code is same?

When the EXDOS accesses the disk for the first time, you hear a special sound effect by the head stepping (it is because checking for double stepping). Other systems don't do the same, only the EXDOS and VTDOS! For the first hearing you know these are brother systems :-)

Quote
It is a strange twist of fate that someone working in a small company in the UK ended up writing much of the software for Hungary's two best-selling computers at the time!

Have you ever been to Hungary?

Quote
Intelligent Software was a separate company to Enterprise Computers
Did the Enterprise Computers make the hw and did it order the sw from the Intelligent Software?

How and when did the sw development begin? Did you get a prototype computer or just the specifications?

Which system was used to develope software? Another - for example - CP/M computer?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: MrPrise on 2013.February.11. 12:25:12
Hey Bruce,
You did not mention you had worked on the Enterprise when asked me to create your account.
Of course stating your profession is not a requirement to have an account :-)
I'm just surprised and glad to read someone's posts here who actually worked on the Enterprise!
Welcome and thank you for the work you have done for the Enterprise!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.11. 14:15:32
Quote from: Zozosoft
What is the situation with the EXDOS and VTDOS? About how many percentage of the code is same?
When the EXDOS accesses the disk for the first time, you hear a special sound effect by the head stepping (it is because checking for double stepping). Other systems don't do the same, only the EXDOS and VTDOS! For the first hearing you know these are brother systems :-)

Quite a large percentage, as you have guessed! As much as possible in fact. I can't remember the differences between EXDOS and VTDOS but in general the TVC had to be cheaper than the Enterprise, which meant smaller ROMs so "cut down" versions of the software. I remember working on VTDOS after Enterprise and IS had collapsed; 5 of us from IS had set up a new company Madge Networks to do token ring networking in the IBM PC world, but I carried on with the TVC for a while longer.

Quote
Have you ever been to Hungary?

No, I had never had anything to do with Hungary before! Obviously I knew the TVC was for Hungary but it was only some years later that I discovered that the Enterprise had been sold in Hungary too.

Quote
Did the Enterprise Computers make the hw and did it order the sw from the Intelligent Software?

IS was a design company, so we generally handed over hw schematics and ROM chips and the customer dealt with the manufacturing and marketing. Before the Enterprise all IS's work had been for chess computers of various sorts for various customers. The Enterprise was a complicated piece of hardware because it included the Nick and Dave chips of course but it was still up to Enterprise to get it into production. Things like Entersoft and the application tips were all organised by Enterprise, I don't remember even knowing about them at the time.

Quote
How and when did the sw development begin? Did you get a prototype computer or just the specifications?

I will answer that when I write my memories of the time if you don't mind because it is more complicated than you'd think!

Quote
Which system was used to develope software? Another - for example - CP/M computer?

I remember using an original IBM PC to keep the source files on 5 1/4" disks and do the Z80 cross-assembly but I don't remember what Z80 system we used. Possibly a Z80 card that went into the IBM PC. We must have had CP/M systems around too, especially when we did IS-DOS, but I can't remember what they were. BASIC development was underway long before we had prototypes bacause the Nick and Dave chip were quite late arriving. For quite a while we were writing software just by blowing EPROMs...not many debugging facilities! Maybe that was when we first got prototypes, which were big wire-wrap crates about 30cm cubed. Shhhh....at the "launch" (when the Your Computer photo was taken) there was the Enterprise on a desk and a big screen with some fancy graphics demos...but one of these big prototypes hidden under the desk!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.11. 14:17:38
Quote from: MrPrise
Hey Bruce,
You did not mention you had worked on the Enterprise when asked me to create your account.
Of course stating your profession is not a requirement to have an account :-)
I'm just surprised and glad to read someone's posts here who actually worked on the Enterprise!
Welcome and thank you for the work you have done for the Enterprise!
No I didn't...surprise! :) I didn't want to say everything to you and then say it all over again on the forum!

Thank you for the warm welcome, and thank you everyone for the good comments about the Enterprise.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: MrPrise on 2013.February.11. 15:23:00
Quote from: BruceTanner
No I didn't...surprise! :)
It was a pleasant surprise, thanks!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.11. 16:23:07
Quote from: BruceTanner
Maybe that was when we first got prototypes, which were big wire-wrap crates about 30cm cubed. Shhhh....at the "launch" (when the Your Computer photo was taken) there was the Enterprise on a desk and a big screen with some fancy graphics demos...but one of these big prototypes hidden under the desk!
This means the hardwares on this photo (http://enterprise.iko.hu/articles/Egg_on_faces_as_Elan_turns_into_Flan.jpg) (and lots of similar photos) are just empty cases? About when was the first real Enterprise produced? We know 100 machines (which are not the final version) sent to software developers in Nov/Dec 1984. (Marked NOT FOR RESALE (http://enterprise.iko.hu/inventory/_64_000043.jpg))
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.11. 18:51:30
Quote from: Zozosoft
This means the hardwares on this photo (http://enterprise.iko.hu/articles/Egg_on_faces_as_Elan_turns_into_Flan.jpg) (and many similar photos) are just empty cases? About when the first real Enterprise is ready? We know 100 machines (which is not the final version) sent to software developers at Nov/Dec 1984. (Marked NOT FOR RESALE (http://enterprise.iko.hu/inventory/_64_000043.jpg))
Quite possibly, and the disk drive and expansion boxes almost certainly :roll:! I'm really hazy on dates (well it was 30 years ago) but wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_(computer)) says it was "launched to the press" in September 1983 and the photo in Your Computer was in the Jan 1984 issue, so any photos around that time will definitely use a dummy unit. I think the 100 machines were the first off the production line and would have been sent out as soon as they had been tested, so any photos before then are definitely suspicious! I think there were only 2 wire-wrapped prototypes (they built 3 but one couldn't be made to work if I recall correctly) and one, possibly both, were in full-time use for BASIC and EXOS development. They were rather delicate and would not have been moved around all over the place, apart from to the "launch" which was only just down the road.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.11. 20:26:15
Quote from: BruceTanner
2 wire-wrapped prototypes
These are fully functioning machines or limited capabilities for example less graphics or sound? Or just the opposite, the final machine has less ability because insufficient space in the custom chips?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.11. 20:46:34
Quote from: Zozosoft
These are fully functioning machines or limited capabilities for example less graphics or sound?
Or just the opposite, the final machine has less ability because insufficient space in the custom chips?
They were the same - they were really prototypes of Nick and Dave to prove the design before being committed to silicon. They had problems though due to the signal path lengths and were difficult to get working, but they did their job - the Nick and Dave chips both worked and we were able to get on with the sw while the chips were being made. At some point there must have been a great moment where "ok" first appeared using a real Nick and Dave, but I don't remember it :( maybe I'd given the hw guys an EPROM and I wasn't actually there.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: MrPrise on 2013.February.12. 00:20:38
I removed the Hungarian content and moved the topic into it's proper place. Please use only English in this topic from now on.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: MrPrise on 2013.February.12. 00:24:48
Bruce,
What do you do in the present? Have you worked on other machines too (beside EP and TVC)?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.12. 01:00:05
Quote from: MrPrise
I removed the Hungarian content and moved the topic into it's proper place. Please use only English in this topic from now on.
Thank you for doing that MrPrise, that makes life much easier for me and makes the forum replies clearer.

I hope google is translating ok...I have had some pretty strange translations from Hungarian!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.12. 01:16:03
Quote from: MrPrise
Bruce,
What do you do in the present? Have you worked on other machines too (beside EP and TVC)?
After Enterprise Computers went bankrupt, taking Intelligent Software with them, five of us started a new company called Madge Networks. The five were Robert Madge (former Technical Director at IS), me, Martin Lea (EXOS), Mark Richer (who wrote Enterprise LISP and is bottom left in the Your Computer photo) and Rob Stubbs a hw engineer. IBM had just announced their networking for the original IBM PC and it used a technology called Token Ring, which was technically superior and more robust than Ethernet. So we developed a range of compatible network adapters for the IBM PC and the later IBM AT. Over the next 10 years we were quite successful and grew the company to over 2000 employees worldwide. I left at it's peak - ethernet took over, specially once 100mbps was available (token ring could only go upto 16mbps), and token ring gradually declined along with Madge Networks.

These days I do something very different indeed - working for a wildlife hospital that rescues and releases injured wildlife. I still do the occasional bit of programming just for my own interest but with a 4 year old daughter too I don't have time to do a lot :cry:
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: geco on 2013.February.12. 09:21:47
And IBM used token ring till 2004 :D
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.12. 10:13:13
Quote from: geco
And IBM used token ring till 2004 :D
Thank you, I didn't know that! Banks and other large financial organisations always liked token ring because it was more reliable. Part of that reliability came from "star wiring" where each computer goes to a central hub where a faulty connection can be removed from the network, sometimes automatically. These days Ethernet is always done like that anyway thus removing one of the key advantages of TR. Ethernet cabling is smaller and cheaper, the hardware in the computer is cheaper and of course it works at 100mbps so I'm surprised TR lasted that long!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.12. 10:19:09
Quote from: BruceTanner
five of us started a new company called Madge Networks. The five were Robert Madge (former Technical Director at IS), me, Martin Lea (EXOS), Mark Richer (who wrote Enterprise LISP and is bottom left in the Your Computer photo) and Rob Stubbs a hw engineer
I found a photo of the team! (http://thinkingproblemmanagement.blogspot.hu/2009/03/orginal-madge-networks-engineering-team.html)

Do you have a contact with your old friends?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: geco on 2013.February.12. 10:21:11
Quote from: BruceTanner
Ethernet cabling is smaller and cheaper, the hardware in the computer is cheaper and of course it works at 100mbps so I'm surprised TR lasted that long!
At least in our building :D Sorry for the off :)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: MrPrise on 2013.February.12. 10:40:48
Quote from: BruceTanner
These days I do something very different indeed - working for a wildlife hospital that rescues and releases injured wildlife.
That is awesome. I wouldn't have guessed that.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.12. 12:14:34
Quote from: BruceTanner
"launched to the press" in September 1983
There is the exact date:
[attach=1]

You wrote: in the launch party one of the wire-wrapped prototypes worked under the desk. This means at this time the sw parts is usable and (near) ready to release? Only waiting for the real Nick and Dave chips? If the chip manufacturing problems not coming then the Enterprise is in the shops at the 1983 Christmas?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.12. 12:55:26
Quote from: Zozosoft
I found a photo of the team! (http://thinkingproblemmanagement.blogspot.hu/2009/03/orginal-madge-networks-engineering-team.html)

Do you have a contact with your old friends?
Wow! Thank you so much - I saw that photo many years ago but did not have my own copy - until now! I am very grateful to you for finding that!

I lost contact with most of the others when I left Madge, except for Mark Richer who left at the same time as me and we worked together for another decade or so. We now live at opposite sides of the country.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.12. 13:13:44
Quote from: Zozosoft
There is the exact date:
(Attachment)

You wrote: in the launch party one of the wire-wrapped prototypes worked under the desk. This means at this time the sw parts is usable and (near) ready to release? Only waiting for the real Nick and Dave chips? If the chip manufacturing problems not coming then the Enterprise is in the shops at the 1983 Christmas?
I am amazed you are finding these things! There were lots of delays for lots of reasons and it was some time between the press announcement and the machines in the shops - these delays were Enterprise Computers downfall really. Even without the Nick and Dave delays, the press announcement was way too early - we only just got the wire-wrapped prototype working in time, that is why most of us had been working through the night! Most of IS-BASIC was working because that just requires character I/O to develop, but EXOS and graphics routines etc needed a working prototype to develop - I doubt we could have shipped sw able to be sold by Christmas 1983. There was also the legal issue over the original Elan name, when they changed it to Flan by altering the E! I don't know if it translates well into Hungarian but a flan in English is a kind of pie or tart, a silly name for a computer! (Or maybe no more silly than Apple?)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.12. 13:38:04
Few weeks ago somebody uploaded a video to Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSUsoX1IJU4), with this description "Video (from original VHS) used at the launch of the Enterprise at the Plasterers Hall, London on 14th September 1983"
Now after your informations I think this video is more later.
Do you ever seen this video? Any idea for the right date?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.12. 14:37:55
Quote from: Zozosoft
Few weeks ago somebody uploaded a video to Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSUsoX1IJU4), with this description "Video (from original VHS) used at the launch of the Enterprise at the Plasterers Hall, London on 14th September 1983"
Now after your informations I think this video is more later.
Do you ever seen this video? Any idea for the right date?
Interesting...that seems to be the the event your earlier poster refers to at Plaisterers Hall. I don't think that's the "launch" I'm thinking of. The software there looks more finished than the one I remember! I'm pretty sure the event I'm thinking of was at the London Hippodrome http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippodrome,_London (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippodrome,_London) (now a casino) because it was within walking distance of our office in Bedford Square, London, and we all walked down, looking so scruffy having been up all night that the door men would not let us in at first! Wikipedia says "Renovated yet again, the building was reopened as a nightclub/restaurant called "The London Hippodrome" by nightclub tycoon Peter Stringfellow in 1983" and it did feel nightclub-ish. And I think it would have still been called the Elan Enterprise then.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.12. 14:57:25
Quote from: BruceTanner
Interesting...that seems to be the the event your earlier poster refers to at Plaisterers Hall. I don't think that's the "launch" I'm thinking of. The software there looks more finished than the one I remember! I'm pretty sure the event I'm thinking of was at the London Hippodrome http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippodrome,_London (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippodrome,_London) (now a casino) because it was within walking distance of our office in Bedford Square, London, and we all walked down, looking so scruffy having been up all night that the door men would not let us in at first! Wikipedia says "Renovated yet again, the building was reopened as a nightclub/restaurant called "The London Hippodrome" by nightclub tycoon Peter Stringfellow in 1983" and it did feel nightclub-ish. And I think it would have still been called the Elan Enterprise then.
I've just been reading that article in Your Computer Jan 1984 that contains the photo taken at the event I am thinking of. It says "From the outside the Elan Enterprise looked complete by the beginning of September and it was time for the press launch which went smoothly - apart from the crisis caused by the late arrival of the rubber membranes [for the keyboard]." ... "But although the case and the hardware inside were ready at the launch there was a limit to what could be demonstrated beyond the range of colours available on screen and how smoothly they could be scrolled. The Basic, which has taken two years to write to try to meet the specifications of the American National Standards Institute, was running on other machines but had not yet been implemented on the Elan." ... "Elan expects to have Forth, Lisp and assembler available when the Enterprise is launched"

So it sounds like there were two launches! The "Your Computer" launch that I remember, and a later one of the invitation and video. We know the later one was on 14th September 1983 but I haven't managed to pin down the date of the earlier one - it can't have been that much earlier as Your Computer was Jan 1984 (remembering magazines are usually published the month before the title, so it would have been available in shops in December 1983).
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.12. 15:28:10
Quote from: BruceTanner
that seems to be the the event your earlier poster refers to at Plaisterers Hall.
That is talking about a banquet. Probably the launch with the technical demonstration is in the Hippodrome as you remember and then a banquet for a selected guests in the Plaisterers Hall?


Quote from: BruceTanner
The software there looks more finished than the one I remember!
Yes the softwares (Cyruss Chess, Starstrike 3D, Jack's House of cards, Hisoft GEN-MON, Happy Numbers) looks like the known final versions. We known these with 1984-85 release years. Therefore suspect that this is more later video than your launch. It is also suspected no ELAN name in the video.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.12. 15:40:55
Quote from: BruceTanner
most of us had been working through the night!
This is a special case or happened it many times during the Enterprise project?
Totally about how many work hours in the IS-BASIC, EXOS, EXDOS, etc?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.12. 16:00:38
Quote from: Zozosoft
This is a special case or happened it many times during the Enterprise project?
Totally about how many work hours in the IS-BASIC, EXOS, EXDOS, etc?
It happened a few times before deadlines etc but not too often, thankfully!

Our working ours were very flexible though - no set start or finish time. Usually we started mid morning and went on well into the evening. There were night buses in London at the time (probably still are) and I often caught the 2:30am night bus home. We worked well over the minimum 40-hour week, and I certainly did a 100-hour week more than once. Although it was "work" I think we all enjoyed it - I said at the time I would have done it even if I wasn't being paid for it (and we were paid well).

I couldn't begin to guess the total number of hours in the sw! It would have been complicated by the fact that not only did it have to be written, it had to fit in the available ROM space, and I spent quite a lot of time re-writing already working code just to make it a bit smaller.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.12. 16:49:52
Quote from: BruceTanner
Although it was "work" I think we all enjoyed it - I said at the time I would have done it even if I wasn't being paid for it
This is what we always feel when using or programing the Enterprise computer! This machine is made with heart and soul!

Quote from: BruceTanner
not only did it have to be written, it had to fit in the available ROM space, and I spent quite a lot of time re-writing already working code just to make it a bit smaller.
I'm working on the EXDOS disassembly (I hope you don't mind) and found many tricks of these, and very enjoyed it!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.12. 16:58:32
Quote from: Zozosoft
I'm working on the EXDOS disassembly (I hope you don't mind)
:smt021! Wow! Good luck! I wish I could remember more detail to help you but it was sooo long ago!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.13. 09:44:01
Quote from: BruceTanner
 There was also the legal issue over the original Elan name, when they changed it to Flan by altering the E! I don't know if it translates well into Hungarian but a flan in English is a kind of pie or tart, a silly name for a computer! (Or maybe no more silly than Apple?)
Probably the naming is not the strongest capatibility of the Elan-Flan-Enterprise company :-)
Now I noticed in the Technical Answers (from 1984 March) (http://enterprise.iko.hu/brochures/TECHNICAL_ANSWERS.pdf) the operating system called as EROS (see point 34 and 35). Fortunately somebody noticed the Greek mythology and say this is not too good name :-)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.13. 11:10:02
Quote from: Zozosoft
Probably the naming is not the strongest capatibility of the Elan-Flan-Enterprise company :-)
Now I noticed in the Technical Answers (from 1984 March) (http://enterprise.iko.hu/brochures/TECHNICAL_ANSWERS.pdf) the operating system called as EROS (see point 34 and 35). Fortunately somebody noticed the Greek mythology and say this is not too good name :-)
That is very sharp eyed of you :shock:! And is another thing I had forgotten! EROS (Elan Rom Operating System) was a name we (the developers) chose following a long tradition of naming the computer OS after Greek mythology. It was the Enterprise marketing men who demanded it was changed to EXOS (Enterprise eXtendable Operating System). I suppose they can be forgiven for being a bit nervous about naming!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.13. 15:14:37
Quote from: BruceTanner
I am amazed to find the Enterprise still living on!
How did you find our forum? And before finding us what do you know about the life of the Enterprise after the UK companies are closed?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: MrPrise on 2013.February.13. 15:18:26
Very good question. I'm also curious about this.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.13. 23:02:56
Quote from: Zozosoft
How did you find our forum? And before finding us what do you know about the life of the Enterprise after the UK companies are closed?
Quote from: MrPrise
Very good question. I'm also curious about this.
Because Intelligent Software was separate from Enterprise Computers, I actually knew surprisingly little about what Enterprise Computers did. In fact it was some years after their collapse that I heard that it had become popular in Hungary. I read somewhere (possibly here!) just a few days ago that after the collapse the remaining 20,000 units were shipped to Hungary - that was news to me! I'm still confused about how Germany fits in with this - there seem to be German Enterprises around with German keyboard layouts (slightly different to the normal UK layout) and translated German software.

I found your forum just by google. I just wondered one day if any Enterprises ever came up on eBay (and was very surprised at the prices they fetched!). So then I did some more googling and found wikipedia had an entry for the Enterprise, which also surprised me, and found your wonderful forum which surprised me even more!

I use google's Chrome browser under Windows which has an auto-translate feature, which was very useful! :)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.14. 00:10:16
Quote from: BruceTanner
I heard that it had become popular in Hungary.
I think it is the third most popular 8 bit machine after the C64 and Zx Spectrum!
Enterprise launch in Hungary at 1987 May 19.
And there is our cake (http://www.ep128.hu/Album/Pic/Ep_Klub_31.jpg) at the 20th anniversary :-D

Quote
I'm still confused about how Germany fits in with this - there seem to be German Enterprises around with German keyboard layouts (slightly different to the normal UK layout) and translated German software.
It is very interesting you not heard about the Enterprise Computers Gmbh!
It is started at 1985 August 13. the news is in the Private Enterprise magazine Issue 2 (http://enterprise.iko.hu/magazines.htm) at page 5.
And it is still alive after the UK Enterprise bankrupt. Currently don't know when closed, but in the early 90's years is still working. It is continued the developing. We heard about a new Enterprise model is under development but never see :-( talked about a PC like case with separated keyboard, Hitachi Super Z80, EXOS 3.0 with EGI (Enterprise Graphical Interface), onboard EXDOS, etc...

The German company never call the original developers for continuing the work?

