• Making a demo for NES — HEOHdemo

      There is a lengthy history of computer arts festivals, also known as demo parties, held in Russia over the last quarter century. For decades, once in a while people from all over the country gather together to compete in their ingenuity at getting what was once deemed impossible out of the old or new computer hardware and mere bytes of code. A few leading annual events has been established in the early years. One of them, creatively named CAFe (an acronym for Computer Art FEstival), was held in Kazan from 1999 to 2003. It went under the radar since, making the way for the everlasting Chaos Constructions (1999 — now) and DiHalt (2005 — now). After so long hiatus, the last year CAFe made a loud comeback, returning in full glory — at least by the number of prods released, if not in the scale of the event itself. Presentation of the compo entries went far into the night, with the last demos being shown at 6 AM to the popping eyes of the few hardy ones. There was my demo, too, and this is the story of its making.

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    • Making a demo for an old phone — AONDEMO

        I wanted to make a demo ever since I saw the classic Polish mega demo Lyra II for first time in 1997. I also wanted to do something for the largest Russian demo party Chaos Constructions for a long while, but have never gotten around that, being occupied with other duties. Finally, in 2018 the time has come, and I fulfilled both desires at once, Van Damm's double impact style — made a demo called AONDEMO that entered ZX Spectrum 640K Demo compo at Chaos Constructions.


        I bet the red thing you've just seen does not look much a Spectrum to you. Here's the story.

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      • A Brief History of Video Conferencing: From the Beginning to Full Commercial Use

          A Brief History of Video Conferencing

          Video conferencing systems, so familiar to us today, have come a long way — more than a hundred years passed from fantastic ideas inspired by belief in unstoppable technical progress to the first mass implementation of video conferencing systems. A lot of dramatic events have come along the way. The way to success wasn’t easy at all.
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        • The Origins of Startup Culture: How the Early Success Stories Shaped the Modern State of the Tech Industry

            In the late 1930s, two Stanford students, William Hewlett and David Packard, were inspired by their professor’s plea to turn the Bay Area into the national capital of high tech. Operating out of the cheapest property they could find — a garage in suburban Palo Alto, they built their first commercial product, the HP200A oscillator. Now a private museum and a California Historic Landmark, this place is a living monument, commemorating the birth of the Silicon Valley startup culture.

            This event preceded the similar and widely publicized success stories of Microsoft and Apple by more than 30 years. But it nonetheless perfectly defines the startup culture as we know it today. How come?

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          • The IBM 5150. Where the monopoly started



              Нажмите здесь, чтобы прочитать русскоязычную версию

              Every old hardware enthusiast has a fetish. In the eastern Europe it's often a clone of Sinclair ZX Spectrum, as they were extremely popular there, as well as in Britain and Spain though. Unfortunately, ZX Spectrum left very little legacy. IBM PC 5150 is a different beast. Many love this computer for its heritage. For it has eventually became an ultimate PC. The PC. But although the history of this computer is very well known, surprisingly enough not many people know what was under the bonnet of the very first IBM PC.
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            • My Pascal compiler and Polish contemporary art

                Origins


                Several years ago I wrote a Pascal compiler. The motivation was simple: as a teenager, I had learnt from my first programming textbooks that a compiler is a very sophisticated thing. This claim eventually became a challenge and required to be tested by experience.

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                ha.art.pl

                First, a simplistic PL/0 compiler came into being, and later an almost fully-functional Pascal compiler for MS-DOS has grown from it. My source of inspiration was the Compiler Construction book by Niklaus Wirth, the inventor of the Pascal language. I don't care if Wirth's views are now considered obsolete and have no direct connections to the IT mainstream, or if the compiler design fashion has changed. It is enough to know that his techniques are still simple, elegant, and — last but not least — bring much fun, since it is more appealing to parse a program source with a handwritten recursive descent parser and generate the machine code, rather than to call yaccs, bisons and all their descendants.

                My compiler's fate was not so trivial. It has lived two lives: the first one in my own hands, and the second in the hands of computer antiquarians from Poland.
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              • PC Speaker To Eleven

                  Known now as a «motherboard speaker», or just «beeper», PC Speaker has been introduced in 1981 along with the first personal IBM computer. Being a successor of the big serious computers for serious business, it has been designed to produce very basic system beeps, so it never really had a chance to shine bright as a music device in numerous entertainment programs of the emerging home market. Overshadowed by much more advanced sound chips of popular home game systems, quickly replaced with powerful sound cards, it mostly served as a fallback option, playing severely downgraded content of better sound hardware.

                  «System Beeps» is a music album in shape of an MS-DOS program that features original music composed for PC Speaker using the same basic old techniques like ones found in classic PC games. It follows the usual retro computing demoscene formula — take something rusty and obsolete, and push it to eleven — and attempts to reveal the long hidden potential of this humble little sound device. You can hear it in action and form an opinion on how successful this attempt was at Bandcamp, or in the video below. The following article is an in-depth overview of the original PC Speaker capabilities and making of the project, for those who would like to know more.

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                • Understanding the POCSAG paging protocol

                    Long time ago, when a mobile phone costed about 2000$ and one minute of voice call was 50 cents, pagers were really popular. Later cellular phones became cheaper, calls and SMS prices became lower, and finally pagers mostly disappeared.


                    For people, who owned a pager before, and want to know how it works, this article will be useful.
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                  • 286 and the network

                    • Translation
                    Author of the original post in Russian: old_gamer

                    image

                    I'm a ragman. I have a closet full of old hardware. From Boolean logic microchips in DIP-cases to Voodoo5. Of course, there's no practical value in all of this, but some people enjoy messing with old hardware. If you are one of them, I invite you under the cut, where I will tell you how the computer based on AMD 286 processor worked with a modern network, and what came out of it.
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