Bit of fun - One change only

on-topic Acorn-related news and discussions not covered by the other forums
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AndyF
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by AndyF » Thu Dec 27, 2018 8:48 pm

I thought again about my 'B memory suggestion. I think I may want to revise that idea to having some kind of shadow screen ram built in.

In other words, none of this 'Bad Mode' business if you have say a large listing and want to switch to Mode2. Also think of the possibilities for games if they did not have to worry about high-res 'eating' 20K or so of Ram up...

Elk: Although perhaps slightly odd, a slightly bigger case would of been nice. I realise it was meant as a home market machine and I'm not saying "put it inside a 'B case" , just something a little bit larger, say along the lines of how it would be with the cart + expansion plugged in. This would also likely fix the slightly (imo) crowded keyboard.
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by AndyF » Tue Jan 01, 2019 11:47 am

Regarding the suggestion for the larger Elk case, this would of likely meant the PSU could of happily lived inside as well instead of being an external brick.

While I'm here talking of Elk's, another 'one change' suggestion would of been the inclusion of perhaps a couple of ROM sockets. I did consider suggesting either one built in cartridge slot or some form of shadow screen memory actually instead though!
Last edited by AndyF on Tue Jan 01, 2019 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by sydney » Tue Jan 01, 2019 12:19 pm

I reckon they could've got a psu in the current electron case. Maybe the elk should have had 48k as standard to match the spectrum.

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by BigEd » Tue Jan 01, 2019 12:38 pm

How about socketing the Elk's 6502 to allow for easy aftermarket accelerators?

And some small change to the Beeb might have made sideways RAM easier to retrofit without so many flying leads.

I do agree with trading the flashing colour hardware for an intensity bit.

I suspect the Master Compact could have been a bit better, but I'm not sure how.

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by AndyF » Tue Jan 01, 2019 2:38 pm

BigEd wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 12:38 pm
How about socketing the Elk's 6502 to allow for easy aftermarket accelerators?
That's a good idea. It does seem to vary a bit (with quite a few manufacturers) when you look at different issues of boards to find things socketed or not. Sometimes they go back to a socket I'd noted.
BigEd wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 12:38 pm
And some small change to the Beeb might have made sideways RAM easier to retrofit without so many flying leads.
You mean the ability for it to have 32K in one socket I think ? AFAIK you need a couple of leads for that or to mod the PCB (quite easy even for me) and a wire or two underneath. RetroClinic has a page on it.
BigEd wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 12:38 pm
I do agree with trading the flashing colour hardware for an intensity bit.
Yes its quite a sane suggestion generally. I can say 'over there' I do remember back then some monitors did not accept the 'bright' signal as some ZX models I forget which would output RGB then have a bright line iirc. So certain types of CRT's would still only display one intensity. I don't have the specifics to hand at this moment , not that its too relevant I guess.
BigEd wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 12:38 pm
I suspect the Master Compact could have been a bit better, but I'm not sure how.
Before I actually saw one as I never saw reviews 'back then' , I'd assumed the actual erm 'computer' was in the main box and the keyboard was just the keyboard, a bit like those third party ones you could get for the 'B at least where you'd have the guts in a separate box and a keyboard on a coiled cable type of thing. I do wonder if the Compact may of been better as it had the 'drive box' already to simply have the computer in that as well. The alternative route I've seen is to throw the drive box out and with some slightly creative tweaking simply fit an internal single 3.5 drive to it.
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by BigEd » Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:31 pm

AndyF wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 2:38 pm
BigEd wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 12:38 pm
And some small change to the Beeb might have made sideways RAM easier to retrofit without so many flying leads.
You mean the ability for it to have 32K in one socket I think ? AFAIK you need a couple of leads for that or to mod the PCB (quite easy even for me) and a wire or two underneath. RetroClinic has a page on it.
This page, I think: It looks like you need at least RnW (or "the write strobe" as mentioned on that page) and also a bit from the ROM selection latch. Perhaps Acorn could have fitted a 32pin socket for one of the 28-pin ROMs which had those extra useful signals, to be used for a aftermarket daughterboard. (With just the slight disadvantage that it would be possible to mis-fit the ROM and cause havoc!)

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by AndyF » Tue Jan 01, 2019 5:22 pm

BigEd wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:31 pm
(With just the slight disadvantage that it would be possible to mis-fit the ROM and cause havoc!)
I suppose that's true. :D

Mind you I would guess (just a guess***) a fair few roms/eproms had an "early retirement" due to being fitted a pin up/down or possibly back-to-front :)

*** By that I just mean I'm not sure if it would kill the chip and/or possibly cause some damage to the main PCB circuitry either. :)
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by 1024MAK » Tue Jan 01, 2019 6:06 pm

Back to front often kills them...