If the German keyboard is new for you, what do you think about these? (http://enterpriseforever.com/hardver/ep64/msg6817/#msg6817) :-)

Quote
I just wondered one day if any Enterprises ever came up on eBay (and was very surprised at the prices they fetched!)
Do you looking for own one? I can send one if you want!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.14. 00:58:37
Quote from: Zozosoft
I think it is the third most popular 8 bit machine after the C64 and Zx Spectrum!
Enterprise launch in Hungary at 1987 May 19.
And there is our cake (http://www.ep128.hu/Album/Pic/Ep_Klub_31.jpg) at the 20th anniversary :-D
It is very interesting you not heard about the Enterprise Computers Gmbh!
It is started at 1985 August 13. the news is in the Private Enterprise magazine Issue 2 (http://enterprise.iko.hu/magazines.htm) at page 5.
And it is still alive after the UK Enterprise bankrupt. Currently don't know when closed, but in the early 90's years is still working. It is continued the developing. We heard about a new Enterprise model is under development but never see :-( talked about a PC like case with separated keyboard, Hitachi Super Z80, EXOS 3.0 with EGI (Enterprise Graphical Interface), onboard EXDOS, etc...

The German company never call the original developers for continuing the work?

If the German keyboard is new for you, what do you think about these? (http://enterpriseforever.com/hardver/ep64/msg6817/#msg6817) :-)
Do you looking for own one? I can send one if you want!
Wow! Love that cake! Looks like that joystick might be more robust than the original! :)

It is possible I did a version of IS-BASIC with German error messages but I can't remember doing it. I didn't know Enterprise Gmbh continued after Enterprise UK collapsed, that is a surprise! That new Enterprise model would have been awesome!

It just goes to show how insulated we were in IS from what Enterprise Computers were doing.

I'm sure we had nothing more to do with the Enterprise after the collapse of IS and Enterprise UK...we were very busy with our next venture! I have often thought how few software iterations there were - normally there is a continual cycle of bug fixes and releases with software. In my memory it just didn't happen much, I always assumed because it just ended at the collapse. There is a huge amount of hand-written assembly in IS-BASIC, EXOS and EXDOS - there must be loads of bugs!

And I definitely have never seen that Arabic keyboard! Does it print from right to left on the screen?

That is very kind of you to offer to send me an Enterprise - thank you very much - I will get back to you about that. I have just bid on one on Ebay that also has a FORTH cartridge which is the first I have seen since I have been looking, so I will wait to see what happens. I am more proud of the FORTH than the BASIC - it was way faster than the other FORTHs around at the time, even the FORTH-only Jupiter ACE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jupiter_Ace). IS-BASIC has a lot of good features, but speed is not one of them!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.14. 10:47:31
Quote from: BruceTanner
It is possible I did a version of IS-BASIC with German error messages but I can't remember doing it.
Your memory is good! The German messages are in the language expansion ROM, this also contains a new KEYBOARD device and character set, and EXOS command and variables for switching the language. Later Hungarian, Spanish and Danish versions were made.

But what your team did: built in the capabilities into the EXOS and BASIC for the extension programs can handle the messages.
This is the miracle of the Enterprise: everything can be expanded!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.14. 12:08:43
Quote from: BruceTanner
There is a huge amount of hand-written assembly in IS-BASIC, EXOS and EXDOS - there must be loads of bugs!
Yes we know some bugs but there are surprisingly few! I fixed some of them.
The funniest one is in the EXDOS:
[attach=1]
[attach=2]
[attach=3]
:-D

In the EXOS 2.0 there is a very spectacular bug at the startup: at the power on the Nick registers filled with random values, and the EXOS 2.0 not set the border to black before the RAM test. This means most of the screen is filled with random border color.
This bug is fixed in the EXOS 2.1 but I don't understand why it had not been noticed previously by the developers.
But now when you talked about the wired prototypes I got a idea: it is possible the wired prototype started with zero filled registers and the problem became visible only after the real Nick chips had arrived?

Quote
And I definitely have never seen that Arabic keyboard! Does it print from right to left on the screen?
Unfortunately we only know: 4000 EP64 went to Egypt. Lately one English man worked in Egypt and bought old computers in flea market and sold in Ebay. These arabic EP-s are from him. The machine works as a normal English machine.
I asked him if he had ever seen Arabic sw for these but he said he had never found any EP sw.
Probably originally the Arabic expansion could be found on cassette tape (I think it's no problem to write "right-to-left" VIDEO device), and these tapes are lost during the long time. But it is also possible that the Arabic expansion was only a future plan...

But it any case, the Arabic keyboard looks very interesting :-)

We also know 3000 Enterprises went to Sovietunion, but don't know if these are cyrillic?

Quote
also has a FORTH cartridge which is the first I have seen since I have been looking, so I will wait to see what happens.
If you don't win it, then I also can make Forth EPROM, we have the ROM image. (And I also have an original tape version.)

Quote
I am more proud of the FORTH than the BASIC
Do you want to start an IS-FORTH course for the beginners? Unfortunately we know very little about the FORTH :-(


Quote
IS-BASIC has a lot of good features, but speed is not one of them!
Yes, some more Mhz make it better. In Hungary there are 6 and 7.12Mhz Turbo Enterprises, too :-)
But why was the Enterprise not released originaly with 6Mhz CPU? This design is originally ready for this!
Only the oscillator needed replacing, Z80B instead the Z80A, and modify only one bit in the EXOS (for Dave initialized with 6Mhz frequency). After the long delays this 50% extra speed was some compensation and some advantages over competitors.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.14. 20:53:51
Quote from: Zozosoft
 After the long delays this 50% extra speed was some compensation and some advantages over competitors.
:oops: but :lol: at the same time!

You may well be right about the border colour. Another possibility is either a different batch of Nick chips with the first batch happening to power up with the register at zero by accident, but not the later batch. Another possibility is just slightly different conditions as the Enterprise comes out of reset eg. different capacitor values on the reset line or different properties of the power supply. I have seen problems with this sort of thing since - it's easy to write a program that forgets to initialise a variable because it always powers up as zero, only for a production change to change that and break the sw.

I would probably need a manual for my own FORTH because I cannot remember enough about it from all those years ago! It's a very efficient language and in the hands of a skilled programmer can produce very readable code, but in the hands of an unskilled one produces a complete unintelligible mess! Large amounts of the US Space Shuttle was apparently written in FORTH (not mine!) :eek:

I can't answer your question about the Z80B. I can only imagine that it was either a cost or availability issue. As you say it might have partially compensated for all the delays. I am continually amazed and flattered by what you have done with the Enterprise and in how much depth you have researched it!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.14. 21:05:28
Quote from: BruceTanner
...in general the TVC had to be cheaper than the Enterprise, which meant smaller ROMs so "cut down" versions of the software.
I have just remembered another reason (possibly the main reason) why the TVC had to be "cut down" - there were UK government restrictions on exports of high technology to Hungary at the time we were developing it. Low-tech was ok, so a 6845 video display chip would have been ok as they could tell it couldn't be used in a nuclear weapon, but a high-tech Nick chip would have been a no-no. Presumably things had changed by the time 20,000 Enterprises were shipped there! A sign of the times.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.14. 21:21:42
Quote from: BruceTanner
:oops: but :lol: at the same time!
For the EXDOS bug? :-)
It is at the boot sector verification. At one point if the disk parameters are invalid, returned with error flag (NZ), but not loaded error code to the A register, it is contain garbage from the previous calculations. Later this garbage handled as error code. If you select right values for the invalid boot sector then you can select any error message :-)

Quote
Another possibility is just slightly different conditions as the Enterprise comes out of reset eg. different capacitor values on the reset line or different properties of the power supply.
At the final Enterprises the reset not reset the Nick only the Dave and Z80.

Quote
I would probably need a manual for my own FORTH because I cannot remember enough about it from all those years ago!
I got the original English user manul few months ago (previously we never have it :-( ), I will scan it shortly! Today I leafed through the book, it is look a very interesting programing language!

First question: it is talking separately about the IS-FORTH and then the Enterprise specific FORTH things.
The IS-FORTH is released for other systems? Or it is planned for later but not happened because the collapse?

Quote
I can't answer your question about the Z80B. I can only imagine that it was either a cost or availability issue.
I hope one day somebody from the Enterprise Computers will find us and can answer for this and many other questions!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: NoP on 2013.February.14. 21:42:25
Good evening, Bruce! It's really cool to have someone onboard who contributed as much to the Enterprise computer as you have! Your posts are quite entertaining, and they bring back a lot of fond memories... for all of us, as it seems. :) The Enterprise was so much better than any of the toys of that era... I mean... it really was intelligent. ;) I'm still laughing at console windows these days that don't wrap around words so nicely at the end of a line as the Enterprise editor did... sure, CP/M and MS-DOS have existed quite a few years before _our_ computer, but come on, this is the 2010s now, and they still don't do it - or am I missing something?

Could you share some information about EXOS versions prior to 2.x? Or was 1.x simply what we would call an 0.x alpha/beta build today?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.14. 21:55:57
Quote from: BruceTanner
there were UK government restrictions on exports of high technology to Hungary
It is not only the UK, generally the West countries made a technology embargo against the Eastern block.
We called it as COCOM lista (http://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/COCOM-lista). For example the C64, IBM PC, etc also couldn't be exported to Hungary in these years. These were  bought in Wien and hidden in the car and hoping the Customs officer won't find it...

Quote
Low-tech was ok, so a 6845 video display chip would have been ok
Up to now we know the story: The Videoton bought the early version of the Enterprise.
You say this is false story (probably at that time the Hungarian management told this), it is not an early version, it is a cut version which meet the technical embargo?

How did the TVC developement happen at the IS? Is it another wired prototype? Or you got a real machine?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.14. 22:05:08
Quote from: NoP
Could you share some information about EXOS versions prior to 2.x? Or was 1.x simply what we would call an 0.x alpha/beta build today?
We have a EXOS 1 Technical Manual! (http://enterprise.iko.hu/technical.htm) And there is the Hungarian summary about the found differences (http://enterpriseforever.com/egyeb-temak/enterprise-tortenelem/msg24482/#msg24482)

For help refreshing Bruce memory I will write summary what we know about the early versions, and I hope Bruce can add more information pieces for the history.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.14. 22:48:44
Quote from: NoP
Good evening, Bruce! It's really cool to have someone onboard who contributed as much to the Enterprise computer as you have! Your posts are quite entertaining, and they bring back a lot of fond memories... for all of us, as it seems. :) The Enterprise was so much better than any of the toys of that era... I mean... it really was intelligent. ;) I'm still laughing at console windows these days that don't wrap around words so nicely at the end of a line as the Enterprise editor did... sure, CP/M and MS-DOS have existed quite a few years before _our_ computer, but come on, this is the 2010s now, and they still don't do it - or am I missing something?

Could you share some information about EXOS versions prior to 2.x? Or was 1.x simply what we would call an 0.x alpha/beta build today?
Thank you; now you mention it I do remember having long discussions about word wrapping and what a "word" is, and yes I agree with you there are many editors and word processors that still do not get it right, it drives me mad too! It's not difficult, it just needs thought and attention to detail.

Unfortunately my memory is rather hazy on how EXOS went from 1.x to 2.x but I will read zozo's documents and see if it jogs any memories.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.14. 23:15:59
Quote from: Zozosoft
It is not only the UK, generally the West countries made a technology embargo against the Eastern block.
We called it as COCOM lista (http://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/COCOM-lista). For example the C64, IBM PC, etc also cannot be exported to Hungary in these years. These are bought in Wien and hidden in the car and hopping the Customs officer don't find it...
Up to now we know the story: The Videoton bought the early version of the Enterprise.
You say, this is false story (probably at that time the Hungarian management told this), it is not a early version, it is a cutted version which is meet with the technical embargo?

The TVC developement how happened at the IS? It is a another wired prototype? Or you got a real machine?
Ah COCOM...that rings a bell!

I'm pretty sure the TVC was a new hw design put together by Videoton, not IS. I do remember having to wait for the hw to be shipped to us from Hungary. But they may have bought the Enterprise design and used some ideas (like the built-in joystick). There's certainly no Nick or Dave chip on the circuit board (http://www.old-computers.com/museum/photos.asp?t=1&c=39&st=1)! It is possible IS's hw engineers were involved with the design but I don't recall seeing or using a prototype in the UK.

The video is completely different (no Nick), the sound is different (no Dave) and the memory paging is less flexible (again, no Dave). As far as I know there was never an early Enterprise without Nick and Dave - I certainly never saw one and we didn't use one for sw development. And the TVC software was definitely written after the Enterprise software. The BASIC was written from scratch but I can't remember what happened about the OS - it might have had the EXOS calls etc or it might have been completely different - you probably know more than me!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.14. 23:46:19
In Hungary all sold machine is Enterprise 128 with EXOS 2.1 and IS-BASIC 2.1.
We were thinking about for a long time why 2.1?
Later at the internet time when firstly contacted with English users get the surprise: the Enterprise 64 have a EXOS 2.0 and IS-BASIC 2.0.
Ok, it is a earlier version... but why 2.0??, where is the 1.x?


In the last few years I got some documents which are from the pre 2.0 times!
Sorted by release date:
- 1983 Danish Setup Guide (http://enterprise.iko.hu/books/ELAN_BRUGERVEJLEDNING.pdf) for ELAN(!) Enterprise 64
- 1984 March Technical Answers from the Enterprise Computers
 (http://enterprise.iko.hu/brochures/TECHNICAL_ANSWERS.pdf)
- 1984 Sept EXOS 1 Technical Manual (http://enterprise.iko.hu/technical.htm) (subversion unknow :-( ) originaly come with the 000043. machine to a sw developer. But the machine have a 2.0 ROMs (but in EPROM not a ROM).

Early Function key labels, this is shown on many books on the cover Enteprise 64 photo.
[attach=1]


The ELAN Setup Guide from 1983 is very amazing! The Enterprise Computers thought the launch is very near and printed out the books? And later the English ELAN books smashed, but the somebody thinked the Danish version not too important, enought good the old version. (I asked the owner, the machine and the Programming Guide is a normal English version.)


The interesting things from this book:
No cartridge at the accessories!
[attach=2]
Later it is talking about the cartridge as expansion capatibilities.


Startup screen is very different than the well known!
[attach=3]
This is the normal, from the final Setup Guide:
[attach=4]


The Technical Answers 19. (http://enterprise.iko.hu/brochures/TECHNICAL_ANSWERS~3.jpg) also say 58K free memory what we see at the ELAN startup screen.

On the early Function Label we see a very interesting commands ECHO, COPY...
The answer 42. (http://enterprise.iko.hu/brochures/TECHNICAL_ANSWERS~6.jpg) talking about these: this is a word processing function.


And differences from the EXOS 1 Technical manual:
- no time/date functions
- some EXOS variables are missing. The most important the CRDISP_FLAG (this can enable/disable the blinking ENTERPRISE start up screen)
- no EXOS file format. This means machine code program can't loaded directly. Some very early machine code games (for example Beatcha) using BASIC loaders for loading the code. I think this is the reason.
The loadable EXOS extensions are also missing.
- for the ROM extension no RAM area allocating, and no initialization CALL
- video device using 256 characters set, the 128 characters are doubled as default. Later 128 characters set used, this is reduced the memory usage with 1152 bytes.


What we think about these:
Originaly the EXOS and the BASIC still in one ROM chip on the motherboard, no cartridge needed! The machine is directly started with the BASIC, no ENTERPRISE copyright display.
Programs can be LOAD-ed by the BASIC such as other machines.
No WP, but the BASIC have some primitive word processing (type and print) capatibilities.


When the release is delayed because the custom chip problems, the programmers used the time for made whole software better and better and better...
When run out the ROM space, then the decision: BASIC will going to the cartridge! Then the EXOS got a lot of free space, added the EXOS module format, loadable system extensions, etc. Plus added the normal Word Processor program, and in the remaining space the blinking ENTERPRISE startup screen.

Probably the BASIC is also extended, but currently don't know about it :-(
Some parts of the BASIC still remain in the onboard ROM, if I know right then the mathematical routines. Other languages (LISP, FORTH) use these routines?



And it is very interesting: the EXOS 1 manual from 1984 September. The EXOS 2.0 from 1984 November.
All of these enhacements writed in these few months?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.15. 00:05:28
Quote from: BruceTanner
I certainly never saw one and we didn't use one for sw development.
It is very interesting! The sw how tested? You send to Hungary, and go back a bug list, fixing, send a new version...?

Quote
what happened about the OS - it might have had the EXOS calls etc or it might have been completely different - you probably know more than me!
It is different but the principles are very similar! I think it is reduced version of the EXOS for the simplier hw.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.15. 00:10:15
Quote from: Zozosoft
What we think about these:
Originaly the EXOS and the BASIC still in one ROM chip on the motherboard, no cartridge needed! The machine is directly started with the BASIC, no ENTERPRISE copyright display.
Programs can be LOAD-ed by the BASIC such as other machines.
No WP, but the BASIC have some primitive word processing (type and print) capatibilities.


When the release is delayed because the custom chip problems, the programmers used the time for made whole software better and better and better...
When run out the ROM space, then the decision: BASIC will going to the cartridge! Then the EXOS got a lot of free space, added the EXOS module format, loadable system extensions, etc. Plus added the normal Word Processor program, and in the remaining space the blinking ENTERPRISE startup screen.

Probably the BASIC is also extended, but currently don't know about it :-(
Some parts of the BASIC still remain in the onboard ROM, if I know right then the mathematical routines. Other languages (LISP, FORTH) use these routines?



And it is very interesting: the EXOS 1 manual from 1984 September. The EXOS 2.0 from 1984 November.
All of these enhacements writed in these few months?
Once again zozo I think you have worked out the situation perfectly. So am I right in thinking 1.x is Elan, 2.x is Enterprise? I think we just carried on developing until the hw was nearly ready to ship! And you are quite right the original intention was for everything to fit in the internal ROM with no BASIC cartridge, but we ended up having to split BASIC between a cartridge and the internal ROM. There was no plan to allow other cartridges to access the BASIC floating point in the internal ROM - I don't know if it would work or not and I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't! I'm not even sure what would happen if you used the "wrong" version of the BASIC cartridge for the internal ROM.

I'm not sure about those manual dates - possibly we just edited the EXOS 1 manual a bit to make it suitable for external publication, and changed the date at the same time!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.15. 00:16:02
Quote from: Zozosoft
It is very interesting! The sw how tested? You send to Hungary, and go back a bug list, fixing, send a new version...?
It is different but the principles are very similar! I think it is reduced version of the EXOS for the simplier hw.
No, I think they sent us a machine from Hungary. I remember waiting for it to clear customs. I may have done one or two revisions but they had everything they needed to fix bugs themselves, and I remember them pinpointing a particularly difficult bug at one point. They were pretty smart and lived up to the reputation Hungarians have here in that respect!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.15. 00:37:54
Quote from: BruceTanner
So am I right in thinking 1.x is Elan, 2.x is Enterprise?
I think the name change is before the version change. The Technical Answers already have a Enterprise Computers name, and the later EXOS 1 document also.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.15. 09:37:22
Quote from: BruceTanner
And you are quite right the original intention was for everything to fit in the internal ROM with no BASIC cartridge
This means my unofficial EXOS 2.2/2.3 project just restore the original conception!

Probably you don't know what is this :-)
The idea come from: for the onboard ROM socket 64K address area decoded, but only 32K ROM chip used. I think because only the 32K the highest capacity in 1984/85
I replaced the ROM with 64K EPROM then plus 32K are free for use :-) I added the BASIC ROM, then no cartridge needed. Both in the BASIC and EXOS some bugs fixed. And added a Super WP 2.6, this bugfixed and extended version of the 2.5 version which is come from the German company. For the remaining space I writed a Quick Memory Test program with lot of features (for example the RAMDISK can survive cold reset).
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.15. 10:04:41
Quote from: Zozosoft
This means my unofficial EXOS 2.2/2.3 project just restore the original conception!

Probably you don't know what is this :-)
The idea come from: for the onboard ROM socket 64K address area decoded, but only 32K ROM chip used. I think because only the 32K the highest capacity in 1984/85
I replaced the ROM with 64K EPROM then plus 32K are free for use :-) I added the BASIC ROM, then no cartridge needed. Both in the BASIC and EXOS some bugs fixed. And added a Super WP 2.6, this bugfixed and extended version of the 2.5 version which is come from the German company. For the remaining space I writed a Quick Memory Test program with lot of features (for example the RAMDISK can survive cold reset).
I had some clues to what you had done from some of the other posts and documents on here - very good work and yes, you have restored reality to the original spirit of the design :-)

I tried to look at your web site http://enterprise.iko.hu/ (http://enterprise.iko.hu/) but my browser, which is Google Chrome running on Windows 7, gives me a warning about virus / malware on the site, so I do not like to proceed! I don't get this on any other web sites. Unfortunately it does not indicate any particular files. Do you know what might be causing this?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.15. 10:43:47
Quote from: BruceTanner
I tried to look at your web site http://enterprise.iko.hu/ (http://enterprise.iko.hu/) but my browser, which is Google Chrome running on Windows 7, gives me a warning about virus / malware on the site, so I do not like to proceed! I don't get this on any other web sites. Unfortunately it does not indicate any particular files. Do you know what might be causing this?
I not have idea :-(
Now I installed Chrome and don't say anything bad! Also checked on other machine but don't see any problem.
I just use pure html, no Java, no Flash, no CSS, no PHP no anything which is make the web slow and unrealiable.

