Just the signal, not the noise

Hello 8bit'ers, it is Friday ... no, wait .. it is Thursday,

But you are reading Issue #04 anyways. So did we travel back in time, or what happened? The answer is straightforward. We wanted to pick a special date for our official release of 8bitnews.io to the wider public.

And since the 17th of June (today) happens to be Jan's birthday, that is special enough for us. So, why not release 8bitnews.io into the wild?

This issue is more extensive than the last ones, we cover quite a number of topics today. Feel free to give us feedback regarding the size and articles. We would like to adapt 8bitnews.io to the needs of the community, not ours.

I hope you enjoy this special release, and Jan starts right away with an 8bit project of himself. Enjoy the read!


Don't miss

Sixty5o2 - an Operating System for Ben Eaters 6502 Breadboard Computer

An operating system for Ben Eaters 6502 Breadboard Computer
Source: 8bitnews.io

If you own and built Ben Eater's 6502 based breadboard computer, then you know the challenges.

Getting a program into RAM and debugging it.

I have been there at the end of 2019. And I quickly decided to use the supplied Arduino Mega as a serial interface. So I wrote a minimal bootloader / kernel / os with some basic functionality and added a loading mechanism as well as a hex monitor.

The result received a good number of stars on github as well as a number of quality contributions. So I decided to overhaul the docs, fix known bugs and release an updated version. And here we go … Sixty5o2 revised 2021.

If you are not sure about it, watch me demoing it over at our Youtube channel. Please be gracious, this is our first video production of this type and format, but I think you will find it entertaining.

Expect more to come. We are working on interesting 8bit topics, which we will share on Youtube as soon as they are ready.

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Source: https://www.thebyteattic.com/p/cerberus-2080.html

What a time to be alive. Can you imagine a love child between the ZX Spectrum and a Commodore64? No? Wait, here you go.

The CERBERUS 2080™ comes equipped with two(!) CPUs out of the box - a ZX80 AND a 65C02!

This project of Bernardo Kastrup of The Byte Attic is a mind bender. Not only is it a real beauty from the outside, it was fully open sourced, well documented on github and featured on HACKADAY.

A multi processor system comes with a number of challenges. Thankfully Bernardo guides us through his thought and design process in very much detail in his dedicated Youtube series.

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A 2021 MiniPET?

MiniPET 40 / 80
Source: https://www.thefuturewas8bit.com/minipet4080.html

And another piece of hardware in this issue. I know, I know, but I did not want to shift this one into the next week. It is too beautiful.

We promise, we are not sponsored, just stunned.

What Rod Hull of tfw8b.com put together, will make the hearts of all those beat faster, who were either born at the beginning of the 70's, or came in touch with the PET otherwise. The MiniPET 40 / 80.

I don't want to spoil you, you either know the original PET or you don't. Decide for yourself, whether this is something for you. If so, you will also enjoy Rod's presentation of the machine.

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Homebrew Computer? - Next Please!

Source: https://incoherency.co.uk/blog/stories/scamp-lives.html

2020 and 2021 have become the years of home-built 8bit systems, haven't they? I am just waiting for my grandma to come around the corner with her own homebrew ... 👵v1.0!

But I am just kidding. What James Stanley presents on his blog is another proof, that 8bit systems are not just fun. They make a serious contribution to anyone who wants to learn about the basics of computers, the underlying functionality, and how to understand all of it.

Excellent, James.

The frontend panels reminded me a little bit of PDP machines, and I think that was quite an intentional design decision. One can be curious of the final result. In the meantime James' blog article is an entertaining read.

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Finally - CP/M Software on a Mac

CP/M for Mac OS
Source: https://github.com/TomHarte/CP-M-for-OS-X

And the last news will hopefully lower your pulse and blood pressure at least a bit again. Because there is finally a solution to a perennial problem that has kept us all awake for decades.

Running CP/M software on the Mac.
🤯 (I want ZORK!)

But the stupid jokes aside. Tom Harte comes around the corner with a project, which has it really in itself on closer inspection.

Scratches your itch? Head over to github and give it a try.

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Ahead of the wave

Book: Designing Electronics that Work

Designing Electronics that Work
Source: http://designingelectronics.com

Building something is better than just watching people building something. Don't get me wrong, I love my daily Youtube Safari and I guess you feel the same. But when it is time for bed, I personally feel way better if I got something done during the day. And if it is something physical, then I have a thingy which I can proudly nag my girlfriend with all day long 👹.

Hunter Scott thankfully decided to support me on my journey through homebrew electronics (and nagging) with a remarkable book:

Designing Electronics that Work.

