ABug South - at Centre for Computing History, Cambridge August 26-28 2016

threads relating to past classic gaming/computing events
JimRussell
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 7:50 pm

Re: ABug South - at Centre for Computing History, Cambridge August 26-28 2016

Postby JimRussell » Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:36 pm

Enjoyed my first Abug meeting. Thanks to everyone for making me feel welcome and for not laughing at my feeble attempts at BBC BASIC. I had an easy journey home under two hours compared with the five that I had coming. Thanks to Prime for the lesson in soldering surface mount I will try to include some in my next project.

User avatar
hoglet
Posts: 6475
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2012 6:21 pm
Location: Bristol

Re: ABug South - at Centre for Computing History, Cambridge August 26-28 2016

Postby hoglet » Tue Aug 30, 2016 4:21 pm

A big thank you to Jason (jbnbeeb) for organizing this event, and to the Centre for Computing History (and especially Jason Fitzpatrick), for hosting us and allowing us free run of the Museum.

I had a great time chatting to various people, but didn't manage to make much progress on my own projects.

Things I remember doing were:
- a bit of debugging of Return To Eden saving with ICE-T65
- helping Jason (flynnjs) debugging his German Beeb without a schematic (4 broken RAM chips which ICE-T65 was eventually able to pinpoint)
- trying (and failing) to dump some ROMs from an Atom ROM Box (Phill's Wellon VP590 was more successful)
- rummaging through lots of old Atom stuff looking for MIA titles
- eating an excellent meal at the Turkish restraunt
- finding the manual, ROM and Basic Program for Turtle Talk for the Atom
- finally meeting Dominic (dp11) whose been doing lots of the clever optimizations on the Pi Co Pro projects (more to come I hope!)
- trying (and failing) to get some original BeebFlex disks running on the current BBCFLEX6 version of Flex for the 6809 Co Pro
- chatting with acory/George (I think?) about Atom Fpga on Papilio and the Pi Zero as an Atom Video board. He also have some old Atom tapes.
- recapping BigEd's Beeb and upgrading his Co Pro, which worked after Jason (flynnjs) added a decoupling cap.
- getting a sneek preview of Kees's Atom port of Tetris (which will be in the next Atom Software Archive release)

Already looking forward to the next one in Bolton in November

Dave

P.S. Phill, did you manage to copy the TT ROM after we left on Sunday?

User avatar
leenew
Posts: 3356
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:27 pm
Location: Doncaster, Yorkshire

Re: ABug South - at Centre for Computing History, Cambridge August 26-28 2016

Postby leenew » Tue Aug 30, 2016 4:37 pm

Pernod wrote:Sounds like it was a successful weekend. Looking forward to hearing what was accomplished/fixed/dumped/archived etc.

Me too.
It sounds like a lot of good hardware work was done, but I wonder if jbn remembered to get someone to look at the software they have too?? [-o< (he warned me he may not remember #-o )

Lee.

User avatar
kieranhj
Posts: 500
Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2015 10:11 pm
Location: Farnham, Surrey, UK

Re: ABug South - at Centre for Computing History, Cambridge August 26-28 2016

Postby kieranhj » Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:52 pm

I also wanted to say thank you to the Jasons and everyone involved in organising and making the event possible. I really enjoyed my first ABug and will look forward to the next one (that's a reasonable distance away at least - sadly Bolton might be a stretch.)

Being a software guy, I loved seeing all the crazy modded machines outfitted with a host of extras & hardware add-ons I'd never heard of or seen before, smelling the PCB cleaner (Tesco's finest vinegar?), solder and burning caps (aka the smell of paranoia!)

My highlight has to be watching flynnjs casually soldering wires directly onto his motherboard as part of our crazy cooked up scheme to try and get more than 8 colours displayed on the TV output and coming up with the first overclocked Beeb in the process (for about 15 seconds :) )

It was a pleasure to meet the fellow coders that I've been conversing with on here and show off the music disks Simon & I have been working on to anyone that dropped by. Also giving a sneaky peek at my MODE 7 video player - more to come soon I promise.

So not a lot of code written but new friends made. And Kees - I expect to see that Atom port of Thrust next!!

User avatar
flaxcottage
Posts: 2772
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:46 pm
Location: Derbyshire

Re: ABug South - at Centre for Computing History, Cambridge August 26-28 2016

Postby flaxcottage » Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:25 pm

leenew wrote:
Pernod wrote:Sounds like it was a successful weekend. Looking forward to hearing what was accomplished/fixed/dumped/archived etc.