Other pages which are on the homeserver.hu (ep.homeserver.hu and tvc.homeserver.hu) get warnings by google (also in the Firefox) in the last few days because other site on same server are infected :-(
It is can be a problem if I have a links for these pages? Now I removed the Link tags for these.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.15. 10:54:08
Quote from: Zozosoft
I not have idea :-(
Now I installed Chrome and don't say anything bad! Also checked on other machine but don't see any problem.
I just use pure html, no Java, no Flash, no CSS, no PHP no anything which is make the web slow and unrealiable.

Other pages which are on the homeserver.hu (ep.homeserver.hu and tvc.homeserver.hu) get warnings by google (also in the Firefox) in the last few days because other site on same server are infected :-(
It is can be a problem if I have a links for these pages? Now I removed the Link tags for these.
Thank you. I think I may have been getting confused - your site works ok but it looks familiar - I have already been there. But as you say the other homeserver.hu sites don't...so they are safe to ignore the warning, and to visit? Sorry for confusion :oops:
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.15. 11:03:28
Quote from: BruceTanner
But as you say the other homeserver.hu sites don't...so they are safe to ignore the warning, and to visit? Sorry for confusion :oops:
Yes, there is the google report (http://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=http://homeserver.hu/), the problem with the computerbooks.hu site.
And the ep.homeserver.hu are mirrored at our server. (http://gafz.enterpriseforever.com/)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.15. 12:21:25
Quote from: Zozosoft
No WP, but the BASIC have some primitive word processing (type and print) capatibilities.
About the early WP function can you confirm my theory?
I think with the TYPE command the BASIC stopped reading commands/program code from the Editor channel and then it is used for text editing, and the text is can be send to the printer by the ECHO or COPY commands.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.15. 19:43:34
Quote from: Zozosoft
About the early WP function can you confirm my theory?
I think with the TYPE command the BASIC stopped reading commands/program code from the Editor channel and then it is used for text editing, and the text is can be send to the printer by the ECHO or COPY commands.
Unfortunately I couldn't even remember what the TYPE command did until I just went and looked it up! Clearly we intended it allow editing of a document or letter etc. but I'm not sure what you were meant to do with it after that eg. how to print or save it. Sorry, not a very useful answer :smt090
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.15. 21:31:46
Quote from: Zozosoft
I got the original English user manul few months ago (previously we never have it :-( ), I will scan it shortly!
Done :-)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.15. 21:58:35
Thank you ; that is much appreciated! :smt038
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.16. 11:10:03
Bruce!
Can you remember what the chip problems are? You say the wired prototypes worked well. What happened when the first real chips arrived?
We think it is a very big problems found because it made a long (and fatal) delay!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.16. 12:46:15
No unfortunately I can't. The wired prototypes also had problems, not because of any design flaw but because the signal paths that would be fraction of a mm in a chip were several cm long in wires.

But back in those days it took a long time between making an alteration to the design, and the final chip being produced (and was very expensive each time it was done). Many years later I worked on another project that used a custom chip, but we were able to try the design out in an Altera ULA-type device first - much better!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.17. 11:47:20
Probably an easier question :-)
What do you remember about the EXDOS evolution?

Currently we have these versions: 0.3, 1.0, 1.2, 1.3, 2.0
The 1.0 is the officially released version in the EXDOS cards. The 1.3 came from the Enterprise Computers Gmbh in the Enterprise Disk Drive (http://ep128.hu/Album/Pic/FDD35_1.jpg) which has a built in EXDOS card.
we got the others from internet friends few years ago.

The 0.3 (http://ep128.hu/Ep_Hardware/Pic/EXDOS03.gif) has most of the commands.

In the 1.0 (http://ep128.hu/Ep_Hardware/Pic/EXDOS10.gif) the commands ATTR, EXIT, ATDIR, ASSIGN, BUFFERS, MAPDISK has been removed (painful lack of ATTR), some of these are available in IS-DOS.
The code is significantly rewritten. I think because run out of ROM space (the 0.3 is also 16K) needed the command removal.
This version has some bugs, for example stack cannot be on the Page 0 when te FISH called.

The 1.2 is probably a bug fix release, same capatibilities with the 1.0, code sligthly modified.
Now I think this is the latest version from the IS.

The 1.3 is modified version of 1.2, by the German company. All messages and its handlers modified for two languages (English/German). It is in 32K EPROM with lots of free spaces.
Later in Hungary some unofficial modifications from this version: German replaced with Hungarian. For the free spaces some of removed commands have been put back (ATTR, ATDIR, ASSIGN, MAPDISK), and the IS-DOS has been also put to the ROM.
Currently this is the mostly used version.

And the most interesting version the 2.0!
It is about 99.99% same as the 1.2, the code has been minimally modified at the low level floppy routines:  added a big delay! The normal EXDOS uses 30 clock cycles for between sending the command to the WD and firstly reading the DRQ bit. This modified version uses a 120 cycles!
This is meainingless in the normal Enterprise, it is make randomly data loss errors (first DRQ missed).
But the Hitachi Super Z80 (which is later licensed back by the Zilog then called as Z180) executes the instructions with less clock cycles. On faster CPU this modification can have a reason!
Probably, this version for the promised (but never released :-( ) new super EP?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.17. 18:23:52
Well anything called 0.x I'm pretty sure wasn't intended for full release and would have been what would now be called an alpha (or possibly beta) release to someone - I can't remember who! I don't actually remember removing commands but your guess that it was because of ROM space problems seems very likely - it was a continuous problem in those days. I think 1.2 was the last release I saw.

I had never heard of that disk drive with the built in EXDOS card before. Whoever did 1.3 had obviously seen 0.3! And probably had source code.

I think you must right about the 2.0 timing changes - the Germans clearly had control of EXDOS by then. What a shame that machine never appeared!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.17. 19:12:58
Quote from: BruceTanner
And probably had source code.
It is clear the 1.3 and 2.0 created by source code level modifications. Another example the Super WP 2.5 from the Gmbh. I'm sure the German company got all sources from UK. This is our last hope: somebody from the Enterprise Computer Gmbh might find us and have these.
As you wrote the sad story: the IS closed suddenly, and you couldn't save anything.
Many years ago (about 15) I emailed with David Levy and he also told he doesn't have anything related the Enterprise.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.17. 22:19:33
Quote from: Zozosoft
It is clear the 1.3 and 2.0 created by source code level modifications. Another example the Super WP 2.5 from the Gmbh. I'm sure the German company got all sources from UK. This is our last hope: somebody from the Enterprise Computer Gmbh find us and have these.
Because you wrote the sad story: the IS is closed suddenly, and you can't save anything.
Many years (about 15) I emailed with David Levy and he is also told he not has anything about the Enterprise.
Yes it is sad. If someone turned up with the source of EXDOS it would save you a lot of work!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.17. 22:44:54
Quote from: BruceTanner
If someone turned up with the source of EXDOS
And the BASIC, EXOS, etc... :-)
I started with the EXDOS because I wanted to work my IDE controller.
Unfortunately EXDOS Technical Documents are missing! (http://enterprise.iko.hu/technical.htm) :cry:
My IDE hw and the low level routines are ready at about 1996. But at this time I thought totally new DOS needed...
Many years later when I started the disassembly then found: expanding the EXDOS with new disk handlers is a very-very-very simple thing! Few days later the IDE interface worked with EXDOS :-D

Quote
it would save you a lot of work!
This is not the only reason! The other is: possible newer versions what we never see!

The UK companies collapse when happened? The UK EP magazine say summer 1986.
What did you worked after the 2.1 BASIC and EXOS finished until the collapse? (The 2.1 manual are dated as Jan. 1985. The EP128 with this version released at May 1985. I think some time needed for testing and produce ROM chips, probably these 4 months enought.)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.18. 01:05:24
Quote from: Zozosoft
And the BASIC, EXOS, etc... :-)
I started with the EXDOS because I wanted to work my IDE controller.
Unfortunately EXDOS Technical Documents are missing! (http://enterprise.iko.hu/technical.htm) :cry:
My IDE hw and the low level routines are ready at about 1996. But at this time I thought totally new DOS needed...
Many years later when I started the disassembly then found: expanding the EXDOS with new disk handlers is a very-very-very simple thing! Few days later the IDE interface worked with EXDOS :-D
This is not the only reason! The other is: possible newer versions what we never see!

The UK companies collapse when happened? The UK EP magazine say summer 1986.
What did you worked after the 2.1 BASIC and EXOS finished until the collapse? (The 2.1 manual are dated as Jan. 1985. The EP128 with this version released at May 1985. I think some time needed for testing and produce ROM chips, probably these 4 months enought.)
Yes I think summer 1986 is correct - that photo you found with the tree was taken that summer too. It's difficult to remember dates but the order was IS-BASIC, EXDOS, FORTH, then the Videoton TVC (although I started FORTH in my own time it took some paid time to turn it into a proper product).

I continued to work on VT-DOS for a while after the collapse.

I've just remembered another project that I was working on at some time towards the end of IS - I'm not sure how it fits in with the above order! Possibly after TVC BASIC but before VT-DOS. It was a game involving two real "robots". One was controlled by the user with a hand-held remote control unit, and the other was intelligent and could roam around on its own. It had ultrasonic sensors for mapping the room, contact sensors around the edge and floor sensors underneath to stop it falling down stairs! It had algorithms for avoiding obstacles and getting itself free if it did contact something. They both made lots of noises with an AY-3-9810 sound chip. The idea of the game was for the robots to "shoot" each other - the "guns" being LED light beams at the end of tubes. Sadly it was never finished or put into production :( but it was a fun project to work on :smt069!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.18. 09:29:37
Quote from: BruceTanner
I have just bid on one on Ebay that also has a FORTH cartridge which is the first I have seen since I have been looking, so I will wait to see what happens.
Do you won it? (I'm not bid, before you wrote I thought about bidding.)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.18. 09:41:20
Quote from: Zozosoft
Do you won it? (I'm not bid, before you wrote I thought about bidding.)
:smt023
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.18. 10:21:16
Quote from: BruceTanner
It's difficult to remember dates but the order was IS-BASIC, EXDOS,
I guessed, EXDOS is then the EXOS+BASIC (mostly) finished.
The EXDOS developed with real machine? The first EXDOS card is looks like the real or it is a another wired prototype?


Quote
it was a fun project to work on :smt069!
It sounds like a very interesting project! This is also in the IS?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.18. 12:00:19
Quote from: Zozosoft
I guessed, EXDOS is then the EXOS+BASIC (mostly) finished.
The EXDOS developed with real machine? The first EXDOS card is looks like the real or it is a another wired prototype?

It sounds like a very interesting project! This is also in the IS?
I think we had real hw for the EXDOS card - it's a relatively simple design (with no custom chips!). But I can't remember if we used the disk hw on a real Enterprise or on our prototype.

Yes the robot project was at IS but near the end. I think it was a speculative development ie. we weren't approached by a customer asking for it. But the end of IS marked the end of the project!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.18. 12:33:37
About TVC DOS: what you known about UPM disk controller for the TVC?
The disk controller card is same with the VT-DOS. With additional UPM cartridge can run CP/M programs.
It is have own disk format, not a FAT standard. And under the BASIC just only used for LOAD/SAVE. For disk formating needed a system disk...

This come from the IS-DOS project? Or it is own project of the Videoton? If it is a Videoton project then they see the EXDOS is much better and ordered the VTDOS for the existing disk controller card?

It is clear the UPM is the older it is works on the TVC 32/64 models, the VT-DOS is only on the TVC 64+ (older computers can be modified by adding plus one IC to the paging circuit, then the VT-DOS will work).
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.18. 12:42:57
Quote from: Zozosoft
About TVC DOS: what you known about UPM disk controller for the TVC?
The disk controller card is same with the VT-DOS. With additional UPM cartridge can run CP/M programs.
It is have own disk format, not a FAT standard. And under the BASIC just only used for LOAD/SAVE. For disk formating needed a system disk...

This come from the IS-DOS project? Or it is own project of the Videoton? If it is a Videoton project then they see the EXDOS is much better and ordered the VTDOS for the existing disk controller card?

It is clear the UPM is the older it is works on the TVC 32/64 models, the VT-DOS is only on the TVC 64+ (older computers can be modified by adding plus one IC to the paging circuit, then the VT-DOS will work).
Yes I think you are right. We didn't work on any disk formats other than 12-bit FAT, and I was working on VTDOS quite a bit later than the rest of the Enterprise & TVC projects (ie. after IS's collapse).
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.18. 13:18:02
Quote from: BruceTanner
We didn't work on any disk formats other than 12-bit FAT
The FAT standard is selected at the first step for the EXDOS? Did you see the future? :-)
This selection made our disk life very easy! Especially now! When you download programs from the internet. Users of other systems (Spectrum, CPC, Commodore, Amiga, etc) have a hard work for creating disks for the real machines. But we just copy the files to standard disks and enjoy it on real EP!

And I can say: the EXDOS's FAT implementation probably the best on the world! I wrote many details about this to the Hungarian EXDOS topic.
Many times I saved damaged PC disks on the Enterprise just using simple COPY command... the EXDOS can really handle backup FAT copies!

Quote
, and I was working on VTDOS quite a bit later than the rest of the Enterprise & TVC projects (ie. after IS's collapse).
After the collapse where you worked on the VTDOS? At home? Or the Videoton have own office in UK?
From the Videoton things you could have save anything?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.18. 13:58:18
Quote from: Zozosoft
The FAT standard is selected at the first step for the EXDOS? Did you see the future? :-)
This selection made our disk life very easy! Especially now! When you download programs from the internet. Users of other systems (Spectrum, CPC, Commodore, Amiga, etc) have a hard work for creating disks for the real machines. But we just copy the files to standard disks and enjoy it on real EP!

And I can say: the EXDOS's FAT implementation probably the best on the world! I wrote many details about this to the Hungarian EXDOS topic.
Many times I saved damaged PC disks on the Enterprise just using simple COPY command... the EXDOS can really handle backup FAT copies!
After the collapse where you worked on the VTDOS? At home? Or the Videoton have own office in UK?
From the Videoton things you could have save anything?
Yes, I think the original IBM PC and Microsoft MS-DOS were around by then so we used that disk format. MS-DOS 1.x did not have sub-directories if I recall correctly, so we must have been on at least MS-DOS 2.x by then because we had sub-directories from the start!

Thank you, quite a lot of effort when into the backup FAT tables, and it is difficult to test. I always suspected some other implementations were a bit sloppy, it's good to hear it was worthwhile!

After IS's collapse, we set up Madge Networks on Robert Madge's mother's farm on the outskirts of London, and it was here that I finished (& maybe started?) VTDOS, and here that photo with the tree was taken in summer '86. I don't know how they sorted out the legal contracts which would have been with IS - I did not get involved with that side of things. The farm was not actually a working farm any more - Janet Madge (RIP) just had a few horses. But as Madge Networks gradually grew she had the old farm buildings and barns converted into offices one by one. Eventually we ran out of barns, and the sales and marketing group had to move out into proper offices, leaving just the developers again :smt041!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.18. 20:46:17
Quote from: BruceTanner
MS-DOS 1.x did not have sub-directories if I recall correctly, so we must have been on at least MS-DOS 2.x by then because we had sub-directories from the start!
And the MS-DOS 1.x not using standard boot sector (only type byte used), but the EXDOS also can read these disks. And also can read the non standard Apricot disks! I thought lot of in the disassembly at the boot sector analyzer part: what a crazy disks supported there??? Later found this is for early non standard MS-DOS what used by Apricot PCs.
You are used some Apricot machnies?


Quote
 it's good to hear it was worthwhile!
Absolutely yes!
Another great thing: at the Retry/Abort/Ignore case only the faulty sector rereaded. For example the MSDOS reread the whole sector group what used for the I/O operation. If more than one uncertain sectors in the group you probably never ending pressing the Retry in MSDOS because after the second error goto again to the first...
On Enterprise these disks usually copied with only few retries!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.18. 22:00:47
Quote from: Zozosoft
And the MS-DOS 1.x not using standard boot sector (only type byte used), but the EXDOS also can read these disks. And also can read the non standard Apricot disks! I thought lot of in the disassembly at the boot sector analyzer part: what a crazy disks supported there??? Later found this is for early non standard MS-DOS what used by Apricot PCs.
You are used some Apricot machnies?

Absolutely yes!
Another great thing: at the Retry/Abort/Ignore case only the faulty sector rereaded. For example the MSDOS reread the whole sector group what used for the I/O operation. If more than one uncertain sectors in the group you probably never ending pressing the Retry in MSDOS because after the second error goto again to the first...
On Enterprise these disks usually copied with only few retries!
Someone in the office did have an ACT Sirius 1 (http://www.actsirius1.co.uk/) which was really Apricot before they called themselves that. As I remember it was a good machine (for the day!) with a very nice non-reflective screen, and ran MS-DOS (1.x) - so we probably looked at a disk from that. We were also aware that MSX Computers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MSX) were being developed in Japan and they used MS-DOS (1.x) format disks, but I don't think we had actually seen one at the time.

I wasn't aware of the A/R/I differences! Definitely the right way to do it though and your description of endless Retries certainly brings back memories! Another thing we had to pay lots of attention to is large reads of consecutive blocks (sector groups) - if you are too slow after reading the last sector one track, you miss the first sector of the next track as the disk rotates, so then you have to wait for an extra rotation of the disk, which slows reading of files down. You should get a satisfying "chug-chug-chug-chug" noise from the head on a large read (assuming the disk isn't too fragmented).

Maybe the Enterprise sector-level A/R/I is better for ignore too? Only ignore one sector instead of one block?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.18. 22:49:12
Quote from: BruceTanner
We were also aware that MSX Computers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MSX) were being developed in Japan and they used MS-DOS (1.x) format disks, but I don't think we had actually seen one at the time.
The IS-DOS manual (http://enterprise.iko.hu/books/English_ISDOS.pdf) also talking about MSX compatibility at the function calls. Probably some MSX programs can working on IS-DOS?

Quote
You should get a satisfying "chug-chug-chug-chug" noise from the head on a large read
Yes this is worked well! Only problem when we made 11 sectors/track format. At this situation very minimal gaps between the sectors then needed a new rotation for every sectors, worked very-very slow... In my formater program I renumbered the sectors, every second is the next, with this method the track can be readed under two rotations, it is enought good. Later I found this idea called as interleave and commonly used at PCs with MFM hard disks.

Quote
Maybe the Enterprise sector-level A/R/I is better for ignore too? Only ignore one sector instead of one block?
Yes! And you got the damaged data, if it is in text or graphics file probably you can correct it.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.19. 02:49:21
Quote from: Zozosoft
The IS-DOS manual (http://enterprise.iko.hu/books/English_ISDOS.pdf) also talking about MSX compatibility at the function calls. Probably some MSX programs can working on IS-DOS?
Yes this is worked well! Only problem when we made 11 sectors/track format. At this situation very minimal gaps between the sectors then needed a new rotation for every sectors, worked very-very slow... In my formater program I renumbered the sectors, every second is the next, with this method the track can be readed under two rotations, it is enought good. Later I found this idea called as interleave and commonly used at PCs with MFM hard disks.
Yes! And you got the damaged data, if it is in text or graphics file probably you can correct it.
Yes MSX-DOS was another CP/M compatible system so it will be very similar and I think IS-DOS is meant to run MSX-DOS programs too. I've just read on page 49 of the IS-DOS manual, "...Neither feature is present in MSX-DOS 1.0 (although the documentation claims that they are)..." so it looks as though, contrary to what I said before, we did have an MSX-DOS computer around!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft 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)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner 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! :(
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft 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:
[attach=1]
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:
[attach=2]
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 (http://www.macgeek.org/museum/sony400kdrive/) (technical details) (http://enterpriseforever.com/egyeb-temak/enterprise-tortenelem/?action=dlattach;attach=7107)
In the Apricots used Sony OA-32V (http://actapricot.org/support/apricot_sony_3_5_drives.html), 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.)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner 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!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft 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?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.19. 15:24:16
Quote from: Zozosoft
These not designed by the Hollington's team?
I don't know!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.19. 15:31:49
The IS just got the dummy units before the launch event?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner 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).
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner 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:
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft 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...
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Tuby128 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.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner 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!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft 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.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Tuby128 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.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner 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!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Tuby128 on 2013.February.20. 20:40:10
At that time I used QuickShot II Joysticks (there are many on E-Bay), but you have to keep in mind, that the Joystick has different plug, as the Enterprise. So you need a so-called SUB-D 15 (male) -> Edge Connector (female) converter. (Very rare, but easily producable)
 I suppose you have known that already.

 Do you like music? What genre of music (or band) did you like at the time, as you developed the IS-Basic? What kind of environment was necessery for a programmer to produce good sourcecode? Were you and your fellow programmer in a completly silent room, or switched the radio or TV on, to avoid the booring silent?

 By the way my favourite bands are The Who, Rolling Stones, Cream and U2. But if I developing a program I'm listening Drum and bass :) because there is no vocal, so I can concentrate on my work, and I can't be tired so easily.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.20. 21:21:44
Quote from: Tuby128
At that time I used QuickShot II Joysticks (there are many on E-Bay), but you have to keep in mind, that the Joystick has different plug, as the Enterprise. So you need a so-called SUB-D 15 (male) -> Edge Connector (female) converter. (Very rare, but easily producable)
 I suppose you have known that already.

