[Coco] Any news on the so called CoCo4 or Next CoCo project that Bjork was heading?
fwp at deepthought.com
Thu Oct 21 16:22:45 EDT 2010
I agree with Aaron about using the fpga board as the basis for a "coco4" instead
of a pc running an emulator. I just barely got the work done by Gary working last
and as Aaron pointed out it's truly amazing!! I've still got the drivewire floppies
to work out but will be working on that this evening. I know that the fpga code is still
in alpha with a few things missing but I did more basic programming on it last night
then I've ever done with vcc or mess!! Aside from the keyboard and missing joysticks
it felt like a coco. Something I never got with vcc or mess!!
the other Frank
On Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 02:55:48PM -0400, Aaron Wolfe wrote:
> Personally, I see the FPGA solution the Gary Becker has created as the
> best "CoCo 4" experience available.
> It's hard to describe how amazing it is to use. I am not one to buy
> into the "user experience" hype normally, but using the CoCo3FPGA on
> and Altera DE1 feels "real". It feels like a real CoCo in a way that
> no emulator ever has to me.
> It turns on and offers the OK prompt instantly, just like a real CoCo.
> It resets instantly with the push of a button, just like a real CoCo.
> And.. there is more to it than just that... hard to put into words.
> One example I can offer is that although I've had emulators running on
> my PC for some years, I never bothered to mess around in BASIC like I
> did as a kid. The very first time (and several times since) I turned
> on the CoCo3FPGA, I was just draw to it.. started writing little BASIC
> programs and experimenting, remembering the stuff I'd done as a kid.
> Why use a general purpose PC, with all the extra overhead and
> configuration needed for even the simplest emulator only
> configuration, when FPGA hardware can be put together more cheaply and
> can provide a better CoCo experience. I am not a hardware guy, but it
> would seem creating adapters for connecting real coco peripherals to
> an FPGA board would be simpler than some PCI or USB solution as well.
> On Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 1:51 PM, Frank Swygert <farna at att.net> wrote:
> > The point of emulating a mythical machine in software is that it can be done
> > quickly and cheaply. Ideally the emulation would be pared down into a total
> > OS/emulator merged together. Just boot it straight into the emulator without
> > all the extra things the OS needs to run other programs. With Linux that
> > should be easy, but something like VCC or the DOS emulator would be needed.
> > A port of either to Linux would be fantastic! Of course it might be just as
> > easy to pare down MESS into just a CoCo emulator, then customize something
> > like DSL or Puppy to run just that.
> > Ideally I'd think the best solution for the hardware would be to optimize
> > the system for a particular small board computer. One of the ITC boards, for
> > instance. Something readily available and low cost, and small. I've seen a
> > VIA ITC board mounted in a Commodore 64 case, "upgrading" the Commie. Some
> > have mentioned keeping the CoCo keyboard, but we've had adapters to get away
> > from that for a long time! Mount a mini USB keyboard on the CoCo case if you
> > must have the keyboard on the case.
> > The second step might be a card to allow legacy hardware to be attached, but
> > I think that's a moot point (this was "step two" of Bjork's project -- a
> > card with cartridge, joystick, and I think another legacy port or two). Much
> > of the old hardware is on its last leg or unobtainable. It's way to easy to
> > emulate it in such a way that it can even be improved on. I can almost see a
> > use for 5.25" floppy connectivity, but almost everything ever on floppies is
> > now available in DSK files or some other downloadable file format. Plus the
> > RS drives can be connected to a standard floppy controller already on the
> > MB... at least some will still work with 360K drives, but that might be hard
> > to come by. 1.2MB drives will generally read 160-360K disks, but the
> > controller might not work with the smaller capacity drives... I don't think
> > they do anymore. Making 3.5" drives work should be easy enough though. The
> > lack of a 5.25" drive shouldn't be more than a nuisance for a few people.
> > USB thumb drive or SD card support would be more important.
> > What would REALLY be needed is a way to connect the machine to the real
> > world. The CoCo has always been a good experimenter's machine because it
> > could be connected to various things through the joystick and cartridge
> > ports. I don't see a real need for connecting to legacy devices of that
> > type, but I CAN see a need for easy to program I/O. Something simpler than
> > the PCI card slot. Maybe a card with a cable and legacy CoCo connector on
> > it, but even those are hard to find. I still think that reprogramming the
> > parallel printer port to be accessible as a PIA or something similar (maybe
> > just add some special commands to "DECB4" or whatever, and a driver for
> > OS-9). I looked at it before, and don't think there are enough lines to
> > reprogram the PP to emulate a legacy cartridge port. The PP IS programmable
> > on a PC though, and it has been used for different I/O in the past.
> > -----------------
> > From: Mark McDougall <msmcdoug at iinet.net.au>
> > Sent: Thu, 21 Oct 2010 04:38:51 -0000 (UTC)
> > Subject: Re: [Coco] Any news on the so called CoCo4 or NextCoCo
> > projectthatBjork was heading?
> >> > But I also have a netbook thanks to my job, and that works just fine
> >> > as an emulator box, and weighs a lot less than a CoCo. So I would
> >> > agree that 'coco 4' hardware might be kind of silly.
> > On the contrary, my view is that 'Coco 4 Software' is kind of silly.
> > Personally, I really don't see the point; either faithfully emulate the Coco
> > in software, or use a modern PC. What's the point of 'emulating' a mythical
> > machine in software?
> > OTOH, having 'Coco 4 Hardware' makes a lot more sense. And what I mean by
> > that, is fully-compatible hardware that integrates not only with legacy
> > peripherals (cartridges, floppies etc) but also with more modern
> > peripherals, like SD card, USB joysticks, etc. You get the *full* legacy
> > experience (ideally it would be a Coco mobo replacement), with the benefit
> > of modern convenience where desired. A bit like "pimping" your Coco with an
> > unlimited credit account at Cloud9!
> > There's also the opportunity to enhance the hardware as well, say, more
> > colours, custom palette etc. But this is not the primary point of the
> > exercise, just stuff that is done "because you can". And because
> > programmable logic makes it that much easier.
> > --
> > Frank Swygert
> > Publisher, "American Motors Cars"
> > Magazine (AMC)
> > For all AMC enthusiasts
> > http://www.amc-mag.com
> > (free download available!)
> > --
> > Coco mailing list
> > Coco at maltedmedia.com
> > http://five.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/coco
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