Me too.
It sounds like a lot of good hardware work was done, but I wonder if jbn remembered to get someone to look at the software they have too?? [-o< (he warned me he may not remember #-o )

Lee.


Managed to archive all but one of their Longman titles. :D :D
- John

Currently running Level 4 Econet with BBC B, BBC B+ 128K, Master 128K, 4Mb A3000, 4Mb A3020, 4Mb A4000, 4Mb A5000 dual FDD; UK101; HP41CX setup; Psion 3a, 3mx and 5mx; Z88; TI-58c, TI-59 and printer, HP-16C programmer's calculator

User avatar
leenew
Posts: 3356
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:27 pm
Location: Doncaster, Yorkshire

Re: ABug South - at Centre for Computing History, Cambridge August 26-28 2016

Postby leenew » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:18 am

Good going John!
If I can get to the next one, I think it will be solely for archiving work.
It does seem to get overlooked in the midst of all the hackery, which is understandable. Archiving is a bit of a lonesome task...
Still not heard back from jbn yet so maybe someone else had a look at the list I sent? [-o<
Lee.

User avatar
BigEd
Posts: 1437
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:24 am
Location: West
Contact:

Re: ABug South - at Centre for Computing History, Cambridge August 26-28 2016

Postby BigEd » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:32 am

hoglet wrote:Things I remember doing were...

You've forgotten the emergency removal of the ARM Eval System copro, shortly after it went pop and I said "what was that noise"?! You showed more presence of mind than I did, that's for sure...

User avatar
BigEd
Posts: 1437
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:24 am
Location: West
Contact:

Re: ABug South - at Centre for Computing History, Cambridge August 26-28 2016

Postby BigEd » Wed Aug 31, 2016 10:07 am

Here are my photos from the event (and from CCH more generally)
Image
https://plus.google.com/u/0/10704982391 ... 4ineRC2hv1
and these are more specifically of the Acorn Cambridge Workstation (32016 system):
Image
https://plus.google.com/u/0/10704982391 ... q9HbHNNh3N

User avatar
jgharston
Posts: 2727
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:22 am
Location: Whitby/Sheffield

Re: ABug South - at Centre for Computing History, Cambridge August 26-28 2016

Postby jgharston » Thu Sep 01, 2016 10:30 pm

While I couldn't make it, the time wasn't wasted, I finally managed to work out how to overlay two images in PHP, so my Whitby Yards maps generated with this BBC BASIC program can be overlaid like this.

Code: Select all

$ bbcbasic
PDP11 BBC BASIC IV Version 0.25
(C) Copyright J.G.Harston 1989,2005-2015
>_

User avatar
flibble
Posts: 570
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:29 am
Contact:

Re: ABug South - at Centre for Computing History, Cambridge August 26-28 2016

Postby flibble » Thu Sep 01, 2016 11:36 pm

I spent most of the weekend getting further with RISC iX. Figured out how to make multiuser mode work, hi res mono screen modes and networking (well almost, I can ping the machine one along, but no routing yet). I also dropped off a big pile of scanning and picked up some more (thankfully smaller pile).

User avatar
flibble
Posts: 570
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:29 am
Contact:

Re: ABug South - at Centre for Computing History, Cambridge August 26-28 2016

Postby flibble » Fri Sep 02, 2016 6:31 pm

flibble wrote:networking (well almost, I can ping the machine one along, but no routing yet).


one 'route add net default 192.168.1.1 1' later :)

IMG_20160902_181341.jpg

User avatar
IanS
Posts: 466
Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:02 pm

Re: ABug South - at Centre for Computing History, Cambridge August 26-28 2016

Postby IanS » Fri Sep 02, 2016 7:40 pm

flibble wrote:
flibble wrote:networking (well almost, I can ping the machine one along, but no routing yet).


one 'route add net default 192.168.1.1 1' later :)


Awesome, I just liked your tweet which was retweeted by the museum.

My R140 is still a bit hit and miss, I doesn't always boot into RiscIX. Must try it on the 540 at some point.

User avatar
tricky
Posts: 1876
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:25 am
Contact:

Re: ABug South - at Centre for Computing History, Cambridge August 26-28 2016

Postby tricky » Fri Sep 02, 2016 8:16 pm

Here are some of my photos, sorry they aren't that great.
Are we allowed to post the "behind the scenes" ones?