 Do you like music? What genre of music (or band) did you like at the time, as you developed the IS-Basic? What kind of environment was necessery for a programmer to produce good sourcecode? Were you and your fellow programmer in a completly silent room, or switched the radio or TV on, to avoid the booring silent?

 By the way my favourite bands are The Who, Rolling Stones, Cream and U2. But if I developing a program I'm listening Drum and bass :) because there is no vocal, so I can concentrate on my work, and I can't be tired so easily.
Thanks for that info - it will be useful!

During the day we had silence (had to remain professional!) but it was useful to be able to discuss things particularly between myself and Martin. But for evening programming (I was a real night owl in those days and my brain came alive in the evening) we did have music and fortunately myself and Martin both had similar tastes - Pink Floyd being the favourite as well as all the ones you mention! I know what you mean about distracting vocals though - I also played a lot of Tangerine Dream which is purely instrumental and, may very favourite, the early records of Mike Oldfield, also purely instrumental. I can usually manage rock vocals but talking on radio or TV is impossible to work with! I also find big classical symphonies good to work to.

In the IS days we just had a big plain room with 4 or 5 people in. It was a big Georgian building (probably last quarter of the 1700s) with high ceilings and elaborate decorative plasterwork. It was a nice building and pleasant place to work but there was nothing special about it. You hear of American firms providing games rooms etc but there was nothing like that!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.20. 21:25:09
Quote from: Tuby128
So you need a so-called SUB-D 15 (male) -> Edge Connector (female) converter. (Very rare, but easily producable)
Bruce! If you want I can send joystick converter.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.20. 21:27:13
Quote from: BruceTanner
I also played a lot of Tangerine Dream
I also very like it! My other favorite for programing is Jean Michel Jarre.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.20. 21:32:20
Quote from: Zozosoft
I also very like it! My other favorite for programing is Jean Michel Jarre.
Yes, I had that too!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Tuby128 on 2013.February.20. 21:45:28
Mr Tanner, you should have accept Zozo's offer to a joy converter. The little girl needs EP gamer experience, before she realizes the new world's toy (phones with touch screen) and after she will have got one (before the EP), she cannot appreciate the flavour of old time computers.
 In my oppinion every child has to start with i4004 to understand the today's achievments. Like history class, where study always started at the ancient times. Unforutunately there is no enjoyable computer with i4004, but the Z80 family could be a good start.
 What do you think about that?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.20. 22:22:13
Quote from: Tuby128
Mr Tanner, you should have accept Zozo's offer to a joy converter. The little girl needs EP gamer experience, before she realizes the new world's toy (phones with touch screen) and after she will have got one (before the EP), she cannot appreciate the flavour of old time computers.
 In my oppinion every child has to start with i4004 to understand the today's achievments. Like history class, where study always started at the ancient times. Unforutunately there is no enjoyable computer with i4004, but the Z80 family could be a good start.
 What do you think about that?
Yes I am hoping to accept zozo's very kind offer but it is a little premature at the moment as I haven't even got my "new" Enterprise going yet! But yes I am keen that my daughter grows up being easy with using technology (so far she is showing every of being so!) and it is helpful to know the history just as it is in the rest of life. The strange thing about the computer world is that it has moved so fast that you can be part of the history before you are dead!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.20. 22:36:58
My "new" Enterprise has arrived! I was expecting a BASIC cartridge and a FORTH cartridge, but what I got is a heavily modified cartridge with BASIC and FORTH in the same 27256 EPROM:

[attachimg=1]

No wonder it doesn't work!

Is this common? It's years since I used any 27xxx EPROM but there seems to be a lot of mods here just to up a size (or two)!

Or perhaps this isn't an original Enterprise cartridge? The PCB tracks on the bottom are just bands/strips running from one side to another, a bit like veroboard without the holes. Do real Enterprise cartridges have these?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Tuby128 on 2013.February.20. 22:49:45
I think you should accept Zozo's another offer for a Basic cartridge. He can provide a Basic and Forth EEPROM as well. Mr Tanner do you get a chassis with this DIY board? Was the chassis modified?
(@Zozo: Chassis means Műanyag ház)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.20. 22:52:33
There is the original cartridges:
[attach=1]
[attach=2]
These are 1x32k and 2x16k type, it is easy modify (only few wire) for 1x64k/2x32k.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.20. 22:55:10
Quote from: BruceTanner
Is this common?
I newer see same. It is probably builded from two pcbs one with the edge connection one with the ROM socket.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.20. 23:25:40
Thank you for the photos zozo, very helpful. I can now see mine is completely different. It's one PCB but not the same at all! Looking more closely now I can see a track that goes to an edge connector pad but the pad has been cut off. It has obviously been made from a PCB that had a bigger edge connector that has been cut down to size, and just happened to have a ROM socket on.

I'm not sure if it's a standard box/chassis. The last third, with a label on, unclips - is this normal, I can't remember? The odd part of it is that it has a very professional looking label that says "BASIC & FORTH ROM". It's a shiny black label, does not look home printed at all.

[attach=1]

I think I am going to have to send you a shopping list zozo, if you don't mind!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.20. 23:29:11
Quote from: BruceTanner
I think I am going to have to send you a shopping list zozo, if you don't mind!
Ok! :smt023
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.20. 23:35:48
Quote from: BruceTanner
I'm not sure if it's a standard box/chassis.
This is the original:
[attach=1]
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.20. 23:38:06
Quote from: Zozosoft
This is the original:
(Attachment)
Thank you - not even the box is the same!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Tuby128 on 2013.February.21. 00:06:54
Interesting thing about the EP keyboard: As you know there were two types of keyboard, the English and the German. I had a German version. During the years I got used to the positon of the buttons like semicolon, exclamation mark or dollar sign. More than 10 years later I got a Pentium I PC with a Hungarian keyboard, which has another order of keys (for example the number ZERO is before the number ONE). The Windows 95 system was so new to me, that I gave up programming (The reason for this, there was nobody in my environment, who could programm a PC). And that time I didn't have any opportunity to get a book about that. (I lived in a small town, and haven't got internet connection). Thus, it wasn't important to me, to use these special keys. About 5 years later, when I started learning C, I noticed, that I typing so slow, later I understand that's because I don't get used to the Hungarian keyboard.
 So I switched the Windows's "Regional Settings" to German, and I grinded the old labels on the keyboard keys and wrote the new, and I sticked down, to avoid rubbing down. Thus I made a German keyboard from a Hungarian one. (you have to know, that a German keyboard was impossible to get where I lived at that time.)
 When I compared the recently German keyboard with the EP keyboard, I barely find a difference. But this wasn't true with the English variation. Or is there in the UK another keyboard as in the US?
 So now I am using a German keyboard, because of the Enterprise computer :) Fortunately till now, I always worked at German-backgrounded companies, so my wish to get a german keyboard, wasn't unfeasible.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Bagpuss22 on 2013.February.21. 00:11:25
I wondered who won that enterprise! :smt023

When I am programming I tend to listen to Jean Michel Jarre or Mike Oldfield.
I have to admit that I am a Tangerine Dream fan too..

Russ
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.21. 00:19:46
Quote from: Tuby128
Interesting thing about the EP keyboard: As you know there were two types of keyboard, the English and the German. I had a German version. During the years I got used to the positon of the buttons like semicolon, exclamation mark or dollar sign. More than 10 years later I got a Pentium I PC with a Hungarian keyboard, which has another order of keys (for example the number ZERO is before the number ONE). The Windows 95 system was so new to me, that I gave up programming (The reason for this, there was nobody in my environment, who could programm a PC). And that time I didn't have any opportunity to get a book about that. (I lived in a small town, and haven't got internet connection). Thus, it wasn't important to me, to use these special keys. About 5 years later, when I started learning C, I noticed, that I typing so slow, later I understand that's because I don't get used to the Hungarian keyboard.
 So I switched the Windows's "Regional Settings" to German, and I grinded the old labels on the keyboard keys and wrote the new, and I sticked down, to avoid rubbing down. Thus I made a German keyboard from a Hungarian one. (you have to know, that a German keyboard was impossible to get where I lived at that time.)
 When I compared the recently German keyboard with the EP keyboard, I barely find a difference. But this wasn't true with the English variation. Or is there in the UK another keyboard as in the US?
 So now I am using a German keyboard, because of the Enterprise computer :) Fortunately till now, I always worked at German-backgrounded companies, so my wish to get a german keyboard, wasn't unfeasible.
Ha ha you are stuck with it now :lol: The Enterprise legacy lives on!

I'm not sure if there is more than one standard UK keyboard layout - it used to be common to find minor differences whenever you used a new keyboard with characters like \ and |. And the US is slightly different too - there's always confusion between # (hash) and £ (pound) - even that might not display correctly on your computer! It seems better these days though.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.21. 12:56:54
About the special characters:
Our friend lgb started a project for converting IS-BASIC programs to text or html files. (http://invitel.hu/lgb/epbas/)
For this we searched the unicode representations of the special characters.
There is the original UK charset. (http://ep128.hu/Ep_Util/Pic/chrset_UK.gif)
Most of solved, but we absolutely not have any idea what is the chr 127? It is a special UK character?
[attach=1]
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Tuby128 on 2013.February.21. 13:15:19
Since I can programming in C, I understand the power of string operation, and I am amazed, how you implemented built-in string operations in IS-BASIC.
 In the standard C library there is such things like, determine how long a string, or what position begins a given text pattern. And IS-BASIC contains these essential functions (LEN(A$)) or POS(X$,Y$,n).

 Maybe I could be 10-12 years old, when I started to write a "Wheel of Fortune" like game (in hungarian called: "Szerencsekerék") in IS-BASIC, and I remember, invested a lot of time in it. I divided the game in two major parts, the rotating wheel, and the table with the text.
 After a lot of work, I was done with the wheel. It was awesome, because I used a graphical solution. Later I made the table, and the problems had just begun. Namely I experienced, that if a program is exceed a certain size (I mean in lines) the string operations, didn't provide proper return value. It took me a lot of time to find out why it is not working.
 I extracted my string operation routine (with the built-in functions), and analysed itself. I realised, it worked properly alone. Only in the long code didn't do that.
 I was confused, because there wasn't other alternative to inspect a string, and I didn't know assembly, to replace the built-in function. Thus I gave up writing this game.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.21. 13:33:16
Quote from: Tuby128
Thus I gave up writing this game.
Do you have the unfinished game? It would be nice to see what could be the problem!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Tuby128 on 2013.February.21. 13:38:56
No, unfortunately I haven't. It was long time ago, and some tapes of mine are lost.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: lgb on 2013.February.21. 21:26:37
Quote from: Zozosoft
Our friend lgb started a project for converting IS-BASIC programs to text or html files. (http://invitel.hu/lgb/epbas/)
For this we searched the unicode representations of the special characters.
There is the original UK charset. (http://ep128.hu/Ep_Util/Pic/chrset_UK.gif)
Most of solved, but we absolutely not have any idea what is the chr 127? It is a special UK character?

Hmm, yes, that's an odd character. I've tried to summarize the "common" EP charsets (and some more or less correct unicode positions for some usable mapping ...) here (http://invitel.hu/lgb/epbas/result-chset.html). By the way, I've started to encode links and anchors into HTML mode, so GOTOs etc will be clickable.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.21. 23:28:56
Quote from: Zozosoft
About the special characters:
Our friend lgb started a project for converting IS-BASIC programs to text or html files. (http://invitel.hu/lgb/epbas/)
For this we searched the unicode representations of the special characters.
There is the original UK charset. (http://ep128.hu/Ep_Util/Pic/chrset_UK.gif)
Most of solved, but we absolutely not have any idea what is the chr 127? It is a special UK character?
(Attachment)
Unfortunately I cannot remember how the character set was arrived at, or what that one means! It's certainly not a standard UK character. My only guess is that might have something to do with backspace as 127 was sometimes used for that.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.21. 23:41:05
Quote from: Tuby128
Since I can programming in C, I understand the power of string operation, and I am amazed, how you implemented built-in string operations in IS-BASIC.
 In the standard C library there is such things like, determine how long a string, or what position begins a given text pattern. And IS-BASIC contains these essential functions (LEN(A$)) or POS(X$,Y$,n).

 Maybe I could be 10-12 years old, when I started to write a "Wheel of Fortune" like game (in hungarian called: "Szerencsekerék") in IS-BASIC, and I remember, invested a lot of time in it. I divided the game in two major parts, the rotating wheel, and the table with the text.
 After a lot of work, I was done with the wheel. It was awesome, because I used a graphical solution. Later I made the table, and the problems had just begun. Namely I experienced, that if a program is exceed a certain size (I mean in lines) the string operations, didn't provide proper return value. It took me a lot of time to find out why it is not working.
 I extracted my string operation routine (with the built-in functions), and analysed itself. I realised, it worked properly alone. Only in the long code didn't do that.
 I was confused, because there wasn't other alternative to inspect a string, and I didn't know assembly, to replace the built-in function. Thus I gave up writing this game.
I am sorry your program didn't work! String operations are tricky...it's very easy to write something simple like A$=B$+C$ but that can cause a lot of memory copying, which is slow. I can't remember the details of how IS-BASIC deals with strings but I guess something had to be copied eg the rest of the variable table being moved up in memory to make room, so big variable table = more copying, or something like that. Sorry I can't remember more:smt017
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Tuby128 on 2013.February.22. 00:56:34
You don't have to sorry. I just wanted tell an interesting story about my old IS-BASIC era.

 I have an anoter queston about your colleagues Nick and Dave. You wrote in your memo, that this two men worked in the same building as you. Did you have any opporunity to look into their work? Did you see schematics or hardware descripion sourcecode in their hand, or were you in their room?
 I am a very curious man, everything is interesing me.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.22. 02:45:19
Quote from: Tuby128
You don't have to sorry. I just wanted tell an interesting story about my old IS-BASIC era.

 I have an anoter queston about your colleagues Nick and Dave. You wrote in your memo, that this two men worked in the same building as you. Did you have any opporunity to look into their work? Did you see schematics or hardware descripion sourcecode in their hand, or were you in their room?
 I am a very curious man, everything is interesing me.
There were schematic drawings around but I never got to study them in detail. I think it was too early for hw description source code if u mean things like VHDL, but I might b wrong. I'm pretty sure it wasn't used in Nick or Dave. I didn't have much to do with the hw as IS-BASICs interaction with the hw is all through EXOS.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Tuby128 on 2013.February.22. 07:30:28
Mr Tanner, you're still a night owl. :D
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.22. 08:06:04
Quote from: BruceTanner
 I guess something had to be copied eg the rest of the variable table being moved up in memory to make room, so big variable table = more copying, or something like that.
If the variables are predefined at the beginning of the program then this avoid the variable table moving at the operations?
And for strings the length also can be defined, for example:
10 STRING A$*20
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.22. 09:25:41
Quote from: Zozosoft
If the variables are predefined at the beginning of the program then this avoid the variable table moving at the operations?
And for strings the length also can be defined, for example:
10 STRING A$*20
Yes agreed - it was meant as an example of the sort of things that might go on in a BASIC with strings that would explain problems with large programs. I was not saying that it does necessarily in IS-BASIC - unfortunately I cannot remember enough details of the internal workings. Sorry if that subtlety got lost in translation! But re-reading your previous message, if you actually got incorrect results,  that is a bug. I would guess related to segment paging but I'm prepared to be proved wrong!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.22. 09:36:22
Quote from: BruceTanner
unfortunately I cannot remember enough details of the internal workings.
Previously you told the BCD routines come from IS-BASIC to TVC BASIC. The string routines also?
It is exist a Hungarian book of TVC ROM disassembly (http://tvc.homeserver.hu/doc/konyvek/tvcrom.pdf) (only OS+BASIC, VTDOS no :-( ).
If the string routines also common, then we have some idea how it is working in the IS-BASIC.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.22. 09:45:48
Quote from: Zozosoft
Previously you told the BCD routines come from IS-BASIC to TVC BASIC. The string routines also?
It is exist a Hungarian book of TVC ROM disassembly (http://tvc.homeserver.hu/doc/konyvek/tvcrom.pdf) (only OS+BASIC, VTDOS no :-( ).
If the string routines also common, then we have some idea how it is working in the IS-BASIC.
Probably...but again I can't actually remember. It's unusual in a BASIC to have to declare the maximum length of a string...is this the case in TVC BASIC? If it is the case, I'm sure they used the same routines, if it isn't the case I'm sure they didn't. I wish I could remember more!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.22. 09:59:17
I looked it: no STRING (and NUMERIC) variable define commands in the TVC BASIC. Only DIM for arrays.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.22. 10:07:27
Quote from: BruceTanner
After IS's collapse, we set up Madge Networks on Robert Madge's mother's farm on the outskirts of London, and it was here that I finished (& maybe started?) VTDOS, and here that photo with the tree was taken in summer '86. I don't know how they sorted out the legal contracts which would have been with IS - I did not get involved with that side of things.
Now I find very interesting thing on the TVC page:
English Manual for 2.0 BASIC (http://tvc.homeserver.hu/doc/konyvek/tv_computer_basic_200_en.pdf) (this is for the latest TVC model: TVC64K+)
It is dated 13 May 1987, about 1 years later than the collapse! And the company name is: IS Systems Ltd. New company founded for finishing the TVC projects?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.22. 10:12:01
Quote from: Zozosoft
It is exist a Hungarian book of TVC ROM disassembly (http://tvc.homeserver.hu/doc/konyvek/tvcrom.pdf) (only OS+BASIC, VTDOS no :-( ).
Thank you for posting that...I had no idea someone had done that! It's a shame I cannot read Hungarian :( because it would b quite interesting to read the comments!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.22. 10:27:40
Quote from: Zozosoft
Now I find very interesting thing on the TVC page:
English Manual for 2.0 BASIC (http://tvc.homeserver.hu/doc/konyvek/tv_computer_basic_200_en.pdf) (this is for the latest TVC model: TV64K+)
It is dated 13 May 1987, about 1 years later than the collapse! And the company name is: IS Systems Ltd. New company founded for finishing the TVC projects?
Interesting! Yes I think you must be right but once again I cannot remember it...I didn't have anything to do with the legal side of things. But Videoton would have had a contract with IS, so IS would have done everything they could to make the situation seem not too bad to Videoton...hence ISS I guess! I had forgotten there was a v2!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.22. 11:09:03
Quote from: BruceTanner
It's a shame I cannot read Hungarian :( because it would b quite interesting to read the comments!
This is a good reason to learn Hungarian :ds_icon_cheesygrin:

Same book series started for the Enterprise but only the first book EXOS Segment 0. (http://enterprise.iko.hu/books/Segment_0.pdf) released because the Hungarian Enterprise distribution prohibited the ROM disassemblies.
We have the unfinished manuscript of the EXOS Segment 1. (http://enterprise.iko.hu/books/Segment_1.pdf)
These are also with Hungarian comments :oops:

For the EXDOS I will write English comments for you :-)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Tuby128 on 2013.February.23. 18:51:57
Mr Tanner!
 Did you know about, that ENTERPRISE had other external peripheries e.g it's own monitor and printer, EP-Mouse (a corner-shaped mouse-like monster, connected to the External joystick port) and a SpeekEasy voice synthetiser? Have you ever used any of these?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.23. 21:46:28
Quote from: Tuby128
Mr Tanner!
 Did you know about, that ENTERPRISE had other external peripheries e.g it's own monitor and printer, EP-Mouse (a corner-shaped mouse-like monster, connected to the External joystick port) and a SpeekEasy voice synthetiser? Have you ever used any of these?
No, I don't think I knew about these other peripherals before reading about them & seeing pics on this wonderful forum. How could anyone forget that mouse!! Were these just Hungarian (or German)? Did the voice synthesiser do anything other than English?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.23. 21:53:03
Quote from: BruceTanner
Were these just Hungarian (or German)?
No, see the brochures. (http://enterprise.iko.hu/brochures.htm)

Quote
Did the voice synthesiser do anything other than English?
It is with English, German, and French text to speech software.
It is use the GI SP0256 IC, which is used in many other speech extension for many other computers.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.23. 22:10:18
The Speakeasy and Mouse not developed by the Enterprise Computers, these from the Aztec Software. This company also promised compiler for the IS-BASIC but never released.
Do you know anything about this project?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.23. 22:35:45
Quote from: Zozosoft
The Speakeasy and Mouse not developed by the Enterprise Computers, these from the Aztec Software. This company also promised compiler for the IS-BASIC but never released.
Do you know anything about this project?
No, I have never heard of this! I am sure there would be many problems to overcome, but the first one that comes to mind is the dynamic scope of IS-BASIC variables (good discussion of dynamic scope vs. Static scope http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scope_(computer_science)#section_3 (http://http:/http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scope_(computer_science)#section_3). Dynamic scope is natural for an interpreter, static scope more natural for a machine code compiler (and better for programming in my opinion). A compiler though could compile to an intermediate code (p-code) which is then interpreted. It would presumably still have to use BCD maths to remain compatible.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.23. 22:59:47
Could it be true, when Aztec accepted the job, thought that EP has the same simply Basic as another machines?
And later, as they found many difficulties, they gave up the project.

