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Surfing With Your Commodore 64 163

Posted by michael
from the just-say-no dept.
Anonymous Squonk writes: "Computer Workshops Inc. has released a web browser for the Commodore 64! Sure, you have to have a UNIX shell account to use it, but this is the first time I've seen a C64 browse the web with full HTML 1.0 and GIF/JPEG support. I hear that Java and Javascript support is just around the corner..." And Flash! And VRML! Well, maybe not.
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Surfing With your Commodore 64

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Java is GAY. Totally GAY. Write once, GAY
    everywhere.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is even better than Mozilla on Amiga. [mozillazine.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The Apple //GS has had TCP/IP and a web browser for a couple of years now. When I submitted a story about these events, Slashdot didn't think it was worth posting - yet, they do for the 64. For serious retro-computing with the Apple //, check out these sites. http://sourceforge.net/projects/marinetti http://sis.gwlink.net/ http://www.btinternet.com/~ewannop/sp.html http://www.a2central.com/
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 02, 2001 @09:28AM (#181748)
    I recommend Atari servers and Commodore clients to all my customers. Igonre the ideology and use the tool that works best, that's what I say.
  • Microsoft hates Java because Sun put one over on them with it. Everyone else hates Java because it's a piece of shit. *shrug* It's all the same...
  • In 1988 or 1989, I found a Tandy 102 bbs in the san diego area. For those of you under 30 or so, the Tandy 100 and 102 had a 2.5mhz 8085 (=1.25mhz 8080), 8-32k of ram, 40x8 display (but you could flip up to the prior 40x8), and an internal 300 baud modem with pulse dialer.


    the bbs, of course, was running on a 102, and had a couple of useful files (including one that let you use your pc clone as a disk over the serial port [which was how the 50k 3.5" disk connected anyway]).


    hawk, who still has his 102

  • by hawk (1151)
    if we were supposed to be looking at pictures while browsing, lynx would rendeer them into ascii . . .


    hawk

  • my little brother once had a browser that used lynx on a shell account to fetch files. I never understood why he didn't just use lynx . . .


    hawk

  • >If Jack Tramiel (Commodore's CEO) had given a
    > little bit more attention to improving the C-64 (by adding good disk drives and slots),
    >the Apple II would not have become as popular as it did.


    that's just plain silly.


    The C64 is *much* later than the Apple II. The apple II had achieved it's popularity long before the Vic-20. By the time the 20 had come out, the move away from 8 bits was already underway; it used newer technology to build an old-style machine cheaply.


    THe apple was geared for both home and business; the vic-20 and C64 were toys from beginning to end. Popular toys, but thye never had any spirations at other markets.


    Also, part of the cost reduction was by removing slots and not having drives. The Vic was *not* a new design; it was a stripped down PET with color. The C64 was a vic with 64k.


    hawk

  • iirc, you set an 8 bit color, but 2of the cdolors were duplicates.


    APple used 7 bits for on/off, and the other bit did a half-bit shift to tinker with the color trap. Add that to which bits next to one another were used, and an 8 bit byte produced 7 bits in six possbile colors (though most pattern/color combos didn't exist). This was done with almost no hardware about 10 years before the C64.


    hawk

  • by hawk (1151)
    How can you use "Apple //GS" and "serious retro-computing with the Apple //" in the same paragraph? Most of what made the ][ fiendishly clever didn't make it into the watered down mac called //GS. . . .


    hawk

  • Yup. one word: Abacus
    Their books contained complete, annotated ROM listings of the kernel, basic, and 1541 drive code.
    Nab Commodore's official book (with schematics! holy shit!), plunk down another hundred or so for the Abacus publications, and a copy of Glenn Bredon's MOST excellent Merlin assembler, and Voila! Joo are in bidness!
    Oh. As an aside, I have to mention that C64 basic and Applesoft were almost identical under the hood.
    For a desperate game port of code written in basic (no, not mine. I'm an assembler kind of guy) I was placed in a position that required that I get Blitz's (a C64 Pcode type compiler) runtime to run on Apple II.
    Merlin for the apple provided a utility that would disassemble and comment the Applesoft Roms for you.
    Going back and forth between the resulting listing, and Abacus' own, I got that sucker running like a champ on the apple. Almost all of the major routines were the same; I had to patch a bit here and there, and redefine a BUNCH of memory locations, but in the end, it all Just Worked(tm).
    Man.. I miss those days.. (sob!)
  • Oops..
    Anticipating the obvious question "what about all the Peeks an Pokes..?"
    I had to massage this guy's basic by hand and recompile.
    Major pain in the ass. That compiler was SLOOOWWW.
  • Oh, man! Where do I start?
    How about all the hardware features that went virtually unused by practically everyone, Commodore, included?
    There was that REALLY neat synchronous serial port built into the VIA chip that was pulled out the back IO connector.
    I was doing C64<>Apple II game ports at the time, and needed to transfer files back and forth. I cobbled together a cable that linked the C64 and the apple game connector and wrote assembly routines that shook hands at either end.
    I got transfer speeds of about 50kbaud both ways over that sucker. Not too shabby for 1mhz processors
    And how about running fastloader code *in the disk drive*? And diddling the interleave factor when formatting to speed things up even further? Or storing data in unused directory sectors to save space?
    Whoa. Getting a woody just thinking about it!
    Then there's all the neat things you can do with a vertical blank or scanline interrupt!
    Of course, there's the SID chip also..
    Oh, gawd! Somebody stop me!
  • Huh? There are actually people who still have one?