I don't know who won the family Frogger challenge.
family_frogger_challenge.jpg

I guess tapes do have a use after they have been archived.
wall_of_tapes.jpg

I had one of these, it was just before I got an AtariST, but mine had built in dual 8" floppies!
olivette_bcs_3030.jpg

I guess someone was a Dizzy fan.
dizzy_oliver_twins.jpg

User avatar
jbnbeeb
Posts: 363
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:16 pm

Re: ABug South - at Centre for Computing History, Cambridge August 26-28 2016

Postby jbnbeeb » Sat Sep 03, 2016 11:58 am

Sorry I've been a bit quiet.

Thanks to everyone who came along! I did do a write up on the BH monday.. but I did it direct in to the form on the forum. I spent over an hr typing it up , posted and lost all my text as the session had timed out :(

I'll try to do a re-write of it over this weekend ...

The museum seem up for doing another one in March..I'll let you know when I know more...
I'm going to ..
ABUG North Halifax June 10-12
Image

User avatar
jbnbeeb
Posts: 363
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:16 pm

Re: ABug South - at Centre for Computing History, Cambridge August 26-28 2016

Postby jbnbeeb » Sun Sep 04, 2016 9:56 am

Where do I begin..from when I arrived I suppose.

I arrived in some blazing sun, grateful for having had the aircon recently repaired in my aging but still trusty Ford Ka :)
It was around 2, I wandered through and saw that Phil M, Peter and Bryan were already set up. Phil M had arrived at 3am.. a bit early then!

Peter and Bryan worked prodigiously throughout the weekend to bring RiscIX to life, alongside looking at various poorly Risc PCs and A4s from the museum.

Initially, I set up my Master and laptop as well as new vital piece of kit: a large glowing PacMan ghost :) I then proceeded to fret about table space. More people started to drift in.. Phill HS, Jason F, Simon and Robert, all with interesting kit in various quantities.

At first, we had 12 tables at our disposal. I was being a little zealous in ensuring people had 1/2 a table apiece, apart from two dedicated tables for soldering workstations which were at the back of the room. Jim then arrived with his very impressive Control Universal set up which took up a whole desk..so I soon thought we'd have to be a bit more flexible on the space front :) Speaking with Jason Fitzpatrick, it was soon established that we could add two temporary tables, and clear a back row of tables (that had musuem Archimedes on them). With these tables in place, there was *just* enough room for all of us on the Saturday, our busiest day.


I think there were about 12 "Stardotters" on the Friday, alongside 4 or 5 museum staff. After everyone had set up, we started to get a bit hungry. Simon valiantly took on the task of acquiring pizza orders from 17 famished blokes, whilst I embarked on a semi-successful drinks run to the local supermarket. I didn't have a pound coin for the trolleys, and after asking multiple people for a coin in exchange for 2 50ps, I gave up and got a basket. I didn't have quite enough space or strength for all the drinks orders but did walk away with 3 bags of ice, a dozen bottles of Adnams and soft drinks. After some miscalculation from the pizza delivery place, they gave us a discount for 17 pizzas that was cheaper than their standard offer..large pizzas cheaper than their small ones :) I'm not sure about everyone else, but I took it as a mission to eat all of it :)


I think most of us lasted til 11.. at which point Kees and Wim arrived at the museum! Jason Fitzpatrick gave them a quick whirlwind tour of the museum including all the toys in the attic. We sat and chatted for a bit and then called it a night around 12... though Jason F stayed behind. I wonder if he spent all night there?

We had the most people along on the Saturday. An aircon unit had been added to the two large fans in an attempt to cool a room full of 30 guys + twice as many computers and monitors all on. It was still roasting, on the hottest weekend of the year. I've never seen so many Acorn projects in one room. Here I'll try to list all the ones I remember. There were doubtless some that I'll miss as I didn't get the chance to find out about all of them.

Kieran, a newcomer to ABUG meetings blew us all away with an impressive Mode 7 demo (which I'll let him tell us more about when he's ready) and a cool music tracker demo which can play music files encoded in (I think) VGM format. This format drives the Beeb soundchip directly rather than via the OS/Envelope, and so sounds very different from "typical" Beeb music on games etc. I thnk many of the tunes were ported from the Sega Master console which has the same sound chip as the Beeb. On the Sunday, he also worked with Jason F to create multiple colours in a Mode 0 screen via a TV signal. This exploited the colour carrier signal for TV output.. in ways that I almost understood at the time..!