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by AndyF » Tue Jan 01, 2019 6:33 pm

1024MAK wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 6:06 pm
Back to front often kills them...
The chips themselves ?

Assume it would be just very bad luck to have machine (main PCB) damage too.

I can't remember offhand putting a ROM in back to front although I probably have done it, certainly I've put odd things like some 74LS chips in the wrong way in other bits years back.
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by 1024MAK » Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:04 pm

AndyF wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 6:33 pm
1024MAK wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 6:06 pm
Back to front often kills them...
The chips themselves ?

Assume it would be just very bad luck to have machine (main PCB) damage too.

I can't remember offhand putting a ROM in back to front although I probably have done it, certainly I've put odd things like some 74LS chips in the wrong way in other bits years back.
Yes, the EPROM chip. Most chips and some discrete semiconductors are damaged by reverse polarity.

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by daveejhitchins » Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:38 pm

1024MAK wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:04 pm
Yes, the EPROM chip. Most chips and some discrete semiconductors are damaged by reverse polarity.
Hardly ever :shock: in an Elk . . . The PSU is amazing at shutting down Very quickly!

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While I'm here: My one change would be the memory in the Electron e.g. single access - not this double nibble rubbish :twisted:
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by BigEd » Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:59 pm

Here's an idea which is almost entirely cosmetic, but might have helped sales: change the OS ROM so the power-up screen has a nice colourful graphic. It's all very well to boot into a few lines of white text in mode 7, but it might not impress the punters.

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by 1987akaTheMoneyPit » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:07 pm

OR?

System range of machines:- A card / module to display system statues etc. via LOTS of LEDS . .. ...

Atom:- Better PSU arrangement! [-o<

BBC Model A/B:- Lots of good ideas already, so a new one ? Atom style system card port arrangement. =P~

Issue 4s & 7s should have had the master style Econet upgrade setup along with header pins for 3rd party add-ons. 8)

The US/German Model B should have been the B+64! :twisted:

I guess you could call this a bit of a cheat? The launch of B+128, should have also rolled out with different(more) Second Processors
i.e. 68000, 6809 even if this was only via the Universal Second Processor Unit?
In Lieu of the ABC range. .. ... :?

Okay this is a timeline / marketing "cheat"! It has go in somewhere!! WDC 65816 Second Processor, with On-board memory space to allow
FULL upgrade ALSO an option of replacement LID for Second Processor(s) to incorporate the Bitstick or on its own if you already have one! =D>

Electron:- Again lots of very good ideas, So other than a "Plus 2"!, an Econet add on . .. ... :shock:

Master:- A tiny cheat this time!
"Software":- Electron style "Basic Input" keys? :P
"Hardware":- Speech Upgrade in ROM Cartridge, with US & UK PHROMS, plus they should have fixed the battery! #-o

Master Compact:- More "cheating":-
Allow the "Disk Unit" to take a 5-1/4" Drive in Lieu of second 3.5 unit! :roll:
The "keyboard Unit" better/more ports, optional plug in RTC Module with battery. :?:
Sell the "keyboard Unit" separately as the "Master Compact ET". :!:
Sell the "Disk Unit" separately with an Addon to Expand its use to the Electron, say as the "Plus 3&5" LOL :lol:

Communicator should have been the "CompactC816 ET" :^o

The BT Merlin M2105 expansion box should have been the "Electron Plus 4" and included almost all the ports to make it a beeb! :o
even if this was only a plug in internal board (to what is in it already) . .. ...

Nothing REALLY "new" just a different way of marketing what you got or all your R&D? :idea:

PS i don't do forums so it might be in the wrong place. .. ... etc.
[-X if it ain't broke don't fix it :idea:

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by 1987akaTheMoneyPit » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:18 pm

Looking back at my post just now, it's what you would do in the motor industry . .. ... :mrgreen: :^o [-X #-o :twisted: :roll: :wink:
[-X if it ain't broke don't fix it :idea:

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by Commie_User » Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:08 pm

BigEd wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:59 pm
Here's an idea which is almost entirely cosmetic, but might have helped sales: change the OS ROM so the power-up screen has a nice colourful graphic. It's all very well to boot into a few lines of white text in mode 7, but it might not impress the punters.

I'm so sure of that, given the BBC's retina-searing colour scheme. The C64's blue-on-blue action positively glowed luminous thanks to the RF connection on a CRT television. I gather 64 users were mocked for having such soft colours - dull, in 80s terminology - but as programmers got on top of their game by the turn of the 90s, you had some beautiful shades of graphics.