    ::grin::

    I have two C64s [www.iki.fi] (I bought the other last summer - damn, that newish creamy case of C64G is sexy!) and one VIC-20... I still use the C64s a lot, but somehow I only use VIC-20 for playing Jupiter Lander.

  • You could always buy a copy of VMware [vmware.com], and use it to run Windows 98 or so under Linux, for running MS Internet Exploiter. That's what I do when I need anything Nyetscape/Mozilla can't do.

    Sad to say, that's probably your best bet for getting a decent browser under Linux.
  • by acb (2797)
    I've seen some really annoying flash adverts. You don't want flash...

    Especially if you're using the brain-damaged Linux Flash plug-in. It has the nice feature that, when it starts, it grabs the audio device. If it can't get it, it blocks on it, wedging Nyetscape solid until it gets its way.

    Having to stop your MP3 player because some site has a Flash ad on it is not the sign of a well-designed system.
  • As in Incorporated? Didn't anybody tell them that the time to blow your venture capital releasing goofy products with no real revenue potential ended last year?
  • But one would *expect* the //GS to have a web browser -- it was a GUI-based computer with at least 256K of memory, after all, Now, a web browser for the traditional Apple ]['s (][, ][+, //e and //c) with their small memories and lack of native GUI, would be a worthy challenge.
  • Anyone want a C-64 Floppy Disk Drive (5.25). Take it home for free (if you pay shipping). Should be enough cache space for 3 or 4 Web pages....

    --
  • As far as the general attitude of "why the hell don't you work on something more important?"

    Amen. Indeed, why don't we all say that to anybody that isn't working on something that's important to us personally?

    Anything, anywhere, will be unimportant to somebody else somewhere else. That includes you, me, and our dogs too.
  • Stupid reasons, cache the page, and email the owner of the site with a directions on how to remove the site.
    Maybe take PNG or Jpeg pictures of the page, then you are not using thier html code. (-;

    Just start cacheing the damn webpages.

  • by BJH (11355)
    Sometimes they'd have another CPU in the window which was running "Dancing Demon," a stick figure that would jerk around in rhythm with some beeps and bops. (At least, I think it had sound, can't remember, the old brain is getting rusty.)

    Yes, it did have sound, although I remember it being the Dancing Robot, not the Dancing Demon.

  • by BJH (11355)
    Er... what? Who was bickering? I just said I remembered it differently from him. The only one being antagonistic around here is *you*.

  • by tekan (12825) on Saturday June 02, 2001 @09:53AM (#181769)
    One possible idea for curbing the slashdot effect, especially on bandwidth limited websites, would be to have some mechanism whereby when you post such a story about a website that the story submitter could check an option that would allow for "Google" style mirroring of the page(s) to be stored on slashdot for the time that the story is on the homepage. Once the story goes to the archives or just falls off the homepage, then the cached pages are dumped. Just an idea.
  • Last weekend, I went poking around at the Spring Commodore Expo 2001 in Louisville, Kentucky USA.
    I got a peek at many C-64 and 128's running GEOS, and even better: "Wheels"
    That GUI ran another program, a browser called "The Wave" See: http://www.luckyreport.com/expo.html

    "Now you can enjoy graphical web browsing on your Commodore 64 or Commodore 128."
    http://www.ia4u.net/~maurice/gbrowse/wave.html
    http://videocam.net.au/~colinjt/wave.html

    Naturally the above code is tight and efficient assembly language.
    Most C-64 programs are smaller than the icons above.
    The Wave browser is smaller than the banner ad!!!

    Alas, few on Slashdot will ever run this kind of code, let alone generate it. :^)
    But such code would easily fit in thier Cache!
  • Man, what a waste of time. Why bother?
  • Centsible Software [centsible.com] has purchased their inventory... From their site:

    Oops, we did it again!
    Centsible Software buys out Software inventory of CMD.
    *Company buyout # 27*

    Give them a try...