And Hunter is a killer. His book is available for download free of charge! I highly encourage you to buy the printed version. Everyone releasing some marvel like this to the public, deserves the support!

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FORTH in under 512 Bytes

Forth in under 512 Bytes
Source: https://niedzejkob.p4.team/bootstrap/miniforth/

Remember Forth? Ever had the chicken-egg problem and needed an assembler for a barebones piece of hardware that nobody had been writing any software for yet? No? I'd call this the circular dependency of 70's software engineering.

And Nie Dżejkob tackles that issue better than Sugar Ray Robinson his opponents.

In his blog post you'll learn everything you need to know, for the next time, you and a barebones IBM PC, with no operating system on it, are locked up in a room.

Happens to me. All the time. 🤫

Enjoy the read. It goes into the depth, but you will get it.

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6502 Illegal Opcodes demystified

6502 - Illegal OPCODES
Source: https://www.masswerk.at/nowgobang/2021/6502-illegal-opcodes

Every 6502 enthusiast with some assembly know how under her belt knows, there are secret 6502 opcodes. Some of them are useful, others are not. Some even show unstable behaviour. Did the creators of this extraordinary CPU, which is still in production 40+ years in, wanted to send us a hidden message?

Norbert Landsteiner of mass:werk took a closer look. Much closer. What Norbert reveals in front of us, is not only interesting for 6502 enthusiasts.

It is a lesson on microcode organization. And an excellent one!

And since I do not want to spoil you, I just say: 3-3-2 ... no, that is not 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 🛩

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RISC vs. CISC - Apples & Pears?

Source: https://www.extremetech.com/computing/323245-risc-vs-cisc-why-its-the-wrong-lens-to-compare-modern-x86-arm-cpus

In Issue #02 we spoke about RISC vs. CISC. And ever since also Apple decided to build their own ARM CPU, and since the Acorn RISC Machine design follows the RISC design pattern, as the name implies, there is plenty of misunderstanding and not so much fact based chatter around the topic.

Someone had to take on RISC vs. CISC in depth. And someone did! Is it comparing apples to pears? Find it out.

Joel Hruska put together an enlightening post on ExtremeTech which is absolutely worth your time.

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Building a computer just for ... PONG

A computer just for PONG
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7A1SzIIKMho

That was a lot to swallow today. Therefore we decided to send you into the evening with a neat piece of entertainment.

jdh can come across as a little (sorry) arrogant, but that is just the surface. He does not get into the detail how, but he designed his own 8bit ISA, emulator and Logisim implementation to be able to ... big whoop please: Play PONG!

Not so much on the educational side of things, but entertaining.

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Amiga Love

Love for the Amiga 600
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hp1iWCOOchY

The Amiga deserves more of our love. Daniel - my friend - this one is for you.

But of course also for everyone else 😉 - The Retro Shack goes into the details of the Amiga 600. Loved and hated at the same time.

Warm yourself up and get your Kickstart ... well, kickstarted. Next week we will dig into AmigaOS 3.2.

Until then enjoy the show.

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wamgUxN1z6o

You love to fiddle with the hardware of a Commodore PET, a VIC-20 or any other 6502 based machine?

Then I hope you do not miss this one. Adrians Digital Basement is a quality channel and the ROMulator tested and presented by Adrian is an extraordinary piece of hardware that might solve one of your most painful problems. But find out yourself.

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When it all started

When it all started - Interview with Steve Jobs
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbfejwP1d3c

Feel like sitting back and relax the thinking muscle? Apple fan or not, this early interview with Steve Jobs uploaded by Sir Mix-A-Lot Rare Music is just a classic and highly recommended.

Let us see, how long this one will be online 😶‍🌫️.

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Nostalgia Rendered - Perifractic strikes again

Nostalgia rendered
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPTmn63CtTI

The conclusion for this memorable day is formed by Perifractic. This time he builds the machines of his childhood ... but just as rendered gfx.

Entertaining and relaxing at the same time. That is what we love Chris.

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I hope you enjoyed this - admittedly long - Issue #04. But we wanted to celebrate our release with a memorable edition of 8bitnews.

Do not let this beautiful day pass by, without having checked at least one of these resources. And take some time over the weekend to build something.

If it is 8bit, we would love to hear from you. Please also don't hesitate to give us feedback. Just reply to this very email or message us via jan@8bitnews.io or bastian@8bitnews.io.

Have a wonderful geekend.


PS: If you want to help us, please share the signal with family, friends, coworkers. You get the idea 🚀

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