Trojan Room Coffee Pot

Arc/RPCs, peripherals, RISCOS operating system & ARM kit eg GP2x, BeagleBoard
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paulv
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Trojan Room Coffee Pot

Postby paulv » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:21 pm

Has anyone ever had a go at recreating the Trojan Room Coffee Pot using original Arc hardware since the original was taken offline in 2001? I fancy having a crack at doing it after watching the Computerphile video about it earlier today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4PX8vksBFU

We all know that using modern tech to do this is trivial, there are webcams everywhere but using an Archimedes to do it would still remain a bit of a fun challenge I reckon and it'd be cool to show how the technology worked BITD.

I've got a really old digitiser card but it's an Arthur/RISC OS 2 era hardware/software solution so I wouldn't be able to do the networking without a bit more fun using Econet to transfer the file from one Arc to another before then making it available on the web. I'd rather do it with a one machine solution like the original if I can.

To that end, I've just gone and bought the Watford Electronics Digitiser that was on ebay as the software for it appears to be available on the CfCH Chris's Acorns archive and although the Lingenuity branded Wild Vision digitiser (also on ebay) looks tempting, I can't find any software for it under either brand name when I search.

Paul

ajw99uk
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Re: Trojan Room Coffee Pot

Postby ajw99uk » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:34 pm

Computer Concepts sold WV stuff so maybe CC-branded s/w would work? That card on Ebay looks the same as my CC Scanlight Video256, can't remember where I found related apps, but apparently the video is the same as the Greyhawk
http://chrisacorns.computinghistory.org ... yHawk.html

I had not known that Lingenuity produced WV kit, was only aware of their SCSI stuff.
Running RISCOS: A5000, A540, R140, RiscPC, RPi B
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crj
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Re: Trojan Room Coffee Pot

Postby crj » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:43 pm

Quentin's still in circulation so anyone sufficiently motivated can ask him.

I heard the details of the coffee pot in the early nineties and my recollection may be flawed, but I think that when the Wikipedia article refers to "a video capture card" they're hiding some of the baroque horror of what happened. I believe the camera was attached to a rack-mounted piece of custom hardware for Project Pandora: a very early prototype multimedia system built around a pre-standardisation ATM-over-fibre network. Pandora boxes were genlocked wedges that sat between (both physically and electronically) a RISCiX box and its monitor, superimposing images and video into transparent panels in the X server's display. (VIDC10 supported transparency; so far as I'm aware, Pandora was the only use.)

Pandora was ground-breaking. It was also very nearly floor-breaking. Andy Hopper tells the tale of trying to order hard drives by the kilo, rather than the megabyte or pound sterling: cost was much less important than getting as much storage as the room could support.

I'm not clear how much of the Pandora edifice ended up in the path from camera to XCoffee.

ajw99uk
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Re: Trojan Room Coffee Pot

Postby ajw99uk » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:05 pm

Quentin's article "Convenience the mother of invention" mentions a VME computer but not Arcs or RISCiX, but it's not a detailed analysis.

Pandora sounds most intriguing!

Paul - are you looking at the scanner/digitiser or "video digitiser colour adapter"? Former = Scanlight Video256, latter might run with Hawk software from http://chrisacorns.computinghistory.org ... 9MkII.html
Last edited by ajw99uk on Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
Running RISCOS: A5000, A540, R140, RiscPC, RPi B
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IanS
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Re: Trojan Room Coffee Pot

Postby IanS » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:38 pm

Watch the Extra bits video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZ1EddSnwdc

Explains how it got moved from the unreliable VME kit, to an Arc.

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paulv
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Re: Trojan Room Coffee Pot

Postby paulv » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:55 pm

ajw99uk wrote:Paul - are you looking at the scanner/digitiser or "video digitiser colour adapter"? Former = Scanlight Video256, latter might run with Hawk software from http://chrisacorns.computinghistory.org ... 9MkII.html


I was looking at the video digitiser colour adapter... It kind of looks like the other Wild Vision cards (unsurprisingly) but it's the only one I've seen that has a video out and I wasn't prepared to buy it based on a "might work" when I know that the WE digitiser will work as long as the hardware is sound. It's all about reducing the risk of failure ;)

Paul

ajw99uk
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Re: Trojan Room Coffee Pot

Postby ajw99uk » Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:38 am

paulv wrote: looking at the video digitiser colour adapter... It kind of looks like the other Wild Vision cards (unsurprisingly) but it's the only one I've seen that has a video out.

Fair point - and I now have a faint bell ringing that this adapter goes with a greyscale digitiser to produce colour. So the signal passes through the in/out of this podule to the in of the other. I had presumed a Hawk but on looking into this find they were already colour so perhaps GreyHawk - no mention however of a colour adapter for that in its brief appearances in Archive.

EDIT: Hawk V9 was colour but it seems there was a V8 as per viewtopic.php?t=2506&start=1350#p101948. Perhaps this adapter works as a companion to V8 (or V7 ...)
Running RISCOS: A5000, A540, R140, RiscPC, RPi B
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SteveBagley
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Re: Trojan Room Coffee Pot

Postby SteveBagley » Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:08 pm

paulv wrote:I was looking at the video digitiser colour adapter... It kind of looks like the other Wild Vision cards (unsurprisingly) but it's the only one I've seen that has a video out and I wasn't prepared to buy it based on a "might work" when I know that the WE digitiser will work as long as the hardware is sound. It's all about reducing the risk of failure ;)


That sounds like the one we had in one of the machines when I wasat school. If I remember right, there was a disk that came with it that had software to drive it and the Watford Digitiser to grab colour images (in three passes iirc).

It also had a module on board with various SWIs you could call to select what output went to the Watford Digitiser however, I remember failing to right my own software to drive it (before we found what had happened to the actually software!).

Steve

ajw99uk
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Re: Trojan Room Coffee Pot

Postby ajw99uk » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:42 am

IanS wrote:Watch the Extra bits video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZ1EddSnwdc

Explains how it got moved from the unreliable VME kit, to an Arc.

The transition is mentioned in the first video but I didn't hear any more details of how the Arch was set up in Extra Bits.
I liked the casual reference to "our own operating system" for the VME boards, but no doubt almost inevitable if most of the hardware was custom-built.
Running RISCOS: A5000, A540, R140, RiscPC, RPi B
Running *nix: SGI Fuel & Indigo2, RPi2, x86, amd64, RiscPC, A540, R140


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