Just the signal, not the noise

Hello 8bit'ers,

it is Friday, and a very special one. Starting tomorrow, it's that time again. The whole family gets together, great food, greater conversations, quality time with family and friends. And if you're lucky, you'll find a more or less old-ish piece of hardware or software under the Christmas tree.

If that's not the case, here comes your rescue. For our 2nd Christmas edition we change our format again. This special issue comes with 15 small presents, which we don't unwrap beforehand this time.

That's on purpose, we don't want to spoil the anticipation. Starting with the next issue, we'll be back to our old format. But for now:

Merry Christmas! And have fun with our little Christmas tree #68. 🎄

Merry Christmas

Next Foenix

Foenix F256K 8-Bit Computer
Imagesource: https://c256foenix.com/

Still on the search for the perfect Christmas gift for yourself? 🎁

How about an 8-bit box from @StefanyAllaire? At least that would fit very well, as Stefany has just launched the next machine of her Foenix series. And the F256K is not only good looking, it's inner values convince.

65C02 from Western Design Center - speeding at 6.29MHz - drives all the operations. 256kB Static RAM, 512 kB Flash, TinyVicky Video Processor with up to 256 colors, FPGA based sound with up to 3 Voices Per Channel, IEC Port, SDCard, UART Port or Wifi, Joystick Ports ATARI and NES Style ... completely equipped.

It's unbelievable what Stefany has done with her one-women-show in such a short time. All the more interesting, that you can order the F256K only for the next 4 weeks. In April 2023, the first machines are to be handed over to the shipping provider.

Let's hope, that it will be a success and that we will see more hardware from Stefany rising from the ashes.

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Another 8-bit CPU

Discreet Logic IC 8-Bit CPU
Imagesource: https://imihajlov.tk/

As the saying goes: Never play poker with someone named "Doc", never eat in a restaurant called "At Mother's", and never even attempt to get microcode out of a ROM for a more complex 8-bit CPU.

Similar scenarios must have played out for Ivan Mikhailov, because his 8-bit CPU design comes without any microcode at all, and is as competent as it is beautiful.

Just a few clicks away, you will find more projects on Ivan's blog, which in our opinion have received far too little attention so far.

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Retro Monitor - The Future

Checkmate 19'' IPS Retro Monitor
Imagesource: https://youtu.be/iUKQhCGUHWc

Thanks to @Phil_South, we didn't miss out on another bang-up project. 😮‍💨

Have you ever counted the number of monitors in your house? If you belong to the hardcore enthusiasts, then there will be ... some. Because depending on what hardware you drag to your garage, there are quite a few connectivity options, right?

That's a problem of the past. Because Stephen Jones - has just landed a real smash hit with his monster-equipped 19'' IPS display on Kickstarter. (No CRT though, but I guess, that won't ever happen again in my lifetime.)

Pete the @nostalnerd took a closer look at the details of the device. And if your personal budget still has a little buffer after the festivities, then definitely check out his video.

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Mac @ Amiga

Mac on Amiga
Imagesource: https://www.amigalove.com/

Is it possible to convert a Commodore Amiga into a Mac without relying on slow emulation in software?

The answer to this question of all questions comes from Eric K. Hill better known as @AmigaL0ve.

And it is astonishing. Especially when you consider, when the combination of software and hardware called A-Max first saw the light of the digital world.

What an innovation. A patched Mac OS that runs on the Amiga platform with the help of a bit of hardware. And it supports Mac peripherals as well.

Curious? Eric's video on the subject is entertaining and high quality.

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Pixel Composer

Pixel Composer 1.0
Imagesource: https://makham.itch.io/

How about some pixel art, but with a little twist? Tanasart Phuangtong aka @Makham_dev recently released version 1.0 of his tool Pixel Composer.

What's new, is the approach of being able to work node-based and non-destructive while giving free rein to your creativity in 2 dimensions.

2D VFX creation may never have been so easy and powerful at the same time. And the list of features will delight any pixel pusher.

Check it out.

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ZX81 Nuclear Power Plant

ZX81 Nucelar Power Plant
Imagesource: John Newcombe

Can you control a nuclear power plant with a ZX81? What a question? 😏

Of course you can!

John Newcombe has dared the experiment. That is, without a nuclear power plant and such. He simulates that on his ZX81 as well. 😱

What sounds like a lot of nonsense at first, is expertly planned, implemented and presented. In his video John presents an amazingly extensive simulation of the overall processes in such a power plant. Of course, it's just the model. But there actually is some complexity to it, and the implementation hides it behind a surprisingly fresh UI.

Worth seeing, not only for Sinclair friends.

[Sidenote: One of the best ways to run this without the original hardware (no, not the power plant) is Tom Harte's ingenious Clock Signal.]

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Code Christmas

Code Christmas
Imagesource: https://tcc.lovebyte.party/

Lucky is the one, who finds time at Christmas to write some code. Even luckier, who can do so in a pseudo-retro environment, and rely on skill and knowledge from people like the lovely folks behind @lovebyteparty.

We'll just say this much: Byte JamTIC-80PICO-9LUA.