    Jethro
  • by Sloppy (14984)

    Javascript, I can believe. But Java? Sorry, this is bad SF, I just can't suspend my disbelief.

    Not that I don't believe a machine with the power of a C64 could (conceivably) run Java if someone really wanted to write a JVM. But when you start talking about in the context of a web browser, then it would need all the usual libraries too, and there's just no way that much bloat will fit in a C64.


    ---
  • Geez, now I guess you're going to say it won't work on my Timex Sinclair either.

    I knew you would regret not getting that 16K RAM expansion cartridge. If only you had...


    ---
  • The C64 is *much* later than the Apple II.

    Yes and no. I knew several people who got into Apples when the IIe came out, which was contemporary with the C64. Apple was still getting new users in '82 and later.


    ---
  • Now this is one of my major complaints regarding today's desktop machines. It takes way too long to boot them and get them to speed. I wish someone would do something about that, although I doubt it can be remedied.

    It could be done, but are you sure you'de really want it? Just boot it, then take some kind of memory snapshot, and burn it on a ROM. Then write a startup BIOS that instead of loading a boot sector from disk, restores the ROM image. There might be a few I/O gotchas, but they could be dealt with somehow.

    The major downside to something like this is that your running system is really carved in stone. Want to change (or fix!) something in your kernel, add a device driver, etc? Oops.


    ---
  • Yup, Abacus "Anatomy of the C64" ruled, mainly due to the comment ROM disassembly appendix.

    I bought Merlin on July 2nd 1984, and it was the best 37.95 + tax I ever spent. Fun story: about a year and a half later, I was at high school and a teacher wanted to use an Apple IIe to display a timer on the screen so that he could drop things in front of it and take slow-motion movies showing the motion with a time index running on the IIe's screen in the background (for a physics class, I guess?) So I volunteered and then said, "Hm.. I need an assembler." Someone coughed up a pirated program called Big Mac and I dived in. No one was shocked that I knew 6502, but how the heck did I learn Big Mac's line editor so quickly? The secret: it was the same program as Merlin. Glen Bredon was a cross-platform dude.

    Oh yeah, as for the timer: the IIe's Green Screen's phosphors were too persistant, so each frame's final digits just looked like blurred eights. Whoops. :-)


    ---
  • Ahhh, the good old days when there were some programs that were quicker to write than to load from your media. Atleast we weren't saying, "This &%$#ing paper tape broke again", or "Oh &%$@ I spilled my box of cards" :-).
  • You have to re engineer your abacus is all. Replace all of the beads with Java rings.
  • What do you mean my java code isn't write once and run ANYWHERE? Geez, now I guess you're going to say it won't work on my Timex Sinclair either.
  • Man, you have the datassette player? Lucky bastard. I never could afford that. Anyone know where I can get a ROM cart with this on it?

    --
  • by Bowie J. Poag (16898) on Saturday June 02, 2001 @09:37AM (#181782) Homepage
    If you're interested in doing bizzaro stuff with your C64, you might want to check out these links:

    LUnix (Fully functioning SLIP-TCP/IP stack for C64) [netsurf.de]

    GeckOS/A65 [6502.org] (Multitasking Unix-ish OS for C64s)

    Lemon [lemon64.com] for a good stockpile of C64 warez. :)

  • Actually, they just purchased their "software" inventory not the hardware.

  • The apple was geared for both home and business; the vic-20 and C64 were toys from beginning to end. Popular toys, but they never had any aspirations at other markets.

    Well, Commodore might not have had any aspirations at other markets, but readers of (say) Compute! magazine would know that many peripheral add-on companies did not have the same limitations in vision. :-) So I know you could get "accounting" software for at least the 64, which pretty much boggles the mind.

    But I think my favorite item along these line was the really fast mobius strip casette loop as a replacement for RAM product (primarily for the Vic 20, as I recall). If this sounds completely nutty to many readers that's because it was. You really had to have been there.

    The Vic was *not* a new design; it was a stripped down PET with color. The C64 was a vic with 64k.

    Bzzt! The C64 was a lot more than a vic with 64K. For one thing, the C64 had something almost like real sound, and not just a way to buzz the speaker. :-) The color graphics were also much more capable; 98% of vic 20 graphics were generated via special characters from the keyboard.

    For all six of you who really want to know more on the technical specs of these machines, you might try this page full of Commodore "Business" Machines trivia [www.hut.fi]

  • Sorta. And you didn't double the vertical resolution, you doubled the horizontal resolution (keeping the double-wide pixels) which made for some nice color smoothing. You changed the image and color data once per frame back and forth between two different images (and shifted the screen 1 pixel in either direction and back). There are also ways to get hires with more colors by overlaying sprites (But you don't get 320x200, it's more like 192x200, but still impressive), you can stretch sprites, you can multiplex sprites, you can do all sorts of things with just the right raster timing.
    _______
    Scott Jones
    Newscast Director / ABC19 WKPT
  • ...and they just didn't like the old Apples. Still don't.
  • Wow!! That's amazing! If these guys are as good at making CPUs as they are at math, then we're in for some fun......;)

    A cricual point that you seem to be missing is that software is written in a very different way for a very small system like the C64. Of course it is significantly less functional, but a lot of software worked sufficiently well and ran sufficiently quickly for the stock C64 nearly 20 years ago at 1 MHz (its slow disk drive is a different issue).

    When you run this style of software on a processor that runs 20 times faster, WHAMO! It suddenly runs 20 times faster. Whereas modern software follows Gates' law ("every 18 months, the speed of software halves"), and its speed never really increases, only its whiz-bangedness.

    The 65816 in the SuperCPU is also a 16-bit processor vs. the 8-bit 6510 (6502). This is a significant potential increase as well, similar to the modern transition from 32 to 64 bits.
  • And if one has a 1571 or 1581 Commodore drive, Big Blue Reader is an utility that will read/write/format DD DOS disks.

    Hey, you could also use Little Red Reader! [csbruce.com] ;-)
  • by Sun Tzu (41522) on Saturday June 02, 2001 @09:26AM (#181789) Homepage Journal
    Here I sit staring at my unnetworked Atari 800. Finally, I understand why I should have bought a Commodore!
  • Meanwhile, back in the present, I've probably spent more than a thousand bucks on software and PC documentation over the last 10 years without ever getting anything that resembles a complete description of the hardware.

    A complete description of a modern computer in all its complexity would likely fill a bookshelf. Just the latest draft of the ATA specification [t13.org] is about the same thickness, when printed double-sided, as the Apple IIe Technical Reference Manual I got back in 1987, which provided complete schematics, specifications, and even source code for the ROMs (except for the BASIC interpreter, and if Apple hadn't gotten that from M$, it probably would've been published too).

  • Psion 5 machines are also devices with limited power (8 mhz for 5, 16 mhz for 5mx), little memory, tiny screen, etc.

    But the Psion web browser rocks. And Opera is even better.HTML 4 works. Javascript works. On 5MX, Java is also fully supported. And dithered pictures don't look that ugly. And it renders just as fast as Mozilla on my Celeron 450.

    Assembly language and optimization. This point has been forgotten by today's developpers for servers and desktop computers.

    When I coded demos on Atari ST, 1 cycle was 1 cycle (actually 4 on 68000), and it should never been lost, or another crew would have done better than your. And when you only have 512 K RAM total, you have to save bytes, too. Code was unpacked and generated on-the-fly, and every piece of hardware was used at its best. For instance, I used the sound hardware to draw 3D (actually to erase the virtual screen by sampling with no volume) . Generated code, precalculations, memory moves, self-modified code, pre-shifted line segments and sprites, etc. This was tricky, this was a hell to debug and to understand when you didn't fully design the code. But it was hard to do faster. We could spent one entiere year just to save some cycles in order to have the best sprite or line routine of all crews.
    Today's workstations have 500x more memory that Atari ST had. Their CPU is 200x faster. And the graphic and sound chips are also able to do amazing things without the need of the main CPU (playing a soundtrack module at 16khz + fullscreen took just about 80% of the CPU time per VBL on Atari...) . So why don't we have applications that are at least 200x faster ?
    Because there are no more real coders. Just programmers. People sometimes care about algorithms, not about the code itself. And nobody seems to have interest in assembly language. High-level bloated slow languages like Perl and PHP rules the world (no flame here : I love Perl, but the fact is that the same thing could be 100x faster in execution. But 100x longer to code, yes) . I can't imagine what wonderful things we could have on our PC today if everything was coded like good old demos.
    And big projects can be coded in pure assembly. The GfA-Basic and Devpac 2 were powerful development kits (interpreter/compiler/assembler/debugger) and 100% pure assembly. The same things goes for HP48 projects. 100% Saturn assembly (hi HP freaks ! HPdream is talking to you !), and there were monster projects (like the meta-kernel, now in newer HP calculators) . Some big demos also needed a lot of source code, twice the size of the linux kernel source code. And it worked. Fast.
    Coding in pure assembly nowadays may sound like regression. But maybe fast and lazy programming to get a just-working but slow and bloated result is also a regression.
  • by British (51765)
    First a kid builds a nuclear reactor out of household parts, and now people are making web browsers for the C64.

