Retro computers - What are they good for?

AndyLandy

Acceleration!
Treasurer
Joined
Aug 29, 2009
Posts
9,898
Country
UK
Region
Southampton
This puts to bed one of my biggest bugbears about the IT industry. Folks who are studying computing now are too young to remember anything pre Windows '95. Things have advanced so far, and so many layers of abstraction have been built on top of the machine that nobody ever gets a feel for what's really going on under the hood.

My understanding of computers stems from learning on a ZX Spectrum, where I could understand what the machine was actually doing. I hope projects like this catch on, otherwise we'll be left with a world of people who can only code in Visual Basic...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-10951040
 

AmiNeo

CodeMonkey
Joined
Jul 28, 2010
Posts
7,436
Country
UK
Region
Kendal, Cumbria
This puts to bed one of my biggest bugbears about the IT industry. Folks who are studying computing now are too young to remember anything pre Windows '95. Things have advanced so far, and so many layers of abstraction have been built on top of the machine that nobody ever gets a feel for what's really going on under the hood.

My understanding of computers stems from learning on a ZX Spectrum, where I could understand what the machine was actually doing. I hope projects like this catch on, otherwise we'll be left with a world of people who can only code in Visual Basic...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-10951040


I kind of fall into this catagory myself although im more hardware / network based anyways. Most of my knowledge with modern PCs started with windows 95 so anything previous I dont have a lot of knowledge of.
I dont program atall but would like to look into it. Part of what I hope to acheive with the amiga is this 'whats going on under the hood' concept.

A+ certified technician so already have a reasonably good understanding of the workings but not in depth enough and not retro enough for my liking :)

As i move forwards I will aim to look back too in an effort to understand where what we have today has come from and to do my best to understand everything as a whole.
 
Last edited:

Cloudane

New member
AmiBayer
Joined
Aug 18, 2010
Posts
77
Country
UK
Region
Cumbria
Apart from nostalgia and fun? ;)

As you and the article alluded to: learning. I was noticing this a lot myself recently.

Anyone trying to become a computer or application expert from scratch with modern systems would probably be blown away these days due to the sheer number of features and, as you say, tons of abstraction layers. It's almost impossible to get your head around everything, it'd be overwhelming.

I'd say there's an advantage to learning Deluxe Paint before Photoshop, Micro Emacs before the modern Emacs, oldschool music sequencing/sampling/synthesis before the complicated modern day music systems etc.

Another example that came to mind is that just by messing around with Workbench prefs (particularly 2.0+ with the pattern backgrounds etc), someone can quickly learn the concept of palette based imaging which can help them understand things like the GIF format nowadays.
 

Slayer

New member
Joined
Feb 26, 2008
Posts
718
Country
New Zealand
Region
Dunedin
What on earth are you talking about?

For some of us they are our past present and future! :p

I've used an Amiga since 1986, I moved from my A4000 PPC to a SAM when they came out and will move to an X1000...

For me there hasn't been anything else but AmigaOS and AmigaHW and that is way cool :D
 

Merlin

Ministry of Retr0bright and Street Judge
VIP
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Posts
15,597
Country
UK
Region
Manchester
Visual Basic? What about good old Commodore Basic V2?

(y)
 

AmiNeo

CodeMonkey
Joined
Jul 28, 2010
Posts
7,436
Country
UK
Region
Kendal, Cumbria
What on earth are you talking about?

For some of us they are our past present and future! :p

I've used an Amiga since 1986, I moved from my A4000 PPC to a SAM when they came out and will move to an X1000...

For me there hasn't been anything else but AmigaOS and AmigaHW and that is way cool :D

Thats all good for a hobbiest Slayer but for us nerds who want our living to come from IT, we have to learn as much as possible lol.

... For fun and learning... for enjoyment and life :D
 

Merlin

Ministry of Retr0bright and Street Judge
VIP
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Posts
15,597
Country
UK
Region
Manchester
@ AmiNeo

10 PRINT "*** COMMODORE BASIC V2 FTW!!! ***"
20 GOTO 10

:arms

@ AndyLandy

I suppose those VB hotshots thought that they'd be able to knock up a Jet Set Willy clone in about half an hour, before they got their hands on the actual hardware.... heh.... I wonder how long it was before :sos set in.... :LOL:
 

Merlin

Ministry of Retr0bright and Street Judge
VIP
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Posts
15,597
Country
UK
Region
Manchester
Well, Commodore BASIC is what I really started with, along with ZX Spectrum programming.

At least BASIC teaches you program structure, how to define variables properly, setting up arrays if you need them and the joys of FOR / NEXT incrementing, GOSUB and RETURN loops, PEEKS, POKES etc.