The only existing compiler (http://gafz.enterpriseforever.com/PDF/Zzzip_Compiler.pdf) was developed later by an EP user, and has many limitations e.g. It could handle only global variables and integers.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.23. 23:57:18
Quote from: Zozosoft
Could it be true, when Aztec accepted the job, thought that EP has the same simply Basic as another machines?
And later, as they found many difficulties, they gave up the project.

The only existing compiler (http://gafz.enterpriseforever.com/PDF/Zzzip_Compiler.pdf) was developed later by an EP user, and has many limitations e.g. It could handle only global variables and integers.
Yes very possible. I did not even know about that one...good start :) but local variables are such an advantage for serious programming.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Tuby128 on 2013.February.24. 00:04:44
There is a YouTube video about this Zzzip compiler. It shows how much faster can be a programm before and after the conversion. Zozo, could you provide a link? I didn't find that.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.24. 00:07:28
Quote from: BruceTanner
I did not even know about that one...good start :)
It is used for many IS-BASIC games.
But now when drew our attention to the FORTH, I will be a very curious: game which is running very slow on IS-BASIC then possible running enough fast if using IS-FORTH?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.24. 00:10:42
Quote from: Tuby128
There is a YouTube video about this Zzzip compiler. It shows how much faster can be a programm before and after the conversion. Zozo, could you provide a link? I didn't find that.
It is a video file (http://ep128.hu/Album/Pic/Peter_Hiner_Zzzip_demo.avi) what we got from the author (Peter Hiner).
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Tuby128 on 2013.February.24. 00:22:32
In my oppinion Forth is faster, because it is a stack oriented language (if I good rember Z80 stack operations is more faster, than direct memory access; -  see: Latter Exos memory test with PUSH instructions), and the other hand, Mr Tanner's forth wasn't "hand" compiled from C, as IS-BASIC was.
 Mr Tanner, was your Forth extension an interpreter or a compiler?

@hun:
Véleményem szerint a Forth azért gyorsabb, mert az egy verem orientált nyelv (ha jól emlékszem a Z80 verem alapú utasításai gyorsabbak, mint a direkt memória hozzáférése; - Lásd: Későbbi Exos memoria teszt PUSH utasításokkal),  másrészt Tanner Úr forth bővítője már nem kézzel fordított volt C-ből, mint az IS-BASIC volt.
 Tanner Úr, az Ön Forth-ja valós időben fordított (interpreter) vagy előre fordított (compiler)?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.24. 00:53:52
Quote from: Zozosoft
It is a video file (http://ep128.hu/Album/Pic/Peter_Hiner_Zzzip_demo.avi) what we got from the author (Peter Hiner).
Hmmm...that screen full of letters is not being written by calling EXOS is it?!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.24. 01:01:28
Quote from: Tuby128
In my oppinion Forth is faster, because it is a stack oriented language (if I good rember Z80 stack operations is more faster, than direct memory access; -  see: Latter Exos memory test with PUSH instructions), and the other hand, Mr Tanner's forth wasn't "hand" compiled from C, as IS-BASIC was.
 Mr Tanner, was your Forth extension an interpreter or a compiler?

@hun:
Véleményem szerint a Forth azért gyorsabb, mert az egy verem orientált nyelv (ha jól emlékszem a Z80 verem alapú utasításai gyorsabbak, mint a direkt memória hozzáférése; - Lásd: Későbbi Exos memoria teszt PUSH utasításokkal),  másrészt Tanner Úr forth bővítője már nem kézzel fordított volt C-ből, mint az IS-BASIC volt.
 Tanner Úr, az Ön Forth-ja valós időben fordított (interpreter) vagy előre fordított (compiler)?
I think FORTH would be faster but it looks as though zzzip has it's own I/o which IS-FORTH does not (it uses EXOS calls) so that would win it for zzzip in a test like the one in that video.

FORTH is half compiler and half interpreter, but it is a lower-level language than BASIC - closer to the machine.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.24. 01:15:33
Quote from: BruceTanner
Hmmm...that screen full of letters is not being written by calling EXOS is it?!
Yes, not EXOS. SPOKE :-)
[attach=1]
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.24. 01:27:26
Quote from: BruceTanner
I think FORTH would be faster but it looks as though zzzip has it's own I/o which IS-FORTH does not (it uses EXOS calls) so that would win it for zzzip in a test like the one in that video.
Now we see the "no EXOS" trick is in the original BASIC program. (But the speed enhancement for the SPOKEs cycle is also impressive!)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.24. 01:52:53
Quote from: Zozosoft
Now we see the "no EXOS" trick is in the original BASIC program. (But the speed enhancement for the SPOKEs cycle is also impressive!)
Yes indeed it is impressive - didn't realise the IS-BASIC version was also bypassing EXOS!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.24. 11:18:38
I noticed another Intelligent Software product:
Spectrum BASIC Converter (http://ep128.hu/Album/Ep_Kazetta/Spectrum_Basic_Converter_ENG.jpg)
[attach=1]

It is have these parts:
SPECTAPE: EXOS extension with the SPECTAPE: device, for loading Spectrum files from tape
SPECEDIT: IS-BASIC extension, this is the main converter program
SPECGOTO: IS-BASIC extension with new GOTO and GOSUB instructions, needed when the origanal program use variable expressions as GOTO/GOSUB parameter
SPECCOLO, SPECGRAPH some predefined routines, can be merged with the converted program if needed

Can you remember about this package? You wrote it?
Somewhere I readed promise of same package for other BASICs, but never see other version.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.24. 12:38:16
Quote from: Zozosoft
I noticed another Intelligent Software product:
Spectrum BASIC Converter (http://ep128.hu/Album/Ep_Kazetta/Spectrum_Basic_Converter_ENG.jpg)
(Attachment)

It is have these parts:
SPECTAPE: EXOS extension with the SPECTAPE: device, for loading Spectrum files from tape
SPECEDIT: IS-BASIC extension, this is the main converter program
SPECGOTO: IS-BASIC extension with new GOTO and GOSUB instructions, needed when the origanal program use variable expressions as GOTO/GOSUB parameter
SPECCOLO, SPECGRAPH some predefined routines, can be merged with the converted program if needed

Can you remember about this package? You wrote it?
Somewhere I readed promise of same package for other BASICs, but never see other version.
No I don't remember it but it was clearly written by someone at IS. There are a few people who were connected with the Enterprise software whos contributiuon I cannot recall - it was probably one of them (eg. those whose initials appear at the end of the line on SET STATUS 42 or who are unnamed in the Your Computer photo). I would not trust anything with a version number of 0.04! :smt103
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.25. 09:27:37
Quote from: BruceTanner
I would not trust anything with a version number of 0.04! :smt103
:lol: but this the officially released version what you can bought in the shops!
IS-LISP is also version 0...
[attach=1]
Interesting: it is dated 1984, many time before the collapse, why not higher version released?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.25. 09:47:19
Quote from: Zozosoft
:lol: but this the officially released version what you can bought in the shops!
IS-LISP is also version 0...
(Attachment)
Interesting: it is dated 1984, many time before the collapse, why not higher version released?
Oh yes, I had not seen that. Maybe we did not mind releasing something called 0.x in those days. In all my subsequent career 0.x was always during development, and moved to 1.0 just before first release. Lisp was written by Mark Richer who is in the Your Computer photo. I think he may have still been at University when he started, and then joined IS full-time when he graduated.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.25. 09:55:22
I now have the answer to the question of which is faster, zzzip BASIC or FORTH at the screen-filling test, as I have written the same thing in FORTH, using the same loops, algorithms and SPOKE. The answer is that it is close but I think zzzip is a little bit faster.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.25. 10:05:32
Quote from: BruceTanner
I have written the same thing in FORTH, using the same loops, algorithms and SPOKE. The answer is that it is close but I think zzzip is a little bit faster.
Great! Can you post this program?
I suggest start a FORTH topic, what do you think?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.25. 10:21:45
Quote from: Zozosoft
Great! Can you post this program?
I suggest start a FORTH topic, what do you think?
yes I will post later when I'm on the desktop computer! And I'll start a new topic when I do it!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Tuby128 on 2013.February.25. 21:59:08
Mr Tanner, Now I have seen your Forth environment, which is reminding me of the IS-BASIC. I'm wondering, by whom was this color scheme choosen? I meant the black background with the green characters and the red cursor and red status line. I suppose it was by you, or wasn't it? If it was, considering that in this time other home computers have colored background, e.g C64 has a bluish, and Spectrum has white (but I'm not sure about that), I'm curious why did you choose particulary black?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.25. 22:04:53
These colors are EXOS defaults.
I think the black paper is more good for CRTs, because less radiation.
When possible I always chose black paper with green letters, for example in the Turbo Pascal editor or in DOS Navigator, and todays in the Total Commander.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.25. 22:20:25
Quote from: Tuby128
Mr Tanner, Now I have seen your Forth environment, which is reminding me of the IS-BASIC. I'm wondering, by whom was this color scheme choosen? I meant the black background with the green characters and the red cursor and red status line. I suppose it was by you, or wasn't it? If it was, considering that in this time other home computers have colored background, e.g C64 has a bluish, and Spectrum has white (but I'm not sure about that), I'm curious why did you choose particulary black?
I think we chose the green on black because, as zozo says, it is easy on they eye. Early monitors, before colour, were usually green on black for the same reason (I don't think there was any reason why they could not have made, for example, red on black if they had wanted to). I think it was just the programmers who chose it but I can't remember who exactly!

They are also the colours of the Enterprise itself - mainly black with some green keys, a few blue and a red one. These colours were chosen by the case designers and fixed before we had software running.

These days with graphical Window environments black on white, like paper, is common, but in those days the whites available were too bright and harsh to be comfortable.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.25. 22:47:55
From the EXOS specifications:
[attach=1]

The 1 is the FORTH! How allocated the first number for you? :-)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: geco on 2013.February.25. 22:52:27
And nowadays the black and white is irritating the eyes also like in eighties :D, I do not know why it was chosen for windows, 10 years ago I tried to change the color scheme of winfos (fos is shit in hungarian)to black and green  , but I did not have success, there were a lot of applications which did not let the modification, therefore I gave up. If I have to look too much this black and white screen my eyes goes to tired early. I love(d) the color scheme of EP, I could spend many hours front of the computer in a day without any problem :D
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.25. 23:06:23
Quote from: geco
And nowadays the black and white is irritating the eyes also like in eighties :D, I do not know why it was chosen for windows, 10 years ago I tried to change the color scheme of winfos (fos is shit in hungarian)to black and green  , but I did not have success, there were a lot of applications which did not let the modification, therefore I gave up. If I have to look too much this black and white screen my eyes goes to tired early. I love(d) the color scheme of EP, I could spend many hours front of the computer in a day without any problem :D
Yes indeed. Probably meant to look like paper. I use a very light grey instead of white but, as you say, a lot of programs don't take notice of the system colours :smt013
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: geco on 2013.February.25. 23:13:41
Quote from: BruceTanner
Yes indeed. Probably meant to look like paper. I use a very light grey instead of white but, as you say, a lot of programs don't take notice of the system colours :smt013
I am sure you are right :) , but if I want to look paper, then I take a group of A4 paper and look on it :D , I tried it also, much better than the black&white.
Yes, even those programs do not have setting for change colors, we are not able to use SET PALETTE command unfortunately :D
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Tuby128 on 2013.February.25. 23:36:48
First of all, I agree with you about the eyes thing, Geco.
I can imagine a hardware which inverts the intensity of every colour that came from the VGA connector. So you can get black background with white letters, but I think it's also worthless, if you use this converter by certain websites (like this one).
 (I mentioned VGA output, because I still use this one.)

 By the way, the latter Windows versions (from XP) have settings to change the "desktop theme". It works perfectly, if you use applications, which uses the default windows theme by creation of the window. Unfortunately there is many applications which use "hard coded" color scheme, insead of default. The reason for this could be the "custom" made windows controls, or the developer didn't know (or didn't want to spent time) about how to get default parameters (especially if there is not so much time to accomplish a task).
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: lgb on 2013.February.26. 01:38:52
Quote from: BruceTanner
I think we chose the green on black because, as zozo says, it is easy on they eye. Early monitors, before colour, were usually green on black for the same reason (I don't think there was any reason why they could not have made, for example, red on black if they had wanted to). I think it was just the programmers who chose it but I can't remember who exactly!
I guess it was not free of choice at that time (before the colour era). Green is caused the type of phosphor used in the CRT. This kind of phosphor is called "P1".  There are other kinds as well (like the amber, which is "P3"). What I can guess, P1 was more easily made at the beginning or it was cheaper etc? Maybe there is a reason to denote number "1" for it, and having higher numbers for other colours which were used more widely later. Anyway it changed later when colour monitors needed red, green and blue too for every pixels :) What is odd for me: white on black phosphor is "P4". This is odd, as b&w TVs should have this (as we all of know it can't be P1: they didn't have green image ....), so it must be used from the beginning.

I've just found this page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phosphor#Standard_phosphor_types), while trying to find out why P1 was so commonly used in monitors.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.26. 09:45:39
Bruce! Have you noticed my question (http://enterpriseforever.com/hall-of-fame/en-vagyok-a-hibas-im-to-blame/msg30552/#msg30552) between the color discussions? :oops:
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.26. 10:10:53
Quote from: Zozosoft
From the EXOS specifications:
(Attachment)

The 1 is the FORTH! How allocated the first number for you? :-)
:oops: I can't remember how we allocated those numbers...it does seem strange that FORTH came before BASIC As it was written later. Maybe there was another file type during development that we later did not need so FORTH filled the gap. One of the specification documents on your web site has the same list but includes FORTH :)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.27. 20:23:07
Quote from: Zozosoft
I started with the EXDOS because I wanted to work my IDE controller.
Unfortunately EXDOS Technical Documents are missing! (http://enterprise.iko.hu/technical.htm) :cry:
My IDE hw and the low level routines are ready at about 1996. But at this time I thought totally new DOS needed...
Many years later when I started the disassembly then found: expanding the EXDOS with new disk handlers is a very-very-very simple thing! Few days later the IDE interface worked with EXDOS :-D

Hi zozo,

From a while ago in this topic...if you have an IDE hard disk interface working with an Enterprise, have you ever tried something like one of these? http://www.amazon.co.uk/44-Pin-Male-IDE-Card-Adapter/dp/B005DJLD8Q (http://www.amazon.co.uk/44-Pin-Male-IDE-Card-Adapter/dp/B005DJLD8Q)
ie an IDE to SD card converter
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.27. 21:04:40
Quote from: BruceTanner
if you have an IDE hard disk interface working with an Enterprise, have you ever tried something like one of these?
Tested with CF card (http://www.ep128.hu/Album/Pic/Ep_Klub_19.jpg) :-)
Someone use with SDCard and PQI flash disk. (http://enterpriseforever.com/hardver/ide-kartya/?action=dlattach;attach=7992;image)
Probably everything can be connected to IDE will work, but possible needed enhancing the IDE ROM for some devices.
(Is my dream programming Enterprise in full time as you did at the IS :) )
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.27. 23:15:15
It has just come to me how we assembled & linked the Enterprise software...with Microsoft M80 and L80 (still downloadable off the internet, they are CP/M programs so should run on the Enterprise itself!)
I think we had a Z80 card in an IBM PC to run them on.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.27. 23:34:10
It is about how many time one compile of BASIC/EXDOS/etc?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.27. 23:44:28
Quote from: Zozosoft
It is about how many time one compile of BASIC/EXDOS/etc?
It wasn't too bad, because there were lots of separate source files so we only needed to assemble the few we'd changed, and then link them all together, which was relatively fast. Typically a few minutes. But if we decided to rebuild the entire system it was time for a long cup of coffee!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.February.28. 00:01:53
For comparision: with the best Enterprise assembler (HEASS (http://www.ep128.hu/Ep_Util/HEASS.htm)) on the real 4Mhz Enterprise full compile of EXDOS 1.3 is only 43 seconds!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.February.28. 09:03:43
Quote from: Zozosoft
For comparision: with the best Enterprise assembler (HEASS (http://www.ep128.hu/Ep_Util/HEASS.htm)) on the real 4Mhz Enterprise full compile of EXDOS 1.3 is only 43 seconds!
Wow! That is impressive!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.March.02. 21:49:22
I added lot of new articles (http://enterprise.iko.hu/articles.htm), mostly from the Popular Computing Weekly.
Perhaps recall some more memories.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.March.02. 22:15:01
Quote from: Zozosoft
I added lot of new articles (http://enterprise.iko.hu/articles.htm), mostly from the Popular Computing Weekly.
Perhaps recall some more memories.
Thank you! It is interesting reading other parts of those magazines too - delays seem to have been quite common in those days!

I was amused by a quote from Kevin O'Connell (in Popular Computer Weekly 11th August 1984) about the new forthcoming Elan:

"No information will be released until we are 100% ready."

:oops::oops::oops::oops::oops:
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.March.02. 22:35:12
Quote from: BruceTanner
1984
1983! :-)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.March.03. 01:43:17
I found few more.
First news about the collapse. (http://enterprise.iko.hu/articles/PopularComputingWeekly86070300005.jpg) Now we know the near exact date, it's at end of June 1986.
This is more interesting! (http://enterprise.iko.hu/articles/PopularComputingWeekly86071700005.jpg) Talking about the next prototype model, 320K not a surprise, but what is on the photo??? It is looks very ugly after the original models!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.March.03. 09:06:56
Quote from: Zozosoft
I found few more.
First news about the collapse. (http://enterprise.iko.hu/articles/PopularComputingWeekly86070300005.jpg) Now we know the near exact date, it's at end of June 1986.
This is more interesting! (http://enterprise.iko.hu/articles/PopularComputingWeekly86071700005.jpg) Talking about the next prototype model, 320K not a surprise, but what is on the photo??? It is looks very ugly after the original models!
:smt078

I never heard of that! I don't think that would have helped their situation!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.March.03. 20:24:29
Another article which does not talk too much about the EP but still very interesting!
1. (http://enterprise.iko.hu/articles/PopularComputingWeekly83120100001.jpg)
2. (http://enterprise.iko.hu/articles/PopularComputingWeekly83120100005.jpg)
Probably the Hungary-Enterprise relationship started at this point!

We know some games developed in Hungary to the Enterprise before the Enterprise machines sold there.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.March.08. 23:12:01
Quote from: BruceTanner
I was not able to test that 30 years ago - that much memory was just a distant dream!
When the softwares (EXOS,BASIC,EXDOS,etc) developed you are used only 64K prototype machines? Memory expansion not tested until the first EP128?

It is a Bug (http://hhttp://enterpriseforever.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=283.0;attach=3254;image) in the EXDOS, maximum RAMDISK 127 can be used (2032K) :-)
I fixed this, now all memory can be used. (http://enterpriseforever.com/programozas/exdos-283/msg14649/#msg14649)
The problem: under 2048K 1 sectors/cluster can be used, but after needed 2 sectors/cluster (because the FAT size).
It is need some checking, more bytes in the code. I think this is the reason why you limited the max size to 127 segments. "Never will have anyone more than 2M memory EP" :oops:
I putted this checking to the code, it is needed plus 10 bytes... it is some hard days while I can optimise the original code for made 10 bytes shorter :-D
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.March.08. 23:28:56
Quote from: Zozosoft
When the softwares (EXOS,BASIC,EXDOS,etc) developed you are used only 64K prototype machines? Memory expansion not tested until the first EP128?