Robert (lazarusr) worked on his Yamaha OPL2 soundchip-hooked-to-Beeb project throughout the weekend. This was hooked up to some funky PC speakers, from which music would be emitted sporadically.. often melodic, but sometimes rather dissonant as Robert debugged his code! He also brought along a very cool Apple I recreation project. The Apple I was quite a primitive beast. Apparently, for both the recreation and the original, you had to supply your own power supply and keyboard. The "OS" was 256 bytes long, and the manual appeared to be 6 sheets of A4..

Jason F worked on multiple things from the minute he set up on Friday to close of Sunday.. I'm not sure I caught all of it, but I know he fixed a German Beeb that he found on a car boot, a museum Econet Beeb and fixed a couple of Matchbox copros which a couple of Beeb Bs were not happy with. He also showed me a cool Econet over USB circuit for which I believe PC side software is still being developed. He envisioned Econet over USB..I think I then immediately dreamt of Beebs on the internet running a multi user game :) ..

Jason also solved the mystery of my weird Master video issue. My Master won't display three of Tricky's games properly. I wanted to know if my Master was faulty - and if so what was faulty so I could replace it. Jason hooked up a very impressive logical analyser to the 6845 in the Master and proceeded to twiddle knobs and switches. I almost understood what he was doing :) Essentially trying to catch any errant behaviour in the chip. Initially, we thought this would become apparent as the Master displayed corrupt video in the last character row-and-a-bit on Tricky's excellent Frogger game. Jason concluded that the 6845 was actually operating "in spec".. but surmised that there were different manufacturers for the 6845 and that mine had one that had a slightly different spec to most. I scanned the room... there were a lot of Masters :) So on the sunday I had people pop their lids to peek inside. DaveM (Arcadian) had one with a VLSI 6845 like mine..whereas most appeared to have Hitachi 6845s. Sure enough, when Frogger was loaded on Arcadian's machine, the exact same video issue occurred.. and was fine on Hitachi 6845 Masters. Another mystery solved by Jason F :) Thanks for that :)


Jon (Flaxcottage) came along on Saturday and proceeded to archive a box full of education titles from the museum. He also stepped outside his usual remit and archived a bunch of tapes. It had been a while, but I can never forget the dulcet tones of Beeb 1200 baud tape tones! :) I believe Dave (hoglet) also archived some Atom tapes too.

(..and Leenew.. this is where I confess that I didn't get around to following up your archive requests :oops: :cry: :( .. To be honest, I wasn't enthused because it was very hot in the attic.. and so it wouldn't have been fun rummaging in boxes.. there's always next time, more of which later..)

Pau1ie came along and spent a solid day further developnig the wonderful bbcmicro.co.uk site. I admire his concentration levels. I think I managed 6 lines of code over 3 days.

DaveM arrived with a car absolutely stuffed with Acorn goodies. He kindly donated a few boxfuls to the museum, while giving/trading other bits and pieces to all and sundry. On the Sunday, people were seen gathered around his car, muttering mysteriously in hushed and reverent tones whilst passing around 35 year old parts of computers and software which may or may not have been in working order...His Master had a cool disk drive mod on the side like an Amiga.. but the sideways RAM was up the spout..so Dave may be looking for another Master? Not sure.

Kees bowled me over with a demo of his new Atomic Tetris. This was very cool, looking exactly like the GameBoy original. He derived it from a project that someone has blogged about online to do Tetris from scratch (graphics aside) on the C64..and squeeze it in to 4k. Kees also took the time out to take a look at my game and pass on some good advice on a sprite routine that I've been wrestling with for a while.

Tricky arrived on the Saturday. Knowing that members of the public would be passing by, I wanted to ensure that Tricky Gaming was in an accessable part of the room. This is where we made good use of the temporary tables in the middle of the room so that people could easily get to several Beebs and play Tricky's games. Simon also had his Master set up on this row to run impromptu gaming and high score sessions.

Simon was on hand throughout the weekend to help anyone in any way he could. A great moment was when I retired teacher arrived at the event with his old Beeb that looked a bit sorry for itself. I think it had spent most of it's life in a dusty old loft. Simon promptly found a spare fragment of table space and re-capped the PSU. On firing it up, things got interesting as he had a ROM (INSTAT) that was an educational stats package. Simon then went ahead and dumped the rom..I think by a piece of code that Tricky wrote in 5 minutes off the top of his head!

Jim's Control Universal set up was quite something - he had developed his own 6309 copro with built in SD card on the parasite side so as to be able to read PL9 code speedily via the Flex OS. He would then transfer this code (I think) on the SD card to the Control Universal set up, which could either operate as a copro or independently. I may have got some of this wrong, but hopefully we'll see more from Jim soon.