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by Commie_User » Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:11 pm

Apart from disk operation straight from the box, all I can think of for improvements came after the BBC's release anyway, such as integrated MIDI or other such gubbins which would have hiked the price ever higher to the heavens.

Perhaps you could wonder what existed on the BBC that you would have taken off to accommodate the changes. The machine was already arguably top-heavy with bits only few people used anyway.

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by rmbrowngr » Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:00 am

For the Electron, a 8 bit memory bus and 64k RAM. This would make Modes with high screen memory consumption usable and make up for the lack of Mode 7.
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by 1024MAK » Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:02 am

MIDI in theory, could have been possible without too much cost to the base computer if it had been considered. There are two things that a computer serial port (a proper RS232 / RS422 / RS423 system that uses a UART) needs to make it compatible with MIDI. First being able to select the correct clock rate for the standard MIDI data speed. Second an external hardware adapter that plugs into the existing serial port and provides the correct electrical / signalling for MIDI with the standard MIDI IN and MIDI OUT sockets.

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by Commie_User » Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:49 am

There was a MIDI interface for the BBC which plugged straight in. As there was for the 64, Amiga and many others. But MIDI was rolling out roughly 18 months after the BBC was designed and I suppose it was unclear how much anything like that would be used when it was out. Only the Atari ST had integrated MIDI for years and even today with computers, MIDI's a plug-in.

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by 1024MAK » Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:52 am

If we drift away from the objective stated in the first post and play what-if, then from my perspective we need to consider two things. Acorn were not really into producing games machines. And after the Elk, development of the ARM used most of their resources.

But I do think that they went wrong after the release of the BBC Micro. So in hindsight, if they wanted to compete with the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 and stay in the education market, while offering a machine that could potentially be used in business, they needed to expand their range. And quickly. But in engineering terms, simply, so that development could be kept short.

After sorting out the production problems of the BBC Micro (demand outstripped supply), they should have been looking to bring out a cheaper machine to replace the BBC A, and a machine that would be more capable than a BBC B.

BOTH of these machines should have had 64k bytes of RAM. As by then, the cost of RAM chips was falling.

The budget machine physically would have been just like the Elk. It would have had similar features, the changes being: 64k bytes RAM (a register could switch out either or both the BASIC ROM and/or the OS ROM areas), built in 9 pin “Atari” compatable joystick socket, and a simple ROM only cartridge socket. 16 colours as standard (by removing the flashing feature and replacing it with a “bright” or similar feature). There would no longer be any of the nibble nonsense when accessing the RAM (the RAM being eight 64k bit chips). No other changes. Machine would be called the Electron.

The more expensive machine would have been an upgraded BBC B with 64k bytes as standard. Same bank switching as the budget machine described above. Keep in mind that this would have been before the shadow RAM idea had taken off. Same 16 colours as described above. 32k byte compatable ROM sockets. Econet now via plug in module. FDD I/F also via plug in module. A lot of the TTL logic replaced with “simple” ULA chips. With the use of the described modules and the new ULA chips, internally the PCB size could be reduced (maybe by half) hence reducing production costs. Machine would be called the BBC C.

Then later, this expanded BBC C could be further improved by adding the shadow RAM system. I’ll call this BBC D. it would have 128k bytes of RAM, FDD system as standard (but with the internal 3.5” drive being optional).

Mark
Last edited by 1024MAK on Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:56 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by RobC » Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:26 am

Commie_User wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:08 pm
BigEd wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:59 pm
Here's an idea which is almost entirely cosmetic, but might have helped sales: change the OS ROM so the power-up screen has a nice colourful graphic. It's all very well to boot into a few lines of white text in mode 7, but it might not impress the punters.

I'm so sure of that, given the BBC's retina-searing colour scheme. The C64's blue-on-blue action positively glowed luminous thanks to the RF connection on a CRT television. I gather 64 users were mocked for having such soft colours - dull, in 80s terminology - but as programmers got on top of their game by the turn of the 90s, you had some beautiful shades of graphics.
I tend to agree with Ed - seen alongside other micros in Dixons or WH Smith's, it wouldn't have been obvious that the Beeb could do colour. And I don't recall people complaining about the Teletext colour scheme when viewing Ceefax or Oracle BITD so I doubt the palette would have been an issue.

One thing that really struck me when I was looking to buy a computer in the early 80s was how much clearer the Beeb's mode 7 display looked compared to other machines. I remember the first time I saw a C64's boot-up screen and thinking how ugly/primitive it looked compared to the Beeb. I think the same thing about almost all the other 8-bit machines in my collection.
1024MAK wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:52 am
Lots of sensible stuff!
I pretty much completely agree with everything Mark has suggested!