    There are some people with WAY too much free time on their hands, and I salute you.

    I gotta get back to working on my Honda CVT entirely out of LEGO now.
  • From what I know, C-64 had two graphics modes, hires 320x200 with 1 background color and 1 foreground color (could be changed per character [40x25]) and multicolor 160x200 that had 2 extra colors, also there was 8 sprites of size 32x32 pixels (hires) or 16x32 (multicolor). With interlacing it was possible to double the vertical resolution and it was possible to mix the 16 colors to 128 colors. C-64 had 3 voice generators with 3-waveforms (square,sawtooth,sine) plus noise, it was possible due to bug in SID to create digitized sounds (4 bit).
  • ...which is to say, more money won't help the educational system...

    :wq
  • The Linux Netscape 4.7 flash plugin works just fine with Mozilla 0.9 under Linux. I suspect the same would be true of the Windows plugin. Why don't you try it?
  • by Nevrar (65761)
    My Mum threw our C64 out... :( Sure, the keyboard was totally non-functional (you practically needed a hammer to hit a key before it registered a key press), but its times like these you really wish you hadn't got rid of it.

    Guess I'll have to go and find one from somewhere - maybe some museum will have one :)
  • From what I recall, in addition to great sound, as you mention, the C-64 also had sprite capabilities and 8-bit color at 320x200. The Apple used an extremely hard to code, 7-bit, 4-color system with annoying artifacts. Kudos to all the Apple II game programmers for creating such nice games with such an unwieldy graphics system.
  • The custom chip set for the Amiga was designed by Jay Miner who also did the graphics chip set for the Atari 8-bit machines. I don't think he had come over to Commodore when the C64 was being designed, but I'm not sure and can't turn up anything on a web search. I also don't know if he is still alive. The Atari 800 and the Amiga were great machines in their day. If he is dead, I'll belatedly mourn his passing.

    Thanks for that info. IMO, Jay Miner was a digital graphics pioneer who was way ahead of his time. He should be revered by all and remembered for his significant contribution to the microcomputer revolution.
  • From what I know, C-64 had two graphics modes, hires 320x200 with 1 background color and 1 foreground color (could be changed per character [40x25]) and multicolor 160x200 that had 2 extra colors, also there was 8 sprites of size 32x32 pixels (hires) or 16x32 (multicolor). With interlacing it was possible to double the vertical resolution and it was possible to mix the 16 colors to 128 colors. C-64 had 3 voice generators with 3-waveforms (square,sawtooth,sine) plus noise, it was possible due to bug in SID to create digitized sounds (4 bit).

    Very interesting. I stand corrected. I take it that, by interlacing, you mean it was possible to interrupt the raster and change color registers on the fly. Thanks raynet.
  • I still use the 128 for all my letters, game playing, label printing and even, via the HandyScanner 64 and PageFox, desktop publishing.

    Chris, you are a true believer. I admire your loyalty to the past. It was fun to write 6502 assembly code for those puppies, wasn't it?
  • and there is nothing today like the feeling one gets of stoping a running program on the 64 via the interrupt button on the Snapshot cartridge, entering the ML monitor, messing with the code, exiting the monitor, and re-entering the running program where it was stopped and watching it run with the new changes.

    Now that's REAL power!


    I can feel your joy.

    The 128 is booted, with my text editor loaded and running before the Macintosh has even loaded it's first line of Extension and Control Panel icons. To print labels on the Mac, I have to load a relatively huge program.

    Now this is one of my major complaints regarding today's desktop machines. It takes way too long to boot them and get them to speed. I wish someone would do something about that, although I doubt it can be remedied.

    Yes, I still use a slide rule, except for those problems that require more than three decimal place answers. Then I use my Texas Instruments SR-40, the "upscale" version of the classic TI-30 "Electronic Slide Rule" calculator. Nothing says "MATHEMATICS" quite like a red LED display.

    Dude! With a little bit of creative thinking, you could start a new techie religion. May I suggest you encase your oldest computer in a clear acrylic block, turn it into an idol of worship, and have your flower-children pray and burn candles and incense to it. Also make them wear a gold-plated 6502 chip on the front of their caps. The slide rule is their cross, of course. :-D

    Have fun. Don't ever throw away any of that stuff. In a few years it may have archaelogical importance.
  • Did anyone else wonder why there wasn't an add without carry instruction?

    Wasn't that a deliberate design decision having to do with overall instruction speed?
  • The major downside to something like this is that your running system is really carved in stone. Want to change (or fix!) something in your kernel, add a device driver, etc? Oops.