You may open the bow all by yourself now at Tiny Code Christmas. Don't miss!

Happy Hacking.

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Making the Mac

Making the Mac
Imagesource: https://www.printmag.com/

You've got some time and crave nostalgia? You're a friend of hardware having an Apple logo?

@ZacharyPetit has collected 20 Apple Ads, some of which might look familiar to you. Besides some real gems, there's also a reunion with the (just younger) Woz and a whole bunch of funny laughs.

Something to read and enjoy on the side, and definitely worth the time.

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7-Segment Displays w/ Seb Lague

7-Segment Displays with Sebastian Lague
Imagesource: https://youtu.be/hEDQpqhY2MA

@SebastianLague may be a familiar name to some. Its the gentleman who started building a breadboard computer Ben Eater style 2 years ago. Then a few other (but no less interesting) topics for his videos came in between, and now he seems to be back on track again.

His topic: 7-Segment Displays.

Doesn't sound that exciting at first. But Sebastian guides us through the whole design process for the decoder in very much detail, using his self-written Simulation Tool and teaching skills. This time he doesn't leave the viewer with any open ends. Let's hope we don't have to wait for another two years for the next part.

Relaxed entertainment for friends of diy microelectronics.

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ATARI Compendium

ATARI Compendium
Imagesource: https://www.ataricompendium.com/

Yes, it's true. Unfortunately friends of hardware from the other side of the river (ATARI 👀) oftentimes come up a bit short. Must be due to history and a chain of (un-)fortunate events, but we certainly won't be opening the Commodore vs. ATARI discussion here at Christmas.

However, the individual behind the YT channel ScottithGames has taught us better, and so we became aware of the ATARI Compendium
came to our attention. A bit rough around some edges, but it comes with well quite a number of fine resources, that can't be found everywhere.

Nicest find so far: An Interview with Roger Hector from ATARI.

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How to start with CP/M

How to start with CP/M
Imagesource: https://unsplash.com/

If you weren't busy in the 80s trying to get the maximum of gaming power out of your C64, Amiga 500 or ATARI ST, then there is at least a probability greater than 0 that you a) are already a bit older and b) surely didn't get past CP/M.

Do you want to refresh your knowledge or even start from scratch?

Herbert R. Johnson has compiled a more than useful compendium with How to start with CP/M. Black letters on a white background, but who could afford a color monitor back in the 80s? 😁

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Visual Circuit Simulator

Visual Circuit Simulator
Imagesource: https://www.withdiode.com/

The following topic has generated quite a bit of ambivalence. We want to put it on the gift table anyways. The Visual Circuit Simulator by @austin_malerba sounds like a great idea. Take a 3D engine for the browser, add standard electronic and microelectronic components, breadboards, cables and power source, and you end up with something like LogiSim for visual learners.

The software's capabilities can not replace other design-, simulation- and fabrication-tools. But the thing is quite fun, at least as long ... as long as it is fun.

Decide for yourself.

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Sharp Pixel Shader

Sharp Pixel Shader
Imagesource: https://gamingprojects.wordpress.com/

Pixel Shader - a neverending story. Depending onwhich platform you want to emulate, on which platform you host, which hardware you throw into the ring for displaying your colorful pixels, as well as your personal taste, there are quite a few options.

@rsn8887 has just added another one. Namely one for friends of cultivated CRT screens. The special feature: Sharp pixels, no distortion and no to very little blurring make the Shader the ideal companion, if you want to render your scanlines on the analog way to the eye and not before.

Platforms and applications are somewhat limited, but perhaps in the intersection with things that are relevant to you.

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What to learn from Vintage Computing

Vintage Computing Learnings
Imagesource: https://github.com/

The penultimate package of this fest comes from github's The ReadME Project.

Klint Finley aka @klintron has delivered a short but fine essay on our favorite topic in his latest feature What we can learn from vintage computing.

Quality reading material. Rather less groundbreaking news, but a point of view, that is fun to read from.

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Imagesource: https://atari.com/

In 1982 ATARI worked on a game, which in its arcade form never left the prototype phase. As the legend goes, only 3 cabinets existed, but their whereabouts are apparently unknown.

There has never been a release.

Who now feels reminded of Polybius, is not quite right, because the game's release was canceled, because it was supposedly too difficult. The name: AKKA ARRH. 👾

@willshanklin has details on a new release, which can be found over at engadget in his current article. The exciting part: Legend Jeff Minter seems to be under contract, so owners of PC, PS5 and PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch and Atari VCS can look forward to a release in 2023.


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So, you are still here? Shouldn't you be singing a Christmas carol, sitting at the table with uncle and auntie, eating cake, or doing other ... Christmas things?

But while you're here (in the outtakes, so to speak) why don't you stay, do some soul-searching, and then decide to help us out a little?

We've bought a bunch of spots again, and have room for new subscribers. If anyone comes to mind, feel free to forward this issue. No prob.

However, we wish all readers a fantastic time with family and friends. We will (probably) place Issue #69 in your inbox on January the 07th. Due to travel activities there might be a delay. But: We'll be back. Until then - build something, and speak about it.

Felices Fiestas
Jan & Bastian

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