[Coco] New CoCo Ideas

David Gacke dgacke at ektarion.com
Tue Jun 8 18:30:48 EDT 2004

Hi All,

I've been thinking about all this building new CoCo equipment that is
being discussed off and on for awhile now, and I really agree with some
of the points mentioned that make the CoCo stand out from the rest.

The things that I think make the CoCo unique are:

1. The simplicity of operation - You turn it on, it works!

2. It's a great experimentation platform. It's good for building things
and attaching them to the system bus with great ease.

3. It had for its day an excellent version of BASIC built in. Whether
you like Microsoft or not, you have admit this point. It was far
superior to any other platform of the time's version. 

4. It had a great CPU for its time as well. The instruction set was very
powerful compared to similar 8 bit machines.

5. Its disk drives were very fast, as fast as the Atari's and WAY faster
than the Commodore 64's.

I'm sure there are other true features to its credit, but these are the
ones that really stand out for me. I was never an OS-9 user really.
RS-DOS worked fine for what I needed. I just wanted to save files and
write games at the time. I didn't need multithreading or multitasking,

There were many things that it didn't excel at also. It had simplistic
sound output, a lousy dac at a time when other 8 bitters had multi-voice
sound. It had no hardware assisted blitter, which is a mixed blessing.
It's simpler to program when all you need is a static image and more
complicated when you want to have multiple simultaneous objects flying
around the screen.

Anyway, with all this said, I've been toying around with making a small
hardware platform that keeps these key things in mind but making it with
a modern CPU like an ARM/Thumb and maybe emulating in one form or other
(hardware or software) the old features of the CoCo to maintain backward
compatibility. In addition throw on more modern, but still simple,
system interfacing features like I2C or SPI, in addition to a PIO port
in one form or other. Also add a proper VGA port and keyboard port. Also
add USB as an option for interfacing.

This way it would be an OS agnostic platform which would boot to
SOMETHING instantaneously, but if you wanted to run a true OS like Linux
or OS-9 on it, you could.

Finally, to be honest, the biggest thing I'm nostalgic for in the day of
modern computers is "Instant On" I hate waiting for Windows to load on
my Windows box, and KDE to load on my Linux box. Also, before people say
"ya, but you could use xxx... and it would boot faster," The CoCo was on
in about 1 second after you hit the power switch. That is what I miss.

Anyway, sorry for the ramblings. Just some scattered thoughts about the

I'd love to hear what you all think about what makes the CoCo unique to

Dave Gacke

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