    I see what you mean. Instead of ROM, how about low-power, battery backed CMOS RAM? This way, the system is never really down even when the power is off. The BIOS would have code to restore things like I/O settings to last session and update date/time related stuff if necessary. Just a thought.
  • The C-64, the VIC-20, (and the Pet before that) are the ancestors of the incomparable Amiga. The graphics chip-set of all of them was designed by the same engineeer, who I believe, is no longer among the living. If Jack Tramiel (Commodore's CEO) had given a little bit more attention to improving the C-64 (by adding good disk drives and slots), the Apple II would not have become as popular as it did. The C-64 had 10 times better graphics capabilities than the Apple II.

    I am fascinated by the early history of the microcomputer. Does anybody out there still remember the Rockwell AIM-65 computer, a single board 6502 machine with a 20-character LED readout, a keyboard and a calculator roll-printer all attached to the board?
  • "I've seen a C64 browse the web with full HTML 1.0"

    No way! FULL HTML 1.0 support? Way to bring the C64 into the early 1990s! Where's my copy of Netscape Mosaic 0.9.2?
    --
  • Cool. I can turn my $2000 PC into a disk drive for my 20 year old piece of shit Commodore 64. Sign me up baby! Will this work on the Vic-20?

    To answer your sarcastic question, yes it works for the Vic-20 also. The 1541 drive uses a serial interface that was present on most of the 8-bit Commodore machines. So you could use the same drive on the 128, PET, VIC, and so on.

    As far as the general attitude of "why the hell don't you work on something more important?", I think people that still hack old machines are like people that still restore classic cars - they do it because they can. People who want to do stuff like port a Web browser to a machine that has no practical purpose are like people who climb mountains for no reason other than to say they did. Don't knock it - someday you'll be pining for the old days, too.

    -J

  • Most people still hacking at C64's use a cable that goes from the printer port on a PC to the drive cable on the 64. It's called an x1541 cable. You run a small bit of software on your PC, and then your C64 thinks your PC is a disk drive. The PC program lets you load and save image files of 1541 disks. So you could pull down a bunch of disk images from the 'net to your PC's drive, and your C64 would treat them as floppy disks in the 8 drive or 9 drive or whatever. It's pretty cool, especially considering about a million of those tiny little SS/SD disk images could be downloaded in seconds on a 56K modem...

    -Jon

  • by selectspec (74651) on Saturday June 02, 2001 @09:17AM (#181808)
    is a store where I can buy a Cassette Tape with this program on it and I'm on my way!
  • From the site...

    It must not be compared with a PC which just runs a bit faster after an upgrade. A P300 only runs about 3 times faster than a P100. A SuperCPU-C64 runs 20 times faster than a stock C64!

    Wow!! That's amazing! If these guys are as good at making CPUs as they are at math, then we're in for some fun......;)

    nlh

  • The last time I actually used a terminal program on my old C64 was to get an old database from the C64 onto my laptop. I merely needed my RS232 interface (small box which goes into the userport and contains one small chip to translate all the data to a full blown RS232 connection) and a null modem cable.

    After I was done I skimmed around in my (dusted) software archive and stumbled across NovaTerm; a completely modular build terminal program for the C64 which offered anything you'd need. You need one side of a 5.25" disk for it (it will take up aprox. 80%) and the other side can be used as a datadisk. Because it was modular its functions expanded; right up to full ZModem support.

    Taken that into consideration and the total size of the ppp stack in the Linux kernel I must admit not being very impressed by this project. I'm sure that if the novaterm developers we're still at it there would be a lynx style Internet access for the C64 ages ago. Maybe it could even evolve into full blown graphical support, who knows.

    Basicly; this looks nice but I'm sure the C64 can do much more.

  • by jimmcq (88033)

    Could you imagine a Beo...

    Ah, forget it!
  • Hey, you couldn't effectively run Art Department Professional 2.5 on a C64. ARexx really shined then.

    My kingdom for that flexibility/simplicity on any other PC OS...


  • I've seen some really annoying flash adverts. You don't want flash...


  • I don't think google caches graphics. The stuff that really eats bandwidth.


  • With what I've seen of the progress in Windows and Linux. I would doubt ten years is sufficient.



  • This has got to be the moral equivalent of impressing Real Surfer Dudes by hanging ten off one of those dinky 2 ft styrofoam dog paddle boards (like I used in the kiddie pools.)

  • by chegosaurus (98703) on Saturday June 02, 2001 @10:08AM (#181817) Homepage
    On hearing this news I have reluctantly decided to abandon my C64 port of Mozilla.
  • As others have noted, that article is hard to get to. Is it talking about The Wave? This is a web browser by Maurice Randall, who wrote the GEOS upgrade called Wheels. You can read about it at http://www.ia4u.net/~maurice/gbrowse/wave.html GEOS, for those who don't know, is a GUI operating system for the Commodore 64.
  • I agree, I have a hard time trying to get Java to run on my abacus as well.
  • Since Macromedia can't get their sorry asses going with Flash support for Netscape 6 (or more importantly, mozilla) under *Windows*, I can't see them supporting tbe C64 just yet...

    And how 'bout a Shockwave player for Linux, huh?

  • by yerricde (125198) on Saturday June 02, 2001 @12:33PM (#181824) Homepage Journal

    story submitter could check an option that would allow for "Google" style mirroring of the page(s)

    A very frequent suggestion [slashdot.org]. Here's how to implement it: When you're submitting a story that links to a low-monthly-bandwidth web site, insert www.google.com/search?q=cache: right after the http:// in the URL. That way, viewers get a Google cached version with a link at the top to the most current version.

  • Guess I'll have to go and find one from somewhere - maybe some museum will have one :)

    In fact, a museum does have one, but they are saying totally wrong things [trulyfree.net] about them.

    It makes me wonder who payed for that exhibit cough! Intel cough!.

  • by tcc (140386) on Saturday June 02, 2001 @10:30AM (#181830) Homepage Journal
    That's pathetic, my Commodore 64 will end up having java support but not my classic amigas.... god damn it I knew I shouldn't have switched when the amiga 500 came out.

  • One more client web developers have to support.
  • Sure the C64 is great, but my hostname at work says it all... -- i.wish.my.vic20.had.more.than.fivek.com

    Maybe you should've gotten the 16K expansion module? I still have one laying around here...
  • There was the TRS-80 Model I [computingmuseum.com] (my first computer!) - 4K, and a Z-80. It wasn't really a business computer -- that was the much more pricey Model II, which I think ran

    Then there was the Tandy Color Computer Model I [computingmuseum.com] - Much later and with a 6809 and entirely incompatible with the original Trash-80s.
  • Umm... NeXT was the very first platform to have a world wide web client...

    http://www.w3.org/History/1994/WWW/Journals/CACM/s creensnap2_24c.gif
  • Sure the C64 is great, but my hostname at work says it all... -- i.wish.my.vic20.had.more.than.fivek.com
  • by Pig Bodine (195211) on Saturday June 02, 2001 @11:03AM (#181853)

    The custom chip set for the Amiga was designed by Jay Miner who also did the graphics chip set for the Atari 8-bit machines. I don't think he had come over to Commodore when the C64 was being designed, but I'm not sure and can't turn up anything on a web search. I also don't know if he is still alive. The Atari 800 and the Amiga were great machines in their day. If he is dead, I'll belatedly mourn his passing.

  • by guinsu (198732) on Saturday June 02, 2001 @09:48AM (#181858)
    I've seen a card that lets you add IDE [volny.cz] to a C-64, is that good enough?
  • He's differentiating between the Color Computer (CoCo) (a TRS-80) and the TRS-80 model 1... another TRS-80 model.

    One was aimed at the home computing market, the other was a "business machine" (with accompanying price tag)
  • So, uh, what was that you were saying about not trying to fake old-school cool???
  • There was no difference between a CoCo and a Model 1?

    uh....

    In some ways, sure... but not so in others. The TRS-80 series (Mod 1, etc) were a different class than the CoCo. No chicklet keyboards on the Mod series, for starters...
  • I can't seem to get at the manual, but I wonder if it's just a terminal program "adjusted" to work with a modified version on Lynx....

    Of course, it's a neat idea, but with what computers are going for today, I wonder what I could reasonably use it for. (Don't believe me, go to ebay and search for "IBM Thin Client") Personally, a web server would be better. It would then be really useful for various embedded applications. I could put one in a robotic lawnmower or my refrigerator. I even have an old children's book lying about that details the building of a robot that interfaces with the C64 - in other words, it's dead easy.

    Oh, and ahem.... "Could you imagine a Beowulf cluster of these?"

  • by tenzig_112 (213387) on Saturday June 02, 2001 @09:33AM (#181863) Homepage
    Sure, it's a little hard to see what you're doing (what with the 128x48 screen on the Model I). But 6.0 rocks! I have to save all of my multi-layered graphics onto audio cassettes, which can be a bit of a pain. It's at least faster than that paper tape drive that came with it.

    Gotta go. I've got to make some hard copies with my snazzy thermal-transfer printer.

    I've gone nuts with Photoshoppery [ridiculopathy.com]

  • Strange enough, I guess that's possible [sourceforge.net]:

    "Some of LNG's key features (unordered)...
    * A simple web server (experimental)"
  • by sparcv9 (253182) on Saturday June 02, 2001 @09:51AM (#181871)
    Here's a link [cmdweb.de] for the SuperCPU the article mentions. For the hyperlink-wary, you can find it at http://www.cmdweb.de/scpu.htm. It plugs into your C64 or C128 and boosts it from 1MHz to a whopping 20 MHz, and lets your Commodore support up to 16MB of RAM.
  • Huh? There are actually people who still have one? What's next? DVD players for the Vic-20, Media editors for the Coco and a Web server for the TRS-80 (mod 1, natch!)????
  • Once the Z-80 Java runtimes are ready on cassette, we'll let you know...
  • You could go to B. Dalton and slam down twelve buks and get a manual which told you everything you needed to know about the C64 to write professional grade applications -- every hardware register (and there were a lot of them for a machine of its era), the entire memory map, every plug and socket pinout, details of the 1541 disk drive interface, and quite a few useful ROM hooks.

    Meanwhile, back in the present, I've probably spent more than a thousand bucks on software and PC documentation over the last 10 years without ever getting anything that resembles a complete description of the hardware.

  • And nobody seems to have interest in assembly language.

    Too true. It's not really that much harder to code a sizeable project in Assembly, if you have a bit of discipline about it. The hardest thing is defining your data structures and sticking to them. You build the "language" as you need it in the form of purpose-built subroutines. I just got finished doing a 12,000 line project for an embedded controller. I socially engineered the manufacturer into giving me a few hooks -- which added about 2 pages to the firmware source code I'm told -- and then supplemented their well-designed but miserably slow BASIC variant with blazingly fast background Assembly. Now this gizmo which can only execute 100 lines or so of BASIC per second is weighing and sorting 150 pieces per minute, doing true weight conversions at 60Hz (the firmware only manages 10Hz due to the use of floating-point math) and doing accurate 60Hz timing which BASIC cannot do.

    As one of the engineers said after seeing the video, "Well, I guess you've been telling us this was possible since 1995."

    This controller uses a 20 MHz 80186. Its replacement introduced last year uses a 40MHz 80386DX, and my code still runs an order of magnitude faster on the old hardware than BASIC code does on the new board. Another thing I told them back in 1995 -- you may spend a lot of time to write software, but you only have to write it once. When you up the CPU specification it increases the cost of every unit you produce.

  • The problem with his line of reasoning is how complex the damn processors are nowadays.

    You miss the point. You are looking at the micro scale; I am looking at a higher level of abstraction -- though not much higher.

    I've looked at quite a bit of object code over the years and I am still looking for this compiler that is anywhere near as efficient as a human -- not at stuff like loading the pipelines, but at stuff like figuring out when to use register vs. memory variables and which registers to use (especially important in x86 architecture). Pipeline loading inefficiency is nothing compared to the fact that you used a 16-bit integer variable and did error checking on the subtract operation when the CX register and LOOP would have done the same thing. It is possible to instruct modern compilers to make very tight code but it's almost as much effort as writing the Assembly yourself and very few people know how to do it (or even know that it can be done, or might be worth doing).

    Most projects don't warrant being done entirely in Assembly -- my project had to because it was piggyback on a proprietary embedded system and there was no OS and no reasonably fast higher level language to draw on. (Still, about 2,000 of those lines are in the controller's miserably slow BASIC; no use coding user interfaces that don't have to be fast anyway, etc.)

    In a more reasonable environment my experience has always been about 80/20, that is 80% of the code in any old high-level language that's available plus 20% really fast assembly, is about as good as 100% assembly. Unfortunately, in Windoze it is a blazing pain in the posterior to use assembly at all.

    Which is unfortunate, because I've found that most projects have a few things that happen so often that not doing them in Assembly is really stupid. The engineers on the device I hacked said they had done some statistical analyses and found a few routines that were called so often they bore looking into. One of them was named EVALUATE_KEYWORD. No duh. You don't code the inner loop of an interpreted language in C++; it's only a page or two of Assembly and that will literally give you an order of magnitude improvement. It also helps if you don't use double-precision floating point math throughout regardless of whether it's necessary.

  • Only 9 comments and the site is already slashdotted.
  • ack? my TRS-80 web server is almost complete!
    now somebody else will complete it first!
    Well, alot of people still have C64s, they were a nice computer.

"Your stupidity, Allen, is simply not up to par." -- Dave Mack (mack@inco.UUCP) "Yours is." -- Allen Gwinn (allen@sulaco.sigma.com), in alt.flame

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