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by BigEd » Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:41 am

Here's one simple change Acorn considered at the time: get the Electron out for Christmas 1982!

With the huge success of the Elk, Acorn could then have made an Elk2 (one change only) with 64k RAM, in time for Christmas 1983.
In June 1982, cofounder Hermann Hauser was asked about the recently announced £175 Sinclair ZX Spectrum's potential to hurt sales of the BBC Micro. Hauser responded that in the third quarter of that year Acorn would release a new £120-150 computer which "will probably be called the Electron", with graphics superior to the Spectrum's and compatibility with BBC Micro software.
- wikipedia
Hauser said "Sinclair is the only one who has enough arrogance to compare the BBC computer with his own. He is comparing chalk with cheese and it is based on his own exceptional arrogance rather than the facts. We thought the appropriate way of dealing with this was to produce a machine which shows him how it's really done"
- nosher.net

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by Commie_User » Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:50 am

1024MAK wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:52 am
After sorting out the production problems of the BBC Micro (demand outstripped supply)...
That's a marketing ploy now!


The Electron was basically a mistake, alluded to in Micro Men, a set up for failure once it had been committed to. To make a truly inappropriate comparison, Hitler did think he could take Moscow so soon after the bulk of his resources had been so committed elsewhere on another distant objective. Hauser may have seemed confident to the media but Acorn were setting out to divide their forces too widely.

How much would this BBC C or D have been backwards compatible with the popular B, or would they have seen that much dedicated software, especially so close to the new range of 16 and 32 bit micros coming out? The Commodore 128's a warning from history on that front. And anyway, the BBC Master was the real life example there, maybe roughly.

And I don't think Acorn may have had the gambler's nous to bet on future prices for 64K coming down just as they did. Jack Tramiel had that adventurers' instinct in line with more mercenary attitude which doesn't seem in line with Chris Curry. But Tramiel got the C64 out at instantly competitive prices while Acorn played safe and fell behind, om top of this ULA business dragging them back more. Acorn also needed the best business relations, which Commodore abused to get ahead, such as forcing retailers to undersell in the price wars and not paying suppliers.

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by AndyF » Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:52 am

Some more excellent thoughts, thanks all so far.

I'd not worry *too* much about what suggestions would do to the retail price within reason (so no attempting to add 8MB of ram!) and what would only of been technologically possible at the time , or in theory possible if that makes sense. Most of what I've read does fall well within those scopes anyway.

The thought of having the pins 'ready' for the network interface to be just plugged in aka Master etc on the 'B (perhaps Model C?) was an excellent thought something I'd not considered. Same with the 'Model D' with shadow ram, as with a mere 32 using a lower mode as we all know = 20K so there's not much room left to play with, having this shadowed allowing the usual memory available would of been both possible and sensible, price might of been a little eye-watering though. Then again if there was a 'C' it should of had 64K (not talking about the B+)***


*** Under emulation this seems quite a nice machine although game compatibility is not quite what I thought it would be, it seems more like the M128 hit/miss affair if its going to work without tweaking/cursing etc or not. :D Then again killing ADFS off so page moves a tad may of helped.
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by jgharston » Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:16 am

Like one of those optical illusions that suddenly flick into place, I've suddenly realised why I couldn't understand what on earth you were writing.
AndyF wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:52 am
and what would only of been technologically possible at the time
HAVE!
AndyF wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:52 am
having this shadowed allowing the usual memory available would of been both possible and sensible,
HAVE!
AndyF wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:52 am
price might of been a little eye-watering though.
HAVE!
AndyF wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:52 am
Then again if there was a 'C' it should of had 64K (not talking about the B+)***
HAVE!
AndyF wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:52 am
Then again killing ADFS off so page moves a tad may of helped.
HAVE!

Code: Select all

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

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by RobC » Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:33 pm

Commie_User wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:50 am
The Electron was basically a mistake, alluded to in Micro Men, a set up for failure once it had been committed to.
Although Micro Men does imply this, I don't think it's possible to say what would have happened if the Elk had been available in sufficient numbers for Christmas 1983. I'd agree that Acorn got things wrong (cf. the turbo upgrade) but I remember the Electron generating a lot of interest and positive coverage before launch. It's easy forget that its BASIC and OS were vastly superior to those of its competitors and it had a proper 80 column display.
Commie_User wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:50 am
How much would this BBC C or D have been backwards compatible with the popular B, or would they have seen that much dedicated software, especially so close to the new range of 16 and 32 bit micros coming out? The Commodore 128's a warning from history on that front. And anyway, the BBC Master was the real life example there, maybe roughly.
There's a lot of truth in this. I can't really think of any "successor" machine that did really well and I think this was down to software. Once a machine was established, there was a clear incentive to keep producing software for the original machine rather than taking advantage of additional features in newer models. It also explains why the UK market was dominated by relatively few machines: Beeb, Speccy, C64, CPC.

