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mckeonj
927588.  Sun Jul 29, 2012 8:38 am Reply with quote

One of the minor delights of the ZX81 was the facility for writing subroutines directly in machine code, and calling them by name from BASIC.

 
aTao
927702.  Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:22 pm Reply with quote

mckeonj wrote:
One of the minor delights of the ZX81 was the facility for writing subroutines directly in machine code, and calling them by name from BASIC.


But, unlike its predecessor it was pants as a door wedge.

 
Stefan Linnemann
1031882.  Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:49 pm Reply with quote

iamannoying.com wrote:
mckeonj wrote:
The operating system and functions were hard-wired in a ROM chip; a closed source which was apparently perfect in every way and could not be updated or upgraded.


Emulators, the Revenge of the ZX81. Most likely designing the hardware was far more complicated. Writing a simple operating system and a BASIC interpreter is pretty straightforward. No multitasking, no optimizing, no innovative hardware developments, and so on.

Nor were they evident concerns in the day. The innovative aspect was the price, and thereby, the availability to the almost forefront of geeks and nerds that made all those modern concerns commonplace now. The real innovative design (for me) was the rubber separation of the outside from the inner works that kept dust, crumbs and other spills from living creatures away from fouling up the works, which was sadly not adopted outside Sinclair.

Nevertheless, I learned the basics of informatics on its son the Sinclair ZX Spectrum (48k), which kept me employed for 15 years before my idiosyncrasies became too much for employers, after enjoying the fruits of them for all those years.

I also used my Spectrum at home to display the effects of certain parameters in an econometrist equation, that my father had intended to use in a lecture, to his disappointment. Gods, I wish I hadn't accidentally burned out my friends Spectrum, causing me to donate mine to him. Emulators just don't do it justice, because of the lack of its keyboard.

 
Stefan Linnemann
1031884.  Sun Oct 27, 2013 7:13 pm Reply with quote

On an unrelated note, after seeing the "keys" episode, the arrangement of the keys to separate the most frequently used together pairs falls apart when you consider the 'r' and 'd' being as close as they are to the 'e'.

When as young as Stephen when he started copying Wodehouse I was reverently trying to grok my fathers typewriter, and in due course learned enough about its workings to enjoy the mention of its mechanical aspects, to the point where I can explain of them to the ignorant youths of today, so that I realise I've crossed a generation gap.

More importantly, who has studied the best arrangement of keyboard keys in modern times and what were their conclusions?

Anyone ever recreated Sholes alleged study to draw their own, probably improved, conclusions? I've heard about the keyboard that reacts to key combinations to emulate or supplant stenography, I don't know which, but I could thoroughly enjoy watching a half-hour programme on modern keyboard design that deals with all my questions.

Or a section of QI that at least points me to research and conclusions I'm wondering about. ;-)

 

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