The Best of Byte, Volume 1 Epub Ó The Best Kindle -

The Best of Byte, Volume 1 Epub Ó The Best Kindle -

1 thoughts on “The Best of Byte, Volume 1

  1. Jerry Jerry says:

    The proper name for this is Lukasiewicz notation but it is popularly called Polish notation because very few people can pronounce LukasiewiczThis is very different from the The Best of Creative Computing series Where Creative Computing appears to have been marketed mainly for people who had access to somebody else’s computer in the period before the home computer Byte appears to have been written for people who wanted their own computer and if none were available would build them Naturally most hobbyist’s first concern is getting a system built and runningThere is no project in here that guides the reader through building their own computer but the assumption throughout is that the reader either has done so or has purchased a kit or is about to One of the articles evokes a very proto cyberpunk image of salvaging old computers for parts for your own build Using this method involves heating PC boards to high temperatures Some boards release Hydrogen Chloride HCl which becomes hydrochloric acid in your lungs Do this only in a well ventilated area and stop to allow air to clear if irritation developsOne good way of allowing the air to clear? I’ve found that the half way point often can be a good excuse to let the room ventilate and drink a beerThe most disappointing aspect for me is that there is very little software in here; the applications section is three articles one probably an April Fool article and two of the “now somebody else go do this” genre where the author describes a program for some unspecified other to writeEven the five part article on Connoly’s Game of Life is as much about building hardware to implement the game than about the software to implement the game This is because they didn’t have any standard hardware If you were a hobbyist who wanted to play around with a new model you have to build not just the software but the hardware that the software was going to run on It’s all very old school science fictionThe most interesting hardware article to me was the Kluge Harp which as near as I can understand takes a single 7437 and turns it into a sort of theremin that you would then have to interface with your home built computerIt is however a fascinating glimpse into the mindset of home computer users before there were home computers Today’s computers are very fast The applications we’ve mentioned might take one hour of CPU time per day at the very mostSome of the really interesting articles are articles that describe the hardware that is just becoming available There’s one about the newly available Z80 which would go on to power the first complete home computer What does the Z80 have going for it? It’s easy to interface; one chip does the job of several 8080A family chips It’s as easy if not easier to design an entire system around than any other microprocessor on the market today and the Z80 is software compatible with the 8080A the most widely used and known 8 bit processor Its instruction set is much powerful than the 8080A’s or any other 8 bit microprocessor’s instruction setAnd another about the 6500 series which provided a chip for only 20 The 6502 in that series is the chip that went into the Apple I and later the Apple II But of course in November 1975 there was no mention of Apple—the Apple I wasn’t released until 1976There’s a review of the Cromemco TV Dazzler one of the few bits of pre home computer hardware I remember hearing about even back in the day Still another application of the Dazzler is as a hardware game board for sophisticated computer automated games One example of such an application is the Tic Tac Toe software written by George TateThere are articles on relatively simple parts such as flip flops and also on complex parts such as UARTs There’s a great one on how light pens work or at least how they worked back then which makes me suspect that they would not work if you hook your old school computer up to a modern television Light pens relied on the way in which the cathode ray tube’s phosphorescent screen is scanned by the electron gun to know where the pen was pointed I always assumed that light pens reuired special software to uickly flip pixels across the screen but was vaguely aware that computers weren’t fast enough to do thatAfter you built your computer you had to be able to program it and that likely included writing your own assembler While most chips had assemblers available for purchase they were expensive There are basically two ways to cope with this problem The first is to read the program once but to keep sections of the program in memory until all forward references are resolved Since RAM costs us money in a microcomputer system we will reject this approach The second alternative is to read the program twice; an assembler which adopts this strategy is called a two pass assembler This approach is slow but it’s also cheap and that’s what we wantOne thing Byte did share with Creative Computing was the knowledge that computers were just things built by and programmed by humans One danger of computer programming is the assumption that a logically correct program which executes without bombing out will necessarily produce meaningful resultsCarl T Helmers Jr Byte’s editor wrote this in his introduction to a biorhythm chart generator one of the few programs reproduced in this collection and possibly the only significant one written in BASIC Biorhythm generators were very popular in the day probably because they were both simple and an interesting challenge and because I think that they were a model that couldn’t really be falsified and also which provided nice charts to base your life on Trusting untrustworthy theories and data after they’ve been transformed into a model that produces graphs is a problem that plagues us to this day Very often when it comes to actually getting a program up and running the simple minded approach turns out to be the one that works best

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