Just the signal, not the noise

Unbelievable, it's Friday 8-Bit'ers, 

the weekend just called, and wants his pants back. Whether you wear your's or not during the next 48 hours, is your personal affair. But pants or no pants, we send you into the weekend with a number of exciting reads.

RISC-V - that is what everyone is talking about right now. And for reasons. We will cover the ongoing (and partially mislead) discussions around RISC vs. CISC in a future issue, but in this one there is something special. A RISC-V machine built from scratch! Check it out below.

Besides that we share some nostalgia, found an interesting piece of 80's software engineering and grind it all down with your Youtube playlist for the weekend.

Enjoy the read.

Don't miss

Pineapple One - Homebrew RISC-V Machine

A homebrew RISC-V Machine
Source: https://spectrum.ieee.org/geek-life/hands-on/build-a-riscv-cpu-from-scratch

Filip Szkandera did, what many of us would like to - he built his own computer from scratch 😳. I mean, from the most basic principles just using 74XX series logic chips. Not only did he achieve his goal, he built a modular and extendable RISC-V compliant machine including a small OS, a C compiler and a few programs.

The compiler was actually made by his friend Jan Vykydal, Filip used it to build a working version of Snake. Hats off! What an achievement.

And the Pineapple One is a beauty from outside. In the inside 9 stackable modules implement all necessary functionality. The machine runs at up to 500 kHz, comes with 512kB of addressable RAM as well as 512kB of separated program memory.

The best: You can build a Pineapple One yourself. You should definitely check the project out on Hackaday.

Well done Filip!

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The Story of Nebulus

The Story of Nebulus
Source: https://www.antstream.com/post/the-story-of-nebulus

I remember that inner feeling. It was the 80's. I was a kid, school was out and I ran home in anticipation of a phantastic afternoon with … Nebulus. Do you share these kind of memories? Nebulus - in my humble opinion - was one of the best titles ever released for the Commodore 64. And did I love the gameplay, the graphics and the feeling!

Nebulus was so successful, that there were ports for the ZX Spectrum, the Amiga and other platforms.

Graeme Mason put together the whole story of Nebulus and it's creator John Phillips on Antstream.

If you know and love Nebulus, then this one is for you. If you don't, wonder and admire that great times, when a single programmer could still build something and conquer the (then small digital) world. 

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Ahead of the wave

Pitsfall's World Magic

Pitfalls Levels - Assembly Magic
Source: https://evoniuk.github.io/posts/pitfall.html

In a world of Gigahertz CPUs and Gigabytes of memory available to programmers, there are things that we seem to have forgotten. Build something using only the bare minimum of functionality, that is provided by your CPUs ISA.

Instead today we create on top of several layers of abstraction and indirection. Don't get me wrong, that is good. Otherwise we would still be living in the digital Stone Age. But from time to time every programmer should look back and admire the ingenuity of those people in the late 70's and 80's and learn from how they achieved so much with so little.

How Pitfall Builds it's World is a well written article by Jack Evoniuk. If you are familiar with 6502 assembly, you will feel at home. If not you will quickly get into it.

Definitely worth your time. Check it out.

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A brandnew ZX80/81?

A brand new ZX80/81 in 2021?
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrAgdLYNKJo

You want a brand new ZX80/81? Man, that is literally impossible. These iconic machines went out of production long before people started to use AOL with 56k modems. But is it still possible to build a brand new incarnation? The Retro Shack helps you to find out.

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A 555 Timer built from Vacuum Tubes

A 555 Timer made from Vacuum Tubes
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjAlzA4Cyys

As the legend goes: the 555 timer is the most produced integrated circuit device ever. Why? Because it is simply so versatile. Usagi Electric builds one. But sit down and start to slowly breath through your trousers … He does it using 40's style vacuum tubes! Yes. 

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Flipdot Luminators for Fun, not Profit

Flipdot Luminator Displays for Fun
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezQjJFd3uMI

And finally a short one. dampfboot presents a beautiful DYI weekend project where he used Flip-Dot Luminators for fun, not profit. Satisfying, definitely.

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And that’s it. We can’t wait for the next issue. Do you know that feeling, when you just want to get the word out, but have to wait? That’s us.

But we are also super curious. Curious how you liked issue #02?

If you find a minute, drop us a message. We’d like to improve our newsletter, because we write it for you! So it should be you, who’s governing the necessary changes.

You can reach Bastian and myself anytime. Just respond to that email, or drop us a line via bastian@8bitnews.io or jan@8bitnews.io.

Enjoy the weekend!


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