Paul arrived on saturday; he had a BBC TV (Arch based) genlock/video system with him, but I'm not sure he set it up. I do know he helped the museum by grabbing loads of old Arches and Risc PCs to remove the batteries and save them from battery-corrosion death.

BigEd came ARMed with an ARM co pro as well as what looked like his famed 680516 daughterboards - though I'm not sure we saw them in action. I know that he ran some benchmark tests on the Sunday.

I know there was lots of other work and projects on the go.. but I didn't get chance to find out about them, I can see that others have posted what they were up to so hopefully it's all here on the thread.

Saturday was an amazing day- the whole room was alive with chatter and energy as people enthused about their projects or simply shot the breeze about all things Acorn. We rounded off the evening with a mostly-successful visit to a Turkish restaurant. There was a bit of a fail for those that didn't like Turkish..they had promised me they would do fast-food type meals, but on the night they said "no" as their other chef who did all this was on holiday. Hmm. But otherwise, 24 peeps were fed and watered in their "garden" which I would say was a porch facing off in to their car park :) Anyway, we headed back and again I think many of us kept going til around mid night.

Sunday morning was a different vibe. We all appeared to be pretty focussed and were certainly quieter. I think we were all spending time on projects that we'd promised ourselves we'd work on before arriving at the event :) Morning drifed in to afternoon, whereupon things got more animated for a while, and more members of the public were exposed to the delights of Tricky gaming and some spontaneous gabbling from yours truly as I attempted to get non-techie types excited about all our wondrous work on 30+ yr old amazing computers.

From mid afternoon, people slowly started to drift away, and I started to help the museum staff put their own Beebs back to reinstate their classroom of the 80s. I always lament the end of these events . It's such an escape from RL (real life); like a kid at Christmas I never really want it to end :) But all good things do.. and this was no exception.

Thanks so much to everyone who came along and made this such a great meet up. And of course thankyou to Jason Fitzpatrick of the museum who was so flexible and keen to accommodate us all.

Arcadian and Jason F had a chat on the Sunday, the outcome of which was a declaration of intent to host another ABUG meetup in March 2017. It may well be part of an overarching "Acorn World" event, where all the Acorn kit will be on a special display to the public. There was also talk of inviting some Acorn luminaries to this - possibly giving talks and the like. I'm pretty excited by this and will definitely be involved in getting this together. I'll keep you all posted when I learn more..

Thankyou for reading.. I'll stop rambling now!

Cheers,
Jason
I'm going to ..
ABUG North Halifax June 10-12
Image

User avatar
roland
Posts: 2782
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:29 pm
Location: Born (NL)
Contact:

Re: ABug South - at Centre for Computing History, Cambridge August 26-28 2016

Postby roland » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:13 am

Thank you for this comprehensive report. It's a pleasure reading it.
256K + 6502 Inside
MAN WOMAN :shock:

User avatar
davidb
Posts: 1871
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2007 10:11 pm
Contact:

Re: ABug South - at Centre for Computing History, Cambridge August 26-28 2016

Postby davidb » Sun Sep 04, 2016 11:03 am

Thanks for your re-write-up, Jason. :) It sounds like much was achieved in a short time. :D

User avatar
richardtoohey
Posts: 3375
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:13 am
Location: Tauranga, New Zealand

Re: ABug South - at Centre for Computing History, Cambridge August 26-28 2016

Postby richardtoohey » Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:19 am

What they said ^^^^ =D> :D

Couple of number typos I think - 6309 should be 6809, 680516 should be 65816.

I could almost smell the sweat and pizzas from the write-up. :-& :wink:

User avatar
daveejhitchins
Posts: 3662
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:23 pm
Location: Newton Aycliffe, County Durham

Re: ABug South - at Centre for Computing History, Cambridge August 26-28 2016

Postby daveejhitchins » Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:02 am

I'll second third fo . . . As they all said, above - Almost like being there - Next year [-o<

So a big thank you, from me, to all who have posted images and written-up on all the goings on throughout the weekend.

Dave H :D
Parts: UM6502CE, GAL22V10D, GAL16V8D, AS6C62256A, TC514400AZ, WD1772, R6522, TMS27C512, AT28C256
Products: ARA II, ABR, ATI, AP6, MGC, AP5 . . .
For a price list, contact me at: Retro Hardware AT dave ej hitchins DOT plus DOT com


Return to “past events & exhibitions”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests