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A shrinked Altair 8800 as a replica - very nice (still need screenshots of the working system) 
Saturday, May 8, 2010, 09:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
Vince Briel developed already a lot of other interesting things like a working Apple I replica and a KIM replica (of course 6502 based, not 8080 or Z80).
Now he had a brilliant new idea ... building an Altair replica (with an emulated 8080 cpu based on an ATMEL AVR) ... I was a bit sceptical because an ATMEL CPU isn't a number cruncher monster, but it seems to work - hopefully at least with the speed of the original machine.
Also, I am curious about running CP/M on that machine, did not see any comment so far about it.

Here are the specifications:

Emulated 8080 run at speed or faster than original
32K RAM with BASIC loaded at power up (still in the works may have to load from SD card)
VGA or composite TV video output to a monitor
PS/2 keyboard
SD card slot to load/store software through terminal section
Battery option (not tested, may not work well with so many LEDís)
Diode circuit protection for battery/DC input.

Very nice design also, because you do not need an external terminal, just a VGA monitor and a PS/2 keyboard. Hopefully this project will get finished with a full success.
If anybody has seen screenshots from the working system (screen with CP/M or BASIC...), let me know where...
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Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) sells Commodore VIC/VC-20 - amazing ! 
Monday, March 8, 2010, 10:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
Wow. I love old computer advertisments. This one is my favorite:

And the page with the Startrek BASIC game will be more interesting than ever ;-)

Please take a look also at the commercial video with William Shatner at Youtube:

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Now again a Sharp Pocket Computer - but the (almost) Z80 compatible one... 
Friday, December 18, 2009, 09:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
I got a Sharp PC-1500 last week and I liked it, especially the possibility to use Z80 machine code (exception: status register usage is different). That's very easy, because even if you just have the basic device without anything else, you can use the BASIC commands PEEK, POKE and CALL (you should have an Assembler on a PC but you can dump the binary code so you can "POKE" all bytes into memory).

Also, it's easy to transfer program binaries to the device with the help of a PC... you can play previous recorded WAV files with a sound card, and connect the cassette interface to the PC's audio output. But it's also possible to convert the files to real binaries (e.g. for disassembling).
At the moment I am looking for the interface, PC-1500 accessories are much easier to obtain compared to the previously introduced PC-1211, so it should not take too long to get it.

It's a bit bulky, but this doesn't matter ( it's still smaller then a modern Netbook ;-) ).

A specialized web site is ... a lot of software downloads are there.

The mentioned program for the PC is located at

Interesting interface to connect a Commodore 1541 to a Sharp PC-1500: ... loppy_1500

More technical details (in german):
The later PC-1600 was 100% Z80 compatible due to the additional build in SC7852 (=Z80) CPU.
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Another remarkable milestone: Sharp Pocket Computer (first: PC-1211) 
Saturday, November 28, 2009, 08:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
... which has two 4-Bit CPUs (!) from Sharp, SC43177 und SC43178 labeled, driven with only 256 KHz (yes, KILO not MEGA). This was my first "Computer" I had, and I loved it, because I was able to use the Pocket Computer at school (think about an electronical cheat sheet) also.
Unfortunately it had only 1424 BASIC steps (implemented with 3 4KBit RAMs.... still wondering how this could work), so not too much for larger projects.

This is my own one:

Remarkable also is the rare yellow LCD display (later this intensive yellow color can't be found anymore).

One of the successors of this first Pocket Computer was the PC-1500, which owns - guess what - a Z80 compatible CPU - perfect to program it also in assembly language.

Unfortunately the Assembly language for the above mentioned PC-1211 was never published, so any kind of extension or graphics can't be programmed on a PC-1211 :-(

See also at for more info (link below).

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Some thoughts about transfering disks or at least, files from a PC to a vintage computer 
Thursday, November 19, 2009, 10:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
I've created a page about transfering files from a PC to an old CP/M computer (e.g. my Kaypro IV) at .
But I forgot to mention how to get able to use or prepare a PC.
I took my (mentioned in a blog entry before) Compaq Portable II to use Uniform for the file transfer on CP/M diskettes. This works really reliable and flawless.
My old Compaq Portable II didn't has Internet access (of course not).
The newer Quad Core PC is "legacy free", means no serial, no parallel port, and of course no diskette drive.
The ideas about connecting my modern Quad Core PC with the old Compaq Portable via network (cable) doesn't work, because even if you want to use NETBEUI protocol (instead of TCP/IP) on a Windows XP PC, this is not easy (problematic protocol installation).
Best and most success bringing way: Take a virtual machine (e.g. Virtual PC or VMWare), install MS-DOS 6.22, MS-DOS Addon for Workgroups OR Netware Lite, and do NOT try to integrate such old network protocols on your modern PC.
Then try to install MS-DOS Addon for Workgroups OR Netware Lite also on your older PC (e.g. my Compaq Portable II).

Even the above described solution is not running reliable.
So I decided to take a much more simpler approach.
I buyed on Ebay a Parallel Port driven CD-ROM drive (Freecom Portable), installed the MS-DOS drivers on my old Compaq, and 'voila' I was able to access (data) CD-ROMs on my Compaq also.
Burning a CD/RW or a CD-ROM is much easier nowadays, and I have the data always online, even if my modern PC is OFF.
Also, I can directly access my Walnut Creek CD, too.

So think about it, choose the easy way instead of the more sophisticated, but ugly way ;-)

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