It is a Bug (http://hhttp://enterpriseforever.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=283.0;attach=3254;image) in the EXDOS, maximum RAMDISK 127 can be used (2032K) :-)
I fixed this, now all memory can be used. (http://enterpriseforever.com/programozas/exdos-283/msg14649/#msg14649)
The problem: under 2048K 1 sectors/cluster can be used, but after needed 2 sectors/cluster (because the FAT size).
It is need some checking, more bytes in the code. I think this is the reason why you limited the max size to 127 segments. "Never will have anyone more than 2M memory EP" :oops:
I putted this checking to the code, it is needed plus 10 bytes... it is some hard days while I can optimise the original code for made 10 bytes shorter :-D
Well spotted & fixed zozo! Despite all the expansion possibilities, back in those days 2M RAM was totally unthinkable. That is why the RAM test is impossibly slow with a large amount of RAM - it was just inconceivable that anyone would add that amount of RAM. As for a computer fast enough to run a C-written Z80 emulator at 400% speed...:shock:
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.March.08. 23:34:00
Quote from: Zozosoft
When the softwares (EXOS,BASIC,EXDOS,etc) developed you are used only 64K prototype machines? Memory expansion not tested until the first EP128?
I'm sure we tested with more than 64k, but I doubt we ever had more than 256k and possibly 128k was the most we ever had - don't remember having more.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.March.09. 00:02:09
Quote from: BruceTanner
That is why the RAM test is impossibly slow with a large amount of RAM - it was just inconceivable that anyone would add that amount of RAM.
But if all programs are EXOS compatible (allocating memory from EXOS, using Warm Start address, Exit option, etc) then you see the RAM test once a day when power on the computer!
Unfortunatelly many programs written on wrong way :evil:
It is a big mistake from the Enterprise company: not released something manual about the right EXOS programing! The original Entersoft programs also programed wrong :-(

I not understood previously why happened this. It is a standalone, brilliant operating system, but not used properly :roll:
But now after your memories I know: the Intelligent Software and the Enterprise Computers are two different companies. And the Enterprise Computers did not realized which fantastic system got from the IS!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.March.09. 00:20:06
Quote from: Zozosoft
But if all programs are EXOS compatible (allocating memory from EXOS, using Warm Start address, Exit option, etc) then you see the RAM test once a day when power on the computer!
Unfortunatelly many programs written on wrong way :evil:
It is a big mistake from the Enterprise company: not released something manual about the right EXOS programing! The original Entersoft programs also programed wrong :-(

I not understood previously why happened this. It is a standalone, brilliant operating system, but not used properly :roll:
But now after your memories I know: the Intelligent Software and the Enterprise Computers are two different companies. And the Enterprise Computers did not realized which fantastic system got from the IS!
Yes I think everything you say is true. With the benefit of hindsight it would have been good if IS had put together an example framework program with soure code. But all those things you mention are hidden and technical, and all the attention was on BASIC.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.March.09. 01:09:48
Quote from: BruceTanner
and all the attention was on BASIC.
The easy usage of the machine capabilities from machine code program not requested by the Enterprise company? This is own idea of the IS? (or from Martin who is wrote the EXOS?)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.March.09. 01:33:04
Quote from: Zozosoft
The easy usage of the machine capabilities from machine code program not requested by the Enterprise company? This is own idea of the IS? (or from Martin who is wrote the EXOS?)
Machine code was a minority interest in the home computer world then - more technical than most people wanted or were able to go! But you are right - an easy assembler/debugger etc were not part of what we were asked to do (which is a shame - I would have enjoyed writing that!)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.March.09. 20:27:07
Quote from: BruceTanner
what we were asked to do
Can you remember what things asked by the Enterprise company, and what are own idea of IS team?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.March.09. 23:35:47
Quote from: Zozosoft
Can you remember what things asked by the Enterprise company, and what are own idea of IS team?
In the beginning there would have been a contract between the backers of Elan/Enterprise and IS but (unfortunately) I don't know what that said - I would guess it was probably in fairly vague terms as we had quite a lot of flexibility in how we implemented features, and it probably concentrated more on hw (max colours, max memory, build-in joystick etc). With EXOS particularly I don't think there was any specification document before hand - we were just free to implement it in the best way we saw fit. BASIC was a bit more constrained because it was ANSI standard (that's where the BCD arithmetic spec comes from) but I have never known who drove that - Enterprise Computers or IS management. EXOS's channel-based design though was heavily influenced by ANSI BASIC's requirements.

I'm pretty sure that initial contract did not include things like FORTH (& LISP). When they gave me the go-ahead to turn FORTH into a proper product I guess IS went to Enterprise Computers and negotiated a separate contract (and payment, which never happened!).

From a sw point of view I don't remember ever being told that Elan/Enterprise Computers want a particular feature or want something done in a particular way - they were far too removed from the details for that (:smt023)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.March.10. 00:19:00
Somewhere I think I said that I cannot remember IS being connected with Entersoft (I cannot find the discussion now). However I have just seen zozo post this in another discussion, which contradicts that :oops:

(http://enterpriseforever.com/tortenelem/enterprise-tortenelem/?action=dlattach;attach=8825;image)

The Entersoft Address given there, 37 Bedford Square, London, was IS's address! Furthermore the name, Keith Elliot, is vaguely familiar to me but in my mind I cannot put a face to the name. It is dated 16-22 May 1985 so 1 year before the collapse. There was one programmer working on Educational software which might have been for the Enterprise but equally might have been for something else. I am certain there were no Entersoft programmers there!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.March.10. 00:35:50
Quote from: BruceTanner
There was one programmer working on Educational software which might have been for the Enterprise
Probably on this? (http://ep128.hu/Ep_Games/Leiras/Playground.htm)

The demonstration programs which are shipped with the computer and another in-store-demostration for the shops, are written by IS?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.March.10. 00:49:35
Quote from: Zozosoft
Probably on this? (http://ep128.hu/Ep_Games/Leiras/Playground.htm)

The demonstration programs which are shipped with the computer and another in-store-demostration for the shops, are written by IS?
Yes it may well have that one but I'm not 100% certain - I did not pay very much attention to what he was writing but the first screen shot looks very vaguely familiar. He was considerably older than the rest of us and did not really mix with us or our way of working. I cannot remember his name.

I'm not sure about the demo programs - some of them look like they are developments of test programs we wrote so were probably written by IS but others, such as the interlace demos, I had not seen before. I'm not sure about the store demo either - again I do not remember seeing that before.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.March.12. 13:37:27
Question from the Hungarian forum: what are feel the developer team when clear the Enterprise is unsuccesful in the UK market and finally when the companies collapsed?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.March.12. 14:22:25
Quote from: Zozosoft
Question from the Hungarian forum: what are feel the developer team when clear the Enterprise is unsuccesful in the UK market and finally when the companies collapsed?
I don't think it was clear to us that the Enterprise was not successful until the collapse - it was very sudden. Bedford Square in London, where IS's offices were, is near Tottenham Court Road, which is the electronics centre of London - the street was lined with many shop selling hifi, computers etc. So we would walk to work at IS passing shops with the Enterprise in the Window - it was not clear to us that it was not doing well.

[attach=1]

It was of course a shock and sad, it was the end of an era, but the end of one era is the beginning of another, and it was an exciting time starting afresh at Madge Networks. I don't think I looked back much - too busy looking forwards! And I was still working on the TVC, so all the code we had written was not going to waste. We were pretty insulated from the fallout of Enterprise Computers. I suspect my colleagues working on the chess side of IS did not do so well, but we never heard from any of them again.

It was a bit of a worrying and difficult time for me personally too: just a few weeks earlier I had just taken out a loan, which I could hardly afford, to buy a house, and the possibility of finding myself out of work was very real! Robert Madge's mother's disused farm where we started out at Madge Networks was a 2 hour train and 1/2 hour walk from my new house, so I had to spend 5 hours a day travelling. I did that for a year before I could finally afford to buy a car, which cut my journey to 1 hour each way.

As I recall my overriding feeling at the time was just relief that I still had a way to pay my new house loan!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.March.12. 15:15:57
Quote from: BruceTanner
I don't think it was clear to us that the Enterprise was not successful until the collapse - it was very sudden.
Is not share the Enterprise company any sales statistic with the IS?

And continously problem: the software houses not developed to Enterprise becouse not enough users but people not buy Enterprise because not enough software... (Catch-22)
In this time (85-86) the Enterprise Computers not asked IS for developing games and other more softwares?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.March.12. 15:25:39
Quote from: Zozosoft
Is not share the Enterprise company any sales statistic with the IS?

And continously problem: the software houses not developed to Enterprise becouse not enough users but people not buy Enterprise because not enough software... (Catch-22)
In this time (85-86) the Enterprise Computers not asked IS for developing games and other more softwares?
No, I did not see any statistics, and as a private company they did not have any obligation to publish them. Possibly the managers at IS had them - I don't know (later at Madge Networks we were regularly given sales statistics - maybe that tells you something!)

As far as I am aware IS was not approached by Enterprise Computers to develop games etc but I do not really know what went on behind the scenes. The delays did not help either - developers would need an Enterprise for a few months at least to develop a new title. As you say...catch 22!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.March.12. 15:38:25
Quote from: BruceTanner
and as a private company they did not have any obligation to publish them.
And it remains a secret how many Enterprises were sold in UK!
I found only one data from 1985 May (http://enterprise.iko.hu/articles/PopularComputingWeekly85052300004.jpg) "just under 10000"...
1000 are also under 10000 and 9999 are also :-D
Germany and Scandinavia are also secret :-(
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.March.15. 11:14:52
About the EXDOS and IS-DOS: this article (from 1984 December) (http://enterprise.iko.hu/articles/PCW1984-12-13_19-5.jpg) told "CP/M built in".
Originally one DOS planned? And later divided into two parts? The IS-DOS planned originally to ROM and later remained on disk?

And this article also said:"Intelligent Software has written a range of twelve products"! But we have never seen the mentioned games ...
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.March.15. 13:33:52
Quote from: Zozosoft
About the EXDOS and IS-DOS: this article (from 1984 December) (http://enterprise.iko.hu/articles/PCW1984-12-13_19-5.jpg) told "CP/M built in".
Originally one DOS planned? And later divided into two parts? The IS-DOS planned originally to ROM and later remained on disk?

And this article also said:"Intelligent Software has written a range of twelve products"! But we have never seen the mentioned games ...
I think there is a lot of speculation and mis-information in that article! As far as I remember there was never a plan to run "real" CP/M - only a compatible system, and I don't think IS ever wrote games other than chess and the one case I mentioned before, but it is possible some discussions took place that I did not know about. I think IS-DOS was always planned to be disk-based (like CP/M, MSX-DOS and MS-DOS) - if anything, the idea of a ROM-based EXDOS, using : commands, only came about when we started development. I don't think we ever envisaged IS-DOS being ROM-based.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.March.15. 18:03:10
Probably the article writer mixed the Intelligent Software (Forth, Lisp, Cyrus) and Entersoft (games) informations?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.March.15. 18:38:51
Quote from: Zozosoft
Probably the article writer mixed the Intelligent Software (Forth, Lisp, Cyrus) and Entersoft (games) informations?
Yes, I think you are probably right. And add in some wishful thinking by sales & marketing...:ds_icon_cheesygrin:
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.March.15. 19:26:28
Quote from: BruceTanner
And add in some wishful thinking by sales & marketing...:ds_icon_cheesygrin:
For example: Quicksilva and Micro-Gen working on Enterprise programs... :twisted:
But least the first four games and the monitor and printer are true :-)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.March.20. 21:45:39
Bruce!
The Your Computer artice (http://enterprise.iko.hu/articles/Your_Computer_198401~1.jpg) starting with: big problem before the launch because the rubber keyboard mat not ready.
Previously you told, on the launch wired prototype worked at hidden under desktop.
At this situation why important the rubber keyboard mat? The dummy Enterprise connected as keyboard to prototype unit?

Under the development which keyboards used for the prototypes?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.March.20. 22:49:17
Quote from: Zozosoft
Bruce!
The Your Computer artice (http://enterprise.iko.hu/articles/Your_Computer_198401~1.jpg) starting with: big problem before the launch because the rubber keyboard mat not ready.
Previously you told, on the launch wired prototype worked at hidden under desktop.
At this situation why important the rubber keyboard mat? The dummy Enterprise connected as keyboard to prototype unit?

Under the development which keyboards used for the prototypes?
To be honest I can't remember if the dummy unit on display was connected to the wired prototype under the desk - I would have said it was, but it was along time ago! And that was the "pre-launch" that I remember, not the subsequent one which I know nothing about! I'm fairly sure we had working keyboards for development. (Debugging was done over a serial line to a terminal, so that used a separate keyboard.) I vaguely remember issues with the rubber keyboard mat, but I don't remember it actually holding anything up - I think that was down to electronics and software!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.March.20. 23:32:33
Another possibility: after the demonstration the press members can touch the dummy Enterprise? The rubber mat important because needed who is pressing keys feel the real feeling?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.March.21. 00:15:09
Quote from: Zozosoft
Another possibility: after the demonstration the press members can touch the dummy Enterprise? The rubber mat important because needed who is pressing keys feel the real feeling?
Yes very probably, but I can't remember what the issues with the rubber mat were, ie. whether a quality issue or just a hold up in production. Compared to the Nick problems I think it was quite minor!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.March.23. 11:40:09
Bruce! Do you know anything about Assembler program from Intelligent Software?
It is mentoined here (http://enterprise.iko.hu/articles/PCW1984-12-13_19-5.jpg), and later in many articles. Also in a price list. (http://enterprise.iko.hu/historical/Pricelist.pdf)

Some years ago I found ZEN 1.1 (http://ep128.hu/Ep_Util/Prg/Zen.rar) in this tape:
[attach=1]

 
Recently I have got a manual for this program, which I have scanned (http://enterprise.iko.hu/books/ZEN_Assembler.pdf) yesterday.

Now I think the ZEN is same the advertisted Assembler/Disassembler program.
Probably when the machine released, there was urgently need for one assembler program.
IS does not have enogh capacity to write one from zero so they looked for an available one.
Agreed with Avalon Software which released the ZEN for many machines.
But it's currently unclear who did the Enterprise adaptation - the Avalon or IS? I guess the IS because the developer team have experience with Enterprise.

The manual told the Enterprise version was developed from the Lynx version. Unfortunately the Lynx is very unsuccesful, and there's very limited informations available. (http://camputerslynx.info/) No Lynx version of ZEN available for comparision :-(
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.March.23. 12:21:30
No, I cannot recall IS having anything to do with an assembler! But it could be another Entersoft project that we, the developers at IS, knew little about.

I am (or was!) very familiar with ZEN though because I "cut my teeth" on a Sharp MZ80K, using Avalon Zen, and used it for lots of projects!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.March.23. 12:31:39
Quote from: BruceTanner
But it could be another Entersoft project that we, the developers at IS, knew little about.
And I think this project not need to much time, modify the screen/keyboard/save/load routines in the original code are only few days, and some more for testing.

Quote
I am (or was!) very familiar with ZEN though because I "cut my teeth" on a Sharp MZ80K, using Avalon Zen, and used it for lots of projects!
It is a popular Assembler at these years on non CP/M Z80 systems?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.March.23. 12:43:13
Quote from: Zozosoft
And I think this project not need to much time, modify the screen/keyboard/save/load routines in the original code are only few days, and some more for testing.
It is a popular Assembler at these years on non CP/M Z80 systems?
Yes I think it was all command-line based. I wrote a more interactive screen-based add-on for the MZ80K.

I have not encountered it on any other systems - it was quite a surprise to see it for the Enterprise! (I haven't tried it yet.)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.March.29. 10:37:10
zozo has just prompted something from my memory...one early machine I worked on while at school is the Research Machines 380Z (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research_Machines_380Z), which was a common school computer in the UK in those days, based on a Z80. That had a small operating system which was called with a RST instruction followed by a function byte, and this is where the EXOS call method came from. I think there were other systems around that also used this method - the Nascom springs to mind but I might be wrong on that!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.March.29. 11:26:05
Bruce! I think until the many years you are talked with many people (friends, coworkers, clients, etc) about "starting with computer" topic, who used which computers when begining.
Before you find our forum ever found anyone who are used Enterprise?

In Hungary when talking in about these are very frequent found man who are also started with Enterprise, or least sometimes used it because one of his relatives/friends has it.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.March.29. 11:57:10
Quote from: Zozosoft
Bruce! I think until the many years you are talked with many people (friends, coworkers, clients, etc) about "starting with computer" topic, who used which computers when begining.
Before you find our forum ever found anyone who are used Enterprise?
In a word, no! :(
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Mayer Gábor on 2013.March.29. 20:00:41
Unbelievable! How is it possible that the British people are not familiar with the Enterprise, even though it is advertised on television
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.March.29. 23:55:01
Quote from: Mayer
Unbelievable! How is it possible that the British people are not familiar with the Enterprise, even though it is advertised on television
I would guess because it was only around for a short length of time, a long time ago! Commodore 64s, Spectrums, ZX80 and ZX81s, PETs, Apple IIs are another matter!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.April.05. 20:18:52
In a Hungarian forum talking about what are the target area of the Enterprise when it is developed?
For a gaming machine? For a business computer? School computer? Etc?
Bruce, what is your opinion?


And can you remember the situation in UK computer market 82-83, when the development started?

For example the C64 is when coming important part of the market? What is the dominant systems?
The computer games are important, or these early years the computers generally are serious thing, the games only optional fun?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.April.05. 23:58:06
I think it was just a general purpose "home computer".

Games would have been a big part of it. My recollection of the general feeling around at the time is that people were reluctant to admit they were buying a home computer for games - they wanted one and justified spending the money by talking of educational value, doing home accounts etc...and then used them for games! The fact that the Nick chip has a Spectrum-compatible mode speaks volumes.

But it certainly wasn't aimed as a games-only machine - even back then games consoles had been around for quite a while and had detachable joystick/controllers for two players, hardware sprites etc. I think if you were going to design a custom video chip aimed exclusively at game playing, even back then, you would not come up with the Nick chip, and you would not need to be able to expand the RAM to nearly 4Mb.

And it certainly wasn't aimed as a business only computer - a plastic keyboard, built-in joystick and colourful keys would have put paid to that! It definitely did have its serious side though - eg. built in WP, CP/M compatibility.

The school market seemed to have been well and truly stitched up - the BBC broadcast a series of TV programmes on computers, programming in BASIC etc and there was a public outcry that they picked one particular commercial manufacturer (Acorn and the BBC micro), which was then also picked as the standard state school computer. [The BBC is funded by a "licence fee" (tax) paid by anyone with a TV, and is supposed to be completely commercially neutral eg. they are not allowed to mention or display commercial brand names in any programs they broadcast or fund.] But as each home computer back then was different, they probably didn't have much choice - there would have been an even bigger outcry if they had favoured an existing brand eg. the Spectrum.

In truth the Enterprise had a probably over-ambitious spec and was trying to be "all things to all men", and better at everything than everything else around at the time! In many areas it succeeded, but you could argue that it was also its downfall. But you don't become great by aiming low.

Although the C64 eventually became popular, it was really slow to take off. We were aware of its existence but I don't think anyone at the time was too bothered by it - it just didn't sell in large numbers.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.April.07. 00:58:26
Our opinion: the Enterprise wanted to be a best home micro at the time.
Then it is strange why missing the sprites and fine horizontal scroll capabilities? These are the strongest part of C64 graphics. MSX also have both. MC6845 in CPC have a trick for smooth horizontal scroll.
About the sprites exist some preparation (External color inputs in the extension bus, controlled with the SPRITE system variable in EXOS 2.1), but unfortunately never released Sprite unit :cry:
Do you know anything more about these? Exist any prototype?


For the horizontal scroll, would have been good if the LPT have pixel shift option...


I guess the gaming are not priority in the Enterprise developing.


Quote
The fact that the Nick chip has a Spectrum-compatible mode speaks volumes.
The Spectrum compatible mode are definied requirement for the developing? If yes then it is by the IS or the Elan?
At this time the Spectrum is the most popular in UK?
The gaming question are answered: if the Spectrum games can easy converted, then enought?



Our greatest pain: very small amount of the REAL Enterprise games.
Most of them are Spectrum conversion.
Strange, but the CPC are totally unknown in Hungary, we never hear about it until the internet era. The most of non Spectrum games, what we thought as original EP games, then discovered these are from CPC...
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: ikduncan on 2013.April.07. 09:41:11
The c64 was very expensive on launch that is why it was slow to take off.
I think it was around £345 or 400 euro when released.
It didnt make any major impact until commoodore reduced price to <£200
(Which all happened i think in time between enterprise announcment and release)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: lgb on 2013.April.07. 10:17:57
Quote from: Zozosoft
About the sprites exist some preparation (External color inputs in the extension bus, controlled with the SPRITE system variable in EXOS 2.1), but unfortunately never released Sprite unit :cry:
Do you know anything more about these? Exist any prototype?

Hmm, that's something which would be really interesting to build/have something using the EXTCOL stuffs :)


Quote
For the vertical scroll, would have been good if the LPT have pixel shift option...

If I understand the situation well, you mean _horizontal_ scroll, and not vertical ... ?

Quote
Strange, but the CPC are totally unknown in Hungary, we never hear about it until the internet era. The most of non Spectrum games, what we thought as original EP games, then discovered these are from CPC...

True, first time I heard about CPC was some years ago on this forum! While for example one of my friends in elementary school had Enterprise 128 ....
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.April.07. 10:25:23
Quote from: lgb
If I understand the situation well, you mean _horizontal_ scroll, and not vertical ... ?
Yes :oops:
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.April.07. 11:01:38
Quote from: ikduncan
The c64 was very expensive on launch that is why it was slow to take off.
I think it was around £345 or 400 euro when released.
You think the C64 are in different league?

Then possible understood the Enterprise plans about external Sprite unit.
The standard machine are cheaper, and with Sprite unit will be same league with price and gaming capatibilities?

Quote
It didnt make any major impact until commoodore reduced price to <£200
Then started millions loss of Commodore...
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.April.07. 12:12:22
Quote from: Zozosoft
Our opinion: the Enterprise wanted to be a best home micro at the time.
Then it is strange why missing the sprites and fine horizontal scroll capabilities? These are the strongest part of C64 graphics. MSX also have both. MC6845 in CPC have a trick for smooth horizontal scroll.
About the sprites exist some preparation (External color inputs in the extension bus, controlled with the SPRITE system variable in EXOS 2.1), but unfortunately never released Sprite unit :cry:
Do you know anything more about these? Exist any prototype?

No I don't remember any sprite hardware around :cry: or even any talk of any. I suspect part of the problem was just lack of communication with real game writers - we were very focussed on "system" things like BASIC and EXOS, and IS's game expertise was of course chess which doesn't need either sprites or scrolling. It is very easy to say with hindsight that it should have had horizontal scroll and sprites but I don't think it was quite so clear at the time what advantage these would have to games writers. And what would have to be missing from the Nick chip if it had? The Nick chip was already pushing the available technology to the limit, which is what caused all the problems.