After 1983, the CPC was the only 8-bit machine to really take off. However, I do feel that Acorn could have done something similar with a model C in 1984. Working on the Amstrad emulator, I've been struck by the similarities between the machines and a proper 64KB Beeb with a big ULA to reduce cost and a better palette could have done really well.
Commie_User wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:50 am
And I don't think Acorn may have had the gambler's nous to bet on future prices for 64K coming down just as they did. Jack Tramiel had that adventurers' instinct in line with more mercenary attitude which doesn't seem in line with Chris Curry. But Tramiel got the C64 out at instantly competitive prices while Acorn played safe and fell behind, om top of this ULA business dragging them back more. Acorn also needed the best business relations, which Commodore abused to get ahead, such as forcing retailers to undersell in the price wars and not paying suppliers.
Commodore's big advantages came from their ownership of MOS (enabling them to keep costs right down) and being American (so they could exploit a huge home market without the "not invented here" kicking in).

Acorn could be seen as being stronger in R&D (ARM legacy etc.) than Commodore (buying in the Amiga design). However, I can't remember who said it but I do recall one of the Acorn bods saying that Micro Men doesn't show Chris Curry's "low cunning"...

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by BigEd » Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:55 pm

RobC wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:33 pm
...I can't remember who said it but I do recall one of the Acorn bods saying that Micro Men doesn't show Chris Curry's "low cunning"...
It was the ever-quotable Steve Furber!

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by Commie_User » Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:17 pm

How much room did Curry have to wield his low cunning? He couldn't have had much room to do a Tramiel, as on top of Curry not having a monopoly on current technology, there seemed a more cut-throat killer dog mentality in American high business all these years. Or perhaps that's just the telly and focus on certain big shots.

I think had the Electron been there in the quantities need for 1983, they would have got away with it. It would have lasted longer on pure momentum, regardless how short life its tech was. It did have some really great works in it but no secret sauce to keep it a competitive games machine longer than in the short term.


And I'm glad that after things settled in around 1984, there wasn't this whole mess of a gazillion different micros all incompatible with even their own siblings.

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1024MAK
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by 1024MAK » Sun Jan 06, 2019 5:08 pm

The time line as I see it, the BBC A and B were launched in 1981, but were not available in large numbers until spring 1982 (IIRC). So in late spring 1982 (at the very latest), Acorn should have been busy working on new machines.

The BBC C development should not have taken more than 12 months, so it should have been ready for spring 1983 at the latest.

As it happened, they concentrated on the Electron. Now as we know, there were problems with the ULA. It could be said that maybe Acorn were being too ambitious with what they were trying to do. But anyway, being a “low price” home computer, it was vital to have plenty of machines ready for the lead up to Christmas. So they should have been shipping Electrons in mid November 1983 / early December 1983....

If course any new computer model will not be 100% compatible with earlier machines. But the BBC C that I detailed above could have been better than 90% compatible with a BBC B. Certainly more compatible than an existing Electron or BBC Master. The one catch being software using the flashing feature would not have been compatible.

The BBC D (as I described above) would have been similar to a BBC Master.

On the subject of start up displays, a lot of 8 bit computers started in a boring text mode, or text like mode. Even the colour Sinclair, the ZX Spectrum started up with a black and white copyright screen...

I don’t think a fancy start up screen was a priority, given the limited ROM size on most machines.

Mark

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AndyF
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by AndyF » Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:13 pm

jgharston wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:16 am
Like one of those optical illusions that suddenly flick into place, I've suddenly realised why I couldn't understand what on earth you were writing.
You may be in for a slight shock if we meet in person at some point then as (a few others on here may be able to confirm!) I do tend phase and speak the way I write my posts unfortunately! :oops:

I think my only complaint really about the 'B in general is the fact that the lower screen modes eat so much precious RAM :( , if 'at the factory' you could of had some shadow or otherwise memory so that the same 'useable' ram was always there regardless of screen mode it may of been a tad better, I'm thinking here of games mainly although there's the possibility of hiding extra data in the screen area too I suppose in some cases.
Andy

* NEW * The Jetset Willy and Manic Miner community :)

Adventure games ported across to the BBC (in progress) as soon as I can find some time!

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