*nostalgic sigh*

An Idea :idea:: how about we have a retro progamming section of the site, so that us retro types can share programming tips, code, etc. on the various format machines?
 

AmiNeo

CodeMonkey
Joined
Jul 28, 2010
Posts
7,436
Country
UK
Region
Kendal, Cumbria
Sounds like Amibay just got blown wide open :LOL:

I for one would love it! (y)

---------- Post added at 12:56 ---------- Previous post was at 12:51 ----------

"You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off"... :LOL:
- Michael Caine
 

chiark

AmiNerd
Joined
Jan 22, 2008
Posts
2,687
Country
United Kingdom
Region
Yorkshire
I'd totally support AmiBay pushing into R3tr0 programming, although there's other forums on other sites which do the same thing. If nothing else, it would be good to have links to active retro programming discussion!
 

AmiNeo

CodeMonkey
Joined
Jul 28, 2010
Posts
7,436
Country
UK
Region
Kendal, Cumbria
absolutely nothing! say it again!


oops sorry that's war isn't it?


ROFL, I was gonna post that you swine :p

---------- Post added at 13:58 ---------- Previous post was at 13:57 ----------

I'd totally support AmiBay pushing into R3tr0 programming, although there's other forums on other sites which do the same thing. If nothing else, it would be good to have links to active retro programming discussion!


Yea, and by having our own thread we can help eachother along with it :)
 

gazcbm

10 PRINT "8 Bit Hero"
Joined
Feb 19, 2008
Posts
1,067
Country
UK
Region
Manchester, UK
I would like to see a programming sub forum on Amibay. (y)
 

commodorejohn

Shameless recidivist
Joined
Apr 2, 2010
Posts
1,607
Country
United States
Region
Minnesota
Dammit, JuvUK beat me to the joke ;)

Anyway, it's heartwarming to see that there are still some people out there who value the ability to actually understand how a computer works. Even higher-level certification courses these days spend about one chapter lightly touching on the subject, afraid to get their delicate notional fingers dirty, before dedicating the entire rest of the textbook to things like "Why You Can't Plug A PCI Card Into An ISA Slot."

I was lucky enough to get an instructor who actually cared about this stuff and gave us a mini-course in low-level programming, but the majority of my knowledge had to come from my own experiments in assembler programming on C64, Amiga, and DOS (and I mean real 8086 DOS, not your precious little protected-mode stuff!) because there's just no emphasis on actually teaching anything lower than C (and even that's being abandoned for the crime of being - ugh! - a native-code language!!)

Maybe the age of the Real Programmers isn't over yet :)
 

HonestFlames

New member
Joined
Aug 18, 2010
Posts
346
Country
England
Region
Shropshire
The only meaningful way to do real programming on an Amiga (a 680x0 one, at least) is with a combo of C and ASM. I know there have been commercial software releases where the main language used was AMOS or Blitz, but these are the inevitable exceptions to the rule.

Blitz and Amiga E are nice to code with (from personal experience) but nothing really beats C and ASM for a combination of ease (with C) and performance (with ASM).

I'd love to take part in some discussion of those languages where they apply to Amiga coding. But... whilst such discussion may be useful as a basis for leading on to PC programming (or other, modern platforms), it is of no intrinsic value in and of itself.

I'm developing an ANSI editor in AMOS Pro at the moment. It's the most useless thing ever, but it's something to pass the time and stave off senility! Maybe there's some therapeutic measure to old-school coding?
 

JLPedro

Active member
AmiBayer
Joined
Jun 16, 2008
Posts
1,325
Country
Portugal
Region
Coimbra
I like to open my all my "new" retrocomputers and look around to its guts to actually see what did those wonderfull things on screen that made my day back in my teens!!

An Idea :idea:: how about we have a retro progamming section of the site, so that us retro types can share programming tips, code, etc. on the various format machines?

Now that's just a great idea!!
 

Justin

Active member
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Posts
12,176
Country
United Kingdom
Region
UK
or you programming gods could all get together and save the amiga world by making a browser that bloody works! :)


The only meaningful way to do real programming on an Amiga (a 680x0 one, at least) is with a combo of C and ASM. I know there have been commercial software releases where the main language used was AMOS or Blitz, but these are the inevitable exceptions to the rule.

Blitz and Amiga E are nice to code with (from personal experience) but nothing really beats C and ASM for a combination of ease (with C) and performance (with ASM).

I'd love to take part in some discussion of those languages where they apply to Amiga coding. But... whilst such discussion may be useful as a basis for leading on to PC programming (or other, modern platforms), it is of no intrinsic value in and of itself.

I'm developing an ANSI editor in AMOS Pro at the moment. It's the most useless thing ever, but it's something to pass the time and stave off senility! Maybe there's some therapeutic measure to old-school coding?
 
Top Bottom