Quote
The Spectrum compatible mode are definied requirement for the developing? If yes then it is by the IS or the Elan?
At this time the Spectrum is the most popular in UK?
The gaming question are answered: if the Spectrum games can easy converted, then enought?
I don't know who drove the Spectrum compatible mode requirements - it was already in the Nick spec when I started - but being easy to convert Spectrum games was definitely thought to be an easy way to having lots of games available. I'd say yes, the Spectrum was the most popular in the UK. Of course with hindsight that means few games that really take advantage of the Enterprise's features, as you observe.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: endi on 2013.April.07. 12:35:40
My question: who made the basic demos for the machine? And what was the purpuse of these programs?
I think these demos are not bad, but I think it is possible to make more more better things in EP basic!
And why did you not make asm demos?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: endi on 2013.April.07. 12:37:39
Oh I mean these:
http://ep128.hu/Ep_Demo/Leiras/Demonstration_Casette.htm
http://ep128.hu/Ep_Demo/Leiras/Demonstration_Kasette.htm
http://ep128.hu/Ep_Demo/Leiras/EP128_In_Store_Demonstration.htm
http://ep128.hu/Ep_Demo/Leiras/Demonstration_Casette_Ep64.htm
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.April.07. 14:25:06
Quote from: BruceTanner
IS's game expertise was of course chess which doesn't need either sprites or scrolling.
Yes, I also always thinked IS = chess. This is the reason, why surprising about your first work!
Quote
I was actually working on a video game for the Atari game console (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_2600) for the upcoming James Bond film Octopussy
It is a special occasion at the IS?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.April.07. 19:32:41
Quote from: Zozosoft
Yes, I also alwasy thinked IS = chess. This is the reason, why surprising about your first work!It is a special occasion at the IS?
Yes James Bond was the only "action" game we did. Someone "reversed engineered" the Atari games console, and I reverse engineered the Intellivision (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellivision) games console. The Atari was quite painful to program because the processor had to output video data "on the fly", using the frame flyback time for games processing. It had a reasonably fast (for the time) 6502 and two sprites, and although it was possible to reposition a sprite to appear further down the screen in real time, there was not enough processor time to reposition it further to the right on each scan line. So the solution was to have it in one position in one frame and another position the next frame - this is why Pacman has flickery "ghosts"! The video on the Intellivision on the other hand was much easier and there was a system ROM with multitasking kernel, but the processor was a very slow and lumbering 10-bit beast based on the PDP-II instruction set!

I'm not sure why, having invested a lot of engineering time reverse engineering these systems, IS did not produce more action games. Maybe the Enterprise just used all available non-chess resources.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.April.07. 19:35:47
Quote from: endi
My question: who made the basic demos for the machine? And what was the purpuse of these programs?
I think these demos are not bad, but I think it is possible to make more more better things in EP basic!
And why you did not made asm demos?
I can't remember who did the demos but it wasn't the core Enterprise IS developers. I was never very impressed by them - you would think a new computer's demos would be impressive or there would be no point! I suspect they were put together in a hurry.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.April.07. 20:23:09
Quote from: BruceTanner
I was never very impressed by them
Yes, it can demonstrate some of IS-BASIC capatibilities, but about nothing of the Enterprise power.

Quote
- you would think a new computer's demos would be impressive or there would be no point!
I can remember to wow feeling when I firstly see the Small Demo (http://ep128.hu/Ep_Demo/Prg/Small_Demo.rar). (If you haven't seen previously try on your new Enterprise!)
I very surprised what my machine can do! And asked: why not put Enterprise machines running something similar in the shopwindows?

Anyway will be interesting project comparison different machines demonstration softwares (which included with the machine or sent to shops at launch).
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: geco on 2013.April.07. 20:47:54
If I remember well, C64 did not have :D
I typed the basic programs from it's book, most of them was full with POKE's :D
May be other computers did not have demo program either.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.April.07. 20:54:25
Quote from: geco
May be other computers did not have demo program either.
Spectrum have. (http://www.worldofspectrum.org/infoseekid.cgi?id=0009230)
TVC also (I think some parts converted from EP).
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: geco on 2013.April.07. 21:04:49
Sorry, C64 had also on floppy disk, but i could forget it :D , as I see, the spectrum, and TVC demo cassette also written in BASIC, or looks like a basic program.
Is it possible these demo's were written for the users? They can see, what they can do in basic.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.April.07. 21:08:48
Quote from: geco
Is it possible these demo's were written for the users? They can see, what they can do in basic.
Probably yes, but the Enterprise also have a In Store Demonstration for running in shops.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.April.08. 13:17:52
Some interesting thing about TVC: bug fixed in WinTVC (http://gaia.atilia.eu/content/view/3/4/) emulator.
Now can run VTDOS cartridge. And it is the "IS-DOS" for the TVC! Previously I never seen this!
This package (http://enterpriseforever.com/off-topic/videoton-tvc/?action=dlattach;attach=9018) contains ROM files and system disk image.
For try it: select 64K+ machine (Gép/Típus/TVC 64+ )
Insert disk controller ROM: File/IO kártya illesztése/ select one of DOSHBF ROM files.
Insert VT-DOS cartridge: File/Cartridge betöltése / select one of VTDOS ROM files.
And finaly insert the system disk: Lemez/diszk behelyezés/A: meghajtó

The structure of system disk are very similar to IS-DOS disk! And most interesting the file dates!
It is looks the last version compiled at 1987 May 19.!
At this day launched the Enterprise in Hungary!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.April.08. 13:49:52
WinTVC works - I had forgotten about the big V and the Enterprise-ish flashing Videoton logo! 

It all seemed to work until the last step - then I get

Error 190 -- drive !:
Abort or Retry (A/R)?

I wonder if this is the same AF corruption bug as you found in EXDOS?!


Quote
It is looks the last version compiled at 1987 May 19.!
At this day launched the Enterprise in Hungary!
Ha ha, happy coincidence surely?!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.April.08. 13:53:50
Now I've rebooted, it's working! Amazing to see it again!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.April.12. 11:19:05
TV advert of TVC (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQdO87MWqEE) :-)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.April.12. 16:31:56
Quote from: Zozosoft
TV advert of TVC (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQdO87MWqEE) :-)
Thank you - very interesting!

1988...if Spectrum, C64, Enterprise etc were available I wonder how they managed to sell any?! How important to people was it that it was Hungarian made? And had a Hungarian keyboard?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: geco on 2013.April.12. 20:39:14
Quote from: BruceTanner
Thank you - very interesting!

1988...if Spectrum, C64, Enterprise etc were available I wonder how they managed to sell any?! How important to people was it that it was Hungarian made? And had a Hungarian keyboard?
TVC's were sold mainly to schools, and they were bought by some individual. I also met with this computer at school. Yes, it had a hun keyboard
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.April.12. 22:02:21
Quote from: geco
Yes, it had a hun keyboard
I was wondering how important the Hungarian keyboard was to the TVC's popularity, as I'm guessing Spectrum, C64 etc. didn't have a Hungarian keyboard available. And perhaps an important factor in it being chosen for schools?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.April.12. 22:16:38
Quote from: BruceTanner
And perhaps an important factor in it being chosen for schools?
I think the price is the most important factor :-) and bought from Hungary or other socialist country. Bought anything from West not too easy...

Previously exist another school computer: HT1080Z (http://ht.homeserver.hu/) it is also Made in Hungary, but the licence from Video Genie (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_Genie)

Anyway many solution exist for Hungarian charset and keyboard for the most computers: C64, Spectrum, and naturally for the Enterprise :-)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: geco on 2013.April.12. 22:37:12
In those days the hungarian keyboard layout was not so important, if I know well only hungarian computer which had hungarian keyboard was TVC that time :)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: lgb on 2013.April.12. 22:38:13
Quote from: Zozosoft
Anyway many solution exist for Hungarian charset and keyboard for the most computers: C64, Spectrum, and naturally for the Enterprise :-)

Maybe you should include commodore plus4 too. As far as I can see, the story is somewhat similar to EP: it was not a market hit in the world, but tons of machines sold in Hungary then, which made it quite wide-spread and known in Hungary at least, compared to the other parts of the world. This is also true about the Hungarian charset and similar issues.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.April.12. 22:43:12
Quote from: geco
if I know well only hungarian computer which had hungarian keyboard was TVC that time :)
Primo (http://primo.homeserver.hu/) also have, but not full, only for the most important characters.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.April.14. 17:07:08
Question from the Hungarian forum:
The Enterprise has a lot of extra keys: Function keys, ALT, CTRL, ERASE, DEL, INS, HOLD, STOP, etc.
Where is the idea from? For example existing CP/M standards?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.April.14. 17:35:04
Quote from: Zozosoft
Question from the Hungarian forum:
The Enterprise have lot of extra keys: Function keys, ALT, CTRL, ERASE, DEL, INS, HOLD, STOP, etc.
Where did the idea? For example existing CP/M standards?
The case and keyboard design were done when I started, but most of those keys were already fairly standard on "big" computers of the time (don't forget the original IBM PC was released in 1981). Built-in support for HOLD and STOP was a bit more unusual - I think they came from Robert Madge's drive to make things as simple as possible (in CP/M it is CTRL-S to pause and CTRL-C to stop, but they are implemented in the character I/O functions, so if the program is not performing any character I/O you cannot stop it). The "soft" and "hard" reset also came from Robert Madge - I remember all the programmers (including me) were very dubious about resetting the Z80 in the middle of eg. a crashed BASIC program and then expecting to be able to get back the BASIC prompt with the program in tact, but I have to admit it works surprisingly well!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.April.14. 17:48:22
Quote from: BruceTanner
The "soft" and "hard" reset also came from Robert Madge
This is one of the best unique features of the Enterprise!
It is need some hw support: the reset button not simply connect the Reset line to GND as other machines. Reset circuit use a capacitor for the Dave which are generate the Reset impulse.

The TVC Reset works same way. Is exist any other computer which have this feature?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.April.14. 18:04:24
Quote from: Zozosoft
This is one of the best unique features of the Enterprise!
It is need some hw support: the reset button not simply connect the Reset line to GND as other machines. Reset circuit use a capacitor for the Dave which are generate the Reset impulse.

The TVC Reset works same way. Is exist any other computer which have this feature?
I agree - one of the best features, and no I have never seen this on another computer! I cannot recall the hardware - is the capacitor just to debounce (stop glitches from) the switch? If there were any bounces, it would be the same as two resets in quick succession!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.April.14. 18:18:16
Quote from: BruceTanner
I cannot recall the hardware - is the capacitor just to debounce (stop glitches from) the switch? If there were any bounces, it would be the same as two resets in quick succession!
At this page (http://enterprise.iko.hu/schematics/EP64-1~1.jpg) the Reset circuit, the switch only control the Dave RSTI input pin, the capacitor connected to the Dave CAP pin. Unfortunatelly no Dave inside schematics  :cry:
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.April.14. 18:39:46
Quote from: Zozosoft
At this page (http://enterprise.iko.hu/schematics/EP64-1~1.jpg) the Reset circuit, the switch only control the Dave RSTI input pin, the capacitor connected to the Dave CAP pin. Unfortunatelly no Dave inside schematics  :cry:
It says here (http://ep.homeserver.hu/Dokumentacio/Konyvek/EXOS_2.1_technikal_information/hardware/Dave.html), "A Z80 is reset provided on RSTO, either on switch­on by an external RC network on CAP, or a low going signal onRSTI. The latter generates a 1mS reset pulse synchronised to the falling edge of M1 to prevent loss of data stored in dynamic RAM".


So the capacitor (and resistor)  is to provide a power-on reset pulse (which I have seen in other designs), but there is also special support inside Dave (to make sure RAM contents survive a reset).
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.April.14. 19:13:40
About the Dave some interesting thing:
The 1983 version of document (http://enterprise.iko.hu/technical/DAVE_ISSUE4.pdf) talking about 4 memory select output:
ROM,CART,XRAM,VRAM
It is great simmetry: 00-03,04-07,F8-FB,FC-FF segments decoded.
But in later documents, and in the real Dave chips only 3 memory select, the XRAM are missing.
Why removed?
Because this the EP128 production cost will be higher because address decoding chips needed to RAM expansion board.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.April.14. 19:21:04
Quote from: Zozosoft
Why removed?
Because this the EP128 production cost will be higher because address decoding chips needed to RAM expansion board.
Well spotted...I don't know the answer, but possibly bug/problem in the Dave chip?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.April.14. 19:50:36
Another interesting question about the Dave&memory: why added the wait state generation? (For the general memory, the Nick&VRAM are other thing)
Very strange the EXOS set 1 ws for every instruction cycle!
Why good idea slowing down the machine? Especially with the IS-BASIC, which is very good but not too fast... it is need every power of the CPU.

Probably it is for the wired prototypes? And forgot remove on the final machine?

Many-many programs start with OUT 191,12 which is disable wait states :-)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.April.14. 19:57:16
Quote from: Zozosoft
Another interesting question about the Dave&memory: why added the wait state generation?

Probably it is for the wired prototypes? And forgot remove on the final machine?

Again I don't know the answer, but you may well be right. Or because of initial batch of "problem" Nicks!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.April.24. 23:07:39
In other topic we talking about the Function key labels.

Bruce! Can you remember where come from the idea of the programable functions keys? And the label holder?
Another system have same function keys at that time?

Today high end keyboards have same function! :-) (Called as macro keys)

I think this is one of the little but great ideas of the Enterprise!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.April.24. 23:27:16
Quote from: Zozosoft
In other topic we talking about the Function key labels.

Bruce! Can you remember where come from the idea of the programable functions keys? And the label holder?
Another system have same function keys at that time?

Today high end keyboards have same function! :-) (Called as macro keys)

I think this is one of the little but great ideas of the Enterprise!
When I started work on the Enterprise the shape, keyboard and joystick had already been decided - the plastics were  way ahead of the software and electronics! Maybe it was driven by requirements of the financial backers - I don't know. Other keyboards on bigger systems at the time had function keys (most notably the original IBM PC of course). I don't know of any other computer that has the labels though, but I don't know where the idea came from.

I always thought a little LCD display built into the function key tops would be nice!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: szipucsu on 2013.April.24. 23:41:46
Quote from: BruceTanner
I always thought a little LCD display built into the function key tops would be nice!
What an interesting idea! :D And, after typing a SET FKEY (number) BASIC command, the display would change at once. This display could have been used by certain programs, just to inform the user about anything.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.April.24. 23:59:48
Quote from: BruceTanner
Other keyboards on bigger systems at the time had function keys (most notably the original IBM PC of course).
Yes, but on another system the fkeys have a fixed control code, which can be detected by user softwares.
On the Enterprise the fkeys (in normal and Shifted mode) can be defined by the user, for simulating pressing any other keys.
For example type START and pressing the Enter.

Nowadays this function is called Keyboard Macros.
I think this is unique at the Enterprise time.

I wrote a utility for Function Keys, it can record key pressing for the definition, and is able to save and load Function Key settings. It can be used in any software which uses EXOS Keyboard device and can run EXOS commands.
For example I used it in Assembler, the most used subroutine calls definition to Function keys.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: lgb on 2013.April.25. 00:15:53
Quote from: Zozosoft
At todays this function called as Keyboard Macros.
I think this is unique at the Enterprise time.

Dunno about the order in time, but eg Commodore+4 has similar things, you can define something with the KEY basic command for the function keys.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.April.25. 00:48:54
Quote from: lgb
Dunno about the order in time, but eg Commodore+4 has similar things, you can define something with the KEY basic command for the function keys.
The BBC micro had programmable function keys too I've just realised.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.June.19. 11:55:41
Prototype TVC Sprite module (http://tvc.homeserver.hu/html/sprite.html)
The page say it is developed in UK. And planned the final version with custom IC-s, but this is never happened.
Bruce, do you know anything about it?

The wired Enterprise prototypes looked similar?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.June.19. 13:16:26
Quote from: Zozosoft
Prototype TVC Sprite module (http://tvc.homeserver.hu/html/sprite.html)
The page say it is developed in UK. And planned the final version with custom IC-s, but this is never happened.
Bruce, do you know anything about it?

The wired Enterprise prototypes looked similar?
Very interesting...I do not know anything about it! It is possible the IS hardware engineers developed it but I was not involved and do not recall seeing it. By then though hardware was in the basement and software upstairs, all in quite a large building, so it is possible.

But yes, the Enterprise wire-wrapped prototypes looked similar to this (but with even more wires! :twisted:)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.June.26. 09:37:37
Bruce!
Can you remember which floppy drives used for the EXDOS developing?
It is a lot of different models?
The EXDOS manual have a list of tested drives (8 3.5", 3 5.25"), these tested at the IS? Or in IS used only few drives, and others tested by the Enterprise company?

Ok, you can't remember about the model numbers :oops: but can you remember how these drives looked out?
3.5 or 5.25, full or half height? If 5.25 then a older "central lock" mechanism drive, or later with turnable lock arm?
If 3.5 then with a big eject button, or a smaller (like as the modern drives)? Button have a any color?

Why I ask it: previously we talked about the EXDOS Disk Change detection, you noted the EXDOS not works fast as possible probably because the hw Disk Change detection not used. Then I answered yes, it is disabled by default, and can be enabled if all drive use compatible method. But nobody know which drives compatible...
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.June.26. 11:06:16
Quote from: Zozosoft
Can you remember which floppy drives used for the EXDOS developing?
It is a lot of different models?

Ok, you can't remember about the model numbers
:oops: but can you remember how these drives looked out?
3.5 or 5.25, full or half height? If 5.25 then a older "central lock" mechanism drive, or later with turnable lock arm?
If 3.5 then with a big eject button, or a smaller (like as the modern drives)? Button have a any color?
No, not the exact makes/models! It was a mixture of 5.25" and 3.25", 40 track and 80 track. 3.25" were fairly new on the market - it was the first time I has seen one. I think they were full height with the big eject button. Sorry I did not pay too much attention to the colour or 5.25" door catch! :oops:

Quote
The EXDOS manual have a list of tested drives (8 3.5", 3 5.25"), these tested at the IS? Or in IS used only few drives, and others tested by the Enterprise company?
I would say we had fewer 3.5" drives than that for s/w development so someone else must have done more compatibility testing, but the list probably includes the drives we developed with. I would think it was Enterprise Computers but I can't actually recall - if IS had the drives they would have ended up with s/w development!

Quote
Why I ask it: previously we talked about the EXDOS Disk Change detection, you noted the EXDOS not works fast as possible probably because the hw Disk Change detection not used. Then I answered yes, it is disabled by default, and can be enabled if all drive use compatible method. But nobody know which drives compatible...
I would think all later 3.5" drives have it - even 30 years ago most did but we did have at least one that did not support it. But there may have been some confusion later with a minor change in cable pinout? Or was that when HD disks were introduced? I can't quite remember. :oops:  I don't think it is possible to detect whether a drive supports it from s/w :oops: which is why it is disabled by default (safe option).

If you DIR you will see a small pause before the number of free bytes is displayed. If you DIR a second time the pause will not be there if the disk change signal is working and enabled (provided you have enough buffers for the FATs to be in memory, presumably!).
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.June.26. 14:34:46
Quote from: BruceTanner
3.25" were fairly new
Not a 3.5" ? :oops:
3.25" also existed! (http://www.retrotechnology.com/herbs_stuff/325_inch.jpg)

Quote
I think they were full height with the big eject button.
Teac FD-35?
[attachimg=1]
Two version (360K/720K) are in the EXDOS manual list.

Quote
I would think all later 3.5" drives have it - even 30 years ago most did but we did have at least one that did not support it. But there may have been some confusion later with a minor change in cable pinout?
When the PC/AT introduced, then changed the pinout, then went the Disk Change from pin2 to pin34.

But the EXDOS have a another signal: at pin1 Disk Change Reset
Very strange because signal at odd pin! (these are usaly GND) And about the 99.9999999...% of the drives not have this signal.
I started the investigation about this signal.
Then found the idea of this signal come from the original Sony Microfloppy drive (http://archive.org/details/bitsavers_sonySonyMiAD32WOAD32VOEMManualSep83_1149051).
But it is have a different (26pin) cable pinout. (And as we talked previously: it is 600rpm drive, can't used with standard EXDOS card and 4Mhz Z80)

At this page (http://www.retrotechnology.com/herbs_stuff/drive.html#35new) found something from a Sony drive with 34pin interface, and it is have a Disk Change Reset at pin1. (these Sony drives also have a big eject button) (http://az413224.vo.msecnd.net/img/15566/m_s_p_15566_1.jpg)

Only one non Sony drive found with this signal, Panasonic JU-363 (http://www.cpmspectrepi.webspace.virginmedia.com/hardware/ju363.htm)

The EXDOS manual say only the Sony MPX-026R compatible with hw disk change checking of the EXDOS.
But unfortunately not found anything about this drive, the Google only found it in the EXDOS manual...
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.June.26. 16:00:14
Quote from: Zozosoft
Not a 3.5" ? :oops:
3.25" also existed! (http://www.retrotechnology.com/herbs_stuff/325_inch.jpg)
Teac FD-35?
(Attachment)
Two version (360K/720K) are in the EXDOS manual list.
When the PC/AT introduced, then changed the pinout, then went the Disk Change from pin2 to pin34.

