Oct 13, 2021Liked by Mad Ned

I too have a TRS-80 program from 40 years ago, but not as exciting as a game. It's a public key encryption program written in Z80 assembler and then hand-assembled into decimal bytes to be "put" into memory from a BASIC program. The divide routine is 198 bytes long and spans 11 pages in my hand-written double-spaced notebook. I even have the original Scientific American article and the RSA paper from MIT, which I used to figure out the algorithm.

If I remember correctly, it could encode a 28 character message in 38 minutes, or maybe it was the other way around. Debugging, of course, was a lot of "fun" because there was no debugger. I had to dump the registers to memory and then inspect the memory from the BASIC interpreter.

Maybe I should get a Z80 emulator and type the program in, once I have some free time from working on my new heterogenous hash table?

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Sep 27, 2021Liked by Mad Ned

Amazing! That paper probably outperformed every other storage medium over 40 years, aside from the low read speed.

Your theory about recovering software from non-volatile mainframes made me want to suggest a YouTube video, "Apollo Guidance Computer Part 15: Recovering lost Apollo software" by curiousmarc.

They visited the Computer History Museum and recovered a (presumed lost) program stored half a century ago in core rope memory.

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Sep 26, 2021Liked by Mad Ned

I am the same in regards to not understanding my own code after several months or even weeks. It's apparent you are 3 times older than me, but it is what it is.

I often wonder what this means for me and programming in general.

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You sparked a memory now Ned. I remember I made an ASCII NCC-1701 on my Commie 64 that I could move around and fire the phaser banks. Kinda sorry I didn't keep that, just for the LULZ. I started converting it into sprites but lost interest.

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I wrote some TRS80 Mod 1 BASIC programs that I used to teach high school physics. I have toyed with the idea of resurrecting them and even played with an emulator or two. Problem is, I have no printouts but I do have (probably dead) cassette tapes. I have decided it might be interesting but not worth the time or effort.

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Who knows? This game might just show up in MAME one of these days..

Seems like it'd be ripe for reinventing on even a semi-modern platform; you certainly had ideas that haven't been duplicated in the subsequent 40 years.

On that note, probably best you didn't get a Model 1 off E-bay. Without shielding modifications that thing would be a FCC knocking-on-your-door nightmare.

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