Information for masochists.
I also bought a WT100. That is a prototyping board, as if you knew not! On it,
I have constructed a stereophonic sound system, which has two AY-3-8910 chips, output
to my hi-fi and will soon have two digital to analogue converters, plus anything else
in the sound synthesis line that I can get to work with the system. The circuit, while
it is not copied from the Winchester one, is rather similar, except for the
addressing. The output from the Winchester board is mixed into both channels of my
board, thus appearing in the centre of the stereo “stage”. Anyone who is contemplating
building a circuit at all “similar” to the WT910 (and you certainly mustn’t copy it,
or you will be guilty of some sort of crime thingy) will want to know that the circuit
in the documentation, while it is the truth, is not the whole truth. Far be it from me
to tell you that pins 3 and 4 of IC5 must be connected to the 0 volt line. If I told
you that, you would be able to build the board from the information its makers are
willing to sell you, and that would never do.....
I have written one or two “music” generating programs, of a fairly trivial
kind in BASIC; when I have written something I can feel proud of, it will be sent in
for the program library. (See also the “Whatever happened to...” section for my
libellous remarks about the latter.)
Not a book review, really.
I have recently read all of (and even understood quite a lot of) Douglas
Hofstadter’s book, “Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid”. I would tell you
more about it, were it not for the fact that Malcodm Peltu has already reviewed it in
Personal Computer World, and he writes a pretty nifty review. (It is interesting,
however, to note the element of recursion involved in that last sentence – a review of
a review – since a major theme in the book is recursion.) If I say buy it, and you
don’t like it, you will be upset, because it is expensive: I consider the money well
spent, though. If you are interested in the great question of Life, the Universe and
Everything, which is to say, “is it possible to write a program that is intelligent?”
then I can assure you that this book has enabled me to think a great deal more clearly
about such things. You will have realised that I dare not reveal the secrets the book
holds. Besides, it is not as easy to summarise as Pzoust....
A book review, really.
Another recent purchase (notice the restatement of this major theme in the
great computer hobby) is “The CP/M Handbook” by Rodney Zaks. I bought this because I
hope one day to have enough money to buy a disk drive or two, and have read reviews
that suggest CP/M is not too well explained by its manuals.
Rodney Zaks is even more well known than myself, on account of his far greater
output; mind you, he started first, and I don’t think he uses Naspen, so it may be
that I will eventually be able to catch up, or even overtake him, who can tell? (Good
plug – Ed.) This is the first book of his I have read, and certainly makes using CP/M
sound considerably less intimidating than it did previously. In fact, the man makes it
all sound suspiciously easy. The people who make a lot of money out of computing are
those who have convinced their employers that they are doing something very difficult.
Could it be that the mystique surrounding disk operating systems is just a paper
tiger? (This is not an advertisement for a printer.) Let us hope so.....
A voice crying in the wildezness.
Would someone who knows how to connect a Nascom to a Frieden Flexowriter
please contact me. For those who have never seen this product of the Dutch(?) branch
of Singer, it is a sort of teletype, which can also be used to hammer steel plate into
much thinner steel plate. The noise of the thing when running is beyond the power of
my descriptive talents to describe. It gets even louder if the punch is switched on,
and I worry whether the foundations of the house will put up with it for long, if I do
manage to interface the thing.