But the EXDOS have a another signal: at pin1 Disk Change Reset
Very strange because signal at odd pin! (these are usaly GND) And about the 99.9999999...% of the drives not have this signal.
I started the investigation about this signal.
Then found the idea of this signal come from the original Sony Microfloppy drive (http://archive.org/details/bitsavers_sonySonyMiAD32WOAD32VOEMManualSep83_1149051).
But it is have a different (26pin) cable pinout. (And as we talked previously: it is 600rpm drive, can't used with standard EXDOS card and 4Mhz Z80)

At this page (http://www.retrotechnology.com/herbs_stuff/drive.html#35new) found something from a Sony drive with 34pin interface, and it is have a Disk Change Reset at pin1. (these Sony drives also have a big eject button) (http://az413224.vo.msecnd.net/img/15566/m_s_p_15566_1.jpg)

Only one non Sony drive found with this signal, Panasonic JU-363 (http://www.cpmspectrepi.webspace.virginmedia.com/hardware/ju363.htm)

The EXDOS manual say only the Sony MPX-026R compatible with hw disk change checking of the EXDOS.
But unfortunately not found anything about this drive, the Google only found it in the EXDOS manual...
Yes 3.5! :oops: I don't recall anything to do with the reset signal :( but I did not write the low-level disk driver so did not have much to do with the disk change signal at all really. If there is no reset signal, how does the disk changed indicator get reset again?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.June.26. 16:03:04
Quote from: BruceTanner
If there is no reset signal, how does the disk changed indicator get reset again?
I tried some modern drives, these reseted by head steping.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.June.26. 21:50:57
Quote from: Zozosoft
The EXDOS manual say only the Sony MPX-026R compatible with hw disk change checking of the EXDOS.
Have you ever seen one? If the EXDOS manual is the ONLY place that google finds that model number, I wonder if it is a mistake in the EXDOS manual?!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.June.26. 22:06:06
Quote from: BruceTanner
Have you ever seen one?
No :-(

Quote
If the EXDOS manual is the ONLY place that google finds that model number, I wonder if it is a mistake in the EXDOS manual?!
I tried to playing with letters (for example MPF instead MPX) but not found anything similar :-(
In the EXDOS manual at two pages this model number, once at the tested drives and once at talking about disk change signal.

But I have another drives which are also can not be found on the internet. Then I think also possible this drive exist but not uploaded any info about it :-(

Anyway I try to use disk change informations from the first Sony Microdrive manual. And if I understood how works the EXDOS disk change detection then possible to modify for the modern drives. Both pin2 and pin34 of floppy cable can be readed on the EXDOS card, then no hw modification needed.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.June.26. 22:09:23
Quote from: Zozosoft
I tried to playing with letters (for example MPF instead MPX) but not found anything similar :-(
Me too! :evil:
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.August.22. 22:05:58
Quote from: Zozosoft
This is more interesting! (http://enterprise.iko.hu/articles/PopularComputingWeekly86071700005.jpg) Talking about the next prototype model, 320K not a surprise, but what is on the photo??? It is looks very ugly after the original models!
Now I successfully bought this magazine and made a high resolution scan of this photo. This machine is really labelled as Enterprise! :shock: But I think the Monsterprise would be a better name :twisted:
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.August.23. 11:38:16
Quote from: Zozosoft
But I think the Monsterprise would be a better name :twisted:
:smt044

At the time the membrane keyboard always seemed to be a source of criticism for the Enterprise not having a "proper" keyboard like some competitors. Personally I think it is ok, but I cannot touch type. But then how many home computer users could?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: lgb on 2013.August.23. 12:05:10
It would be great to have enough information to at least approximate the design and build a "next gen EP" :) However software is another issue, has anybody information (or even ROM images?) about the software of the "Monsterprise" ...?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.August.23. 12:10:56
Quote from: lgb
has anybody information (or even ROM images?) about the software of the "Monsterprise" ...?
I certainly haven't; I hadn't even heard of it until zozo told me about it on this wonderful forum :)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: endi on 2013.August.23. 12:27:45
Quote from: BruceTanner
:smt044

At the time the membrane keyboard always seemed to be a source of criticism for the Enterprise not having a "proper" keyboard like some competitors. Personally I think it is ok, but I cannot touch type. But then how many home computer users could?
I never understand this, because as I know, most of the keyboards uses the membrane technology, and not in the past but now too. The problem is the quality I think: EP has bad quality membranes...?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.August.23. 12:33:13
Quote from: endi
I never understand this, because as I know, most of the keyboards uses the membrane technology, and not in the past but now too. The problem is the quality I think: EP has bad quality membranes...?
Yes I agree, and membrane technology has improved too. But at the time there was the IBM PC which had an excellent keyboard and the BBC micro etc which had pretty good keyboards. The Enterprise keyboard feels a bit "rough" in comparison as you press a key - I think it's not so much the membrane but the way the keys are held in place. On the other hand there was the Spectrum...
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.October.10. 14:55:11
Quote from: BruceTanner
Two tracks between pads - you'd never do that by hand!
About the PCB design: the Enterprise motherboard how designed? By hand or PCB software on - for example - IBM PC?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.October.10. 15:01:23
Quote from: Zozosoft
About the PCB design: the Enterprise motherboard how designed? By hand or PCB software on - for example - IBM PC?
Good question...and not one I can remember the answer to. But I do remember after Enterprise at Madge Networks our hardware engineer (also ex-Madge) used PADS PCB software on an IBM PC. So it is very possible that the same was used at Enterprise.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Saint on 2013.October.10. 22:27:36
I'm guessing given the quality of the motherboard it was routed 'by hand' using some design software. Auto routing traces even now is pretty rubbish compared to what a person can do.

It's also weirdly relaxing routing traces yourself... :)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.October.10. 23:32:41
Quote from: Saint
I'm guessing given the quality of the motherboard it was routed 'by hand' using some design software. Auto routing traces even now is pretty rubbish compared to what a person can do.

It's also weirdly relaxing routing traces yourself... :)
Yes I'm sure wasn't auto-routed, in the 30 years or so since then I have never worked on an auto-routed project! I don't know why the CAD software writers bother really...
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.December.08. 19:04:42
Bruce!
GUS found two undocumented keywords in the IS-BASIC: PRIORITY and PROTECT.
Do you have any memories about these?

These are stored in the Segment 1 part of BASIC. The PRIORITY only in the 2.1 version.
SET PRIORITY n set the value of EXOS variable 38 - SPRITE (http://gafz.enterpriseforever.com/Dokumentacio/Konyvek/EXOS_2.1_technikal_information/exos/kernel/Ch8.html) (which are exist only in EXOS 2.1+).
I guess the PROTECT for the variable 34, but don't working. Probably some bug there? :oops:
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2013.December.08. 19:12:57
Quote from: Zozosoft
Bruce!
GUS found two undocumented keywords in the IS-BASIC: PRIORITY and PROTECT.
Do you have any memories about these?
No, sorry I don't! Clearly we started thinking about a sprite h/w but I have no recallection of that at all :(:oops::smt017
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2013.December.08. 19:32:21
Quote from: Zozosoft
I guess the PROTECT for the variable 34, but don't working. Probably some bug there? :oops:
Working :ds_icon_cheesygrin: SET TAPE PROTECT n
Interesting. Why is it missing from the BASIC Manual? Only the TAPE LEVEL and TAPE SOUND are documented. But the EXOS manual talking about it. (http://gafz.enterpriseforever.com/Dokumentacio/Konyvek/EXOS_2.1_technikal_information/exos/cassette/Ch4.html#4.7)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2014.April.30. 15:11:29
Bruce! Can you remember the original error messages how definied? It is a big meeting where all programmers talked about which errors possible and what is the right messages?
Or everyone just wrote the program and when definied a new error situation then add new error code and message?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2014.April.30. 15:48:53
Quote from: Zozosoft
Bruce! Can you remember the original error messages how definied? It is a big meeting where all programmers talked about which errors possible and what is the right messages?
Or everyone just wrote the program and when definied a new error situation then add new error code and message?
The latter - we didn't do big meetings! We were all working in the same big room so it was all very informal. The EXOS error codes (.XXX) were in an include file. We used a makefile system so whoever added a new code was unpopular because it caused everyone's files to reassemble!

I made the message text up as we went along, possibly modifying existing messages to keep them all consistent. As ROM space was short they had to try and be terse while still being reasonably user-friendly.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2014.April.30. 16:24:41
The idea of "***" begining for error messages where come from?
And very thoughtful solution the *** added as "NOP" command also in IS-BASIC and EXDOS. When re-executing previous (edited) commands then easy to press more enters than needed then the error message also entered as command line. But with this smart solution no problem, the error line don't do anything.


With friends and relatives who also used Enterprise we also use *** in the communication for sign of any problems. For example write SMS because don't got milk in the shop then I write:
*** milk not found

:lol:
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2014.April.30. 17:02:09
Quote from: Zozosoft
*** milk not found

:lol:
:smt043

*** just made up one day to make the errors stand out

*** as a no op came much later in the light of using the editor in real life

B.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2014.June.28. 10:49:19
Interesting question from lgb: IS-DOS are only running enviroment for the CP/M and also original CP/M code included?
Or a complete new OS which are only compatible with CP/M at function calls? And not used any code from the Digital Research?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2014.June.28. 13:14:55
Quote from: Zozosoft
Interesting question from lgb: IS-DOS are only running enviroment for the CP/M and also original CP/M code included?
Or a complete new OS which are only compatible with CP/M at function calls? And not used any code from the Digital Research?
No original CP/M code in there - it's a complete fresh OS that is compatible at the function call level (all the file I/O with FCBs, search for first/next etc, character I/O). I don't know how often this compatibility was used - I don't remember any bug reports to do with incompatibilities with CP/M programs, but maybe you know different after so long! There is certainly scope for incompatibilities with undocumented FCB fields because EXDOS uses them to support sub-directories, which CP/M doesn't. Also any low-level disk accessing such as formatting will be different of course.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2014.June.28. 15:49:59
And it is also compatible with MSX-DOS? In the documentation write "MSX compatible" at many function calls.
Unfortunately I never seen any MSX DOS programs.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2014.June.28. 17:55:48
Quote from: Zozosoft
And it is also compatible with MSX-DOS? In the documentation write "MSX compatible" at many function calls.
Unfortunately I never seen any MSX DOS programs.
Yes but I don't think it was a big deal - MSX-DOS was based on the CP/M function interface too. I expect there were some extra function calls but I can't remember the details. (Now we're on the subject MS-DOS was pretty similar too even though it's on a different processor!)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: lgb on 2014.June.28. 18:24:19
Quote from: BruceTanner
Yes but I don't think it was a big deal - MSX-DOS was based on the CP/M function interface too. I expect there were some extra function calls but I can't remember the details. (Now we're on the subject MS-DOS was pretty similar too even though it's on a different processor!)

Well yeah, (PC) DOS still continued to use some of the CP/M stuffs even later with windows, eg: 8+3 file names with three letters extension, the notion of drive letters (A:, B:, etc), and DOS still provides file operations with FCBs too (though there are other, more "modern" solutions as well). As far as I know, many of the DOS' additions over CP/M is from UNIX: eg the directory structure is from UNIX (or even MULTICS? the direct predecessor of UNIX), the file descriptors, etc. MS-DOS even provided (as far as I remember) a way to interpret the \DEV\ directory for devices, which is similar to the /dev/... stuff of UNIX systems (just in DOS it's optional).
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: lgb on 2014.November.26. 18:50:22
It stems from Enterprise's ANSI-spec BASIC where the programmer has to be able to specify the channel number

Interesting, so designing EXOS was also affected by the to-be-written IS-BASIC for EXOS? Or were they parallel projects, and one of the "main users" of EXOS would be IS-BASIC from the very first moment of software development for EP? I had the idea that first EXOS was designed, created as a multi-purpose OS, and then only IS-BASIC is written.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2014.November.26. 22:49:50
Interesting, so designing EXOS was also affected by the to-be-written IS-BASIC for EXOS? Or were they parallel projects, and one of the "main users" of EXOS would be IS-BASIC from the very first moment of software development for EP? I had the idea that first EXOS was designed, created as a multi-purpose OS, and then only IS-BASIC is written.

They were parallel projects, in fact I already had BASIC running on an IBM-PC with Z80 card (minus Enterprise-specific things of course) before EXOS was even started. And at that stage it was intended to be purely internal rather than in a cartridge so most users wouldn't even think about BASIC and the OS being separate. Of course EXOS could have returned handles, as is more usual, and BASIC could have had a lookup table to convert channels to handles but we just chose not to do it that way at the time.

Oops sorry to hijack this discussion, now back to SymbOS...
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2014.November.26. 22:53:13
Oops sorry to hijack this discussion, now back to SymbOS...
I moved it to the right topic :-)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: lgb on 2014.November.27. 08:57:08
Well sorry, it's my bad habit to ask anywhere regardless of the topic otherwise :(
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2015.May.19. 21:29:39
Bruce! I hope you are enjoyed the visit in Hungary and the party!

In the party you asked something about the TVC BASIC version. Can you remember what is your question?
The TVC what you see are the first model (TVC 32K) with BASIC version 1.2

And question from Tuby128: is any easter egg in the TVC like the "SET STATUS 42" on the EP?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2015.May.20. 10:14:15
Bruce! I hope you are enjoyed the visit in Hungary and the party!
Yes, and home ok now. Thank you for organising the party zozo and thank you to everyone else for their part - too many people to mention individually and if I tried I would forget someone and cause offence. :smt113

In the party you asked something about the TVC BASIC version. Can you remember what is your question?
The TVC what you see are the first model (TVC 32K) with BASIC version 1.2
It was not so much a question as an observation: I noticed the version is only 1.2. Videoton had the source code and I was wondering how much they had changed it over years. Answer: not much if it is only 1.2! (I cannot remember what version we delivered but it would have been 1.0, 1.1 or 1.2.)

And question from Tuby128: is any easter egg in the TVC like the "SET STATUS 42" on the EP?
I don't remember one, but I had forgotten about SET STATUS 42 until you told me about it! :smt017
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Tuby128 on 2015.May.20. 13:05:05
Can it be, that the set status 42 is not your work. There is a lot of monogram, maybe it was made by an another developer.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2015.May.20. 14:57:42
Can it be, that the set status 42 is not your work. There is a lot of monogram, maybe it was made by an another developer.
Well you are correct, it is part of EXOS not BASIC (any EXOS application could set the status EXOS variable to 42 and get the same result) so it was not created by me, but I did know about it deep down, my memory just needed prompting. It was done 30 years ago, and you have to realise after May 1986 I had no more involvement with the Enterprise until fairly recently!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2015.May.20. 16:33:56
I noticed the version is only 1.2. Videoton had the source code and I was wondering how much they had changed it over years. Answer: not much if it is only 1.2! (I cannot remember what version we delivered but it would have been 1.0, 1.1 or 1.2.)
For the next party I will bring the 64K+ version which has a 2.2 version :-D
TVC 32K and 64K were sold with version 1.2
We also have a ROM image of 1.1 and 2.1 versions, probably these from prerelease machines.

The book of the 64K+ tells about the BASIC versions:
Version 1.3: some bugs of 1.2 were fixed:
- at string comparision the length byte is not compared (in 1.2 space needed to be added for the shorter string)
- at INPUT the maximum string length is now really 254 chars (previously only max 251 worked)
- using user defined functions in PRINT USING does not cause any more errors
- ELSE <number> type instructions do not make stack garbage anymore
- fixed the problem when pressed more than two keys make a wrong characters
- video driver now rounding the coordinates instead of truncating
- new PROGID system variable, it is used by VTDOS for check BASIC is running when the DOS called?
- character set compressed: characters under 80h use only 9 rows of 10. Now only 9 rows stored in the ROM, and the video driver adds the plus empty row

BASIC 2.0 includes everything from 1.3, and two more bug fixes:
- PRINT USING now with rounding values
- SOUND doesn't destroy the EXT5 and EXT6 vectors

New commands:
- AUTO
- RENUMBER
- FKEY, for this also add function keys function to the OS. The TVC has no fkeys, LOCK+number can be used as function keys
- ON EXCEPTION GOTO
- EXCEPTION

New functions:
- ERRNUM
- ERRLIN
- HEX$
- DEC

Extended commands:
- CONTINUE, now can be used in program for exception handling (like in the IS-BASIC)
- PLOT:
  - relative coordinates with +/- sign
  - RECTANGLE, for this added function to the video driver
  - POLYGON, for this added function to the video driver
  - ELLIPSE, for this added function to the video driver

BASIC now has expansion capability.

Most of them already existed in the IS-BASIC 2.x (the RECTANGLE and POLYGON are missing :oops: )

I'm sure, the 2.0 are from you, Bruce! :-)
Especially because there is an English document about these :-) (http://tvc.homeserver.hu/doc/konyvek/tv_computer_basic_200_en.pdf)
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2015.May.20. 17:22:54
Ah yes, thanks zozo, more memory jogging! And yes you are correct that is my document (and my code), written after Intelligent Software, in fact a year afterwards if the date in the document is correct. I vaguely remember some of those ossues. Clearly Videoton made more ROM available for 2.x but I didn't remember that bit!
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: Zozosoft on 2016.December.12. 11:34:48
Question about the TVC from Gflorez: Made for the Hungarian market, why the error mesages of the TVC are in English?
It is ok Bruce, you don't speak Hungarian :-) But the Videoton never wanted it "please put these translated messages"?
And the Videoton don't got the sources, then can't do the own translations?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2016.December.12. 12:09:38
Hmm...very good question...I don't know! :oops: And yes they had all the source and could assemble it themselves so they could have done it easily (well maybe not that easily, I expect there are text compression routines that would not handle the extra Hungarian characters, but it should still have been possible). My only thought would be ROM space - if they felt it would be necessary to have both English and Hungarian messages there wouldn't have been enough.

I do have a vague memory of typing in German text for the EP but I don't remember ever typing in Hungarian.

B.
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: SlashNet on 2017.October.29. 11:34:27
In some early articles about EP in old magazines I saw that journalists writes about IS-Basic sound commands "SPLAT" and "BOOM".

Quote from: Compute! #47 (1984 april)
Are you into graphics? The Enterprise has a hi-res mode of 672 by 512 screen dots, more than twice the resolution of an Atari or Commodore 64. Like the Atari, the Enterprise has 256 colors, but unlike the Atari, all 256 colors can be displayed at once. And the BASIC includes graphics commands like PLOT, CIRCLE, PAINT, DESK, PAPER, INK, and PALETTE – plus turtle graphics. There are sound commands like PITCH, PLAY, TUNE, RELEASE, BEEP, BOOM, and SPLAT. And how about these examples of fascinating BASIC commands: CAUSE EXCEPTION, CHAIN, HELP, IMAGE, LOOP, MERGE, TOGGLE, TRACE, FKEY, TAPE SOUND, CHARSET FROM, CAPTURE, ECHO, XOR, TRUNCATE, and ZAP.

Quote from: Micro 7 & Video 7 special 1984 christmas (France)
Ainsi un effet de stéréo sera réalisable, à condition de connecter l'Élan à une chaîne hifi. Bien sûr l'enveloppe du son peut être contrôlée en Basic à l'aide d'un macro-langage. Pour la sonorisation de logiciels ludiques vous disposerez de commandes préprogrammées tels que « Splat » et « Boom ».

Theese commands was deleted from final product?
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2017.October.29. 11:44:52
:shock:

I don't remember those! :lol: :lol: :lol:

But yes, if they ever existed they would have been prime targets for being removed to save ROM space (not really essential!). I don't remember them at all though so possibly just a dream of a marketing person! :mrgreen:
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: endi on 2017.October.29. 12:09:06
just tips:
DESK: mayble the clear screen with color
PLAY: =sound?
TUNE: ?
BEEP: a beep sound?
BOOM: az explosion sound?
SPLAT: ?
IMAGE: maybe some image load/save/copy functions?
CHARSET FROM: changing the font bank?
CAPTURE: maybe can record the commands on a channel?
XOR: this always missing for me
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: endi on 2017.October.29. 12:50:25
ah, capture:
CAPTURE
CAPTURE FROM £csat TO £csat
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: BruceTanner on 2017.October.29. 13:09:35
You have reminded me about PLAY: I wanted a simpler way to play tunes than using the SOUND command eg. PLAY "CDEFGAB" to play a scale, with additional syntax within the string to control duration, octave etc (eg. PLAY "C2D5O3EF...". But no time/ROM space :(
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: endi on 2017.October.29. 13:52:45
You have reminded me about PLAY: I wanted a simpler way to play tunes than using the SOUND command eg. PLAY "CDEFGAB" to play a scale, with additional syntax within the string to control duration, octave etc (eg. PLAY "C2D5O3EF...". But no time/ROM space :(

it is easy to make a function like this.
call play("CDEFG")
or with octaves.
but my idea is: defaults. so the play function has default global parameters for duration, envelope etc...
Title: Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
Post by: SlashNet on 2017.October.29. 14:16:13
I remembered where else I saw it: http://enterprise.iko.hu/brochures/ElanComputersLTD-8.jpg
There writes about TUNE command